Monday, May 04, 2009

A night out with the Prophet...

I went with President Monson and his wife to Utah Symphony's presentation of "Bravo Broadway" on Saturday night!

Okay... really I went with my wife and had an incredible time (one of the advantages a woman has of being married to a gay guy - both love the Broadway show tunes equally! :)) and yes, President Monson and his wife were there as well. They were sitting in the best seats in the house and I had a straight and direct shot to observe them throughout the evening. He certainly enjoyed the production, leading an enthusiastic standing ovation at the intermission as well as the conclusion and the encore! My wife felt very uneasy and quite uncomfortable for him, that the divas were so skimpily dressed before a prophet of the Lord, and my response was, noting his eye contact and head nods to the performers as they took their bows: "Well, from the looks of it, he sure enjoyed the view!"

I was intrigued by his presence, and wondered what he was thinking. I know he enjoys show tunes as well and it was fun to see the "man" enjoy the evening out with his wife.

There was a number from Ragtime that really touched me that I hadn't heard before. I was familiar with "Wheels of a Dream" from the same show, but not "Back to Before". It is a song about a woman who begins to see the world differently after years of living under the control of her husband, and now seeing things differently, cannot find herself going "back". I couldn't help but feel the words in my context, a man who for years has been happily married, the perfect Mormon family, under the control of the Church, the ideal good-soldier fitting the pre-established mold. And now that I see myself differently, and it is hard to fit into that ideal anymore. It is hard to look at the Prophet across the Hall, sitting there enthralled, and I not see him with different eyes, changed eyes, cynical eyes, no longer eyes I had seen him before. It is impossible to put things back in the box that is now opened. It is impossible to go back in the closet and say "just kidding" about being gay. It is nearly impossible to go "back to before".

Some of the lyrics:

there was a time our happiness seemed neverending.
I was so sure that where we were heading was right.
life was a road so certain and straight and unbending.
our little road with never a crossroad in sight.
back in the days when we spoke in civilized voices-
women in white and sturdy young men at the oar.
back in the days when i let you make all my choices.
we can never go back to before.

there was a time my feet were so solidly planted.
you'd sail away while ! turned my back to the sea.
I was content,a princess asleep and enchanted.
if I had dreams, then I let you dream them for me.
back in the days when everything seemed so much clearer.
women in white who knew what their lives held in store.
where are they now,those women who stared from the mirror?
we can never go back to before.

there are people out there unafraid of revealing
that they might have a feeling,or they might have been wrong.
there are people out there unafraid to feel sorrow,
unafraid of tomorrow,
unafraid to be weak,
unafraid to be strong...

there was a time when you were the person in motion.
i was your wife. it never occurred to want more.
you were my sky, my moon and my stars and my ocean.
we can never go back to before.
we can never go back to before!

Now that I see things so differently - everything viewed through different lenses - I wonder if I will ever be able to go back to before... And if I can't, then what? Should I even want to go back? How do I go forward?

I wonder how President Monson would answer these questions...


HappyOrganist said...

May I say "the whole POINT is to not go back to what it was before."
If we weren't here for some grand marviose (is that a word?) reason, then we would BE like we had been (and were) before. But we're not.
We're here.
I believe that in *some* (marvelous and miraculous and 'makes my heart ache for friends,family,home') ways, we will all be returning to what/who we were before. (after this life)
But, in other ways the whole Point is to be different (to be changed and wiser, having gone through everything we all experience in this life).
I vote for not trying to go back to 'before' (excepting if it involved more righteousness).

Choice is Yours! (I won't take it from you)

[I hate anxiety. hate it so much. gotta find a pill for this]

Beck said...

HAPPYORG: I agree that this life is for our experience, for obtaining knowledge, for learning and changing and becoming different - and hopefully better.

I am not bemoaning that I want to go back - just the opposite - I can't go back! It just touched me that as she was singing about not being in harmony any longer with her husband's views, I was realizing how my personal insights have changed me as I stared at the prophet sitting there.

And I'm just wondering if I have changed for the better...

