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Gillebre

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Everything posted by Gillebre

  1. The life of a queer Latter-day Saint, in my opinion and experience, should be focused on a gradually increasing covenant relationship with Jesus Christ through one's endowment in the Temple. By making their covenant relationship with Him their treasure, their daily/weekly focus, and subsequently growing closer to Him and receiving more grace as they strive to be truly converted and reborn regularly their emotional needs and sexual feelings will be informed by a new perspective. What I want has changed as I've come closer to His presence. What I mean is that Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, has the power to change our nature such that our lives come to revolve around Him and the relationship we're growing into with Him. This has a powerful effect on us when all other needs, particularly emotional, are aligned with the Savior's will. He has the power to help queer Saints, like myself, live the covenant path if such a course, in His wisdom, means living a celibate life. He has power unto the fulfilling of all His commandments and promises, and if He does expect chastity to be honored as taught by His Apostles then He will be faithful to queer Saints who both hold fiercely to their Temple covenants as well as tune out voices that take their focus off of the Savior. It's a lot like what I'd imagine Peter experienced when walking on the water. He asked the Savior to bid him to do something the world through all ages would consider impossible and ridiculous. Celibacy as a queer Saint seems just as impossible and ludicrous to many, but I testify and witness that both miracles are accomplished, fulfilled, and maintained in the exact same way. Satan works overtime on queer Saints, I think, by enticing them to believe that celibacy is the worst hell. How can it be hell if it brings you nearer to the literal presence of the Lord? I mean exactly what I say. I accept and understand that celibacy and chastity as maligned may seem just as impossible and reckless as trying to walk on water. Agency must be preserved, honored, and cherished, but a lifestyle that goes against the law of chastity is not the only option for queer Saints (or even a desirable one, imo). We may have to agree to disagree.
  2. The Church could stop collecting tithes and offerings and then we would lose the blessings of acting and growing in faith by paying tithes and giving generous offerings. To me it's not about making sure the Church has enough to build Temples as much as it is about me being prepared and willing to consecrate 100% rather than 10%, and giving 10% plus a fast offering helps me remember that everything I have isn't mine, but the Lord's, and this helps inoculate me from some of the more common tactics of the adversary. The only reason I could conceive for the Church to *need* so much might be something like this: the government needs a bailout, Missouri has been wiped clean, the Church offers to buy Missouri for a few hundred billion, the government agrees because it needs the money and no one wants Missouri. What I'm completely confident in is that God has told me personally that President Nelson and those who serve with him are His anointed, and that contrary to all worldly assumptions I can trust them because I trust Him, and that even though I don't know them, I certainly do know Him and great has been His faithfulness to me.
  3. I think that this transition of your friend's faith will be a great learning experience for you and those in your sphere who know and love Jane. Boundaries between associates and friends are important, and your friend seems very caught up in many feelings and experiences right now, but as time rolls on she'll likely balance out and settle into her new beliefs. Loving Jane means finding a way to have compassion without casting final judgments and still finding meaningful ways to let your light shine, to serve and be there for her as circumstances allow. What I've learned when friends leave the faith is this: life is a journey with so many ups and downs, and the Lord is very good at rescuing His lost sheep. This is a learning experience for Jane who perhaps was never fully converted to the Lord through His Church and the covenants available to us. We're all meant to learn to tell between sweet and bitter, light and dark, and in His way He will continue to look after her and will surely continue to teach and utilize you as you continue to humble yourself, trust Him, and treasure up His word. Much longsuffering will be required on your part, I think, because you're still a source of peace as you reflect the Lord's light to you. While we do need to establish boundaries out of love and mutual respect, we don't need to become combative or yield to a spirit of contention ("how dare she!!! I am so angry and frustrated!") which will only diffuse the light that remains. As you encourage her to continue to become more Christlike, even outside the Church of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will whisper to her and lead her along. Heavenly Father knows what His children need, and perhaps she needs a season away, as the prodigal son did, to realize what was taken for granted. It may take years, but as you cultivate gentleness and stand firm in your faith, drinking deep from the scriptures and worshiping in the Temple as often as you can, I know the Spirit will not fail you as you seek to know what He would have you do. Make more time for the Lord every day so that the Holy Ghost can be with you more consistently. He will prompt you on what to pray for, what is truly expedient, and you'll grow closer to your Savior.
