Monday, October 04, 2010

Seeking divine wisdom and balance...


Conference, for the most part, was very good. I sincerely sought to find ways to really listen instead of just having it on in the background as I’m often known to do. It didn’t always work, as serious family concerns interfered. But, as I said, for the most part, it was good.

I love Pres. Uchtdorf! He is quickly becoming a favorite. His honest manner and sincere, personal approach really touch me. Though it gets tiresome hearing about his days as a commercial pilot, he can even joke about it and make fun of himself. His message on simplicity and slowing down, and “using a pencil” was very appropriate for me. His message on pride / being prideful and encouraging humility and charity, and serving wherever we are asked, not seeking praise or being so self-absorbed touched me as well and made me check myself and my motives for the service I render.

Of course, a rough spot in the conference experience was the stern message from Elder Packer. I really am okay with him delivering a message on the sanctity of the family, on marriage being between a man and a woman, and even on the concept of temptation:

Paul promised, 'God will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it." You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer the addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church."

These are long held positions and teachings and I really don’t have a problem with them. We are here on earth to be tried and tested, and our test will be that which we can bear. I am convinced of that.

But when he says:

Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our Father,”

I have to admit it gave me pause. I feel the utmost assurance that what I feel is an “inborn tendency” is neither “impure” or “unnatural”. I feel it is good, and I have personally felt that reassurance recently in profound and personal ways that give me confidence and hope for the future.

SO, why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? I wonder that, too. I don’t think Heavenly Father has “done” anything to me. I just am. Yes, the laws of choice (as Pres. Monson addressed in the priesthood session) still apply to me, and I do have the right to choose, the responsibility to choose and recognize the result of my choices) do apply to all of us… but I ask: Please brethren – ponder (as Pres. Eyring taught), and seriously think about that question: Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? I certainly hope that members of the church as a whole will ask that question! I feel that many will not even feel the need to ask such a question, accepting the standard answer as the “truth” and no further inspiration is needed. Oh if only they had a son or daughter, or could see or understand what “not” asking the tough question and being silent in our petitions is doing to our gay brothers and sisters…

My belief is that Elder Packer isn’t in the frame of mind to ponder that question, as he “knows” he already has the answer, but I ask myself if other brethren will put themselves in a different mentality and ask themselves the tough questions, and realize there may be a different answer than the pre-supposed response. I hope so. I feel that sincere pondering and questioning of that “why” question will bring further understanding and “revelation” with the passing of the torch to the next generation. I feel some of the brethren are “getting it”, but due to the hierarchical system firmly in place in the upper levels of general authorities, it is not their position to overshadow or override their superior priesthood leader. Elder Packer isn’t going to change his position. Though Pres. Monson could have corrected him, he chose not to. It came off as if Elder Packer is the bulldog that can’t be controlled and is left penned up in the backyard incessantly barking, straining his chain to be heard, so let him off his chain temporarily and do his dirty work while I speak on less controversial, though pertinent subjects…

I wasn’t angry, but more perturbed at what seemed to be cold and stern and stubborn “digging in the heels” approach. It was to be expected (even though out of context or sync with the rest of what is going on – read Elder Marlin Jensen’s reaction to the recent Oakland Stake Conference). I am even more perturbed this morning that the sound bite most used on the radio and in media summarizing the conference isn’t on gratitude, service, doing good, holding fast, receiving the Holy Ghost, or any other worthy and poignant message – no, the sound bite is of Elder Packer’s stance on the “gay issue”. That grieves me, especially as it implies this was the focus and the point of the whole conference, and the fallout of misinformation that will continue to be addressed from this talk in future quorum discussions…

All I can think is this: with one being a literal heart-beat from the office of prophet, I pray for a long and healthy life of the current prophet.



Meanwhile, I’m not going to worry about what I can’t do. I can't fret over what is not mine to fret. I can't control that which is not mine to control. Instead, I will try to do better, work harder, be more humble, serve more willingly in helping and lifting others, invite the Holy Ghost more into my life, and simplify my life in order to accomplish more the good that I can do!

