Eight Fundamental Questions

“Confidence never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.”
– Earl Gray Stevens

 

(REMEMBER: discuss only one fundamental question per circle. click on each question below to find additional follow-up questions. you might also find these quotes useful in your discussions.)

Question #1:  What is my story?

Question #2:  What is my primary role in life?

Question #3:  What is my value system?

Question #4:  How do I make decisions on questions of morality?

Question #5:  What is my spiritual orientation?

Question #6:  What are my gender identity and sexual orientation?

Question #7:  Does my sexual orientation align with my sexual behavior and intimate relationships? Why? Does my gender identity align with my gender expression? Why?

Question #8:  Based on my responses to the previous seven questions, what do I feel is the healthiest and most sustainable way to live my life?

Please note that these questions follow an intentional order. While these questions tend to be the most salient questions informing people’s responses to their sexual/gender/religious conflict, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

“I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language…Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

1. What is my story?

  • What is it like to be you?
  • What is the story of your life that you typically carry around in your head?
  • What themes do you see in your life story?
  • In the story of your life, what kind of character are you? (hero? victim? villain? etc.)
  • Is there one story from your life that you feel encapsulates your overall life story?
  • Have you experienced a “defining moment”? What did that look like? How has it influenced the rest of your life?
  • To what degree do you believe in a pre and post-mortal existence?
  • How to do see your story playing out in the eternities (pre and post-mortal)?
  • To what degree do you sense an essential nature to your identity, independent of experiences?
  • How do you describe your essential nature or identity?
  • What has been your process of coming to understand your essential identity?
  • How do you respond to the statement: “I am me and not the things that happen to me?”
  • How do you distinguish (if at all) between who you are and the events of your life story? (Is there a difference between the main character and plot of your life story?)
  • To what degree do you feel your life events have formed who you are today?
  • To what degree do you feel like an agent, free to act for yourself, or do you feel acted upon?
  • To what degree do you feel or believe that you can influence the outcome of events in your life?
  • To what degree do you feel you have consciously shaped your life story to fit your personal goals, priorities, and expectations?
  • To what degree do you feel your personal goals, priorities, and expectations have shaped your life story for you?
  • To what degree has your life inspired within you a sense of trust (or distrust) and safety (or danger) about the world and the divine?
  • To what extent do you see your childhood experiences influencing your story and who you are today?
  • What traits, characteristics, skills, or priorities that you developed in childhood (if any) have you carried with you into adulthood?  Why?
  • What traits, characteristics, skills, or priorities that you developed in childhood (if any), have you discarded? Why?
  • To what extent do you see your genetic make-up influencing your story and who you are today?
  • To what extent do you see your life experiences influencing your genetic make-up, and therefore, your life story?
  • What interactions (if any) do you see between your own life story and larger, cultural narratives (e.g., history of the LDS church, civil rights movement, etc)?
  • Try this writing exercise: write your voice’s life story. It may be your own life story, or something altogether new and strange. (you “voice” is meant as the way you express yourself to the world; your persona, your presence, and your impact.)
    • Give your voice a name and a body: human, animal, or divine.
    • Give your voice a birthplace and a quest: a journey in and/or out.
    • Give your voice a “voice” of its own. Let your voice speak to you.
    • Create a dialogue between you and your voice.
    • What is he/she saying? What are you saying back?


