Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stake conference

This weekend was stake conference.

Last night we were driving home from my son's house, where we were celebrating their twins 3rd birthday, when it occurred to us that we were missing the Saturday evening adult session of conference. We both then shrugged our shoulders and said "oh well." We were doing what we ought to have been doing.

We then talked briefly about an acquaintance of ours whom we felt would probably have put the stake meeting ahead of the birthday party. (yes, we were gossiping). This guy, who is the executive secretary in his stake, made his daughter change her wedding date because it conflicted with a stake activity. I then commented "I guess that's why I'm not the executive secretary in our stake." The truth is, I just wouldn't be that dedicated. And this has nothing to do with my feelings towards the church regarding homosexuality or any other issues I may have. It's just that for me - family comes first! Yes, even a grandchild's birthday party is more important than a church meeting.

This morning, we got to the stake center early, with the intent of being able to sit in the more comfortable pews. Unfortunately, we weren't quite early enough and ended up sitting in the second row of folding chairs. But, we did get to listen to the stake youth choir (12-18 year olds) practice the hymns they would be singing during the conference. Then one of these youth sat down at the organ and began playing prelude music. He was really good! I love listening to a good organ player. As I sat there enjoying his music - I pondered if he was family. Yeah, I know, I'm playing up to stereotypes. But, a 17-18 year old boy who is a church organist - you just gotta wonder.

We sat behind a family who used to be in our ward before it was split several years ago. They have 10 or 12 children (I've lost count), of whom only 3 are left at home. We don't know their younger children at all since they were born after the ward split. I sat there looking at his youngest son who was, perhaps, 14 years old thinking how much he looked like his oldest brother whom I knew quite well when he was younger. And then I thought "youngest son - several older brothers, hmmm." Nothing about him pinged my gaydar - but then, my gaydar is notoriously unreliable. Usually a guy has to be pretty flaming in order for me to pick up on the idea that he might be gay. But, having several older brothers, he is more likely to be family than his peers.

Now I was actually paying attention in conference. These things I wrote above were more fleeting thoughts. It's just that they were gay thoughts - and this is my gay blog.

But, I do wonder - if I'm correct about these two young men, what sort of world awaits them? How will their families react when they 'come out'? No parent is going to think "gee that's wonderful!" when they find out their son is gay. I'm gay and I would be saddened to find out one of my sons or daughters were gay. Face it - we live in a heterosexual world. Regardless of our feelings about homosexuality - being gay does make life just a little more difficult than it otherwise might be. And no parent wants that for their children.


Evan said...

I got 5 older brothers :). I also have a younger brother who isn't gay...

But yes, I can practically guarantee that one or two of those kids is family.

Alan said...

I was a 17-18 year old church organist. And I was (and remain) pretty good at it. Chalk one up for the stereotype!

Beck said...

I went to the Oquirrh Mtn. Temple dedication in our chapel and had similar thoughts and experiences contemplating the young bucks sitting around me... oh and I was paying attention to the meeting as well. :)

Scott said...

No parent is going to think "gee that's wonderful!" when they find out their son is gay....

... I would.

And I'll think the exact same thing if all of my kids end up being straight.

Sarah and I attended a fascinating presentation by Dr. Caitlin Ryan of San Francisco State University a week or two ago. She's done a study on the acceptance or rejection of gay youth by their families, and how that reception affects the likelihood of their attempting suicide, using drugs, having unprotected sex, or participating in other risky behaviors.

In her presentation, Dr. Ryan said that they began the study expecting to find rejecting and accepting behaviors, but they were (pleasantly) surprised to also find a small number of families who actually celebrated their children when they came out. I thought that was wonderful.

I do understand what you're saying--if one (or more) of my kids is gay they will face challenges in life that they will otherwise avoid, and no parent wants things to be any harder for their children than they have to be.

But regardless, I hope I can celebrate who my children are. I think that by doing so I can better equip them to face their challenges and deal with them in a healthy manner.