“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
It's true. Every day I hear stories of abuse, suicide, depression, infidelity, addiction, and indescribable suffering, each writer pleading for help for themselves or someone they love. With each word I feel a bond to their lives, and my heart begins to ache. Their voices haunt my dreams and fill my waking hours, and slowly I prepare for battle, hoping that I can do something to help them in their fight.
But this is no normal encounter. We fight with demons. I live among abuse, suicidal depression, addiction, suffering... and I am a survivor. I am a faithful Mormon, even though the world tells me anything but being openly gay is a lie. I am a warrior because, amid the turmoil of battle, I find peace and happiness... and because I share my story with others and help them write their own.
My online name is Mormon Guy. I'm just a normal guy, living a somewhat normal life. I graduated from college and have passions, dreams, and hopes like everyone else, and I'm a faithful Mormon. But I'm also attracted to other guys, and I know what it's like to be depressed, abused, alone, and on the edge of despair. Over the last few months I've felt inspired to share my story, my heartaches and successes, and I try my best to prayerfully respond to emails asking for advice. And, somehow, everything works together. Somehow, it makes a difference.
In my case, the war with demons stands on the brink of despair and endless misery. The stakes are high in each battle; when we triumph, it is amazing. When we lose, I find myself sobbing as I read letters from men and women I love explaining their rationale for physical or spiritual suicide. But most battles aren't fought on the brink of despair, with demons who hold endless misery in their grasp. Most battles are fought somewhere on the everyday plains of life, next to or nearby the path that leads us back to God. There, we fight masked demons whose only desire is to derail us from our goals. Distraction, dejection, self-deprecation, and idleness... demons hidden behind faces of benign utility, sowing almost indistinguishable tares among the wheat of our endeavors.
As we each travel the path of eternity, we face our own demons. But we are also called to stand in our place and do our part to help others fight. And, for that, God has given us a sword and a shield – weapons to help us counter the unique demons we face. To each is given a gift... that all may be profited thereby. Each of us has a unique God-given ability to touch the lives of others in our own way. Courtney (CJane) has a talent for finding and creating beauty in the objects of everyday life. I write about my relationship with God and how He lifts me in adversity. You have a gift as well. You are teachers, parents, doctors, and electricians... each with different talents, skills, and experiences in life... each able to touch and inspire those around you to come closer to God.
This is our calling in life – what gives us true meaning and the source to true happiness – using the things we have and the knowledge we hold to do our part in the world. Maybe it means living in Africa and making small woven mats for dozens of years to provide for a family. Maybe it means living in America and working every day to live the American dream. No matter who we are, we are called to lift where we stand – to embrace the reality of who we are and where we stand in the war of happiness and misery. And as find our place and stand, we will see success.
There is nothing greater than to see a brother or sister gain the strength to vanquish their demons. To read their success stories of healed marriages, renewed faith, saved lives... and to know that you were there. That God believed in you enough to let you fight on their behalf. He is our Captain, and He will make us great. And so I invite you to turn to God, wherever you are and no matter how long it has been. Identify your gift – how you can make a difference in the battlefield on your own terms, then ask Him for strength, wisdom, and faith to fight your own battles, and courage to fight for those you love. Together we can make it. Together we are strong. Together, we fight with demons, and we will be victorious... each in our own way.
(Gay) Mormon Guy is a stalwart member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's also attracted to men. Which means that life is extra rough. You can read his blog here.