June 16, 2012

My Future Church Life

As I shared recently, because of unfortunate and frustrating circumstances I am having to move home with my parents while I finish college. This is presenting me with new situations of choice. Since I have been in Portland, I have pretty much gone inactive from the church. Now that I am moving home, I will face a new choice of my church attendance. What's a guy to do.

When I first moved to Portland for college, I attended the singles ward nearby and met some nice people, some of whom I spent time with outside of church. When I moved into my new apartment three months later, I withdrew from socializing with the new singles ward. They seemed a little stuck up, aloof and I really just wasn't that interested. It was two months after being in the new singles ward that the guilt came over me (again) and I confessed to the Bishop I hardly knew that I had been engaging in "homosexual activity".

I was thus disfellowshipped from the church and almost instantly became less active, progressing fast into inactivity. I have been happy with my current relation to the church. I believed, but was able to pursue as much interaction as I wanted, which interestingly was close to none. I did however desire sometimes to just be able to go to church and enjoy non-committing attendance.

I moved nine months later to the other side of town and back into the singles ward I was first apart of when I moved to Portland. I knew the bishop well and respected him greatly, but after his several attempts to contact me and meet with me, I asked him for space, which he respectfully gave (he only check in with me once, a year later, on my birthday).

Now I face moving back home with my parents at the end of this month. I move to the ward I spent the my last few teenage years, and the ward that sent me off and welcomed me home from my mission. People I respect and care for, and visa versa. I also automatically move into the same singles ward that I loved, where I served as an active member in influential callings and with friends from high school years (though I think most of them are married or moved now).

I still believe in the church and do enjoy going to sacrament when I visit my parents. However, it is the fact that I was visiting the ward that made me feel comfortable not taking the sacrament and having no responsibilities in the ward. Now I will be a person on the records, who will be checked up on. I will be living in the stake my father is president of. Living with active parents who are well known in the ward. And I am left filling the role of wayward child (not in their eyes, but eyes of others).

I really don't care to much of what others will think. Members in my parents ward can assume I'm at the singles ward and the singles ward can assume I'm at my parents ward.

My parents will not force me to go to church, but will invite me with high hopes every Sunday. I suspect and actually would appreciate the chance to go to sacrament (only) when I feel like it. I will struggle with the guilt for not going and for disappointing my folks. This is my own guilt and is something I will naturally have to get over.

I experienced similar guilt when I first was restricted from taking the sacrament. I felt like everyone was watching me pass the bread and water on. I felt people would ask why, or be confused that the good boy they knew growing up was now a sinner. It took time, and training of my own self conscience thoughts to not care. Now I pass on the sacrament without much thought to what others are thinking (mainly because I know others aren't even paying attention to me or if they are they don't care, they have their own issues). I have learned most of the uncomfortable feelings I had being in church as a disfellowshipped member was of my own making. Those awkward people in the ward that did make it into a issue, are the crazy people anyways, and they don't matter.

So I plan on going occasionally to sacrament with my mother, and father when he is visiting that ward. I will most likely walk home (since the chapel is only blocks from my home, and I don't even live in Utah!) Or drive home, and come back to pick up my mother. We shall see how this goes. I will report back.


  1. Tough situation but not impossible. Remember you are an adult now and you should expect (and require)that your parents treat you that way. Be YOU and be honest. If you're going to live with your parent be tactful but open about your interests and the guys you meet. I think you SHOULD bring your dates home occasionally to meet your parents. It may be uncomfortable at first but they will see that you are happy dating guys and they will adjust. Openness and honesty breeds trust and love. Good luck and keep smiling!! Brad

    1. Thanks Brad!

      Being myself is absolutely what I need and must do. I still have some exploring of just who I am, but I try not to hide myself either.

      I have to disagree with bring someone home for two reasons. One, I havent been on a date in a long time and have stopped looking for a guy until I move. Two, its a matter of respect. When I met the one, I will bring him home, but until that time I would not bring home just any guy I see. I wouldn't do that with a girl where the situation reversed.

  2. When I was disfellowshipped, I discovered what it meant to attend and worship because "I" wanted to be there and worship. I too felt the awkwardness at first, but later became comfortable with my status. A few years have passed, and I am just beginning to understand God's love for me regardless of my perceptions of self-worth. I know he loves me, even as I sloppily work through life experiences.

    God bless,

    1. Its funny Steve how being removed from the normality really sets things into a proper and health perspective. Some may never feel that want to go to church if they are still going through the motions. It's only when we are removed that the desire can really manifest.

      I really believe, like you were saying, that the awkwardness usually comes from within ourselves, and rarely, though occasionally, comes from others.

  3. People can be a lot more understanding on an individual basis than we give them credit for. Trust me, there are, many mamy people in every ward with things in their present or past that they are uncomfortable with. At least that has been my experience.

    1. You're very right. It isn't until presented with an opportunity, that we see the understanding and goodness of people. Yes, everyone has past issues, they just aren't so blessed as we to have such a controversial one. Sometimes I feel a little special because of it ;)