In Sacrament Meeting yesterday, the speaker quoted a scripture that I had heard countless times before. His message was about "being prepared". But, somehow, I didn't hear that message. As I read and reread the scripture, I got lost in my own thoughts about this internal angst I'm dealing with about my same-sex struggles. The speaker wasn't even close to addressing my current prayers and thoughts, but there before me was the written word of the Lord speaking to my concerns of fear, of indecision, of differing and loud voices!
"I tell you these things, because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."
-- D&C 38:30
I had a cross reference redlined in the margin and now, totally lost in what the speaker was saying, started my own scripture study right then and there and flipped to it:
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of the sound mind. Be not though therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, not of me his prisoner; but be though partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."
-- 2 Timothy 1:7-8
I had this one marked as well, obviously for a different reason and in a different context.
Now, I don't have anything profound to offer here, but these scriptures got me thinking about my fears and about feeling weak, about my listening to a lot of loud and enticing voices, and about being ashamed of my testimony.
I am not a weak person. I do not view my being 'gay' a weakness. But I do feel that there are a lot of voices out there, very loud ones, with images portraying beautiful love between fantastically chiseled young men, that confuse me and make me doubt and divide me against myself, and thus make me question my testimony and my very essense - that I really am a Child of God.
I am who I am. I am a Child of God. God loves me. He wants me to be happy. He doesn't want me to be afraid. He wants me to be strong, to stand for what I believe in, and to be the person I was intended to be by CHOOSING. I have years of "treasured wisdom" of spiritual experiences if I but choose to remember them. The alternative voices are enticing and exciting, speaking to me louder than the "shaking earth". But I'm not afraid!
The life of sexual promiscuity with another or several male partners seems to be exciting and promising - and I'm sure wonderful - but will it bring happiness? I doubt it. Will it bring me strength? I doubt it. Though I desire this companionship (a same-sex monogamous relationship similar to that which I have in my marriage), I can't see how it can bring me any closer to God and eternal happiness even if I am "discovering the real me" in the process. And I'm not even sure that such a relationship is truly real or even possible for me (See LDSwithSSA most recent blog)though I certainly hope for some it can be and is.
But for this moment (maybe not tomorrow) I am pricked by these scriptures. I am strengthened in my thinking. I feel power in my choices of what voices I'm listening to, even though the images of young fresh meat still entice and probably always will and "shake me to the core"... But I am still in charge here and it is still my choice to remain faithful (not just "technically faithful" as noted in my previous post). Some will say that I ultimately am still afraid of the choice to embrace this different path, and maybe so, but right now I don't feel afraid.
I'm not the bear shaking in fright at the top of the tree. I'm the cat calmly sitting on the ground and, for this moment, in control without fear!