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Being Spiritually Independent

Speech given by Adryán Lima, Vice President, Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends at the Affirmation conference in London, Saturday, June 11, 2016
I feel very grateful this morning to be in this country. I have to recognize and extend my thanks to the members of Affirmation that through more than 37 years have made contributions of all kinds and thanks to them we are here reaching a global presence. Thanks John Gustav-Wrathall and Randall Thacker because I know how special it is for you to be in Europe, the origin of your ancestors.

In 2000, at the start of the new millennium, I managed to finish my studies in Economics, and during the five years of my studies the influence of thinkers and teachers of the most important economy for me have been the English. It is a model country that I admire very much. I can’t believe I’m standing here in the wonderful United Kingdom. It is with this that I would like to start my message.

When the common European Union currency was created, to the surprise of Europe, the U.K. said, “Wait, wait we aren’t going to do that.” In 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty the UK achieved an exemption clause where the UK was not required to enter the Euro common currency.

Learning about this act of defiance by the UK vividly impacted me during college, and framed my thinking about life in many ways, by teaching me something. Just because others do something that seems “good” or seems “good for everyone,” that doesn’t mean we should then immediately say, “Well, we should do it as well.” I learned from the English that when someone says “be the first,” it’s OK to stop and say, “No, I will wait and be the second.”

The UK had a stable economic system that it did not want to mix with other economies that could destabilize it. There was a reason for its economic substance, and it could not put at risk what for hundreds of years had led it to be one of the most stable economies and also an example for other economies. It was not long before other economies with unstable public finances or public debt affected the stability of the Euro and was affecting other countries.

Today with this example I want to start my speech. Since my childhood, I had a variety of religious and spiritual influences. Studying in a school of Catholic nuns of the Order of the Virgin Mary of Perpetual Help, through metaphysics, astrology, magic, spiritualism, Mormonism, and analyzing other cultures and religions, I spent over 20 years searching and asking Heavenly Father: Tell me why I’m Gay. Tell me why you have blessed me. Tell me why. Because as I grow older I see that not only does the Lord give me more knowledge of life and the gospel, my life is preserved. Even as a teenager in the environment of spiritualism in my family I asked, “Why was I born? Why did I ask for this opportunity to come to earth? If the world around me was not for me, if I had to shut off my love, my attractions or desires I felt to love someone, why come here if I felt that I didn’t even fit into the model?” I remember times in my childhood I wondered even whether to wear girl clothes or whether I should wear boy clothes because in the “traditional” concept, one says, those who love boys are girls, and those who love girls are boys. Which one am I, a boy or a girl? and which of the two is the person I want to have? Many of us had similar doubts about identity and orientation being tested in our social lives, in our families, in school, trying to figure out how we all fit in.

At the age of 33 in 2010, I gained my complete independence when I left the city where I was raised and where more than 400 workers whom I trained in the company where I worked and their family members knew me, and where 5 stakes and 24 wards and all their leaders and bishops and members knew me as the stake executive secretary and most eligible bachelor for their daughters. I left my native city of Tampico in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico and moved to Mexico City. There I was free to dress and act however I desired. I also began a journey into the wilderness of my soul where I sought light in dark places. Yet, in this wilderness for 3 years a small flame remained constant, my interior flame, and I discovered that notwithstanding, and for some this may seem surprising to hear, that with or without garments, and even in the most dark of places I felt my Heavenly Father with me, protecting me, and removing me from people, moments, and places where I could be permanently hurt spiritually, to the point that it seemed that even in some of these dark places there were angels, guiding others to protect me. I remember how a friend of mine, Carlos, who had HIV, would separate me from people he knew to have the wrong intentions, saying, “No! you aren’t for them!” Today, Carlos is not longer with us but I will always remember his smiling face.

In mid-2013 my life began to turn more towards the light and I realized that I had been testing my spirit to the limits, including abusing the protection and guidance and blessings of God. It was then that I decided to search for a final time in buddhist principles, in energy teachings, and spiritualism the answers for what my mission on earth was as a gay man. Surprised by the number of spiritual mediums, shamans, teachers, spirits, and healers, from whom the answers were all the same, and when I would speak with them scriptures from the gospel would pass through my mind, especially the teaching of Jesus and the plan of salvation.

It was incredible to me. Among the answers I received – “the mission of your life is you”- from a session with a spiritualist, from an astrologer who read my cards – “you have come to learn from yourself and to know yourself and accept yourself.” The card reflected all the aspects of the ego. “You were born in the age of aquarius because you are a fighter for light.” In the spiritualist temple they said, “God, your father loves you—seeing you naked spiritually and knowing all things about you.”

