February 2, 2014

He Made Me. Who Am I To Change His Will?

In Poole, England my missionary companion and I were called over to a members home who we had come to know very well. This member had health issues for the past couple of years, but since I had been called a Zone Leader and moved to this area he had quickly worsened. We met the couple and saw Ed (name is changed) gasping into his oxygen mask as if it was the last bit of air on earth. His wife sat down and told us he was nearing his end and called us over to administer his last Sacrament and give him a blessing.

We blessed the Sacrament and administered it to him and his wife as he put his mask down just long enough to eat and drink. He then very firmly and confidently asked us who had the most faith that night. My companion, being the person he was, volunteered to offer him the blessing. Ed told us we had two options: One, my companion could bless him to pass from this life quickly and painlessly, or two, he could bless him to heal completely. My companion hesitated and asked Ed what he wanted. Ed looked him in the eye, lifted his mask slightly off his face and said, "live!"

My companion administered Ed a priesthood blessing that he would be healed 100% percent and live on this earth for many years to come.

I had felt uncomfortable with the request taking place and did not feel the spirit confirm to me that Ed would live. What I did feel was that Ed's wife needed a blessing. When my companion had finished, I looked at Ed's wife and asked, "would you like a blessing too?" She paused for five seconds and then gushed with tears and nodded her head in the affirmative. She asked me to offer the blessing.

As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I had many opportunities to offer such blessings. But this bless was one of a few that I will never forget. I laid my hands on her head and after the prescribed wording to start, I paused. In that moment I received direct counsel from the Spirit that Ed would not live. I blessed Ed's wife that though she would be tried and tested in the near days and though her life was about to change she would find peace and find solace to the gospel. I all but said Ed was going to die—without saying it. It was what I felt being told to me.

This experience taught me that God's will, no matter how opposed we are to it, will go forth.

I have never asked for my gay feelings to go away. I never thought about asking in prayer to be straight. The idea that God would change who I am internally was foreign to me. Though to this point I always assumed I would marry my BFF. I had never heard to that point in my life from anyone in the church that someone could, or should pray the gay away. Why would God need to change something so innocent and benign.

What I did ask God for was that I could love my BFF and that we could be married one day and be happy. I asked many times to give me a clear sign she was the one. I sat in the London England Temple more than a couple dozen times, looking at the beautiful art in the celestial room, staring at God through the gold trimmed, pale blue sky with white clouds on the ceiling, asking for a way to marry her.

I was a faithful, obedient and worthy missionary. There was no reason for God to not honor my prayers, except that it wasn't God's will for me to marry my BFF or any woman.

When I was attending Brigham Young University Idaho (for the one semester I was there) Elder Russell M. Nelson came to speak at our Stake Conference. The bulk of his talk was about priesthood blessings going unanswered or being answered in the opposite way they were called for. I instantly thought back to the blessing of Ed on my mission. Ed died a week after his blessing to be restored to full health. Nelson related that even though we can be worthy and have righteous desires in our heart, God's will won't be stopped. A sick woman will die, if it is God's will, whether or not she received a Priesthood blessing to be healed. It does not invalid the priesthood's worthiness or mean they didn't follow the spirit. Blessings, Nelson related, were to comfort and give God's message to the recipient. Though sometimes requests are made and though sometimes they are honored, we should not be surprised if they are not.

Like I said, I have never prayed for my gay to be taken away. To those of you who have prayed that God might change you by removing your gayness, you do not lack faith or worthiness or priesthood power. It is my belief, that it is not God's will that you be changed. He made you and me, he has a will for us. I do not profess to know why, in God's plan, I am gay.

Ed was being called home by God and no priesthood blessing or prayer could change that. I am attracted to men and no priesthood blessing or prayer can change that. I am a gay Mormon, so why should I, or you, wish to change what God won't.


  1. What a beautiful, and oh, so powerful post. Your words, Trevor, are poignant, filled with power, and I have felt the Spirit reading what you have written.

    I, too, have never prayed for my gay to be taken away. As I acknowledged to myself that I am indeed gay, I did question how I would ever be able to choose between the Church and being gay. Those seemed like my only options. But, they were not. In the moment of my deepest despair over this conflict, Heavenly Father revealed His love, and Heaven's love, for me. He told me it was "not necessary that you kill yourself because you are gay. We love you and know you." His love was so profound that, within just a few days, the conflict that was tearing my life apart- trying to choose between the Church and who I had been born to be, a gay woman- completely ceased and I saw how I could have both, myself and the Church. I do not know why it did not even occur to me that I could have both.

