Saturday, May 9, 2009

Relief from the sexual temptations that so easily beset us

Temptation and suggestiveness are all around us. The sheer amount of temptation to be overcome and ignored can be exhausting, particularly when there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Some struggle scarcely at all, while others feel as though there is a gaping hole in their soul that they can find no relief for. And in light of a movie that just came out, I want to reiterate the line, "I don't believe in no-win scenarios". God has placed us here with difficult, if not impossible dragons to overcome - for a reason

This may include ladies who grow old and never have a chance to marry. It includes guys in a similar position, who couldn't get a date, to save their lives. It includes those who struggle (most likely through no fault of their own) with same-sex attraction. These are not easy things to overcome, and in many cases, they may simply be impossible?

The Book of Mormon was written specifically for our day - yet what does it tell us?

1) We have the stories of both Limhi and Alma juxtaposed in the book of Mosiah.

King Limhi and his people were in bondage to the Lamanites from 145 BC to 121 BC; some 23 years. They had heavy burdens put on their back (and given what we know of Meso-American archeology, this would be quite literal) and a tax of one half of all they possessed. They attempted three times to fight their way out of their predicament, but to no avail. They could not solve their problems on their own. God did not allow them to escape so easily, so that they might learn. He was slow to hear their prayers, because they had been so resistant to the words of His prophets. Because of their afflictions, they were “compelled to be humble” (Alma 32:13-16). Though they resisted at first, they slowly humbled themselves, and their burdens were lightened gradually. And when they had truly humbled themselves sufficiently, they were given relief from their problems – what they could not do on their own.

At about the same time, Alma the elder and those with him, were taken prisoner by the same group of Lamanites. The scriptural record is quite clear that they had not brought this on themselves, but God had given it to them.

Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.
And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.
Mos. 23:21-24
And yet as much trial as He brought upon them, he was willing to be with them in their afflictions.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
Mos. 24:13-15
Does this truly pertain to those who struggle with any kind of temptation? Most assuredly! Christ came to save us from our sins. He is far more concerned with spiritual slavery, than temporal slavery.

If we are trying to do what is right, and yet we do not feel Him making our trials lighter, then we are doing something wrong; we are not living the Gospel as completely as we need. Many of those who have truly struggled with SSA, have later in their lives, been thankful for their temptations, and struggles, because by them they have been drawn nearer to their Heavenly Father than they would have ever accomplished by themselves.

Lest we idolize the prophets themselves, let us remember what Alma said of those venerable prophets, Lehi and Nephi. Even they were not perfect - and as they were were not diligent, they too struggled.
And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.
And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.
For those of us who will never marry in this life, heterosexual, or homosexual, or who simply feel like despairing, God offers us rest from all our struggles, all of which He understand in great detail.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)

But this means coming to Him to the best of our ability, and He will give us rest from our afflictions, spiritual and temporal. For some of us, that means an effort far greater than others, but the spiritual blessing will be proportionally greater.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to tell you that I enjoy your site. I like literary theory. I was born a Mormon but I'm part of several Jewish mailing lists which have the same purpose. I always wondered why we didn't examine our own texts in the same fashion. I suppose I should have figured that someone was doing it.

    Keep up the good work. This is going into my favorites.