Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 19 - Religion

19) If you're religious how do your views affect being trans? If you're not religious, what about your family's religion(s)?

I was born into an LDS(Mormon) family. I was one of six kids - five boys and one girl; kind of. We attended services almost every Sunday, even going while on vacation. I was about 10 years old when I first learned about the ability of surgeons to transform a male body into a female one. Even then, I was more than just curious. I yearned for it. But that was not appropriate and frowned upon. The Church teaches that "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." So I didn't think about the feelings I had felt. I stashed them away, because I had a penis and was a boy. I stuffed them aside.

The church also has some rules on transsexual surgery. One of them says that elective transsexual surgery may be cause for disciplinary action (excommunication). Another rule is that anyone who has had a transsexual surgery may not hold a temple recommend. A temple recommend allows the holder to enter the temple. Temples are special buildings that have their history back to Adam. Sacrifices and other cermonies were performed in the temple. Moses had a type of temporary temple that the children of Israel carried with them through the wilderness. So today, we make special, sacred covenants with God in the temple. Being in the temple is about as close to being in Heaven with our Heavenly Father while still being here on the Earth.

Being a member of this church has brought me a lot of joy, comfort, support, peace, friendship, and spiritual growth. I know it is God's church. I know it is led by a prophet of God. The principles it teaches are true and from God. Some members that have similar feelings to me or members that have same-sex attraction have struggled with the Church. For some reason, I have stayed close to the Church and tried following the counsel of leaders as best I can. Throughout the past few years, it has been Christ, his teachings and the teachings of the Church that have brought me through to the other side. It has been difficult as local leaders have asked different things from me. One saw how much the hormones have given me balance and helped align my brain chemistry. Another one just couldn't understand why I even had these feelings and that I should ignore them. Another one thinks taking hormones is similar to the surgery and could warrant discipline. Official rules aren't very clear and so it's up to local leaders to interpret them. I do know that whenever I pray about taking hormones, the answer I receive is to continue taking them.