Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Bigger Story

Dear J----,

My name is Kevin. I'm a Mormon. I've read your posts quite regularly for a while now. I disagree with some of the opinions you've expressed. I'm comfortable with that disagreement, because I accept the fact that you and I have had very different life experiences. Due to that acceptance, I haven't felt any outrage or emotional reaction to your writings. Until now. I was very disappointed in recent article about Rich Wyler. As a man who has attended Wyler's Journey into Manhood weekend and served on staff twice, I found your remarks hurtful, belittling, and intolerant.

You usually write with an admirable professionalism, a sense of being fair and reasonable. I'm curious as to why you lost that perspective in this situation. It seems that you have a real hang-up with homosexuality and the doctrine of the LDS Church. I can relate to a feeling of dissonance regarding the issue. I have personal experience with feelings of sexual attraction to other men. At one point I identified myself as Gay. During that time, I had many negative feelings about the Church. I felt betrayed by the very God I had trusted so innocently. I wasn't able to reconcile my understanding of God with my personal experience. That time was the most painful, agonizing period in my life. I was suicidal.

In a moment of tender mercy, at the peak of my rebellion against God, I was given the opportunity to meet other men who had experienced many of the same feelings I had. They understood where I was coming from and accepted me as I was, sans facade, doubts and all. I was introduced to the writings of Wyler and Matheson which resonated strongly with me. For the first time in years, I felt a connection to my God. I began to learn about a story that was bigger than the one I had been telling myself. I was brought to look honestly and humbly at the lies which I had come to believe. Some were lies handed to me by well-intentioned, but misguided members of the church. Others were spoon fed to me by a blinded society groping in darkness. The most painful were lies I had created myself to dull the pain of a wounded conscience. But paradoxically, the journey inward led to a new understanding of what was outside of me. I saw a world that was big enough to encompass me and my often conflicting experience. I met a God who was big enough to perfectly love and nurture an imperfect me. I met a self who was no longer a victim, but an agent capable of mighty change. I met a Savior, who was powerful enough to provide just such a change.

But that is just me. My story is also big enough for people who don't have an experience like mine. My world is big enough to encompass people who resolve their inner conflicts differently. My God is big enough to love and save all of his children. My self is willing to accept others as they are and trust my Savior to heal others as He sees fit, and not necessarily just like he healed me.

Is your story big enough to include me?