Thursday, March 29, 2012


Number 16

Just expressing myself here.....not intending to create conflict.  In a previous post I outlined my time and energy commitment to the LDS church.  I dedicated decades of service to this organization.  I performed all tasks willingly like most do, I tried to live exactly like the religious culture dictated.....accept callings, serve faithfully, give time and talents to the work of the Lord.  I found great reward out of each of these activities and opportunities of service.  I was afforded many opportunities to lead, love and share for which I am grateful.  These experiences have helped bundle me to who I am today.  Many people now and in the past have said I am super nice, dedicated and work hard (sometimes to a fault also). 

The conflict I have is mine to own and non-else.  Since separating from family, religion and my previous life....I have experienced EXTREME loss.  Again this is MINE to own.  What I find most difficult to deal with is the loss from church and family.....really they are one in the same to the LDS faithful.  When I was preparing to leave the church and leave my (socially acceptable) marriage, I told people that would be key to Rachel's survival in the church to ensure that they would be there and available to her as she went through this change in her life.  I guess that shows that I did (even though that is diminished and dismissed by so many) and still do care about Rachel.  I wanted to "fortify" her transition. 

Doing this required me to fade into the background.  To disconnect.  To dismiss myself.  To depart from the old and begin with the new. 

Given that departure, my circle of influence has been depleted.  I feel like I stepped back from those prior associations too soon and too far.  I disconnected too completely for the comfort and safety of those I love.  Now I feel disappointed in myself and those that I associated with just because of my honesty!  Who would have thunk that honesty could create such an ostracizing experience for me.  Again, this is MINE to own.  I did not have a handbook on dealing with this kind of transition.  There is not a handbook in the church of how to "deal with" people like me.....other than to help me stay in the church, be celibate and hopefully not kill myself in the process.  I just wish more conversation (open and honest) could happen. 

I had a friend post this event on Facebook for people to attend:

Homosexuality and the Mormon Church: A Civil Conversation on Empathy and Difference

April 12, 6:30 PM at the SLC downtown library, conference room #4.

"For many, if not most in the Mormon community, the on-going conversation about homosexuality and Mormonism has failed us. This failure has resulted in broken homes, broken hearts, and a deep misery that's even led some to take their own lives. These tragic results have led many to blame and point fingers rather than find more constructive ways of sustaining the conversation that lead to understanding, growth, and hope. At the heart of this failed conversation lies the unresolved tension that often exists between our beliefs in the way things should be and the reality of how things are. After conducting over 100 interviews with gay Mormons, their loved-ones, mental health practitioners, ecclesiastical leaders, sociologists and more, the community organizers and producers of the documentary Far Between have developed a simple yet sustainable method of engaging one another around this divisive issue in a way that will draw each of us further into the conversation rather than drive us further out. They'll share ways of sustaining the tension that allow each of us to focus on the most salient questions long enough that, together, we can find better and better answers. They'll suggest ways that we can navigate this space between the principles of a beloved ideology and the realities of our "lived experiences". They'll share how by conscientiously loosening our grip on ideology for a moment in an effort really seek to understand someone's lived experience of being gay (or being devoutly Mormon, etc.), we'll be one step closer to operating from a space of true empathy. The community conversation will provide an opportunity to engage with other's lived experience while not forfeiting or shifting our opinions on the issues. The organizers hope that the community conversation will help each of us to open ourselves up to more nuance, more compassion, and, frankly, better decision making."
These are the type of conversations that I wish could happen, but they won't because of fear, misunderstanding, judgment and prejudice......and I recognize that judgement and prejudice goes both ways.  I would like to help this chasm move closer together, but I do not know where to start.  I am not sure I have the energy to put something together like this.  I am too affect change like this at present.  It would be a great idea, but it will fade into the background just as I have.....

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