By Ellen Koester
I often reflect on the deeper aspects of life late at night when the world is asleep. I’ll hike up to a hill where I can overlook the Salt Lake Valley, or drive up a canyon just to listen to the silence. At some point on one of these nights, I had a deep spiritual revelation that God actually loves Satan most of all. Our Heavenly Parents don’t blame him for having to find out everything the hard way, and for refusing the gift of the Atonement because it’s too easy and not fair. God doesn’t blame him for not letting go of the anger and the pain; or the shame and the hurt that he feels so deeply. In fact, They admire him for it. But it breaks Their hearts too. What could be more grievous than a brilliant child who refused everything good you wanted to give him? A child who was determined to suffer to the utmost, to take the difficult and painful way through existence because it was his own way? What can be more agonizing, than a child that could not, and cannot forgive God for the agony of the innocent, and for all the pain that must be suffered?
As LGBT Mormon’s we often do this to ourselves; we refuse everything good that God has given us in our lives in relation to our sexuality and gender identity. Because homosexuality and gender non-conformance are spoken out against so strongly, many of us have believed (and still believe) that we have a sin so grave that not even the Atonement can cover our debt. We are taught, and often believe, that if we pray hard enough, follow the Prophet in everything that we do, and practice perfect obedience to the principles of the Gospel, we can overcome a perceived sin, or character flaw.
This agony that we have experienced has shaped and molded us into who we are today. Most of us, if asked, wouldn’t take back that period of our lives… in my own life, it was absolutely essential as I grew into adulthood, and branched out into a place of self love and acceptance of myself. We are never alone. We don’t have to choose the hard path. We don’t have to carry this burden on our own. We have the Atonement of Christ. The Atonement doesn’t just save us as sinners, but it saves us from the back breaking agony of self doubt, and self loathing. Christ is there to support and love us. He has been there with us from the very beginning.
22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delight were with the sons of man.
We are not alone in this endeavor. After all; Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy. Our sexuality and our gender identities are blessings, not curses. If we allow ourselves to lean on Christ, He will support us, and with His support and guidance, we don’t have to take the hard way. We don’t have to do this on our own.