Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Spiritual Conflict

Here’s a weird coincidence: one of my readers posts under the name of “D-Train,” and a very good-looking friend of mine also goes by “D-Train.” I almost defecated (what a funny word) in my pants when I first saw the author’s name. However, I doubt the D-Train who posted on my blog is the same person as my friend because the “D-Train” I know doesn’t have the best writing skills – bless his heart. (The D-Train who commented here, on the other hand, has excellent writing skills.)

Okay, down to business ... I just wanted to share a frustrating experience. To begin, I had a pretty frustrating day today. Things just wouldn’t go my way – at work, at home, – I’m sure you understand. So tonight, despite my crappy mood, I decided to go to institute (Mormon bible study class for young single adults). That just made things worse. Okay, actually it made things better. But that’s the problem. I was just starting to feel comfortable about distancing myself from the church, but then I go and have a spiritual experience that reaffirms my belief in it. It happens all the time. It’s a bit frustrating. I wish I could just get up and walk away from the church without any emotion attached to the situation. :) Only in the perfect world ...

I just sat in institute hating the fact that I was feeling the spirit – that’s weird. I was actually happy that my bad day ended on a good note and that I was feeling the happy and warm inside. Nonetheless, it just makes the looming decision ahead of me much harder to decide.

Okay, that was my moment for the day.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one ever rationalized their way into the church, but they've rationalized their way out of it. Decisions about spirituality are not made by weighing pros and cons, but about what you feel and what you know.

If you are worried that you won't be able to leave the church without guilt, don't worry, eventually you'll be able to numb the guilt away.

What I guess I'm trying to say is don't make a decision based on friends, blog commenters (including me), society, etc... Decide based on what you know and feel. Don't worry about the future, it will take care of itself.

Lack of decision is in itself a decision.

-cm

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with cm. people rationalize their way "into" the church all the time. People might discovery information or have certain experiences that discredit the church's teachings, but because the church is "safe," they come up with excuses to stay active (i.e. "but it teaches good values," "but all of my friends are in the church," "but my family will think poorly of me," etc.)

My comments are not to convince you to become inactive. Rather, I merely want to point out that cm's characterization that one must "numb" some sort of guilt in order to leave the church is false. Some people numb their guilt in order to stay in the church.

Just continue to search and be honest with yourself GM. You'll figure it out.

7:27 AM  
Blogger D-Train said...

GM,

Sorry to freak you out, man. This D-Train lives in Norman, Oklahoma, loves baseball and toasted ravioli, and is not good looking (unless you like chunky guys with beards).

I've never really been inactive, but it works the other way too. You feel real good about the Church, but then you have a lousy experience that makes you remember being bitter.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess my comment was talking more about true conversion rather than being in the church out of habit. People can live their entire lives without a testimony because they don't need one. The "pros" always outweigh the "cons."

Someone with homosexuality issues can have their testimony seriously challenged. Such a person would need more than a mere testimony of convenience, but a testimony of conversion. Otherwise, they won't last.

I've found it helps that once you know the church is true (been given a spiritual witness), it is best to make a decision to stay faithful to that no matter what tempests may blow. There are times when you won't feel the spirit and you need to have that decision to anchor you. Otherwise, everytime you have a bad experience or an uncertanty you are forced to re-make that decision, which can be costly.

cm

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

G.M.,

My answer to your latest Poll question about "staying true" to your religious convictions is: "It depends." It depends on the substance and strength of those convictions and desires.

I believe that, ideally, our spiritual convictions ought to trump desires every time the two conflict. But again, that is the "ideal." I say that because sometimes our convictions might not be based on the best sources. And sometimes acting on our desires may not be inherently wrong, but may be wrong in some circumstances.

For example, I believe that honesty is one of the most important religious values. I also believe that we ought to avoid hurting other people. Thus, it would be wrong for me to use my sexual orientation in a dishonest way or in a way that hurts others. For example, I obviously should not force another person into sex. Nor should I attempt to have sex with someone incapable of making adult decisions about sex, such as a minor. Nor should I lie to someone to get sex. I should not falsely profess love to someone to get sex. I should not lie to my partner that I am faithful, while secretly having sex with others. In each of those circumstances, I should "stay true" to my convictions, even though I might physically desire sex.

However, I do not believe that sex within an honest mutually consensual relationship is inherently wrong. Thus, if your convictions include a belief that acting on your sexual desires is AWAYS wrong, then my answer to your Poll question is "Strongly Disagree."

