Saturday, September 22, 2018

They that be with us - Chapter Nine

This is chapter nine from my big gay Mormon book. It's called                  
They That Be With Us - Finding the Connection Between Being Gay and    Being Mormon.    





Coping With Limited Options; Sleeves or No Sleeves
              
Julie: The young women of the church have been a bit of a quandary as I see it. This chapter is not about the young women, so keep reading. 

Several in my ward are fashion conscious and often lament the lack of dresses they can wear for prom. In a nutshell – they have to have sleeves and there aren’t sleeves out there except in maternity or for maturity. They have been thorough in their investigation, searching everywhere online and off to find a cache of modest stylish dresses they can draw from for formal and not so formal activities. However, as of this writing, the fickle finger of fashion is not pointing to modesty and it doesn’t look promising for the future.
Their young women leader finally said in exasperation, it looks like the only thing we can do about it is to be happy with sleeves and dresses that aren’t as pretty, or to change what we think is pretty. The idea went over as well as pork and beans at Passover. And yet, that is what it has come down to for many of us who wish to follow the prophet’s guidelines for modesty. The world may think it’s pretty. The girls may think it’s pretty. But they will wear something else. 

It doesn’t seem like much of a choice.
Those dealing with SGA are faced with the same apparent lack of choice; be morally clean, or not.

There is Always a Choice
Calvin: Our choices, more than any other single thing allow us to see who we really are.  The process of choosing gives shape and meaning to our existence.  Even “not making a choice” is choosing one over the other, and is an indicator of us to the core. 
To underscore this, here is a story taken right from the pages of my…I mean, this story is strictly hypothetical, and is an example of the fact that often, how we choose to do anything is usually how we choose to do everything:

Some Guy’s Tale
One day while minding his own business Some Guy got in a traffic accident with Brother Benign. Mr. Guy rages at everyone involved and a few who were not.  Fortunately, his son had borrowed all the tire changing equipment so there was no tire iron to brandish, and his license was at home in his wallet so he couldn’t give everyone a paper cut.  While several people did their best to help, Mr. Some Guy, acted like he was on a weekend pass from the state hospital and the cops hauled him in.  This did not improve Mr. Guy’s frame of mind.  He is now at war not only with poor Brother Benign, but cops, lawyers, the jail cafeteria, a judge and a dainty reporter from the Happy Valley Press named Roberta who looked at him funny.  Following his accident, arrest incarceration, plea bargain and a stint in anger management classes, Mr. S. Guy raged from one street performance to the next as the star and common denominator in every altercation - never seeing that he himself was the problem.  His attitude never changed, nor did his way of thinking.  He continued as he always had been and got what he has always gotten.
Brother Benign deals with the dent in his car by jogging for a half an hour after he gets home from work and by telling his wife – who looks on the bright side and jokes with him.  He then takes out his frustration by downloading from the internet a simplistic car body repair guide and spends a few weekends fixing his car. It doesn’t end up looking perfect, but good enough. Brother Benign lives to a ripe old age where he dies from too much fresh air and pineapple on a Jamaican cruise, and not from a stroke at age forty-two like some nameless others.

The same problem was had by both. One chose to react in such a way that he was miserable and defeated. The other made choices that led to other positive choices.

“Waiter, I Would Like A Different Menu, Please.”
Many would say that chastity is an absolute waste of time, that sex is part of us and we should both celebrate and enjoy it.
They’re right, at least partially right; sex is a part of us, and “we are that we may have joy”. It’s the timing that can be critical.  We will explain by chapters end.
A short time back I remember a man in the news who had to cut off his own arm in order to survive. They’ve even made a movie about it.
When I first heard about the event and I was absolutely in awe and wonder that this man survived in such a matter.  He cut part of himself off in order that the rest of him could survive.  What a horrible choice to have to make, and how brave foresighted. 
I sit here in my air-conditioned office with a juice glass at my side and I try to imagine myself in the same situation. I don't think it would have crossed my mind to cut off my arm. What was he thinking?
Well, I suppose he was thinking about having a family someday, and about lightly battered shrimp, or a Manhattan Transfer concert, or a walk on the beach or any of the other things of which he would never again have the pleasure of doing if he were dead of starvation, hanging from a bolder in southern Utah. You gotta hand it to the guy.  Cutting off his arm meant that he then had freedom.  Ironic.

