Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Path

I will admit that at one point in my teenage years I wished that I didn't know that the church was true. I wanted companionship so badly, yet I didn't know how that could happen in a relationship in which I experienced no attraction to my partner (a woman). 

I have moved on, fortunately, from that period of confusion. I understand now that while yes, my testimony would render any same-sex relationship unfulfilling, that's not a bad thing! Because I know that the Church is true, I can press forward down this path knowing that God is pleased with me. 

In Sunday's devotional Brother Randall L. Ridd (second counselor in the Young Men general presidency) mentioned that if the only motivation behind an action we take is because it will fulfill God's will, then that is reason enough. 

I thought that was so powerful. The purpose of our lives is to learn to align our wills with that of our Heavenly Father. With that in mind, it doesn't matter if we crave something contrary to God's will. A simple appetite is not more important to me than maintaining my relationship with my Savior.

Building upon that principle, Ridd continues:

“We typically find what we are looking for.   The best way to avoid distractions is to have our focus firmly set on our purpose and to be anxiously engaged" (Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults at the BYU—Idaho Center, 11 Jan. 2015).

Therefore, we must stay true to the course that will lead us to happiness, true happiness, a joy that is eternal and will not result in regret and despair. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Applicable Poem

I heard this poem given in a CES devotional by Elder M. Russell Ballard (Follow the Doctrine and Gospel of Christ, 7 Nov. 2010). I have found that it can apply to anyone and everyone, but it has special significance to me.  Perhaps you'll see why.

“The Oak Tree” by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.

A mighty wind blew night and day. 
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away, 
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark 
Until the oak was tired and stark.

But still the oak tree held its ground 
While other trees fell all around. 
The weary wind gave up and spoke, 
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”

The oak tree said, “I know that you 
Can break each branch of mine in two, 
Carry every leaf away, 
Shake my limbs, and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth, 
Growing stronger since my birth. 
You’ll never touch them, for you see, 
They are the deepest part of me.

Until today, I wasn’t sure 
Of just how much I could endure. 
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you, 
I’m stronger than I ever knew.”

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Avoiding Objectification

A frequent problem that SSA members of the Church face is objectification (viewing people as objects rather than people).  For me, body envy has always been an issue.  For years I was overweight (and, unfortunately, that trial is returning) and was made fun of because of it.  I couldn't run as fast or participate as successfully in sports as other boys, which lead to depression and self-hatred.  I really believe that my envy of athletic men's bodies accentuates my SSA, so I try hard not to objectify.

The issue of objectification affects people of all sexual orientations, so I believe that my advice on the subject is therefore applicable to everyone.

It can happen anywhere - seeing a good-looking guy at the pool or gym or grocery store - and so it's essentially unavoidable.  However, when I find myself in such situations, instead of trying to hide my head in the sand and forcing myself to not think about what I'm seeing, I try to think "Okay.  That guy is really good-looking.  Good for him.  Maybe someday I'll look like that, but if not, whatever.  I have a talent for recognizing beauty.  I'm going to move on now."

This has helped me immensely in regards to avoiding shame and depression.  For some reason my mind is just wired that way (having an attraction to other men) and I have no control over that.  But being real with myself allows me to let go of lustful thoughts.

I hope that this has been insightful!  Try it out!