13 February 2011

THT: Updates

I've been pretty silent over the past week. I apologize. I've become very busy with things... mostly work. Starting a career is no easy thing.

I've had some really important and meaningful conversations over the past few days with people from all walks of life. They all have different ideas about God and religion. All have been devout members of the church at one point or another. If you have seen 8: The Mormon Proposition, I met with the mother (Linda Stay) and father of the boy that gets married in the film. There were six of us there total and we sat talking in a little cafe in St. George for almost 4 hours. Linda and her husband are wonderful, loving people. Something I have come to love is the connection I feel with people now. It doesn't matter what their situation in life is or what their beliefs are, I can connect on a very real and personal level.

Something we all had in common is that we were all hurt pretty significantly by the church. We have all dealt with that in different ways and are all on different paths. But despite all that, it is amazing to feel the love, the sincerity, and the deep belief that radiates from these people. Their love is real. Their pain is real.

I talked to my mom about her thoughts on my facing the church. It is a hard thing for her to consider. If I were to be excommunicated, she isn't sure how she'd handle that. She isn't sure how she could trust the church or its leaders. At the same time she doesn't want me to resign. She also understands that I feel the need to face this. She thinks about me and my situation and what it means every day. She is having to come to grips with her beliefs just like I have been having to. The difference is that I have friends and people to talk to about it. She has no one. She's tried to talk to a friend who has a son that is gay, but has found that that topic is closed for discussion with her. I will probably tell her about Linda today and see if she wants to talk to her.

After this week and the many discussions I've had, I am unsure about how to proceed with the church. I understand completely why people would choose to resign. It is interesting how many experiences I've had this last week since coming to the conclusion that I wanted to face the church that have been very relevant. I think that perhaps this will take more time than I initially thought. As strong as I sometimes feel that I am and as prepared as I think I might be, the truth is, I am not bulletproof. Certain things cut me deep. Things can still be said that tear my world apart and make me doubt myself. I can still be thrown back into that world of darkness and confusion if I am not careful. Whenever that happens (which isn't often by any means), it doesn't last long. But it is enough to remind me of the horrible place (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) that I found myself in after years of self-hate. I am still on the path to healing. Am I ready for another blow?


Anonymous said...

As someone staring down the barrel of pretty much the same situation (although, I don't anticipate having to bite the bullet for a couple more years), I've pretty much decided I'll just have my name removed. Excommunication would be entirely too messy. (Also, I know if I force the issue and/or try to make my family members "choose" me or the Church, I'll lose. Easily.) I also figure that I made certain promises regarding my membership; pursuing a husband (life-partner, whatever) would entail a violation of those. So, similar to someone whose marriage has become destructive, who wants to pursue other relationships, the honorable step is divorce. I think of it in terms of "Joseph Smith and I have decided it's time to see other people."

None of that means that, in my heart, I'll be less "Mormon"––those neural pathways were forged early and aren't likely to go anywhere––but my relationship with the institution will be formally severed.

I'm surprised how quickly I've gotten used to the idea. Making the decision that I would leave actually pulled me out of a serious depression. It was like flipping a switch; like the sun came out.

Now I've just got to decide if I'm going to go back to BYU to finish my degree, or have my credits transferred somewhere else...

Alex said...

I was wondering how you were doing.
The more I read your blogs, the more I realize how brave you are. This is extremely hard reconciling and facing the conflicts with faith, the dreams of your parents, with how you thought your life was going to be. You seem to be in a good place considering all that.
I too lived for years in denial and hating myself. I felt an enormous weight of depression lift as I just accepted myself, that I was gay. I can't go back to the way things were, as I'm sure you understand.
But what now? For me, that's a huge question. I'm working on the best answer for me. I think the answer is a little bit different for each of us.
Best of luck to you as you navigate these stormy waters. You're in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Forester said...

I've often wondered how many of us would stay in the church if they accepted gay men and gay marriage - with everything else staying the same. Would we still believe all the doctrines of the church? And if so, then why do we not still believe, even though gay men aren't accepted? Why does one equate to the downfall of the other? I still believe in the church, am active, to to the temple, married with kids and I love my life. I'm very happy. However, there are still so many unanswered questions and battles with being gay. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@anonymous- I have never asked anyone to choose between me or the church. I don't think anyone needs to do that. Sometimes people come to that conclusion on their own though. They think it is one or the other. I'm sorry you feel your family would feel that they needed to choose the church and reject you. My family is doing the best they can to embrace both me and the church... but if it came down to them having to choose, it would always be me.

@Alex- Thanks Alex! I don't really view myself as particularly brave. I'm just doing what I feel is best for me... and that is what I want to do. As long as I feel that I am honestly doing what I feel is best for me, there is no reason to fear anyone else. The question, "but what now?" is a difficult one. It is not a simple answer and often isn't based on 100% certainty. The important thing is that we don't simply stand still because we don't know what to do. In my opinion it is always better to be moving in some direction than to be still. Even if it is the wrong direction, we will begin to notice the negative change in scenery and know that we need to turn around.

@Forester- I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ meaning that I believe in the words and lessons he taught. He did not get into politics or policies or checklists of rules. Mostly he taught love. No matter what, I will always believe his message. I accept the doctrine of Christ. I don't believe there should be such thing as the "doctrine of the church." The church is an organization... and institution. It is not God. There are things that the church does, policies that it makes, and entities that it creates that I feel are good and based on the doctrine of Christ. There are others that I feel a based on misinterpretation of those teachings. So if the church changed it's stance on homosexuality... it would give me the opportunity to be a part of it. It wouldn't mean that I would agree with everything, but it would mean that I would be accepted and included and involved if I chose to go to church.

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