Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gods in Embryo

 I've been reading a couple books by Sister M. Catherine Thomas, who spoke at the 2015 North Star conference. She shares some wonderful thoughts and insights about how we are all "Gods in embryo" and that we each possess various pieces of divinity. There is so much to eternity and in the spirit world around us that we cannot see, understand or comprehend. Last night, in her book, "Light in the Wilderness," I read some passages about how there are wonderful, amazing things going on around us in the Spirit World that our mortal minds cannot perceive. She quotes Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who spoke to a group of BYU students (1964):

"...this great fieldhouse in which we are assembled is full of revelation at this moment.  All the revelations of eternity are here, but you and I who have assembled in the devotional are probably not receiving them.  This fieldhouse is full of the visions of eternity, and yet we are not viewing visions at this moment, but we could...Now analogously, this great fieldhouse is full of great symphonies.  There are symphonies played here, and our ears are not hearing them.  There are sermons that are being preached, but we do not hear them.  Yet if we had the means and the ability, we could tune in and hear the symphonies and see the visions."

As I was reading this, and considering the fact that we all have the potential to become like God, something struck me that has resonated with me for many months now. Many aspects of my gayness/SSA may very well be a part of my eternal identity. I do understand that I will have the opportunity to marry a woman and have a family at some point.  I cannot currently fathom how that will come to pass, but for the time being, I can't discount other relationships or other forms of love. Sure, just like most people, I've had to work on conquering lust, pornography, codependency and other unhealthy habits associated with sexuality. But underneath it all, I believe, is a pure, God-like love for other men that I can and should cultivate (I'm good at talking about this on-line, but actually putting it into practice is another venture).

I remember always looking at my SSA as something to hide or in work on relationships with girls and being attracted to them. I remember telling myself what I should and shouldn't feel in regards to feelings towards men vs. women. I remember beating myself up when I didn't have the same feelings for girls as I did for boys. Trying to change my sexual orientation led me to depression, anxiety and further indulgence in bad habits.

In recent months and years, I've come to realize that I have this attribute for a reason; not to give in to worldly lusts and behaviors, but as something to explore and learn about, something to use to strengthen my testimony and something to use to bring others to Christ. I feel like I've been enabled to do this so far through keeping my covenants and remaining active in church and in the gospel (and I attribute this to the hand of God in my life).

I've had several experiences with other gay/SSA guys, whether it be in the temple, giving priesthood blessings, or doing other worthwhile activities, where there is a distinct feeling of love: a love for God and and a love for each other. I don't think this exact feeling of love would be there were it not for our experiences with SSA. I've had other experiences that have testified to me (amidst the loud, tumultuous noises that come from the world) that there IS something pure and holy about all this. There has to be something more than what the world teaches about these attractions (that I should abuse the powers of procreation and/or participate in the redefinition of marriage), and what many on the complete opposite end believe about SSA being a weakness or something I need to be healed from.

I've found so much healing not from "fighting" my attractions, but bridling them and getting my guy needs fulfilled in wholesome ways (a journey in and of itself!). I think it's amazing to be able to be close to a ga/uy friend and be able to talk about the gospel-centered insights we've received from our common experiences. We can even joke around a little bit and talk about people we find attractive, and it's not dangerous in the least! I can also imagine having these kinds of conversations with a loving Savior.

I share this because sometimes I think there is a lot of shame surrounding SSA, and any struggle people have with their sexuality, for that matter. SSA feelings might shift for some. Sexuality might be more fluid for some and hardwired for others (I'm no expert), but I just wanted to share some thoughts in hopes that this might help someone to come to better terms with themselves, as a son or daughter of God with eternal potential, who just so happens to be blessed with an extra dose of love for other guys or gals, respectively.