Saturday, April 24, 2010

Too goofy...

"out of the mouth of babes..."

My college son came home for the weekend and he was in a good mood so we started having a casual chat. The subject of our ward getting a new Bishopric this weekend came up. He mentioned that he and his buddy down the street were speculating about possible candidates for Bishop and that his friend suggested my name...

"And so what did you say?" I asked curiously.

"You don't want to know," he replied with a bit of embarrassment in his voice.

"Why not?" I insisted.


"Yes, seriously?"

"Well... I told him that it couldn't be you because you're too... well... too goofy".

"Too goofy!" I smirked, not sure whether to laugh or cry at my son's choice of words. "What does that mean?"

"You know... it means a couple of things." He hesitated a bit, but could tell that I wasn't going to let this accusation of "goofiness" slip by without an explanation.

"Go on. I'm waiting." I said impatiently.

"Well - first of all, now don't take offense, you always take offense..."

"I promise I won't get offended, even though I'm now offended that you think I always get offended."

"Okay, I'll just say it - you're too touchy."

"Too touchy?"

"Yeah, I mean you're either constantly hitting every man in the head or wrestling with the young men.
You know, normal bishop-types don't do that."

"Oh, they don't?" I questioned.

"And if it's not hitting or wrestling the men, then you're hugging or kissing all the old widows. What's up with that?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'm a bit more affectionate than most. Is that a bad characteristic?"

"No, Dad. I didn't say it was bad. It's just a bit goofy." There he goes again with that word.

"Is there more?" I asked, dreading what was next to come.

"Well, yeah. You're also not straight-arrow enough. You don't toe the line. You're too rebellious, you know... too independent."

"Not straight-arrow enough? I don't toe the line? Too rebellious? Too independent?" I repeated incredulously. I thought I was a straight-arrow (as straight as a gay father can be)!

"Yeah, you know... you're not normal enough to be a bishop. You like to do your own thing, like the way you grow your hair out longer and you fight against certain things and you like to teach independent of the manuals and not always follow the rules."

"So, in your opinion, those are bad qualities for a good priesthood holder?" I probed a bit deeper for his real meaning.

"I didn't say that! I mean, I know you have a testimony and you believe in the church and all, but Dad, you're not normal, you know? I like that you're independent and willing to challenge people on things, and I like that you bend the rules and do it your own way... you're just too goofy to be a bishop."

"uh... so you're cool with me being too touchy, and too independent?"

"Yeah, Dad. Don't get me wrong. I think you're great! You're just not normal enough or boring enough to be Bishop."

"Thanks (I guess). I'll take all of this as a compliment," I added cautiously.

"You should!" he insisted.

"Glad we had this little chat, son."

"No problem. Any time, Dad."


So, in my normal gay way of over-analyzing things, I took from this that my son (who may suspect that I have attraction issues, but we've never discussed it), has observed in me 1) a sense of showing affection beyond the norm, and 2) a sense of rebellion or independence beyond the norm - to the point that I would be disqualified in his eyes to be "peter priesthood" enough to be called as a Bishop... both traits that may be magnified by other homosexual core characteristics.

Lessons learned:

1) You never realize how much your children watch you and what lasting impression you are leaving on them!

2) Your teenage son may be wiser than he seems.

3) Truth comes out in odd ways.

4) Be careful who you are. Your almost adult children may learn to like you after all.

5) I'm not normal and I'm too goofy... hmmm, maybe that's a good thing. The last thing I'd want to be is Bishop! :)


Bror said...

Peter Priesthood not! I am sure my son would say the same things about me. Keep on being "goofy".

Abelard Enigma said...

On the flip side, my daughter was once talking about the families of some of her friends, and then in exasperation said "sometimes I think we're the only 'normal' family I know" - so the family with the gay dad is the most 'normal'? That doesn't say much for heterosexual (i.e. non-MOM) marriages :)

Bravone said...

Your son is absolutely right about the goofy thing. Sometimes I wish I were as goofy as you are. It is an endearing part of your personality that lets people know that you are genuine in your interest and love for them.

We need more goofy priesthood leaders!

Beck said...

BROR: I can only be what I am! :)

ABE: What is normal? Is there such a standard of normalcy that we have to achieve before we are acceptable? Do we have this image of what is the proper way to be that if we don't meet that image in every pixel then we fail? Obviously, I don't think so, but it's funny how my conversation with my son was sizing me up against the image of "peter priesthood" in his mind.

I love your twist you put on this. I think you're downright normal! So where does that place me?

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Thank you! This means a lot coming from one who has seen my "goofiness" in full bloom! :)

Bror said...

I will be in Salt Lake City Monday night and most of Tuesday. My daughter and I are going to a concert. It would be nice to meet Beck in person if possible.

Clark said...


I have a comment for you. Can you send me an e-mail?


MoHoHawaii said...

I once knew a gay LDS bishop. He was married, closeted, etc. Everyone loved him because he was loving and empathetic.

I wouldn't be surprised if a sprinkling of homosexuality was to be found at all levels of church leadership.

Rob said...

IMHO those qualities should make you a prime candidate for being bishop. We have enough boring proper by the book surgically attached white shirt Peter Priesthood clones in the Church already, God knows.

So tell your son that at least one of your friends who's been around the church a little longer than he has thinks that said son needs to adjust his thinking just a bit. Remind him of what Elder Wirthlin said in his last conference address:

"The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony."

Beck said...

BROR: Wow. I'm flattered and honored. Not sure I can do that as I will be out of town next week.

CLARK: um... okay.

MOHOH: Agreed and what a blessing that would be.

ROB: Don't take my son wrong. He wasn't saying that it "should" be that way. He was just noting that to him it seems that the "surgically white shirt implanted" priesthood holders are the ones who tend to be considered. Never did he imply that if he were in charge, or even if the Lord were in charge, it would necessarily be that way. My son is no dummy. He detests hypocrisy in any form! As we talked he was very much aware that non "peter priesthood" types would be great in church leadership and he reitereated that IF I were to be called, he would think that I would do great.

Ned said...

Just look at it this way, goofy is probably better than warped. Goofy, after all, became a lovable dog thanks to Uncle Walt.

ControllerOne said...

Hurray for goofy!

Beck said...

NED: I'm not sure that being compared to Walt's lovable dog is all that comforting! But, I guess there are worse to be compared to...

CO: I agree! I am fine being abnormal. After all, what really is normal? Who wants to be normal? Not I! I've tried and I can't.

Rex said...

I could use a goofy bishop. Mine have always been pretty similar to each other and to the unwritten standard.

Twinky Chink said...

Hey, being goofy is a great attribute for a bishop! Ya know, to gain the trust of others and whatnot! Nobody wants to confess to a stern-looking old man!

Beck said...

REX: Thanks for commenting. Yes, we all could use a good goofy bishop. That unwritten standard needs some pushing of the curve to widen the acceptable mold of "bishophood".

TC: Thanks to you for your comment as well. Stern-looking / stern-acting doesn't fit anyone's view of compassion in a spirit of confession.