Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby blessings and cursings

Today we had the opportunity to attend a baby blessing in the family. I love early church, so it was nice to get the kids up, get ready, and get going. (I am looking forward to early church in our own ward starting next week.) It was a good morning and I was happy. It was good to see family. The baby was adorable. It was nice that Scott had been invited to participate in the priesthood circle. The ward was very friendly and Scott had 3 people ask him if we were new or visiting.

Then the kids started fighting over me. I swear I need 4 sides so that they can all sit by me and lie their heads on my lap at the same time. Their fighting started grating on my nerves.

Meanwhile, the high council speaker was talking about "wolves in sheep's clothing." He said vague things about recent politics, referring to words like equality, civil rights, tolerance, and even love that distract us from what is truly right in the eyes of God. If we are confused by what people try to tell us, we can pray, and God will help us understand what is right both in our minds AND in our hearts, not just one or the other.

Well, I thought to myself, I have definitely felt in both my mind and my heart that disagreeing with Prop 8 is the right thing for me to do, so it's all good.

I sent a text message to a moho friend complaining slightly about the meeting.

The talk ended (yay!), there was a nice musical number in which my sister-in-law took part. Then the next speaker got up. In our ward, the high council speakers have different topics. Not so in this stake. On comes another talk about "wolves in sheep's clothing", etc. I tried to ignore it. Scott was asleep with our 3 year old cradled in his arms, and I had the 8 year old asleep in my lap. There seemed to be nothing to distract me. I touched Scott's shoulder. He didn't flinch. Then, it happened. The speaker talked about politics in California and Arizona, and how members of the church did "Good works" by standing up for what is right. Even members within the church are against it and think they are doing good works, but they have been deceived by wolves in sheep's clothing. Then he started to talk about finding peace through the church and the Savior. I was feeling anything but peace at this point. Peace was having the joy of happy friends in my home, friends that can commit to someone of the same sex if they want to, and I will still love them and celebrate with them. I would much rather be in hell with them than in heaven with people like these high councilmen.

I squoze Scott's hand to wake him. He was starting to snore, anyway, so I needed to nip that in the bud. I fought back the tears, but he looked at me and asked me what was wrong. "F'n talk," I responded. I started to sob silently, but then my gasps between sobs became audible and his family started to turn and look at me. He said "Sing the hymn to distract yourself."


It started to help, but then the song ended after one verse because the meeting had run over. The person giving the closing prayer approached the microphone. I tried to keep my sobs quiet, but then my cell phone vibrated and I knew it would be a message of comfort from my friend. Scott looked at me with concern as I reached for my phone to read the message instead of closing my eyes for the prayer. The prayer ended, Scott's parents turned to ask me what what wrong and am I okay. I couldn't answer. To Scott I quietly sobbed, "Get me out of this damn church."

The children gathered their coats. I walked over to the speaker, who was just leaving the stand. I'm sure it was more than obvious that I had been crying. I said to him, "I want you to know that I do good works, and you can just keep your political opions to yourself." His smile instantly turned into shock and I immediately turned to leave the room with my family. My 11 year old grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight all the way to the car.

I composed myself during the ride to Scott's sister's house, texting back and forth with my supportive friend. At the house, nobody said anything to either of us about my episode. They spoke to us and treated us like they usually would. Scott was asked to help in the kitchen, extended family we hadn't seen for a while were marveling at how our kids have grown. Normal small-talk stuff about life.

Meanwhile, my thoughts could not completely forget what had been said.

It won't take many more days at church like that to make it easier to stay home than to go. What is the future going to bring for us? We are active Mormons, but we are definately sliding the other direction. We are tired of the preaching, calling evil good and good evil, etc, and church is starting to be the least-peaceful place in our lives. What a tough thing, what a major crossroads we are approaching and decisions to make. I'm afraid of what that decision might be...


Public Loneliness said...

You have one of the most tender hearts of anyone I've read. I'm sorry for the challenges you're facing. You will need all the the strength and patience in the world to continue with you great calling and sometimes it will seem to you that the fight is not worth it, but you're making a difference and touching lives of people you don't even know. I have nothing but admiration and awe for you and your husband, if only all of us were 1/2 as lucky to have a wife like you...

