Monday, February 9, 2015

He gave me my eyes, part 1

My Heavenly Father Loves Me
Children's Songbook, 228

1. Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.

2. He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev'rently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me.

My Journal
September 15th, 2013
A little over 9 months on hormones, I haven't come out and I'm still attending church at my home word dressed male
"Sitting out in the foyer I can hear the primary children of the other ward singing, and today the moment I heard them singing their first song, it instantly warmed my soul.  "Whenever I hear the song of a bird..."  During the sacrament, I think mostly because it was quiet for a moment, I had the thought and memory of a conversation I'd had with our Heavenly Father as the trees started blooming this year and their scent filled the yard. For the first time in my life that I can recall, I was able to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and fragrant scents around me.  As I laid out on the lawn enjoying all of this for the first time, I began to talk to my Heavenly Father.  I absolutely loved being able to enjoy the simple things around me, and I felt that I was able to because of the hormones, and I told Heavenly Father that I didn't want to give any of this up, in this life or the next. I poured out my heart to Him with this desire, and cried a fair bit in the process.  Hearing that song today...the warmth that filled my heart...the comfort of it.  I'm not completely sure what to make of all of it, but I do feel that doing what I need to do to enjoy those simple things is a good thing."

"Sitting out in the foyer still after sacrament meeting reading, the primary of my ward sang the same song.  This time I stopped to listen in an effort to hear other meanings in the words.  The second verse talk about how God gave us our eyes and ears so that we could see and hear, and how He gave us our minds as well.  In all of this, He knew that I would be this way in this life, so did He also give me access to hormones so that I could enjoy those things He had given me, to help them work properly, so that I can enjoy them?  Is this a gift He has given me also because He loves me?  Or am I using some of the things He has given us improperly?"


I struggled for so long wondering if the impressions I was feeling regarding my gender could be wrong, and in that fear, I always tried to question those impressions in an attempt to understand more deeply, and in the hope of truly finding what I needed to know.

About a year and a half ago now, I went in to talk to my bishop about my transition.  I was in the ward that I grew up in, and I hadn't told anyone of my transition, and since I had been on hormones for about six months, I decided that I should go talk to my bishop before it started to be hard to hide.  During the next few visits with him, he posed a question to me.  I don't remember the exact words he asked me that day, but the question went like this: "When you read the scriptures and come across a passage that basically says, all good things come from God and all bad things come from the devil, how does that make you feel about what you are doing?"  I honestly didn't have an answer to his question, and spent the next 3-4 months searching, pondering, and every time I'd come across one of those passages in the scriptures, I would write down my impressions, the date that I came across it, and I would spend some time talking with my Father in Heaven about it.  As I came across those passages, I was surprised at how many there were, when before I could only think of a couple.  Every single time I came across this teaching, I spent a couple of days on that passage and the surrounding teachings, and every time, I felt peace in my decision.

Then one day I came across another of these passages, but this time it added a little bit more than the others.


Moroni 7: 16-17
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.


Those two verses impressed on my mind far greater than any I had previously come across, and I have thought of them many, many times since that day I found them.  In all of my pondering and questioning, I came to this conclusion.  Much like I said in my last post, "Getting my answer through personal revelation," from the day I started my transition, I was happier, and in time, I found myself wanting the gospel in my life far more than I was able to desire it before.  As I continued attending church those times I was able to overcome my dysphoria, and as I continued to pray and read scriptures daily, I found myself able to feel the spirit more clearly than I ever had before in my lifetime, and my testimony quickly grew from my simple testimony as a child, to a fierce love of the gospel and complete faith and belief in all of it's teachings.  As I began to hear the promptings of the spirit more clearly, and as I acted on those promptings, it taught me not only in the gospel, but in even the simple things in my day to day life that helped increase my general well being and health, as well as helping me be more mindful of those around me and being able to know and see their needs.  Even now, two years into my transition, the spirit guides and teaches me the same way, and always brings me closer to my beloved brother Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.  I can testify that I know beyond all doubt that our brother Jesus Christ lives, that he is our Savoir, and that his love for us is greater than we can presently comprehend.  This, and so many other glorious truths, have been taught to me after my transition, a transition that has enabled me to far more easily hear and to feel these things, and to learn of myself in a way that before I wouldn't have been able to understand.

This used to puzzle me, why had I become more spiritual since my transition?  I used to just assume that it was because, as I was becoming female in body, I could feel a greater depth of emotion, and so I assumed that part of that emotion was also responsible for my greater love towards the gospel, but this explanation never quite seemed right to me.  This last general conference, however, that question was answered.  In a talk given by Elder Jörg Klebingat, we were given tools to help us gain spiritual confidence, and to "dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it."


"Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it!"...

..."President Boyd K. Packer has taught 'that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character'"

- Elder Jörg Klebingat, "Approaching the Thrown of God with Confidence," October 2014 General Conference


Yes, Elder Klebingat was referring this teaching to exercise, but the way that hit me when I heard it, and through all my prayer and pondering, and as I've tried to listen to the spirit, I truly believe that this teaching was also telling me why I became more spiritual when I started to transition.  I became more spiritual because I was bringing my body and spirit in closer harmony with one another as I worked to heal a simple, yet life altering birth defect of sorts, a birth defect that left my female spirit in a body that, over time, developed more and more opposite of my eternal identity, slowly increasing the pain that development caused me over time.

I'm getting ahead of myself, so back to the question my bishop asked me.

That passage was different from the others I had come across, and in it, I found my answer to my bishop's question.  Everything that has come into my life since the start of my transition has been good, and always brought me closer to my Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ.  As I was taught in Moroni 7:16 "...every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."  I have done my best to take this teaching to heart, and it has become a guide in my life.  I can now testify with perfect knowledge of who I am, not simply because of this teaching, but because this teaching has lead me to receive continuing revelation from God as was taught by Elder Eyring in the October 2014 General Conference.  At that time, however, it at least gave me my answer, that the path I was on was leading me to be a better person, and to become closer to God.

With that scripture, I had my answer to my bishop's question, so I made an appointment to talk with him again.  During that discussion, I shared my thought's and feelings over the last few months, and he seemed surprised that this was the conclusion that I had come to.  My conclusion, however, did not fit with the words he had prepared for me, and so when I was finished sharing my thoughts, my bishop went on to admonish me to "turn back the clock" and to stop taking the hormones.  Hearing his words, I became confused.  Why would he still be telling me this after the many, many witnesses I had received from the question he posed?  As I became confused during that discussion, a feeling of peace settled over me, reassuring me that the thoughts and impressions I had received were true, and to have hope, and to trust in my witness.  I held on to that voice in order to make it through that meeting, and as I did, the spirit filled me so completely as to completely remove all doubt, and where before I had come to the bishop to help me understand the answer I had received only for it to be brushed away, with the spirit so strongly with in me, I knew in that moment that I was right, and all doubt and fear fled my mind.

As our discussion came to a close, I felt prompted to ask the bishop a parting question.  If his counsel was for me to turn back the clock, then why, why when I followed every teaching I knew in search of the answers, and every time I had felt the same answer, why was the answer I received different from his?  Not long after that an opportunity arose and I moved, and we were never able to meet again for me to hear an answer.

[What I am going to share next is the single most terrifying experience I have ever had, and is also the reason it has been so hard for me to write this post, and why it has taken me so long to share.  Please forgive me if my wording/grammar struggles in the next couple of paragraphs, I will share as best as I am able.]

Upon reaching my car that night in the parking lot as I was heading home, I suddenly felt an almost cold darkness and feeling of utter hate begin to press in upon me, as if trying to crush my heart and end me in the process.  I was barely able to get to a seated position in my car as the force that threatened me on every side, every surface of my body inside and out, pressed in upon me and bound me to the point that I was unable to move, almost unable to breath, the only movement of my body was the intense trembling of my body as this force threatened to crush me completely, except that I couldn't tremble because I was unable to move.  If I had to guess, this experience lasted only 5 minutes, but may as well have been far longer.  I believe that the only reason I was released was because, moments after I was freed, the bishop walked out of the building, and the force that held me didn't want to be known.  I wanted to go after my bishop, I wanted and desperately needed his help and comfort in that moment, but that experience had left me with out any strength in my body and I was in no way able to signal him for that very help, and it was an hour or two before my strength began to return.

That experience in the parking lot seemed to break my body that day, and not two weeks later, I started having the tremors that have grown and evolved over time, leading to the almost frail body that I now have, but despite this physical setback, I had gained something far greater.  I knew beyond all doubt that the path I was on was indeed the path that was meant for me, and not only was my heavenly family pleased with me, but the adversary was very upset that I had come to understand and know my eternal nature.

Now, I can't say that this is how it will be for everyone who suffers with the pains of gender dysphoria, I can only testify of what I know to be true for myself, and I hope and pray that others who struggle with similar decisions will have the comfort and guidance that they need to know and understand one of the most sacred of truths for themselves, their own eternal identity.  To those of you struggling with this or any other difficult decision in your life, I promise you that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you dearly, and an older brother, even Jesus Christ, who, if you do everything in your power to find the right answer and still come up short, or even if you come up with the wrong answer in the end, I promise that He will help you to know the truth for yourself if your desires are pure and you truly seek to know what's right.

No comments:

Post a Comment