2. What is my primary role in life?

  • What is your primary role in life? (e.g. child of God, citizen, spouse, etc.)
  • Why is that your primary role?
  • Do you fill this role by choice, obligation, chance, or a sense of “calling”? (All of the above?)
  • To what degree does your essential identity (as you perceive it) inform the role you fill?
  • Is there any differentiation between your essential identity and the primary role you play in life? Why?
  • What choices have you had to make in order to fill this role?
  • What relationships are connected to this role?
  • Do you define your role by the relationships you form or do your relationships define the roles you fill?
  • What responsibilities (or expectations from others) do you feel are a part of fulfilling this primary role?
  • What systems inform this role (family, religion, society, etc.)?
  • What impact does your reputation have in how you fill this role?
  • How well do you feel you fill your primary role?
  • What keeps you from fulfilling your role better?
  • How comfortable are you with your primary role?
  • What do you find satisfying about filling this role?
  • What do you find dissatisfying about filling this role?
  • If you have ever reframed the way you fill your primary role, how did you do that?
  • What other roles do you fulfill?
  • Do you fill them by choice or do you feel obligated to fill these roles?
  • What other roles would you prefer to fill?
  • What is the ideal role you would like to fill? (If it is different from your primary role, why is there a difference?)
  • What roles do you NOT fill in life? (Are they by choice or obligation?)
  • How do you respond to the phrase ‘You are what you do?’
  • What do you believe is your highest responsibility or obligation to others?
  • What do you feel is your responsibility in encouraging moral and physical well-being in others?
  • What do you feel is your responsibility in encouraging authenticity in others?
  • What do you feel is your responsibility in encouraging orthodoxy in others?
  • How do you resolve differences between your beliefs and how others choose to live their life?
  • How do resolve differences between other people’s beliefs and how you choose to live your life?
  • Where do we draw the line between directly telling others what to do and simply influencing them? (If you do either, at all.)
  • How and why do you maintain boundaries in your relationships with others?
  • How connected or interconnected to others do you feel you are?
  • How functional (or dysfunctional) are your social networks—friends, family, religion, job, community or government?


3. What is my value system?

  • Take notes during today’s Circle about your values (what you value most on life) so that during the next week, you can compose your own “Code of Ethics” wherein you enumerate what you value and how you will conduct your life according to those values.
  • For the following four bullet points, ask the circle to take a few minutes and write down their answers. After everyone is ready, discuss each question, one at a time (remembering that no one is required to share – so don’t “take turns” just open-up each question for discussion.)
  • Prioritize the following virtues from least to most important (Haidt, 2012):
    — Care (kindness)
    — 
    Fairness (justice)
    — 
    Loyalty (self-sacrifice)
    — 
    Authority (obedience)
    — 
    Sanctity (piety)
    — 
    Liberty (autonomy)
  • Without taking time to think about it, which do you feel you value more (Haidt, 2012):
    — order or empathy?
    — systems or intuition?
    — freedom or instructions?
    — safety or equality?
    — utility or sympathy?
    — novelty or tradition?
    — institutions or individuals?
    — health or obedience?
    — interdependence or independence?
  • Prioritize the following 16 needs according to how they reflect your personality, life goals, and what brings you a sense of happiness. (You may combine them if you feel they are redundant or belong together.) (Reiss Motivation Profile, 2011)
    — Acceptance, the need for approval
    — Curiosity, the need to understand
    — Eating, strength of interest in food
    — Family, the need to be with family
    — Honor, the need for character
    — Idealism, the need to improve society
    — Independence, the need for personal freedom
    — Order, the need for structure
    — Physical Activity, the need for exercise
    — Romance, the need for sexual intimacy
    — Power, the need for influence of will
    — Saving, the need to collect
    — Social Contact, the need for friends
    — Status, the need for prestige
    — Tranquility, the need for safety
    — Vengeance, the need to fight back
  • Describe one or two values/priorities you hold for the following areas of life.  (Hayes & Smith, 2005)
    — Marriage/Intimate Relationships (i.e. intimacy and trust)
    — Physical & Mental Health
    — Family Relations
    — Citizenship
    — Parenting
    — Spirituality
    — Education/Personal development
    — Career/Employment
    — Friendships/Social Relations
  • What do you value most in life? Why?
  • What do you spend most of your time and energy on in life (money, family and loved ones, career, religion, etc)?
  • What are the strongest influences on your process of creating your value system (culture, family, religion, etc)? Why?
  • How do your values shift in priority depending on the context? Why? How do you reconcile the differences from context to context?
  • How do you explain any discrepancies that show up between your values and your behavior?
  • Consider learning more about your own morality, ethics, and/or values, while also contributing to scientific research at yourmorals.org
  • **Remember to take your notes from today’s Circle about your values (what you value most on life) and during the next week, compose your own “Code of Ethics” wherein you enumerate what you value and how you will conduct your life according to those values. Be specific about the things you will and will not do, keeping in mind that no one is perfect and that our values and ethics are the direction in which we take our life rather than the ultimate destination. I.E. Your direction can be toward the west but you will never arrive in “the west” – you’ll always be headed in that direction without ever arriving – and that’s okay.