  4. I don't have an adequate answer to that question. All I know is this: we must not rebel in our hearts because of what we don't yet understand. That's what I'm concerned about - telling the Lord that something in His scriptures that I can't comprehend yet is unacceptable and I refuse to leave any room for further light and knowledge that doesn't say "it's an abomination of men, it had nothing to do with God or His laws." The moment we make up His mind for Him is the moment we become vulnerable to darkness. I'm not saying plural marriage *will* exist because I don't have the what, how, or why, but only that I believe it behooves us to trust Him more than we fear what we don't understand. If we can do that then we leave room for Him to still teach and stretch us beyond what we're comfortable with as His Spirit so often does throughout mortality. The moment we close our minds is the moment Satan starts wrapping us in flaxen cords to lead us on to destruction, and if the Lord Himself were to personally command it then I don't want to reject Him because of my weakness. I maintain that worldly attitudes, assumptions, and modern ideas are poisoning minds as a plot by Satan to get us to reject even the notion of plural marriage, and then *if* it were required for exaltation we've got a generation or more of men and women who're ready to refuse eternal life because of telestial misconceptions about eternal relationships.
  5. When I was studying Come Follow Me a few weeks ago when section 132 was the topic the Spirit impressed heavily upon me the extremely damaging impact that popular media and culture, including Hollywood, are having upon the expectations and willingness of the Saints to accept the Lord's commandments, and specifically the practice of plural marriage. The point, I feel, is to get to a place where we don't rebel against God should He decide to ask us to do something that runs contrary to our assumptions and expectations. We can debate all day and night but that is the only question we need to answer right now: will we trust Him and give heed to His wisdom more than our own fears and lack of perception. What if there was a way that plural marriage could be lived in a celestial way that solved every single problem people have with it? Would we be willing to trust Him enough not to draw a line in the sand that says "nothing anyone could say, even the Lord, could ever convince me this practice was anything but wrong." Don't use that absolute because none of us have a perfect knowledge of the Lord's mind and will. He can't give us peace concerning plural marriage while our faith and thinking are both tainted by worldly philosophies and assumptions. If plural marriage were practiced in the Celestial Kingdom then all the mortal drawbacks to relationships that we know of will not exist there: abuse, jealousy, manipulation, fear, envy, lust, pride, selfishness, greed, and so forth. If those things aren't tolerated in the presence of the Father and the Son then those who are in a position and state to have a plural marriage relationship won't be burdened by our telestial concerns. Eternal life and heavenly sociality will be so very different from the poor reflections that exist here as to leave us little to no room to truly conceive of how wonderful life with Him will be. Am I comfortable with the idea of having multiple wives? Not really, except that I trust Jesus Christ more than anything, and if He sees fit to ask me to act then I can trust Him both now and then. I don't have to be afraid of plural marriage because in that day He will be able to help me understand why He's asking it, and if I don't let that trust be enough for me now then I'll be in perpetual frustration as I continue viewing the Celestial through Telestial perspectives, fears, and assumptions.
  6. As far as coming to a place of understanding about how your sexuality fits into those covenants all I can suggest is that this is something that can only be received by revelation. I've discovered this to be one of the governing principles of our right to receive revelation for our lives: the Gospel gives us the broad strokes, the highest principles we strive towards, and when specifics are required beyond the general then that must come by revelation. We must grow in our ability to hear Him and be close to Him on a more regular basis so that we can hear the answers we seek (and we must get better at forming inspired questions).
  7. To overcome the natural man is to experience a spiritual rebirth wherein we develop a determination to set the covenants we've made with the Lord as our highest guiding priority on a daily basis. It means losing the desire to sin such that we're more motivated by a hunger for light, for greater personal righteousness, more than we value temporal concerns or distractions. A person who has been spiritually reborn strives to set their heart on treasures in Heaven and not treasures on earth. They turn to prayer easily rather than grudgingly, and in prayer they regularly and proactively ask Heavenly Father to help them clear out any debris that would prevent them from having the Holy Ghost as their literal constant companion. In three words: let God prevail.
