23 January 2008

Determining truth

*** Published, unfinished, title added, 27 Oct 2010 ***

Am I justifying myself, or justifying the church? At what point do you stop acting on some vague, distant "knowledge" and simply say, "I don't believe it anymore. I have to stop pretending and hoping that someday, I will believe like I used to." At what point does integrity stop demanding that you act on old knowledge and step away from the hollow actions?

When you get right down to it, as I've said before, your choices determine your truth. They indicate your priorities and ascribe meaning to the aspects of your life you choose them to.

So if your greatest belief is that the church teaches truth exactly as the prophets and apostles have been declaring for decades, then you believe that a homosexual relationship cannot bring as much happiness, from an eternal perspective (which is the ONLY one that matters after this life), as a life lived in either meaningful singleness or finding the deeper aspects of love in a heterosexual relationship. You are willing to make that trade.

If you claim to believe the church but are not willing to live by its precepts, are you not fooling yourself and essentially declaring that God's promises of ultimate happiness and eternal peace are naught? By seeking that which church doctrine and practice proscribe, you are decidedly declaring that you either a) lack the integrity to stand by what you believe or are caving to temporary desires, exchanging eternal ones for them, or b) do not, in fact, believe the church is exactly as it declares it is, nor its doctrines.

I've talked with and am aware of people of various perspectives between full church compliance and faithfulness and complete departure from the church lately. One who will remain active in the church as long as he is allowed to and will serve and attend as long as allowed but who is open to having a relationship with someone of the same sex. Another whose testimony is stronger than ever, he says, but whose behavior troubles him, as he's not sure he is willing to give up what feels so good and right in this life for what he believes to be true for eternity. Another whose testimony has dwindled to a flicker but who is still completely behaviorally in-line enough to maintain a temple recommend, assuming the questions about testimony can be answered honestly. Another who is in an openly gay relationship but who wants to maintain ties with the church and has had spiritual experiences which have brought him back to it but not yet spurred him away from his partner. Some have had spiritual experiences and revelations that they are to be open to same-sex relationships and that God would rather they learn and grow from that experience than have them simply live alone their whole lives, some who even believe God not only would give them an exemption but actually wants them to find a husband and fear disobeying that counsel. Another who is deeply convinced that even if he weren't Christian, God would frown upon him being with a man.

I'm torn sometimes. I feel deeply conflicted. But that's not me being "stuck" between a rock and a hard place someone else put me into. It's me not knowing what I want most, looking at various unknowns and wondering which are most "real" and most meaningful to me, to my life, to making the world a better place not only for myself but for those around me and those to come after.

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