There seems to be a lot of emotional reaction stirred up over the upcoming fireside presentation scheduled for Idaho Falls this next weekend. I understand where the emotion and reaction come from, recognizing the misinformation, hurtful guidance and misleading or confusing council in the past when homosexuality and Church come together in the same place.
I know the word "professionals" sends a nasty chill up my spine and makes me leery of what might be said, labeling those like me as "diseased" or "broken", needing to be "fixed". But, I would like to give the benefit of the doubt that this event has the potential to be something different... at least I hope so. I've known Bravone (Steve) personally for almost three decades now, and have found him to be nothing but honest and caring and genuine. As I understand his motives, he isn't doing this for his own purposes of being in the spotlight or gaining notoriety or fame or acclamation. What's in it for him? I mean, wouldn't it be better if he just let it die and not continue to poke at it? Wouldn't it be easier to just disappear and say nothing or do nothing (as many of us in his situation do)?
Instead, he is doing it to help others, to offer his hand of support - and why? Because he cares! This guy truly cares! He is trying to do something, trying to get more information out there, trying to improve dialog and dismiss the misinformation that circles around the church. As one who has gone through hell and back, as one who has left the church and now come back, he knows both sides, and simply wants to help. And he's doing it at his own personal risk, putting himself out there not as the "poster child", but as a voice - a sensitive and genuine voice - of one who knows.
I think he should be commended for his efforts. I think we should withhold judgment and let the event speak for itself. Hopefully the feelings and discussions and workshops will bring more understanding and different perspectives as members and priesthood leaders see real faces, real lives, real people - faces that represent the silent ones like me.
I commend Steve for trying, for being an ice-breaker, and hopefully for making it easier down the road for others to follow and continue to bring "face" to this discussion.
Steve, you're a better man than I, and I am in awe of what you are trying to do (and I still say you are absolutely CRAZY for even attempting to pull this off - it's a "damned if you do / damned if you don't" scenario, where potentially both sides will scoff and reject you - so who wins?), and I thank you for that - for "trying" instead of just sitting back and watching it take fold from a comfortable, safe and anonymous distance.