  8. The pain you describe due to the law of chastity as taught today at least partly comes from persons holding on too tightly to what they want, or what society says they should want, rather than giving ear to Prophets and Apostles who testify that only by giving up what we want can we be given something far better that will make us happier (becoming one with the Lord). Pain is also certainly caused by very imperfect people not living up to their covenants to mourn with others and to help bear burdens, and the culture that grows out of their hostility and unwillingness to be Christlike. The pain they feel is meant to be healed by their receiving and living Gospel covenants. If they won't do that then they tie the Lord's hands (I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise). What we set our hearts on has a big impact on where we find fulfillment, peace, and motivation. It doesn't help that society has it's own ideas of what we should be setting our hearts on, and the pressure to conform to worldly standards is immense. If I set my heart and hopes on romantic relationships with other men then I will be perpetually frustrated and let down because of the innate conflict with Gospel standards of marriage and eternal family. I can choose one or the other, but not both, because no man can serve two masters. The path to eternal happiness and peace in this life is found by choosing the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Strength to grow in righteousness and motivation to choose obedience over distractions and temptations comes through daily active reliance on our covenants with the Savior. Intentionally placing our covenants first in the list of life's daily priorities is the heart and soul of the covenant path. I have spent many years with my heart set on other things besides the Savior's Gospel and Church: pornography, video games, junk food, fantasies about relationships I could have, and none of those things left me feeling spiritually fulfilled and content. My satisfaction is in knowing, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that my days are accepted by Him because I've tried to put off what I want. It's about making more room for His Spirit to be present more often in my mind and heart through striving submission to His will. To choose to walk the covenant path grows more difficult because of how many voices loudly insist that we shouldn't have to, or that the path must be made to accommodate the pain of those who, like myself once upon a time, wanted their own heart's desire more than the Lord's revealed heartfelt desire. We can disbelieve the living Prophet and Apostles if we want, but this is the choice placed before us: our will be done, or His will be done as made known to us today. Happiness and spiritual stability comes by striving to trade our mind and will in exchange for His mind and will. It's like me trying to describe the taste of salt: experience with the Lord in this way is impossible to comprehend unless you've tasted it yourself. Those who have tasted know exactly what I mean, and those who haven't probably think I'm deluded for asking others to trust my word: that the covenant path really is possible for those who are LGBT once the Holy Ghost becomes your constant companion, and I mean that literally.
  9. This helps me really appreciate the Temple work we can each do for our deceased ancestors so that they can partake of the same opportunities as living members of the Church today. Without Temple ordinances everything would seem to fall apart.
  10. Fair enough. My point is that we'll all be challenged in some way by what we didn't expect. As a brief tangent: I'm actually more convinced about the return of plural marriage in Zion because we know that at least some resurrected men will be living it on account of being sealed to multiple women. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other individuals from our dispensation. President Nelson. Therefore because they'll be living in Zion the policy will of necessity be adjusted lest we excommunicate resurrected beings. Lol. That doesn't speak to what we may or may not be called upon to do, but I think an argument can be made that plural marriage is part of celestial law and we know that Zion must be built up according to those principles. Therefore I think it wise to consider our willingness to obey every command of the Lord regardless of cultural baggage and how distorted we view it due to hypersexualization in our society today. If we aren't willing to do anything He asks then it follows that we'll be moved out of our place at some point. For some it was the vaccine. Others masks in the Temple. We'd be wise to prepare our hearts to receive all His laws no matter what we may expect. Tangent over. Hah.
  11. I've thought about this as well. We've been promised by President Nelson that the Restoration continues and with that I've discerned this truth: we each need to emphasize our trust in the Savior, and renew our testimony of the divine calling of His servants who govern the Church on the earth. Hypothetical 1: What if plural marriage is restored during the establishment of Zion? How many people would turn to unbelief because they refuse to prepare their hearts to trust the Savior and hearken to His servants? Hypothetical 2: What if the Prophet, seeking further light and knowledge on behalf of the children of God on the earth, shares revelation concerning those who are LGBT? Are we prepared to set aside our own wisdom if and when the Prophet does something contrary to our worldview and assumptions? This is what I focus on when I ponder that question. If I place my trust in Him before anything else then I won't be moved out of my place no matter how surprised I may be. I don't consider my choice to marry my fiancée to be a settling or a downgrade from what I could have. My own belief and understanding about my attractions are that they're a distortion of real unmet childhood needs that were twisted by exposure to sexuality and pornography at a very young age. I trust Him to reveal whatever He sees fit, and I hope that will see me through whatever is to come that I can't fathom.
