For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Yesterday I was riding the bus and minding my own affairs. I was sore after an intense workout in preparation for the Ragnor Relay Race I will be participating in. Stewing in my soreness, my stress about my dissertation, and the cosmic questions, I was trying to distract myself from all that by reading. At the moment I was about the lose myself in my reading and forget about all the cares of the world, a young man stepped on the bus; he was the type of person I acted out with. It was hard for me to take my eyes off of him, as I peered over the top rim of glasses in his direction. At several points he noticed my glances and made movements inviting me to look. I got lost in a lust filled fantasy. This too was diverting from all the cares of the world; at that moment, all I wanted was to touch this man and to feel his touch. But I came to myself and realized what I was doing. Mentally, I took a step back and considered what was going on.

As I deboarded the bus, I made a phone call to my sponsor. We talked about where this intense desire for connection was coming from. We reviewed the stress in my life and then arrived at the larger tension: on Sunday I met with my bishop whose advice, in the most generic and diminutive way, was "Just buck up and do it." This was in reference to a spiritual confirmation I received about what I needed to do to remain in the church. But that meeting, coupled with the dreadful and incredibly depressing mid-singles conference I attended, as well as the direction from God as to what I needed to do, led me to start a draft letter of resignation from the church. But I stopped short of finishing the letter. As I talked with my sponsor, I discovered I had a lot of resentment toward my Bishop and was struggling to understand, or rather, isolate the source of that resentment.

So I called my Bishop after my sponsor and told him about how I allowed myself to have a lust-filled fantasy and spoke to him candidly about my resentment toward him, but that I was not clear on why I felt resentful. As I talked, I mentioned the informal structures of the church and the informal expectations of "worthy and righteous people," I spoke of how many aspects of the church (and some parts of the doctrine) are shame inducing, as it all glorifies the heteronormative order - in other words the institutions and norms (both formal and informal) are mechanisms of compulsory heterosexuality. I mentioned I'm OK with how that is fixed part of patriarchial order- but how that sexual order gets played out is more difficult to deal with. I mentioned several examples of this, one of them being how General Authorities legitimize for the rest of the church certain descriptions of those like me: hedonist, for example. My Bishop seemed to understand, yet,in the same breath expressing his understanding, said, "But you have to agree that gay sex is perverted, like how having sex with animals is perverted."

I was stunned.

My Bishop declared in no uncertain terms how he views those with my transgressions: a pervert, equivalent to beastiality - a mere lustful act, one void of attempts at connection. I understood at that moment that my Bishop sees me as a pervert. This right after he expressed understanding that how we label transgressions of others is a form of power and control; he defined me as a pervert and found no problem doing so; though he stopped shy of defining me as a hedonist, as did Elder Grow. What then am I to do?

I swallowed a gulp of air and took a deep breath and said, "I want to stay in the church," but I need to know how to process these acts of aggression, these insults. I can't just ignore them, but I have to process them and deal with them in healthy ways. As I pondered on it, I resolved that Father would not call me these things; in that moment, I realized that to understand me, I need to understand Father - this I had an idea of before (as intimated in the previous post), but yesterday that idea took form and was distilled with clarity. As I come to understand the character of God, I will see a reflection of me. This, as I reasoned, should enable me to process the moments of aggression, and to move forward in faith. I asked Father for forgiveness for feeling resentment towards my Bishop. I move forward filled with some optimism, but painfully aware of the social reality of the church, hoping to find comfort in its doctrine.


  1. I've learned to let dumb comments go. I hear them all the time. I'm sure we all do.

    Strange that heterosexuality doesn't bother me as a gay male but straight people find homosexuality gross etc.