Belief: All of us have the Light of Christ that helps us distinguish right and wrong.
Belief: The Spirit abides with the worthy and withdraws when offended.
Problem: How to tell the promptings of the Spirit apart from our own emotions.
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Lately, I have been feeling uneasy, like there's thick, black smoke in my stomach.
I have also, lately, been leaning toward a life path that would remove me from the Church (not that I plan to do anything in the near future, whatever my choice). So am I on the wrong path? Is the Spirit telling me that I need to stay in the Church and remain celibate or marry a woman? Is this guilt, the Lord's way of telling me I need to repent and 'straight'en up?
It's hard to say, because when I change my thought processes and think in terms of temple marriage/celibacy, the feeling doesn't go away.
Then is it internalized homophobia? I've been dealing with a lot of homophobia and rejection from my family recently (it's worse than my last post suggested), so maybe this nauseous feeling is an effect of that.
Or, maybe this is just frivolous navel-gazing. Maybe I just need to eat better/exercise more, or be with friends more often, or buy boxers with bigger waist bands.
Am I unworthy of the companionship of the Spirit? I am reminded of the REM lyric, "I don't know what I've done, but it doesn't feel right" ("The Worst Joke Ever", Around the Sun)--and yet I don't have any major sins in my life. I'm far from perfect, but I try to do the right things, I try to follow Christ. Every night, I read my scriptures and pray to Heavenly Father...and still I go to bed with a sick feeling in my stomach, and wake up with the same feeling.
Scott's post "Eternal Salivation" comes to mind. Maybe this feeling is just a reaction that has been ingrained and hammered into me by the culture/family I was born into. I was raised mainly by my dad (about whose hurtful prejudices I have already gone into great detail) and my mom, who recently asked of homosexual intercourse, "Doesn't it just make your skin crawl? Doesn't it make you sick?" So, would it be any surprise that I should feel sick about being gay, seeing as I grew up in a home, family, church, culture, and society where homosexuality is considered sick?
Alternately, perhaps an anxiety disorder is the culprit...Then again, maybe all of these explanations--internalized homophobia, conditioning, mental disorders--are just ways of trying to deflect guilt...raw, throbbing, leaden guilt. Scarlet guilt, in fact.
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Please note that I am not speaking of homosexuality in general. I am not at all convinced that homosexuality is in categorical opposition to God's plan (a topic I have blogged about before). I'm not saying homosexuality or homosexual acts are necessarily, intrinsically wrong--I'm just thinking that maybe they're wrong for me. Maybe, after all, I'm just a nice, straight Mormon boy who has been deceived by the world and the devil and his own thinking. Maybe God is trying to tell that boy, "Wake up, stupid! You're not gay--I have assigned you a wife and kids and a life of service in the Church!" But, whether that's the case or not (and my sexuality is at this point so ambiguous I don't honestly know if it is or isn't), a part of me doesn't want to be that nice, straight Mormon boy who becomes a missionary and then a husband and then a dad and then a grandpa and then a bishop and then an old man wondering what could have been had he lived his life not according to the expectations of other people, but following his heart and dreams. And maybe that's wrong. And maybe that's why I feel sick.
I don't really know. But I am praying to be able to know.
To clarify, I'm not saying that I want to rebel against God. Quite the opposite, in fact. I want to live my life in harmony with God's will. So, I'm trying to figure out what God wants me to do, and to be perfectly honest, if I said I'd be eager to marry a woman, I'd be lying. So I hope that's not God's plan for me--even though I've been told it is since my earliest Primary days.