Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting my answer through personal revelation

"We all know that human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God. And we will need not just one revelation in a time of stress, but we need a constantly renewed stream. We need not just one flash of light and comfort, but we need the continuing blessing of communication with God." 

I have received my own personal revelations concerning my eternal identity  Those personal revelations have been challenged at practically every turn, and those revelations have stood fast and true deep within my soul.  Over and over again, time after time, challenge after challenge, the answers that I have received through the Holy Ghost have been as is described by President Eyring, "a constantly renewed stream" and "the continuing blessing of communication with God."  It was a great comfort to me hearing those words in the last General Conference.  I didn't always have the gift of knowing who I was with the clarity that I do now, but every exhausting ounce of faith, prayer, study, and yearning to simply know the truth for myself was, and is, worth it, and I will be forever grateful for that gift.

From the day I started transitioning, I started to feel lighter and generally happier in my life; and I'll admit, it felt amazing.  But, feeling amazing wasn't enough for me.  Through the years that I fought to stay male, I found the energy to keep fighting because I had been raised as a valiant Son of God, and I believed in the gospel with all my heart, and nothing was going to get in the way of that.  Towards the latter months of my separation before the divorce, the only idea that I could somewhat hold onto in an effort to stay male was the idea of being a father, and in the end, even that didn't help me like I felt it should.  Then my years of anger following my divorce hit, and even though I still knew the gospel was true, my faith and trust in Father seemed shattered and perhaps beyond repair.  In those agonizing years, the only place I felt I could look for answers was within myself, and those answers were always the same.  I felt helplessly trapped inside a male body that just didn't feel right, no matter how tirelessly I worked and struggled to make it feel right.

Then, one day the idea of being a mother hit me, and my life was forever changed.  Where before I had struggled tirelessly in an effort have any desire to be a father, the idea of being a mother quickly and effortlessly filled my heart and soul, something that I had never experienced before.  From that day, my heart forever changed, and my transition started slowly.  During that time I started to have true joy in my life for the first time I could remember, and within the first two weeks of starting hormones, my coworkers who I had worked with for almost 2 years noticed me smile, truly smile, for the first time.  However, no matter the joy I had found, I was still concerned whether I had made the right choice or not, and that worry consumed my almost every waking moment for almost a year after starting hormones.  It was then, a year later, on November 17th 2013, that I had a personal revelation that has forever changed and began to shape my eternal view of my identity, and that knowledge has been confirmed and grown in my heart more times than I can count.

That year of worry before I finally received my answer was one of the hardest years for me spiritually, and my conviction was tested to the point that I had almost completely lost all hope in ever knowing if I had made the right choice or not.  For many years before I even started transition, I had searched high and low for anything in the scriptures, anything said by any of the brethren, anything at all that might have given me some direction spiritually, and I only ever found half a line in an older talk that even mentioned the topic.*  I wish I hadn't lost my bookmark to that talk, but I will paraphrase: "To those of you who struggle with gender identity, our [the brethren's] hearts go out to you, but today I wish to address same sex attraction."  I read that phrase many, many times, trying to glean anything I could from it.  At that time I only understood one thing.  Gender identity is different than same sex attraction, and no matter how many talks anyone tried to give me to help "straighten" me out in whatever they thought might be "wrong" with me, my situation was different, and I knew that it was, because I heard it from one of the Presidents of the church.

Before the day I finally knew for myself, I had approached Father in prayer many, many times, asking to know anything about my gender, but Heaven stayed silent.  I had decided that what I was doing was right, that I felt like a woman in my heart, but I wanted to know from Him if I was right before I truly let go and allowed myself to be happy in my transition, because if I was wrong, I felt the pain of that would crush me completely and I would be left with absolutely nothing.

Almost one year into my transition, I had two of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had.  Experiences that I will always remember.  Those two experiences helped me see that I could still feel the spirit.  What's more, I knew beyond all doubt from those experiences that Father was looking out for me when there was no one else around who could.  A friend had become the mouthpiece to a blessing I received from three of my family members from the other side of the veil as she asked Father in prayer to help and comfort me in a time of need.  I felt the weight of their hands on my head as they stood around me, and I could feel their love, and the love of our Father in Heaven as they blessed me with comfort that night.  Then, not an hour before my revelation two days later, I saw my Grandfather who the day after he had received his ordinances in the temple, one year after his death.  The day before I had desperately wanted to at least be on the temple grounds while they did his work, but I felt that I shouldn't because I was early in my transition, my extended family didn't know yet, and I felt then wasn't the time to stir the water.  I don't know if he knew how much I wanted to be there but couldn't, or if he was simply making the rounds to visit family before he began his work on the other side, but I do know that he took the time to come say hello.  It was then that I decided that where I could still have experiences like those, my transition hadn't affected my ability to feel the spirit, and if that was true, then all the comfort and guidance I had received with my transition was also all from God, and not just from within myself.

In that moment, I decided with all my heart that my belief of who I am was right, and in that moment, I prayed to my Father in Heaven and told Him that very thing.  When I finished, I heard a voice in my mind as clear as if someone had been standing next to me, confirming who I am, and who I have always been, and the spirit filled my heart telling me that what I had just heard was true.  From that moment, I began to truly know and remember who I am, and who I am and always have been is a Daughter of God.

* I first became aware of what is written in the bishops and stake presidents handbook on this topic fairly recently, and at least a couple of years after I found that half a line.  I don't remember what is written exactly, and it is not my place to say anything about what is contained within those few lines on this topic.  All I can tell anyone is what is in my heart.  After all I've learned and been taught, and as my testimony has grown, all I truly know is that I am a beloved Daughter of God.  I know that the few words written on this topic are often taken at face value, and when something says you can't enter the temple if you do this, most people will immediately assume that it is wrong to do.  I however don't mind that I cannot currently attend the temple.  There is a reason that I was only able to find half a line about gender identity, and I believe part of that reason to be that the world simply isn't ready to hear it.  I also believe with all my heart that when the world is ready, and those topics have finally been brought to light, we will also have what is needed for us to enter the temple at that day.  I believe with all my heart that when that day comes, I too will be able to enter and receive all the blessings of eternity.

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