Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I've been on a spiritual low lately that I can't seem to get out of. I enjoyed going to church last Sunday, but had a hard time feeling the Spirit. I also haven't been to the temple in awhile or read the scriptures. My personal prayers are also lacking. I tend to go through cycles, but this cycle has lasted longer than usual. I think I need some time alone to replenish my spirit and start seeking answers to some questions that have been lurking around for a long time. Questions like what do I really want from this journey through SGA? What is the next step? What do I really want from my church membership and my relationship with God? What do I do with the knowledge I have received over the past year from blogging and reading blogs about other gay Mormons? There is so much I don't know about myself, and so much more I want to learn. I'm at a crossroads in my life and believe there is so much good that can come from it. I'm excited for the future, but also full of fear and doubt. How do I move forward with faith, believing in myself and in the principles I have come to know and trust?

10 comments:

Elbow said...

"What is the next step?"

Yes. That IS the question. I feel the same way. You're such a cool guy, and your blog speaks volumes for the resources you have to just live your life the best way you know how.

And, if I may...since you're in Vegas we should all get together. I would love to meet you too!

Clark said...

absolutely-- that would be great! I also live in the northwest at durango and desert inn and I'm always free during the day. Let me know when you'd like to grab lunch!

GeckoMan said...

Forester,
You ask, "How do I move forward with faith, believing in myself and in the principles I have come to know and trust?"

Finding faith and motivation when little if any exists is the paradoxical dilemma of faith... It's like you have to have money to make money.

But there are plenty of rags to riches stories out there, both materially and spiritually. When we go into periods of distance and separation from the Spirit we dry up in our faith. Joseph taught in the Lectures on Faith that faith is the product of experience. We need faith-promoting experiences to grow in our faith.

Long 'dry spells' from the Spirit happen for me when I feel out-of-sync with my personal integrity, am disappointed with life's outcomes, full of stress, depressed, and so lack desire. When we repeatedly knock our head against the wall of same gender attraction while still trying to make it all fit within the perfect LDS framework of eternal families, it gets hard to believe in oneself, that we'll ever succeed at our previously committed goal.

So, 'how do I move forward?' I can only answer from my own experience: just do it. Alma says if we will 'exercise a particle of faith' then 'let this desire work in you' to try an experiment of faith. We get to design this experiment, the variables, the materials and methods, then we observe and draw our own conclusions. But we have nothing to evaluate if we don't proceed with the test.

I can feel the Spirit of the Lord directing me and still be SGA. I know I am beloved of the Lord, and by my family. I can believe in this. I am not perfect, I mess up like everyone else and I can repent and improve like everyone else. Maybe I won't acheive my self-imposed expectations of perfection in this life; I need to decide what is realistic for me and have faith in my ability to reach it.

If we indeed shouted for joy at the opportunity to come here to mortality, then there must have been a surety of faith that we could succeed, that we weren't headed for certain disaster. I love life. I love my family. I want to return to Father. I am a man who loves connection with other men. I can live with all this, and I have a good time trying to do my best.

Beck said...

Not attending the temple...

Not studying the scriptures...

Not praying...

Hum... I have found myself in those cycles myself. I've been in a spiritual "down" for about three years now. Coincedentally, those have been the same three years that I've been coming to terms with "me".

I do know that when I attend Church and really seek to "feel" and "learn" what the Spirit wants to tell me, when I teach the scriptures to my adult class and read them outloud with them and help them to understand the meaning of them in our lives and bear testimony of them to them - that is when I KNOW there is still something inside me that knows.

Don't give up trying. Don't give up hoping. My question to myself is always: "Can I still remember how I felt?" And not to allow myself to question: "Why don't I feel so much anymore?" by beating up on myself.

We all go through cycles. Like I said, I'm into my third year...

J G-W said...

My take is only slightly different than Geckoman's. Looking back, I realize that some of my periods of deepest, darkest, most desperate spiritual "dryness" were actually periods when the Spirit was at work in me in ways that I was completely unaware.

Feeling dry? Do not despair. Just wait. Think of it as a time of fasting. Have patience. The Spirit will come back, and with abundance. I agree with Geckoman and Beck that going through the motions is important. Do it even when you don't feel it. That effort is needed. Put yourselves in places where the Spirit can speak to you, but don't get discouraged if it doesn't. Just wait.

The time will come when you too will realize that the Spirit was preparing you for incredible things, in ways you are completely unaware of right now.

playasinmar said...

To summarize J G-W in an entirely inappropriate way:

“Feeling dry? Time is K-Y”

J G-W said...

Y'all are outta order.

santorio said...

my take on your post is that "crossroads" is a misleading image. we're on a road, all right, but it's wide and bumpy, we wander from one side to another, sometimes getting close to one side with a cliff and we worry about falling over; the other side is a grassy meadow and we think about just getting off the road any laying down for a while. but we keep on going. around the bend, over the crest, we'll find what we're looking for. won't we?

GeckoMan said...

Yes, we generally find whatever it is we're looking for, good or bad. Good thing the road is long and there are pit stops along the way with fresh fuel and rubbish bins.

So Forester, what are your thoughts? Are you feeling any better in a week's time to think about all this sage advice?

Forester said...

I don't know if I'm better or worse in a week's time. It's been a tough week. I have a lot I am thinking about and considering right now. This is the first time in my life when I have questioned my beliefs to such a great extent and when I have felt so few confirmations.

Since July 15, 2007