Treasure Hidden in a Field and the Pearl of Great Price
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” -Matthew 13:45-46
As a kid, this scripture really confused me. This scripture tells you to sell everything you have to seek the kingdom of heaven while the Church teaches the principles of self-reliance and not making unwise financial decisions. I heard the stories of the few who are required to lose their jobs, families, and homes to join the Church and the message that if the Church doesn’t demand much of its members it can’t change them, but this felt contradictory to the message of self-reliance and the values of the Church.
Then one day, while visiting a trans support group while I was trying to figure out who I was and how far I was willing to go to be myself, there was a large group of trans women that I never met before in the group who showed up and they each shared stories of what they had to give up to be true to who they are. They lost their jobs, their families, the roof over their heads; they truly gave up everything for something that is very precious, the Pearl of Great Price. It hit me at that moment that this was what the scripture was talking about.
The world teaches a lot of things about being trans that are false. That it is dishonest, denying biology, a perversion of nature, etc… The feeling around it is similar to how I used to feel about the parable of the pearl of great price: it doesn’t make sense, it seems like a dumb decision, and it doesn’t really seem to fit in the common understanding about eternal immutable truths. But the world is wrong.
Like most spiritual matters, the only weapon I have to fight untruths is my personal experience and testimony from my lived experience. “Oh, thought, I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body” (Alma 36:15) was my general feeling about life since I hit puberty, but I found hope in Alma 36. I held firm in the faith that one day I would figure out what great sin I was guilty of and repent so that one day I could have “joy as exceeding as [had been] my pain” (v. 20). But doing everything to be perfect, serving a mission, repenting of every small mishap, and finishing the covenant path by being sealed in the temple did not bring me that joy.
In a period of time where I was forced to reflect, I found myself wrestling before Gd (Enos 1:2) about the topic of gender. I had to confront my long-held misbeliefs about gender and realize that the only ‘scripture’ on gender was the Family: A Proclamation to the World. The only truth about gender proclaimed by prophets testified that gender is eternal. What better way to testify of the eternal nature of gender than to send some of Gd’s children down with spirits that don’t match the biological way we define gender and have us stand up and testify that our spirits which had genders before we gained a physical body do not match the physical body we were given at birth.
With a tiny speck of faith, I planted the seed and experimented on this idea. I tried names and pronouns that did not match what the doctors declared me to be at birth. It felt right. I felt the spirit. I knew it was the right path. I continued to tend the plant as it grew and it is now growing into a beautiful tree that is giving me joy that I feared would never be possible for someone like me. And that joy is available to others who feel that there is no hope bright enough to dispel the despair, as long as they can find the eternal truth about themselves that they need to test and try until it grows into a healthy tree with good fruit.
Through applying the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I found the truth about my own eternal nature, identity, and purpose. I found joy and hope I had begun to fear would never be available to me. I experience the fruits of the spirit like never before. I have found Jesus Christ and what repentance truly means. This path is the path that is leading me to Gd.
The kingdom of heaven did not cost me the same as the merchant in the parable of the Pearl of Great Price or those trans women who showed me what the parable truly meant. My story is much more akin to the man who found treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44). I had to give up my understanding of myself and the world, but I got to retain a house and field that provided me with a way to be provided for. Not everyone’s path looks the same “because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14) because Christ is the only one who has tread the path before each of us individually and we each have to find our own path to the kingdom of heaven.
This article was submitted by an Affirmation community member. The opinions expressed are wholly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Affirmation, our leadership, or our staff. Affirmation welcomes the submission of articles by community members in accordance with our mission, which includes promoting the understanding, acceptance, and self-determination of individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and our vision for Affirmation to be a refuge to land, heal, share, and be authentic.