When the Answer is “No”
Can I stay out late?  Can I have gay or straight sex outside of marriage?  Can I take the new car to Northern Wisconsin for the tulip festival?
No, no, and, what on earth?
We have the ability and the right to choose, a right we all fought for. We have our agency, but our ability to make a choice does not guarantee that the choice is what’s best for us, or that we somehow can avoid the consequences of a poor choice.
Calvin: When I am not in the mood for a “no” answer and I think one is coming, I sometimes try to avoid it by not asking the question.  I’m smart like that.  I can also ignore a no and discredit the authority, or I can pretend that there is no authority in the first place. I can believe that what I want is better, smarter, and more important than what He wants, that He must not love me because He said no, or equate easy with what is right.
All of these help me deal with a “no” answer I didn’t want to hear in the first place.
Regardless of my antics to get my way, “no” is still “no”, and I don’t know why the answer won’t change. Part of it may be simple obedience – will I do what He asks when I really want to do something else.  There may be basic rules or laws at the creation that must be abided by.  I just don’t know.
I believe and trust in my Father and those who speak for Him on earth. Even if the politicians and lawyers and neighborhood-watch programs allow, Father doesn't.  This is why we were clear with our belief, faith, and trust in God right at the beginning of this book.
I can't, in my right mind and with an ego larger than some eastern states, believe that what I want, or that the knowledge I have supersedes that of my Father in Heaven.

May I put you on hold, please?
There is part of myself I choose to put on hold and don’t focus on in order to live in a manner that I think is right. I believe the prophet when he states that there is no homosexuality in the afterlife nor was there in the life before we came to earth. There’s a part of me that’s not complete here, and may never be in this life. If I focus only on the things I can’t do I’m in trouble, but if I center my thoughts on the things I can do and do well then things are much more positive.
Like Mr. Ralston (of Pick Which Hand fame), the options presented to us may not seem all that great at the time, but it’s important to remember that we always have a choice. When I’m feeling frustrated, discourage or with limited options, I concentrate the following thoughts.

Cal Thompsons’ Power to the People List
I remember the ability I have to change what I think and what I do.  I try to be ready to switch-out something positive for whatever negative element I am trying to eliminate.
I remember that some cycles are bound to happen – sometimes I am up and sometimes not so up.  I try not to give up or punish myself over perceived failure. And I am very okay with periodic rewards for good behavior.
I choose to be happy. When there seems little else, I remember that this option is always available.
I try to not compare myself to anyone else. One can always find someone more spiritually, mentally or physically buff.  I don’t sweat it. Guys, do you want to see a real man?  Look in the mirror.  Same to you ladies only get your own mirror.
I remember that there is work involved and that things are not going to get better on their own. I try to make use of the resources available, and I stop trying to reinvent the wheel.
I identify problem areas so that when I see a clear sign of upcoming trouble, I can take action.  I don’t wait around for the problem-fairy to fix it, because I am the problem fairy.
I keep at it. The spiritual terminology is to endure, but that sounds resigned to me.  I prefer “Keep at it”. 
Adversity is the source of our deepest growth and greatest 
blessings; embrace it, dare to seek it.  - Aron Ralston

Realistically, How Much Choice Do I Have In My Choice?
Calvin: If I’d been allowed to shop for my challenges before coming to earth, I’d have probably picked things like learning humility despite being heart-breakingly handsome or the challenge of overcoming greed by learning to share my vast wealth and power.
Those things may have to wait. I got stuck with things like learning faith in adversity, compassion under fire, and this ever present SGA. I can’t return these challenges like a shirt that doesn’t quite fit or pants that I have decided make me look fat. And I can’t trade them for someone else’s troubles (not that I’d want to.)
But I still have a choice in the matter. I can mope and pout or I can thrive. I can take my challenges by the horns and wrestle them into submission and let the lessons they teach work their magic on me, or I can let the bull run me over and leave me for road kill.
When I think I have no choice, I remember that the Lord loves me. He loves you, too. (Do you doubt it?  Ask him.) Remember that with His help, you are more powerful than you think. 

