Sunday, February 1, 2009

Interviews and Spiritual Ramblings

The interviews for the documentary that Reed Cowan is producing (with Carol Lynn Pearson and Emily Pearson as consultants) were incredible! I was so touched as I listened to the story of the parents from St. George who interviewed before us. I felt a kinship with them, and as the wife went off camera, I ran up to embrace her. With tears running down our faces, though we had never met before, a spirit of incredible love for our Heavenly Father and all of his children, along with the hardship of reconciling the church we love with our feelings, instantly bonded us together.

Bother! I was crying, and it was my turn. I quickly slipped in the restroom, checked my hair and makeup in the mirror, glanced at my red eyes, and then shrugged at my appearance and went on to face the task before me.

It is all a bit of a blur. Reed asked me why I was there, why I wasn't bitter about finding out that Scott is gay, what kind of impact I think the church has on encouraging young men to marry, even though it often affects a wife and children when they come to terms with their gay feelings and/or realize that they won't change. I DO remember the incredible feeling I had as I answered each question and shared my story, wondering how the words that were flowing from my lips came so easily, and with passionate feeling but no embarrassing tears. What an incredible blessing!

The entire room was touched beyond belief when our 12-year-old daughter chose to go on camera even after Reed Cowan strongly cautioned her of the possible consequences. Eyes were full of tears as she confidently expressed how much Heavenly Father loves all of His children, even if they are gay.

Only one thing bothered me. It seemed that most or all of those who were there at the time we were had chosen to leave the church because of their experiences with gay loved ones and proposition 8. I wondered if our family could possibly be in line to follow that path.

After we got home from the interviews, I attended the baptism of a child in our ward with my 8-year-old son. It was easy to put a smile on my face from the events that morning, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to be at church at that moment. It seemed weird to be at a baptism where someone was becoming a new member of the church while thinking about what actually leads to someone choosing to leave the church.

The opening song was "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus" and as I sang, the words confirmed to me that I am doing just that, trying to love as He did, trying to love my neighbor and learning to serve my friends.

I found myself analyzing the simple talks given by youth (siblings of the baptismal candidate). One closed her talk by saying, "Being in the church is the best thing you can do." Hmmm, is it really? Maybe for some people. Were the parents that I met that morning not doing the best thing that they personally could do, even though they had chosen to leave the church that meant the world to them, that had been in their family for generations? I felt the spirit and the love in their words, and I think that God knows they are doing the best they can with loving their two gay children and the new husband of their son. They have not forsaken God or the gospel of Jesus Christ, just the church itself that acts as a corporation instead of as a true representative of Christ. (I'm kind of quoting their words here about the church, not exactly my own personal feelings.)

The other speaker quoted a scripture that says "the spirit cannot dwell in unholy temples" and then followed up with the comment that in order to have the Holy Ghost to be with us, we have to keep the commandments. I get the impression that some people believe keeping the commandments also includes following every word that the Prophet speaks. If that is the case, then by not agreeing with Prop 8, am I not considered by some to be an "unholy temple" and thereby not worthy of the Holy Ghost? Then why do I think I have felt the Holy Ghost more strongly this week than ever? I felt the spirit at the interview yesterday, and also earlier in the week while helping some friends to understand their own personal revelation from God and their choices to love and date someone of the same gender. I refuse to believe that these wonderful and peaceful feelings could be from the adversary.

After the closing prayer, another young woman in this family began to play postlude on the piano. The song she chose? "I'll walk with you." My heart lifted from the pensive and confusing thoughts I have expressed above and I began to audibly sing the words as she played. Everyone was standing up, getting ready to leave, and they looked at me and smiled as I sang. I was again filled with the sweet peace of knowing that I am following God's plan for me at this time.

Today church was awesome. Before the sacrament song even started, my heart started pounding and I knew that I had to bear my testimony. I got up immediately after the sacrament. I was calm and composed, and not at all tearful, which is really weird for me. I shared about what was in my last post, only more vague, about how things in my patriarchal blessing are coming to pass, about how I am feeling God's direction in my life stronger than ever before, about how I am blessed as I serve others and bring them closer to their Savior, how I am so grateful to have Scott in my life, how I am blessed with such wonderful children, especially our daughter, who has already developed such a strong testimony and has amazing courage and understanding for someone of her age.

Then Sunday School was about personal revelation. The lesson was taught by my good friend that reads my blog and she always does a great job! I actually commented a few times, based on my recent experiences, and it felt really good. Relief Society was about individual worth, specifically our worth as women and daughters of God, and it was really uplifting as well. I felt an incredible spirit as we sang the closing hymn I chose, "I am a child of God." I was uplifted as I looked at the face of each woman in the room: some were smiling, others crying, but undeniably everyone seemed to be as touched as I was.

