13 June 2012

Day 8: Sacrifice

Sacrifice: 1: the offering of something precious to a deity or the thing offered; 2: loss or deprivation

It seems that if you are gay and LDS, you have to make a lot of choices.  Being gay is not a choice, but how you proceed after coming out to yourself is a path that is filled with choices.

No matter how you look at it, sacrifice will be involved.  At this point in history and with the Church, you can't be in a happily committed same-sex relationship and enjoy full membership status with the LDS Church.  Therefore, if you want both, you have to weigh your options and give up something.

Some people opt for church membership.  If you've never been a member of the LDS Church, this can seem rather ludicrous, even downright insane.  This is because if you've never been inside, you don't know how much your church life is intertwined with every other part of your life.  So to turn that upside down and walk away from it seems like the more dangerous choice, and definitely the scarier choice.  To take that chance is just not worth it, especially when you're talking about eternal consequences.

Some people opt out of church membership.  You take the chance that your family will say they never want to see you again.  You take the chance that everything you've believed in and been taught is somewhat skewed.  You take a chance on your personal faith that God loves you as you are, and will continue to love you, even when your temple recommend expires.

Within each of these choices, there are varying degrees of choice from there.  You can date, you can not date, you can determine which standards are important and which you will let go.  You decide what you will sacrifice and what you will keep.

And I'm all good with whatever you choose.

But sometimes I wonder about sacrifice, about what precious thing you will choose to offer to the Lord.  Is there such a thing as too much?

The Bible Dictionary says that sacrifices, as performed in the Old Testament,
"were instructive as well as worshipful--accompanied by prayer, devotion, and dedication, and represented an acknowledgment on the part of the individual of his duty towards God, and also a thankfulness to the Lord for his life and blessings upon the earth."

I can see this working from either choice.  Clearly there is an argument for staying active, staying celibate, staying in the Church.  And when I say "celibate" here, I mean it in the context that the Church asks of gay members -- no dating, no holding hands, no kissing, no nothing.  That could be seen as a duty towards God for this test in life.  That chance for companionship is certainly a precious thing, one not easily given up, one that could be a significant sacrifice to the Lord.

On the other hand, perhaps it is a duty towards God to be an example of good and faithfulness outside the LDS Church.  The sacrifice is the comfort of the Church as it was given to you as a child.  I submit that there are many blessings to be had outside of meetinghouse walls, and in leaving those walls, there is a chance to find thankfulness for blessings that are continually bestowed upon us.

I don't think there is one black-and-white answer or path that will work for everyone.  We've all given up something.  Perhaps, like Abraham of old, we have to get to the alter and actually raise the knife before an angel of the Lord steps in and says, "this is enough."

And whether or not He is pleased with the sacrifice we offer, I believe is between you and Him.