Coming out to my BYU student ward

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
ydeve
Posts: 188
Joined: 30 May 2016, 21:38

Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by ydeve » 11 Aug 2016, 17:05

After a fair amount of thought and prayer, ending with a night at the temple grounds, I feel that coming out to my new ward that I'm bisexual is something that I should do.

It will be the start of a new semester at a new ward. I'm out to my immediate family. I was thinking of doing it as part of a testimony on fast sunday, and am wondering if any of you might have some words of advice.

amateurparent
Posts: 953
Joined: 19 Jan 2014, 20:43

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by amateurparent » 11 Aug 2016, 19:17

A female married friend of mine was just talking about this same thing. My question for her was this: Do you want to talk about your bisexuality or do you want to act on it? If you just want to talk about it, save that talk for fantasy time with your husband. If you want to act on it, then put it a little further out there in the public.

What is your goal of a public announcement in a new ward? How will a fast and testimony declaration accomplish that goal? I have noticed that when people announce big things in a public setting, there is no way to take back those words. Although you can control how your words are spoken, you cannot control how they are recieved by that audience. The bigger the setting, the less control you have over how your words are received. Communication is a combination of what is said and what is recieved by the listener. You only get to control half of that dynamic.

Also .. Look at your old ward. Look at how you fit into that ward dynamic. Sometimes, people move from one social group to another but they re-create their social position within the new social group to mirror their previous position. You can watch a kid who was identified as the "bullied kid". Move him into a new social group and you can watch him do things to push and provoke the new group to bully him -- even when that isn't their natural inclination.

You are going into a brand new ward. A new beginning. Make sure you are not re-creating a dynamic that was not positive for you.

BTW .. I don't think prayer on the temple grounds is any higher quality prayer than anywhere else. Don't use prayer as an excuse to do something you will regret.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

university
Posts: 150
Joined: 15 Mar 2014, 17:19

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by university » 11 Aug 2016, 19:57

First of all, I'll preface this by saying it's really not my place to try and tell someone how they should or shouldn't come out. That's very personal and up to you. Above all, I think it's important that you do this on your own terms with lots of consideration for what you want and what it will mean for your life, and it sounds like that's what you're doing.

With that said, I would strongly advise you not to come out to your ward during fast and testimony meeting. I'm not advising you against coming out to your ward in general, per say, but I don't think that fast and testimony meeting is the right place. I strongly suspect this setting will undermine some of the positive aspects of coming out for you (in regards to how other people respond to it---although I don't know if you care about this) and you will lose control of your narrative. If you feel strongly that you need to come out to ward members, there are other ways to do so.

With that said, again, again, I realize it's not my place to tell someone how they should or shouldn't come out. AP raises some good questions, although I should say here that I can see why you would want to come out, and if that is important to you, I am not advising against that. What I'm advising against is doing it as part of a testimony, but again, this is up to you.

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Aug 2016, 21:28

I agree with the other two. What is the purpose of making a big announcement in F&TM? I'm not opposed to you coming out, but perhaps doing so in a less flashy setting would be more beneficial - perhaps more one-on-one or small group with people you know. And never underestimate leadership roulette. Even though your bishop might publicly seem accepting, he might one-on-one with you have a very different attitude, and there can be great extremes either way. My two cents is that little good will come of making a public announcement such as this, especially in a place like BYU. Were you in a YSA ward in LA, Boston, or Chicago I would think differently and would have less reservations - but BYU is far from (and far from being like) any of those places.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

ydeve
Posts: 188
Joined: 30 May 2016, 21:38

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by ydeve » 11 Aug 2016, 21:52

Yeah, I don't think prayer on temple grounds is extra special either.

I don't want to act on my bisexuality, just to talk about it.

I was thinking about mentioning it in a F&TM message, not making it the focus. I agree that going up and making an announcement would be flashy, I don't really want that. But at the same time, I want to be out. And I've found opportunities to come out to people tend to not happen organically. Testimony meeting seemed to be the chance that I have the most control over, and I thought having it be a minor part of an actual testimony could help reduce the flashiness. What other routes would you take instead of F&TM?

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7219
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Aug 2016, 03:52

Unfortunately you don't have the luxury of knowing who the key gossipers in your ward are because of its transient nature. If I want something to quickly become known in my ward I know the key people to tell. Were I you I would still eschew any form of public announcement - what you consider "minor" might not be minor in others' views (which could have particular impact of some of those others happen to be in leadership positions).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 4452
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by nibbler » 12 Aug 2016, 05:07

Are you a BYU student? Could you possibly be putting your ecclesiastical endorsement at risk?
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
— Rumi

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16832
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Aug 2016, 07:39

I personally don't advise sharing something like that over the pulpit. If you feel strongly that you need to let people in your ward know, I would do it on a more individual or small group level.

Ultimately, this is your choice, however, so God bless you whatever path you decide to take. Just don't hold it against people who react differently than you hope they will.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3533
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 Aug 2016, 09:42

I'm torn on this one. When the POX came out (Nov. 5 policy - Policy of Exclusion - name coined elsewhere, not sure where), our GD teacher started down the path of "We may not like it, but we are all on board, right?" and I resolutely raised my hand and said I was not on board, and that the rollout was badly done, and that it was harmful to real people I know, many of whom were only affected because their leaders had originally encouraged a gay person to marry a heterosexual as a way to "cure" their attractions. Two other sisters in the room did likewise.

That then opened the door for a few ward members to share that they were directly caught in the cross-hairs of this policy. One was in a joint custody situation with his ex-wife who is now a married lesbian, and they were waiting to find out if their 8 year old can be baptized or not. Another was an older gentleman with an adult son who is gay married. He wept while he talked about this policy wounding his relationship with his son whom he loves. These people would have just been sitting there in the class feeling their hearts battered by the assent of class members stating that they were on board with any policy the church could come up with no matter who was hurt by it, but because we spoke up, they could also speak up which quieted the majority who normally get to say whatever they want with no thought for who is affected. These victims of the policy, for once, weren't forced by social pressure to stay silent.

I know that's the nature of coming out, making it so people do have to think twice about what they do and say. They can't just assume that everyone in the room agrees or is the same. People who aren't affected somehow have the idea that they have as much right to opine on what impacts other people as the impacted people do. Let's listen to those who are impacted for a change!

I think there is a way to say it in F&T meeting that's not a big deal. I'm not sure you will have any problem if you don't intend to act on it. I think most people who accept that bisexuality exists (I'm sure there are some who still think it's just rampant promiscuity) figure you can just marry heterosexually and therefore you'll be fine gospel-wise. But letting people know that you exist has value for those in the congregation who likewise aren't simply heterosexual.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16832
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Coming out to my BYU student ward

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Aug 2016, 10:28

Well said, Hawk. Very well said.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Post Reply