Sunday, December 14, 2008

Child of God or Devil's Spawn?

When I was 5 years-old, my father joined the Mormon church. What that means is that I was pretty much raised as a Mormon. My mother never accepted the Mormon faith, and to her credit, would not allow me to be baptized a Mormon. She did allow us to attend the Mormon church with our father, so we were pretty thoroughly indoctrinated by the chrurch and by my father's interpretation of the Mormon beliefs.

I guess I was quite a spiritual child and bought into the theology hook, line, and sinker. I remember thinking that feeling like I should be a girl was EVIL, and I didn't want to be evil, I wanted to be the good "Child of God" that the Mormon theology teaches. This belief was to stay with me throughout all my formative years and most of my adult life.

From the time that I was 8 years-old, I begged my mother to allow me to be baptized into the Mormon church. She refused, saying that I could wait until I turned 18 when I would no-longer need parental consent. At the age of 16 my parents divorced; I wanted to stay with my mother, but she said that she would not support me attending the Mormon church. Because of that I chose to stay with my father. She got frustrated enough with my desire to become a Mormon, that she threw her hands up in the air and said: "Fine! If you want to be baptized a Mormon, go ahead and do it, I'm not going to stop you!" I was baptized shortly after that.

Because my belief in the theology was so thorough and I wanted to go to heaven after this life was over, I wound up having a great "trial of faith" through my whole life as a Mormon. Having the belief that feeling like I should be (or wanted to be) a girl came from the Devil, I could not give in to it - yet the feeling never left. I tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away. (After all, the Devil can't have a place in you unless you allowed it, and I didn't want to allow it - I wanted to obey God!) The feeling would not go away. I tried to be a masculine boy, but it just didn't come naturally; I didn't feel comfortable with standard boy expressions, mannerisms, interestes, etc. I really felt that I was failing at being a child of God.

This clash of feelings and beliefs was quite a strain on me and cause for much self-doubt and guilt. I would feel the envious pangs of seeing girls in their pretty dresses and hairstyles and wanting to be one of them, and then feel guilt at having these evil feelings. I was quite torn up.

I did learn to be a male enough that I could pass as a guy, but the feelings that I should be a girl never went away. I felt that somehow the Devil had his claws into me and I was unable to completly shake it. I basically had to settle for something like: "Well, despite the evil feelings that I have, I can at least walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk of being male, even if it's not the most manly male." I felt that surely God could see that I was putting in as much effort as I could to be male, and that some day he would deliver me from the evil influence of the Devil, even if it wasn't until after death. I felt that God would see my struggle and deliver me some day. I was willing to go down as hard as Job had to... I believed the theology so much.

That belief wasn't enough to settle the feelings that I thought were brought on by the Devil, but they did allow me to be functional and probably led to me developing what I call a Martyr Personality; basically being willing to sacrifice my own happiness, wants, wishes, and needs for the Greater Good, or so that others could have their happiness, wants, wishes, and needs. This would be in contrast to a normal method of mutual compromise and give-and-take. Rather than try to discuss and figure out a reasonable and equitable compromise to someting, if there was any sort of conflict between my happiness, wants, wishes, or needs and another persons, I would immediatly and automatically capitulate 100%, thereby only getting my happiness, wants, wishes, and needs satisfied if there was no conflict with someone else.

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