  12. I think if you're being led by the Spirit to keep your baptismal covenants then you should definitely continue to heed His voice in how you minister to your brothers and sisters. There is no more holy course than to watch over the wandering and lost. I've also been part of North Star for a long time and believe in what it's trying to accomplish. I very much appreciate your drive and desire to lift as many souls as possible. I too share that motivating feeling, and it's been difficult because the philosophies of men have become so ingrained and widely accepted. Satan has done a careful job of adapting one of his most readily accepted half-truths ever: I shouldn't seek any change because that would deny how the Lord made me to be. Other variations on this idea exist, but getting people to the point of understanding that there aren't multiple covenant paths for different experiences of life has been difficult. As a fellow Saint striving to receive all of the blessings available to us I appreciate your steadfastness over many years. Part of my personal mission is to help others who are attracted like me to understand that the covenant path is exactly what we need, and that there isn't any other name or path given whereby we can be sustained and raised up by God throughout our mortal journey that leads to eternal life. Our experiences take us to different places, and while I haven't ended up outside the Church, I can say that I long wished that I could have separated myself. I once wished with all my heart that I could find fulfillment and peace in living how I felt I should in tandem with my feelings. At 15 years old the Holy Ghost made me to know that the Lord really lived and that He had a plan for me. I've tested Him many times only to find out that there really is no happiness or stability for me personally anywhere outside of His Restored Gospel. He knows that I know, and I cannot deny it. That sacred knowledge has torn me apart as I nevertheless tried to live a lukewarm life with one foot in Zion and another in Babylon. Just this year the Lord has brought all the pieces of the puzzle together. I'm engaged to be married to a woman of God who has known my struggle from the beginning of our relationship years ago, but has chosen to partner with me for eternity anyway. We have both received a witness that nothing is too hard for the Lord, and that as we put Him first and communicate openly with charity and meekness then He will sanctify us. I've spent time every week since August in the Temple seeking further light to confirm that we were on the right path and that He would help redirect me if we should go astray, and He has blessed our engagement. This is what we've felt is right for us. I'm grateful to have you on the Lord's side. We need your experience, compassion, and your vision of His love for others. While I can't say I completely agree with your assessment of the Church's efforts, I know that as you let Him guide you to those in need you will continue to be a ministering angel in His service to many people. Thank you for your example!
  13. My formative experiences have been different from yours in many ways, and yet similar in others. If sustained devotion to the Savior through our covenants isn't the remedy then I can't imagine there will ever be any remedy at all. What is lacking or missing from the covenants of the Restored Church that would give us the ability to access grace sufficient for our unwanted weaknesses? I believe that we have exactly what we need already revealed to us, but we can't buy into the deception that it's not possible (for then it truly becomes impossible as we have no faith). I live as an example and witness that devotion and focus on the Savior can allow us to walk on the water, as it were, and give us the means to do what many believe is impossible: reconcile feelings of same-sex attraction with a life of valiance in the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. By intimate experience with the Savior's Atonement I can testify that there are blessings and endowments, held in reserve and tied to laws in Heaven, that can strengthen us to bear these especially frustrating and confusing burdens. There's no answer other than sustained agency used one day, one hour, or even one minute at a time to put Him first in our mind and heart. I've read several of your posts since you joined us here and wondered if I should address you. I'm in my thirties and have spent many years wrestling with similar questions, pains, and challenges as you've described. I've been through what I once considered a most dreadful spiritual journey of constant backsliding incident to a regular addiction to pornography for over twenty years. Now I can only thank Him for showing me the way out of that darkness, and this so I can testify to others that they can enjoy the same peace that only comes from being one with Him. I want you to know that I truly mourn and empathize with you. I don't know you personally, but as your brother I hope against hope that you can give place for my witness. The placebo that you call devotion really is our part of the answer, and more specifically it's found in the Sacrament prayer. Specifically that as we strive to "always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given [us]; [then we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us]." I promise you with tender feelings for the long time you've struggled and suffered, for I too have spent many years in the darkness of frustration and despair, that this small and simple prayer contains the seeds of the answer you seek: the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Another part of the answer is found in redefining what our expectations should be. I haven't suddenly had my attractions to men vanish, but the Lord added something to me that I didn't have before: an attraction to His light that has greater allure and yields more tranquility than anything else in my life. Of course I use attraction in that sense with an eye towards the broader definition of pull or appeal. Having drawn closer to Jesus Christ on a daily and sometimes hourly basis I'm more attracted to His light than I am