Thursday, May 2, 2013

Voice(s) of Hope, Part 1

So it’s been nearly a month since the Voices of Hope website was released. Now, with finals about over and some extra time on my hands, I am finally able to start writing about the videos and essays. So here’s what you’ll see with these Voice(s) of Hope posts. I’m gonna skip Blake, Josh and Lolly, and Katharine’s videos, since I already wrote about them. And from this point out, I’m planning on writing about three videos and one essay at a time. After I run out of essays, I’ll continue to write about three videos at a time and then come to the essays when more get posted. And pretty much I’m just gonna write about what I liked, so that you can still go and enjoy the videos and essays (multiple times). Alright, now that my logistical/planning thing is out of the way, time to write.

"Happiness and joy and peace can be ours if we will take
one step at a time and stay on a higher road." --Sarrah Groves
First I’m gonna start with Sarrah Groves. The first thing I loved about Sarrah’s story was that she says from a young age she knew she was a child of God and it was that valued testimony that she made the choice to pursue in her adult life, because it was more important to her than her fulfilling her sexual desires. Another thing I got was that for her peace came when she stopped needing all the answers of why it happened, but instead immersing herself in the gospel. That being said, it didn’t just go away. Like she says in the video, you may work at it your whole life and that’s okay. I loved one of the things she ended with, because it’s something I struggle with: Take it one step at a time. Pick yourself up when you fall and then keep going.

"It does work out and you’re able to get through it and see
the other side and see that there is hope and joy.” --Alison Frei
Next on my list are Steven and Alison Frei. Currently, Steve is the president of North Star and you can also check out his story in the Voice(s) of Hope book. One of the things I loved the most about their video was their relationship. At one point Steve says that after telling his wife his concerns he said, “What happens if I mess up again?” to which she responded, “I guess we'll start over again.” Nothing judgmental or extreme. Just “we’ll keep going”. I also loved how they said that this struggle will not always be turmoil. I like that they mention that every marriage is tough and takes work. If it’s not SSA, it’s something else. Steve also said that, though it’s not the only problem a person may have in life, it is good and it may be necessary to continually do maintenance or inventory on it. They also mentioned focusing on the things that bring you joy and bring you closer to the Savior, instead of focusing continually on your problems, which I know I’m guilty of.

"When you mix [the ingredients] together, suddenly
you see that there was a design in mind." --David Peterson
Okay. Third video for this post: my friend David Peterson. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, David has helped me through some intense days before and I am very grateful for him for that reason. David starts off his video by describing how his autism has affected him, which I can relate to, to a certain degree. I am really impressed by David’s desire to serve. Both with those who deal with depression and those who deal with SSA, his initial reaction was to help other people. That desire is what brought about his blog, “(Gay) Mormon Guy”. I loved David’s analogy of life to a cooking recipe (in fact I’ve used it twice in elders quorum because I thought it was so good). When cooking, you don’t put flour in the recipe because it tastes good. You put the flour in because it mixes with the baking soda, the yeast, the sugar, etc. in order to make a delicious, soft, fluffy loaf of bread. I liked the analogy because it helps put in perspective better my favorite scripture (Words of Mormon 1:7). I get upset and go into crisis mode, but God looks at is going on with me and knows that the experience is a necessary ingredient that will mix with my other experiences to make me a better man.

The essay I’m looking at today is by Joshua Johanson. When he talks about the bullying he experienced, it resonated with me. Very little of the “bullying” I felt in my life was other boys directly being rude to me or teasing me (probably because they knew they wouldn’t get away with it, because I’d tell someone) so instead it was exclusion and cowardly anonymous attacks. The exclusion and the teasing made me feel different from the boys and made me feel like something was wrong. His words about finding wholeness, peace, and support resonated with me, as I’ve learned (and am still learning) to do the same. His story of getting to a place emotionally/mentally/sexually where he was able to get married inspired me to keep myself in a place where I will be able to be worthy of the same blessing.

I am very grateful for the Voice(s) of Hope project. I have seen it do so much good already and it’s only just beginning. It will grow, it will bless, and it will do what God needs it to. I love the gospel and I love my Savior and I know it is through Him that my life gets better.

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