Anonymous said...

a prophet's public persona may not always match his private life. joseph fielding smith was a strict authoritarian, never hesitant to lecture on sabbath day observance, dress standards, etc. but his wife during his presidency (his second or third having outlived earlier wives, and her first marriage) was a former opera singer. he'd be up a the pulpit railing against worldly this or that, and she'd be in the front row, with make-up applied an inch thick and covered with jewelry. the official stand for conference music is the choir--can't let a single person stand out. but when gbh was struck by a brazilian lds professional singer, she got a solo.

Beck said...

SANTORIO: I love the scene in the Joseph Smith movie where he is running and chasing the boys around the town or doing chores such as beating dust out of floor rugs, and some new members question others about his behavior unbecoming a "prophet". It makes the point that a prophet still is a man and that is the way it has always been.

I get it. I'm not blaming him for being there. It was a wonderful evening. I'm not faulting Pres. Monson for being there with the "common folk" and enjoying a night of entertainment. I'm just noting our dialog and my wife's comments of the dress of the performers - and just the whole concept of "awe of the prophet" being juxtaposed with the "awe of the man", and the thoughts he may have had, and his approval of it all, and whether he'd approve of me and my thoughts of being gay, etc. etc.

It was just an odd juxtaposition of thoughts. No crticism intended. In fact, I find it's pretty amazing that the prophet isn't a "god", but just a "man", who should enjoy a night out on the town as much as the rest of us.

GeckoMan said...

In looking back and forward, perhaps we'll just have to pick and choose--let us rely on and be led by the Spirit to guide our choices for obedience and devotion.

Like you, I feel like I cannot go back to my former era of complete acceptance and fervor with the church--I simply don't honestly feel the same way any more. However, I HAVE TO GO BACK to the most basic and essential principles and ordinances of the Gospel. I must have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I must repent of those things that hold me back and deny the Spirit, I must have hope for greater light and knowledge, I must have charity for the Prophet and for all men.

I'm glad to hear Tom Monson had a good time. We should allow him the privilege to be a man, and to be entertained by the good things of the world. He doesn't have to be holier than thou. We do him a disservice to put him in a clean white cubicle where everything is perfect and sterile. Perhaps this is what our conservative LDS culture would have us do, not only to him, but to ourselves as well, and to that I loudly proclaim, "Hogwash!"

Beck said...

GECKO: Going back to basics of gospel principles is totally where I am! This is what keeps me anchored. But, it's interesting to note that I don't feel the same anymore beyond the basics. I've changed, I hope for the better, but whether it is better or not, I've changed as I've accepted this part of who I am. And as I've changed, I can't change back. I've just got to go forward with my new view. I can't take it back. I can't say it doesn't exist. I can't be different than who I am. I can't see things the way I used to - and this includes my view of the church. It's all included and mixed together.

So I hang onto the fundamentals, my foundations, those things that still ground me and hold me to an unchanging baseline.

I love that the prophet is a man. I feel like many may not like that he is - that he is more than a man. He is not. And it is good to be reminded of that.

And yes, I'm always open to further light and knowledge. It's just beeing seen, felt and discovered with a different perspective.

Thanks for being out there still hanging on!

Anonymous said...


Wyatt said...

Who cares what President Monson thinks. He's just a man and so are you. You and your core self knows, you already know the truth inside you.

...unafraid, that's the answer.


Beck said...

D: It is amazing and beautiful. And the message behind this particular song is profound.

WYATT: I know I shouldn't care and that I have my answers inside me but I'm too afraid to admit that I know for myself what is right and true. So, why do I still feel like it still matters what he thinks and what others think? Why is this so hard to just let it go and be me without such worries of what others think?

Gay LDS Actor said...

Beck, reminding me of these lyrics from Ragtime was just what I needed this particular night. Thanks. It really helped me know what I need to be doing at this rather critical juncture in my life.

Beck said...

CODY: Thanks. I sometimes wonder if my comments mean anything to anyone. To know they've helped you means a lot. I hope you are well and unafraid of your future ahead of you!