Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snow Day = No Church?

We got a ten year storm in our portion of the NW today. It was beautiful, oh, except for the part where I delivered the hated Sunday papers in the snow. And tomorrow will likely be a big icy mess--there isn't a snowplow within 50 miles of our fair city. After Sacrament Meeting, the Bishop called off the rest of church as snowflakes the size of silver dollars were still coming down hard. Pictures to come.

I wasn't going to blog today; I'm trying to have a no Sunday policy, but I read something over on Foxy J's blog--an old post I missed--and I decided to post instead of comment. Before my remarks make a lot of sense, you probably should read the post, and the comments.

Basically, in response to her post, somebody commented that she had recently been heckled for attending a funeral in Utah. Why? The young man who passed away had committed suicide and was homosexual. The person who wrote in did not say whether or not the two were related, but my impression is that the persecution this young man had endured probably did not make for great mental health.

Now I'm going to tell a long story, but it really has a point, I promise. I once had a roommate who was dating a guy I couldn't stand. He was in training to be a seminary teacher, but he was probably one of the most judgmental people I'd ever met. I was a sophomore in college and going through my detox from my ultra-Republican upbringing. I had a microbiology class. One section was about viruses and we talked at length about AIDS, as it was just really hitting the news then and it was before a lot of the successful anti-retro-viral drugs were available.

Anyway, the teacher's brother had died of AIDS a few years before and he just taught with such pathos, that I was really moved and interested. I was speaking about the situation to my roommate and ick-boyfriend happened to be there. He interupted the conversation to say, "AIDS is just God's judgment for the wicked." He shrugged off the deaths of women and children in Africa as collateral damage, and then I described the horror of dying from AIDS. He just shrugged and said, "Fags and drug users deserve it."

I was in complete shock. Complete.

Never before had I visted a bishop when I hadn't been called in, but I really liked the man who was serving as my bishop at the time and I'd had him for Institute. He was especially sensitive and attuned to the Spirit. I set an appointment and spoke to him. I didn't go to tattle on the wanna-be seminary teacher, I was more concerned that I too, as a member of the Church with a rather fledgling testimony, was supposed to feel likewise.

This wise bishop listened very carefully to me and said with great deliberation, "You know, I don't understand homosexuality all that well. I can understand why women sometimes turn to one another--women are sensitive and kind and men can be very cruel. But I don't know how men can be attracted to other men.

"But still, those emotions are real and powerful. It would be very hard to go through a lifetime of not acting on those impulses. They are very strong. But what I want to tell you is this:

"That young man your roommate is dating does not speak for the Church, and he especially doesn't speak for God. See, the thing is, we will all die in our sins. It doesn't matter if they are "little" or "big." Any act of disobedience keeps us seperate, spiritually, from our Father in Heaven. We will all have to learn to lay those sins, our OWN sins, not somebody else's at the feet of the Savior."

He then sighed and shook his head, "I hope your roommate's young man never makes it as a seminary teacher. How will he react when a sensitive young man comes to him for counsel? His attitude and judgments have no place in the Church Education System. I hope she doesn't marry him."

She didn't. But she almost did. In the end he couldn't believe that she was really wanting to go to medical school when she could have a life of raising his babies and living on $30,000 a year. He was actually dating another girl at the same time and when roomie got cold, he was engaged within two weeks.

I hope he isn't your kid's seminary teacher.

12 comments:

KarateMommy said...

You know, it's kinda funny you wrote about this, because I have been thinking about this alot lately. I don't know if it's because Of Heath Ledger's death, and the part he played in Brokeback mountain, but it's just been on my mind.

The story of people protesting a funeral just makes me sick. It doesn't matter if they were LDS or not. I think everyone should respect each other's choices, whether they agree with them or not. You don't have to encourage, embrace, or promote those things, but you can show respect for those people who do choose that.

Its' hard for me to see people judge others. Labels are put on people, and they are no longer a person. They're an object that you can feel free to degrade, ridicule, and mock at YOUR own freewill. This is not Christ's way.

