To each of us is given a spiritual knowledge that penetrates the very depths of our soul. This knowledge is something that you *knew* from the time you were a small child, probably even before you can remember knowing it. When I shared this concept with my parents and asked them about something they knew, as early as they could remember, they (probably not surprisingly, for soul mates) had very similar answers! My mom said that her earliest knowledge was that there was beauty all around us. She remembers at about age 5 or 6 walking to school and looking at the beautiful world, and knowing that the Lord had created it for us. My dad said that when he was about the same age he had similar thoughts.
The two most prevalent pieces of spiritual knowledge that I can recall from my very early years are:
1) I am a man (boy, back then). I knew this from age 2.
2) I once lived with Heavenly Father. I can remember knowing this at age 5 or 6, but I might have known it earlier.
I didn’t yet believe in God in the same way I do now, and I was even agnostic for a time. But I never questioned, however illogical it seems, that I lived with Heavenly Father…or at least that I was not always here. That I somehow originated from someplace else–that I had come here, and inhabited this body, but that I was not my body. That my body and my spirit were two distinct things.
It is possible that the two are closely related. This knowledge of the separation of body and spirit especially makes sense for a boy whose body was developing like a girl’s (even though the development wasn’t smooth, it was still predominantly female). But regardless of the causes behind the knowledge, these are pieces of knowledge that I have always had, and will always have.
I have a close friend and mentor in the LDS Church. He was the one who accompanied me to the Temple for the first time. He has been by my side, teaching me about the Priesthood, since I joined the Church. He has been exposing me to Priesthood ordinances and educating me on how to be a worthy Priesthood holder, and how to be a worthy man. He knows about my medical condition, and understands in a way most would not. He has given me blessings, and I have given him a blessing. We are extremely close.
This Sunday, he and I were pondering the question in the title of this post. Why did God make me intersex? Why did He send my spirit down into this body? More to the point…why did I choose this?
WHOA! It’s Not a Choice!
Before you get your undies in a bunch, allow me to explain myself. No, I did not choose to be intersex in this life. I never, in this life, made a decision that I would have the body that I do, or that my brain would be the way it is. I never chose to be “transgender” either, in case we’re still using that terminology (for the reason why I don’t, see this post). Nor do I believe that anyone chooses to be “transgender”/intersex…in this life.
But in the LDS Church, we believe in the pre-existence, which (as I’ve alluded to above) is the concept that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life. The purpose of this life is to work our way back to Him, but in the process, to learn and grow in such a way that we are better equipped to serve Him and to live forever with Him. Heavenly Father discussed our lives on this earth with each of us in the pre-existence, and we agreed to go through these challenges.
How does Choice work?
My friend and I discussed exactly how we each must have chosen our lives. Logically, if we had known exactly how our lives would change us, then we would not need to experience them, because we would have already had the knowledge Heavenly Father had.
When my dad was eight years old, his father told him to take care of some ants that were infesting the yard near the garage. He decided to do a very thorough job–a scorched-earth policy. Literally. He got some gasoline, poured it on the ants, and then lit them up. The trouble was, he also lit the side of the garage on fire. Needless to say, this was a lesson learned for my dad.
You would expect this sort of behavior from an eight-year-old (this is generally why eight-year-olds are not allowed to play with gasoline). Adults, on the other hand, already know this and do not need to go through the experience. So likewise, when we were in Heaven discussing the plan of our lives with Heavenly Father, He must have known how everything we go through would affect us, but we must not have had that knowledge (or we would not have had to go through the experience in order to learn and grow).
Even though we didn’t know how the events of our lives would help us to learn and grow, we knew these things:
1) Heavenly Father was all-knowing and had a plan in mind, and so we trusted that He knew what He was engineering.
2) He loved us, and would not give us anything we couldn’t handle (otherwise, we would not learn and grow). (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So if we knew these things, then I must have known in the pre-mortal existence that Heavenly Father had chosen me for this role. That He knew my spirit was strong enough that I would be able to discover the Truth about myself, and would be able to help others as well. He knew my soul was *made* for the Priesthood. That it would fit like a glove, and that I would feel at home the minute I realized what it was. And I knew that He knew what He was engineering. I trusted Him.
I imagine the conversation went something like this (based on what I know of Scripture and what I know of my Patriarchal Blessing):
Heavenly Father: “Jack, I’m glad you’ve agreed to go to Earth and have a body. These experiences I’ve designed for you are going to be tough, but I know you can do it.”
Pre-Existence Jack: “I trust you, Heavenly Father.”
Heavenly Father: “Excellent. This is what is going to happen. You are one of my strongest male spirits. In order to teach you what it really means to be a man, I’m going to send you to Earth in this body. It has these infirmities, and as you can see, it won’t develop like the other men. But you will be strong enough to recognize the Truth about yourself, and you will then really know what it means to be a man. Once you discover this, you’ll be able to share this Truth with others, and bring others to Me. Will you do it, Jack?”
Pre-Existence Jack: “I will go and do the things that you have commanded me, Father, for I know you will make a way for me to do them.”
Touched by an Angel
I love the show Touched by an Angel. I have always loved this show, since I saw the re-runs as a little kid. There are two characters that I strongly identify with. They are Taylor and Rafael, and they are both designated as Specialists (angels who only appear in particular circumstances).
Taylor asks in one episode, “Why did God make an angel with Down Syndrome?” Rafael had a similar line in response to another angel, Monica, who says “I wouldn’t have handled this situation the way you just did.” Rafael’s reply was, “That’s why I was sent here.”
After listening to Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk where he discusses how the Lord can use us as ministering angels, I have come to believe that I am a Specialist, in the same way that Rafael and Taylor are in the TV show. The Lord sent me here with a specific mission, and part of that mission entails being Intersex. My mission is to mend bodies and heal souls. As I move forward in my studies, hoping to become a doctor one day, and I move forward in the Priesthood, I will have a unique perspective and unique experiences that will accomplish this mission. I am a Specialist. And if I live my life in accordance with His principles, I know that I will be used as a ministering angel, and that I will return to Him to live with Him forever.
I know these things to be True, and write them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.