“As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.” Taken from Index of Topics found on www.lds.org.
As I spoke of before, God in his infinite love has a plan for our happiness. That plan includes laws. Inevitably we will break those laws. We are imperfect. And in Matthew we learn that only those who uphold the commandments of God may enter into His kingdom. What then is to be done? I am imperfect and have broken laws! How can I have a chance?
This is where the Atonement of Christ comes in. Someone has to pay the price for those sins. And someone has. That someone is Jesus Christ. He only asks that we in turn seek to follow him. To turn our backs on our sin and seek to be like him. To change who we are to be like him.
Now this is sometimes hard for me to hear. If I must change, what am I to do about my feelings of attraction towards men? I cant tell you how many times I have wished that I didn’t feel this way. I would give anything to not have these thoughts. I want them taken away. So how can I give them away? The Atonement. That is the beauty of it. Jesus Christ has suffered all of our pain. He knows our weakness. He has experienced what we have experienced. Because of this he can help us change. He is able to take us and mold us into something better. Through him I can have these feelings that I have towards men taken from me.
Now this takes time. I must actively work to change who I am. I cannot expect the Savior to do that part for me. He has done his part. I must now do mine. I have a friend who also struggles in the same way that I do. He has studied and prayed and asked for this to be taken from him. And while it has not been completely taken from him, it is bearable. He says that the attractions have subsided and are only in the back of his mind. I look to his example with hope. I am still very distracted by men. But that does not mean that I must give up hope! Rather it means I must work all the harder to change!
One of the leaders of our church, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said this about same gender attraction: “All of us have some feelings we did not choose, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we still have the power to resist and reform our feelings (as needed) and to assure that they do not lead us to entertain inappropriate thoughts or to engage in sinful behavior. Different persons have different physical characteristics and different susceptibilities to the various physical and emotional pressures we may encounter in our childhood and adult environments. We did not choose these personal susceptibilities either, but we do choose and will be accountable for the attitudes, priorities, behavior, and “lifestyle” we engraft upon them.”
As I choose to resist these temptations, the Lord will help me reform myself. And so can you. Learn of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace and love. He brings comfort and wholeness. Seek him and watch your life change.