The biggest struggle in this mortal existence, and to be honest the whole point of it, is to change who we are and to become like God. That command is quite clear. “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48) But how is that possible? And how can you change something that seems so natural, such as an attraction? I mean, how can I NOT be gay?
Well first of all, you have to put some effort into it. I know people who actively live a gay lifestyle and say “Well I pray about it, but until it changes, I am going to be who and what I am”. I understand the feelings and thoughts there, but how can we hope to change if we haven’t done anything to make a difference? It may sound odd, but trees can give us some wonderful insight.
Trees are remarkable plants. They have the ability to grow and re-grow limbs. But even more important, they have the ability to have branches grafted onto them. The tree will sometimes accept these grafts and the branch will grow to be a part of the tree. The tree gives nourishment to the branch and it grows stronger. Sometimes the graft does not take. The branch grows weaker due to lack of nourishment, and will eventually wither and die.
If we wish to change, we must starve those branches that we do not want to grow. As we do they will wither and fall from us. Elder A. Dean Byrd said this while speaking to people who have loved ones who struggle with same gender attraction: “Realize that your loved one may experience extreme pain because of the extensive changes that are required. These include changing one’s thoughts and often one’s friendships, leisure settings, work situation, or even clothing styles.” To me, the biggest one here is our thoughts. They are hard to control. But we know that as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Continued dwelling on and entertaining thoughts of homosexual relationships, lifestyles, encounters,and and so forth will only serve to make those desires stronger and solidify and engrave homosexual feelings into the makeup of who we are. President Spencer W. Kimball was wise when he said that “The difference between the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the other resisted. It is true that one’s background may make the decision and accomplishment easier or more difficult, but if one is mentally alert, he can still control his future.” Do not yield. Seek control.
I know this can sound bleak. “Starving something till it dies” does not produce a very pleasant mental image. It sounds flat out unhealthy. So to stop if from being unhealthy, something must be grafted on in its place. What should be grafted? Christlike attributes. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brings healing and peace to the soul. Through Him all things are possible. As we strive to feed those parts of us that bring us closer to Christ the other parts that do not support a Christlike life will disappear. I have seen it in my life personally. I made this blog not for me, but to help other people feel the Spirit of God and grow closer to the Savior. But already I have seen wonderful changes in my own life. I am able to recognize temptations easier. I am able to resist urges that are troubling to me. My thoughts are more clean and Christ centered. Through service I am able to grow to be more like Christ, and therefore my Heavenly Father. Change is possible, and also liberating. I testify of that eternal truth.
This is the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has suffered for us and paid the price for our sins. All we must do is have faith enough in His words to act on them and he will begin to mold and shape us into the people who He would have us be. We become sanctified, or made clean, pure, and holy through the blood of Jesus Christ.
I want to end this post with a word of caution. Professional help is often a wonderful aid that helps people cope with the pain and difficulty of change. But if such professional help is sought without also seeking the help and Love of the Savior, it will fail. First and foremost seek to learn of and to become like Jesus Christ. Everything else will then be an aid to serve you on that path. I urge you that if you feel lonely, lost, depressed, or have suicidal or harmful thoughts, seek help. Seek it form professional counselors, family members, and church leaders. But most importantly seek it from Jesus Christ. “The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the light and the strength to overcome the obstacles of mortality and to use our God-given agency to choose the behavior that will lead us to our divine destiny. We are promised: ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it'” –Elder Dallin H. Oaks
There is an escape from those feelings of misery or woe. He is Jesus Christ. Seek after Him. He can and will help you change. He will help you become a glorious and perfect Son or Daughter of God. He eases pain. He softens heartache. He lifts burdens. He changes hearts. Follow Him.