... My wife wouldn't let the issue die. When we got to the car after the meeting block, she was all over me wanting to know who I offended? or what did I say to someone? or who did I pick a fight with? Even these questions demonstrated her understanding that I'm a fighter and don't like to be pushed into a corner, and have been known to "stir things up a bit" in a church setting.
I just shrugged and grunted responses (I wasn't about to have this discussion in the car with the kids), which just made her more curious and anxious. Who knows what was racing through her head.
Finally alone for a moment at home the dialogue went something like this:
"So, are you going to tell me what's bothering you? You know you can't hide."
"I don't want to discuss it."
"But, I'm not going away so you may as well get it out now."
I saw the determined look on her face and knew she was now getting worried. So I began...
"A couple of weeks ago, Brother S made a comment about gays and gay marriage and how evil it all is and how they all need to be rounded up. I didn't say anything, and I felt terrible inside that I didn't. This really, really bothered me. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't remain silent anymore."
"So this is what's still bothering you today?"
"No. But it happened again. This time Brother D made a closing comment to his lesson about an editorial from Carol Lynn Pearson encouraging more compassion and understanding for our gay brothers and sisters to stop the onslaught of suicides. Brother D implied that this is sophistry - saying something good, such as love and compassion for all, but cloaking it in acceptance of sin."
By this time my lip began to quiver...
"And you are upset because you identify yourself as a "gay man", right?" she asked most solemnly.
"Well... yes..." I stammered. Even readmitting this to her remains difficult as I know it still causes her pain and worry about our relationship and her self-esteem.
"And so.." she encouraged.
"And so, I don't feel that showing love and compassion for gay brothers and sisters is sophistry. It is so ignorant to have such statements made in priesthood. I just don't know if I can go to priesthood anymore - and I'm in the leadership of the quorum!"
"So are you saying you're ready to make your declaration?"
I must admit that this word "declaration" shocked me a bit, coming from my wife. I wasn't expecting it and didn't know how to react. I haven't planned on making any declaration. I just wanted to speak up and check comments that seem to go unchecked and seem to be coming at a more frequent pace.
"No, I'm not saying I'm going to make a "declaration" to my priesthood quorum, though that would be fun to do in a certain sense to shock them off their seats... What I am saying is that I feel frustrated that such feelings exist and that they get away with saying hurtful, insensitive and unthoughtful things. I don't want to remain silent anymore and just take it."
"Well, you realize these are mainly older guys who are set in their ways of thinking and aren't going to change," she responded. "You'd probably never hear the same comments in the Elders Quorum."
"Maybe, but it doesn't make it right!"
"Do you think you can make a rebuttal in the quorum without getting too personal, too emotional, losing your temper?"
"I don't know... that's why I often just don't say anything. The spirit is prompting me to open my mouth, but emotions get the better part of me and I'm afraid anger will be the message they hear."
"Well, why don't I come into the quorum next week and set the record straight about their insensitivities?"
"Yeah, why not? I can deliver the message that we need to be more sensitive to others and less judgmental."
"I don't think that's going to happen. No... but, since I'm conducting this month, do you think I should say something next Sunday, or is the moment gone and it will be out of context and out of mind by then and it's a lost cause?"
"Maybe you should talk to the bishop about it."
"What good would that do?"
"Well, he needs to be told that his HPs are old goats that are ignorantly spouting off judgments of things they know nothing about."
"I don't think I'm going to talk to the Bishop. I think he already knows their attitudes and opinions."
"Well, then how about the HP group leader. Do you want me to call him?"
"Why are you so proactive here?" I asked puzzled at the way she was taking this.
"I don't want you to be hurt."
"I appreciate that, but I'm okay. I just am tired of the fight. I don't want to go to Priesthood anymore. It's like I'm on edge waiting for the next sly remark that seems to come every other week now."
There was a pause.
"I just am tired of not standing up for what I feel is right."
There was silence.
"I love you," she finally offered.
"I love you, too," I countered and we kissed, and then the kids came in the room.
A while later, I could tell that she was deeply worried.
"You still have a problem with this, don't you," I pressed.
"Of course I do," she replied with a concerned self-absorbed kind of voice.
"I knew I should have never said anything to you... now you're all worried all over again, like I'm going to run off with a boyfriend or something. I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm not going anywhere."
She didn't say anything more and we haven't talked about it since.
My window of opportunity is gone. A suggestion was made to leave an anonymous note. My wife suggests I discuss it with the bishop or the HP group leader. The fire is gone. I was planning on reading my version of Mosiah 4 to the quorum next week, but now it feels out of place and petty.
I don't know. What do you think?
And what about my conversation with my wife? If you know us, we don't often talk about "the issue" as it causes her pain and feelings of doubt about our relationship and the permanence of our situation - that things aren't going to change. Should I have said anything? What do I do now?
For those who were anxiously awaiting a more dramatic conclusion, I'm sorry... I don't make this up... it's just want happens. It's real - not fiction. For me, this is drama to have had a successful conversation with my wife and not have it end worse than it did. Is that progress? Assess the status of my marital relationship and let me know what you see. I'm too close to judge what's going on...
I think I think too much. Too much contemplation... I need to get back to work and let it all go...