Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Backlash


Well, the Prop. 8 vote is in and Gay people have reacted very badly - at least some of them. My fear is that this will cause a backlash against homosexuals in general, which I really don't want to see. Time will tell.

I did find a really interesting piece on another web site by Elder Neal A. Maxwell - probably one of the greatest speakers and writers the Church has ever seen. His words, given some 30 years ago, apply completely to the situation we now face. This is so prophetic:


“Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters — in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kgs 18:21).
“President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had ‘never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.’ (CR, Apr 1941) This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ…
“Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran observed, ‘A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it’ (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people’s opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened…
“Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even these, however, must leave a record so that the choices before the people are clear and let others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, that others will step forward, having been rallied to righteousness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds–a majority which was, till then, unconscious of itself.
“Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves ’summer is nigh’ (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today”, BYU Devotional, 10 Oct 1978

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer

The Summer Solstice has just passed, marking the first day of summer. I think its interesting how important the Soltices are in human history. Nearly every civilization has built calendars, festivals, temples or monuments that mark Solstice events. (A solstice marks either the longest or shortest day of the year, typically June 20 or 21st and Dec. 21st or 22nd, respecively). Entire religions were developed around Soltices. Wars were planned and fought to match their timing. Some of the greatest engineering feats in history were accomplished to mark Soltice events (Stone Henge, Pyramids, etc.). The importance of knowing where you were in time was worth more than just about anything else back then.

Today, in our computerized, mechanized world we hardly even notice events like a Solstice. If we need more light, we just flick on a desk lamp and keep reading. We have atomic clocks that are accurate to a billionth of a second per year that keep our computers and even wrist watches on time with amazing accuracy. We can jet across time zones with blistering speed and literally land in a foreign country the day before we took off originally! Solstices are just curioisities to us now. Nothing to write home about, really. Certainly nothing worth planning your next Pyramid building project around!

Yet these events do affect us more than we might realize. The entire rythm of the earth is marked by the solstices. The delicate tilt of the earth's axis causes them, and because of that we have the seasons. Nature is tuned to that rythm. The weather we experience, the winds, the oceans - all of nature pulses to it. Our bodies are also tuned to that beat. And through it, all living things are interconnected - from humans down to microbes, we all feel the rythm. We all respond to it.

So this summer, as you watch a sunset, discover a bird building a nest, hear children spashing in a pool, or swat away a pesky mosquito; remember the Solstice, and what it represents. A loving God set this blue globe spinning, filled it with life, and gave it to all of us to share. He composed the music we all dance to. He set the beat. Enjoy it in its fullness and glory during this Season of the Sun!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On the Road Again...

I've spent the past two weeks in Seattle on business, and I have to admit that I do like this town. And no, its not because its one of the Gayer cities in America! There's a lot to see and do here, and the food is great. If you ever come here, eat at Ray's Boathouse. Outstanding!

I stay at the same hotel every trip, and its right next to the Shopping District and Pike Street. I'm embarrased to say that they now know me by name at Nordstroms! Yikes!! My obsessive/compulsive shopping disorder kicks in every time I get near the place. Actually, I kept things restrained this time, which is proof that miracles do indeed occur.

I also got a chance to do something fun for a change (its usually all work), and went to the Olympic peninsula during the Rhododendron Festival, and I've never seen such an amazing show of flowers in my life. Truly stunning! We also took the ferry and drove around in the mountains. The drive was relaxing and beautiful, plus it was a sunny 90 degrees, which is rare here. Of course for a Southerner like me, 90 is just getting warm! :)




Sunday, May 4, 2008

What is fair?

I've seen lots of talk lately that the Church's stance on SSA is "unfair", and this is used many times to justify leaving the Church or engaging in homosexual activity.

The fact of the matter is that there are many other of God's children living here on earth in much more "difficult", "uncomfortable" or "unfair" circumstances than we are. Yes, sometimes its difficult being a homosexual, but many other circumstances people are called on to bear are more so. Starving to death in Africa is difficult, and watching your children starve and die even more so. Being tortured in forced-labor camps in North Korea is unfair and uncomfortable. Raising an autistic child is difficult. Living in the tin shanties of San Salvador, with no hope of education or a real job is difficult, uncomfortable and unfair. The list of miserable circumstances on planet earth is endless! Bottom line - life is NOT necessarily fair, comfortable, or easy! It was never designed to be so. This is, after all, a probationary state - not the Garden of Eden or some fantastic paradise getaway destination. We're not here on a cruise, we're here to be tried with fire. As much as we all want it, not all of us get to have our cake and eat it too. Some of us seem called upon to struggle more than others, and some of us are called upon to endure a living hell. How we approach whatever challenges we're given is the important thing - not particularly what they are. And what should our approach be?