We End This Story by Embarrassing My Daughter.
Calvin: At this point in the book I think I should tell you that my daughter belches - like a truck driver she belches. I’m amazed by the decibel range, clarity and sheer volume of her digressions. Though she is in her teens she often finds herself, after such an expression, sitting in time-out on the stairs. She told me the other day that if God had wanted her to be polite He would not have given her the wherewith to burp like a sailor.
I gotta give it to her, the excuse was skillfully done, and yet she sits on time-out like all the rest of her siblings when they choose not to follow family structures. Belching has its time and place: like an all-nighter, a camp-out, a football games, or if you are actually a sailor.  She has a choice to belch or not to belch. Her body may create the opportunity, as bodies are want to do, but the choice to belch comes from her. And though she can choose to belch, she does not get to choose the consequences.
We all have decisions to make. Thank heaven that we all have options and agency aplenty.  There is always a choice, and when we don’t like what we see when we look down the road, we can make another choice. 
(And if she makes the wrong choice one more time I am going to rent her out to the Bonneville Bullfrogs as a team mascot.)

Julie: No, no. You can't end there.  Bottom-line this for me for all those who need a quote to go on their facebook page. You always get close to the point and then back off. I need you to come right out and be blunt.

Calvin:  OK, here goes. I believe that there are rules. I believe that these rules are for our good set for us by a supreme being that loves us and wants us to progress. This supreme being does not view happiness by our puny human standards. 

If being morally clean is what He requires of us in order for Him to give us all that He has - which He has promised by the way -  then that is the choice I will make. Living in such a way will not make me miserable. In fact, if I follow his commandments I will be blessed in ways I can't fathom. 

We have a purpose in this life. There is something bigger and better for us than anything we currently know.

And following His commandments today in part for recompense later does not mean life needs to suck for us now. 

Was that blunt enough?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Chapter 8 - Big Gay Mormon Book

                                                     I got lost on The Road Less Traveled, 
or  Options for the SGAttracted, 
or  The Chapter where Julie lets Calvin tell the Helga story

This is chapter eight of the Big Gay Mormon Book that I am writing with a friend.  I am a gay Mormon and she is the parent of a gay Mormon.



“The Church is for all members…All of us, single or married, have individual identities and needs, among which is the desire to be seen as a worthwhile individual child of God. …The clarion call of the Church is for all to come unto Christ, regardless of their particular circumstances.    - Howard W Hunter

Calvin:  My younger brothers believed that their massive IQ’s were far over and above a regular board game so they combined several of them to create something that they felt resembled a challenge for their dazzling, sometimes dizzying intellect. The game was rather convoluted with many levels.  It featured exotic places, characters and tons of possible scenarios. I only ventured down into their lair once over the holiday and didn’t let go of the iron rod (the stair rail) just in case. All I really remember was marveling at how funny our teeth looked under a black light.
Does anyone think that their mortal existence is going to be any less complicated than my brother’s basement adventure?
In a chapter on SGA options, we need to acknowledge the thousands of choice combinations available. There are different categories, levels of commitment, personalities, social networks, spiritual beliefs. As if that weren’t enough, there are degrees of sexuality as per the Kinsey scale.
I am not in a position to judge any of them. Neither are you. Nor is it our job to. My point is that lifestyles, which I might not consider for my own life, are being lived out by others. What a blessing it is that we all have options and agency at every turn. All of us.
Julie: As a mom, I have certain expectations that I want my son to fulfill, expectations that for now may not be very realistic. Getting past that I need to realize that there are lots of places between perfection and damnation. If he’s not in a temple marriage, maybe a committed relationship is better than multiple sexual partners. It’s not exactly what I think is best, but maybe, for now, it’s better than it could be. And there are so many choices to go and decisions to make.
Calvin: In looking at this subject, we tried to consider as many different possibilities and options for the Mormon with SGAttraction as possible to show that there are as many styles of living as there are bodies and souls. Here are a few descriptions we came up with – many you may recognize.

