33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
We read this scripture this morning in our scripture study. Afterwards my wife asked me for my thoughts and I responded that I didn't have any. But I lied, I do have thoughts, but not any that I felt comfortable discussing with her. It is the last half of verse 34 that has given me pause.
... for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
Does this mean that if I'm gay in this life that I'll also be gay in the next? I've read other gay Mormon's write things to the effect that they know these feelings and attractions will only be present in this earthly life and that they will no longer have to endure them in the afterlife. But, what is the scriptural basis for such a belief? Isn't the spirit which possesses my body right now attracted to other male spirits? And, according to Alma, won't that same spirit be with me in the eternal world? Am I going to enter the next life thinking "Wow! Nephi is even hotter in real life than he is in the pictures"?
Or are my attractions to men purely physical - like hunger? If that is true then wouldn't that also hold true for straight guys and their attractions to women? If I'm not going to be attracted to male spirits in the next life then doesn't it also hold true that straight men won't be attracted to female spirits in the next life?
This scripture is, of course, not new to me. I've read it many times before. I recall having discussions with missionary companions about this. We would often use examples to the effect that if a person is is a stupid jerk in this life then they will also be a stupid jerk in the next life, unless they do something about it in this life (i.e. repent and forsake being a stupid jerk).
But, what does this mean in regards to my attractions to men? I can repent of my actions, but do I have any control over the attractions? If I can't control them then is repentance necessary? How can I forsake something I cannot control? If I cannot repent and forsake my attractions to men, then what promise do I have that these feelings won't be with me eternally?
There are some who claim that same sex attraction is a choice, and that I can choose to not to be attracted to men. But, these claims are made by people who have never experienced them. I don't know why I am attracted to men. But, one thing I do know beyond any reasonable doubt is that I did not choose to be this way. The very suggestion of choice defies logic - why would I choose to be attracted to men and then torture myself for the rest of my life by not allowing myself to act on these attractions?
When we teach young men about the law of chastity, we often quote Elder Boyd K. Packer where he says:
"It was necessary that this power of creation have at least two dimensions. One, it must be strong, and two, it must be more or less constant.
This power must be strong. Except for the compelling persuasion of these feelings, men would be reluctant to accept the responsibility of sustaining a home and a family. This power must be constant, too, for it becomes a binding tie in family life."
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, lesson #45 "The Sacred Power of Procreation"
But, what does this mean for those of us where something was cross wired so that the urges within us are directed at our own gender rather than towards women? It is still just as strong and constant. And, if our strong sexual urges compel us "accept the responsibility of sustaining a home and a family", then what is compelling me, with my attractions to men, to accept that responsibility?
I don't know where I'm going with this train of thought. Maybe I'm just in one of my "why me?" self pity moods.