Mosiah 3:19 speaks to this:

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Isn't it interesting that he says the Lord will 'inflict" things upon us?? This suggests premeditation. Planning. Purpose. A loving Father will see that we are tried and tested in ways to give us the individual experiences our immortal spirits need the most. Not a haphazard, random set of events - a planned, tailored set of trials. We have no control over what those trials will be - God alone decides that, and He asks us to trust him in this regard. Trust Him as a child would. He can see the end from the beginning, and we cannot.

So, are we truly willing to SUBMIT to God? Willing even to live with SSA and remain faithful as He has asked - no - commanded us to do? It is indeed a leap of faith! How each of us chooses to answer that question in our own lives will determine our Eternal destiny.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Temptation


Lately it seems to lurk around every corner for me. Every time I turn on the TV I see something (someone) exciting. Same with the internet. Same if I go to the gymn. To the mall. To the movies. In an airport. In a magazine. Geesh!!




Then I realize I'm focusing on the wrong thing. I'm LOOKING for it. Maybe I need a new hobby!?

Monday, April 14, 2008

New

Welcome to my blog! You may also want to visit my web site - http://www.lds-ssa.org/

One of my favorite inventions in the Harry Potter series of books is the Pensieve, which is a magical stone bowl Dumbledore uses to store his thoughts. It struck me how much like a Pensieve a blog is (minus the magic spells, of course) - hence the name.

Although I may post about nearly any subject, the primary focus of this blog will be Same-Sex Attraction and my thoughts about being Mormon, active, and single without living a Gay lifestyle. Its not an easy combination, but there are more of us out there than you might imagine.

I came out to my Bishop about 3 years ago after decades of hiding my sexual orientation and some pretty serious sins and habits. Fortunately for me, I had a really great Bishop at the time. Since that moment, I've slowly come to accept my homosexuality as a part of who I am and not be ashamed of that fact. Actually I think some of my best attributes have sprung from that side of me. At the same time, I've learned that a lot of Gay people allow their sexual identity to overshadow everything else in their life. So I made a conscious decision not to allow it to become the focus of mine. Rather, I view it as an interesting and challenging gift from a loving God who knows what I need to experience during this short stay on earth. That sounds easy enough, but make no mistake! Getting to where I am now was not an easy thing! There were many tears, heartaches, fears and temptations. But I think I've come a long way in a relatively short period of time (with more to go, of course). I feel good about my direction.

One of the true joys I've experienced on this journey was to find and meet my wonderful cyber family on the LDS-SSA.ORG web site. The discovery of "The Group" as I call it was most certainly one of those 'tender mercies' sent down from a loving God. I was in a very low place indeed, and I happened to stumble upon that site and - for the first time ever - pour out my soul to people who understood what I was going through without feeling fear, judgement, or reprisal. Words cannot express the healing that came from that and subsequent experiences with The Group. The outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming!

Just a year after finding The Group, tragedy struck the web site and we were violently hacked by a malicious cyber-gang from Germany. The site went off-line for an extended period, and things were not looking good for us. The founder, our beloved Sey, was in the process of changing careers, moving to a new city, etc. etc. and simply could not maintain the site and fight the attackers any more. So, in what I can only call a miracle, a way was opened up for me to take over the site. I found a hosting company that could offer the protection we needed, and a programmer to help us put the pieces back together. In a few weeks we had the site back up, running, secure, and almost completely restored. I knew at that point in time I had a mission from the Lord to fulfill - to maintain a safe place for those in the Church dealing with Same Sex Attraction where they could find love, support, healing, and advice. I've had the privelege to watch many wonderful people discover the site and find what I found there - hope and healing. Its a humbling thing to see, and such a blessing to be a part of!!

So, for the past few years I've stuck mainly to the lds-ssa.org web site, and did little to venture out into the cybershpere in general. Then I got an invitation from Ty Mansfield (author of "In Quiet Desperation") to hook up with a new web site he and a group of other Mormon homosexuals (MoHos) were creating. Called NorthStar, it had a lot of things lds-ssa.org had, but went far beyond in other aspects. In then end, we did not merge the two sites together, but maintain them separately with references to each other. I came to this decision because I strictly control the content and tone of lds-ssa.org, and Ty wanted a "looser" format on his site. I think having different offerings is good, and a stronger approach in the long run.

After Ty & Co. launched NorthStar, I've been fairly involved posting responses and comments on various blogs. But, I've hesitated creating my own blog for quite a bit, since my web site takes up so much of my time. Today, however, I felt differently and - shazzam!! Here it is! We'll see where all this leads...

Neal