I've never really been a fan of the statements that encourage men and women to be good only so that the world returns that goodness. "What goes around comes around," and even the Bible's "Cast your bread upon the water" make me wonder about the motivation, and lack thereof, of humanity.

I don't dispute the eventual reality of those statements. The scriptures are replete with examples of goodness being returned for goodness, and evil for evil. That's the whole point of our teachings on the last judgment. But I don't feel comfortable with obedience to commandments solely for the hope of eventual blessings.

Homosexuality is a good example - (and one that is ever pertinent to this blog...) partially because many of the blessings promised may not even come in this life. And, at least in my case, having a hope that in 100 years everything will work out is difficult to apply to the day-to-day.

People who claim that those who follow gospel principles instead of finding another guy are making huge sacrifices usually aren't exaggerating. The sacrifices are considerable. From the gospel perspective, you're expected to refrain from all activity that could stimulate homosexual feelings - and that list, while definitely encompassing the normal expressions of dating, may be long depending on the person. You may never get married, fall in love with a member of the opposite sex, have a family... and, perhaps with purpose, many of the men I've met have a stronger desire for a family than the norm. Giving that up is, for some men, an Abrahamic trial. From a societal perspective, you're expected to be honest with girls you date - even if you don't share your life story in the first conversation - and there are plenty of people who vocally denounce anyone who even tries that route. If marriage doesn't come, it brings with it potential social stigma, tons of questions... Perhaps the greatest sacrifice, though, is giving up our fear of the unknown. When you've never fallen in love and live in a Church where eternal families are essential to mortal progression and happiness (and where women are often mentioned with condolences when they are unmarried, while men... usually are not), being willing to believe the promise that God will make everything right - not just in the future, but as life unfolds - is hard.

So what's the solution? I definitely can't claim to have any of the answers but for my own life, but, in my case, I've found that goodness naturally brings its own constant rewards. Not some gift from the cosmos, but in that being good makes life inherently better somehow.

Serving someone else, even if they never know or acknowledge it, gives me context into my own trials. Keeping the commandments somehow makes me closer to God - even when I keep the mundane ones like following the laws of the land. And as I choose to follow God into frustrating and unknown paths, I learn important lessons about myself and Him - something the world could never give me.

I think that if I were better at focusing on being good - not just doing good, or acting good, but truly becoming a new creature in Christ - many of the difficulties I face would simply fall into place. And while I'm sure that eventually the universe will repay goodness with goodness, that often seems a long ways away. I'm not really content with having to wait until death to be happy.
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