Right and Wrong

Some would have us believe that the area between good and evil is largely gray and that it is difficult to determine what is right and what is wrong. For any who so believe, I recommend this beautiful statement of Mormon, quoted by his son Moroni: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God” (Moro. 7:16). -Gordon B. Hinckley

I don't know where so many of us get the crazy idea that we're not ever supposed to label anything as "right" or "wrong". Using my God-given ability to do so is a process that has been vital to choosing the path I've led so far in life. It has helped me steer away from wrong choices and toward right ones (Imagine that!). I honestly don't know how a person could ever lead a successful, moral life if he suspended all judgment and viewed every action by every other person by saying, "Well, maybe that's what's right for him." I'm pretty sure there are people who believe this is the best way to live, but I haven't yet heard an argument for it that makes sense.

Of course there are limits to proper judgment, and we should never cross those limits. But in my last post, the "right" and "wrong" I spoke of were mainly referring to full devotion to the Church and gospel compared to disobedience. We may enjoy debating inherent rightness or wrongness of an action using our limited understanding, but disobeying the word of God is one thing I hope we can agree should be labeled "wrong".

The side I recommended we pick is the side of following the gospel (including the Church's standards) to the best of our abilities. Conversely, those who choose to think of themselves as more intelligent than God and his prophets and choose a different path are the "wrong" side. I'm allowed to say that.

Sure, there are a few things in the gray areas. But thank goodness prophets help us out in a lot of ways by giving some clear boundaries. Thank goodness we have the Spirit of Christ and the right to personal revelation. We can expect that revelation to clarify truly gray areas; but we shouldn't expect it to contradict the gospel basics and the things our leaders tell us.

I apologize if I sound like Ann Coulter. I read a bunch of her book while waiting in line at Circuit City this morning.

Where To Go From Here

Last Wednesday was the first time I've come out to a bishop before. It went much better than I ever suspected it would. We did the normal small talk stuff so he could get to know me-- I had only met him once before, due to things like being out of town or working on Sunday and going to the ward that the kids I help go to. I was hoping I could somehow naturally bring in the topic of my homosexuality, but I couldn't. Just as I had feared, it got quiet and he asked, "So, what can I do for you?"

He recognized it was difficult for me to blurt it out, so he let me take my time. I was able to say it with surprisingly little difficulty, compared to coming-out experiences with friends or family before. And he was just great about it. He told me that had actually crossed his mind earlier in the conversation when I hesitated to answer a question about girl troubles. He went on to tell me about some of his gay friends from throughout his life. For example, while attending BYU, he found out his home teaching companion had the hots for him and was jealous of his fiancé. Then, while living in New York, he was assigned to visit one of the original BYU bathroom toe-tappers who was dying of AIDS.

Anyway, I was left with the impression that I had been led to this man, whom I knew would seek to understand my situation and could help me out. He was of the opinion that a person in my situation-- a person who sees the potential greatness of living according to his attractions but who is "cursed" (his word) with an undeniable testimony-- could use some help in figuring where to go from there.

He kept using that phrase-- "where to go from here." In any event, he recommended I go back to the counseling center to see how they can help me move forward with dating girls (my goal, not his). I'm happy to go back but had started feeling guilty earlier in the year when I felt like I was wasting their time. Hopefully I'm messed up enough to get in.

I'm really happy I went to see him. Similarly to when I felt instant connections to Mohos when I first started hanging out with people in April, I feel like I have this sudden connection with my bishop, who I feel I can always count on. I'm glad I went despite some less than enthusiastic responses from a few people close to me when I told them my desires to tell my bishop.

I guess I agree with him. I could use guiding help from trustworthy sources. Really, any person who has to navigate life amidst homosexual attraction and gospel beliefs would do well to have a spiritual leader by his side.

I've been wanting to put my two cents (or less) in regarding the recent Mohosphere drama and side-picking and all that. It's true that we all go through phases of varying degrees of devotion to conservative ideals and more liberal lifestyle choices. That makes it difficult to judge those who are making what we might think are mistakes, just because we happen to be spiritually sober at the moment. My opinion, though, is that that doesn't change the fact that full devotion to Church standards is always the best option.

Um, in other words, we're all at different stages but it's my firm belief that we're always more correct when we're safely on the gospel's side. It's in those moments, when we feel the prick of the Spirit to try harder in life, to pray more earnestly, to go to the temple and get rid of all the stupid sins we fall into, that we're on the right path. I've never found myself at the other end of the spectrum and thought, "This is exactly where I need to be!" In the midst of an immature, teen-like crush, I've never felt the prick motivating me to be more active in gay dating or encouraging me to get to the gay club more often.

I guess my advice to myself and to everyone else is to pick a side (for your own life choices) and stick with it for as long as you possibly can. And for goodness sakes, pick the right side. And be nice to the people who are wrong.