to other men. He has become the center of my universe and as long as I strive to keep it that way, and it is exceedingly difficult (but not impossible), then I know I can rely on His grace through ongoing and effective prayer to help motivate and sustain my progress. The pull of His light has an effect that I would liken to gravity: the closer you get to Him the more influence He has over you, and that influence enables you to more consistently choose not to entertain ideas that would take one away from Him. Although the attraction never has gone away it has taken a back seat to the real connection I'm developing with the Savior which then supercedes everything else. I tend to ramble in my replies so I'll stop here except to bear my testimony, and again I ask that you leave room to trust me. I know with a perfect knowledge that the lasting peace we seek can only be received by living inside our covenants with the Savior (especially those made in the Temple). His grace flows more freely to us through our covenants, but only if that is our true focus. When our hearts are upon our covenants they become our treasure on earth and in heaven. My greatest obstacle was in coming to believe Christ's own testimony about His power to save. Perhaps Satan's most effective lie amongst the Saints is that we can't really be perfected by Christ or experience lasting change by virtue of His atoning blood. We're too far gone, we've screwed up and failed one too many times. The Church just doesn't offer a perfect solution which can enable me to deal with my unwanted feelings. Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. I plead with you to believe Him when He says He really can make you whole. I also plead with you to remember the pattern He gave us in Mosiah 24:14 where Alma and his people didn't have their afflictions suddenly lifted once they were "good enough" and instead had to live in their covenants with the Lord for both relief and strength to live valiantly. 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. I don't know you personally, but I love you dearly and hope you remain with us. We are here for you. Your Savior will not leave you comfortless. I went on longer than I intended, but I have shared the words and witness He gave me. With love, Your brother
  14. Thank you for your insights! I'm grateful for the opportunity to have this conversation here because it's helped me solidify what I've come to understand. I'm still working on getting my thoughts across more concisely and I particularly admire that you seem to do that well.
  15. I'm in my early 30s and am engaged to be married to a woman that I've been dating for over two years. I've never acted on my feelings with anyone, but I have not always kept the law of chastity. In fact I'd say I've struggled for over 15 years to keep it completely, but I do keep it now. I don't know what my married life will look like in 5, 10, or 15+ years, but I know that as long as I do everything in my power to let the Spirit awaken my soul daily then I will not depart from the path I'm now on. If I personally turn back and embrace the pleasing and distracted life of video games, Netflix, and overall selfishness then I'll stop treasuring the Book of Mormon because I've replaced it as my treasure. I'll find "better" things to do than study Come Follow Me because it will have lost appeal. I'll find reasons not to pray meaningfully when it's hard to do so sometimes, or to rationalize serving myself instead of others because my own wants now come first. I pray I don't go back to that, and will fight with all my strength to never trade what I've gained for what I gave up to get it. You pose an important question about why others don't find the same peace and results as I have. I personally know a dozen other Saints like me who have, and many more who have not. Several scriptures come to mind in 3 Nephi 27:33 and D&C 121:34-35 and D&C 25:10 and D&C 88:67 and Ether 12:27 that I believe may help illustrate the life-saving and sustaining principles we all need. I base my overall generalization on the idea that if God is willing to bless me and others I've met in this way of reconciliation then He is willing to offer the same to any others who seek it with a singular focus. It's that simple in my mind because God is constant and is perfectly faithful in the execution of His work and glory to give us *all* that He has. Just because many fail doesn't mean He isn't trying to bless us with peace and revelation to comfort us when we need it most. Would you agree that if God offers these blessings that He would do so on the same conditions to all His children that ask, seek, and knock after them? To say otherwise means He is selective in who He is willing to bless. Back to the question of why others aren't receiving the same blessings I've witnessed in my own life and in others. I have five answers from the five scriptures I shared, and these encompass everything about the manner they choose to live on a daily and weekly basis, and their determination to repent when they realize they've gone off into a strange road on their own. Your other point speaks to something that highlights a contradiction: the idea that the Spirit has deliberately led people away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to walk their own path. I'm not omniscient so I can't make any final judgments on the course others choose, but I can confidently say that either this is all true as Apostles and Prophets so testify or it's all false and a complete waste of time. If this is the truth of God then His Spirit isn't telling people to ignore the commandments and live their own favored truths. There are other spirits out there besides the Holy Spirit, and the forces of good and evil are at war over us. God either has one standard and one properly authorized Church with ordained servants or He has none at all on the earth. He's not a God of confusion, but of order, and it's against His nature to guide His Church in one direction while simultaneously telling these other children they can ignore parts or all that offends their expectations for life. It's one or the other and we're responsible for the