This is amazing. A voice of hope. Blake is an old acquaintance/friend of mine, and I love his remarks in this video. What I take from this is that hope comes not from a belief that SSA will someday disappear or become a non-issue in their desires to marry (for a great many, in never does), nor from a belief that the same-sex marriage or relations will one day be viewed as morally permissible by God (something that is unlikely, considering gour cherished doctrines taught in the Proclamation on the Family), but from a belief in Jesus Christ and His grace, mercy, and Atonement.
Grace is the enabling power of Jesus Christ, and He can grant us lasting peace and happiness, even as we experience the pain and loneliness of our own personal Gethsemanes. Christ has been through Gesthemane, and in that experience He was comforted by a messenger from God. Christ can and will be the angel that comforts us as we experience our own dark nights of despair, suffering, and loneliness.
“And [Christ] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. … [A]nd he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” —Alma 7:11–12
While many of us understand and preach the joy that can come through marriage, and the sacredness of that institution and the ideal/template it sets for our lives, there are a great many of our brothers and sisters (both those who experience same-sex attraction AND those who *don’t* experience same-sex attraction but who never find someone to marry) whose lives haven’t fit into that template. They often despair at the implication that they might miss out on the lasting happiness and peace that Christ offers to each and every one of us.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises lasting peace for all—not just those who end up marrying in this life. Following His teachings, heeding the words of His spokesmen, and becoming and example of the believers can bring lasting peace to all—whether they experience the unique blessings and opportunities of marriage or not. This doesn’t mean that there are not long nights, weeks, months, or years of struggling patiently through Gethsemane. But Christ has promised to watch and pray with us and on our behalf as we do.
I’m reminded of the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who said (slightly edited for context):
“I am convinced that [gospel living] is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that [each of us] have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. [Each of us] have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
“Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that [each of us], to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price. …
“If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, ‘Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,’ then little wonder that salvation is nto a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot great and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.”
Each of us—whether we experience SSA or not—will have those moments, months, or years of our lives in which Elder Holland’s words will suddenly ring truer than we ever imagined. But I’m grateful for people like Blake who stand as reminders that to every Gethsemane Christ sends comforting angels (the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s representatives, our friends, our families, and sometimes total strangers) to help, assist, and comfort us. And I’m grateful for these reminders, for those who need it, that SSA does not cancel out the peace that comes through living chastely in mind, body, and heart.
In summary, I appreciate this excellent reminder of the importance of (1) acknowledging the inherent worth of each and every individual, regardless of their unique challenges and experiences, and (2) recognizing that while marriage provides unique and sacred blessings, and is a righteous ideal to collectively strive for, the blessings of Gospel living extend to all who follow His precepts, regardless of their marriage status, and that there are a myriad of reasons (only one of which is SSA) why someone might find it difficult to marry and follow that path.
I suspect that there are far more single Latter-day Saints who haven’t married for reasons other than SSA than there are Latter-day Saints with SSA (married or unmarried) combined. We can do a better job reaching out to them. We don’t have to cease holding marriage as an ideal, or even talking about the unique privileges and blessings of marriage as often as we do (I believe that there are strong cultural counter-winds against marriage that are leading many young Latter-day Saints to question its value to themselves, which makes such discussion relevant and important), but we can certainly better recognize, acknowledge, and testify of the peaceable things Christ offers to all people, regardless of their marriage status. We need to.