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fotolia_2397706Summary: This page addresses the importance of spirituality in your efforts to resolve issues related to same-sex attraction. It discusses basic gospel principles such as faith, repentance, and forgiveness. It then discusses other gospel subjects that relate to your ability to succeed in resolving your issues.

The Need for Spirituality

Spirituality can play a major role in your ability to resolve issues related to same-sex attraction. Our strength to succeed comes from God rather than a method. Commitment to and faith in God is the key to applying His healing power in your life.

Faith in God

Do you believe that God can save you? If He is powerful to save you, can He help you make changes in your life? With faith, God can heal you not only spiritually, but also physically, mentally, and emotionally. No matter what our weakness or our insufficiency, His gifts and powers are sufficient to overcome them all. God gives us weakness to make us humble, but also gives us His grace to make us whole. If we humble ourselves before God, and have faith in Him, then He can turn our weaknesses into strengths. The very source of our troubles can be changed into a strength and source of power. God says that His grace is sufficient for all of us, regardless of our challenges. There is nothing two people can’t do if one of them is God.

Equally Yoked Together

God wants to help us. He pleads with us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). He offers us a yoke, not to encumber us, but to help us. When you are in the yoke with God, it means that He is pulling right along with you. And, in fact, when you don’t have the strength to pull, He will make up the difference. What a comforting assurance! All you have to do is your very best. If you try with all your strength, then God will make up the difference.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

The purpose of Christ’s Atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of life. Jesus Christ came into the world to be crucified for the sins of all mankind. It is through Him that we can be sanctified and saved. The great sacrifice He made to pay for our sins and overcome death is called the Atonement. It is the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mankind. Because of Jesus’s Atonement, all mankind will be resurrected. Christ made this sacrifice for us freely because He loves us. The Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to each of us as we try to improve little by little and overcome our challenges.

In addition to the sins we commit, Jesus’s Atonement can also compensate for things that are committed against us—the wounds we suffer as a result of another’s sins or misdeeds. Thus His Atonement has the power not only to heal us of the sins we commit against others but also of the impact of sins committed against us. It can heal all inadequacy and mortal sorrow regardless of its cause. There is no problem for which the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not sufficient.

To gain a greater understanding of Christ’s Atonement and a deeper appreciation for it, you may wish to read two small books by Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ and Following Christ. Dallin H. Oaks has written about the spiritual aspects of same-sex attraction.


Faith naturally leads to repentance. Repentance is a Greek word that denotes a change of mind or a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. If we repent, we turn our hearts and will to God and renounce the sin to which we are naturally inclined. Ezra Taft Benson taught that “repentance means more than simply a reformation of behavior. Many men and women in the world demonstrate great willpower and self-discipline in overcoming bad habits and the weaknesses of the flesh. Yet at the same time they give no thought to the Master, sometimes even openly rejecting Him. Such changes of behavior, even if in a positive direction, do not constitute true repentance. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which sincere and meaningful repentance must be built. If we truly seek to put away sin, we must first look to Him who is the Author of our salvation.” (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 2.)

The Steps of Repentance

The following are the basic steps of repentance:

  1. Recognize your sins. You don’t need to repent of same-sex attractions over which you have no control, but you do need to repent of inappropriate sexual behavior.
  2. Feel sorrow for your sins. Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended God. This sorrow can be a motivation for change.
  3. Forsake your sins. Lay aside your sins and worldly desires. They will hold you back. Show God that you are willing to repent of your sins and keep his commandments.
  4. Confess your sins. This is discussed in the next section below.
  5. Make restitution. As much as possible, you must make right any wrong that you have done.
  6. Forgive others. This is discussed below.
  7. Keep the commandments of God. True repentance means that you not only ask for forgiveness of past sins, but that you are willing to give them up in the present and the future.


