This challenge has been terribly difficult for me, and I have done a lot of murmuring myself, but as the Lord has helped me to see more fully His dealings with me and the rest of His children, I have felt much less inclined to murmur and more inclined to faithfully submit...
It has been difficult for me--as one who experiences same-gender attraction, a challenge that often seems impossible to bear and remain faithful--to recognize the possibility that my cross is not more unbearable than those that others may be called to carry; to be sure, it is different, but it is not unequal or more unbearable...Ty Mansfield in In Quiet Desperation
It turns out, being gay is hard for a Mormon. Who knew? I've felt pretty darn sorry for myself a lot of the time. I've battled depression and hopelessness, searched for what I thought was an acceptable solution where I thought none existed. I felt guilty and worthless. You know, the usual.
When I read the Oaks and Wickman interview on lds.org, there were a few parts that raised my eyebrows. One such part was when Wickman said:
We live in a very self-absorbed age. I guess it’s naturally human to think about my own problems as somehow greater than someone else’s. I think when any one of us begins to think that way, it might be well be to look beyond ourselves. Who am I to say that I am more handicapped, or suffering more, than someone else?
I read this as minimizing the challenges someone with same-gender attraction faces. He proceeds to describe the challenge his handicapped daughter faces, and my reaction was to wonder if he really had any understanding of what all is involved with same-gender attraction. I wondered how he could compare a physical disability that would rule out marriage in this life with a situation like mine--one of psychological torment in which I wrestle mostly secretly with feelings of despair, worthlessness, and futility knowing that I am perfectly capable of finding physical gratification but that my incessant yearning must be squelched. In some ways I would prefer to not have the desire at all, to accept a physically handicapped life of being sterile or something of that nature. It's a combo package of loneliness, hopelessness, and unending temptation, or so it has seemed to me at times.
I suppose his point was an apt one after all--I do find myself thinking that I have suffered more than others when I know in my sane moments that that is absolutely laughable. I've never experienced poverty, genocide like in Darfur, domestic violence and sexual abuse, progressive terminal disease, intractable pain, a child locked in a basement for years... the list goes on.
I'll take my challenges I suppose. The Lord knows me, and he knows what will make me the man he wants me to be.