Monday, October 8, 2007

Paradoxical Ponderings

I love philosophy. I love to wonder about things- to seek light and truth. I guess this whole blogging thing is just a way for me to express the thoughts and events that I don't usually share with my friends and family because, well, they're all either not gay or not Mormon. It's so frustrating to not have anyone who really understands you- at least anyone who is not deity. Lately I've been pondering and praying about how homosexuality makes any sense at all. Why would God allow this to happen to me? I know that's a pretty trite question which has an equally trite answer: to try me, to humble me, to help me grow. Of course I agree with these answers, but somehow, there still seems to be something that doesn't fit. I guess the question that follows is whether or not God gave me this burden. At the very least, he allows it to persist.

According to church doctrine, the feelings of attraction that I have are not sinful because I cannot control them, but it is bad to act on them in any way. Homosexuality is kind of unique in that way- a sin which only becomes a sin in action, but not in thought. Compare this to lust (which goes beyond feelings of attraction). One begins to sin with thoughts which lead to sinful actions. And what about anger? Angry thoughts can be just as sinful as the words and actions often born of those same thoughts. Stealing has its seeds in covetous thoughts, which are obviously sinful.

"A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny or fate of circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires." -James Allan

So all these sins have roots in sinful thoughts. But homosexuality is different. There is nothing wrong with me feeling attracted (not lusting) toward another guy. These thoughts are not sinful. However, as soon as I act on them in any way- kissing for example, which is a perfectly acceptable effect of heterosexual attraction, then I have sinned, according to LDS doctrine. Why is that? Why would Heavenly Father allow me to have non-sinful thoughts and feelings that promote sinful behavior? Some would say, "Well, we're all tempted; there's no sin in temptation. I can be tempted to steal, but as long as I repress the thought and make room for good thoughts, then the initial thought of stealing is not a sin." But homosexual attractions aren't passing thoughts that go away if you hum your favorite hymn. I don't think anyone can say that they have the temptation to steal, or commit murder, or have sex at every minute of every day. But I AM attracted to guys all the time- it is not the same. "Oh yes it is- it's just a temptation that you have to resist." No- there is a difference between temptation and attraction. I can resist, avoid, and even eliminate temptation ("It is our own desires which determine the sizing and the attractiveness of various temptations." -Neal A. Maxwell), but I cannot eliminate an attraction. If you're heterosexual, try it. Just stop being attracted to the opposite sex. Unless you're some freak of nature, you can't.

Let me add one more twist to my question. There are only worthy and unworthy thoughts and feelings- no in-between thoughts or feelings. Either a thought or feeling impedes my personal worthiness, or it is acceptable and does not impede my worthiness. Certainly some worthy thoughts and feelings are better than others, (it is more uplifting to think about God's love than which brand of cereal to purchase) yet they all fall into the same category of worthy thoughts. Think of it this way: having pondered about cereal brands one minute will not impede me from giving a priesthood blessing the next. Now, as I already mentioned, homosexual attraction (which could be a thought or a feeling or both), as defined by general authorities, is not something that causes personal unworthiness- as long as I don't go lusting which is just as unworthy to do for a heterosexual. So we can say that homosexual attractions are worthy feelings, insofar as they do not make me unworthy. Here's the question again: Why would God give me worthy gay feelings (or at least gay feelings that are not unworthy) that I cannot follow worthily?

Now in my head I am thinking, "Draco, you're just mingling the philosophies of men with scripture and twisting words, and you know who else does that!" I admit that last paragraph is kind of a stretch- but remember, these are just musings and ponderings- not firm beliefs. I see no wrong in searching for answers to questions that I think are very pertinent to my salvation. God gave me reason, so I would be foolish not to use it. And of course the only way to confirm human reasoning is through divine confirmation (prayer), to which principle I hold fast. I'm sitting on the fence right now, and I don't think I can jump one way or the other until I'm sure that I'm leaping into safe pastures. "Well you won't receive any witness until after the trial of your faith!" And yet to which side of the fence should I invest my faith? Should I have faith in church doctrine and attempt to abandon homosexuality, or should I have faith that my feelings of attraction are acceptable and try kissing boys? I am so confused.


Brady said...

Welcome to the blogworld! Glad to see you decided to jump on the bandwagon! =) I hope you find answers and advice through your interactions with people here. It can be a scary thing to come out, even when you've done it before!

Gimple said...

My personal belief is that I was given SSA to help some people in the future. During this time in life, I am supposed to learn something that will greatly affect many or maybe just one person.

God loves you and the people or person that you will help so much that he gives you this trial that will help you learn and grow so full potential can possibly be met and so that you will be able to help them. It may seem hard right now, but it is all worth it in the end.

I have noticed that my testimony has grown immensely as I have dealt with my feels and my actions. I don't think that I would have ever gotten the testimony that I have now, if I did not go through everything I have. This will be beneficial to me, my family, and others later in my life. I firmly believe that.

Do you think that this is a plausible answer?

draco said...

Yeah- I've definitely thought of that before. SSA certainly has made me into a more empathetic, compassionate and understanding person (though I still have a long way to go!) But it's all SO confusing- I mean, a lot of the time I like this trial- I like who I am and the way I feel. It's so hard to accept how something that feels so right and good and natural could be bad.