SGA and Church Membership
Member in good standing - Active
Member in good standing - Not active
Dis-fellowshipped
Excommunicated
Voluntary name removal

SGA, and Church Activity; Faith
Believes and attends regularly
Believes and attends sometimes
Believes but doesn't attend
Does not believe and does not attend
Does not believe but attends anyway

SGA and Relationship Status
In SGA relationship
Single but seeking SGA relationship
Desiring to remain single, Celibate or not
Desiring to suppress homosexual feelings/behaviors and seek a straight relationship
In a straight relationship but unmarried
Straight Marriage with intentions of making it work
Straight Marriage without intentions of making it work

Public Knowledge (Closet Status)

No one knows.
Very private, out to very few.
Only best friends or internet strangers know
Out to non-members, but nobody at Church knows a thing
Out to some nonmembers, but in the Church they are only out to priesthood leaders -seeking their counsel
Out to everyone at Church, or “Out” in general

SGAttraction in the Mormon Church is not a cut and dry deal. Franklin Roosevelt expressed it by saying, “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”
Julie: We acknowledge that there is diversity in the homosexual Mormon world, and what works for one may not work for another - as many options in this world for homosexuals as there are for heterosexuals.  My friend from college has several children now grown up and living their own lives.  Chatting with him on facebook he expressed anguish that his homosexual son was not living the life he wanted him to. He asked me what I would do in the same circumstance. I reminded him that he had another son who was in the same circumstance and as a parent, he had dealt with similar behaviors with this older son. “But that misbehavior was with girls” he responded. Morality, not sexuality was the issue. 
Options become somewhat limited for both homosexuals and heterosexuals when they decide to follow the teachings of the prophets. It is not referred to as the straight and narrow without reason.  The desire to have a family is divine. The need to share one’s life with another person is inspired. How we go about accomplishing these is up to us.
And still, as a parent (still Julie talking) I would hope that my son would strive for a healthy homey, domestic situation regardless. Gay or straight, I would like him to be worthy of the priesthood.  If not that, then I would like him to pray and attend church. If that is not happening, then I would like him to have some stability and limited partners.   A moral core and limit of one pack a week?  I just want what’s best for him, and as a mom my standards are high.

The Choices For LDS SGA
Julie: Not many of the options mentioned are compatible for a LDS/SGAttracted individual to worthily hold a temple recommend. Would you be more specific about what options are realistic to meet both personal and spiritual needs of a SGA
Calvin: The word “agency” would seem to at least imply that those SGAttracted have options.  One of my favorite television commercials of all time was for a fast food chain known for its not-so-fast food.  It starts out at a fashion show held in lovely Yacksburg Siberia inside a drab but spacious warehouse.  A working-class woman, Helga is the model while the Master of Ceremonies, in a high Russian accent, announces “Is next… evening vear,” at which Helga poses in a simple cotton grey dress with matching babushka.  “Is next, swim vear.” Helga has traded babushka for a multicolored beach ball and tosses it around still wearing the same cotton work dress. 
“Is next, Sunday-go-to meeting.””  She is still in the very same dress only this time with a bible and a fly swatter.  The idea was that the people had the freedom to select what they liked – but that there was nothing to select from.
Those SGAttracted, like the citizens of Yacksburg seem to have limited options. Most of life, for all of us, is about a set of limited choices. But taking it one choice at a time opens up opportunities never dreamed of. 
Julie:  I’m sitting here writing at my computer and I suddenly feel thirsty. I have the option to get up, go to the kitchen and get a drink or to not get up, go to the kitchen and get a drink. Once I decide whether to get up or not, a whole new set of choices open up. If I do get up, what beverage will I choose to quench my thirst, and if I don’t get up, what child will I call to go get me that drink?