4. How do I make decisions on questions of morality?

  • Where do you place the authority for making your moral choices; on internal or external sources?
  • What criteria do you use to determine what is “right” or “wrong”?
    — Based on the source of the moral position? e.g. revelation, higher authority, logic, empiricism?
    — Based on the impact (harm or good) of the moral position on others?
    — Other rationales?
  • Which of the following sentences do you feel best describe you? Why?
    — My sense of morality is a complex synthesis of ideas, rules, and norms, and I recognize that autonomy and emotional interdependence both have their limits.
    — My sense of morality is based on an elaborate yet clear system of rewards and punishments for good and bad behavior.
    — I set my own moral standards and can see (judge) others in terms of their motives and not just their actions.
    — My sense of morality is based on the time-honored rules I have been taught by my community and I feel it is important to abide by my community’s rules.
    — I often can imagine multiple morally “right” choices in any given situation.
    — My sense of morality relies on shared-wisdom and simple empathy toward myself and others, and so I often am able to reconcile and make peace with moral conflicts.
    — My sense of morality is broad-minded, with tolerance and respect for my own autonomy and that of others.
  • What aspects of your culture do you feel encourage you to fall-in-line and do as others do?
  • What aspects of your culture do you feel encourage you to seek and find answers for yourself?
  • How much do you rely on your instincts to help you make decisions?
  • How much do you rely on personal revelation to help you make decisions?
  • To what degree do you experience a difference between your instincts and personal revelation? Why?
  • How much do you rely on institutions, texts, other people, family, etc. to help you make decisions?
  • What value do you find in following others (family, leaders, texts, organizations, communities)? Why?
  • What motivates you to follow others for direction in making your moral choices? (if at all)
  • What value do you find in following your own instincts?
  • What motivates you to follow your own instincts?
  • Have you ever mourned the loss of trust and faith in external sources of direction? Why?What caused this sense of loss? What does that feel like?
  • How do you retain trust and faith in external sources of direction?
  • Have you ever mourned the loss of trust and faith in your internal sources of direction? Why? What caused this sense of loss? What does that feel like?
  • How do you retain trust and faith in your internal sources of direction?
  • How comfortable are you with “figuring things out” for yourself?
  • Which do you prize more in yourself, individuality or conformity?
  • What impact does external validation have on you? How do you want it to impact you?
  • How much do you value your reputation? How much do you want to value it?
  • To what degree are you willing to sacrifice aspects of yourself in order to fit-in and benefit from community? Why?
  • How much do you feel forced to sacrifice aspects of yourself in order to fit-in and benefit from community?
  • To what degree are you willing to sacrifice “fitting-in” in order to be true to yourself? Why?
  • How much do you feel forced to sacrifice “fitting-in” in order to be true to yourself?
  • What role does the principle of obedience-for-obedience sake play in how you approach this question?
  • Which trumps which in your decision making process, intuition or obedience?
  • Are you most comfortable dwelling in ambiguity or certainty?
  • Do you prefer to be given a set of rules to follow or to create the rules for yourself?
  • How do you react when being told what to do?
  • Have your instincts ever lead you to divorce yourself from external sources of direction? Why? What did that look like?
  • Have external sources of direction ever lead you to divorce yourself from your internal sources of direction? Why? What did that look like?
  • Have you found ways to balance your instincts with external forces? What does that look like?
  • What process do you follow to resolve conflicts between personal instincts and external forces?


