Monday, July 28, 2008

An Interesting Breakthrough

I think I'm finally ready to write this post. I have been struggling for weeks to find the perfect way to put it. I have been so afraid that someone out there will take what I have to say wrong and hate me, or even worse be angry at the Church or worse still, be angry at God. I have finally found the courage to go ahead and write what is on my mind and just pray that people at least give me the benefit of the doubt and simply choose to respectfully disagree.

A while back, I posted a paper I did for a New Testament religion class. It was based primarily on insights that I had gained while reading James R. Ferrell's book The Peacegiver. I talked a lot about the nature of sin and how an accurate understanding of sin allows us to better appreciate and access the atonement. Interestingly, my breakthrough was simply an application of the principles I had learned, and even discoursed on, earlier.

I explained the principles with scriptural backing a lot more clearly in that earlier post: Sin and the Atonement . Even better, I highly recommend reading the original book. Brother Ferrell explains things much more eloquently and compellingly.

One night, I was explaining to the wife my sordid and complicated history with sex. By that I mean a lot of how my thoughts/fantasies changed over time and, rather in detail, the timeline of my addictions to pornography and masturbation. At the end of it, I stopped, looked at her, and said, "Oh, that's where my SSA comes from." I don't mean that SSA comes from looking at porn or masturbating! I do mean that by choosing to engage in those activities, I subjected myself to the captivity of Satan. By sinning, both in thought and action, I allowed Satan to gain power over me. By sinning, my very nature was changed. The way that I view the world was slowly warped. Finally, through the infinite power of the atonement, I was liberated from the chains of sin. I could see things as they really were. Again, I don't believe that sin is the ultimate root of SSA. I simply mean that much of the intensity of the allure of homosexuality-for me personally-came from the deception that Satan used to confuse me.

I would like to try to use an analogy to explain this idea. For a long time the only picture of happiness I could see was one that Satan had created, that of an intimate and sexual relationship with another man. Eventually, I began to see another picture. This one included my wife, children (still to come), and this time it fits into my beliefs of God and eternal life. So for the most part I tried to stay focused on this new picture. However, from time to time, something-like a hot guy or a memory-would draw my attention back to the other picture. It would take all my power to rip my gaze away from that picture of happiness in homosexuality and look at the picture of happiness with an eternal family.

Then suddenly, it was like looking at a picture on extremely high zoom. I saw all of the individual pixels-all the lies of Satan-that were woven together to make a very inviting picture.
Now when I look back all I see are lies. I am NOT "cured"!!! I am still attracted to men. However, for me a lot of the overpowering need and desire to have sex with another man is gone. I can see clearly that it won't make me happy. In fact, what I need is real connection with other men, and I know how to get that. And when I do, I can find happiness. And the happiness I do find is amazingly real and satisfying.

I want to clarify again. I'm not "cured" of my same-sex attraction. However, I have made a major breakthrough. I have made a really big step in learning how to deal and live with my attractions.

Now, I really don't know what I'm trying to say or if I've said everything I mean to, or if I've explained it well enough. I don't even know if this post will make it through the night. I'd really appreciate feedback on what you're thinking.

7 comments:

Dichotomy said...

Congratulations!

I'm pretty new at this myself. In fact, you've been aware of your attraction to men longer than I have. I definitely don't have all the answers, but one thing that I have decided is that one of the major breakthroughs a gay mormon can make is the realization that it's not about sex.

Come to think of it, that's a breakthrough that everyone needs to make, but that's beside the point.

I believe that guilt is one of Satan's most effective tools. He uses it to destroy our sense of self-worth, and with no love of self, we lose a great deal of self-control, so it's easier for him to get us to do things we might not otherwise do.

So if he can convince us that our attraction to men is entirely sexual and sensual, we feel guilty about it, and the cycle begins. We can break the cycle by understanding that while there is a physical element to our attraction, that is but a small part of it. There's also the desire for friendship, companionship, bonding on an emotional and spiritual level--all of the things that also make a healthy heterosexual relationship meaningful.

Once we've made this discovery, we can even go on to build relationships like these with other men, and find a fair amount of fulfillment without intimate physical contact.

Possibly there will always be a noticeable void where the physical intimacy is missing, but a relationship that is rich in every aspect but the physical will be far more fulfilling than one that lacks everything but physical contact.

Samantha said...

I have a question for you (as does Ty), but you have no email address listed. If you're comfortable emailing me, would you please do so at one_bewitched@yahoo.com? Or you can contact Ty, ty.mansfield@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Sam

reachingupward said...

So, I totally didn't realize that my email wasn't public. I fixed that.
And I'm always happy to answer questions. So feel free to ask.

biggins said...

Well terve! Glad you liked my post, and it's cool to see you served in Finland. I served in Estonia and got to go to the temple dedication in Helsinki/Espoo. Cool blog, and good luck with everything!

hiddeninthelight said...

Hey, I just found your blog, and I love it! I read through a lot of it and I have so many things that I feel like I can relate to. I wanted to comment on everything, but I didn't. I look forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

are you still comfortable with answering questions? i did not see an email address... i really appreciate your posts by the way

K. L. said...

Absolutely on the questions! Drop a line to reachingupward@yahoo.com. :)