Options of Living – brought to you by Julie’s sudden thirst
Calvin:  I believe that gays who have had or wish to continue some sort of a relationship with the LDS Church tend to fall into one of the following categories.
I can do as I have been taught in the church to do.
I have never been able to justify dropping or ignoring my testimony of the church in order to indulge my SGAttraction – even when I was in the middle of indulging. I discovered first hand about cognitive dissonance, feeling uneasy because I was trying to hold on to conflicting thoughts simultaneously.
 In order to completely accept one of the ideas (am I gay or I Mormon – as if they were mutually exclusive), I had to ignore the other; either I really wasn’t gay, or the church was not true. Some in my position have reduced or eliminated such conflict by denying or their past experience and testimony. I could not. And though I became adept at justifying my sexual behavior I got even better at simply creating my own world where both were possible and I didn’t have to choose. 
I couldn’t throw the blame on church leaders or on my parents – though I would have loved to throw it on my parents. There seems to be a logical statute of limitations for blaming my life choices on others.
Once I realized that what I was was not sinful and that the SGAttraction behaviors could -- in theory -- be overcome or maintained, I no longer had the need to blame others for my personal mess. I didn’t need to justify, as did Aesop’s fabled fox, that the high hanging, seemingly unattainable grapes were probably sour or otherwise distasteful. I had received a spiritual witness of both the churches veracity and my SGAttraction. For me, the choices from then on were clear, or clearer than they ever had been.
The second option is to choose to deny or to discredit, minimize or ignore the importance of the church and/or its teachings.  
At one point I tried to pretend that I had been brainwashed, that I was too young to be responsible when my religious opinions formed or were formed for me. I thought that I had obtained real, practical experience that overrode my upbringing. 
Another technique I employed that I have since seen in others was to begin selecting the principals taught in the church that I chose to continue to invest in/believe in: Going to church, yes, tithing, no, being kind to others, yes, chastity, no. 
And then there is everything in between. There are so many other options that I just call them, “and the rest,” including…
●One can live with the dissidence. I do it, but I know it’s wrong; I do it, I’d rather not think about it;     
●He can live in a non-monogamous or multi-partnered gay life.
●He can live something in-between outside of the LDS church - visiting at will.
●He can enjoy a relationship with a SGAttracted partner while maintaining a belief in and keeping relationships with the LDS church open however limited it may be (no callings, temple attendance, or priesthood use). Blogger land if full of these men who love the church and their SGA partners both.
Now we throw a stick into it.
●He can enter into heterosexual marriage, being committed, with full disclosure. 
(While there are many options after this, I will not include them as we, in this book, are not promoting marital infidelity or dishonesty in any way.)  All of these can be done with various degrees of honesty and integrity. And all of these can be done with various levels of church activity.

A Quick Experiment For The Bold Of Heart Concerning Choice For the LDS SGA
This isn’t playing fair, but I am going to ask you to do something. If you had to pick the three top options for your child or brother, for your dad or best friend, which would you choose?  And, no, you can’t pick just one.  Consider this an experiment in unconditional love.  Go back and look at the list and pick the top three in their order for someone you love. 
Do you see the problem?  Try to fit them into the church or into your life if they use their agency and select any option but the first, or the one you agree with.  Does your loved one still fit into your LDS life?      
Julie: As members of the LDS church and as a couple sealed in the temple, my husband and I have been taught over and over again the importance and responsibility that comes with the gift of one of Father’s children. We know that we must raise them with care, teach them the gospel and do everything within our power to get them back home; we aim for that goal and define our success by that objective.
The problem with this perspective is that, like the straight and narrow road we are trying to follow, there isn’t much wiggle room for our children. If they don’t choose a temple endowment, church activity, obedience or a heterosexual relationship, then it doesn’t matter what else they choose, because it won’t be enough for us, and we will lose them.
But what if the choice isn’t between going to church and not, what if the choice is between doing drugs or smoking? Getting drunk on Friday nights or an occasional glass of wine with dinner? Or how about anonymous SGA sex at the club or a committed monogamous relationship with someone of the same sex?
Not so simple is it? We certainly don’t want our kids strung out on cocaine or trying to drive drunk, but could we live with the alternatives? Could we view progress for what it is, even if it isn’t as complete as we wish it would be? And could we sit back and be happy for a responsible son, holding down a full-time job with a like-minded life partner? What if they chose to adopt a child? Are they still in the family picture?
These aren’t easy questions for me to answer, and they may not be for you either. Seeing our children settle for less than their potential, even if that less is better than they were before feels like a cop-out, and accepting the situation, for us, feels like giving up. Sometimes in our efforts to help our children be obedient, we become their worst enemy. We push and prod and nag our children right out of the church and worse yet, right out of our lives.
Calvin: Latter-day Saints often think in terms of black and white, good or bad, wrong or right.  Most of our loved ones don’t live that kind of life.  If we are honest, most of us, though we try, do not live that kind of life either. Often the more personally involved we get with our fellow mortals the more we are aware of combinations and degrees--not “shades of gray” necessary, but different points of view and unique perspectives with each choice, each bout of agency having its own set of consequences both here and in the world to come. We widen our view to include all those we love.  