5. What is my spiritual orientation?

  • Which of the following statements do you feel best describes you? (multiple answers are allowed) (Fowler, 1981)
    — My most basic ideas about God primarily come from my parents and/or faith community.
    — I accept the stories told by my faith community and understand them in very literal ways.
    — I possess an all-encompassing belief system and don’t operate from “inside” a belief system.
    — I recognize that there are multiple belief systems and often critically examine my beliefs which has made me feel disillusioned with my faith.
    — I feel that there are limits to logic and have come to accept the paradoxes in life. I see life as a mystery and often return to sacred stories and symbols but do so without being “stuck” in a theological box.
    — I live my life to the fullest and in service of others without any real worries or doubts and focus more on more on my community than on my own concerns.
  • What does the following scriptural passage mean to you and your understanding of your spiritual orientation? “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every [person] is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.” See more at D&C 46: 11-26
  • What role does religion play in your life? (e.g. a vehicle to enact your spiritual orientation? a set of rules? a set of beliefs? a set of rituals? a code of ethics? a philosophical exercise? a community with purpose? etc.)
  • What role do you need religion to play in your life?
  • To what degree do you value the work of exercising faith?
  • To what degree do you value empirical and rational thinking?
  • To what degree do you value community enforcement of values?
  • To what degree do you value rituals, either in a religious or personal setting?
  • To what degree do you value the use of beauty to remind you of what matters (e.g. important ideas and principles, etc) and to feel connection to transcendent things like awe?
  • Why does religion play a role in your life? (e.g. spiritual prompting? family heritage? personal convictions? societal expectation?)
  • What distinctions (if any) do you make between religion and spirituality?
  • To what degree is your social identity bound up in your religious identity and vice-versa?
  • To what degree has religion played a beneficial or detrimental role in your life?
  • To what degree has religion enhanced or diminished your sense of personal agency (power to act)?
  • What does membership in a religion mean for you? (What’s the value in it for you? What role(s) do you fulfill in your religious practice? Etc.)
  • To what degree does reason determine your level of religious belief and practice?
  • To what degree does intuition determine your level of religious belief and practice?
  • How important are orthodoxy (correct belief) and orthopraxy (correct practice) in your experience of religion?
  • To what degree do you maintain your religious beliefs as a means of belonging to your religious community (if at all)?
  • How much do you feel your “worthiness” (in the eyes of God and/or of the faith community) is dependent on the degree to which you profess belief in the religion?
  • To what degree do you maintain your religious beliefs as a means of justifying your behavior or life choices (if at all)?
  • To what degree do you base your belief and practice of your religion on spiritual promptings or confirmations (if at all)?
  • Have you had spiritual or religious experiences confirming the truthfulness of the LDS church for you? How do you interpret those experiences?
  • What does having a “testimony” mean for you?
  • Do you experience your “testimony” as just a way of thinking or as a set of absolute convictions? Both?
  • Do you feel you have a “testimony” of all aspects of the LDS church in specific or do you accept some based on your belief in others? (e.i.; “If the Book of Mormon is true then Joseph Smith must bet a prophet and everything the current leaders teach must be true and obeyed, etc.”)
  • To what degree does making and keeping covenants with God impact the nature and function of religion in your life?
  • Are the LDS church and gospel of Jesus Christ the same thing for you?
  • Are the LDS church and “absolute truth” the same thing for you?
  • To what degree do you include faith traditions other than the LDS church in your religious practice? Which? Why?
  • Do you approach religion in terms of absolutes (“it’s all true or it’s all false”) or do you approach religion to help you acknowledge paradox and ambiguity? Why?
  • What do you need the relationship between your religion’s truth claims and its behavioral codes to be? (e.g.: “All the truth claims of my religion need to be verifiably true in order to inspire me to abide by all its behavioral codes.”)
  • How do you know what is true for you?
  • How do you approach faith and doubt?
  • How comfortable are you with questioning your religion? How do you approach those questions?
  • How comfortable are you with ambiguity in your religious beliefs?
  • How do you manage dissonance between what you believe and what you do not in your religion (if anything)?
  • To what degree does your religion instill in you the belief that you can find a meaningful purpose in life?
  • To what degree does your religion instill in you the belief that positive and negative experiences will lead to learning and growth?
  • What value do you place on living up to your religious convictions?
  • Does being asked (commanded) to sacrifice enhance or diminish the value you derive from your religion? How do you tell the difference?
  • To what degree do you have phases of heightened or decreased need for religion in your life? Why do they show up?
  • What role do you feel your genetic make-up plays your spiritual orientation (do you feel you were “born that way”)?
  • What do you feel is the nature, origin, and changeability of your spiritual orientation?

