The spiritual adventures of a gay man recently returned to Mormonism
Was this past General Conference a roller coaster for you? Did you feel angels dancing on your love handles when Pres. Uchtdorf or Bishop Caussé talked? But did you then want to throw your mother’s Precious Moments figurine at the TV when you heard Elder Christofferson or Elder Oaks or Elder Nelson talk?
Welcome to my guide to watching General Conference!
In my 10 years away from the Mormon church, I became addicted to drugs and entered 12-step recovery. In recovery meetings, I learned two important things:
As with 12-step meetings, upwards of 90% of General Conference can be:
iii. irrelevant to my life,
iv. offensive, or
v. delivered with so many dry-mouth-smacking noises that I want to dig my eardrums out with a spoon. TAKE A DRINK OF WATER BEFORE YOU SPEAK, PEOPLE!
But I digress.
Being a church leader is a calling just like being a ward chorister or nursery leader is a calling. Church leaders mess things up just like everyone else. God, as a patient teacher, does not immediately correct our mistakes. We get to learn from them. Which is why, for example, we can fail to include black Saints in the priesthood and temple for 100+ years.
Translation for us: It’s okay—in fact it’s necessary—to think carefully about what we hear in Conference, pray about it, and decide whether it feels right to us before we accept it. In that process, a lot of stuff will get thrown out. That is WONDERFUL. It’s a sign that we’re doing our job of working things out in our minds, as our Heavenly Parents want us to.
Trust your own heart.
There were many, many gems at this General Conference. I will treasure them up in my heart. The rest I will leave on the cutting room floor. Maybe other people needed to hear those things. And maybe a General Authority was just plain wrong.