gailymormon

The spiritual adventures of a gay man recently returned to Mormonism

Edward’s Feminist/LGBT/Liberal Mormon Guide to Watching General Conference

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:

  1. How to listen very carefully when other people share, even if those people are bat-shit crazy; and
  2. The saying, “Take what you need and leave the rest.”

As with 12-step meetings, upwards of 90% of General Conference can be:

i.         repetitive,
ii.         boring,
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!
Not. Difficult.

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.

7 comments on “Edward’s Feminist/LGBT/Liberal Mormon Guide to Watching General Conference

  1. Lisa S.
    October 7, 2013

    Thank you, my friend. Thank you for reminding me to leave the rest and take what is important to me.

  2. RockStarr
    October 7, 2013

    I think it doesn’t get much clearer than this. I had never thought about it like this…. Leave the rest, and take what’s important. But as a sister in recovery, is exactly what I do as well.
    Please remember this, lest you shatter the precious moments kitten figurine from Aunt Margie last Christmas.

    L

  3. Laura Penn
    October 8, 2013

    Bat shit crazy… love it!!

  4. Heather
    October 8, 2013

    Well said.

  5. Debra
    October 8, 2013

    Oh, sweet Caroline. This is dead on and will get me through the next few weeks of sanctimonious gas-baggery.

  6. Allison
    October 8, 2013

    Thank you for, once again, making me feel like I’m not alone.

  7. susan
    October 20, 2013

    So happy to discover your blog!!! I have been doing 12 step work for years and since my return to the church have often wanted to share the slogan ‘take what you need and leave the rest’. And YES! to feelings about the different leaders talks!! And a great big YES to your list of how 12 step meetings are:)

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