Friday, January 25

A Sweetwater Rescue


Their story:

I should like to tell you of three eighteen-year-old boys. In 1856 more than a thousand of our people, some of them perhaps your forebears, found themselves in serious trouble while crossing the plains to this valley. Because of a series of unfortunate circumstances, they were late in getting started. They ran into snow and bitter cold in the highlands of Wyoming. Their situation was desperate, with deaths occurring every day.

President Young learned of their condition as the October general conference was about to begin. He immediately called for teams, wagons, drivers, and supplies to leave to rescue the bereft Saints. When the first rescue team reached the Martin Company, there were too few wagons to carry the suffering people. The rescuers had to insist that the carts keep moving.

When they reached the Sweetwater River on November 3, chunks of ice were floating in the freezing water. After all these people had been through, and in their weakened condition, that river seemed impossible to cross. It looked like stepping into death itself to move into the freezing stream. Men who once had been strong sat on the frozen ground and wept, as did the women and children. Many simply could not face that ordeal.

And now I quote from the record: “Three eighteen-year-old boys belonging to the relief party came to the rescue, and to the astonishment of all who saw, carried nearly every member of the ill-fated handcart company across the snowbound stream. The strain was so terrible, and the exposure so great, that in later years all the boys died from the effects of it. When President Brigham Young heard of this heroic act, he wept like a child, and later declared publicly, ‘that act alone will ensure C. Allen Huntington, George W. Grant, and David P. Kimball an everlasting salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, worlds without end.’ ” (Gordon B. Hinckley,
Ensign, November 1981)

My story:
So here, I stand. A five-year member of the Church. A return missionary. Someone so eager to get to Zion that he, too, didn't count the costs before leaving on the journey. One who left too late in winter and was caught in an early winter storm. Coming to terms with my homosexuality has left me standing on the icy banks of my own Sweetwater River. As I've confided in people, hoping for help, I've been continually let down. Many members of the Church try to understand, many do not. But their answer is always the same: "have faith and walk forward."

Unfortunately, I'm stuck. I don't have the energy, the confidence, the hope that I once had. I don't know how to overcome this battle. I need someone to carry me across--a modern-day Saint with the courage, faith and love to sacrifice their own interests, prejudices, desires to help carry me across this cold and icy stream.

People can ask me to make long and lasting sacrifices without thought. They ask me to lead a celibate, lonely life as if it were an easy thing to do. When I waiver or am apprehensive about their request, they tell me it is a lack of faith in God.

And yet, they are too afraid to help me at all--or more appropriately, to help when something significant is asked of them.

18 comments:

  1. I am standing on the edge of that river as well. And while i might not have the strength to carry you across, maybe i can hold your hand and we can hope together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome to the Mormon queerosphere!

    I don't know how to overcome this battle.

    I think therein lies the problem. Being gay is not something to overcome, it is something to learn to accept. Unfortunately, most heterosexual people don't understand that. Telling a gay person to "stop being gay" is like telling a person suffering from depression "stop being depressed." It doesn't work that way.

    But, you are among friends here in the queerosphere. Some of us are trying to figure this out too and may only be a step or two ahead of you.

    BTW, I added a link to your blog on my blog, I hope you don't mind. And I just love the title of your blog -it's so gay :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It would be nice to be saved with one heroic act.


    In reality is is the boring tedious lists of the church "to dos"that will save us...oh wait that's right...faith in Christ is what saves us....

    Welcome to the Queerosphere!

    And I completely agree with Abelard.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would be willing to carry you across if I knew how to cross it myself.
    So, your from the northwest huh? Me too. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope you find your rescuer.

    Unless that's not what God wants. Maybe God's plan is to freeze the river so that you can walk across. Or maybe He wants you to turn back and go the other way.

    Whatever it is that He wants, you have to figure it out. No one else can tell you. Especially if they are telling you to sit patiently in the snow waiting for something. Cause you'll freeze to death, and whoever tells you to do that is just cruel.

    (sorry if that comment sounded weird. I ought not to blog at this hour).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Welcome, welcome!

    If you're standing on the edge of the river, at least you know where you want to go. The river may seem uncrossable, but here are a few things you can do. One, keep yourself oriented to the Lord because He does not limit your choices to the ones you stated. The situation is not as stark as you may think.

    What I mean is that your choices are not (a) be gay and solitary, (b) morph into a heterosexual, and (c) throw yourself into the embrace of gay sexual perdition. There is another choice, and that is to take one step after another in the right direction with the commitment to do the right thing.