Monday, August 27, 2018

Chapter Seven - They That Be With Us - Finding the Connection Between Being Gay and Being Mormon.

This is chapter seven of the big gay Mormon book I am writing with a friend. It is not salacious.  And the reason I am writing the big Gay Mormon book is because I am gay and I am a temple recommend holding Mormon man. 



Chapter Seven: The Enemy We Know  
or "Alex, I will take 'Demystifying Satan' for $800"

Calvin:  When I play games of any kind, I’m out to win.  I may look all passive and docile, but I’m the Dominator - especially when I play my kids. They are young enough that I can predict their moves simply because I know them and how they think. I know that if I can take my son’s queen then the game is not as fun for him and he quits. I know that my daughter likes all her pieces in a straight line - which is hard to do in chess but she does it. I use that information to exploit and win. 

On the other hand, my wife knows me well enough to know that if she drags the chess game out or plays something that takes hours - like Monopoly -  then I will probably get bored and concede the game.
There is someone else that knows us at least as well as I know my kids or as well as my wife knows me -- someone we face every day in matters more important than a chess match. 
Lucifer has a great memory and he has no rules. His aim is as obvious as his methods are devious. Satan’s desire is to destroy the children of God on the earth and to make them miserable. He is the enemy of all righteousness and of those who seek to follow God. If I seek to follow God, then he is my enemy, too. 
It would be wise to familiarize ourselves with him and his tactics in order to avoid deception and capture. We will discuss him briefly in this chapter to get an idea of his plan of action. Once we have done so we will focus on the Savior and followers of the Savior who have successfully avoided being caught in Satan’s traps, and how we can avoid the pitfalls, to begin with.
The apostle John A. Widtsoe states in this account of Lucifer 
“...He pitted his own plan and will against the purposes of God. He strove to gain the birthright of his Elder Brother, Jesus the Christ. When his proposition was rejected, he forsook all that he had gained; He was no longer Lucifer, bearer of truth, who walked in light, but Satan, teacher of untruth, who slunk in darkness. He became the enemy of God and of all who try to walk according to the Lord's commandments.”
The prophet Ezra Taft Benson taught that Lucifer wanted, not just to be honored, but “to be honored above all others. In short, his prideful desire was to dethrone God.”  In a vision given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, we learn that Satan wanted “to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” These are not the altruistic actions of one meaning to selflessly submit, or the unveiling of a gentle penchant to resist to authority.  His intention was to take over, to usurp God the Father.

Against The Odds
A third part of the hosts of heaven who were present with the millions of us in that pre-earth life assembly followed Lucifer. They declared that they no longer believed in the truths as taught by Father and were cast out of heaven. They were denied the blessing of a physical body and the chance to return to the presence of God. When the devil and his followers were cast out they were sent to earth where they, as evil and generally unseen spirits, seek to destroy all mankind.
They were angry. They still are.  
“The adversary’s aim is to destroy us. Angry that his plan was not adopted in the heavens; angry at his failure in the rebellion against God and at his expulsion from the courts of glory; angry at his being deprived of a body, he and those who fell with him have been eager ever since that dreadful time to destroy their brethren and sisters who did not rebel with them. We who are here (tonight), as well as all who are upon the earth, kept our first estate. We did not listen to Lucifer. He was a mighty angel; he had exceedingly great power in the presence of God. He used his great influence with the family of God to convince them that the plan which he proposed was the better one and to persuade them to reject the plan of God and his Son Jesus, our elder brother. Failing in this, he has, apparently, declared war against all his brethren and sisters who were honorable and maintained their allegiance to God. Therefore he is continually spreading snares for the feet of the children of men.  -Apostle George Q. Cannon

