I am straying from my usual posts to offer a comment that I wrote on GMB's blog about the upcoming fireside that has taken the MoHosphere by storm:
Coming from the perspective of someone who is still involved in the church, I think the fireside would have done two things for me: 1) It would have been a much needed comfort that my needs were at least being attempted to be met, providing a starting point and people to talk to rather than hiding, and 2) I would have been terrified to even go and show my face.
I appreciate that this fireside is more about addressing needs. It was destined to become a lightning rod issue just because it is sponsored by the Church, meaning certain language has to be used. However, I find it hard to believe that in the breakaway sessions, people will not break the barrier of the wordage and address some critical issues. I think that this has the potential to be a really good fireside.
I think I would have been much better off not feeling so alone for so long. This fireside might serve as a catalyst for people coming out to their parents and leaders and revealing that as a group we exist and do not have to hide. The potential future relationships and openness from this single event could cause a lot of good.
The dialogue and the environment must be a safe one. I never felt safe enough to vocalize anything. An admission of being gay is a condition that really alters everything and you can’t go back to the way things were before. And honestly, I don’t know if I would have felt safe going to a fireside like this.
I applaud that the dialogue is happening and that people have the option of going, but I do agree that impressionable minds will be in attendance and the framework provided to them as they begin their journeys of coming out will be key to the direction those journeys will take.
However, I think we may be giving too much credit to the power of this fireside. People are free to choose their own path, and simply because they attended this fireside, I don’t think they will be like lemmings toeing the church line. If it opens up the dialogue for them to find other resources, I think that people will really look for happiness, whether that be by staying faithful or exploring other options.
The unspoken endorsement of a Mixed Orientation Marriage is both inspirational and dangerous. Earlier in my life, I was desperate to get married, and seeing one that worked would have been a very convincing argument for keeping with bearing my burden in order to continue living in accordance to the gospel.
Right now, at the beginning of his marriage, Ty’s viewpoint will be a bit too peachy, still in the honeymoon, to be able to be an accurate judge of the success of MOMs. In order for this not to be simply church propaganda, another viewpoint of a MOM marriage that did not work out would be necessary. I hope that this will come from the breakaway groups.
The two options that the church can endorse are MOMs and celibacy. And that is really where the rub is. Either of those options don’t really symbolize happiness, at least in my mind. This is a high risk, high reward fireside. I think that it will be a great night to provide a sense of community and open the dialogue, though potentially dangerous to endorse a specific course for people to follow.
But I go back to my point, I think people are smarter and more aware than we give them credit. I think that for the most part, they will be able to take the good and then decide where their lives should go. Yes, there are a few who will believe that the words of the church are law, but I find that those who are gay wake up eventually.
There is no easy answer. But in the atmosphere of fear and silence, opening up and at least sending the message that this issue is one that CAN be talked about is the best benefit. For that alone, I would be OK with this fireside.
I hope and pray that the information revealed will not be abused by leaders in the church. I hope that there isn't a child who is forced to go against their wishes. I know some people who would rather die than go to a meeting like this.
The diversity of voices is crucial, rather than having just one source of “the answers.” I don't think this can be accomplished by protesting. I wish I could buy a hundred copies of No More Goodbyes and give them out to every attendee at the door, just to show that there are other options. Heck, even a flyer with the MoHo Directory's web address and a loving note on it would work.
It may not be ideal, but some action is better than none. But that is my opinion.