Thursday, December 3, 2015

Invictus Pilgrim Memoir: An Enemy to God

"I used to write occasionally in my journal about my struggle with homosexuality. Primarily, this was during my mission and during the first few years of my marriage. Long ago, however, I went through and “sanitized” my journal, ripping out pages that contained these entries and destroying them. I didn’t want to leave any record behind that would indicate that I was a closet homo. [1] 
"I was therefore surprised, when upon recently reviewing my journal from the seven-month period between returning home from my mission and my marriage, I discovered several forthright entries that had escaped the purge. Though I wrote in euphemisms, it is clear what I was struggling with and the anguish I felt as I was trying to decide which path to take: marriage or a path that would likely lead to life as a gay man. Even though these things were written years ago, I found them hauntingly relevant to what I'm going through today as I am finally accepting who I am and facing the consequences of the choice I made to get married. 
"At one point during this period, I wrote in my journal: 'I am still dealing with a problem which has plagued me for some time – accepting myself as I am and acknowledging that I am sinful.' I was in Mosiah 3:19 territory [2]. I was telling myself that I needed to accept the fact that I was gay; but instead of affirming my homosexuality, I believed that homosexuality (a) was of the “natural man,” (b) made me an enemy of God, and (c) could be “cured” or, more appropriately, forgiven and washed away by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  (The trick was to figure out how this was to be done.) In other words, I had to accept that I was gay before I had any hope of ceasing to be gay. 
"I continued writing: 'How proud I am! I have such a difficult time accepting that I may be (am) bad by nature. I wonder, “Why me?! Why I am this way? I know it’s wrong, but I’m that way by nature.” Why can’t I be like others who seem to have such an easy time with the commandments? It’s sometimes very easy for someone to say, “Repent!”; but it’s another thing entirely to deal with feelings, emotions and one’s very nature.'

"There’s a lot that could be said about the above passage. How dysfunctional, how warped was my thinking?! On the one hand, I thought that if I could just accept myself as by nature (i.e., inherently) bad because I was gay (which premise, you will notice, I accepted without question), then I could be changed. On the other hand, I nevertheless seemed to recognize that changing homosexuality was not a matter of repentance, but involved somehow being able to change one’s very nature."
To be continued ...


[1] Mormons are encouraged to keep journals, but primarily for the benefit of future generations who, it is hoped, will find their forebears' efforts to overcome challenges faith-promoting.

[2] A well-known and well-used verse from the Book of Mormon that reads as follows: "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 ..."

(Note: I'm working on writing a memoir about the year I came out. This is one of a ongoing series of posts based on the blog - entitled "Invictus Pilgrim" - that I kept during that year.)

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