Sunday, November 4, 2012

Four Years Ago

Note: I wrote this November 4th, but didn't post it until January 30. So if it just barely showed up in your news feed and you weren't sure why it took three months to get there, don't worry--my fault. :)

I woke up this morning and began to think about my day. I have to finish making a costume for my daughter for the school musical and I have a tiny bit of grading left to do to finish the first term grades for one of my classes. I am also participating in the last part of the "Circling the Wagons" conference this weekend by saying a prayer at the interfaith service this afternoon.

But there is barely time before the service that I could attend my own Sacrament meeting at 11, which I have not done since the end of September when I attended the Primary program. I was not planning to go to my meeting at all, but as I thought about it, I remembered that this is an anniversary of sorts.

It has been four years today since Scott stood up in Fast and Testimony meeting and came out to our ward. If any of you read the story back then and still remember any of it, you would recall that both Scott and I, separate of each other, woke up nervous with the distinct thought and feeling that he should come out in Sacrament meeting that day. Finally, I couldn't handle the thought screaming in my head any longer, so I shared it out loud with Scott. He had a shocked look on his face as he shared with me that he had been feeling and thinking the same thing.

Up to this point, I knew he had toyed with the idea of doing that very thing, and I had expressed that while I valued the reasons he had for coming out to our ward, I thought we should work toward getting permission to do it during a 5th Sunday meeting with the adults. The fact that this day I woke up feeling that it should be in Sacrament meeting was not my own thoughts and opinions, but I'm certain rather that it was the inspiration of a higher power.

So Scott wrote up what he would say, because he knew he would be extremely nervous. He went to the church and told the bishop what he intended to do, to which the bishop responded that he wasn't going to stop him but he preferred that he didn't. And then together we asked our two oldest children (11 and 12 at the time) for permission, and they were on board, excited not to have to keep this family secret any more.

While I still believe that decision was inspired, I had no idea that it would lead me to where I am now.

So I remembered today that event four years ago, and I started feeling like maybe I should go and share my testimony today, my testimony of how that event was inspired, a few details of where Scott's testimony is now (which is pretty much non-existent, as far as I can tell. I'm not sure he even believes there is a God any more), and where my testimony is now, which is a testimony of a few basic principles of the gospel, including Christ and loving one another. I had a script going through my head when I sat down at my computer and now I can't remember it...

"Four years ago, Scott shared in fast and testimony meeting that he had come to terms with being attracted to men, but that he knew God loved him the way he is. He and I both woke up that day feeling like he should do this, and I still believe that decision, which we made as a family including our two oldest children--was inspired. We didn't know what the consequences of that decision would be, and we knew they could be horrible, but neither of us could deny the spirit that told us to move forward.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of love that has come from so many of you as our family structure and testimonies have changed in the last four years. I have made some amazing friends in this ward that I'm certain came as a result of this pivotal event.

This week I was going through some old newspapers, and I read one of Robert Kirby's columns. In it he said "Jesus Christ gave us the gospel, but Satan gave us religion." While I'm certain he meant the sentence to be humorous, it hit very close to home for me. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and his gospel. I have a testimony of loving others without judgement, realizing that Christ is the judge and He is able to make that judgement based on all aspects of our lives. I no longer have a testimony of a certain church being true. I believe that any religion that helps a particular person live a good life, serve others, and grow closer to God has done what it needed to do for that person. I know that the LDS church has done much good for me through many years of my life. Now I'm not sure if this religion or another one is best for me and my family in this journey. Someday I will figure it out. For now, though, I am grateful."

I did not end up going to church and sharing this testimony, by the way. But thinking through it and writing it here was helpful for me.

I spoke with a friend yesterday at the conference who came to our first Moho party four years ago. He had fond memories of what that connection did for him. He continues to be married to a woman and active in the church, and now serves as president of the NorthStar organization. And yet a year later when we tried to renew our temple recommends, Scott was told that our parties were "associating with those whose teachings and practices are contrary to the church." I feel like we are martyrs of sorts. Or at least Scott's testimony is a martyr. And I feel like Emma Smith, unable to fight the fight any longer because of what I've been through. I went to a fireside where the author of the book Emma spoke and shared that she believed that Emma had fulfilled her calling as wife to the prophet, her calling in this life. And when Joseph was brought home to rest, she was also given the opportunity to rest. I know of many who were critical of her decision to not come to Utah and remain an active member of the church, but I completely understand why she had to do just that. That is where I am. And though it pains me to know of the generations of posterity that could be affected by my decision, I can only hope and pray that it will be for the best, and that my children and grandchildren will learn to love as Jesus loved, regardless of which or any religion they belong to.