Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mommy Dearest

Tonight, my parents and some of our family friends and I went to see The Adjustment Bureau, which for a guy in my situation was a mistake.  A movie about true love rising above all odds and altering the plans that the almighty Chairman lays out has the capability to produce pretty revolutionary thoughts in a confused Mormon kid's head.  Luckily for me it wasn't a very good movie, so I can't take its message too seriously.

As we piled into the Suburban, we naturally started talking about the movie.  My parents were up front, their friends were in the middle seat, and their friends' daughter, Kay, who is a very good friend of mine, sat in the back seat with me.  Somehow, Kay's mother drew some kind of parallel between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt's characters with Bill and Hilary Clinton, which launched the car into a political division, in which I became a distinct minority of one.

The debate was what made Clinton a good president.  I brought up the work he did for Chinese-American relations, the economic boom the country experienced during his presidency, some of the good social programs he initiated, etc.  My mom, who is an outspoken and vibrant Clinton-basher, said that he was as despicable a president as John F. Kennedy.  We asked why she felt like Kennedy was such a terrible president, even amid the inspiring, ground-breaking, and positive contributions he'd made to the country and the world at large.  Her answer cut me as deep as I've ever been cut in my life.

"For me, I am incapable of looking past those kinds of unrighteous actions to see a person's good qualities."

I only recently told my mom that I'm gay.  She was a champion in that conversation, full of support and encouragement.  She spoke of her  faith that I could serve a mission and that I could do a lot of good in the Church.  She said that my problems with pornography and masturbation could become things of the past and I could have as much strength as I needed to overcome those challenges.  And she also said that she knows that the Lord works miracles every day and that someday, he might release me from this burden of same-gender attraction.

A few days ago I told her about the UP with whom I had dinner at the end of the semester.  I let her in regarding my feelings about Toby and how attracted I was to him.  I reassured her constantly that I'm still worthy and I'm still working towards serving a mission, but I wanted to let her know how hard it has been for me this semester.  I'm trying to let people into my world and I want her to feel like I'm making an effort to keep her in my circle of trust.

That effort seemed to be for nothing tonight.  I know my mom didn't mean that my unrighteous desires negate my positive attributes, but that's how it felt a little bit.  I'm sure she didn't even think of how what she said would affect me, but it doesn't change the fact that she said it.

I am a good person.  I care for other people, I donate lots and lots of time to my friends, I bear other people up, I pick up litter, I include others in my social groups and activities, and I'm honest in my dealings with others.  And yet, I feel like none of that would matter to my mom if I decided to go gay.

I wonder a little bit if she didn't say what she did to scare me "straight."  In my mind, maybe she wanted to send me a message that such deplorable behavior as homosexuality would doom me, no matter how honorable I was the rest of the time.  I mostly believe that it was just insensitivity and a poor brain-mouth filter that made her say what she said, but as Freud postulated, nothing we say is accidental.

I love my mom and I know that she loves me, but the way she acted tonight makes it obvious that she's a long way from really understanding the roads that some of God's children are called to walk. For now, faith in the Atonement will have to be all the support I should expect from her.

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