I have visited with many, many LDS who have same gender attraction. A common problem they all struggle with is low self-esteem. The culture around us would call us queer or faggot if they knew. So we keep these feelings deep within and learn to despise ourselves and hope that some day that we will change. Some, like Distinguishing Preoccupation, may get into the clutches of a "repairative" therapist who promises a "cure" and when this fails they feel that they are really hopeless. (DP was strong enough to come through it with valuable insights.) I had a therapist try to hypnotize SGA out of me. I finally met a therapist that helped me learn some of most important truths of my life. I have since had them reinforced by sensitive Church leaders and Institute teachers. Let me share some of the with you.
There are many voices within us, many instilled by parents, family friends and other significant people in my life. The voices are part of us and we seldom recognize them and the effect they have on us. One teacher said, "A fish notices water last". Unrecognized and unchallenged we accept them as reality. Some are reality but some are false. Some are positive and some are destructive. The challenge of life is to first recognize the voices, accept those that are beneficial and confront those that drag us down.
Take some cards and write down all your good qualities. Then write down all your sins, shortcomings, weaknesses, etc. Which list is the longest? I wager it will be the latter. "But I must face my weaknesses in order to make them strengths!" Go through a day dwelling on your weaknesses and how do you feel at the end of the day? Those negative voices sap you of the power to overcome. They leave you feeling weaker and weaker sometimes angry/depressed about life. (Depression is anger turned on yourself.) There is a difference between recognizing your shortcomings and wallowing in them.
Many times a day I catch myself and say, "Hey, you are beating up on yourself. What is it doing to you. Is it helping you? No. Then stop it!!" I fight off the critical voices and focus on my strengths. I feel hope and energy and power. I am easier to live with. This is easier said than done. Life can be a struggle and you have to choose to be happy. I fight the negative voices every day. I don't have to listen to them. God helps me.
If you are guilt ridden, remember that the Spirit of the Lord never drags us down. He kicks us in the rear at times, but His message is you are my child. You can do better. Focus upward. Repentance is a positive principle: get off your butt and get back on the path. You can do it. Enjoy the power of the atonement! "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) He knows you can make it. Jesus said, "Repent or suffer," not "Repent and suffer." (D&C 19:4)
Satan wants to drag you down. He tells you that you are an evil sinner. He wants you to doubt that you will make it, to give up and then escape through more sin.
All of you who have struggled, or still struggle with masturbation raise your hands. Hey all hands are raised (including mine). Look at what the voices have said to you each time you have given in. You feel crappy and weak and so you give in again. A fellow discussed this with me, telling me how bad he was. I said, "You mean you have had this problem all these years and still come to Church? You are really commited to the Gospel. You have a lot of faith. You have been struggling all these years and are still in there fighting. You haven't given up? You have a lot of strength!" "Well I haven't thought about it that way," he said. Instead of focusing on the set backs, we began to focus on the days between setbacks. He began to focus on his successes and how he did it, on his strengths instead of his weaknesses. Days became weeks which have become years. There were setbacks along the way, but instead of beating up on himself he learned to ask, "What can I learn from this?" Thus turning a negative into a positive.
An Institute teacher showed me how Nephi applied these same principles. Read the Psalm of Nephi (2 Ne 4:17-35) and see how he starts out depressed and then crowds out the negative with the positive. Like Paul he pushed out of his mind the past and focused forward (Philippians 3:12-14). It takes work, but it is worth it!
As I mentioned in a previous blog, my struggle with SGA, instead of being an albatross, has through God's help, given me unique insights, skills, and strengths, that I could never otherwise have had.