Ted

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GM MAN THIS IS WHAT TRIALS ANS TRIBULATIONS IS ALL ABOUT! I get a little angry of late of how my Mormon homosexual friends think that they have it so much harder than everyone else. I am not saying that "we" don't have more stronger temptations because our issues are connected to sexual desire and that is such a fundamental part of a human beings identity, but SHIT I go through the same stuff ALL THE TIME! I am single, 25, less-active, and stuggle with a variety of "closeted" sexual issues everyday. I don't know if I will ever have a temple marriage, I currently can not hold a temple reccomend because of my porn/masturbation habit, by the way I am female (wanted to break the stereotype) and because I too have many many spirtual conflicts. So all I am really saying is just don't say, well I am a homosexual so it is so hard for me and I should get to leave the church, I think this is what my ex-boyfriend has done, he even often says what a testimony he has that the church is good for most people ( and he means it) but just not for him. He also wants me to stay active and marry in the temple, but once again I can't marry him because well he is happier with his boyfriend and yes like the other dude said earlier the guilt will go away, the spirit does eventually die, scary stuff, I will pray for both of us tonight, Sending love from Texas - texaschick :)

6:18 PM  
Blogger D-Train said...

I don't think he's claiming special license to leave the Church, texaschick. I do think that he's just telling a story about a struggle that he has that is much more socially stigmatized in the Church than heterosexual issues. Too often in the Church, it is argued that heterosexuals with chastity issues are people with a sin that they can overcome, while people that are attracted to the same gender are bad inherently because of the temptation.

Also, while there may be a possibility of the reconcilation of heterosexual desires with practice within the gospel (through marriage), that can never happen for the homosexual. In that sense, the "issue" is much more permanent.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've commented a lot today, but it was slow at work.

In contradiction with D-Train, GM's arguments and methods seem quite frankly to be seeking a get-out-of-church-free card. I know, because that is what I wanted. I wanted to be gay. I figured it would be so much easier. I wasn't like everyone else, I was different. If they knew what I was going through, then they could understand and maybe the rules wouldn't apply.

What I finally realized is that truely I wasn't all that different than anyone else. Sure, I was attracted to guys, but everyone has something. Someone in with major physical disability has as much chance as a gay guy of getting married. Alone gay is the same as alone straight. More and more the church is realizing the nature of the temptation, but the rules aren't going to change as much as we may secretly hope they will.

My personal situation gives me hope because the less I worry about my sexuality, the less of a issue it is. Sure, I have bad days ...and they are bad, but there are times when I actually catch myself thinking about women. (Imagine that.) Will I be able to get married? Who knows? but my point is, we need to get on with our lives. What will happen will happen, but worrying about it only makes the situation worse.

-cm

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever thought that the Church may be wrong on the issue of homosexuality? Let me say that I realize that church members believe that decisions of prophets come from God. But there are evidences in the Church's history that the Church change's it's position on certain issues (even take what was taught not long ago about how homosexuals, should recieve conversion therapy, and could and should enter into heterosexual relationships and marriage, and that through faith feelings of same sex attraction could be overcome). I realize that being a part of the LDS Church doesn't leave a lot of middle ground and speculation because it's members believe that It's lead by prophets of God, but is it possible that these prophets are wrong?

Also, I agree with the person who said, "sometimes convictions may not be based on the best sources, and sometimes acting on our desires may not be inherently wrong, but may be wrong in some circumstances." The LDS church does a lot of good for a lot of people (regardless of whether it is the "True" church of God or not), but as hard as it can be to admit (I am in fact a member), it hurts a lot of people as well (regardless of whether it's the "True" church of God or not). GM, spiritual experiences are not exclusive to the walls of the Church, although it can be a good place to have them. I believe that a person can be truly happy in the church as well as out of the church and am surrounded by examples of both. A testimony is based on Faith. It can be whatever you believe it to be. It's not rationalization if deep down you don't believe something is true. It's simply admitting how you feel (rationalization is trying to convince yourself that something is true when deep inside yourself you feel the opposite).

I'm a new blog reader, and really empathize with your struggle. While I'm not myself gay, I am surrounded my many people who are going through the same struggle as you (both in the church, in other churches, and not active in any chruch). Good luck to you on your journey to find what's best for you.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO actually, I don't think that the church will ever change it's stance on homosexuality...but then I also don't believe in the "I was born that way, it's genetic" argument either.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Linds said...

Do you truly feel that this is a spirit that would be contained only in this one mormon religion? Or do you think this is God's spirit and isn't bound by just this religion?

I'm an inactive mormon and so is my girlfriend (I am female) we currently live together and go to different churches together. It's amazing. For me.. I've found that the "spirit" put forth by the mormon religion is simply God's love... I've felt it so many times outside the church, but I've also heard many accounts of LDS folks who haven't been able to feel the spirit outside the church, so it goes both ways. Just decide for yourself.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

The brilliant non-sequitur that the church has established is that ANY spiritual feeling you have is a sign that the church is true. How weird is that? Think about that. There are so many other interpretations that would follow more logically.

You have no obligation to interpret spiritual feelings as anything other than that God loves you - over and out.

Adam

5:01 PM  

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