26 June 2009

Contradiction Confliction

Something has been on my mind lately and has been bothering me. I've tried to find answers, and I have come up empty. Maybe I need to do more research, maybe I'm not looking in the right places or the right material, maybe someone can point me in the right direction. God Loveth His Children...I have only read this pamphlet thingey in the last few months, though I know it's been around for a couple years. Perhaps someone out there can explain this to me, because all I see is the contradiction.

In God Loveth His Children, it says this:

ELDER WICKMAN: One question that might be asked by somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is, "Is this something I'm stuck with forever? What bearing does this have on eternal life? If I can somehow make it through this life, when I appear on the other side, what will I be like?"

Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.

The good news for somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that 'I'm not stuck with it forever.' It's just now. Admittedly, for each one of us, it's hard to look beyond the "now" sometimes. But nonetheless, if you see mortality as now, it's only during this season. 2) If I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments, if I can keep covenants that I have made, the blessings of exaltation and eternal life that Heavenly Father holds out to all of His children apply to me. Every blessing--including eternal marriage--is and will be mine in due course.

Wait...gratefully? Good news? A circumstance that only seems to apply right now in mortality? Interesting. Perhaps it's my sensitive nature asserting itself, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Elder Wickman? If you're telling me that this part of who I am won't exist when I get to the next life, I have issues with that. This circumstance of mine...who am I without it? Who will I be without it? Are you telling me that there's something about me that is only good enough for the dirt and dust of mortality and beyond that it's eternally irrelevant?

But in Alma 34:34 it says this:

"...for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world."

I realize that this verse in context is talking about sin and repentance. And Church leaders classify acting on same-gender attractions as sin. And those attractions, though I am trying not to think of them as sin, will probably still possess me when I go out of this life, whether I act on them or not.

Seems like a contradiction between Alma and Elder Wickman to me.


Abelard Enigma said...

My personal opinion is that they (the LDS church leaders) don't really know about the eternal aspects of homosexuality. Think about it, if this were truly a doctrinal issue as revealed by God - would it proclaimed in a mock interview or an obscure pamphlet that few members are even aware of?

I believe they say what they do because it makes sense to them - there is no reason for them to ask God because they think they already have the answer.

You have to consider who these publications are aimed at. Ostentatiously, they are for those members who struggle with same gender attraction; but, IMOHO, the real intended audience are the heterosexual family and friends of such individuals in an attempt to help them make sense of it all. It's a feel good statement without any substance or meaning.

But, like you, I believe my homosexual attractions are an essential part of me. If you were to, somehow, take it away from me - I would be left empty and full of holes. It gives me no comfort to tell me that it's a merely mortal condition, like some physical infirmity.

Ezra said...

I've always been bothered by that idea.

HappyOrganist said...

Amy this is great! I have yet to read all of it (i'm slow and like to comment before actually reading an entire post). But i was JUST going to ask somebody about this Very topic (i think). nice of you to bring it up. ;)

HappyOrganist said...

[oops - hit the 'post' button too soon] I was going to say - great minds think alike

HappyOrganist said...

I don't believe it's a contradiction.. But. I only have 1 braincell to my name at the moment.. I will muse and think on this - and if I come up with an eloquent (and coherent) way of expressing my point, I will definitely attempt it (that is more fun than dishes, after all).. and if not.. dishes (or childcare) it is!

alex dumas said...

It isn't a contradiction to me, because the part of me that is physically attracted to females is *physical.* I don't believe my spirit feels that way. I believe my spirit wants to follow the Father of all, who created me. And I believe Alma is talking about the spirit. In the next life, our bodies will be changed, from mortal (and all its mortal frailties and shortcomings) to immortal. But our spirits will be the same.

Yes, I believe that struggle, or attraction, or weakness, or vulnerability, or whatever you want to call it, is part of me. Just like blueberries being my favorite fruit or the cry of the meadowlark being my favorite sound. It's all part of what makes me, *me.* But the intent of our hearts, whether that is to follow the trends of the world, or to do our best to follow the commandments of God - that is my choice. And if I love being with girls and am physically attracted to the shape (and smell and touch and whatever else) of the female body, and if my intent in liking those things is to break His commandments, I hope that He would help me change it.

