I just got home from church and don't have much time before the Echol's arrive for dinner. However I feel the need to share my experience today at church. I wish I could be boosting of an experience that Zach shared moments ago on the USGA page. I am struggling to keep understanding and empathy in mind when I think of my church experience today.
During sacrament meeting a talk was given, and well spoken I might add. However, erred on the judgmental and imposed definitions side. This brother spoke about being a liberal vs conservative latter day saint. He was not speaking of political liberalism or conservatism, but more in the interpretation of the practice of mormonism. He spoke of liberal mormons intelectualize their reasons for following the church's teaching, where conservative follower only need faith to obey. His talk mirrored the rhetoric that you can not be a "cafeteria Mormon," a true follower of the religion accepts all or nothing. I actively changed my thoughts to judging this man to trying to see the good in his message and understand the principles that resonate with me.
After his talk I went out to use the restroom and a sister stopped to talk to me. She had recognized me from the video. It was so sweet of her to not only talk with me. She left the room because of the talk. She was offended by the his comments about proposition 8. After I went back in to listen to the other speakers, their message focused more on love and becoming Christlike. They resonated with me and gave reason to continue to attend the remainder of the meetings.
In sunday school, proposition 8 was brought up again. The message of not supporting the amendment was going against the Prophet and a sign of apostasy. The rhetoric changed to being unified in all aspects of the church with the Prophet was equivalent to being unified with God. I again fought the urge to judge, stand up and leave. Luckily the same girl and others started to direct the conversation away to a message that was less offensive about agency and love.
Elder's quorum just isn't Elder's quorum with out a discussion of home teaching in the opening exercises. This week was the week that they passed out the new assignments. The Elder's quorum president who not only has a profession similar to that of Jason Bourne and hot, has the task of helping me not hate the popo. Back to home teaching. The Elder's quorum president told us that accepting this slip of paper was a commitment to fulfill the home teaching assignment and if we did not want to accept the commitment we were to give it back at the end of church. I had decided a while ago that home teaching was not a way that I would participate with in the church, even though I did my final semester in the Lanai ward (only because I respect and fully supported my companion and roommate). I had to disappoint this good looking man by declining the offer.
My heart was already hurting when I attended and am considerably more sensitive to these experiences due to a conversation with my niece. She told me even though she loved and supported me, she didn't like my decision to date men. While I respect her decision to conform the conclusions she wishes, it still hurts to not have the validation. The statement may or may not be a reflection of her parents feelings and conclusions. I was in no way surprised and tried my best to prepare. The preparation probably helped but didn't prevent the hurt (if you are reading this my beloved niece, please do not worry about hurting me, I know you love me regardless, I prefer honesty to silence). I then proceeded to break an important rule, I drank while sad. Now I have to live with the previously prescribed self inflicted consequences.
These experiences this weekend are in contrast of last weekend and a reminder of why a productive conversations is necessary. I don't think that these people who have had a negative impact on me are evil, bad or intentionally did so. I do believe there is room for more understanding of each other. I hope that I can continue to push through my own insecurities and pain to be apart of the change.