This is part of a message I sent to an old friend. I have edited some more, because if you know me you know I suck at grammer and am good at confusing sentences. Its like many teachers have said to my parents, "Mark is smart, he just needs to slow down." Then proceeding to illustrate how my speed has increased my mistakes. Any way I also ramble, I am a May.
Me and the Church. Well I have and always will have a testimony of Christ and his role in our lives. My relationship with the church started changing on the mision when I found out blacks couldn't have the priesthood. Before that I never really questioned much. On my mission I just put that on the back burner. When I got home I meditated on it for a long time. It was really hard for me to accept. Then I came to the conclusion that the church has policies and doctrine. A lot of things were and are influenced by society. As much as that sounds bad to many of my friends. Brigham Young was racist, he let his misconceptions about a race influence who was granted the full blessings of the gospel. It did not change any individuals chance for achieving their mortal purpose.
That got me questioning everything in the church that seemed to be contradictory. My mind has changed the purpose of the temple and its covenants, or all covenants for that matter. The history of polygamy, modesty, guidelines and even the church's role in our salvation.
As far as me and the church currently. I don't fit into its current version. God gave me direction and told me what I should do. He has lead me to people who have helped me understand my sexuality, my shame and the complications. I am still learning. I am still constantly paying attention to the guidance of God.
Logically and spiritually I have come a long way. My emotion has a long way to catch up. Like I said in my latest post, the church is a major shame enforcer in my life. Once I finally graduate, I am unsure if I will continue to go to church. I have stayed true to my covenants in the temple. Although, there are specific things I've changed because it is a constant reminder of how inferior to others I feel. I still enjoy my book of mormon studies and prayer. Those two daily activities are more important than ever for me. Especially the praying. The church does not fulfill its purpose in my life, at least in its traditional practice. Believe me I've tried to change myself, my cognition towards church, and had many discussions with bishops and stake presidents.
I'll have to admit I am deeply hurt by the church. I have put my heart and soul into it. I have worked with ecclesiastical leaders. Something always seemed wrong, I always felt wrong. It has nothing to do with my testimony of the Book of Mormon or the restoration. I was uneasy about the answers about my role in the church being an abstenant single man. I accepted that for a couple of years, it was a progression from "I will fix my 'sexual brokenness.'" I tried to fix it believe me. The church has failed me, because it has been put in the hands of imperfect souls. However God has not, I owe my allegiance to him.
My mind went from seeing in black and white and started seeing color. Life is much better that way, at least for me. Its easier for me to cope with my imperfections. I am starting to see things as variety, as opposed to rigid limited definitions. This new color vision helps me understand how I could end this stagnent spirituality. I have grown more spiritually in a week of this pain than I have my entire mission.
I realize this is abstract and may sound like the mumblings of a man apostatizing. I know what this sounds like. However it is like you said I need to concern myself with what God thinks. I answer to him. I have to be abstract with my thinking, I disqualify as the church's ideal.
As for the Mark May that you knew, I am that person still. I am just a more complete version. I am not pushing away from my testimony. I am strengthening it. I have learned much more compassion, patience, and understanding. I have become less judgmental and excluding. I used to judge people harshly that didn't finish college in the 4-5 year time span (excluding a mission). It is now over 10 years since I graduated high school (although, I did take a significant amount of time off, excluding my mission). God really put me in my place there.
***If you know what song this post's title is from I will be super impressed. Also if you haven't noticed yet my titles are lyrics to various songs. So if you don't know the song google the line and maybe you'll find a new song or even artist to love.***