Friday, October 30, 2015

Affection or Attraction What is the Difference...

Today a very dear friend called and we had the most interesting discussion ever about Affection vs Attraction.  It was something I have been thinking about and it was so wonderful to hear those thoughts coming from him.  It was just what I needed to inspire me to write a new blog.  But...

....First let me tell you about this friend.   We meet a few years ago.  I have known his family for awhile, taught classes for members of his family and knew his wife well, but I had never had the opportunity of meeting him.  

Until one night when I was in the area where he lives teaching classes I get a call from him.  He stated that he had been thinking about me and wondered if he could come where I was staying and spend some time getting aquinted with me.  At the time I was staying at his parents home so it made it easy.  He came for the evening and we sat in the jaquisie and talked for hours.  From that night on we have been best friends.  Really best friends.  We love each other completly and totally enjoy life when we are together.  We live in different states, but we talk when we can and completly enjoy our friendship.  He is one of those friends that I feel I have know forever and we are so comfortable with each other.  He tells how for a few nights he could not sleep thinking about me and wanting to meet me.  I am so glad he followed that feeling for now we share a really close wonderful friendship.  Once when we were talking on the phone, after we hung up his wife commented, "You guys really love each other don't you".  He laughed and said "I guess we do".  

He even made the effort once to travel from where he lives to experience "Third Sunday Dinner" at my home and my family loved him and enjoyed his company as much as I do.  We are years apart in age,  my family is raised and he is right in the middle of it all, so we don't have a lot of time together, but it does not matter.  Friends like that just pick up where they left off.  He totally makes me want to be a better person and his insight and thought process gets me thinking.  I throw some pretty crazy stuff at him and he is always prepared and understands exactly where I am coming from.   This friend has absolutely no Same Gender Attraction.  

From him I have learned to be more Christlike in my dealings and I have learned that no matter where we are in life we can benifit from each other.  I have learned that really good friendships don't require a lot of time and when we follow impressions great things happen.  From his friendship I have learned just how large the human heart can be and that there is always room for more.  I love meeting like minded men,  meaning men that understand the true value of healthy meaningful intimate, non sexual relationships with other men.  These relationships are priceless.  My friend, I thank you for your friendship and constant encouragement in all things.  Forever grateful to have your friendship, your family, your time, your goodness,  and brotherly love.    Now back to the article....

So one day he sent me this text.....

There is a difference from affection and attraction.  Affection is something that is a gift of God.  It is built around the pure love of God.  It allows us to get emotionally close to someone.  Attraction is something we learn over time and caused because of the affection we have toward someone or something.  I am attracted to the vagina.  But I learned that over time.  When I was a boy, I was naturally affectionate towards women (my mom). Later I became affectionate towards girls.  But it wasn't until I was exposed to the vagina multiple times that I began to like it.  Attraction causes us to to act upon our affection.  My son is affectionate towards a young girl.  But if u showed him a vagina, he'd likely gross out.  Affection towards people of the same sex is not a bad thing.  It is when we act upon attraction which is physical which is bad.

So very well said.  It got me thinking a lot about physical vs. spiritual in relationships.   So I changed a couple parts of his text to not offend, but you get the picture.  We had a lengthy discussion on this topic and this is my angle on what he said.  

Affection in natural and as he stated it is a gift from God.  I agree.  In my thinking affection is spiritual.  It is love and we feel it towards as many as we will allow ourselves to love.  There are no limits on affection or love.  We are free to love or feel affection to whoever we want and as many as we desire.  Affection is pure and clean and has nothing to do with phycisal.  It is a feeling in the heart about how we feel towards someone.  It is a warm feeling and when we feel it we feel good.  There is no regret associated with affection and it can grow.  Affection can be with anyone and is totally acceptable and actually completely needed in our lives. Affection has eternal increase, meaning it will continue to grow forever when based upon good principles.  True affection is not selfish, does not know evil,  it has the power to lift  and uplift ourselves and more importantly those we are affectionate with.  

