This week in seminary we learned about Enos. While hunting wild beasts in the forest, Enos relates that his "soul hungered" and he knelt and prayed for forgiveness. His prayer continued throughout the day and into the night, until he heard a voice, saying: "Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed" (Enos 1:1-5).
What we can learn from Enos is that faith, by itself, is not enough. We must couple our faith with desire - as Enos relates when he said his "soul hungered". Faith + Desire leads to action - and our actions lead to results.
I've previously blogged about a spiritual crisis I'm going through. After reading Enos, I am starting to realize that my crisis is not one of faith - but of desire. I still have faith in God, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon - the whole enchilada. But, I've lost my desire to move forward with my faith.
A few months after I finally came to terms with my own homosexuality, the LDS church published a pamphlet titled God Loveth His Children. While I did not see that pamphlet as where we need to be as a church - it did seem like a definite step in the right direction. It was a sign that our church leaders were starting to "get it".
Then, a year or so later, the LDS church announced its intentions to fight proposition 8 in California legalizing gay marriage. They asked the members in California to donate of their time and means to help pass proposition 8 - which resulted in, at least, 50% - and possibly as much as 75% - of the total donations to the "Yes on 8" campaign - not including the countless hours of donated time going door to door, passing out yard signs, etc. That coupled with statements by respected church leaders that amounted to little more than fear mongering without any substance and a (hopefully) unintended consequence of the actions of the LDS church where it has become politically correct to publicly bash homosexuals in church meetings - a problem that is more prevalent in some wards than in others. I say "hopefully unintended" because I've seen no evidence of any church leaders seeking to counter this attitude. In fact, I find myself wondering if the timing of the release of "God Loveth His Children" was all part of a carefully orchestrated plan - first we tell them how much God loves them so that we don't come across as just being mean when we fight their efforts to have their relationships legitimized.
Even though I am not in a same sex relationship and don't see myself as ever being in one - it still has been difficult for me. I feel like I"ve been lulled away with "God loves you" = followed by a sucker punch to the gut! God really only loves me as long as I keep pretending to be straight. It feels like, as a church, we've gone backwards. As a queer Mormon, I feel less welcomed than before - or, more accurately, I feel like I am welcomed only so far as I keep hiding the queer part of me. And, this has lead to decreased desire to move forward in my faith. I feel stagnant. I still go to church regularly - but my heart isn't in it like it once was. I still try to fulfill my callings - at least somewhat, my home teaching effort has been virtually non-existent the last few months. I no longer actively participate in lessons as I once did - I just sit in the back row. I feel like I'm gradually becoming invisible at church - wondering if I'll become one of those whom are occasionally remembered with "whatever happened to ... oh, he got 'offended'" - the proverbial response thereby absolving the church, and everyone in it, of any wrong doing.
And, I don't think I'm alone in this feeling. As I was working last week on putting together the MoHo Directory, I reflected on all of the people I've met here in the Mormon queerosphere. I've interacted with some of you more than others and have gotten quite close to a few. In fact, I can truthfully say that my closest friends are here in the Mormon queerosphere. I used to be able to point to a number of blogs by people who were earnestly seeking to remain active in the church - or, at least, maintain some connection to the church. That's what attracted me to the queerosphere in the first place. However, the number of such blogs has dwindled in the last year or so. And, I can't help believing that to be a direct result political actions of the LDS church and the negative impact it has had on the Mormon queerosphere.
In the church, we talk a lot about increasing our faith - but how do you increase desire? Telling me to pray about it implies a certain amount of desire - but what if that desire is nonexistent?