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

Monday, November 28, 2011

13.1 miles of bliss

I ran my third half marathon yesterday. It was cold, wet, windy, painful, and absolutely satisfying and amazing! I started off at a decent pace, but eventually came to some hills, then more hills and then more. During the race, I had plenty of time to try to draw connection between the race, my preparation for it and life. Alas, I could not find anything. The only thing that I took from that, was that I can do hard things, that somewhere inside of me is the courage to endure. I can muster it when called upon. Thing is I usually don't. Why? I'm not sure.

I had an interaction with my Bishop this past week. It was both petrifying and disconcerting. I received an email from him, he wanted to say he was sorry for anything he said that may have been hurtful. Certainly I appreciated the sentiment of that email, but at the same time I was filled with a sense of guilt and shame and fear. I talked with my Therapist about what I should do.

As I talked with my therapist I recounted to him what was most painful to me, it was not the simple mechanistic approach, nor was it lack of understanding about same-sex attraction and in-experienced advice on the matter, while that is frustrating it does not pain or hurt me. I told my therapist that what pained me the most was the association my Bishop has with homosexuality - that be implicitly linked homosexuality with beastiality and called me perverted (both in our conversations and while He gave me blessing). Above all else this is what stings and hurts the most, this is what causes me to fear for own emotional well-being. As I recounted this to my therapist the pain came back, it still hurts. I trusted the Bishop with my emotional, spiritual and intellectual well-being, and part of me felt violated.

My therapist explained that Bishops are not trained in these matters, to which I agree and have never expected perfection from any Bishop, simply compassion and understanding, however imperfect those expressions maybe, they should make me feel safe, not unsafe. But my therapist did stop short of saying that I should simply not be offended, but that I should speak the truth to help the Bishop also own the consequences of his actions (however, misguided they were). My therapist wondered out loud if those accusations or associations would have been made with a "straight" brother. I wonder the same thing, but for my own sanity and well-being my therapist asked me to simply state how I feel and ask for more space and time away. And I did.

My Bishop is a good man. He is. Certainly there is much for me to learn from him, as there is much for all of us to learn from each other. I hope that one day I can stand on solid ground and not fear for my emotional well-being when I enter a Priesthood leaders office. I hope one day to be able to stand before God with a pure heart and clean hands. While that may be simple for many people, the reality is it's more complicated than that.

I talked a dear friend (my roommate from undergraduate days) and his wife over lunch today. They asked about my struggle and we explored at some length the problematical issues of homosexuality and the church, their relation to covenant making and keeping, and the ultimate plan of God. It was a nice reprieve and edifying discussion. I was hoping to ask him for a blessing, but it was a little difficult given our location. Perhaps when I see him next.

1 comment:

  1. It's true that some are quick to judge and say hurtful things when they lack understanding. I've slowly learned--and it sounds like you understand this too--that the only way to help those who judge is to not judge them in return, but simply extend the love and understanding we want in return. Our condition is an attraction to those of the same gender. Their condition is simply ignorance, and we can't blame them for it or think less of them for it (for we too are ignorant of other things). We can only love them. You're in my prayers. Hang in there!