Satan’s Method of Battle
Calvin: In Satan’s version of the story of the preexistence, like a fractured fairy tale, he is cast in the ingénue role as the innocent one. He believes that he has been conned out of what was rightfully his; that he is the picked on, the victim. Obviously, with one third the host of heaven following him, he can be convincing. He tells a good story.
“Satan knows all the tricks…” and the traps, and the lies. He is skilled enough to be able to turn anything to his advantage.
Almost everything.
One of his primary tactics is to encourage those on earth to deny his existence or his purpose. This ploy has had great success. We ourselves help this along may assist him to disappear in the crowd by being equally as anxious to eliminate any wrongdoing or culpability/responsibility in the matter. It’s easier on our conscience if we can convince ourselves that there are no rules, there is no bad, there is no Satan.
How naïve are we to consider, even for a moment, that Satan doesn’t exist.  And what an excellent game plan he had conceived. How can we hope to defend ourselves against an enemy we have been convinced is not real? If we take his existence lightly we will in no way be prepared to resist him. How do we fight something that isn’t there? How do we prepare for battle against a thug we have made-up to scare children into obeying?
There is a popular series of young adult novels that establishes the enemy, the villain as someone who must not ever be named out loud. This may have originally started to dishonor him but it eventually became a jewel in his crown—his name struck fear, which for some became a type of reverence.
I do not revere Satan or those who belong to him. I have seen the lives he has destroyed. I have seen his power. I respect him as an adversary but would rather deal with him by staying out of his way as I try to follow the Lord.
Satan would keep the attention off himself and his minions, while he stays in the shadows. I would shout his name from the rooftops if I thought the publicity would demean his cause. The day will shortly come when he won’t be as subtle or secretive with his intentions.
Elder Marion G. Romney, at the time 1st councilor in the first presidency said:
"We Latter-day Saints need not be, and we must not be, deceived by the sophistries of men concerning the reality of Satan. There is a personal devil, and we had better believe it. He and a countless host of followers, seen and unseen, are exercising a controlling influence upon men and their affairs in our world today."
Satan’s Other Tactics
We have previously noted Satan’s penchant for convincing us that he and his minions -- as well as evil itself -- are of our own creation if they exist at all; That he is the one wronged.  His other tactics include:
Encouraging sin, presenting sin as inviting and desirable, or teaching that repentance is meaningless because there is no sin. He minimizes sins seriousness and its effects
Calling good evil and evil good—the wholesome is demeaned, degradation is valued;
Guiding us to concentrate on the present and ignoring the future,
Teaching us to ignore the revelations of God, or that there are no such things;
Flattering us into thinking that our worldly wisdom is enough, resulting in modification of standards to fit current social norms.
The war that began in the pre-existence when Lucifer decided that he knew better for us and about us than Heavenly Father did is still being fought today. The emotions have not faded. Though there is a veil that covers much of our memory, it only affects those of us here on earth with bodies. Those without the veil remember entirety.
Satan remembers which side we were on. He knows who we were and where we stood – and how we chose. He knows our names. He remembers what we liked and what our preferences were and where our vulnerabilities lay—like I know how my kids think when we play chess. He knows our frailties and our week spots. He uses strategy. He is going for it all, and he’s got a head start.

Julie’s Guide to Knowing Who is Who
Julie: Satan’s power is real, so real that it can sometimes be confusing whether the thoughts or the inspirations we feel come from Heavenly Father or from Satan. We must be vigilant in guarding against the prince of lies and his deceits if we want to resist being pulled into his web. 
By the time I was out of high school, I’d had numerous opportunities to feel the Holy Ghost in my life, and I recognized the Spirit whether as a small still voice or a power that filled my whole body with light.
A girlfriend invited me to attend an interdenominational bible study group and I agreed to go. They met in the apartment of one of the youth leaders, a guy in his mid-twenties. My friend and I were two of about fifteen teenagers in attendance. As the meeting began the leader invited us to take turns sharing the story of how we had been saved. As a member of the LDS Church, the term saved was more of an ongoing process than an actual point in the timeline for me, so I turned to something more familiar: My testimony.
The last young woman who shared her “saved” story spoke about an important college exam she was preparing for, and someone suggested we pray for her success. To my surprise, everyone left the couch and chairs to sit cross-legged on the ground in a circle around her.
I hesitantly joined them.
Prayer was safe, I thought to myself. I’d been praying since I was a little girl and I was comfortable doing it. Despite the differences in our doctrine and the growing antagonism of the youth leader, we were all basically talking to the same God. 
No one was called on to be voice, so I assumed we would all quietly say our own personal prayers. I folded my arms, bowed my head and silently began, “Dear Father in Heaven…”
But...
The whole experience was strange, and I would have gotten up and left the circle if I hadn’t felt it would be disrespectful to their faith. Instead, I prayed more fervently asking the Spirit to be with me. Suddenly I felt an invisible power rush through the room. It felt like a strong wind blowing first one direction and then another, although nothing in the room stirred.
This power was strong but unfamiliar and it seemed to affect the other teenagers almost immediately. The noise level increased, someone started crying out and another shouted halleluiah. I was terrified. Evidently, the others in the room had felt this power before and assumed it was of God, but I knew immediately that it was neither good nor holy. There was no warm peaceful feeling, no sense of safety and love. It was erratic, stimulating everyone in the room with its powerful but unfocused energy.
Fear overcame me, and I prayed fervently to be protected from whatever unseen evil had entered the room. A few moments later the prayer circle was over and the young people stood up, their eyes glazed and their energy drained.
 
