I had a conversation with a friend this week. Someone else had mentioned that he needed help... and didn't want to be part of the Church anymore... and that's my cue to drop everything. I called him as soon as I could, then called his roommates when he didn't wake up, and then we just spent the rest of the day talking.

It's always an amazing experience for me to see where someone lacks in faith, and to be able to be there when the light goes back on in his eyes. To hear his story, to help him feel understood, and to open his eyes to the hope and peace that comes from the gospel. My friend was struggling in his testimony and told me, honestly, that he didn't want to come to church because he felt judged for his beliefs... and because he still had a long way to go in repentance before he could actually participate in all the aspects of the church, like going to the temple and taking the sacrament again. He didn't feel remorse for his sins, didn't feel like he should repent when he had learned from the bad mistakes he had made, and, at the core, didn't believe the gospel was true for everyone.

This friend doesn't know me very well. We've only had a smattering of conversations, ever. He doesn't know that I live with same-sex attraction, or any of the other difficulties that life has brought me. He expressed, ironically, the thought that the gospel couldn't be true for those with same-sex attraction... and so it really couldn't be true for anyone... because even though they might receive glory in the next life, a "lonely life of misery" wasn't worth an eternal reward. I agree - unlike him and his friends, though, I've found that happiness and peace in life doesn't come from following natural urges, but by becoming a different person - by working and growing and making a difference... and by doing what is right. It is more than possible to have an amazing, fulfilled life in the gospel and never be married or have a family (as long as that's out of my control). My friend doesn't have same-sex attraction - just a couple friends who have left the Church, or never were a part. So all I could do was share the testimony that I have, without giving context to all my beliefs and knowledge, and pray that somehow it would be enough... that somehow it would help him relight the fire of faith that he had before.

I dropped him off after our conversation and wondered what the impact had been. He hadn't made any commitments in the end, even though I extended a few. He hadn't gone through a visible change, and it seemed like our hours-long conversation was just sitting there on the surface - it hadn't sunk in. Until a few days ago. The same friend who had originally mentioned that his friend was struggling and needed help sent me an email, thanking me for the conversation I had had. In the days since, it sank in, and helped our friend work through his struggles, and regain at least part of his faith... relight part of the flame. The gospel really is true... and it has the power to bring peace and happiness in this life to everyone, regardless of their trials. That's the spark of truth that resonated with him, and the one that always brings a smile to my face. And any good boy scout knows that a spark - lighting part of the fire is usually enough to set it all aflame.

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