    I read in 1 Nephi 17: 3 that the Lord will provide the nourishment, strength and means that you (and all of us) need.

    You, too, can marry a beautiful daughter of Zion. You, too, can become a loving, doting father. Oh, and did I mention that you'd remain gay, or at least, with diminishing same sex attraction? In other words, gay but in a heterosexual marriage, with great intimacy and real love, albeit it with sexual attractions to guide and direct to the right destination (wife).

    If you hold onto the rod of iron, the truth, the mists of temptation won't hold you back.

    I won't say hang in there, rather hang on and move forward!

    J

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was very touched by your post.

    You're welcome to come to my web site. It's for the ones who like to wade streams!

    www.lds-ssa.org


    Best Regards,

    Neal

    ReplyDelete
  8. A lot of LDS people can be judgemental about homosexuals. I wish I had advice for you, but as a straight girl I don't really know what you're feeling. All I can say is don't listen to others when they tell you that you're lacking in faith. You know your testimony better than anyone else. And honestly, I think God gives As for effort ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Many of us are standing on the river's edge.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Imperfect But Working On ItApril 18, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    I disagree with abelard it is something to overcome. It is difficult! I have a similar problem, I am not gay, but have had immoral about children. You can talk to your bishop, he will help. I was told to see a councilor who has helped me and I am now getting ready to go on a mission. So it is possible to change your sexuality.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't have any advice for you except to tell you my heart goes out to you. I think God will lead you to the answers that are right for you. It doesn't make much sense to condemn yourself for something that God has made you to be.

    ReplyDelete
  12. we all have tempations to overcome as members of the church. i am a recently returned missionary and i have also had my own struggles with certain temptations, nothing to do with homosexutality but tempatations that seem imposible to overcome. but as i have lost my self by working for the savior.. i have started to find myself. there is no doubt that overcoming temptation is hard but i know that when we put out weeknesses in the Lords hand, we can be made strong. you taught the gosple for 2 years and have seen the changing effect the atonement has on people... some can change over night and some take a little longer to overcome but with faith, prayer and a lot of study we can have to strength to over come

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't help but feel a since of sadness, or lonliness, and I am so sorry for that. All I can say is that we all have our sweetwaters, and I hope you feel that the Lord is mindful of you. He loves you. Maybe you could make a New Years resolution to be prayerful, study the scriptures (those two things always seem to give me hope), and maybe you should do something a little silly. Sometimes we overwhelm oursleves with our own thoughts that we aren't able to fully enjoy the journey.
    If you ever need to unload to someone...shaunaha@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I searched the internet for images of the celestial kingdom to create an art work for a friend trying to explain where I come from - culture / gender / ethnicity / spiritual / identity. your site came up.
    --------------Thank you!---------
    unfortunatly I took on a huge amount of guilt for many reasons when I was brought up in the church. I allowed This to shape my life negativly for many years.

    Now I have accpeted who I am. I am a Polysexual, I will not let an attraction be defined by gender or sexual orientation.

    Recently I have learnt to appreciate the good stuff I learnt in church (values that have pushed me to have a fufilling job).
    I have also learnt to ignore the prejudiced judgements and dogma.

    Keep strong. I hope you have already crossed the river holding a hand of someone you love who respects you and your beleifs!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We have something beyond ourselves. The power of God is the key to our salvation's plan, because it is too easy to be caught by our own relativism.

    Power from God brother! Hold on to those feelings that come from the power of the Holy Ghost. This is your rescuer.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just hang in there dude God loves you no matter who you are or who you love the river may seem difficult to cross now but remember god wants to help you all you need to do is seek him. But i beieve that if your heart is in the right place you can do anything you want

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello dear Saint! I am a convert to the church and although I am heterosexual I see the reality you face as a member of this church and the cultural restraints that are so very different from the loving God that I have a testimony of. I am glad that I fell upon this blog...it is rather interesting that I did because I am preparing a talk on sacrifice right now in honor of pioneer day. All I can say is that you are a child of God and he loves you. There are many in the church who are accepting, loving, and waiting for the cultural storm of bigotry and blindness to be washed away by the hope and true love of Christ and our Father in Heaven. Hang in there and know that perhaps it is not you who needs the rescuing but those who are not able to find acceptance and peace with those whom our loving father has created. There is truth at the bottom of all things; sometimes the muddy and dark waters of people's imperfect judgment hide the beauty innate within the Gospel.

    ReplyDelete