Although God already knows our sins, we need to own up to them. Admitting problems and accepting responsibility for them is a necessary step in solving them. Sexual sins, in particular, thrive in the darkness of secrecy and denial. To become free of them, you must bring the sins to light. Confession shows humility towards God. It shows you know your actions were wrong and you are willing to do all you can to make up for them.

All sins should be confessed to God, and serious sins should be confessed to your religious leader. You may be embarrassed to talk with your church leader about homosexual behavior. But remember you are not the only sinner in your congregation, and your leader has likely heard far worse tales than those you will tell him. Although church leaders are loving individuals who sincerely want to do what is right, remember they are also imperfect human beings who have their own opinions and perspectives that come from their experiences in life. Be tolerant and understanding of them just as you hope for compassion and understanding from them.


Ask to be Forgiven. When we repent of our sins, God will forgive us and even forget the sins we have committed. When you have done all that you can to repent of your sins, you can receive peace. If you find a peace of conscience, you can know that God has accepted your repentance.

Forgive Others. To be forgiven of your sins, you must also forgive others who may have done injustices to you. Withholding forgiveness can be a hindrance to your healing. Regardless of the hurt you feel, release them from the penalty you would impose on them and leave it in the hands of God. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). Forgiving others frees us from anger and disappointment. Rather than blaming others, ask yourself what you learned from the experience. Ultimately, that is the more important eternal question.

Forgiveness and Trust. If you are guilty of wrongdoing, it may take time to reestablish trust with your spouse, parents, or friends. Trust is like a bank account that is built up over years of trustworthy experiences. When questionable experiences happen, you can rely on the high balance in the account. But when that trust is broken, the balance may drop—in some cases all the way to zero. Forgiveness means that they don’t close the account, but allow you to build the account balance back up by showing time and time again that you are worthy of their trust. To do that, you may need to offer generous explanations as to your actions and whereabouts as you work to re-establish higher levels of trust. Trusting and forgiving are not the same thing. It is always appropriate to forgive, but may not be appropriate for others to trust you again right away.

Satan’s Influence

Satan is anxious to deceive even the most spiritually-sensitive among us. Evil is real and very powerful. Dallin H. Oaks wrote that Satan “seeks to undermine the principle of individual accountability, to persuade us to misuse our sacred powers of procreation, to discourage marriage and childbearing by worthy men and women, and to confuse what it means to be male or female.” (“Same-gender Attraction,” Ensign, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 1995, p. 8.) Russell M. Nelson warned, “[W]e need to remember that the adversary sponsors a cunning plan of his own. It invariably attacks God’s first commandment for husband and wife to beget children. It tempts with tactics that include infidelity, unchastity, and other abuses of procreative power. Satan’s band would trumpet choice but mute accountability. Nevertheless, his capacity has long been limited, ‘for he knew not the mind of God’.” (“Constancy Amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, p. 34.)

Take comfort in the fact that Satan cannot force us to do evil. We are free to choose Satan’s way of captivity and death or to choose God’s way of liberty and eternal life. Satan has power over us only as we permit him. Satan can certainly tempt us and deceive us, but he has no authority over us unless we give him that power. Don’t befriend Satan or his lies; steer a course that is comfortably within the safety zone.

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost can help you understand things you could not otherwise understand. God’s Spirit can give you insight about how to resolve your problems.

You may have a battle raging within you. A part of you may want to respond sexually to the same-sex feelings within, but something else within may remind you of the moral principles you have always believed and points you back to God. Which do you listen to? Writing about same-sex attraction, Spencer W. Kimball explained, “There are two forces working with every individual—one is the spirit of evil, the powers of darkness with a desire to enslave and destroy….The other influence is the Spirit of the Lord striving to lift and inspire and build and save. If one lives all of the commandments of the Lord, then he has the power to withstand the temptations of the devil. If he yields to the evil one, then he gets weaker and weaker until he is unable to cope with the strength of the powers that afflict him.”

