Thursday, February 19, 2009

My BYU Bishop

In light of new information and another point of view on this man, I feel like I need to share this story and how it probably did more harm than good.

During my Freshman year at BYU, my ward had 3 perhaps more MoHos. One was out and rather obvious, one was closeted but showing signs, and then there was me, completely in the closet, doing everything I could to put on a facade, I was the Gospel doctrine teacher and later in the EQP. My Bishop and his counselors loved me, why I don't really know, I guess because of my insights into scripture, and my false extroversion. They pretty much saw me as one of their golden boys.

While all this was going on I was pretty much throwing the BYU honor code in the mud and stomping all over it, off BYU campus at least. In late July/early August of 2007 I couldn't take the double life anymore and confessed all of my plethora of sins to my BYU bishop. During the interview, many of the things I confessed were obvious "pink flags" that screamed HOMOSEXUAL. My bishop was completely shocked. He couldn't fathom that I was doing all of this and he as my steward saw none of it.

During the interview he told me that I wasn't gay. He told me that I was jsut confused and this reinforced my justification that I was just horny and loved women sooo much that I couldn't bare to defile them, not even in my mind. Looking back I wonder why, when presente with the information he did say, yes David you are gay. Here is how we should deal with it. I, previous to a conversation with one of the other Mohos in my ward, thought that this was for the following reason.

He didn't want to shake my fragile core because I was broken and near the edge and he wouldn't want to add anything else.

Now, armed with the fact that one of the fellow Mohos had come out to the bishop I have to think that this bishop assumed that "Gay" meant flamboyant and animated and theatrical etc. that he was stuck into a stereotype view of seeing things. He couldn't associate in his mind my vile sins of homosexuality with actually being gay because I didn't exude any obvious signs. I find that this strain of thought also afflicts my mother who thinks that I might not be gay because I am "manly" and liked to play some sports, etc.

I wonder if this is more prevalent in other peoples experiences than we even realize? people too often think of "Gay" as the people in the pride parades wearing @$$less chaps and don't see that their loved one is gay. What can we do to change that mindset?


  1. Be out.

    Be ourselves.

    The more gay people a person knows, the more obvious it will be that the stereotypes are caricatures with only a tenuous link to reality.

    If John Doe doesn't know any gay people, he'll assume the caricatures he sees on TV are accurate. If he knows one gay person, and that gay person doesn't fit the mold, he'll assume that gay person is an anomaly. If he knows who who don't match his expectations, he'll start to question whether his expectations are accurate. If he knows several who challenge the stereotype, he'll realize that it's only a stereotype, and that gay people are as diverse in their interest, mannerisms and behaviors as straight people are.

    Chances are, John Doe does know several gay people who don't fit the mold... only he doesn't know he does because they're all in the closet.

    Coming out is a personal decision, and each individual needs to weigh the benefits and the potential consequences. But as he does, he might consider not only the benefits to himself, but also how his being out might help others.

  2. I was just horny and loved women sooo much that I couldn't bare to defile them, not even in my mind.

    That's a new one. It would be pretty funny if it weren't so sad.

    But, I think you're right, people have preconceived notions of what it means to be gay. So, if something gay is staring them in the face - if it doesn't meet those preconceived notions then it can't be gay.

    I can especially relate to this - as it was a factor in me not being able to accept myself for so many years. I had preconceived notions of what it meant to be gay - I wasn't like that, so I obviously couldn't be gay.

  3. I have actually had lots of fun coming out to the select few people I have told because I really break the mold in their minds: I'm not effeminate in the least, I like and play some pretty rough sports, I like violent movies, I hate pride parades and gender-bending. I'm nothing like what they think a gay guy is.

    And I'm really glad! Because I get to be the means of busting up their stereotypes. That mindset is changed one person at a time until the trend becomes an irresistible cultural shift. Sounds like your bishop and your mom need a dose, David. I can't help thinking I would love to talk to both of them!