I am grateful to have had such a spiritual and uplifting weekend, especially after a hard evening Friday night openly discussing things with Scott's parents. The Moho party was wonderful, and I met a few kindred spirits face-to-face for the first time, knowing them already so well from their blogs. We had all gay-friendly groups represented: a straight heterosexual couple, a few mixed orientation marriage couples (one straight wife without her spouse), a married gay couple, boys that are dating boys, boys that are single and celibate and church-going, children galore! And I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all. Thank your for bringing your smiles and laughter and love (and even tears, sometimes) into our home. We are so grateful for all of our friends, and wish more of you could be with us in person, although you are all with us in spirit and we think of each of you often.

Oh, one last thing, good news! My "favorite" teacher is not teaching the lesson next week ("Beware the bitter fruits of apostacy") because it is ward conference and a member of the stake relief society presidency is going to teach, so maybe I will attend it after all, although I am still a bit worried about the lesson. I was scanning it today and read this quote:

Joseph Smith taught the importance of sustaining our Church leaders: "That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, ...that man is in the high road to apostasy."

Stay tuned next week for the results of that...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences of this weekend, Sarah.

I was very touched as I read your account and about your daughter standing and sharing her feelings.

I teach Jr High (at this time) and had a young man recently make a very bold and brash statement, to one of my classes, against gay people.

It turned into a very interesting conversation between him and me, in front of the class. I tried being discreet, but also wanted him to understand that being gay, in many instances, is NOT a choice, and how would HE feel if he were discriminated against because he enjoyed tennis, or was good at Math, or some other thing.

I knew I was beginning to get hot under the collar, AND, I knew I did not want to out myself to my young teenage class, so I tried moving on to the lesson at hand. It was a tough moment and stayed with me for a long time.

Thank you for your support and love of people, all people.

Happy day.

P.S. I deleted the first comment because I had not checked for the spelling errors. :)

lindastay said...

I am Linda Stay, from St George.
Alanna sent me a link to your blog. I was so sorry we were unable to stay Sat. and hear your interview. I am grateful you made an account of it here. I would love to be in touch more. Look me up on facebook.

I love who you are! Linda

Sarah said...

Thanks for your comment, Linda. I actually already sent the friend request. It was an incredible feeling for me on Saturday that we are SO not alone in our feelings, both in our love for the gospel and our love for these people, and our struggles with reconciling the two.

I am privileged to have met you and shared that moment with you!

Scot said...

"Bother! I was crying, and it was my turn. "

I'm starting to think poor Reed's documentary is going to be a bunch of red-eyed folks; I know my family and I didn't make it through :).

Anyway, thank you Sarah, for the home you head and for welcoming others into it.

Pieces of Me said...

Wonderful thoughts Sarah, and I had a GREAT time on Saturday, thanks again for hosting and being so gracious.

Beck said...

You are an incredibly amazing and strong woman among women!

My patriarchal blessing promises that I will be "a strong man among men". I don't even come close to knowing what that means personally, but I feel you personify that in women.

Christopher said...

Thanks Sarah! And I just wanted to let you know that Becky and I LOVED being at yours and Scott's house on Saturday. The whole time we couldn't help saying to each other, "These are our people!" It is so nice to get together with people who understand our situation. We will see and get to know each other more! And thank you for the great things you are doing for people like us. Don't you dare doubt it.

Sarah said...

DUCK: Thanks for prompting me to share my feelings. I considered blogging about just the interview sooner, but I didn't have time. Then when I finally did have time, so much else had happened and it was great to weave it all together.

I feel your pain at school. I completely understand you not wanting to out yourself to them, but it is so good that you can at least defend yourself. I have decided this year that it is important for us as teachers to speak up against bigotry, name-calling, etc. Good luck, and may you continue to have the courage and the spirit to know what to say and when to say it. Me too!

SCOT, PIECES, CHRIS & BECKY: Thank you so much for coming on Saturday. We are so blessed to have you and others in our home. We have never had this kind of social life before! We love it! Thank you for your sweet comments. May we share them with family to help them understand what we are doing?

BECK: I love your thoughts and inspiration. You have been such an important part of my journey from the beginning. Thank you for sharing that thought with me. I am honored. I really need to meet you sometime! I am tired of waiting to meet both you AND your wife, although I know it will happen someday. :) Let's plan something!

Christopher said...

Of course you can share them!