When this battle rages, listen carefully to distinguish Satan’s influences from God’s influences. Although the whisperings of Satan may feel natural, they will steer you away from truth and peace. They may give you momentary gratification but no lasting joy or peace. On the other hand, the whisperings of the Holy Ghost will uplift and inspire hope. They will always support gospel truths and will lead you to eternal joy. The art of listening takes concentration and effort, but it is worth it because when you listen to the Holy Ghost you can learn things that are vital to your salvation.

There is Always Hope

Despair comes because of iniquity, and the greater the iniquity, the greater the sense of despair and hopelessness. One of Satan’s tactics is to persuade a person who has transgressed that there is no hope of forgiveness. But there is always hope because good will overcome evil—God will overcome Satan. We are saved by hope and God is our hope (see Romans 8:24 and 1 Timothy 1:1).

Hope is a great incentive to repentance. If you have made wrong choices and find yourself in a vicious habit, remember that there is a way out. Russell M. Nelson said, “Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price. This challenge uniquely involves the will, and the will can prevail. Healing doesn’t come after the first attempt to change. The road to recovery must be followed firmly, bearing in mind that it often takes as long to recover as it did to get to the place you want to recover from. But correct choices can cure if they are made consistently and persistently.” (“Addiction or Freedom”, Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 7.)

We all struggle to overcome our carnal natures. Stephen E. Robinson explained, “That our disposition is good is proven by the fact that when we occasionally act otherwise, we feel bad about it, repent, and return to our previous heading toward righteousness. Like a compass needle that may swing this way or that but always comes again to point north, so are the believers who may make this or that temporary misstep but always correct their course and return to their original heading. That is a clear disposition to do good. ‘The mighty change’ is a change of heart, a change of desires, and a change of disposition concerning our goals. It is not a complete victory of the Fall or over our carnal natures all at once.” (Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good NewsDeseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, 1995, p. 42.)

Peace of mind comes from living your life in harmony with truth. You cannot be content when you live differently from what you believe. C. S. Lewis wrote, “the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping….You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.” (Mere ChristianityMacMillian Publishing Co., New York, 1952, p. 87.)

God Can Change Us

Ezra Taft Benson taught, “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.” He continued, “The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” (“Born of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 6.)

Submitting to God

Do you accept life on God’s terms or do you insist that things be on your terms? We need to yield to the enticings of the Holy Ghost, overcome the natural man, and become followers of God and submit to God’s will. Being submissive and humble means that we surrender ourselves to God’s terms. Half promises only result in half successes.

Ezra Taft Benson explained, “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Christmas Devotional, Salt Lake City, UT, 7 Dec. 1986, quoted in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, UT, 1988, p. 361.)

Greg explained, “I believe that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is deeply concerned for our welfare, and when we ask Him to help us with a problem, He helps. The help can sometimes be frustrating, because we must often wait for the help to come in His way rather than ours; and often the process to achieve the desired goal can be lengthy. I believe that the waiting period is often to help us develop and exercise faith and…almost always provide some learning experience.”

Studying the Scriptures

Study the scriptures daily. It can be one of the most helpful things you can do, not only to find the answers you need, but to maintain a level of spirituality to help you overcome temptations and keep working on your plan of action. Take the scriptures personally. For example, think of John 3:16 as follows: “For God so loved me that he gave his only begotten Son, that if I believe in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” Or substitute your own name. “For God so loved Jason that he gave his only begotten Son, that if Jason believes in him Jason will not perish, but have everlasting life.” The scriptures apply to you personally. The promises in them are meant for you individually. Christ did not just die for the sins of the world, He died for your sins.

God Considers Us Individually

Stephen E. Robinson explained, “We forget that God, in his perfect judgment, adjusts credit and blame to allow for the circumstances of the individual in question. The gospel is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ arrangement in that regard. God puts us all in different circumstances in this life and judges us accordingly. In the Parable of the Talents, it didn’t matter that one servant had been given five talents and the other only two. What mattered most was what both servants did with what God gave them. The Master said to each of them, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:21).” (Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good NewsDeseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, 1995, p. 34.)

