26 April 2009

Asking For Advice About Asking For Advice

Tonight at work, I met Elder Neil Anderson and his wife. They stopped by to eat on their way back home to Salt Lake. I wasn't their server, but I was managing tonight and part of my job is to do table visits and make sure the guests are happy. It was interesting to speak with them and I can't tell you how humbling it was for me to be in the presence of an apostle of God, and his saintly wife.

I know he's new, but I have to admit that the thought did cross my mind to ask him some questions. I thought about David's letter to the First Presidency and maybe asking Elder Anderson to check on it, see where it was and all that. I thought about telling him that I try to have an appreciation for the leaders of the Church and I try to sustain them, but it's getting harder to do. I thought about telling him about the difficulties and the pain that comes from being LDS and gay and not feeling like you can be both. I wondered if he would have had an answer for me, some little tidbit of Twelve Apostle Wisdom that could give me a glimmer of hope.

But I didn't. I just made sure their food was cooked how they wanted and they were enjoying everything and I shook his hand. He asked what my name was and said it was a pleasure to meet me. It was still a good experience for me, and one that I'll remember.

It made me think again about the possibility of seeking counsel from a priesthood authority. My records are in a singles branch, but I don't currently attend. I use the excuse that I work on Sundays, which is true...but it's also true that I could find a way to get to church if I really wanted to. I like my branch president. He seems like a down to earth guy. Then again, I've really only spoken with him a few times.

But I don't know if talking to him about being gay is something that I really want. I don't know if he could give me any advice that would be helpful. I worry that he might say something that would only offend me or hurt me or cause me to have bigger issues with the Church than I currently do. I don't want to think of it as making a confession, because I don't think I've done anything wrong.

Sometimes I want the relationship between me and the Church to work. I try to have a relationship with God, and I know I don't have to be active to keep that. But sometimes I miss Church.

I haven't made any decisions yet, but I'm kicking around the idea. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Is there a right choice? I'm not sure. If any of y'all have any thoughts on this, I welcome your comments! :)

9 comments:

El Genio said...

I've sat through enough meetings to realize that I don't want to deal with any of the implications of letting a bishopric member know. The first thing that would happen is that I would be labeled as one of them. One of those people who we spent the last 6 months fighting so hard against. I can just imagine the little gay asterisk on my records that could follow me around from ward to ward for the rest of my life. "Oh no he can't have that calling, he has the moho tag on his record." Or "remember, so and so has the moho tag on his record, you need to keep an eye on him to protect the rest of the ward from him." No thank you, if I'm going to stay, (which doesn't seem to be in the cards for me anymore) I prefer that people treat me with respect and friendship.

Duck said...

I am out to my Bishop and my Relief Society President. I am active in my ward. When I talked with the Bishop the first time, I told him that if my parents knew I was gay, my dad would probably take a shotgun to me. He said that was unfortunate, that that generation is old school and has some thngs to learn about loving and accepting. I have found both my Bishop and RS President to be NOTHING but loving, supportive, kind, and helpful.

And, it is really nice to know that there are people in my ward who know this about me and love and accept me anyways. It realy does relieve a heavy burden of feeling like I have to hide from them. I do not.

I, too, was married, in the temple. I tried doing what the Church and society and family said I should do. But, it did not work for me. So, I feel like I have some commonalities with your situation. If you ever feel like e-mailing, let me know through a comment here and I will get back n touch with you.

There is a lot out there for gay men in the Church. There seems to be less for those of us gay women in the Church. I hope I can be supportive to all.

Have a good day.
Duck

Scott said...

It's a crapshoot, I think.

From all I've heard, some priesthood leaders are very kind and understanding and compassionate, and you could benefit greatly from having someone to confide in and get support and spiritual assistance from.

Other priesthood leaders (like my own bishop) don't understand homosexuality at all, are scared by it or disgusted by it, and will automatically and forevermore see you as "less" if they know that you're gay (and will, in my opinion, be held accountable for not magnifying their calling).

Contrary to what El Genio says, there is no "moho" flag on your membership record (I'm a membership clerk, so I would know if there was). If you do come out to your bishop and it turns out to be a bad experience, it's not going to haunt you for the rest of your life--it's almost a sure thing that your next bishop won't know about you (and then you can make this decision all over again).

Good luck! (And know that you're always welcome in our home if you need someone to talk to--I don't know if the differences between gay men and gay women might prevent me from completely understanding your situation, but my wife and I are both good listeners at the very least) :)

El Genio said...

Scott,

You are of course right that there is no such tag - but my paranoia is such that I envision being excommunicated/disfellowshipped simply for saying that I am gay - and that certainly would go on the record. I suppose in light of recent policy changes that is rather unlikely, but it's the feeling I have regardless.

I didn't realize you were a membership clerk, one more thing we have in common. As always, you rock :)

alex dumas said...

I have admitted my feelings to past bishops. And they have been good experiences. Those confessions don't follow me from ward to ward unless I want them to. When I am active in my ward (as I am now) and not really doing anything wrong, I do not feel any need to let my priesthood authority know. It's one less burden they have to carry, in my opinion.

I would miss church too, if I wasn't active. I would miss it acutely. I would long for the feeling of being loved and accepted by a ward family, by the children that I get to teach. And most of all, I would miss the temple. I don't know if you've been to the temple yet, but it's truly the thing that has kept me in the right place.

drakames said...

EL GENIO: Thank you for your honesty. I share some of the same concerns, and I suppose that's where some of my hesitation comes from.

SCOTT: I always love it when I get a comment from you. You have a way of saying things that really gets through to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel like I get a lot of support from you and Sarah, and it really means a lot.

ALEX: Yes, I've been through the temple and received my endowments. I find it to be quite a blessing, because I know if I wasn't, I'd be a completely different person, making completely different choices.

DUCK: Yay! Another woman! I'm glad you commented here. I would love to email you sometime, or you email me or whatever. Thanks for your thoughts!

Duck said...

I would love to e-mail you, but there is no e-mail address for you posted anywhere... or did I just miss it?

Duck

drakames said...

Duck: No, you didn't miss it. That's my mistake. I editted the info in my profile, but you can email me at drakames@yahoo.com. I look forward to it!

Duck said...

Thank you for the e-mail address. I just this minute wrote and sent you e-mail. :) I look forward to hearing back from you.

Happy day. :)Duck