Saturday, January 03, 2009

The End of a Chapter

A couple weeks ago, Samantha and I had a visit from Maurice (Sam's father and our Stake President.) We talked about how I would soon be released as Bishop. This is actually the second time he and I talked about it. He had already explained to me that there are big changes coming in our stake and that Salt Lake said, since I would be released in just a couple more months anyway, to go ahead and do it sooner with all the other changes.

But there are two big things for me here. First, I do not want to be released. I love my YSA ward. I do not know anyone in my family ward. Three years ago, Maurice came to visit us one night and issued this calling to me. I bawled. I already had fallen in love with this YSA ward. The bishop at that time had been a long time friend whom I loved and respected. And I had already had some interaction with this ward. I cried because I knew that I would one day be released. I cannot believe the time is already here. That totally sucks. (Yes, some bishops say "suck.")

I will try to hang out at the Institute building where the members of our YSA wards meet and hang out. Thanks to them, I have a couple hundred young, beautiful Facebook friends.

The second thing is new callings. Maurice mentioned to me that my family ward Bishop already had a calling for me. That really bummed me out. I don't want to work in our family. (Yeah, bad attitude, not exactly the "I'll go where you want to go" type of thing.) He told me this the first time when he said I would be released soon. But this night when he came to talk to Sam and me, he mentioned he had another calling, for both of us. I guess I shouldn't say too much about it or exactly what it is. But i will say that we will get to work together, work with various church leaders, and work with the SSA issue in the church. I AM TOTALLY PSYCHED!!! This could be big. I think we are the first ones in the church with such a responsibility. Hopefully, we will help a lot of people, dispose of a lot of ignorance, and educate a lot of members. More later ...

I guess when one chapter ends, sometimes another one begins.

Modern Gay Politics: Part 2

I apologize for the delay of this post. Actually, I was going to write about something else, but noticed I never finished my thoughts on this topic. So here it is ...

There are some ideas out there that should be dispelled. 1. The Church does NOT get involved in politics. It does not say what political candidates should be supported and who should not. However, it does take a strong stance on some political, or rather SOCIAL issues, such as gambling, abortion, and gay marriage. It is the nature of the Church to influense others, and even push their beliefs on others. We call that missionary work. We want everyone to believe as we do and we want our society to reflect our beliefs.

2. The Church did NOT finance any campaigning or efforts to promote Prop 8 or oppose gay marriage. The Church also does not tell members to spend their money on this. Being a Bishop, I receive all correspondence that the First Presidency sends out when they want to communicate to the members about issues. They ask that their letters be read from the pulpit, which simply state the church's position regarding the issues.

I lived in California when the state was considering starting a lottery. The letter out stating that lotteries are a form of gambling and the Church/Gospel is strictly opposed to gambling. That's basically about it. Sometimes members take it upon themselves to finance certain efforts to promote or oppose certain points of view. The efforts of those members should not be confused with those of the Church. I have heard people say that the CHURCH financed advertising and other efforts to promote Prop 8 and oppose gay marriage. It did not. It did not finance any such efforts, nor did it tell the members to spend their money to do so.

3. I agree that most members of the church are still pretty ignorant and do not understand anything about SSA. And I believe that a lot of their support for Prop 8 was done out of ignorance and misunderstanding. I think that the issue blew up to look like many people showing their outward hatred of gays. I think that was wrong.

4. If given the chance, I would vote to outlaw tobacco, alcohol, stores being open on Sunday, etc. And yet, I love my smoking relatives, my alcoholic friends, my sabbath-breaking co-workers, and I love my gay friends. I kind of wish Prop 8 never happened.