Stephen E. Robinson also teaches a parable of the divers. In this story, a particular diver won even though other divers had better form. Although outwardly it appeared that the other divers did better, he won because he performed a dive of greater difficulty. Because of the difficulties we experience in life, we may feel—like the diver—that our scores are less than perfect, but God will bless us for the difficulty we had to go through. We will be blessed for making righteous choices in difficult situations. I recommend that you read the entire parable in the book Following Christ to understand this important concept. It can give you insight into how to stop judging others—and yourself—by your limited perspective.

H. Burke Peterson stated, “Each one of us came to this earth with our own unique and different package filled with enough positive strengths to overcome the personal challenges that are also a part of our makeup. We must never forget that the number of gifts as well as the challenges we each have does not categorize us as being better or worse than another. How we handle our package is what makes the difference.” (“Come unto Christ Through Your Trials,” Brigham Young University 1995-96 Speeches, Brigham Young University Publications & Graphics, Provo, UT, 1996, p. 152.) He further explained, “A person more gifted than another is not necessarily a better person than another; and, conversely, an individual who has received fewer endowments from the Lord is not less qualified for godhood than another. Remember, the Lord gave the very same commendation to the servant who magnified two talents as to the servant who increased five talents.” (Peterson, 1996, p. 152)

Plan of Salvation

M. Russell Ballard observed, “Life’s most challenging questions seem to be those that begin with the word why. ‘Why is life so hard?’ ‘Why is there so much sorrow, hate, and unhappiness in the world?’ ‘Why does death take the young?’ And ‘Why must the innocent suffer?’” (“Answers to Life’s Questions,” Ensign, May 1995, p. 22.) These are the deep questions of mortality and satisfying answers come only when we understand God’s plan for us. We are the spirit children of Heavenly Parents with whom we lived before coming to this earth to receive our bodies of flesh and bone. This mortal life is a test for us to prove ourselves. Since we all make mistakes that would prevent us from returning to our Heavenly Father, Jesus agreed to pay the penalty for them if we will repent. He also made it possible for everyone to be saved from physical death and to be resurrected.

M. Russell Ballard reminded us, “By focusing on and living the principles of Heavenly Father’s plan for our eternal happiness, we can separate ourselves from the wickedness of the world. If we are anchored to the correct understanding of who we are, why we are here on this earth, and where we can go after this mortal life, Satan cannot threaten our happiness through any form of temptation. If we are determined to live by Heavenly Father’s plan, we will use our God-given moral agency to make decisions based on revealed truth, not on the opinions of others or on the current thinking of the world.” (Ballard, 1995, p. 24.)

Endure Faithfully to the End

Stephen E. Robinson explained, “Enduring faithfully to the end does not just mean ‘coping’ successfully with our problems or suffering affliction with stamina, although some have been called upon to do these things in order to endure. Certainly it has little to do with overcoming personal obstacles or achieving personal goals. Rather it means staying put in the kingdom by holding on to Christ and to his church without altering our commitment—no matter what. Neither ‘enduring’ nor ‘being faithful’ means being perfect or living from our baptism until our death without sinning. . . .” (Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good NewsDeseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, 1995, p. 65.)

Enduring does not always mean overcoming. Many people do not overcome physical or other disabilities in this life. God does not always answer our fervent prayers by taking away the challenge. God may not take away your same-sex attractions, but He will stand by you as you overcome the desires of the flesh by learning to control inappropriate sexual behaviors.


A good way to overcome your own problems is to help someone else overcome theirs. The best cure for self-absorption is to serve others. In fact, it is through serving others that you learn how to love—a key element in your healing. When you reach out to help someone else, your own problems don’t seem so great. When you volunteer to help other people, you feel better emotionally and physically. Helping others causes you to focus outside yourself.