Last week, I was called into the Stake President's office for an interview. This wasn't for a new assignment, because they didn't ask my wife to attend with me (always the sign of a new calling). As usual, I went over to their offices with trembling and trepidation. I hate the Stake and always have. I much prefer my associations on the ward level. They were running late, and so I had a lot of time to think and stress over why they wanted to talk to me. I don't really know them and that unknown factor led to my active imagination getting the best of me as I sat on the couch. That feeling of unworthiness, guilt and inadequacy overwhelmed me... and that led to concerns of "what ifs", such as:
What if they found out about this blog?
What if someone else had found out about my blog and "reported" me to them and I have been "outed"?
What if I am being released from my Stake leadership position because I am now "outed"?
You see where an overactive guilt gland can lead a creative but warped mind...
In the end, I was released from my calling, but with no reason given. I asked for a reason, and none was offered other than maybe something else is on the horizon... This exchange, combined with mass hysteria of inner paranoia about my anonymity, left me hollow, empty and unwanted. I left that interview hurt and confused, obviously a reflection of my own self-esteem or lack thereof.
For the next couple of days, I anguished over how I must have failed in my duties, in my passion for my calling and the level of service I rendered. It's easy for me to pick on myself. I've done it for decades now and have become quite good at it. In time, I came to the conclusion that I was not as passionate about this calling as I had been of others in the past, and that I would seek to do better with new opportunities to come. But, as logical and healthy an attitude as that was, I was still full of self-doubt and self-unworthiness - and though I knew from where those feelings come, at the moment that knowledge didn't serve me well or register within my thick skull.
I went to the temple and an amazing thing happened, something that happens rarely, unfortunately. I was actively participating in the "work" (which can often times feel routine, redundant, less than spectacular or miraculous) when an undeniable powerful and dare I say "miraculous" sensation came over me; the Holy Ghost literally and physically hitting me on the head, giving me a full body feeling of joy about the ancestor I was assisting in the work. It was strong, sudden, and real. I knew in that instant, that my Heavenly Father loves me, that this work is real, and that we are part of something so much more than we can understand with mortal, earthly eyes. In that moment, the feelings of self-doubt and self-worth vanished and I was healed of my anxieties and inadequacies and felt a tremendous feeling of love inside me. I was being "voice" at the time and my voice shook, my body physically quivered and I was overcome. The person standing next to me noticed it and asked if I was "able to go on". This hasn't happened for a long time... and so I need to be called to "remember" all those other real encounters with the Spirit so that I DO remember Him and I DO remember what it feels like and how it feels to communicate with the Holy Ghost...
I'll leave it at that... I just want you to know that if I can feel so down and discouraged, if I can feel myself questioning my existence and purpose in this life, if I can then feel such an incredible feeling of linkage to the "great beyond" and the love and joy and acceptance and value and validity to this life and what I'm doing in it, even as a gay man, or may I say, even because I am a gay man, then...
then... so can you! So can it be for you!