12 December 2010

THT: Heaven

I'm sure everyone has been told they are going to hell at one time or another. But did you believe it? In High School I was told I was going to hell because I was Mormon. In Church I was made to feel I was going to hell because I was gay. I didn't believe the first, but I sure did believe the second for quite awhile. Nothing I could do would make up for that wretched piece of me that I just couldn't make disappear. No number of hours spent talking to people about the gospel. No amount of good deeds. No amount of A pluses or service. Try as I might, nothing could alter the reality I accepted which told me I was going to hell.

I don't believe that anymore. I don't let anyone inform me on where I am going due to my being Mormon or my being gay, or any other reason someone might construct for justifying such a judgment. I am a good person who is trying to do the best he can with what he has and accepts that he falls short. In those places I fall short, I put my trust and faith in Christ to make up for what I lack. When I look around at my friends (all of whom are imperfect, many of whom are gay) I know that we are not going to be consigned to hell. They are some of the best, caring, hard-working, non-judgmental people I know. And if hell is where the gays go, I will be in such great company. And if heaven is where all those people who are condemning me to hell are going to be... I won't shed a tear for not being able to be there.

But I'm not going to hell. And I'm so glad that I can finally believe that.

13 comments:

paul said...

I was hanging out with a group of byu kids and asked about hell because I don't understand exactly what Mormon Hell entails. Nobody had a direct answer to "Do people go to hell?" or "What is hell?"

It seems like something that should be clear-cut, but even being a member my whole life I've never really learned those answers in sunday school. Yet somehow when we do something bad, we have this thought that we're going to hell or told that we are damned for it.

Shouldn't such a big concept have a unified response amongst the lds populace? seems sort of silly how we can be concerned about going there, but a group of college kids from byu can't provide a singular answer on whether we go there at all.

So... What is Hell?

Gay Mormon said...

@Paul- That is a very valid question, one that I've thought about on several occasions. First off, we believe everyone will be resurrected to a level of glory... the lowest of which is good beyond our comprehension. So in that case, there is no hell. But then you bring in the vague doctrine of outer darkness. What does it mean to sin against the Holy Ghost? I don't know. We are told that is where apostates go... but am I an apostate? What about if/when I get excommunicated? Does that complete my sentence? I really don't think we understand much about outer darkness.

So when someone says I am damned or I am an abomination or whatever... what does that really mean? Nonetheless, for a long time I believed that I was consigned to a state of misery after this life, even if it was not explicitly stated in our doctrine or beliefs. It is the way people made me feel about being gay.

paul said...

I understand. To hear that you are disgusting can really knock you down. But it's really disgusting that we've allowed our own to believe it.

A while ago I asked a bishop about that & he said to be cast into outer darkness means that you have seen the truth firsthand and still denied it. Excommunication deals with those who are operating on faith, and ex-members aren't the same level of apostate.

Too Hard Headed to Give Up said...

I remember one night crying silent tears, "God, if these are Your people, then let me go to hell. I want nothing to do with them..."

You're not going to hell. Neither am I. But I also believe you're right, if people like you or me are there, I think I'll actually love it.

Steven Lester said...
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Steven Lester said...
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Steven Lester said...

Guys, I have the answer from the Source, Bruce R. McConkie, the as*hole of the Lord. Hell is not a place. Hell is a state of mind. It is where those who can not forgive themselves dwell in total guilt and misery. Once they realize that they are forgivable and forgiven, they are freed from that state of mind and leave hell forever. Sometimes, this takes a while to effect. The everlasting part of "everlasting hell" is actually a title or a name, not a condition. One of Heavenly Father's name is Everlasting, and so everlasting hell is a hell named after Heavenly Father.

Do you mean to tell me that you never heard this in Sunday School or Seminary? This is basic stuff. What are they teaching you guys these days?

By the above definition neither of you will ever be in that state of mind. So, rejoice!

Gay Mormon said...

@Steven Lester- Thanks for the quote! And yeah... I'm not sure hell is ever discussed. If it's not in the manual, it isn't taught. I think I remember a talk once that spoke of "Everlasting" meaning that it was somewhat like an "eternal law." Like... the condition doesn't change, but it doesn't mean one would be stuck in that condition forever. idk.

paul said...

Err. yeah. I don't remember ever talking about hell. in seminary... i learned how to give ambiguous answers.

I'm interested in how many lds would answer hell is a state of mind.

Anonymous said...

Sinning against the Holy Ghost (one I've avoided so far) means to have all things revealed to you and to be given a sure knowledge. It would be like Joseph Smith denying everything he saw or was told.

The Book of Mormon references Hell several times but maybe it's only figuratively.

There is Spirit Prison however. I'm murky about it but I think it's comparable to Purgatory.

Get the express bus ready!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about mangling the above post. I meant to say that it is being given a sure knowledge and then denying it. It's a sin virtually no one will ever have the opportunity to commit. One less sin to worry about.

Boris said...

@Too Hard Headed - Again, I wholeheartedly agree with you: if people like you and Gay Mormon populate hell, I would much rather be there than with the Packers and the McConkies and the other zealots of the Mormon gerontocracy (not to mention the Popes and Cardinals and far-right-wing Republicans) who might wind up in one of those other kingdoms. In my opinion, you should never cry again: yours seems to be a much purer spirit than those who may have tried to frighten/terrorize you into submission to their dogma and (presumed) priesthood authority.

Too Hard Headed to Give Up said...

Boris, thank you. That means a lot to me.

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