August 17, 2012

Visit with the Mission President

I took a road trip starting two weeks ago. I drove from Salem, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah. I traveled for my friends wedding. While I was there I got to see my favorite mission companion, and also a sister from the mission who I have stayed in contact with, but haven't seen for about 5 years. I also had the opportunity to meet with my Mission President, but I wasn't sure whether or not I actually wanted to.

I came out to my President as a gay mormon about two years ago in an e-mail I sent him. His response surprised me. I also saw him at a mission reunion.

The reason I was unsure if I wanted to meet with him was because I wasn't sure I really had anything to ask him. At the mission reunion, I said I would love to sit down with him and ask him some questions I had. That was two years ago though, and most of those questions I had either come to answer myself, or I knew the canned response he would have.

I nonetheless went to see him. It was different then a meeting with him on the mission. On the mission I always felt intimidated by him. Not that he tried to make me feel intimidated, but I was. This meeting was very causal and warm. I wasn't intimidated at all. I was calm and secure with who I was.

We talked about life and then got into the subject I had really come for, being a gay Mormon. He asked questions which seemed sincere and genuine. Trying to understand where I was coming from. I was frank and honest with him.

There was one point where he brought up the position of single women who don't marry, but are still asked to remain celibate. I told him the following (paraphrased):

"The comparison of single women and celibacy and gay people and celibacy is not fair or comparable. A single women can hope that some day, any day, she could meet her love and be married. She has that hope. For someone who is gay like myself, even if I meet that someone, I am told I cannot be with them. The hope is taken away from me. Single people have that hope, but gay people have that hope taken away by what the church teaches."

He said, "Oh, wow, yeah I never thought of it like that before." After that, he never compared my situation to a single woman again. I appreciated that, and was happy that I was able to teach him.

The conversation overall was not at all how I wanted it to go. I wanted to tell him my current position and state of mind. And I wanted him to give his church leadership's view of it, and opinion. More like a two way conversation. Instead it was him asking questions and finding out where I was and then him giving me a list of things to do.

One thing he suggested I do is to get lost in volunteer work. In losing myself in volunteer work, he explained, I would lessen the longing to have someone with me because I would be giving of myself. I disagree. I think while being engaged in volunteerism is a good and nobel thing, it should not be used to suppress my own wants and feelings. I wish I had a quicker thought process and was able to tell him that during our visit.

He suggested I meet with my Bishop, put my temple garments back on, read the scriptures and pray. I just nodded my head knowing I wouldn't do most of those things. I left feeling like the visit was a general waste of time, except for my teaching him a single woman's situation is not comparable with my own.

I'll chalk up the visit to a nice meet and greet with my President, and will disregarding most of his "advice".


  1. From my perspective, you are making the right decision to ignore most of his advice. I threw myself into work. I threw myself into pet rescue. I threw myself into doing other good deeds. I don't know how many times people told me, "you are an answer to my prayer," but I was and am lonely. The former mission president probably meant well, but he does not understand. Best wishes.

  2. Hey, you know what, as far as I'm concerned, chipping away at that ridiculous (and disrespectful!) analogy of gayness to "single sisterhood" is a great accomplishment.

  3. @Dean - You're right, his suggestion of losing myself is service was earnest on his part. However it is a hallow promise to a desire for companionship, or a cure for loneliness.

    @Trev - Considering he was in one of the Quorums of 70 and his wife is a prominent person in the church, I hope that bit of enlightenment trickles up!