For more insight into how you approach and experience religion, download the questionnaire Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality at:
www.gem-beta.org/public/DownloadMeasure.aspx?mid=1155


6. What are my gender identity and sexual orientation?

  • List the top 10 things you are attracted to in a potential life (romantic) partner (e.g. gender, sex, religion, personality, goals, values, etc.)
  • List the top 10 things you are averse to in a potential life (romantic) partner (e.g. gender, sex, religion, personality, goals, values, etc.)
  • In what ways do you want to be attractive to a potential partner? (e.g.. “I want my masculinity, intellect, kindness, and athleticism to be attractive to a another man.” or “I want my compassionate and thoughtful personality to attractive to another woman.”)
  • Prior to the circle discussion, print and fill-in this worksheet as you answer the following questions. Rate yourself on a scale from 0 to 100% based on the frequency (how often) and persistence (how long) and intensity of your feelings and behaviors in each category. Each question has a correspondingly labeled scale-line (e.g. the question measuring how often you are erotically attracted to the opposite-sex corresponds to the scale-line labeled “erotic” under the “opposite-sex” side of the sheet). Each question is independent of the others, therefore each percentage does not have to impact any of the others (it is not a zero-sum exercise). Feel free to make small notes or qualifiers next to your responses. (Beckstead, 2001, 2012)
    (Here is an example worksheet for a person who might consider themselves stereotypically heterosexual.)