Oh and one more thing. I do believe that the prophets (AKA LDS church leaders) know a lot more than I do about the eternal aspects of homosexuality, and I know that if I don't listen to their counsel, I'm lost.

Kim Nordyke Mack said...

I'm with Alex on this one. Though I don't know that my attraction to women is purely physical, it is something I'm learning to manage. And that part is the spirit part. There's no contradiction, as I see it, between Elder W and Alma.

Just my thoughts ...

HappyOrganist said...

Alex, I love you.

Jenz said...

My attraction to women is not purely physical at all. It is spiritual... since I was a very small small child and had no idea about sex or sexual attraction at all. I am attracted to what women are inside -- not just their bodies, or smell or whatever else Alex said. It has very little to do with the physical.

Abelard Enigma is right on the money with everything that he said. The LDS leaders have to have an answer to everything...whether they really have a clue or not.

It would sadden me to believe that in the next life I will not know the love that I have today with my wife of 15 years.

I am sorry some of you struggle -- and feel you are weak and vulnerable. That makes me really sad. I am sad that you continue to believe that something about who you are is wrong.

alex dumas said...

I actually don't believe it's possible to separate the spirit and the body. Both of those aspects of me are what make me, and neither is really me without the other. So I guess when I say that I'm attracted to women in a physical sense, it's really more than that. And it is not wrong, to be who I am, or to feel the way I feel. I'm just trying to emphasize that there's a reason that God gave us commandments. I don't wish for a part of my nature to be erased and forgotten. Rather, I wish for the transformation (which is really an ongoing one) like that of the people of King Benjamin, who experienced "a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5). I want to love with God's permission.

HappyOrganist said...

Alex, if we want Amy to join our team, we're going to have to make it look more fun.
Let's throw a party.. [in the cultural hall . .]


HappyOrganist said...

she's in my heart.


Okay.. I will TRY to make this eloquent, coherent, and most importantly: brief.

Amy, I wanted to ask this of Scott (so Scott, consider yourself asked the same question): What feeling do you get when you wonder about if this is your eternal nature (who you really are, were, and will forever be in the forevers to come hereafter) [I want this to be poetic]
Seriously. When you have pondered this, mulled it over, studied it out (I know you have) and maybe prayed about it, what have your thoughts, feelings, impressions (glimpses of what HF thinks) been?

It is really hard for any of us (I think. maybe i'm the only one who has a hard time with this) to know what someone else's perspective is on anything when we are limited by seeing through the eyes of our own experience and understanding. i hope that made sense.

So when I ask that question, I sincerely want to know what your experience has been. I don't expect my mind to be changed - but I do expect (figure) that our experiences have been different - and so I am sincerely interested to hear what your experience is like.

For me.. I will have to use my issue of OCD (obsessing)... and in this case I will also use some thoughts and experiences of my relationship with Emalee (which for our purposes here - we are not talking about sexual attraction). Actually any attraction of that nature showed up AFTER I quit seeing her (and I firmly believe that was a result of my feeling dumped, even though I hadn't been).. long story. But anyway - the point is I liked her a WHOLE lot. (still do). I felt like we were friends in the pre-mortal realms above.
As I spent a great deal of time thinking and dwelling on this subject in general, and thought about what our relationship was (or is) eternally, I had a couple epiphanies (or impressions, i guess).
One: first off - I spent a LOT of time thinking about her and heaven and us and us together in heaven (in the future). It was all fine and good, peachy, lovely, wonderful wholesome lovely stuff.
but... I only pictured she and I. for some reason in that vision of what heaven will be, my family was no where around.


