Okay, so I am adding another type of post to my blog- "thoughts." Not everything I have to say is a rant or argument or experience. This one is more of a thought, and an incomplete one at that. Perhaps you can help me refine it:
So we are all pretty familiar at some level with the story of Adam and Eve. I remember never really fully understanding (nor do I claim to now) why it was that God gave them conflicting commandments. He commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth, and he commanded them not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The catch was, in order to multiply and replenish the earth, they had to partake of the fruit. They basically had to break one commandment to keep another. And until they broke the one commandment, they were stuck. They could not progress. They could not know good from bad or move God's plan forward.
In some ways I feel like I can relate to these conflicting commandments. In this life I am commanded to learn and grow and progress and make decisions and act rather than be acted upon. I am supposed to learn to love. The two great commandments are to love my neighbor as myself and to love God. We often talk about the loving your neighbor and loving God part, but hardly do we mention the "as thyself" part. Before we can love others, we must first learn to love ourselves. Well, I am also commanded by church leaders to live a celibate life- never fully accepting my sexuality or acting on my emotional, social, and sexual desires for a monogamous, intimate relationship with another man.
If I were to choose that path- choose to live a life without companionship- I would be much like Adam and Eve before they took of the fruit. Stuck. Sure, I would be innocent and right in the eyes of the church- but I wouldn't be able to grow and learn in ways that you can only do when you give someone your heart, your soul, someone you vow to share your life with, raise children with, etc.
Once I got to a certain point in life... probably age 21 (post-mission), I reached a plateau in many ways. For three years I found myself trying to move in some direction- any direction would be better than standing still. But I couldn't. It wasn't until I accepted my sexuality, and then soon after decided that I could love that part of me, that I began to move again. It was only after accepting that I was gay and realizing that that was okay, that I could love myself, which opened up the doors to loving others and to understanding Gods love for me and my love for him. It opened up possibilities in my future for endless growth and learning as I sought to find someone I loved to spend my life with and raise a family with. Possibilities that wouldn't exist had I decided to live a celibate life.
So perhaps you will judge me. Maybe you condemn me for breaking a commandment. But if breaking this one commandment means that I can keep many more while learning to love and be loved and enjoy life rather than waiting for death to rid me of this wretched curse (which I don't believe will happen, nor do I still consider my sexuality a curse), then so be it. And if this is what you mean by me "choosing" my sexuality, then yes- I guess by that definition, I have chosen it. I have allowed the atonement to work in my life in a way that has healed me of the self-hatred, the embarrassment, the shame, and the constant feelings that I had been cursed by man, by nature and by God. I have chosen to let Christ help me grow through accepting my sexuality and realize that it is a blessing, not a curse. I have allowed Christ to expand my ability to love and be loved by accepting me for who I am, for the person that I was created to be. I have chosen life. And you know what? I am not ashamed of having made that decision. I know that I am a better person because of it. So condemn me until they day I die. Try and block my path and place impossible obstacles in my way. Increase the odds against me. Because none of that matters when I know that my God approves of the way I have chosen to live due to my increased capacity to love, to serve, and to understand. And that knowledge is all I need to fuel my drive to knock down those barriers, overcome those obstacles, and beat the odds.