November 9, 2013

My Church Attendance — Over One Year Later

When I moved home while I finished college, during the summer of 2012, I realized that I would probably start going to church again living at home with my folks.  Now that I have been here for over one year, I thought I should examine where I am. I have just over six months until I plan to move to Salt Lake City, and so I also want to look at where I will go from here.

When I first moved back home I made a set of rules I wanted to abide by for attending church. These weren't demands, as much as lines of personal privacy I wanted to informally give the church and my parents. 

I first admitted that while I am a disfellowshipped member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I enjoy church and like going to Sacrament Meeting. I knew that moving back home I would go to church almost weekly. This was ok with me.

I stated, "I do not wish to "repent" and find my way back into full fellowship. I do not wish to meet with the Bishop or any other church leader for "checking in" or any other type of sit down conversation... I thus would also not like to be visited by the missionaries as some sort of less active member.

What I want is to choose my level of engagement with church according to what my wants and needs are, not what the church's wants and needs are. I will choose whether I want to simply come to church and sit through meetings or whether I want anyone working with me".  

I have never been called in by the Bishop to meet with him. The Bishop, who I consider a friend, of course talks with me in the hallways or before meetings but never in the capacity as my Bishop. I have appreciated this very much. I never stated this request to not meet him or anyone else though and I wonder why I have never been approached to meet with him.

I mentioned this to my father (who is the Stake President) one day, asking him if he said something to them about me or not. He said he never said anything except once. Apparently the YSA Bishop asked my father if I would be attending the Singles Ward and if I could be extended a calling as his Executive Secretary. My father said I wasn't interested in attending and couldn't hold a calling until I was willing to live certain commandments. But my father never talked to my actual Bishop.

He did state that my record shows I'm disfellowshipped and perhaps the Bishop (the old one and the new one) were both to apprehensive to approach me because of my father. Whatever the reason, I told my dad that I have appreciated being left alone and having church participation on my own terms. 

Before the move back home I thought that I would only go to Sacrament Meeting, and skip the other two hours. That hasn't happened. I actually enjoy Sunday School and attended frequently. At first I went home before Elders Quorum, but sometime last year, I started staying for the third hour and have since continued. 

I am not sure why I go, as I do not participate AT ALL. I don't speak, attend activities, sign the attendance sheet or anything else. Maybe I stay out of convenience (I drive my mom home from church and going home for about 45 minutes didn't make sense). Maybe the few good looking men in Elders Quorum providing eye candy subconsciously keep me there. I don't know, but nevertheless, I have been attending all three hours for a long time now.

Honestly, I enjoy church. I enjoy seeing people and socializing with people there who matter to me. I plan to continue going. Though I don't see myself going to church when I move to Salt Lake City next summer (2014). 

Going to a new ward, where I don't know anyone, and have no history with the members or Bishop doesn't appeal to me. I do not plan to attend church when I move to Utah. Honestly, that doesn't bother me either. 

I am happy, and am enjoying this level of church attendance, "I just want to come, and enjoy church my way". I have enjoyed church my way, and it has been wonderful. Going to Institute has been interesting and I will explain why next...


  1. Good for you! This is a balance I'm still trying to figure out in my life and is a fun (read: not fun) journey. I still go often - mostly for the social aspect. But in all honesty I have a hard time (a really hard time) staying focused, and I find myself searching through funny photos on Pinterest instead of listening. Oh well.

    And in other news - Salt Lake! That will be fun! Party with Trevor! :-D

    1. I too find it hard to focus at times. But I don't mind playing a quick turn in Words With Friends or text a friend while in church.

      Yes, I am excited to move to Salt Lake City and finally meet some MOHO's and find me my Mormon Husband!

  2. BAH ha ha! Of _course_ he wanted to make you executive secretary. That is, after all, _the_ gay calling.

    Glad you're enjoying church on your times. I'm finally starting to get there, myself, and can relate somewhat to the relief and (different kind of/better) enjoyment.

    Wow, I'm really interested to hear what you have to say about Institute. When I get back to the States, I don't know what my relationship to Institute will be. I really miss being in the (a) choir...

    Ha ha ha, this Trevor has been having the same thoughts about Salt Lake lately. Salt Lake is pretty awesome--honestly, in general, I think--but especially for gay Mormons. It seems like a good mix of good of the Church and room to stay away and lots of... potential. Maybe someone actually there might want to pop onto this thread and disillusion me :P.

    1. I had the same calling three years previous in the same ward (different Bishop). I guess it is the perfect gay calling. Where are you currently?

      I am anxious to meet other MOHO's too meet my mormon husband lol.

    2. I am working (but not teaching English--not that there's anything wrong with that...) in a third-tier city in China. My job here ends in July, and I am starting to think about job-hunting... :P. But man, it's really exciting to think of being back in the States!