Monday, March 9, 2015

I went to them for support and this is how it went

This is a reprint of a post from a previous blog. I feel the need to again share it:

* When I went to Bishop #1 and told him that I had had a relationship with a woman, he treated me like I was scum of the earth.

He also treated me with disgust and disdain, told me how unnatural and wrong my desires were. His way to solve this problem was to tell me to go to therapy.

* Because I had sought some kind of spiritual help by going to Bishop #1 for being gay, and he had given anything but spiritual support, I reached out to Stake President #1. Knowing my full story, the only things he told me regarding my gay relationship were: "Reach out in love to this woman. Remember her birthday. Send her cards to let her know how you are doing. And, leave your heart open to love again."

* Because of circumstances at work, I had the opportunity to meet with Sister Chieko Okazaki, then counselor in the general presidency for the Church's Relief Society. I spoke with her about the relationship I had had with a woman. Still hoping to receive even more spiritual support, I had reached out to Sister Okazaki, hoping she, as another woman, could give me insight and understanding into the relationship I had had. She listened. She only asked one thing: had I been sexually abused as a child? When I answered in the affirmative, she suggested that I get into therapy to help me deal with that. She gave me the name of a therapist whom she knew. I called and thus began my several years of therapeutic counseling.

* After finishing work with my first therapist, I was now in the throws of heavy-duty therapy with my second therapist. I was at the point in my life of coming face to face with my sexuality. I accepted that I was a gay woman and in the Church. Now what? Was I going to leave the Church and accept my sexuality? Or, was I going to give up my sexual being to keep the Church? The conflict was so great that it nearly led to the end of my life. (I may write about this in a future post.) Around that time, I reached out to another priesthood leader, my former mission president, a now Emeritus General Authority for the Church. After I had shared my story with him, he told me that I "should live my life as a gay woman", that I "should do it quietly". He also told me I "should lie to keep my temple recommend, and to give them the answers they want". He also told me that "having an orgasm is the closest we can come to being like God". I vehemently disagreed- anyone can have an orgasm. It does not mean (s)he is acting like God. To act like God is to act in pure love, charity and kindness.

* Because of the spiritual turmoil caused by meeting with my former mission president, I talked with my Bishop about it. He (Bishop #2) deserved to know why I had gone to my mission president to begin with, so I shared my story with him also. He wondered if there were anything that needed to be "taken care" of with a priesthood leader. There was not. He was very loving and kind and helped me deal with what happened with my mission president. Because of my two-hour conversation with the former General Authority and the lies he had told me, my Bishop said that my Stake President wanted to meet with me, to further find out the details of that meeting. I kept the Stake President at bay for several weeks, not wanting to talk about it. When I was finally summarily summoned to speak with him, I gave in and went to talk with him.

* Stake President #2 wanted to know the details of my having met with my former mission president. We went through some business items, then for the next two hours, he talked with me about being gay. He first told me that it was "impossible" for me to be gay, that "women are not gay". He told me I "only thought I was gay because of having been sexually abused as a child". (I had been sexually abused, by both men and women. So, that threw THAT theory to hell.) He went on to say that I "only thought I had been sexually abused because I was in therapy, and my therapist had "convinced" me of such". (Except that I was in the London Temple when I received the personal revelation about whom had sexually abused me as a child. There went THAT theory straight to hell.) As he concluded our "meeting", he finished by saying that I "needed to find a man, get married and have lots of sex". That was going to save me from myself. (But, I HAD been married to a man, and the more I tried having sex with that man, the more I wanted to kill myself. Yet again, THAT theory was wrong.)

Epilogue: Love from one Bishop and one Stake President, condemnation from another Bishop, lies from an Emeritus General Authority and Stake President, and no consolation from a general Relief Society President's counselor- I would say these results are not a winning combination for trying to help me with being a gay woman in the Church.