Monday, November 5, 2012

CTW SLC Part II- First Impressions

Read Part I here

[This part of the story is most difficult for me to post. It airs out a lot of very ugly emotions I had in the first ten or fifteen minutes of my attendance at Circling the Wagons 2012.  I want the reader to understand that I am as disgusted with myself as you will be, and I insist that you read the other parts of the story after you finish this one to ensure that I am not painting CTW in a light I do not intend and to hopefully offer me some redemption.]

I have to admit, I was disappointed initially. One of the cornerstones of CTW’s existence is unconditional love to LGBTQ Mormons; this is not new to me. North Star, Evergreen International, Affirmation, and any number of other gay Mormon support groups advocate the same thing.  However, unlike more conservative groups like North Star or Evergreen, the focus is placed less on finding joy in full fellowship in the LDS church and more on finding authenticity and joy in whatever life path feels correct, including those which do not include activity or membership within the LDS church. I have nothing but respect for those who take that approach to seeking reconciliation.

However, as a gay guy who sometimes feels like he is barely holding on to the church’s standards, I have found that the more I associate with those who have left the church or who are choosing to live a life contrary to its standards, the more difficult it is for me to want to be in the Gospel.

I found myself judging those around me and contemplated leaving for fear of being indoctrinated into leaving the church and getting married in California, New York, Iowa or one of the other great states that recognize gay marriage.  I was nervous to be there and I felt like my faith would be attacked, like I would be asked, right then and there, to choose between gay and God, and I worried about the pressure I'd feel from Adam and Steve over here.

I steadied my nerves and prayed that God would help me see through the heathen words of those around me and understand some of the underlying truths that had to be in there somewhere.  After all, this was a conference for gay Mormons. Surely, they'd acknowledge the second part of that descriptor, right? Surely it wasn't all about convincing your parents to march with you in the Pride parade and only about crafting the perfect letter to urge President Monson to allow gays to marry in the temple.  Right?

More to come...

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