    • How often are you erotically (physically/sexually) attracted to the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you erotically averse to the others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you romantically (fall in love/pair bond) attracted to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you romantically averse to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you affectionally (emotional/spiritual connection) attracted to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you affectionally averse to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you aesthetically (physical appearance) attracted to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you aesthetically averse are you to others of the opposite-sex?
    • How often are you erotically attracted (physical/sexual) to the same-sex?
    • How often are you erotically averse to the others of the same-sex?
    • How often are you romantically (fall in love/pair bond) attracted to others of the same-sex?
    • How often are you romantically averse to others of the same-sex?
    • How often are you affectionally (emotional/spiritual) attracted to others of the same-sex?
    • How often are you affectionally averse to others of the same-sex?
    • How often are you aesthetically (visually) attracted to the same-sex?
    • How often are you aesthetically averse to the same-sex?
  • Using your own understanding of “masculine” or “feminine” or “other/queer,” respond to the preceding questions based on gender expression. (e.g. How would you respond to a “masculine” woman or to a “feminine” man? How would you respond to a “hyper-masculine” man or to a “hyper-feminine” woman?)
  • Respond to the preceding questions based on assigned sex (e.g. How you respond to anatomical or biological sex assigned at birth and/or at this moment).
  • Respond to the preceding questions based on gender identity (e.g. How you respond to who the person experiences him/herself to be, e.g. “feminine” or “masculine”).
  • What other qualifiers would you add to the spectrum (body type, intelligence, personality type, etc)?
  • How often do you feel homophobia or social aversion to homosexuality?
  • How often do you feel heterophobia or social aversion to heterosexuality?
  • How sexist (prejudice based on a person’s sex) would you say you are?
  • How would you describe your sexual orientation (based the frequency and persistence of your feelings and behaviors) in the:
    —past (from early adolescence up to one year ago),
    —present (within the last 12 months),
    —ideal (what would you choose if it were completely your choice)? (Klein, 1987)
  • To what degree of frequency and intensity do you feel a ‘spiritual love’ for the opposite sex?
  • To what degree of frequency and intensity do you feel a ‘spiritual love’ for the same sex?
  • What words do you use to describe your experience of sexuality? (love? lust? susceptibility? temptation? attraction? feelings? etc)
  • What words do you use to describe your experience of of sexual orientation?
  • What distinctions do you perceive (if any) between the nature (i.e. how it is experienced or expressed) of homosexuality and heterosexuality?
  • What do you feel or belief is the developmental pathway that has formed your sexual orientation? (i.e. Where/how did it begin and how did it develop into what it is today? e.g. genes, hormones, parenting, peer influence, etc.)
  • What has your process looked like in coming to clarity about the nature of your sexual orientation? (stages? instant recognition? etc.)
  • How much libido (sexual energy/desire, thoughts, behavior) do you feel you have?
  • To what degree do you value sexual intimacy?
  • To what degree do you value/require emotional bonding and trust to be intermingled with sexual intimacy?
  • If you answered yes, how do you sense that the trust or bonding is present? (e.g. a shared smile? a simple touch? an exchange of simple words?)
  • To what degree do you feel you seek sexual intimacy or behavior as a means of reducing anxiety, loneliness, or other unpleasant emotional states?
  • How much do you feel fear, shame, or disgust of sex?
  • Do you feel you have experienced any sexual trauma and to what degree do you feel it impacts your experience of sexuality and sexual orientation?
  • Do you feel you have experienced a sexual addiction and to what degree do you feel it impacts your experience of sexuality and sexual orientation?
  • Over the years, how much certainty or uncertainty have you felt about the nature of your sexual orientation?
  • Over the years, how much distress have you felt about your sexual orientation?
  • Where do you feel your sexual orientation comes from?
  • Do you feel your sexual orientation has ever changed (diminished or increased)?
  • How easily do you feel you can change (diminish or increase) your sexuality and/or sexual orientation? Why?
  • Have you attempted to change (diminish or increase) your sexual orientation? What was that experience like for you?
  • What relationship have you experienced (if any) between your spiritual orientation and your sexual orientation? (e.g. “having increased my spirituality has diminished my sexual orientation/desire for intimacy” or “I had a mighty change of heart and no longer felt the attraction”)
  • What do you feel is the relationship between your sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression?
  • Which do you feel is more primal or primary to your inherent experience of life, your sexual orientation or your spiritual orientation? In others words, which came first, your spiritual orientation or your sexual orientation?
  • This test may help you better understand where you are on a sexual orientation continuum and give you an estimate of how much flexibility you may have in expressing your sexual orientation: mysexualorientation.com

7. Does my sexual orientation align with my sexual behavior and intimate relationships? Why? Does my gender identity align with my gender expression? Why?

