So at the gym today I was thinking about the Plan of Salvation and our reaction to it, and some thoughts came to my mind that I'd like to share. We so often think when we're taught about the PoS about the joy we felt as we prepared to come to earth. Of all the experiences we could have in our bodies born in our comfortable 1st world lives. Sure we might have a father who's an alcoholic, we might be born into poverty. We might even have to face the horrific reality of rape or sexual abuse at the hands of a predator, but for most of us there will be avenues of escape from these lives open to us, and in no way do I mean to minimise the tragedy and hardships that these trials bring, but for most of us the in the 1st world there will be a way, a recovery. An opportunity to turn our lives around and use these events to become stronger. But what about the other end of the stick?
Let's go on a little journey. You are in the pre-existence and the teacher that is preparing you to come down into mortality tells you your time is close, your family and place of birth have been chosen, it's time to prepare you for your entry into that world, and yes he can show you where you'll be going. The teacher waves his hand over a pool of crystal clear water and a scene shimmers into existence. [Let's give your teacher a name...Steve.] Steve points and says "this will be your home", and as you look you see you're going to be born in Delhi (phew good weather there) and you see a beautiful house. Very large, lot's of bedrooms and a swimming pool in the garden (essential with that heat!). You see a woman in beautiful clothes kissing a handsome man as he gets in his car to go to work, you see from the gleam in her eyes that she loves him very much, he must be a good man! Your heart skips a beat, how blessed you are to be born into such a family! "Really?! This is my home? How wonderful!"
"No" says Steve "you misunderstand. Look here, behind that house, that is your home."
You look to where Steve is pointing and you see a sheet of corrugated iron resting on tinder blocks, with old sheets hanging from it making a valiant attempt to be walls. "That's not a home!" you cry "that's not even a shed! Who are my parents?"
The scene changes and you see a drunk old man lying in the gutter in a puddle of his urine. You see a woman carrying a dirty bucket from the well & you hear her conversation with another woman as they discuss their hopes that the gangs didn't urinate too much into it last night. You realise these are your parents.
Your father comes stumbling home for the paltry dinner of boiled rice (that your mother picked up off the street in the market) with the carcass of a pigeon that your brother found and brought home. As he sees this vile offering he slaps your mother around the face "you must work harder woman, I am fed up of eating this shit!" Of course if he didn't take all the money she earns working in the sweatshop for alcohol their food would be much better. After eating this meagre fair he heads off into the streets to meet up and drink with his friends.
Later that night he comes home drunk and crawls into your sisters room, she's crying because she knows what's going to happen next. She tries not to cry out as her father climbs on top of her, she might wake up her brother and it would scare him.
The next morning you see your future mother is sat crying with your future brother in her lap. You see her explain to your sister that he is ill, very ill. "Can't we make him better?' Your sister asks.
"We can, but the medicines are very expensive and we have no money"
Your sister knows of some girls that make money, and she could save her brother if she did the same. At 10 years old she must decide wether to sell her body to the dirty old men for pennies, or do nothing and watch her brother die.
"You must be joking!" you tell Steve "there has been some mistake". These people have no lives, no hope, they don't even have the gospel in their lives to comfort them. Their entire purpose appears to be to scrabble in the dirt to scrape together the meagre existence to survive to the next day. There is no hope, no future, no love. This is going to be your journey into the second estate, how you get that glorious body that your Heavenly Parents have.
Your time has come and you look into that pool. You see your father beating your mother as he drunkenly mounts her. Your conception is not an act of love but of brutality, a preface for the tone of your life...
How would I have reacted if I had been shown this in my preparations for entry into this life? I probably would've decided not to come down. "You can stick that! No, I don't want a body! Not that badly" How much would my heart of sunk, what feelings of despair would have coursed through me. What would my Father say to me to get me to accept this as my life?
As I travel the inter web quite often I hear my gay brothers & sisters bemoaning their lives, how awful & terrible they are, the hardships they have to face. And yes there are many out there who are suffering, who are being bullied by their ward leaders, ridiculed in their schools, and tormented by their quorum members. My heart breaks that so many gay LDS youth are living lives of misery not because of enemies of the church but because of members of the church. Mormons hating mormons is an abomination that should not exist in the Lord's church, but this post isn't addressing that issue. This post goes out to those who are living lives of misery because they are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They are the authors of their own difficulty because they are refusing to accept their lot in life and wanting something different from what they have. When all it will take to step out of that misery is to accept who you are, a glorious creation of our Heavenly Father.
I have been told by several friends that they admire me, that I have a hard path to walk, and the strength it must take to walk that path. I truly do not understand nor believe that I deserve that admiration. Yes there are times when it is hard, and the loneliness bites. When I feel empty inside. But then I look around me, at the friends that I have that pray and cheer for me daily. Family that love me. I have the gospel in my life and a relationship with my Heavenly Father that is as close as the relationship with my earthly father. I have friends that find joy in me and when I feel down & alone will make that pain their own, and will send me tokens of their love for me. I have discovered joy in being a gay mormon man. I can celebrate that gayness and keep my covenants, and my Father has sent me a whole army of friends to lift and support me. Maybe if I was doing this on my own I would deserve that admiration, but with all that my Father has sent me to help me I do not do this on my own.
And when I am feeling down...I just think of that other end of the stick...