Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's Sunday morning...rather than clean my house or pay bills like I need to, let's talk religion. Again, this is not a well-thought-out essay, but rather just some random thoughts that have been going through my mind this morning.

The topic of today's sermon is suffering. All of us suffer to some extent, no one's life is perfect every minute of every day. Suffering is just part of the human condition. Those of us that are LDS have it ingrained in us...suffering is a big part of our church history, and we are taught that suffering can make us stronger. We should almost welcome it, and "enduring to the end" will bring us rewards. Those of us that are mohos go through alot of mental and emotional suffering as well, trying to balance our spiritual beliefs with our biological condition. Some of us handle it well, others not so well.

As I may or may not have mentioned in previous posts, my underlying philosophy about God is that he is literally a loving father. I don't claim to be a better parent than Heavenly Father, but I figure that he loves us the same way I love my children. He is just and merciful. Just as I would never deliberately bring suffering upon my children, I don't believe that he deliberately brings suffering upon us. But I also think God is a lot more "hands-off" sometimes as well...he doesn't cause suffering, but he doesn't prevent it from happening either. Applying this to being gay, I don't think that God deliberately made me gay to challenge me or make me stronger. He may have had a purpose for it, but it wasn't to make me suffer.

Just because God doesn't stop suffering from happening, I don't think he particularly enjoys seeing it happen. Do I think God could step in and stop a tsunami from happening? Definitely, I believe he is all-powerful. Do I think God could miraculously change someone from gay to straight? Sure...who am I to say that it can't happen or hasn't happened? But I don't think that God steps in and influences our lives as much as people think. He lets life take its course. And sometimes that means watching us suffer. It's not that he doesn't care; I believe that he knows the intimate details of everyone's lives. But even God has laws that bind him (e.g. the principle of free agency), and maybe letting life happen is one of them.

So is suffering inevitable? Yeah, probably. Do we have to just take it and "endure to the end", suffering through life? No way. I think we as church members put ourselves in the victim role far too often. I think we put ourselves in God's hands way too often (even though that's not necessarily a bad thing), and don't do enough for ourselves. Maybe that's callous, or even blasphemous, to not want to wait around for God to ease my suffering...after all, he loves me and doesn't want me to suffer. But I'm also not going to wait around for my earthly dad to bail me out of my problems...I'm competent enough to make my own choices and find my own solutions. I kind of even think that God doesn't necessarily even CARE if I'm gay or straight. But he does care about my happiness, and he cares how I handle myself and treat other people.

Anyway, just some random thoughts, maybe some of which contradict each other. I wasn't sure what direction this was going to go when I started writing. But to summarize, I believe God loves us no matter what, and he doesn't deliberately make us suffer. It's just a part of life. It's not a punishment, and it's not a blessing either.


darkdrearywilderness said...

Just to clarify, I DO believe that God can ease our burdens, and can comfort us in time of need, and he wants us to seek his companionship through prayer and other ways. But since it's not him that causes our suffering, we don't need to totally rely on him to get us out of it, either. And I reserve the right to change my mind or have my thinking swayed on anything I post!!

Anonymous said...

I think Yoda said it best: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Ben said...

You have children? Or were you speaking hypothetically?

I agree with a lot of what you said.

JonJon said...

I agree, I think God is more hands off than Mormon culture would like to believe. I think he relies on us messing up and having weakness as part of his plan. Our imperfections create friction in our lives and in the lives of others in a way that gives us the opportunity to grow and learn. It's not that God is stepping in and making that happen, it just does as a result of agency. Where he steps in is helping know how to navigate through all of it in a way that helps us grow from it instead of become angry and bitter.

Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of a quote I remember hearing from General Confrence, I think. But it goes like this, "Pray as if it is up to God, but work as if it is up to you."

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