Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Past Me And Present Me

We had the missionaries over the other day.  My niece and nephew had invited them over and invited mom and me to join them for dinner.  I wondered if my sexuality or excommunication would come up.  I was prepared to be completely honest about my standing in the church if they brought it up.

I needn't have worried.  First off, both missionaries were at the end of their missions, so they didn't have that same eager fire to convert every person in their path as they might have had at the beginning of their missions.  Secondly, they were pretty much in and out.  Some dinner, some light conversation, and a little spiel about missionary work, and they were gone.

They were both nice kids.  One was from Hawaii.  The other was from Kansas.  When it got to the point of asking us to share the gospel with our friends, I thought about how most of my friends are either active Mormons, are no longer practicing and don't wish to, or are anti-Mormon.  In any case, none are particularly good candidates for joining the LDS Church.  But before they could extend a personal invitation to me, my sister-in-law and brother showed up and caused enough of a distraction to allow me to excuse myself, and I let my niece and nephew talk to the missionaries.

I did think about where I am now and where I was when I was these kids' ages.  I remember when I was a missionary myself teaching an investigator (or maybe he was even an inactive member - I don't remember now) named Joey, who was openly gay and had great difficulty reconciling his sexuality with Mormonism.  It was clear which path he wanted to be on, and it wasn't Mormonism; not if he couldn't be gay.

I remember feeling sad for him that he couldn't overcome his sexual attractions and find the truth like I had (ha ha) and I worried about the welfare of his soul.  But there was also a part of me that was kind of jealous that he was able to choose a path that I had once wanted to take myself (and that I would later still want to take).

And now that I'm in Joey's shoes myself, it's interesting to see the world in much the same way as he might have, and it made me think how different life's perspectives are when we're in different shoes.  Certainly if I have the opportunity to deal with missionaries or home teachers or church leaders or other members, I am respectful and welcoming, but I also know where I stand regarding my sexuality and the choices I have made regarding it.  Having been in the missionaries' place, I know people probably feel sorry for me or worried about my eternal salvation or secretly yearn for me to "choose the right" and be rebaptized.  It's not going to happen, and I hope people know that I am very happy with where I am in life and that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is terrific.

Even if the LDS Church accepted gay unions, I'm not sure if I would choose to be rebaptized or not.  I would have to see.  I have learned more and more as I have been out of the Church that I am quite happy where I am, and I'm not sure I see the need to change that.  The point is moot right now, anyway.  I'll cross that bridge when and if I ever get to it.


tinita said...

each of us the a past bad or good, but the important is we have learn from it.

the family Int.

Dean Scott said...

You mention several items I have thought about recently. I have not had any contact with missionaries in over 15 years, but the son of one of my best friends from high school has just been called to the mission where I live. If he happens to be assigned to my area, I would like to take him and his companion to dinner, just so I can give his mom a personal update. Would that be against mission rules since I resigned and no longer belong to the church? His Mom knows my story and is still a good friend. I have no interest in talking about the church, but I would love to let his mom know that he is fine and happy.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I don't think there would be any harm in taking him and his companion to dinner if you get the opportunity. Missionaries have contact with members and non-members alike. They may try to talk to you about the Church since that is what they're there for, so I would make it clear before you even take them out that you don't have any interest in that (even then, they may still try to talk about it - lol).

Hope it works out.

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

Dean- I don't see anything that would keep the missionaries from having dinner, but the missionaries probably won't forgo talking about the church. Most of my gay friends who invite the missionaries over, and are explicit about not talking about the church, end up talking about the church. It seems to be even more of a challenge.

I think it is great that you want to give his mom an update. We often take pictures or videos of missionaries to email or mail to their families. :-)