I know this can all sound very strange, but my reason for sharing this is to show that even with all the questions, places, doctrines, religions, philosophies that I searched that as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or whatever you may be, the answer will be the same: the mission of your life is “to be whom you are” or as the scriptures say, “I am that I am.” There are no special missions, public callings or preferred callings in the Church, or positions in the world that are greater than another. They are all tools and teachers to your spirit to help you grow! When I heard them saying, “You are who you are,” I understood that as LGBT people we must overcome the stereotypes, misconceptions, ideologies, and fears that we may have planted in our heads.

I realized I had created illusions of spirituality by some of the things we are taught and do in the Church, which really did not give me faith and hope to the point that my hunger to know took me to the darkest, unknown and riskiest places in an effort to find a reason. And to my surprise I found myself face to face with the truth of the Gospel – that “I am who I am.” Instead of believing in a non-productive theory that presumes that in order to grow I should get married with a person of the opposite sex in a beautiful Disneyland castle, all picture perfect! No, because God showed me He is so much more than that!

Throughout my life I’ve learned that the scriptures say that I left the presence of my Heavenly Father, took a mortal body made of clay, inhabited it, and that that principles and commandments Jesus taught were so that my spirit would not be a slave, so that earthly things would not overcome my spiritual power. This did not mean that I was to deny myself the blessing of having an intimate relationship with someone, to stop living, to stop feeling joy. There are many scriptures about this. And it isn’t necessarily about running away from the church and its leaders either, and from who I truly am.” Yet, as many religions and Jesus showed us, it is about “learning to let go!”

In the month of March, during a difficult personal situation resulting from being overwhelmed by many responsibilities, and having thrown myself on my bed, I asked the Lord, “where do I need to let go to make myself feel better?” And the Lord in my mind, responded that “I should let go of my worries related to all materials, people, assignments, loves, longings, etc.” But one thing I should not let go of is what is inside me, that is part of me, that formed me, how He made me. That’s part of me, and that is the knowledge of the gospel and spirituality as given to me as a gay Mormon!

What did that mean? It meant that I needed to remember that I had chosen to be born in this time, in this place, and that the purpose of all spirits, as it says in D&C 93, is to increase in intelligence, and that energy is light and truth that can not be destroyed and as the astrologists said, the planets arranged themselves so that you could come and take a body on earth, and as the great energy teachers said, spirits and energies helped you to become who you are from God and the Universe. All the doctrines of light tell you: You are light, you were born, you took a body, and that body will make you feel pain, fear, anxiety, anguish, envy, etc. – all those things that bring the energy of distraction to your divine purpose, which the scriptures refer to as from Satan – all that distracts you.

And for that reason it is important to let go of all things. Because as we let go of all earthly things, the spirit grows, as you open your arms more and more like Jesus on the cross, and let go of all things, your spirit expands. Today, I just want to say that we all were born to return to our Heavenly Father, but it is not as man sees from his limited vision, imagining castles in the sky, but simply as Jesus taught – letting go of those emotions and situations that go against our spirit. You were born an individual and you will progress individually and individually we work with our own selves to grow.

Many are surprised when I say, “God laughs at covenants” because I do not believe God needs covenants. God blesses us with or without them. Yet he accepts covenants because you are the one who needs the covenants to believe in yourself, not because he requires it. Please don’t have fear of the future, but believe firmly in the promise of Jesus Christ, that in His Father’s house there are many mansions, many, and that eternity is thousands of millions of millions of photons and photons of time and light in the universe and that when you let go of all things there is only one law – the law of love – like when he said, “he that loves much is forgiven much, and he that loves little is forgiven little.” Be sure that all that you choose to do in this life is to really love and to let go of the earthly and instead develop a life full of the fruits of the spirit. Beyond all that can be said about human life, you have a unique plan as a LGBT person, and that the more you let go and love like Christ with your arms open, the more you will receive and you will return to God’s presence with more light. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3: that there is nothing better than for man to be joyful and live a good life, letting got of the obsession of perfectionism and the need to be better than others.

Maintain, as the UK has maintained, your own essence, knowing who you are and what moves you internally, what is yours, and do not change it because of what others say. You can collaborate with the rest of the world and serve them without losing the essence of who you are, saying, “I am light. I have a unique pan for my life.” Believe that your Heavenly Parents spiritually put you here to have this life. And like the United Kingdom, you don’t have to do it to someone else’s timing or model, because even though you may appear to be like others your spiritual plan is to return with more light, your light on your own time and way and plan. God will give you a hand, believe in Him, He loves you, He knows your unique spiritual plan that will bring you back to Him.

I conclude my message sharing a phrase from a famous Mexican singer, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, “You don’t have to be first, you only have to know how to arrive” (spiritually).

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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