Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Temptations...

During a home teaching visit on Sunday there was a statement made that Satan gives up on us as we resist his temptations. If we continue resisting, the temptation eventually goes away completely. The home teacher noted that he was tempted greatly by tobacco and alcohol in his youth, but now after decades of resisting such temptations, has absolutely no desire to smoke or drink. His personal testimony was that we need to keep resisting and soon Satan will simply leave us alone, giving up on us as a "lost cause".

This statement and personal witness has made me think. I don't know that I totally support his supposition that with enough resistance, Satan gives up on us and doesn't tempt us any longer. Indeed, I may believe that we may build enough strength against certain temptations, but then OTHER temptations come in their place. I don't know that in this life we are ever without temptation, no matter how righteous or resistant we are.

It's given me thought to my situation. I have never been tempted to smoke or drink and continue to have no desire to do so. So? Is it because I'm strong and righteous in this area? And yet, I continue to have "temptations" of lusting after beautiful guys. I've resisted ALL MY LIFE acting on these temptations and yet they are still there... So where is the truth in his theory?

I think we are all different and cannot judge or simplify our "weaknesses" in such a straight-forward manner. First of all, I don't believe it is Satan that is tempting me. I feel it is just me being me. I do believe that as I allow my thoughts of these feelings to dwell on them I become weaker and when I allow my thoughts to move on to other things, I become stronger - but the temptation that is part of being human and part of this physical life remains. It is always there! As for my personal experience, it will always be there.

I know I don't help the cause of trying to "remain pure in my thoughts" when I allow my thoughts to take flight... as seems to be more like the case of recent months. I seem to find myself closing my eyes at night, trying to fall asleep, and I slip into thoughts of being held by or cuddling with a guy, often times a particular guy, :-) It has become a natural reaction to falling asleep... I fall asleep in a semi-dream-like state of being embraced with Him. Elbow kiddingly mentioned that we all do this. That surprised me, as I felt I was the only one to have such a habit - to have an "imaginary boyfriend". (Am I the only one that has these going-to-sleep rituals? Am I unique here?) I guess I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it. But, this has become almost a ritual to fall asleep.

I find myself rarely dreaming a subconscious dream (not the daydreaming type, but real dreams) but when I do (and I can remember them) they are often of me in the arms of another guy on the beach, at the pool, keep house together, holding hands together - typically the romantic kind - but even having sex together (oh my!). I never have heterosexual dreams - ever! I dream of good-looking fit guys working out together with me and helping me to be more fit as well. These dreams are vivid and detailed and realistic. These dreams just come! I have tried resisting them, but they just come into my subconscious mind. I don't know if I'm supposed to wake myself up and start humming my favorite hymn or what, but I doubt that will do any good...

I know that Elder Packer has spoken about the mind as a movie theater with a perfect memory... but I really have avoided the hard-porn stuff just as I've avoided tobacco and alcohol, and yet my thought and dreams in a semi-sleep and full-sleep state are almost always now gay-centered and involve more and more intimacy. I feel that nothing can enter my mind that I don't allow in - so maybe I've allowed more "in" than I've thought. All I know is I continue to have a subconscious mind that is very actively pursuing another agenda that my conscious mind.

Are these really just temptations that can be resisted over a lifetime? Can I really resist them to the point that they go away? Or are these subconscious thoughts of some other nature? What is a temptation from Satan that I permit to enter into my mind? Or, what is a feeling of my natural man that is trying to make itself heard and known?

I don't have any answers. Or I may not be open to accepting the obvious answers (such as I'm allowing it to happen and even enjoy it so I'm becoming "beyond feeling" (note: it is getting to the point that I put up little if any resistance at all) and the still small voice is getting very tired of whispering counter-thoughts, but that really couldn't be it could it???). Maybe someone may want to spell it out for me and be my shrink dream analyst... All I know is I'm having a harder time resisting these thoughts, subconscious or otherwise... Maybe paraphrasing Enduring Eric, I've fallen off the train and at least am running along side the tracks but maybe allowing myself to not keep up, nor hop back on... and so the tool of temptation might be working after all?

8 comments:

Just one of many said...

Why do we feel that Satan is the cause of "prescribed" sins? Could it be that being gay is natural...why do we assume it is unnatural. Loving someone irregardless of the sex is beautiful. I think that living in fear, repression, and unhappiness is unnatural!
BTW, I really enjoyed your post and hope the best for you!!

Foxx said...

You may take solace in the fact that although your thoughts, words, and deeds will be used in your judgment (Mosiah 4:30), your dreams will not ("To Young Men Only", B.K. Packer).

That aside, dreams are not literal expressions of your subconscious mind. It is a symbolic expression of your brain unwinding after a long day. It takes the issues of the day and tries to resolve them. The result is the images you see when you are in REM sleep.

What I take from this is that you feel strongly that you need a male companion. This is not out of the ordinary for homosexual men. It doesn't mean that you'll only be happy if you fulfill the dreams; it just means that it's something you crave right now. Dreams don't pass judgment on your past or future choices, they try to sort them out and make sense out of them so your conscious mind can focus on other things.

SG said...

I agree with your suggestion that when you're tempted it's just you being you, like it is with all of us. I think some in the Church give Satan more credit than even he deserves. After all, the natural man is an enemy to God. Aren't we all pretty natural sometimes and wish we weren't?

I enjoy your posts!

santorio said...

no, beck, you are not alone and again have again provoked some needed reflection. most of the time simple physical fatigue puts me to sleep, but on occasion I rely on some best-left-unspecified 'rituals.' part of the effect may be a meditation-like clearing of sleep-inhibiting events of the day. but there must also be some sexually-reinforcing components or else i would use any repetitive thought process [you know--the sing your favorite hymn approach].

Beck said...

Just one of many: I do believe there are "sins and commandments", "right and "wrong", "natural and unnatural". But I don't believe that Satan is behind each of my choices for wrong. I believe that I am a natural man in a natural world responding to natural stimuli of being in that world. But that doesn't excuse me of trying to overcome the natural man.

Beck said...

FOXX: Thanks for your thoughts on dreams. There is some comfort in the thought that these aren't literal expressions of my subconscious mind as I've interpretted them to be. I've been judging myself harshly because of such dreams - but I appreciate the wisdom to just accept them as natural ordinary cravings of a homosexual man.

That having been said, I still am struggling with King Benjamin's wisdom that thoughts (the wrong kind) will lead to perish.

Beck said...

SG: The same back to you! As I've come to discover more about you, I feel we are close to being on the same page in many things.

Beck said...

SANTORIO: Ciao fratello mio! It's refreshing to know that I'm not going crazy and I'm not the only one that has these going-to-bed meditation rituals. There is a sexual component to these even if it's just a craving for companionship! But that having been said, maybe I should have the hymn book at my bedside table for ready reference just in case. What do you think?