I left the apartment as soon as I could, but what stayed with me was the memory of how differently I had perceived the experience. Several of the students spoke of the beautiful and powerful Spirit of God that had been there, and it seemed I was the only one who’d realized that God had had no hand in the evening. Powerful? Unbelievably. But divine? Certainly not.

General Moroni; The Example of Man (Regardless of Sexuality or Preference)
Calvin: So we know who Satin is, what is motivation is and what tools he uses.  Let’s now look at someone who was successful in fighting him.
Mormon in his writings was quite impressed with Moroni the man and leader—enough that he named his son after him.  “And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery” 
 I always had the image of the man we have come to know as General Moroni as the anti-Satan.  Not just a follower of Christ, but one who proactively pursued and destroyed the influence and those influenced by Satan.
If ever there was a list created on how to overcome the influences of Satan, this would be it.
His heart was large in (giving) thanks to his God
He worked to keep his people safe, had sworn an oath to do so, which included defending his people, rights, country and religion
He promised never to raise the sword except against an enemy, or to preserve their lives.
He was strong in the faith of the Savior
He was obedient in keeping the commandments of God
Because of his faith and responsibility, God would warn them according to their danger;
His heart did glory in doing good, in preserving his people, in keeping the commandments of God and resisting iniquity
By actions he was/they were all men of God.
He preached the word of God, and they baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken
 People did humble themselves because of their (his) words
If we were like Moroni, the devil would not have power.
He was strong enough to fight Satan. He was resourceful and innovative. His use of armor and weaponry was inspired. He was respected by honorable men.  He was bold enough that if more were like him the foundations of hell would tremble, and I want him on my side.
I have never been bold enough to shake the powers of hell. Moroni was powerful in ways I may never be. No one is going to mistake my arms for Moroni’s via an Arnold Freeburg painting regardless of how thick my armor is. But I can still adopt Moroni's faith into my own attitude and actions. 
I can, on a smaller scale, be a thorn in Satan’s side.
It’s getting down to the wire. We all sustained Heavenly Fathers plan and we were willing to submit to all things which the Lord saw fit to inflict upon us.  We had purpose and vision. We believed in eternal life – God’s life. We had the fulfillment of knowing who we were and what our Father thought we could become.  We can still have all these things.
We are sons and daughters of the King. We all have worth in the sight of our Heavenly Father. Where we are in life or how successful we have been thus far does not change this fact.
We will focus on the Lord, and we will be sustained in our challenges and disappointments, in our successes and failures.

Why did I spend the last few minutes reading about Lucifer and his schemes in a chapter about gay Mormons?

If I may be frank:  Now, like then, we have a choice. We can follow the Savior or not. When the Savior - through his prophets or by his own mouth -  says that sex is for marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman, then that is the way it is. 

However, it took me years to come to that conclusion. I was no choir boy during that time. But I finally figured out where I wanted to go from there. I remembered what I committed to in the preexistence and then again in the temple. Anything short of following the Savior will not get me where I want to be. 

If someone else chooses differently, then God bless them. I love and support them and wish them the very best. have made my choice and I expect the same respect. 

Because of what I know, I have no need to spend any more time trying to prove to myself that my very existence is not futile or absurd. I know who I am, and I know that both the Savior and our adversary know me as well. When times get tough -- like they were yesterday and like they will be again tomorrow -- I remember who I trusted (and who I didn’t) to get me back home.