Sunday, December 26

Outed on the 1st Day of Christmas

I got to church today and the bishop wanted to talk. Three thoughts went through my head. 

1: A new calling.
2: He was prompted to meet with me. 
3: I had been outed. 

It was definitely the third.

Our meeting started well. We talked about Christmas traditions and the ward in general, and he thanked me for being a member of the ward. Then I sat back and let him explain why he wanted to meet.

"____ (guy who is subject of last Saturday's
Post - link) came to me and there is some sort of friction between you two. I've heard what he said and I just want to hear your side of the story."

I don't know my bishop very well. I hadn't decided to enlist his help yet, since I don't have any worthiness problems and I'm not sure how he can help. So I shared part of the story - talking about my desire to serve, be connected in the ward, and support and sustain my leaders.

He listened attentively, then told me, "Everything you say to me is confidential. Everything ____ said to me is confidential - I won't tell you what he told me and what you say won't leave the room. It's like they say,  'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.'"

Interesting metaphor, but I love my bishop. He asked me if there was anything else.

I took a deep breath and went deeper - and talked about wanting friends and to be a friend in a new place... leaving the door open for issues like self-esteem (which no one would ever guess) and depression (similar). I knew he wouldn't get either hint, but I have a really hard time opening myself up to people. Again, he listened attentively, but wasn't hearing what he wanted to hear.

"I don't know how to bring this up," he said... paused... "I know that some subjects are ... touchy... Tell me about a website or a blog..."

I looked at this man in front of me while my mind went in a dozen directions. He knew. I had been outed. And now I was supposed to share my life with an almost stranger in a few minutes. I wondered what had pushed my friend to talk with the bishop - but I know nothing of the circumstance but my own view. I still wondered, though, what had gone through his mind... how their conversation had progressed... and what I could do better to make it so that I don't run away friends in the future.

The other part of me realized that, suddenly, I had someone here in front of me who wanted and needed to know at least a good chunk about me and my trials.

The five seconds of wait time was up, and I replied, "That will probably take more time than you have scheduled right now... Have you read it?"

He hadn't. He didn't even have the address. And he wanted to hear from me before he read the site anyway. My esteem for my bishop jumped in that moment... as I realized that, regardless of circumstance, I was grateful to be talking with him. He may not be able to help in what I need right now, but I can counsel with him... and find strength in his guidance. He's a good guy.

I decided to give him a brief synopsis before another meeting with more time. Without ever using the word gay or any of its many incarnations (I actually never used the word, or any relation to it, during the entire conversation. I had already been outed. My friend told him. I didn't need to mention it again.), I talked about my prompting to start this blog, talking with past leaders, and seeing incredible success. I shared some of the countless stories I've received - marriages saved, suicides averted, faith restored... and thousands of letters and comments of thanks.

He asked me, cautiously, if the blog shared principles that led people away from the Church. It sounded like the question was taken partially from the temple interview question. I laughed and told him no - of all the gay Mormon blogs in the blogosphere, mine probably gets the most anti-Mormon hate mail. I get a lot of well-written, well-intended stuff too... but when someone calls you stupid 10 times amid swearing in the course of a poorly written letter...yes,  I definitely support Church doctrine.

I gave him the address and asked him to read the blog from the beginning. I want him to read the whole thing, but I'm not sure if he will. Or if he has the time... I have hundreds of pages by now.

He looked at me and asked, "So, is this going to be a problem between you and ____ for a certain period of time?"

"I don't know, bishop. I'd like to talk to him about it, but I don't know if he'll talk with me."

"I'll talk to him." Then he looked at me with a look that bore into my soul. "Mormon Guy, I want you to know that I am the bishop of this ward, and I know everything that happens. Either people tell me or I get intuition. I'm the judge in Israel here... and I am talking with you because I want you and everyone here to have a spiritual experience in this ward. I don't want you and ____ to be walking down the hall towards each other and to make a u-turn. I want to make sure that doesn't happen."

Nothing else in our conversation meant more than that. If the bishop said he would make it right, it would happen... and maybe it would mean that the burned bridge could somehow be rebuilt.

"Is there anything else I can do?"

I looked at him again, and I saw him, honestly wanting to do everything he could. I told him I'd ask at our next meeting.

Since our conversation, I've thought about all my current needs... and how he could help. Here's the list.

1: Good friends. I need good guy friends who are willing to be good friends. Maybe he can help me identify who in the ward would be good candidates.

2: Help when I'm in crisis, or if I need to repent. I haven't had any major crises lately, and I don't have any worthiness issues... but real people are important. Just having his phone number and being able to call at any time will be enough.

3: Someone to counsel with when I need direction or just want to talk about my blog. Writing here is sometimes stressful. I'm never sure how to respond to letters, and I wish I had more people just to talk to... my few friends who know don't have the time to follow my blog, so I can't talk about it with anyone.

4: (very specific to me) I've felt the desire to go dumpster diving recently - to actively reach out and find people who are struggling beyond the blog. It's one of the most draining things I do... but I need to try again. And when I dumpster dive, I need a shoulder to cry on.

Outed on the 1st Day of Christmas...


  1. First, I am impressed and happy that you didn't express any hatred toward the guy who outed you. I wonder if he even read any of your blog or just the title.

    Second, I truly know that our priesthood leaders are directed and guided by the Spirit. I remember going to a Bishop of mine because of depression and anxiety attacks I was having. While my home teacher (who was a good friend) lectured me about it and told me to just be more optimistic, my Bishop knew just what I needed. It was because of him that I finally admitted to myself how I was feeling and went to a doctor for medication. Six months after that I was off the medication and back to living my life. He helped me and counseled me in ways that I never knew I needed.