When I was younger, I didn't even know there was such a thing as homosexuals, or even what it was. It was about 7th grade that my sister told me her piano teacher was bi. I asked what bi meant. I am so ashamed of how I reacted. I really have no excuse, but that I was narrow minded, and labeled him, and forgot he was still a human being.

Every person has worth, and has something great to offer.

This also made me think about this problem. Sometimes I see that people, especially that are from Utah, think that they are better then others, just because of where they are from. Of course there are wonderful people in Utah, but there are wonderful people outside of Utah. And just because they're not from there, does not mean they're lacking something, or are weaker in the gospel, or have missed something by not ever living there. And vice versa, just because someone is from Utah, does no make them "puffed-up," or fake, or what have you.

Get to know a person, really know them. You will come to love them, if you are looking for that good that resides in every one of us.

Doreen said...

Wow, just, wow. I loved your bishop's response. And I can't believe the comments some people will make. Have you ever read any of the articles in the Ensign about homosexuality? There've been a couple I remember reading not too long ago. They describe a lot of the hardship and heartache homosexual people go through, especially if they choose not to act on their feelings. And I wouldn't be surprised if the suicide was linked to the man being gay, gay men have a very high suicide rate. I'm not going to go into my personal thoughts and feelings on the topic any further here, but just wanted to say that being hateful and judgmental has never solved anyone's problem, it just causes a lot of hurt feelings. As your bishop said, we all have our little sins and weaknesses that we're going to be accountable for. That's what we should worry about, not how God chooses to (supposedly) punish people who choose a different lifestyle...

FoxyJ said...

Excellent comments. That guy is just plain scary...

We still haven't seen any snow yet here. It was clear and sunny all day. It's probably waiting to snow until tomorrow during my drive to work...

Desmama said...

I think your storms hit us about twenty-four hours after they hit you. We are bracing for the storm that just hit you. My wind-chime is chiming away . . . ;)

Excellent comments. That ick-boyfriend . . . oh, it just makes me shudder. How so so so wrong to be filled with such hate.

kanaboke said...

I grew up with family members who were gay so I've never really had bad things to say about the lifestyle because my parents always taught us to love everyone. Even after I knew, I couldn't help but love the person..we are taught, "Love the person not the sin" and that's just the way it's always been. Like that wise Bishop, I too, hope that he NEVER made it as a Seminary teacher because there are many, many other things besides being gay that teenagers deal with today, that I just don't think "ick" guy could properly deal with. (This is Ardis btw)

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Beautiful comments ladies. I looked at several talks last night about homosexuality and the link under "Church" is probably my favorite. The wording is just careful and deliberate and sensitive.

And thanks for clearing up your identity Kanaboke. I couldn't remember if I had seen you post before or not.

Yankee Girl said...

I wish it would snow so bad here that school (work) would be canceled. My sister lives in Redmond, Oregon and her kids are home today because school was canceled.

Anyway, very good post. It just makes me sick to think of anyone protesting a funeral.

Three's Company said...

Woooooow. That is just so incredibly sad. Not that I'm a saint, but people like that always make me wonder how it would be to be that miserable and full of hate. I'm sure it takes a lot of energy--energy that could be spent doing, say, something good for mankind rather than passing judgment. Thanks for the post. It's always good to have a reminder that being our best selves does not involve degrading other people like that.

Three's Company said...

One other thing. STM, will you please send me your email address (to emilythecook@yahoo.com)? I'm going private.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I think some people confuse hostility with righteousness either because it gratifies their pride to think they're "better," or because they fear that embracing sinners will weaken their resolve against sin.

Either way, they're totally at odds with their Savior, who spent considerable time with harlots and sinners. I'm sure those people didn't gravitate to Him because He criticized them, but rather because He inspired, encouraged, and loved them.

As Elder Bednar recently put it, Christ has incredibly high standards, and incredible love.

on.the.run said...

What an amazing bishop, I love what he had to say. It is so sad when people make things so black and white, if it were that simple no one would make any mistakes. It is always crazy when people think that horrible things like aids or hurricanes or fires are God's punishment...

The Divine Miss A said...

I too have to send kudos to your bishop. It sounds like he was incredibly sensitive and wise.