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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Searching for Certainty

My boyfriend and I had an interesting conversation today. We talked a bit about our relationship, and we both agree that this phase of our relationship is nearing an end. We discussed things like moving in together, and even marriage. It made me smile to see the subtle excitement in his eyes as we talked about some of that. But I could also see some of the nervous apprehension that I knew was in my own eyes.

There are some big steps coming up, and these type of steps require certainty. I have always been the type that hates risks. I want to know the result before I make the decision. I don't want to risk anything. And it's the same way with this. I want to know for certain that this is the guy. I don't want any doubt. But it's difficult to have that certainty when I've never dated anyone else. Heck, I've barely even had conversations with other gay guys. I know that I love him, but I want to know for certain that I want him above anyone else. But where does such certainty come from?

I know that relationships are things of risk and trust by their very nature. It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, we all experience these things. So where does the certainty come from that motivates people to pledge their love to each other and build a life together, despite the hardships? Perhaps the certainty is already here, and the doubt I'm experiencing is simply there for its own sake. I don't know.

Our conversation shifted from there to more religious topics. We don't often talk about being gay in a religious context, so tonight was interesting. My boyfriend mentioned the fact that I had dated a girl before, and that I had experienced attraction to some small degree. He said that if we did end up together, he didn't want me to be living a lie, or deceiving myself. But that's how I felt before. And that's what I feel like when I think of having a straight relationship and living the traditional life. Like it would be trying to fit myself to others' expectations, having to stifle the parts of me that the world didn't want.

And then, once again, we come to doubt. My boyfriend and I talked about our whole situation from a religious standpoint, wondering aloud what the real solution was. Where do we fit in the grand scheme of things? What role do we play in God's plans for everything?

The more we talked the more I felt the need for revelation reaffirmed. We need answers, and only divine ones will suffice. I've heard convincing cases for and against homosexuality using the scriptures, and so it's clear that our definitive answer isn't there. And the solutions that the church offers seem to rob our lives of all purpose and joy. Yet the plan the world sets before me destroys all certainty from a religious standpoint. So what's the answer? I feel like the only thing that will suffice is the word of God directly from his lips. We need answers, and we need the ordained prophet of God to receive them. So I hope he's asking.

But we're taught that God gave us two lines to heaven. The prophet is one. And the other is the one we claim directly. One that I have neglected to use for some time. And when it comes to this issue, I seem to have always avoided the subject. I don't know that I've ever actually prayed and asked right out what he would have me do, or what his viewpoint was. And I think I'm scared to. I don't want to go back to the dark place I was before, feeling conflicted and tormented by two seemingly-incongruent parts of myself. There was no peace nor happiness there.

I know what I'd like to hear. I want to be told that there is a purpose in all this, that my attraction is part of a grand design, and that I can find happiness through a family of my own. I have heard from others who felt that God was leading them that way, but is that where he wants me?

I think what I want most is to have my own conviction reaffirmed, regardless of what that is. But the thing is, I never felt divine confirmation that my guilt-inducing, self-hating philosophy was right.

So maybe it's time I start turning my attention heavenward. Perhaps with time and effort I will be able to finally ask God what he thinks about all this. But I need to be free from any other influence, personal, cultural, emotional, etc. I need to be able to know that what I receive is from him. And to do that I need to be free from all bias, ready to receive any answer. Come to think of it, that's exactly what the church needs as well. We need to be ready to accept the answer, whatever it may be.

I take great comfort in the fact that my God looks upon my heart, and that throughout the tumultuous events of the last year he has been judging me based on my sincere desires. I am grateful for a God of mercy, who never condemns nor abandons. And I take strength in my God of change, who takes the rough man that I am and works to mold me into someone more compassionate, more forgiving, more willing to serve and to love. And when it comes down to it, I think those changes are more important to my God than my orientation.

In this situation it sometimes feels like we are alone, and that no one is willing to understand. But I know that God is. Perhaps my view of God strays from the "traditional" understanding of who he is. But I'll take my ever-present God of compassion over a fearsome God of anger any day.

On that note, I love this scripture. It has come to represent all that God has done for me. And that impact has been made simply by being there.

"...I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."


Rob said...

I admire your desires to make the right choices and follow the path that's right and best for you.

I also have to say that this post is SO Mormon in its approach to life decisions. Of course I would expect that. There's certainly nothing wrong with seeking this kind of confirmation.

Be aware, however that even if you believe you get it one way or another, there will always be unknown factors in the mix. Future events, life stresses, whatever. If you are looking for certainty and guarantees, even after you believe you've gotten divine confirmation, then trust me, you are looking for something you'll never have.

That said, if you are both completely committed to each other and to making a marriage work, then you have just as good chances as any other couple, and I will wish nothing but the best for you both.

BTW, if you want to read about another couple who met and really had no experience with anyone else and who are now happily married for lots of years, go here:

Joe Conflict said...

Boy I wish you well. Do I know if personal revelation is to be had? Yes, I think it is. And I've met a lot of gay men and women who had it, but it wasn't what the church expects.

Fascinating journey. Best wishes.

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