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#12 - THE MORE CERTAIN WAY TO CHANGE

Updated: Apr 1

      I recently came within slim minutes of losing my life. In the morning,

I had felt tired and overloaded but determined to ignore the feelings and push on with my chores. I did not know why, but while driving to my first task I began to feel worse and worse. As my typically low heart rate  became slower and slower, my brain and  other organs were increasingly stressed incident to lack of oxygen. Fortunately, through a seriously fogged mind, I managed to arrive safely at my destination and was in a public setting. The feelings worsened. Sensing I was about to lose consciousness, I slumped into a chair in a worker’s nearby cubicle and mumbled, “ I believed I’m having a heart incident.”  If my distress had not been so evident and the ambulance crew not immediately on scene, I would have died. The emergency intervention and subsequent hospital stay saved my life.

             Now, my newly implanted pacemaker makes me a bionic man with a chance for choice moments that might not otherwise have been available. In my late eighties and possibly already on borrowed time, I feel a strong need to share various concepts that could help men who have discovered their same-sex predilection and find their erotic urgings to be in conflict with their deeply held moral convictions. There are options for men who desire to resolve this conflict and grow beyond being and doing gay.

            I learned a lot about homosexuality through academic study and years of personal reading. Insights also came from dealing with myself, and professionally, from counseling many others who had encountered life similarly. I was acquainted with theoretical perspectives and various forms of therapeutic intervention. I understood principles of learning and behavior modification. Although I benefitted greatly from these efforts, I still did not feel a secure liberation. Somewhat like a shadow, the past remained too nearby.

            I was familiar with the principle of sacrifice and knew that such was often the price of growth and blessings. I had accepted personal responsibility and understood I was in control of outcomes in my life. I knew I was doing many right things and had experienced rewarding growth. Even though I was not doing anything wrong that I could think of, it still felt like there remained too much of a hook to the past.

            Years ago, in a Mayflower coffee shop in Washington, D. C., I noted a writing on the wall. It was a short jingle that has proven helpful through the years. In fact, it has contributed to the greatest personal growth I have experienced so far as dealing with the issue of obligatory homosexuality. The verse goes as follows and is easily memorized:

 

Where ‘ere upon life's highway, brother,

Whatever be your goal,

Keep your eye upon the doughnut,

And not upon the hole.

 

            It was when I determined to learn and live more fully the teachings of Jesus Christ that I encountered a marvelous, life-changing concept taught by Elder Boyd K. Packer. He wrote:

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.[1] 

            Coming to understand this concept in conjunction with what I termed the “doughnut principle” was my eureka moment. It made sense. Our conscience and values are at the center of our being, the skeleton upon which our self hangs, with all its desires, commitments, and efforts.

            The doughnut jingle emphasized the importance of focusing on the positive, that which will produce the quickest and most rewarding change---in this case, believing Christ and following Him, losing oneself in learning and keeping God's commandments. By contrast, trying to not do gay can be likened to the doughnut hole---misdirected, less efficient effort, essentially focusing on the negative. There is a choice: struggling to avoid desire for yet another sensual connection or believing and following the man who defines himself as “the way, the truth, and the life,”[2] “the Great I Am, even Jesus Christ.”[3] “Do’s” work better than “don’ts.” What has been seen as a behavioral problem is really a moral issue. It is the spirit within a person that must control physical appetites and responsiveness. The proactive choice is best by far.

            That choice to obey our Eternal Father, followed by committed focus, will make all the difference. Truly, if this is your issue, keeping a covenant to stay exclusively on the disciple’s narrow path will bring you to that whole, good man to whom you are drawn, your real and fulfilled self. Connections with the man above will also fit you to better deal with all men, your brothers. Working together, you can help resolve the misunderstanding, long existent between homosexuals and heterosexuals and, through God’s help, build a mutually beneficial oneness.

            Elder Packer also referred to a crucial scripture: “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”[4] And there are many other helpful guides: “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.”[5] “Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.”[6] Second Nephi, Chapter 31 forcefully teaches the true doctrine of Christ. Learning and adhering to Christ’s true doctrine brings growth more quickly and securely than relying primarily or exclusively upon secular precepts and the worldly opinions of man.

            As a child, I made mistakes. Now, an overarching desire I treasure is to be innocent and morally clean when I go to the great beyond to meet my maker. Believing in Christ and following Him has been like hitching my wagon to a star. Personal gains beyond hope or anticipation have become realities of new birth, as the life I left years ago has faded into my increasingly distant past. I am not the man I used to be. . I could not have done it on my own. The dictum “Born that way and can’t change,”  an assertion of gay activists, is not true. Failure to change results from not pursuing the correct course, moving from carnal to spiritual interventions.

           

 

 


[1] Packer, B. K., “Little Children,” General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 1986.

[2] John 14:6.

[3] Doctrine and Covenants 39:1.

[4] The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi, 32:3.

[5] Proverbs 16:3.

[6] Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.

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