Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheer up! It's a TRIAL, not a bad thing! (1 Peter 1:6-7)

I have had some fantastic interactions online regarding my SSA with other faithful saints as we try to help each other out and remain strong. There are fantastic blogs out there, and wonderful support groups like NorthStar. I highly applaud the efforts of my fellow soldiers on this battlefield.

That said, I have one major piece of advice to the online LDS SSA community: cheer up! A lot of the discussion is so forlorn, over-dramatic, etc. Now, I've done some of that here on this blog, for sure. And it does certainly have its place. The fact is, we are a community of generally dramatic personalities trying to figure out confusing and seemingly counter-intuitive emotions. There will be some tears and confusion. We also tend to be a bunch who are more prone to depression than the general population. But that last point may be all the reason more why I think we all need to resolve to be a little more upbeat in what we post and say.

About a month ago I put up a post exploring the first chapter of James verse by verse. Among the insights I found in that chapter, I found James' positive approach to trials refreshing and encouraging. Another general epistle from the New Testament reaffirms the same message. In 1 Peter 1:6-7 we read:

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

We hear the word "trial" about ten times in Church each week. Trials carry this connotation of exceeding depression. How many times have you heard someone say, "I've been facing some really hard trials lately." I'm not trying to belittle or demean those experiences. Human suffering--physical, emotional, spiritual--is very real. But the modern depressed approach to trials is a stark contrast with that of the ancient saints like James and Peter. They seemed to look at trials like the best thing in the world! Peter is practically ecstatic to tell us that his trials are SO MUCH COOLER than gold while likening them unto gold in the process. He doesn't deny the "heaviness" our diverse temptations can bring with them, but tells us to "greatly rejoice" anyway.

For this reason I've tried to be careful on my blog not to ever say "I struggle with same-sex attraction." Because, frankly, it hasn't beat me. My testimony is thriving, not struggling! Now, there are those of you out there who can very legitimately say that you struggle with this. When you fall into temptation and get trapped in addictive patterns, at that point struggle becomes a very accurate word. But you know what, if you are reading this right now, you probably want to turn things around. And if that is truly your desire and you are willing to do what it takes to turn things around, I believe you'll get out of it! And once you're out of it, I invite you to join me with those who thrive rather than struggle.(Ha! I paused after writing this paragraph to watch tonight's CES devotional with Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the 70, and he totally affirmed everything I just said! They haven't put the text online yet, but he told the story of a young man who made mistakes with his girlfriend, but repented and learned that "the Spirit replaces the anguish of sin with optimism.")

What is a trial anyway? It seems to me that a trial is any experience that can either build or destroy our faith. God lets us have them for the purpose that they will build our faith, but we can allow them to destroy it if we approach it the wrong way. There are lots of trials that we obviously classify as trials: death of a loved one, loss of a job, natural disasters, etc. But there are other trials perhaps less obvious. For example, what about the trial of wealth? Some people can use wealth to bless the world and in the process learn what it is to be Christlike, and thus build their faith. Others become so obsessed with the world, still trying to get their camels through the eye of the needle, as Christ put it. Yet, how many of you would ever say, "Oh, that unfortunate guy struggles with a real wealth problem." That's just silly! So what does this teach us? That we don't always have to assign a negative connotation to our trials! I experience same gender attraction, but I don't struggle with it, or suffer from it. It simply is. I don't act on it, and yet I'm not "denying who I am" either. To act against the privilege I have of knowing I'm a child of God--that would truly be denying who I am.

So, in a spirit of being positive and uplifting, I finish this post with a list of 10 great things about being a "gay Mormon." Some of these are serious, some are rather tongue-in-cheek for your entertainment pleasure. Enjoy. And I hope this goes without saying, but don't take this post too seriously. Take it with rejoicing. ;)

1. I'm a great dresser (most days).

2. I've been taught amazing empathy and sympathy for others like me, and those who have other unique trials I may not understand.

3. I've gotten to meet some AMAZING people who have lifted me up and made me better in this online community.

4. I'm able to have really fun dates with girls, without too much of the awkwardness I've seen sabotage guys who have the burden of attraction for the girls they're asking out on their mind.

5. I can give my homies legit advice before a date on how they look (unfortunately, the vast majority don't know about this resource).

6. I have this anonymous blog. Which kinda makes me feel like Batman. :)

7. I get to silently chuckle inside when my oblivious roommates say silly homophobic things.

8. I have better taste in cologne than you do. Really.

9. I am continually humbled and made to rely on the Lord, which has greatly improved my relationship with Him.

10. I never have to deny who I am.

So, that's my optimistic post for the day. :) I'm sure you'll still see me put up some of those confused and somber ones, but I hope I never forget to occasionally add something more light-hearted in.


  1. "SO MUCH COOLER" made me smile. Great post :)

  2. thanks for these thoughts. I like you outlook on trials.

  3. Thanks for your positive outlook on things, I enjoy reading your postings. You are doing a great job at keeping up with updating your blog.


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