Wednesday, March 14, 2007

meeting with the bishop

It's been an interesting day, to be sure. Started off the day bailing out my brother, who had a dentist's appointment but failed to nail down a way to get to the dentist's office. Needless to say, I was 20 minutes late to work and had to drive Salad's car home, and my brother had to go pick her up from the office when she was done with work. It was pretty silly. Had my voice lesson today, as well as rehearsal for the men's ensemble I'm in. Let me tell you - music is SO therapeutic for me, and not being in Men's Chorus this year (I was in it for two and a half years before) has been really sad for me, but it didn't fit my schedule and I'm kinda glad because it would have added almost as much stress as it expunged.

So Salad and I went in to talk with my bishop tonight. I have to preface this by saying that I love my bishop and trust him completely. He's a very spiritually in-touch person, he's very open, I love his philosophy on running the ward (we're ecclesiastical leaders, not matchmakers!), and he's not afraid to admit when he doesn't understand something. Tonight was one of those times he didn't understand, and he was very open about it. It's apparent that he's had people from the ward talk with him about SSA issues in the past, but that he had little experience with it and hadn't really 'done his homework,' so to speak. When I told him I had dealt with same-sex attraction for a long time, he was floored. He masked it relatively well, but he was flabbergasted. I don't think it helped that Salad was in the room with us, or that I was his executive secretary for a year or so, or that I've been such an upstanding member of the ward. I think in his mind gay people are supposed to be obvious about it and have some sort of distinguishing characteristic that makes it obvious for everyone else to identify. I guess I never displayed that particular marker.

At any rate, he tried really hard to keep a grip on the situation and spouted off some questions and some advice, but I was really there for the blessing. I have my situation under control, I'm not dealing with depression or anxiety stemming from my 'issues,' I haven't committed any grevious sins, I maintain a gospel perspective about the way I approach my life and my trials...I just wanted some insight as to what God wanted me to do/had in store for me/whatever He felt like sharing through an ordained conduit.

The blessing was nice.

Nice isn't the best adjective, though. I'll admit it, I was hoping for something a little more earth-shaking than what I got, but my expectations weren't ridiculous. I mostly wanted clarity, and I didn't really gain much. Some of the things that were said really spoke to me and I feel like overall it was a good experience and I needed to go through it. However, there were some aspects of the experience that didn't work out quite so well. Those of you priesthood holders out there know that sometimes while you're giving a blessing, there's a pause between bouts of inspiration. Some people just stand there silently, waiting for the promptings to come, and some people fill the void with things that they think the person wants/needs to hear. About 50% of the blessing was vamping. I don't fault my bishop for it, because I've known a lot of people who've vamped in blessing like that. I've been blessed with a fairly keen sensitivity to the Spirit if I'm living my life right, though, and I could tell when he was vamping. Oh, well. I got some of the blessing that I was looking for.

I will admit, though, that I was a little put off or even mildly offended that at the end (after a great and much more natural blessing given to Salad) the bishop expressed that he wanted to talk with me every couple of weeks. That privilege is generally reserved for people on the edge or who are actively dealing with a major sin or something. Not someone who's living his life about as righteously as he ever has since his mission, who really has control over his temptations and trials, and came to gain clarity on what God willed. Still, I love the man and really enjoy talking with him, so it won't be a chore or anything. It just kinda hurt that his lack of understanding runs so deep, I guess. I fully intend to help him understand a little bit more, and to offer to talk with anyone who comes through his office that's dealing with the same thing. We'll see if he thinks that I'm just trying to find a boyfriend or something. Oi. The other comfort I have is that my personal scripture study and personal prayer has been pretty powerful, and the inspiration I've received is keeping me aware of my path almost as well as a blessing could.

If you missed it, go down and read Salad's latest post. She's working on outlining our history to this point. It will help you understand where we're coming from, though I'll have to fill in gaps that show my side of the story. So far she's gotten it right. ;)



Mormon Enigma said...

...he was flabbergasted. I don't think it helped that ... I was his executive secretary for a year or so

Imagine what my Bishops reaction would be if he learned that one of his counselors is gay. Especially since I was also his teenage sons Aaronic Priesthood advisor prior to that. I'm not ready to go down that path just yet - if ever.

I was a little put off or even mildly offended that at the end ... the bishop expressed that he wanted to talk with me every couple of weeks.

I don't blame you. In my case, my Bishop and I have known each other for years. Our children have grown up together. He knows the kind of person that I am. So, I think I would be more than mildly offended. If it were me, I would let him know my feelings. Leaders need to know that certain actions, although they may seem right on the surface, may actually have more of a detrimental rather than beneficial effect.

Hopefully, it was just a, sort of, automatic response. And, after meeting with you a time or two, he'll realize that it is unnecessary. If nothing else, you can use it as an opportunity to discuss the needs of members with SSA. Think of yourself as Moses' father in law (Exodus 18:17-24)

Gimple said...

I'm sorry that it wasn't the experience you were hoping for. Your experience is like mine every time I go see my actual bishop (my singles ward one). The experience that changed me was going to my home ward bishop and talking with him. He knows me better...

I don't know what to really tell you. My actual bishop had the same reaction as yours and he still doesn't fully understand. I don't really like to go talk to him because of it. He someitmes makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong when I'm not. Good luck with everything!