side we embrace. As there are many who have once been on the covenant path to peace and have since left they did so because in some capacity they stopped doing the things I pointed out above. The result was that they removed His covenant yoke from their lives. We won't ever live perfectly in this life, but we can make progress along an upward trajectory of our own choosing independent of our circumstances. One of the chief functions of the gift of the Holy Ghost, if we have made room for Him in our lives, is to inspire us to reach for greater heights and possibilities. I felt an assurance that the Lord could actually make me holy according to the promises given in the Book of Mormon, and with that encouragement I was able to make small, steady changes and gradual adjustments to how I lived one day a time. Like Peter who started to walk on water, but then began to sink, I can't take my focus off of the Savior for long or I'll start to drown in darkness again and become like every other person who fell from their walk on this path to peace and life. Spiritual weeds often work their way into our lives and choke our faith and throw us into darkness, but we *can* choose to repent and let the Lord raise us up again and again. He is willing to do that in spite of our assumptions to the contrary. I've fallen from the path so many, many times. I've given up for months and years at a time. Small and seemingly insignificant acts of faith changed everything about my spiritual life, and they will for anyone who embraces the hunger for light. That driving need for light is what I have now that I didn't have before when I kept rising and falling over and over. Now that I've chosen to proactively engage with the Holy Ghost as a companion to whom I'm constantly looking at as a partner throughout my day the challenges become easier to bear successfully. I've stopped trying to live my life for myself and in exchange He has made what felt impossible a reality. In conclusion the true path is hard to find and stay on because the world is right in front of us and is more immediately enticing and entertaining than laboring in the Spirit to even want to repent after falling short again and again, but *it is* possible to those that want it badly enough and won't cease striving until they see His face (D&C 93:1).
  16. To me it's only a risk if the underlying premise, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, were not a reality. All of us will, by virtue of our being imperfect, fashion our own false gods and idols to whom we give more devotion and attention than the Lord Jesus Christ. The need for reconciliation to God extends to every aspect of human life where we don't put Him before all other considerations. We'll have to agree to disagree generally, but I do think that all we say and teach must be tailored to the needs and conditions of the person. I wouldn't lead out with all of this as-is unless they were serious about trying to pursue their own reconciliation, and even then it must be done according to the Holy Spirit's direction.
  17. I appreciate the significance of your statement about vastly different experiences from mine...even diametrically so. I won't begrudge anyone for making the best choice they could in their circumstances, but I know there is a better way forward. I can only offer my experience as living evidence that by putting the Lord first and gaining a determination to let God prevail then anyone can, in time, obtain similar outcomes subject to God's timing and what is expedient for them, and this precisely because God doesn't charge or vary from that which He has said. That is the reason why I'm willing to make a generalization of my experience because the principles are outgrowths of eternal truths, and they apply equally to all of His children. I invite my fellow brothers and sisters in the Church to chime in on this...do you feel I'm in error to make this generalization as I've explained it? D&C 130:20-21: 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. As all blessings He sends us are tied to laws in Heaven it is upon us to learn what laws govern the blessings we need so we can act accordingly. I hope that in sharing my experience someone might then gain a glimpse of what laws in Heaven govern the very blessings needed most by LGBT Saints, and I'm so grateful we have a Prophet teaching these things to us every General Conference. With great empathy for the pain and confusion that bind so many beloved children of God, like the chains that bound me for many years, I gently insist that they must obtain anew a fresh perspective about themselves, the Lord, and the purpose of His Church. I say this because until I saw things His way there was so much confusion and paranoia as I only had the wisdom and perspective of man to rely on. What I hope to accomplish by sharing my experience is in helping others see that it is not impossible to reconcile faith and sexuality, and I maintain that as long as the Lord is their first priority then anyone can eventually receive the same blessings as I have shared. This isn't an outcome limited to certain people, but on the application of universal truth out of the scriptures. Popular wisdom may insist that what helped one person find stability and peace isn't automatically applicable to someone else because their circumstances, trials, and history will vary widely, but that viewpoint is confronted by the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't believe The Plan of Salvation as taught today is in need of revision because it already accommodates LGBT Saints. They are lovingly offered every covenant that they are willing to receive which He knows they need to find peace and stability throughout this mortal life. Of course it be wonderful to know more about why the Lord allowed these things to be, but scripture gives us one answer already: "We will prove them herewith." It only seems unfair if you don't consider faithfully making and keeping Gospel covenants to be the solution we've always needed and previously ignored. The answer we need is to know Him and trust Him, and until we can do that I think we'll be endlessly frustrated at His Church.
