So when I went to church yesterday, I attended Priesthood meeting for the first time in who knows how long. I typically haven't attended Priesthood in several years because my experience has been a lot of unprepared, boring lessons with a lot of guys I don't connect with; plus it's the earliest meeting, and I work late. It just isn't my bag.
However, yesterday was ward conference, and I thought we might have a combined meeting with a more inspirational lesson. I was right that it was a combined meeting. When the man giving the lesson stated that the basis of the discussion would be Boyd K. Packer's last talk in General Conference, I bristled because I wondered if it would head toward homosexuality-bashing, and when he started talking about the Proclamation on the Family and the things Satan does to weaken and/or destroy the family, I thought for sure we would be heading that way.
Much to my surprise, the topics of homosexuality or same-sex marriage were not mentioned once (although I have a feeling if there had been more time, they might have been mentioned). Instead, we spent most of the class talking about pornography and the dangers that come along with it.
I swear, there must be a massive pornography epidemic among members of the church because it comes up so often in conference talks and church lessons. In any case, the class didn't do much to change my lack of desire to attend Priesthood. Talking about pornography for 45 minutes didn't do much to make me feel closer to God.
Sunday School was good. We talked about John the Baptist. It was also a bigger group due to ward conference, and my friend (the same one who attended my disciplinary council), who normally attends another class, was there, and had some good comments. One thing I like about her is she's not one to give your standard "Sunday School" answers; she actually has thought-provoking comments to makes. One stake leader pompously answered a question as if he were an authority, and she rightly disputed what he said because the fact is his answer was not as definitive as he may have thought. I like that my friend isn't afraid to speak her mind. In any case, the discussion was more lively than usual, and I enjoyed that.
The talks in Sacrament Meeting were by our bishop and stake president, respectively; both men I know well. The topic was that this life is the time to prepare to meet God. I suppose these talks should have made me feel bad since, according to LDS doctrine, by acting on my homosexual feelings I am sinning, and therefore am probably not using my mortal probation the way I am supposed to be. Yet, as these talks were given, I felt very good about where I am in life, how God views me, and where I will end up. I am judged within the parameters of my own situation and knowledge, and I believe that there is much more to the plan of God and his perfect knowledge of our lives and circumstances than we realize. There was an assurance that as long as we are doing the best we can, that is sufficient, and I feel I am doing just that. It was nice to be reminded of that during talks which could have potentially made a person feel less sure of themselves. In fact, one of the biggest promptings I felt was that personal revelation is just that - personal - and as I reread the scriptures upon which our ward conference theme was based, I was uplifted.
32. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
33. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
34. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
It occurred to me that I am doing very much to "improve [my] time while in this life" and that I am perfectly happy that the spirit that possesses my body now will be the one to possess it in the eternities because my spirit is a very good, happy, and joyful one. If that's who I am in the afterlife, that pleases me immensely.
Anyway, it was a pretty good day at church overall.