Our struggles don’t negate our faith—they build it. Questioning your sexuality, especially as a member of the Church, can be scary, but I have found that there is joy to be had for queer members of the Church.
When I began questioning my sexuality, the first thing I felt was fear. I was terrified that I would lose my testimony, scared for how others in the Church would view me, and worried that I was somehow disappointing God. During this time, I would pray often to my Heavenly Father, always asking him the same question: “Am I really gay?” Each time I prayed I would feel an outpouring of love. As I came to embrace my queer identity, I felt my identity as a child of God grow too.
In his BYU devotional “Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Making Room for Struggle as Well as Faith,” Dr. Eric D. Huntsman talks about how we as members can deal with things that may be classified as “hard sayings.” He explains, “These are challenges that do not go away easily. Rather, often they are struggles that we must deal with throughout our lives. While ideally we would all . . . simply respond with seemingly immediate faith, the reality is as Moroni taught: ‘[We] receive no witness until after the trial of [our] faith’ (Ether 12:6).”
What I thought would be a trial that took me away from Christ was actually the beginning of a deepened relationship I have developed with him. As I grappled with my own “hard sayings,” I found an increase of compassion toward my fellow man, a greater sense of humility as I tried to rethink what my life would look like, and the burning knowledge that this church is God’s church and that the gospel is for everyone.
It has not been an easy journey, and I struggle daily to find joy and peace. I still have many questions, and for a while, I feared that my struggle was borne out of faithlessness. But Brother Huntsman teaches that “we must make space for struggle and faith as we await the final victory, which is assured if we come to Jesus Christ.” My struggles exist along with my faith, and together they help me build my testimony of my Savior.
To those queer or questioning: I see you. God sees you, and he knows your heart. This life is not an easy one, and we will all come face-to-face with sayings that we may feel are difficult to reconcile and cause us, along with Christ’s disciples, to exclaim, “This is an hard saying[s]; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). May we remember Peter’s response: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). When we don’t know where to go or how to move forward, we can find joy in Christ amidst our struggle.
See what else Eric Huntsman has to say about how we can balance struggle and faith in his BYU devotional, “Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Making Room for Struggle as Well as Faith.”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Alyssa J Stevens, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY JARED ERONDU
Read more about sexuality and how it relates to the Church in Michael A. Goodman and Daniel Frost’s article “Constancy amid Change: Latter-day Saint Discourse on Gender and Sexuality.”