  18. I can speak to this topic as a male member of the Church of Jesus Christ who has been deeply attracted to other males throughout my life. My experience will be unique and different, but what I've learned through hard experience does, I think, paint the best solution. My experience tells me that if the LGBT person has not internalized their covenants on a deeply personal, even intimate level, and learned for themselves how the Savior can save them individually, then I fear they will perpetually be blown around and torn between two opposing worldviews. I am secure where I stand because I've fought long and hard with the natural man to stabilize my orbit around the Son through the covenants I've made with Him. This is the fruit that every single LGBT Saint can have for themselves if they want it badly enough. They can actually have personal peace throughout their lives no matter where their journey takes them. Nothing of this mortal world can give us the lasting desire to be valiant and endure to the end except it be the undeniable witness and assurance that if He truly does command us to live a chaste life then He will make a way for us to be successful. That success can only be found in a covenant partnership with Him. I love that the Brethren are seeking further light about these challenging questions and trials of faith. Some say that the celibate lifestyle is unfair or unreasonable to expect, and an irrational impossibility, but I testify as He lives that what He asks us to do is in fact possible because He asked it, and I have seen the principles prove themselves. LGBT Saints have an especial and urgent need to draw near to the Savior so that the Holy Ghost can both teach and testify to them of His will for them, and this in truth and not according to their own will for what the world and their innate feelings drive them towards. As LGBT Saints place their desires on the altar of sacrifice and make the same type of offering as Abraham I can witness that He will answer their faith and trust with pure revelation and inspiration for their lives. He can quiet their fears and lay to rest their uncertainty about the future because they are willing to trust His goodness and in the power of His redemption. The answers they really need are these in no particular order: 1. Is this truly His Church and are these His authorized servants? 2. Does He expect them to both live and embrace the Law of Chastity? 3. Are they willing to live by His words as the Spirit confirms them even as those words contradict the world's popular wisdom? 4. Are they willing to yoke themselves to Him every day by living inside their covenants? It's all really about coming to know and trust Jesus Christ. If they will do this and strive to repent then the darkness of confusion will be dispersed by the light they've invited into their lives by making time for, and actively remembering Him everyday. Bottom line: LGBT Saints can know how the Lord wants them to live, and they will be blessed beyond measure for their diligence in seeking His will over their own. No earthly companionship, romance, or sexual fulfillment can hold a candle to the Savior of the world. All other things fall away when He becomes everything to them.
  19. You make an interesting point that I hadn't considered. I know that the Church points us towards Zion's Camp in relation to this parable as at least a partial fulfillment of what the Lord says is His will regarding the redemption of Zion. I'm not familiar with other parables as having ties to literal events, but I can't say that I think it impossible for parables to prefigure specific events.
  20. I thought that instruction was part of the pattern and parable so that the Saints would be justified in taking it back someday, assuming they couldn't get it back by appealing to the law of the land in their day, as in verse 56: "And go ye straightway into the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mind; I have bought it with money."
  21. These verses definitely clarify the Lord's intention that the Saints in the early days of the Church are to wait for a time, depending on their prepation as Zion people, before Zion itself will formally be redeemed. I wonder then if that invalidates verses 55-60 of section 101 as still being the pattern the Lord will use to eventually redeem Zion "after a little season." What do you think? There's no doubt about the delay, and even in the parable the Lord says it will all be fulfilled "when I will." Is it reasonable then to still expect the pattern of this parable to hold true in our day/a future day since it wasn't all fulfilled back then by Zion's camp?
  22. Rescinded in later revelation? Could you please point me to where you find that when you have a minute?
  23. So this doesn't come so far out of left field for you as to be laughable? It's not something I seriously considered before, but in light of this parable and Zion's eventual redemption I'm inclined to explore it more. You're someone I'd expect to tear it down if you thought the idea was a heaping pile of garbage. Any heaping garbage here that you can warn me about, my friend? I'm also considering any connection to D&C 85:7. "7 And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;" It would make sense that a resurrected and possibly exalted or glorified being would be holding a scepter of power and wear light as his covering while also uttering eternal words.
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