I love understanding the world around me and applying knowledge to life. I’ve studied psychology, philosophy, human biology, natural sciences, history, languages, and everything else that lends itself to a humanities background. Most of the time, the truth I learn in the secular sphere interfaces pretty well with what the gospel teaches. Sometimes, though, popular theories and social pressures seem to contradict what I know to be true… or at least what I thought was true. It’s moments like these – breaking down the mental models and shattering the knowledge schemas – that enable me to better understand who I am, where my loyalty lies, and when faced with important truths from differing sources, what I really, really, choose to believe.

I think the first time it happened was when I learned that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. I couldn’t have been very old, but I still knew that the scriptures taught that, until after the Fall, there was no death or imperfection on the Earth. The Earth fell for the sake of Adam – to become a place where he could grow and learn – so where did dinosaurs fit in? The thought of Adam and Eve living millions of years ago, with dinosaurs, seemed a bit absurd. I wondered what the explanation was for the discord in logic.

After reading whatever was written on the subject, and thinking that most of the theories or conjecture from both sides was also a bit absurd, I made the decision that it didn’t really matter to me. It still doesn’t. Where dinosaurs fit in doesn’t affect how I live my life each day or the choices I make, so I can wait to sort out the pieces there.

But there are some things that do matter… topics that are a part of me and change my entire outlook on life. Same-sex attraction, and how it plays a role in my life and God’s plan for me, is one of those.

Helaman 3:33-35:
“And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God
And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
Nevertheless they [the faithful] did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” (emphasis added).

There are people on both sides of the discussion who could definitely show more love. But, regardless of outside influences, as a member of the Church who lives with same-sex attraction I have to choose between listening to my heart… and listening to my soul. Some psychological authorities say that happiness only comes through “following who you are,” “accepting yourself,” and “not living a lie.” Other voices in the community say that someday the Church will change its doctrines. With so many clamoring for attention, and with an issue so close to heart, simply relying on the words, or even faith, of others doesn’t work. I have to turn to God and understand it for myself.

I’ve prayed to know the truth, and God heard and answered my prayer. And, from that prayer, I can bear testimony that God lives and that He loves us. Because He loves us, He gives us commandments to help us to be happy. As I found myself with my back against the wall, I had two choices: follow the world, or turn to God, put my faith in Him, and yield my heart to His teachings. In a time like this, I can’t live on borrowed light. No one can.

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