Be strong and we're here to share your joys and struggles and look up to you and your family as examples, wherever your lives may lead you. Hugs and best wishes...

Evan said...

From talking to friends and reading this, it sounds like a lot of us had a miserable day at church.

Sarah, although I don't have to deal with it as frequently here in west TX, I am sure it is hard. I try to focus on the good I can get out of church, and to me, that's all I really can do. Fortunately, I have an extremely supportive branch president who I can talk to. We got to find those in our faith and in our lives that we can lean on when we get upset over such things, especially with recent events. Luckily, you have a wonderful husband. You have wonderful friends. You are in a lucky place, because you aren't fighting this alone!

I think speaking your mind to the council men was perfectly fine. You let him know he offended someone, but please be willing to forgive him. Members are highly uneducated on the subject, and I think understanding that is important.

Good luck with everything. You and your family will be in my prayers.

lanabanana said...

Hang in there, Sarah. We need to stay in the church, to continue to fight the good fight. If all of us leave, who will be left to tell "them" they are wrong? Just three years ago, I might have been the one up there giving that talk and believing every word. Now I'm better educated and I pray for the day when all members will join me.


Sarah said...

Thank you all so much for your support.

PL, I don't feel like I deserve such praise, but thank you.

Evan, I can forgive him. It is not his fault that he feels and says the things he does. Thanks for reminding me.

Alanna, I too, would have been giving that talk a year ago. So much has changed in such a short period of time. I agree that we need to stay in the church to do the good that we need to do, but it is a hard thing that God asks of us. May he continue to bless us with good friends to lean on!
Thank you for your friendship.

Scott said...

Thanks to everyone for being such a great source of support for Sarah! I love her and I do my best to give her the support that she needs but so often one person's love isn't enough and I am extremely grateful that she has so many friends in the "MoHo Queerosphere" who are always ready with words of love and encouragement.

invisible said...

I am sorry you had to go through that. You are such a loving and inspiring person. I think Evan gave good advice. I wish I had the courage to say something but I just sat in my service and nodded along with everyone and I feel the weaker for it. I hope that you stay in the Church. We need people like you!

Kengo Biddles said...

There are some Sundays that it's hard for me to go to Gospel Doctrine, because I want to overstep my bounds as Sunday School President and kick people out of class when they make stupid crap remarks like that. There's about 3 or 4 people in my ward that do that, but most of the room just kind of flinches when they do...we're one of the "bluer" neighborhoods of Provo.

Suffice to say, I understand where you come from, but I think that standing up for what you've felt and your point of view can only do good. Maybe they'll turn to God and Christ and be healed through the Atonement of their stupidity.

(And no, funny as that sounds, I'm not kidding.)

Beck said...

Sometimes you have to say what you said to the HCman to get him to wake up to the fact that his words are his opinion and they do hurt - maybe it won't do any good, but maybe it will... he may start to think about it and be reminded the next time to be more sensitive to the spirit instead of his own opinions.

I am glad you went up to him. That took strength and conviction. You should be commended for that. How often I've been frustrated for hurtful things said, and I just hang my head in disgust and later in shame for never saying anything and bemoaning about it later.

We cannot make our voices heard if we don't give voice to our feelings. I thank you for this example.

It's hard, but if you give up and let "them" win, then where is there the victory? The conversion process starts one person at a time and that leads to another and another. It isn't going to change over night. Be patient. The church needs you! We need you! I need you!

Please don't give up, but take it in stride and know it's not going to happen quickly, but increased understanding WILL come.

CiCi said...

Your blog has left me thinking of my patriarchal blessing. One part of it says, "Do not strike back when you seem to be offended. Rather, be mellowed in the realization that all are mortals and imperfect". I'm sorry you were offended. Most of us here would have been! Don't let a mere mortal impact your decision about remaining or not remaining active in the church. He is just ignorant, and obviously doesn't think anyone in his circle of friends and family is gay. I always have to shake my head when someone is so narrow minded. I am willing to bet everyone has a gay friend or family member. Most members of the church just don't know it. Good luck to you. Thanks for your positive influence. I think you're great!