Nearly every time I tell someone that I am an active gay Mormon, they hug me. Something about my declaration for some reason inspires them to console me. Mind you, I’m can’t be sure which part of my statement they’re comforting me about: the fact that I’m attracted to men or the fact that I’m Mormon as well. Too often, people look at these two labels, these unstoppable yet opposed forces that seem doomed to butt heads with one another until the end of time. And people worry about anyone who happens to be caught in between the two. Perhaps rightly so. With an ever-growing rally of cries to be “true to yourself” and to live a supposed authentic homosexual life, the pressure can be enough to bring even the strongest members of the Church to crumble, hopeless and defeated.
Now, I will be the first to boldly declare that homosexuality is not a choice. I did not choose to have these feelings for other men. I did not wake up one morning and think that this would be a fun thing to try out with the notion that I’d be able to switch back later if it didn’t appeal me. Trust me, I would have chosen differently. It is simply a card we have been dealt. What we do with it is completely up to us. We must make a choice.
Lehi, in his final days, counseled his sons about the nature of Creation and the meaning of opposition. He teaches that God “hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:15). This often overlooked passage teaches something very important about ourselves. As children of God, it is presumed we belong in the first category as things that act. But so often, we let ourselves fall into the latter category and permit other things to act upon us. To let third parties—whether they are other people, unfortunate events, or our own passions—drag us around, powerless. I struggle to accept that this would be the life our Heavenly Father intended for us. We are dynamic beings with boundless potential to build for ourselves whatever life we desire. We are meant to be creators of our circumstances, not victims to them.
So we have a choice to be made. But what are the options? I could decide to fully embrace my homosexuality and live according to those desires. Some would argue that this track would be the most fulfilling for me, that by living true to my attractions, I achieve some form of self-actualization. From their perspective, they are probably right.
But something amazing happens when we turn ourselves to Christ. He asks that we give up everything for him. Our loftiest wishes, our highest hopes, our deepest desires, our entire selves. Elder Lawrence Corbridge of the Seventy taught:
Just give it up. Surrender…to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. Turn it all over to Him; all of your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more than what you will ever, in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God.
That is the promise. Trust the Savior with everything, give ourselves to him, and He will create a version of ourselves so beyond what we could have dreamed. Will Christ take away unwanted same-sex attractions? Probably not. But with them and with other defining moments in our lives, he will sculpt an amazing work of art that takes everyone’s breath away.
I have made my choice. For many, it doesn’t make sense to abandon the opportunity to love someone I’m attracted to, but it could not be clearer in my mind. Wholeheartedly living the Gospel of Christ will take me farther than any other path offered by the world. It has led me to where I belong. That is the choice I have made. And no one on this entire planet has the right to take that away from me.