Friday, March 11, 2011

Coming Out to an Apostle


Thanks for everyone's thoughts and opinions on what Elder Bednar said (or did not say) regarding homosexuality. I tend to remain generally optimistic, based on a one-on-one interaction I had with him following the fireside.

We had the chance to shake his hand afterwards, and since I was near the front of the chapel, I took the opportunity to line up to say hello to him in person. Most people were just shaking his hand and moving on, but I wanted to say something to him.

I wanted to send a polite, meaningful message that might alter his perspective slightly or open up his eyes on the issue that he could eventually report back to the Twelve on. I didn't have much time to think, but when I approached him I shook his hand, thanked him for his earlier comments and then said something along these lines:

"As someone who is gay and active in the church, who is doctrinally grounded to the extent that I am capable of understanding, who is temple worthy, who serves the Lord and those around me, making friends and doing what I can whenever I can to help, I just wanted to convey to you how hard and lonely a road that life is."

He took me by the hand, looked me in the eye and told me that he can't understand how hard it is or can be, but that the First Presidency and Twelve are acutely aware of what is happening. He commended me for not letting the world define me, for realizing my divine heritage and for my integrity. I then moved on in the line.

In public meetings, I believe general authorities must maintain a consistent message across the board. In their personal ministries, they can be more open and compassionate. I hope that in the near future the wider consistent message and the compassionate personal response can merge to better uplift gay members of the church.

19 comments:

  1. Good for you!!! This was a great thing to do.

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  2. Thank you for your kind, loving, thoughtful, forthright, courageous, honest, humble, direct, articulate, brotherly, intelligent, hopeful, realistic, nuanced, interactive, listening, learning, helpful, patient, insistent, unforgettable approach in preparing and approaching Elder Bednar the way you did.

    I have heard this (that the Brethren are aware of us and in touch on this issue) several times before. The way I read between the lines on such statements is that this is a topic which the Brethren must discuss because the position of the church is evolving and our leaders do not fully agree on what to do, but there is consensus that the issue will not go away, just as the black issue would not go away.

    I further suspect that the fallout from Prop 8 continues to be felt in the highest levels of the church as it impacts church membership stats, tithe paying, activity levels, missionary work, retention and public perception of what Mormons are all about.

    Thank you again for your courage and honesty. Thank you for speaking truth to those in power.

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  3. Echoing the others... thanks for taking the time to prepare. Thanks for having those interactions with Elder Bednar. And, thanks for reporting them to us.

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  4. I was really impressed that he had the honesty to say he couldn't understand how it is for you. It would have been so much easier to say, "I understand how you feel."

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  5. I am glad it was a good experience for you.

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  6. They know how many they lose.... They get full reports written by ward and stake clerks...

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  7. Yay! Thank you for doing this, and for reporting on it!

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  8. "In public meetings, I believe general authorities must maintain a consistent message across the board. In their personal ministries, they can be more open and compassionate. I hope that in the near future the wider consistent message and the compassionate personal response can merge to better uplift gay members of the church."

    How is the message he just told you any different than the one being 'maintained across the board'?

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  9. Thank you. You are an amazing man.

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  10. I have to be honest: I'm not a bit surprised by his response, so maybe that's why I don't consider it particularly remarkable or personally impressive. He's not just some self-righteous local bigot campaigning for office: I imagine he cares on a personal level, and I agree with the anonymous commenter that there's nothing different about his private comment compared to his public statements except that he showed a bit of empathy and expressed that "the brethren" are keenly aware, something I've consistently heard from those who have contact with them. I _am_ impressed with and grateful for the fact that you said something.

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  11. And there were probably slave owners who felt a sense of compassion to those they held. Until this church can fully embrace and equally support all people, their words are just that...words.

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  12. THANK YOU for this nuance!
    I also believe that there is the face they have to put on for "general public" and they they truly think and feel.
    I also believe that the leadership of the church being a gerontocracy it will take time before we see a significant change but I firmly believe there will be one.
    Don't get me wrong. I don't believe the proclamation to the world about family is wrong. What I believe is that we all have a path to follow and things to learn. And your path or my path may be very surprising in the eye of some people.
    I believe also that no matter how hard you try you can't say that this is how God is and wants full point. This is what people have believed through the ages and they have always been proven wrong. And the bigger the subject the harder the fall is.
    So I don't say this is right or this is wrong. I only try to understand God and His patterns and always remain humble about it because NO, NO, NO and NO there is nothing written in stone specially what people think is and the history of the gospel is an evidence enough for me.

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  13. Wow! I am so sincerely impressed with your last two posts... not so much from what E. Bednar said or did, but what you said, thought, and did. Thank you for coming out and giving face to this apostle of an easily dismissable "faceless" topic.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. Yes, given the trials we have to face, and the choices we've made in regards to these trials, life can seem lonely and bleak. However, if it wasn't for you in my life, things would be much more difficult and even more lonely. Can't imagine dealing with all that I have without your love, friendship, and compassion.

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  15. Did you hear the shout out Elder B gave you during his talk? "the horizon" he said. I got the chance to hear and meet him about 2 weeks after you did. At a Q & A with the priesthood leadership, he repeatedly prefaced comments he made with "now don't go and put this on a blog" but...

    I was dying inside, it was too funny.

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  16. this is my first time reading this blog, I understand life must be hard for you but any credibility you have was destroyed, in my opinion, when you said that you wanted to "alter his perspective slightly or open up his eyes."

    this is ridiculous. you want to open the eyes of an apostle? to make sure a statement shows that you feel their perspective is off, or at best, not narrow and not complete.

    those who defend or agree with you standing up and showing an apostle where he is wrong might want to consider this statement:

    “once you stop putting question marks behind the prophet’s statements and put exclamation points instead, and do it, the blessings just pour.” (Ensign, Aug. 1982, p. 24.)

    most likely, many of you will be offended by this but let me just say this, your attitude toward the general authorities counsel is a direct reflection of your testimony.

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  17. (Initial reaction)
    Hey Joey, you are an ignorant little twat.

    (3 seconds later)
    Hey Joey, using religious statements to back up religious ideals, (From the same religion) is like using a Nazi soldier to back up Hitler's Ideology. (reference the 2nd to last paragraph and the message throughout)

    (Last reaction)
    Hey Joey, you are still an ignorant twat.
    Ohhh, and using such awful grammar just further reinforces the commonly held belief of a lack of intelligence being augmented by religious conviction.
    *Kisses* The bitchy gay at Butterflies and Hand-Grenades, aka Bobby Higley (I actually gave you my real name, instead of the wimpy little redirect to yahoo that your profile is attached to.)

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  18. As everything in my life it happened very quickly, one day we were friends, the other we were going out, then moving in together and in the process graduating. cheap moving companies cross country

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