22 December 2009

A Letter

I received a letter (well, email) from an acquaintance I used to go to church with. We'll call him Mr. X. It is posted here for your entertainment.

Hey [Max],

It's [Mr. X]. How have you been?

Hey, I know this will catch you a little bit off guard, but I heard recently that you haven't been seen as often around HB1. Maybe you're seen more around another ward, but I just wanted to check in on you and see how you're doing. I did hear of an "announcement" that you made via email a while back, and to be honest, the details are neither here nor there with me. Really I just wanted to reach out to you as a friend and brother to invite you with all of my heart to come back (if you haven't been going) as I know our Heavenly Father and the Savior are well aware of you and love you. Of this I have no doubt.

I do not pretend by this email that you and I are best friends by any means, but we have known each other for many years, and I will say that I've always looked up to you with all of the talents that you've been given. You blessed our Priesthood meetings week after week by playing inspiring hymns to start out those meetings, and I only wish I had those talents to do the same, but I do not have them at this point, and that was where you with your abilities were able to bless the kingdom, among various other areas of service you rendered. I also know that you have a testimony of the gospel.

[Max], for what it's worth, I want you to know that I know that the Savior lives. His hand is outstretched still. I have felt that power in my life when I have fallen short. The Atonement is for us, who don't always quite live up to our capabilities. I know that He is the Head of the Church and that he directs it through his Holy Prophets. The Spirit testifies this to me. The Book of Mormon was indeed written for our time. This is especially apparent to me as I read the book of Helaman through 3rd Nephi 11, which can parallel our world current events and/or preparation for the 2nd Coming.

For some reason, and I don't know why, as I have now left HB, you have been on my mind lately and really have felt that I've needed to write you this message, and felt I needed to act on these promptings. I pray that it will be taken in the right Spirit and with the feeling of tenderness from a brother who knows of the goodness that you have.

I hope to talk to you soon and wish you God speed in everything you do.

Your friend,

[Mr. X]

I just kind of sighed as I read it. I'm not sure if I'm going to respond or not. I really don't feel a great urge to.

Since I know this person quite well (we went to church together for several years and served in an Elder's Quorum Presidency together for about a year), I can see the undertones. I know his personality. I know how he talks in church. There are some underlying things in here that I know are going through his head based on what he wrote and what I have known him to be like in the past.

One thing I find ironic about this letter, and the general way that many Mormons seem to react to inactive/ex members is they always claim how much they love you, yet find a way to be very condescending in their message. His statement "...who don't always quite live up to our capabilities" made me scratch my head a bit. How does he know whether or not I'm living up to my capabilities? I think I am. And the statement about me falling short. That's not judgmental at all, right?

My favorite part is when he dismisses my coming out of the closet as an "announcement", using the quotation marks. Classy.

It was also nice to find out that my most memorable contribution to the ward over years and years of service (and serving with him in an EQP) was playing the hymns for priesthood meeting. Really, Mr. X? That's all you can come up with? I did a whole lot more than that over the years, especially when I picked up all the slack you left in the EQP.

And he "knows of the goodness that [I] have." It seems that I've gotten rid of all my goodness and am only exuding badness these days. Well, I was in the No on 8 camp, so obviously I am hell-bent on the destruction of America, the family and freedom of religion.

Mr. X, do you really think that a preachy email is going to inspire me to go back to church? It was a lame attempt. But, I will gladly accept your wish of "God speed in everything [I] do" as I fight for civil equality for all Americans.


Silus Grok said...

Sounded like a tender letter from a man who's rooting for you to stick with the Church.

El Genio said...

I've had a few people write me notes similar to this one, and I'm sure there are many more in my future. Whatever. The alternative to a life in the church of loneliness, despair, and self hatred is SO worth it.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

About 3 months ago, I received a very similar note from a mission friend. It was unsettling to see how any change to who I was when he knew me was immediately dismissed.

As much thought went into my life now as it did then.

Gay Saint said...

Wow... was there anything in this letter that was more than a regurgitated testimony? I have a "friend" just like this. Personally, I prefer people who come across as geniuine, and who are willing to take the time to love and understand and have a real conversation - whether they agree with me or not. I have a hard time believing people who send me letters like this are sincere.

But I'd respond if I were you. Maybe he just didn't have any other way to start dialog with you? I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here :)

Hope you and D are well!

Romulus said...

Even a year ago, I would've been so annoyed at that. Now, I find it kind of amusing :)

J G-W said...

In situations like this, I try to assume the best intentions. He didn't actually say anything unkind... Some of what he said demonstrated ignorance; but what else is news? Most straight folks aren't motivated to learn about this stuff until they have a significant relationship with a gay person. You are that gay person to him now.

You could come back at him with bitterness or defensiveness (which you've kind of done indirectly in this post already)... Which will leave you feeling not so good, and which will more likely just entrench him in whatever prejudices he has.

Or you can open up a bit... If you know him well, this is a perfect opportunity for you help him to see more clearly.

Butterflies and hand-grenades said...

DAMN GIRL!!!! (Being gay I could not resist...HAHA) I completely understand, I think that so many people don't realize that religion, and homosexuality are not Mutually exclusive!!! My last post on my blog was my fiery response to an ignorant blogger, who seemed to be saying the exact same thing. So many members of the church want one thing...your participation. Every time I ever heard a talk by a RM it almost always seemed like they were keeping tally of the "Lost sheep" that they brought "back" to the truth...Do they even realize that they are NOT fit to define what is, or is not moral! When did god die and appoint them successor? And in rebuttal to Silus Grok- Who says it is him who needs to come back! It is the church that does the dis-fellowshipping, and the excommunication! In 40 years I truly believe that the church will receive "revelation" about homosexuality, and will recant! Arrrgggg some people...Don't assume the best in people...If they were great than you will be pleasantly surprised, if not, than you will have noticed...(Sorry...I am a strong willed pessimist...W/e eventually I will be president of New Zealand and everything will be dandy!) Haha
Have a great day, you deserve it!