Tuesday, April 3, 2007

a merry matis fhe

Oh man, what a night. First off, work and school were both uneventful, other than getting back a failing grade on my latest psych stats quiz. That was a downer. Everything started looking up after that, though. Although I guess hanging out on the steps of the wilk in the sun and basking in the beautiful weather was pretty awesome, too. Anyway, I rushed home after class to get my fried rice finished up (Salad got everything started and I combined everything to finish it up) so that we'd be ready to go - today was the monthly Monday night visited to the Matis', and it was our first time. So Salad, Hidden, Mulan, Remus, and I all piled into the car and we took off to Lehi.

Brother and Sister Matis are awesome. It was international potluck night, and the turnout was huge. I don't know if it's always that big, but it was pretty packed. We had some fantastic food (dang, you mohos can cook ^_~) and made some new friends. It was good to see Pinetree, El Veneno, and AttemptingThePath again, and it was good to meet John and agirlwho as well. Were any of you other bloggers there? If so, sorry we missed you, and we'll have to catch you next time. Also met a cool new guy, whom I will henceforth refer to as "Xiaobei." He served in the same branch as some of my aunts and my grandmother, and recognized me from all the pictures and stories he was forced to sit through; apparently they were pretty proud of their missionary nephew, and went through great efforts to let the elders know how great I was. ;) So that was fun, and I made a new friend!

It was great to feel so open and able to be myself around so many people all at once. I'm fairly open anyway, but there is a measure of repression that just pervades everything around BYU when you're gay. I guess it's one of those natural byproducts of the environment of the university. Anyway, so the conversation and interactions were really fun for me. Honestly, who wouldn't want to hang out with such an awesome group of people? Socially I had an amazing time. Then there was the spiritual aspect - not everyone was in the right place at the right time, but some of us were downstairs with Brother and Sister Matis when they got on a tangent and started sharing experiences with us. Many of the stories they related don't appear in their book (In Quiet Desperation, for those (very) few of you not in the know (if you haven't heard of it, you're a disgrace and need to go undisgrace yourself by picking up a copy asap :P)) and had to do with Stuart and their interactions and relationship with him; other stories related to interactions with various General Authorities, especially Elder Holland, who is a driving force behind looking at homosexuality within the church. He is working to change homophobia within the church during his lifetime. The Spirit was so strong in that basement as we gathered around to hear Sister Matis relating her experiences. All the side conversations tapered off, and people just paid attention - it was a holy moment, and it was a great experience for me. They are such incredibly amazing and loving people, and I'm glad Sister Matis is a huggy person, because I definitely just wanted to give her a hug when all was said and done.

Another sister came for the first time tonight, and she related the story of her son and his struggles with SSA. She just seemed like a very solid, well-adjusted, and loving mother figure that wanted to help each and every one of us, and offered her name and phone number to anyone who wanted someone for their parents to speak with. Though my parents are coping well, I'm pretty sure my mom could use someone to talk to about everything, because right now I think she only has my dad. So I approached this sister afterwards and asked for her number and such so my mom could contact her. She definitely has a heart of gold. I'm so glad she came and offered her support.

Truly there are major things afoot. The tide is turning, and the Church as an institution is becoming more keenly aware of the plight of its gay members. And at BYU I think we're part of a microcosm of what's going on at large - what we're attempting with the administration deals with policy and governing a school population, and we can safely and unthreateningly work with them to achieve understanding, tolerance (for lack of a better term), and openness - all without attacking the Church or our belief system. From there, I think it will very visibly be an example of what can be accomplished within the Church. Not that the leaders of the church are out of touch - I believe it's quite the contrary - but that things can blossom out from what happens here at BYU. And I think we're right in the thick of it right now, and I'm so excited and happy to be part of it. We're actually in a position to make changes for good, and to show that being Mormon and being gay are not mutually exclusive aspects to one's identity, nor is it irreconcilable.

That's all.



Loyalist (with defects) said...

I knew when AtP told me of the FHE at the Matis home that I should have stayed till tuesday.

thank you for sharing what you heard. I appreciate it.

Stephalumpagus said...

One of these days I will go to the Matis' FHE. I've been wanting to go for a while, but...


Le Mec said...

You two are so awesome! It was fun to hang out with you on conference weekend and see you last night. Yummy food, great people, and that spiritual touch was so wonderful. I love it too!

Tito said...

I just discovered this post. I hope you don't mind, but I forwarded this on to the Matises. Fred and Marilyn both love all those who come over, but Marilyn especially gets so emotionally attached and often expresses her wonder if these meetings are doing anyone any good. I assure her that they are, but it's always nice for them to hear positive comments like the ones you expressed here. They were both touched. Thanks for sharing.

drex said...

No, that's fantastic, Tito! I didn't think to wonder if they would like to know how my reaction was, but I can see how it would be a boost for them as well. I'm just so glad they open their home and their hearts to us - I really had an amazing time that night, and I'm looking forward to future occurances. (: