And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing...

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

This story requires some background to truly understand it. In the days of Christ, Israelites were required to pay tithes and make offerings at the temple. Some were freewill offerings, but others were specific sums and sacrifices required of all.

The rich men tossed in plenty of gold, easily surpassing their allotted amount and doing so often with a grand gesture, and ensuring that a large crowd saw them and their righteousness. But the widow, perhaps with her children at her side or watching from the gate of the courtyard, threw in all that she had - perhaps not even enough to pay the tithes required, but it was everything she had. She had come out of duty, and gave all she could. And it was enough in His eyes.

There is a scene from the Joseph Smith film that plays on Temple Square that has always stuck in my mind. Joseph and Emma are looking out into the twilight... and Emma asks, "Do you ever think He asks too much?" Joseph continues looking out, and replies: "I don't allow myself to think that..."

The widow at the temple gave everything she had to the Lord, because He asked her to, the same way that Elijah asked the widow of Zarapheth, the same way the Lord asked Abraham, and the young rich man, and the Prophet Joseph... and me.

So what is my mite - the offering of my entire soul that God asks of me? 

Many people have expressed the sentiment that being gay and a faithful Mormon is too hard. That it is a trial beyond comprehension and impossible to reconcile. That's just the point. The story of the widow's mite, and of life itself, is not about doing things that are easy... but about doing things that are hard. Harder than she, or I, ever thought possible.

He has asked me to be obedient. Here on (Gay) Mormon Guy, that means never acting on the carnal urges inside me, but learning to put off the natural man, becoming as a little child - meek, submissive, humble. It means obeying because I have faith in Him, and because I believe that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel I can be saved.

He has asked me to be patient. To watch friends go on missions, come home, get married, have children, and move on with their lives... when I've never been in love with a girl, and have no idea when that blessing will come. To wonder when people in the world will understand the importance of loving others unconditionally... and to wait and work as I try to share the gospel in my own way.

He has asked me to be humble. To toss away my desire to look good in the eyes of others and ardently embrace the standards of the gospel when, anonymously and in real life, that makes me an easy target for ridicule on every side. To be willing to admit that I don't know everything, and to turn to Him in faith to find the answers to my questions and the questions others ask me.

He has asked me to be loving. To honestly and truly love everyone I meet, and to follow the teachings outlined in the Beatitudes - which in my case sometimes means praying for the anonymous people who send me less-than-positive mail.

You see, the widow was asked to give, but she gave her offering willingly. And in doing so, she received a far better return than she could have achieved any other way. The Lord knew she needed to give up all she had in order to gain the faith for the blessings she needed... and it's the same for me. 

Is it too hard to be gay and Mormon? To live the standards of the gospel and stay true to who I am? In reality, it's impossible. Living the gospel is impossible for everyone... alone. 

And so each day I stand with a choice. I can try to do it alone - to use the intellect and talents the Lord has given me and swim upstream on my own... Or I can take my blessings, my burdens, my trials, and my faith, and cast them into the Lord's treasury... believing that He will from my sacrifice bring forth the blessings of Heaven. He has. He does. And I know He always will.
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