This was supposed to be a series of posts, but it was turning into a novel. And if I'm going to write a novel I'm going to sell it, not give it away for free (except for free signed copies to my MoHo buddies). I condensed it down into one long-ish post. Hopefully it still gets my point across.
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.
For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
In the beginning we were with God. We saw that He was perfect and had a tangible body. We were spirits. His spirit children. He taught us. He loved us. He interacted with us. At some tipping point, our Heavenly Father decided to offer us the opportunity to become like him. We could upgrade from the spirit beings that we were, to become an immortal, physical/spiritual being like we saw He was. We could be like Him and do what He did.
There is one important item to consider with this. He does not exist alone. He exists with his eternal wife. Husband and Wife. God and Goddess. In order to enjoy the eternal existence that They do, we have to be in the same condition - joined in the bonds of an eternal marriage of husband and wife. This is what Eternal Life is. This is how you come to know God.
Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
These verses raise a very interesting question. Is it possible that gay people can go to heaven and live with God for eternity? I would emphatically say that the answer is YES. Most of the gay people I've met in my life are incredibly wonderful people. They are usually more kind than the straight guys I know. They are more helpful, more forgiving, more loving, etc. They live more Christ-like lives than half the Mormon guys out there.
The Celestial Kingdom is not just about Mormons who have been married in the temple and sealed for eternity. According to verse 1 there are 3 communities within the Celestial Kingdom. Verse 4 clearly states that to continue increasing, which is to be like God, fathering spirit children and creating worlds for them to experience mortal life on, you have to enter the highest degree. That degree requires eternal marriage as defined in the scriptures and the Proclamation on the Family.
What about the other 2 communities? Verse 4 states that these communities are the "end of his kingdom," meaning that there is no eternal increase. You will father no spirit children. But, you are living in heaven, with God. You made it! You get to dwell in His presence forever. Could it be possible that this would include gay couples who have lived honorable and Christ-like lives? Absolutely. Will they be an eternal couple? No. The only way to continue on in a wedded state beyond this life is through temple marriage.
What do you want for eternity? Do you want to live in a heavenly state as described by all of the other Christian churches out there? I do believe that the 2nd and 3rd degrees of glory in the Celestial Kingdom can fit this description. I've believed for a very long time that most people are going to get exactly what they think they're going to get in the next life. If you want to live with God forever and be buddies in a brother/sister sense with everyone else, that is completely possible without subscribing to the Mormon set of beliefs. This is a gross generalization, but most Christian churches teach heaven to be something like that - you are you and you live with God forever.
I think that would be a pretty awesome condition. I can't find the quote, but we all are familiar with the statement (whether it be real or an urban legend) by the Prophet Joseph Smith where he said that if you could catch a glimpse into the beauty of the lowest degree of the Telestial Kingdom, you would kill yourself to get there - it's that much better than this world. Imagine that! That's how I feel when I eat good chips and salsa. Now consider that living in the presence of God in the Celestial Kingdom is infinitely more amazing than that, in the same way that the sun from our perspective is infinitely brighter than a star. I can't see how any of the other churches out there are letting down their people by teaching them to be good so they can live with God forever. It will be much more wonderful than any of them are expecting.
But what about eternal increase? What about becoming like God and doing what He does? What about the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom? You have to meet certain criteria to get there, and that is where the LDS church comes into play. The Priesthood was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that authority is carried by his successor Gordon B. Hinckley today. It is only through that authority that you can receive all of the ordinances that will enable you to enter into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. This path is not an easy one, but if you want eternal increase you must follow it.
That is what I want. That is the desire I have for myself. That is my goal. In my mind, there could be nothing worse than coming in 2nd place in the game of life. Why bother living a life full of rules and restrictions so that I can live with God, only to be denied that last little step? To me, that is Hell. To go so far, and just not quite make it all the way.
I choose to live a life that will allow me to not only live in God's presence, but to become like Him. It's really difficult, especially with the gay factor added in, but I desire that more than I desire anything else. I've had some horrible spots in my life where God reached down and picked me up and held me in His arms. I know He is there. I cannot deny that. I will do everything I can to submit my will to His so that I can become like Him. Like any child who truly loves their father, I have an insatiable drive to be like Him and do what He does.
That requires me to live the life I do. I want to be married the way God would have me, but I'm gay. So what do I do about it? I live my life as best I can as a single man, secure in the knowledge that one day marriage will happen. Be it in this life or the next, it will happen. My patriarchal blessing seems to indicate that it will happen in this life, and I hope that is the correct interpretation of it. But if not, then I'll just have to wait.