HappyOrganist said...

skipping the rest - getting to the point: At some times when I have thought about the subject in general, I have discovered and very distinctly remembered, seen, and been taught that there was *something askew in the way I was currently perceiving our relationship. She was (and will be) near and dear to me.. But I don't think she is, was, or would ever want to be my whole world. [then or in eons to come.. even as sweet and friendly as she is]

Other times, when I have mulled over my Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies/behaviors in general, I have been able (i feel) to glimpse what it would (will) be like once I clear this life and have it healed (or removed/taken away). I don't think this is who I am in the eternal sense. I'm sure I didn't cling to things (people, hobbies, subjects, interests) then the way I do during this life. I imagine my energy flowing healthily and readily from one subject or interest to the next. I believe I knew and understood things there that I have forgotten (cognitively) while here on Earth - but my heart (and I also feel, every fiber of my spirit and body) remember things that I can't wrap my mind around cognitively.
This has been my experience - nearly being able to remember how I was, who I was, what I felt before I came to this Earth.. [I might just be a nut. ] But that's where I'm coming from. And so on occasion, for me, as I try to cope with my little issues and weaknesses, I kind of catch glimpses of "this is not who I was, really am inside, [there's something - parts of me that are missing - little pieces of my experience that I have forgotten and that would change my perspective and the way I would look at things that I'm going through at this moment.]

So that's what my thoughts are.. And I have no idea (well i have a kind of TINY glimpse into what this might be like) what it is like to struggle with SSA. Obviously it's different from struggling with anxiety disorders. And both of those are different from struggling with depression or pornography or cancer or poverty or whatever we have to deal with. Our many weaknesses and trials are definitely different (duh). But I also think in some ways they boil down to the same thing. In some ways they are Exactly the same. And that's the way I see it. Those are the eyes through which I'm looking at the world and looking at you. I look at you folks (and even your struggles vary from person to person). But I just look and see 'yeah they're different. but they're all the same.' [all the same in ways like - they boil down to teaching us to have faith in the Lord.. or they teach us how to better love each other.. things like that].

To re-extend my question. When you have thought about your nature of being attracted (physically, mentally, spiritually, kinetically (that sounds good)) to people of the same gender, what are you thoughts, feelings, etc. on that topic as far as "this is part of my eternal nature and who I really was, am, and will be forever" ..

No wrong answers (unless you disagree with me).

Thanks Amy! [Scott, I did want to ask you this question. If you're interested, please answer here or on your blog or on Sarah's blog] thanks so much! You guys are fun to talk to.

HappyOrganist said...

I don't think I made my point. The point is - I think sometimes I think that my obsessing (or the things I begin obsessing about) are who I really am (or how I really am). But every once in a while I see 'no, that's not entirely true - if true at all'

So I kind of know (think, believe, understand) that this part of my nature (tendancies and habits I have) are temporary and not part of my eternal nature.

And when we're all in heaven eating cheescake, you can tell me (with smiles and laughs) "you were right!"
[and if I'm wrong.. well.. I can't bear to think of it]

Sarah said...

I don't quite fit in here, since I am straight and don't understand how all of you really feel about all of this, but as I have prayed to understand it and how it affects my own eternal situation (hoping that in the next life Scott will be attracted to me), my impression has been that feelings in the next life might be on a case-by-case basis.

I guess it all depends on if we adhere to the current church "doctrine" on the topic, that in order to be exhaulted, we must enter into the new and everlasting covenant with someone of the opposite sex. If that is the case, then I believe that those who have lived worthy of that will have their feelings changed and be given someone to love in the next life.

However, my heart tells me that this church evolves and revelation continues, and that someday we could have new light shed on this situation. I guess I feel this way because I know some incredible gay couples with such a bond of love and incredible family values, and I cannot believe that God will throw them and their love for each other aside just because it is between 2 men or 2 women.

I think Young Stranger puts my feelings best with his post "Interview with Christ".

In the meantime, I hope and pray that Scott's feelings will change in the next life, for the sake of him and our eternal marriage.

But for others, I hope it doesn't.

Does that make any sense?

HappyOrganist said...

'exalted' first of all ;-)

And second, thank you for you comment. [Amy, may I moderate your blog for you?]

That's interesting.."case by case" .. I can work that into my beliefs (even though I disagree with some of your philosophy).
Thanks for answering. [And you do fit in! You don't have to understand what it's like in order to spout things off. just look at me!]

drakames said...

Wow, that's a lot of comments...

I appreciate the feedback! Y'all have given me more to consider, and I will truly consider it while I'm still working with this grain of sand. Perhaps it will be a pearl of understanding one day.

I'll keep you updated on that process, for sure.