    God truly does direct our leaders and I am so grateful that you have a Bishop who obviously loves you and wants to be there for you.

  2. I just read your post, and I don't know exactly what to say. Mormon Guy, if nothing else you have a serious pair of cajones! The courage and faith you displayed today is truly amazing . . . verging on the awe-inspiring. Your conversation today is one that isn't easy to have with anyone, let alone your Bishop. The fact that you were able to talk so candidly with him, while still keeping what appears to be a cool, level-head and a Christ-like perspective is truly remarkable and speaks volumes about the man you are, your character, and your testimony.

    I've had this type of "coming out" conversation with only a few, select people. Even just the thought of having such a frank, open talk with my own bishop about something like this sets my heart beating a mile-a-minute and makes me break into a cold sweat. Obviously, I have a ways to go . . . and for you to still be so open minded and willing to "bury the hatchet" with the guy who outed you . . . Mormon Guy, you have truly internalized and put into action Christ's teachings!

    What more can I say? You're an amazing example to me, and if I can ever develop even half the faith and courage you've displayed today, I'll consider my life a success.

  3. I don't know how to phrase this, but you may have a blessing here, and I hope it turns out to be such. I remember building a strong relationship with my bishop while suffering through a trial, and it not only aided me, but allowed me to help encourage others to seek the guidance of the bishop.

    I encourage you to be open, honest, and have faith in your meetings. It sounds like you have a very caring bishop, and you are in good hands. As for the gentleman who "outed" you, perhaps one day you'll be grateful, and perhaps one day he will see you for who you are (a precious child of God) rather than what trials you face. Your blog has given hope to so many, perhaps this will open a new way to be an example of the believer.

    Good luck on the new year, it promises to be an interesting one I see. My prayers are with you.

  4. i love this blog. i don't struggle with this specific situation, but i have trials that i deal with. when i read your blog i feel the spirit and know that through the Lord i am able to do anything. much much love and support. jennie

  5. Mormon Guy: Do you need support from more people? I very much appreciate being able to help others, particularly by listening and offering advice when appropriate. You say that your friends who know don't have time to follow your blog; I catch it in spurts, but I make it a point these days to follow it. I'd guess that there are quite a few people who have read your words here and would like to show their thanks by supporting you. I'm curious, though; given your state of anonymity, I don't know how e-friends would help. Do you think you would benefit from an e-mail pen pal, or from speaking with others on the phone if they offered their number? Or will you have to rely on people with whom you can meet face-to-face?

  6. I only know you through your blog but I am grateful for you and feel like you are my friend. You have an amazing gift for organizing your thoughts and expressing yourself with both wisdom and candor. I really admire that. Thank you for sharing your life, and your faith with us. I feel like everyone would benefit by reading your blog, no matter what their trials may be.

  7. Thanks for sharing the experience! I had a similar experience with my bishop (it was about my book on homosexuality and same-sex marriage- which I'd still appreciate your continued input on by the way, it's been great [and I have a new, longer version now]). I wonder if my bishop read the whole book (I emailed it to him). I'm guessing he's too busy- and I'm guessing your bishop is too. Who knows though? In either case I trust my bishop a lot- he's solid and has the mantle.

  8. LIKE LIKE LIKE! ;) Just let the Lord work in your life and things will work out. I honestly admire your faith and courage.

  9. I, too, am willing to be an e-friend for support, encouragement and advice. I have followed your blog for some time and have shared some of your path, though I might be a bit further down the path in life. If you indicate on your blog a willingness, then I'll forward my contact info.

  10. KP... and everyone else who has offered:

    Thanks for your support. I'll let you know if, or when, I'll take you up on that...

    Mormon Guy

  11. I'm willing to be a friend you can lean on for support. I'm sorry I haven't been more active in reading this blog, but I've been so buried with grad school at Arizona State that I haven't been so dilligent in reading.

    I used to be very harsh (not outwardly, just in my thoughts and feelings) towards those who have same-sex attraction, especially Mormons. But ever since a few trusted friends came out of the closet a couple years ago (and then I found this blog 4 months ago), my heart has softened. And it breaks after reading this and the linked post.

    Hope you'll take me up on it soon. Have a wonderful New Year, and I hope your Christmas was great, too!

  12. First of all, I LOVE this blog. I don't struggle with this trial but your words are so inspiring and you can feel Christ's love when you read the words. It's wonderful. I've shared it with many people and they've loved it as well. I just have a question. It's just curiosity and I wish I could ask in person instead of online because it may or may not come off as what I am trying to express (so just don't take offense because it in NO way is intended to be offensive, promise :)) You said at the end of this post that you need some good guy friends. How come you don't want any girl friends? I know it's kinda a stupid question, but some of my best friends are guys and I love having friends of the opposite sex. I was just wondering :) Have a great day!

  13. Hey man. Similar thing happened to me. A reporter found my blog and wanted to know my feelings about DADT. Not so hot since I'm in the military and all. If you need to vent or anything hit me up. Props!

  14. Shelby:

    Partly because I have girl friends, and partly because girl friends don't really affirm my masculinity, even though girls are usually better at holding a decent conversation. I need more guy friends so that I can do guy stuff when it's important - when I need to lift weights or play soccer, I need to have someplace to go - someone to rely on. And having good guy friends means that I'm less likely to be staring at or thinking about other guys when I'm out alone.

  15. Your answer makes sense! I hope you find some good decent guy friends! I wish I could give you mine. Good luck :)


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