And Affection can lead to Attraction.  

Attraction is often physical.  Meaning that is it is usually based on physical things.  Like looks.  Attraction does often cause affection.  Often it is the attraction that leads us to make a friend in the first place.  But if we base the entire relationship on attraction, it leads to physical.  Physical is what can cause the damage in a relationship.  Physical is selfish.  It is about filling selfish needs.  When the physical overshadows the affection it can become an issue when acted upon in an inappropriate manner.  The entire challenge of this life is to overcome the physical man, or the natural man  Remember the "Natural Man is an Enemy to God".  Scripture states that is has been and always will be.  Scripture also tells us to "Put off the Natural Man".   

The Natural Man is motivated by physical things and attractions.  The spiritual man is motivated by affection and does not allow the physical to rule his life or actions.   Yes it can be hard and difficult to do that, especially when we are physical and it is a powerful part of who we are.  

I love the affection I have and feel towards my friends and I enjoy the affection they feel towards me. It lifts me in positive ways that bring me more light and understanding.  I enjoy more peace and joy in my life when I put aside the physical and lean towards the affectionate side of my nature.  

We are beings created to both physical and affectionate, spiritual.   

Thank you my good friend for a great thought provoking text.   

I truly hope each of you have the joy in building affectionate friendships that can bring you joy and happiness today and for years to come.  


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Monday, October 12, 2015

Be Careful How You Judge

Frequently  I am approached by someone, or someone asks one of my children if I am Gay.  I makes me laugh how quickly we are to judge by what we hear or what we see.  I have been posting on a blog for the past year,  It's called the Jonathan and David Experience,  it is a blog designed to help men who struggle with SGA, Same Gender Attraction.    I started the blog out of a need to help men who are struggling and need support, guidance, love, and direction.  It has been a great blessing and yet at the same time really hard.  The hard part is dealing with narrow minded people who assume that just because one involves himself in a worthwhile cause he must have problems of his own.  I decided to write a blog to educate everyone just were I stand.  So judge for yourself and please  in the future when you make judgements on people, get the whole story and keep in mind that judgements made without knowing all the details can hurt and cause harm to many, those you judge and who knows how many countless others you will affect by your judgements. 

I have never considered myself a gay man.  However, after all is said and done, most people think I am. It does make me laugh, Let me explain.  The first 18 years of my life were pure hell.  I was raised in a small town in northern Arizona.  As a child I was different from the other children.  I loved playing with dolls,  dressing up in my mom’s clothes, writing poems, and planting flowers.  The hard part was that I was raised in a home filled with what I call “macho idiots”.  These were men who did not understand that a boy could behave in a way other than how they thought a boy or man should behave.  In their minds, real men did certain things; real men did not do the things I did.  It was a difficult situation to say the least.  I really did try to do ‘boy things’.  I tried sports just to make the men in my life happy.  That is what they wanted after all, and so I really tried to please, only to fail and then feel worse.
Home life was hard,  but school was even harder.  I was a sissy at home.  At school I was called a faggot.  To this day I hate both of these words.  I had absolutely no friends to speak of and was beaten up frequently at school, spit on, bullied, and verbally abused by everyone at school and at home.
My parents divorced when I was twelve and that only added to the confusion and abuse.  Her husbands were abusive and difficult and resented me and my feminine ways.  I was extremely effeminate and as I look back I understand completely why I was judged to be gay.
My father, a good man, had absolutely no understanding of me and my girlish ways.  He tried, but had no clue how to raise an effeminate boy.  He told me once in a fit of anger that I was a girl in a boy’s body.  Those words cut clear to the bone and are not easily set aside or easy to forget. I craved his love and attention.  My brothers got all they needed from him.  They understood each other.  After all they were real boys and I was something he just could not understand.  At one point I thought I hated my dad, but realized it was not hate but a desire to have him love me and acknowledge who I was.
I really cannot remember very many pleasant times prior to age eighteen. At an early age I started working in the cafe business, I was constantly surrounded by women which contributed to my feminine ways and was constantly propositioned by men patrons to do things.  I was sexually abused as a teenager by a man who took advantage of my vulnerable state and the need to be loved.
Growing up my family was not active in church.  I tried and had the deep desire to do so, but each time I tried I felt out of place and was often rejected by judgmental church members who did not understand what I was going through.   We moved around a lot and I would try to go to seminary and church and do what I felt was right, but I cannot ever remember feeling accepted or wanted in any church setting.
When I was eighteen, I had an experience one evening that set my course for life.  I was involved in some things that I should not have been doing.  Nothing too serious, but wrong nonetheless.  At one point I was handed a mirror and as I looked in the mirror I saw the reflection of what I thought was Satan.  He was laughing at me and as he laughed at me I heard him say, ”I have you now, just where I want you”.  It scared the crap out of me.  I left the party and called my Bishop and met with him.  Since then I have learned that when the Devil thinks he has won, God always steps in.  The trick is to follow him when he steps in.  I did.
I changed my life and started going to church.  It was hard.  I was still the same effeminate person I always had been.  Because of the small town in which I lived , the people had their opinions of me.  But I stayed the course.  It was the hardest year of my life as I gave up bad habits for new ones.

