I was thinking about some of the comments on my recent post about masturbation. One thing that bothers me is the apparent lack of any sort of consistency in how this sensitive topic is addressed throughout the church. Although I myself have never had any negative experiences in this regard, some people have been treated horribly by their Bishops - plain and simple.
And, this got me to thinking. Yes, Bishop's are given certain keys, including keys of discernment. But, does that mean that every word they utter comes from spiritual inspiration?
For many who have not dealt with the issue of homosexuality, any thought of homosexual relationships (even non sexual ones) can be seen as revolting, disgusting, and just generally icky. Some may even rationalize that if something is revolting then it must obviously be wrong. However the logic in that train of thought is flawed. There are foods that are eaten in other cultures that I consider revolting and disgusting. But, that doesn't mean that I believe it is wrong to eat them - just that I choose not to partake.
So, this is a question that those who work with people who are attracted to their same gender need to ask themselves: Am I acting out of true inspiration from God? Or am I speaking from ickspiration because of my own personal distaste? And, those of us who are on the receiving end - we need to pray and receive our own spiritual witness if the advice and counsel we were given was said out of inspiration, or ickspiration.
I remember a few years ago, a family moved into our ward. The head of this household was a first class jerk (in my own humble opinion). Then one day the stake presidency came to reorganize our bishopric - and called this brother to be our Bishop. I still recall the feelings of melancholy I had as I left church that day. How could God do this? The guy's a jerk, surely God knows that. But, I resolved that I would support him as Bishop even though I disliked him as a man. One day, in a tithing settlement, this Bishop said some very hurtful and hateful things to me. If ever I was going to leave the church because I had been offended - that would have been it. That experience shook my faith to its very core. To this day I feel he was wrong in saying the things he did.
That was two bishop's ago. Subsequent boundry changes have put us in different wards; so, I don't see this man very often these days. However, in a recent bishopric meeting, our current bishop was cleaning out some papers from his desk and came across some things from this other bishop. He made a passing comment on how he felt this previous bishop man was overly harsh in some of his judgments - and that, to this day, he still occasionally has people in his office complaining about things they were told by this other bishop. And, you know what, I actually found myself defending him. I told my bishop that I felt this previous bishop had mellowed quite a bit in his tenure as bishop - and it's true. While I still think he is a jerk, he is not nearly as big of a jerk as he once was. In fact, this last Christmas, it happened that we were both singing tenor in a stake choir. And, he always made a point of sitting next to me so that we could share music because he said he could follow me better than he could other tenors - and I didn't mind. We laughed, and we joked (and, yes, I still think he is a jerk).
I'm not sure where I'm going with this other than to say that I believe most of the men called to positions of leadership make a sincere effort. But, there are a few who are overzealous in their quest to perfect the saints.