Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Out" at the Book Group

I did it. I suggested “No More Goodbyes” for my Relief Society book group to read.

There weren’t very many there (4 including me), and the ones that were there I was more comfortable suggesting it to, as opposed to few that weren’t there that I would have been scared to death to suggest it in their presence. One lady is very knowledgeable about books, and thought it could be a good pick for a good discussion (she hadn’t ever read a pre-reader copy she received, but had skimmed it), but was wary of Carol Lynn Pearson’s “agenda”. A discussion obviously ensued; nothing too bad, and I don’t even remember all of the details. But then when one lady (a neighbor and friend) leaned over to me after I made a comment and said “Wait until you find out there is one in YOUR family”, that was it. I got nervous, I thought of texting Scott to get his permission, I wavered for just a moment and then said, “Actually, the reason I am suggesting it is that Scott is gay.”

Wow. Shock, and love. Regret for words just said. Hugs, forgiveness for words said, and a continuing great discussion, but suddenly with a different feel to it.

A main topic of conversation was how best for Scott to come out to the ward. One (the hostess) thought testimony sounded good at first (if prompted after praying to do such), but then I expressed my concern of parents’ discomfort with their children present. We decided that a 5th Sunday type of meeting with just the adults, maybe led by our friend in the stake presidency, would be better.

Decision about book: probably not, maybe something a little less liberal. I am now going to read “In Quiet Desperation” so I can recommend it knowing first hand that it would be worthwhile. I personally really liked NMG as you all know, but am realizing more and more that maybe it is not for everyone (or at least not right now). My friend did, however, take my copy of NMG home with her to read.

Anyway, then I had to come home and break the news to Scott. He was fine with it, but we are now realizing that very soon, this being “out” thing is going to take on a life of its own.


Carter Niven said...

You are amazing to be so supportive of your husband. It is always a scary thing to be outed by your wife. I know that Claire unconditionally loves me, but sometimes it is hard when I know that she has shared my sexuality with others without me knowing.

Generally, I don't think this is a bad thing because it means that she is comfortable with it to a certain extent. Maybe it means that I am not quite comfortable with it.

I'm glad that those there were so supportive of you.

Dichotomy said...

I thought I ought to pipe in because I know that there will be some who are concerned with the fact that Serendipity outed me without asking me first.

I've told her that she's welcome to talk to people who are outside my social circle without discussing it with me. Accordingly, she's told some of her co-workers when it seemed appropriate to do so, without me knowing beforehand.

Obviously the people in our ward are not "outside my social circle" so this situation is a bit different. I'm comfortable with her decision for a couple of reasons:

1) She knows that I intend to be out to the ward in the not-too-distant future anyway, and in fact we had discussed only a couple of days ago that one possible method of doing so would be to tell one small group of people at a time.

2) I'm confident that she was sensitive to the situation and to the appropriateness of sharing my "secret" with that group of people at that time, and I trust her judgment.

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous having people in the ward know. I trust these few people to be discreet, but I worry that if we let just a few more know the secret will grow legs and start to walk around the neighborhood without any help from anyone. On the other hand, maybe that's not a bad thing?

Damon In CO said...


Good for you. It sort of makes me sad that No More Goodbyes might be too liberal for some in the Church...but I know what you mean.

I don't want to sway you about reading In Quiet Desperation at all but I wasn't too impressed. I started it last year but I struggled to finish it. It doesn't do an excellent job of depicting the struggle gay members go through and it doesn't call for the patience and understanding that I think are so critical. Read it and tell me what you think.

It is possible that this news is going to spread, but I don't know that this is a bad thing. It will probably be the whole "I'm going to tell you something, but don't tell anyone" that everyone will use to tell people.

I also liked the groups idea of a special 5th Sunday removes the children. However, it might require more time discussing with the Bishop.

Glad to hear the information was received well. Interesting about the the hotesses husband, too!

MoHoHawaii said...

In my experience coming out is a relationship intensifier. People who already like you will like you more; people who don't like you already will like you even less. Use the opportunity to develop deeper friendships with the people who are already important to you. Ignore the others if you can.

(I saw this effect in action years ago when I came out to my large, extended Mormon family.)

Philip said...

I wish you and Dichotomy the best of luck.

I'm also impressed because I can't imagine something similar happening in the Catholic Church. Maybe I am judging my Church too harshly because I've been away for so long but then my one attempt to return did not go well.

What impresses me is that members in what I have always thought of as a very conservative religion are willing to address the issue openly. I don't remember the Catholic Church ever engaging parishioners in discussions on anything much less controversial subjects. But based on the reaction of your fellow Church members, I wonder if maybe there might be more acceptance among fellow parishioners than the official position taken by my Church.

Again, my thoughts are with you and your husband.


Marlo said...

very cool. my thoughts and prayers are with you as travel this part of your journey.

Dichotomy said...

It sort of makes me sad that No More Goodbyes might be too liberal for some in the Church...but I know what you mean.

Unfortunately, some people believe that loving someone automatically means that you accept and approve of everything that they do. So when someone like CLP comes along and suggests that we can love people who are doing things we might not approve of, it kind of freaks them out.

Beck said...

I second Damon's "WOW"... I can't believe it... so now it does have "legs" as DICHO said and it will be interesting to see how it spreads around the ward and neighborhood and how it reaches your kids.

I, too, am impressed with the reaction and support, especially the "bi"guy piping up like that... but I do hope it goes well as it walks into less-supportive homes.

As for IQD, good luck. The Matis portion made be cry and weep openly. The remainder got a bit didactic and preachy. I'd be interested in your review.

salad said...

i would like to chime in about NMG, i will re-echo my sentiments that while CLP does have an interesting perspective, like IQD, in my opinion, it doesn't provide a great cross-section of experience. Pearson tends to dwell on the negative experiences that people have and how we, as members of the Church need to rally and make the experiences better. but there are many people who do have really good experiences over-all, and i think we need to appreciate those and dwell on those more than we do, especially when introducing new people to the "coming-out" experience. but that is just my opinion.

i would be really careful about recommending NMG as vigorously in the future. CLP is quite liberal for most LDS readers ;)

while i did gain a greater appreciation for the "other side" of experience, since Drex's experience was pretty smooth, i came away from NMG feeling really depressed and down and that wasn't something i wanted carry with me.

Mr. Fob said...

Your husband commenting on my blog this morning led me to check out his blog, and from there I hopped on over here. I'm really impressed by the integrity I see in both of you and I look forward to seeing how this journey unfolds for you.

We're out to most of our friends but not so much people in my wife's ward. I know there have been several times when she wanted to raise her hand in Relief Society and say, "Um, my husband is gay," but so far hasn't.