At one point in that year I came to a conclusion: Everyone thought I was gay and I had to make a decision about who I was.  I didn't know if I loved men or not at that age.  I had never really had many male friends, or crossed the line with inappropriate behavior,  but whatever the course I made a life changing decision during that year.  I told myself that I was not gay and no matter what I felt or what others told me, first and foremost I would follow the Savior and do whatever he asked of me.  I decided that I would keep the commandment at whatever cost, not matter how I felt or what I wanted.
Thirty seven years later after many years of battling same gender attraction (SGA), for me it was more a deep love for men rather than a sexual attraction or need, and coming to understand who I am, I have discovered that the choice I made so many years ago kept me on the path that God wants me on.  There have been major challenges and obstacles to overcome and understand.  I have recently come to understand that  since I made the choice to follow Him no matter what, he has blessed me with an amazing understanding of who I am and why I struggled with those deep loving feelings for men for so long.  Through obedience to Him and my complete desire to follow Him, He has opened the doors of personal revelation and I understand my feminine qualities and attraction to other men are indeed gifts from God; If used in His way this can and indeed will bless my life and the lives of so many others in ways that I am just starting to understand.
So yes,  according to the world’s standard, I might be considered GAY.  But in my eyes I am a man that has a deep Christ like love for men and in God’s eyes I am a son of God with specific talents and abilities, that if used for good can become and have become my greatest blessings and gifts from a loving Heavenly Father.  I am proud to be a man that loves other men in a healthy Christlike way, and I am proud to be a man who chooses to follow the Savior no matter what.  Life is hard, but as we take the challenges we have been given and trust in the Lord,  all things will come to light and we will come to understand our divine missions and stewardships here on earth.

I have come to understand that one of my missions is to teach other men what I have learned and help them understand that indeed we can have deep loving healthy relationships with other men. In fact I have learned that as we move forward and learn to love other men in a healthy non sexual way our lives are enriched and blessed in ways that exceed our understanding.

I am grateful for the challenges I have had and I am most grateful for the knowledge that when we follow the Savior we receive all we need to battle what life gives us. I am happy to have so many loving men friends in my life that bless me in so many ways and I look forward to many more as I have come to understand that one of God's greatest gifts He gives us is a heart with an unlimited ability and capacity to love as deeply and as many as we want. The only restrictions he places on loving others is to keep it within the bonds He has set.

Greatest Joy and Success to you in your own personal journey and please be careful how you judge, you never know what is on another's heart.


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