9 comments:

bale said...

Thank you for this post Beck.

People thought that the Church was becoming more accepting and understanding (e.g. "God Loveth His Children" pamphlet and giving support for anti-discrimination laws in SLC).

Here's a good article posted quickly after the talk aired:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/50404210-75/church-sex-lds-packer.html.csp

My suggestion to any Mohos out there, read "No Man Knows My History" and/or "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins". The lies go deeper than you know and its time to GET OUT!

Adon said...

I learned quite some time ago that people don't understand or comprehend what they have never personally experienced themselves. It's obvious to me that President Packer, as well as many other influential brethren, is in that mindset. I've been hearing this type rhetoric since I was 14. It made me feel guilty and depressed then and it still saddens me now. Is there any hope for the coming generations of misunderstood youth?

Beck said...

BALE: I don't know from where you are speaking, but my post has nothing to do with "getting out". I have no intentions of getting out - instead now is the time to be in the Church and becoming more a part of the wave of the "next generation" that is rising and taking hold with more acceptance.

ADON: It really does come down to that - we don't understand or comprehend that which we have never experienced.

This makes me wonder if I were really not experiencing my attractions as I do, would I just take the words spoken by my leaders as "all knowing" and not question them? That is my concern.

I no longer feel the guilt or depression or self-loathing that I once did, and with my recent self-assurance, I don't doubt my
"experience" and perspective knowledge that comes from what my life has taught me. I did not feel guilt from Pres. Packer's words. Instead, I felt saddened that he was so determined to not understand - something he has never experienced.

What is so comforting is to know that Christ does understand us, and in some amazing way, he "gets it" and knows what we feel and from where our experience comes.

I hope that youths of the church will come to know this same thing, but hopefully not taking the 30 years it took me of self-loathing to get to this point.

D@vid @ndrew Del@cruz said...

What I would suggest is realizing that the LDS church is NOT the true church as it so famously suggests itself to be. I'm not attempting to bash the church, that's not my point. But IMO the LDS church paints a pretty picture of itself through Mormon Messages (youtube) while at the same time giving someone a pulpit to spew out anti-gay hatred. I wonder how many young gay Mormon boys heard Packer's message who now are thinking suicide is their only means of escape.

Beck said...

DAD: I certainly can understand your feelings, and I know the church has performed miserably in addressing this issue as a "true church" should.

However, I see hope. I feel hope. Maybe I'm sucked in too much, but I prefer to see the fruits in my life that come from my affiliation and association with the church, as of "best value". I can't explain it, but I have a sincere hope that increased tolerance, acceptance and love is coming as we move beyond some current elderly church leaders.

But, I may be delusional...

Anonymous said...

I agree with GayAndy below. One thing, above all: A mormon boy who suspects he is gay should NEVER get married. If he is gay and marries then he is doing a moral wrong to the wife, much more wrong than being gay.

Beck said...

ANON: Point well taken.

The key word, however, to your statement is "suspects". If one was raised in a different time and space, and that notion of suspect was not even conceived, let alone realized, puts some of us gay Mormon boys of a generation ago in a slightly different circumstance, where marriage already occurred BEFORE the suspecting occurred.

Just saying...

Anonymous said...

What I found most confusing about Packer's comments were two references to the priesthood's ability to heal - as though having the priesthood provides the keys to heal oneself from these feelings I feel - yet he doesn't explain WTH he's talking about? If this is a key, why is he so vague? And like hundreds of others, I would have been "healed" if it were possible through obedience!

Beck said...

ANON: Thanks for the comment... especially today where I'm seeking such a "healing" - not of who I am, or who BKP thinks I should be, but how I can remain the anchor to my family and kids as I accept and hopefully they come to accept the real me that is their father. See my current post.