  • Which do you feel is more primal or primary to your inherent experience of life, your spiritual orientation or your sexual orientation? In others words, which comes first, your spiritual orientation or your sexual orientation?
  • If you feel you understand the true nature of your sexual orientation, do you act on it accordingly? (Do you engage in romantic relationships with the corresponding sex to your orientation?)
  • If you feel you understand the true nature of your gender identity, do you act on it accordingly? (Do you express yourself according to your gender identity?)
  • How much choice do you feel you have in your sexual orientation?
  • How much choice do you feel you have in your sexual behavior?
  • How much choice do you feel you have in your sexual identity (straight, gay, bi-sexual, etc)?
  • What do you understand (feel, believe) to be the purpose and/or essential nature of human intimacy (sexual et al)?
  • What do you value in human intimacy?
  • What characteristics of human intimacy are most worthy of honor and recognition (by you, your partner, family, community, faith, society, etc)?
  • Have you had spiritual or religious experiences clarifying God’s desires about your acting upon your gender identity? How do you interpret those experiences?
  • Have you had spiritual or religious experiences clarifying God’s desires about your acting upon your sexual orientation? How do you interpret those experiences?
  • How does your conception of your spiritual origin and destiny impact your gender expression?
  • How does your conception of your spiritual origin and destiny impact your sexual behavior?
  • What role does the “Law of Chastity” play in how you approach your sexual orientation and sexual behavior?
  • What role does the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” play in how you approach your sexuality and sexual behavior and/or gender identity and gender expression?
  • What significance does making and keeping covenants with God have in how you approach your sexuality and sexual behavior?
  • What significance does making and keeping covenants with God have in how you approach your gender identity and gender expression?
  • How do you respond to the following statements?
    “Church leaders counsel against elective transsexual operations.”
    “No one, male or female (other), is to have sexual relations before marriage.”
    “We are to have sexual relations only with our spouse to whom we are legally married.”
    “Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God.”
    “Homosexual behavior is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality.”
    “Homosexual behavior deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life.”
    “Homosexual behavior deprives people of the blessings that can be found in the saving ordinances of the gospel.
  • How do you respond to, “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10) and “despair cometh because of iniquity” (Moroni 10:22) in the context of this question?
  • To what degree do you believe you can have a happy fulfilling life while acting upon your sexual orientation?
  • To what degree do you believe you can have a happy fulfilling life while “acting upon” your gender identity (via transitioning your gender expression)?
  • To what degree do you believe you can have a happy fulfilling life while not acting upon your sexual orientation?
  • To what degree do you believe you can have a happy fulfilling life while not “acting upon” your gender identity?
  • To what degree does the potential for procreation factor into your choices of sexual behavior?
  • To what degree does the potential for procreation factor into your choices of gender expression?
  • What impact do societal expectations and judgments have on your choices of sexual
    behavior?
  • What impact do societal expectations and judgments have on your choices of gender expression?
  • What impact does your sense of sexual identity (and orientation) have on your choices of
    sexual behavior? (e.g. while you are attracted to the same-sex, you identify socially or spiritually as heterosexual and therefore do not engage in same-sex sexual behavior)
  • What impact do your goals and life-priorities have on your gender expression?
  • What impact do your goals and life-priorities have on your sexual behavior?
  • To what degree do you seek reconcile of your religious/gender identity conflicts?
  • To what degree do y0u compartmentalize your religious/gender identity conflicts?
  • To what degree do you reconcile of your religious/sexual conflicts?
  • To what degree do y0u compartmentalize your religious/sexual conflicts?
  • What importance do factors such as love, emotional intimacy, connection, and romance have on your gender expression?
  • What importance do factors such as love, emotional intimacy, connection, and romance have on your sexual behavior?
  • To what degree do you feel you are waiting for the “right person”?
  • Where do you “draw the line” in your sexual behavior or gender expression?
  • To what degree do you make distinctions between physical intimacy with the opposite sex and with the same sex or with gender queer?
  • What role does aversion to germs, disease, and infection play in your sexual behavior?
  • What impact does your libido (sex drive) have on your sexual behavior?
  • To what degree do you feel any fear, shame, or disgust associated with sexual behavior?
  • To what degree do you feel you have experienced any sexual trauma?
  • To what degree do you feel you have experienced a sexual addiction?
  • What distinctions do you make (if any) between celibacy and abstinence? Why?
  • What moral distinctions do you make (if any) between sexual thoughts, feelings, and behavior?
  • How much do you value or deride experimentation?

8. Based on my responses to the previous seven questions, what do you feel is the healthiest and most sustainable way to live my life?

  • Prior to this circle, write-out your response to this question, based on what you know about yourself at this point in life (allowing for the fact that you will grow in your understanding of yourself). Be sure to describe clearly who you feel you are (your life story, primary role, values, spiritual orientation, sexual orientation, etc) and how you want to live your life. Try to describe how you will go about making this life happen and how you will respond to the set-backs you might experience along the way. Be prepared to share your response with the rest of the circle, if you feel comfortable enough to do so.

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