    I love your posts, love the ways in which they make me think, love how they remind me of so many powerful things in my own life, and from my own mission. It takes courage, as you had, to listen to the Spirit and share blessings from Heaven through the priesthood power you held with people who needed knowledge and comfort. My father and three brothers are also all men who listen to the Spirit as they give priesthood blessings to bless and help others. I am so grateful for men like them, like you, who have honored their priesthood and have help people's sufferings to lessen. I weep with gratefulness. Thank you. :)

    Love, always, Duck

  2. Thank you very much Duck. I am glad that you have found your path, I know there are many still struggling to find how they fit in all these things.

    P.S. Did you disable comments on your blog? I read it, but notice theres no commenting.

  3. Yes. Thank you for reading my blog, though. :)

  4. What a beautiful and poignant mission experience. Some of my times feeling closest to God and the Spirit have been in my (what I think is) righteous use of the Priesthood in offering blessings or performing ordinances.

    I think it's interesting the difference between how you and your companion handled the situation. I think there are a lot of people out there who treat the Priesthood just as a way to "demonstrate" faith or do the "correct" thing for the occasion. Actually--I'm convinced--it's not. The point is to listen to the Spirit and _represent God_. That is such a powerful idea. We do not represent God by trying to impose our wills but by trying to align our wills with his. This will result in a "miracle" as either God's will and its fulfillment will come as a surprise (which, I would argue, if Ed were meant to be healed, the surprise would have been in the spiritual confirmation of such and consummated in the act of the blessing--not in his well-I-didn't-think-it-would-happen-but-asked-anyway-wow-look-at-that healing) or we will come to terms with God's will (like Ed's wife), even when we previously thought that was impossible.

    1. I imagine the vast majority of people do things in the priesthood with a good intent. I did, when I could. But you are right that a lot of time it is used to demonstrate people are faithful. I mean how often do we hear the same phrasing in baby blessings and such? Great addition to my post, thank you!

  5. Holy crap, this is exactly what I needed to read. A couple Sundays ago when I mentioned to the bishop my (extreme) misgivings about being the Primary pianist, he told me he would like to give me a blessing. I hesitated, and he said, "It certainly couldn't hurt, right?" I assented. The whole time, though, through his blessing me that this calling would strengthen my testimony of the gospel and bring me closer to Christ etc. etc. I just kept thinking how wrong he was and how wrong and fake it felt to be hearing those things. He wants a certain outcome from this calling, but I know that this is not right for me.

    Thank you so much for yet another awesome post. :)

    1. Thanks Rex. Like I said on Trev's comment, the repetition of words and phrases begs a second look from those giving blessing. I certainly am guilty (when I could give blessings) of doing things out of going through the emotions.

    2. Huh. Rex, your comment reminds me of one of the most striking aspects to me of Emily Pearson's (Carol Lynn Pearson's daughter) memoir _Dancing with Crazy_ (a book that I had low expectations of but was pleasantly surprised with how fascinating it turned out to be and what depth it had). She discovered at some point that her reliance on blessings was a severe handicap to her that she subconsciously used to surrender her own ability and responsibility to choose her own responses to the events of her life. She discovered she had to deny blessings and eventually couldn't even pray because of the effect it had on her (she really went through a lot of stuff... I had heard so from people who read the book beforehand, but, holy cow...). I can rather relate to that, actually.

      Ha, I can hardly bring myself to pray lately, or don't want to, for the same reasons as Emily Pearson, in large measure. I don't know where I am with the the Church, and yet I occasionally rattle stuff off like that comment with full confidence and--honestly!--conviction. Life is so weird. And, Trevor, I don't know whether you meant to write "emotions" or "motions" at the end, but either way, it was either a funny "Freudian" slip or clever play on words.

  6. Trevor, how is it that you are just so wise? This post touched me deeply. I tried to "pray the gay away" for years, in a way (though not necessarily in those words), and that prayer was never answered in the way I'd hoped it was at the time. Now that I can look back on my life, I realize that was the wrong thing to ask. I should have been asking how I can be the best me given that I'm gay and Mormon. I would have learned how to be happy a lot faster.

    Also, I completely agree with Duck. You simply rock.