I am a married woman of ten years and mother of two sweet boys aged 2 and 5. I was also raised in a Mormon family in Utah and I have considered myself Mormon all my life. I was married in a Mormon temple to a Return Missionary when I was 19 years old. To all outside observers I am a model Mormon, mostly….until you start talking to me or come over to my house and see the three foot tall Buddha greeting you in the front hallway.
I am also a working mom, I love my job and I would not change my circumstance, this is what is best for me and my family. I am also a feminist. I feel being feminist means equality, civil rights for everyone. That point brings me to the recent discussion I had with my Bishop.
I never got around to receiving my Patriarchal Blessing. I got married at 19 years old and was not terribly active before I started dating my husband, it just never happened. My Bishop became aware of this some time ago and I finally found the time to meet with him last week to be interviewed for this blessing. There is a form he had to fill out, so we chatted while he keyed in my information and he asked about my Temple Recommend status. I knew it had expired and he checked his records and asked if we did the Temple Recommend interview at the same time.
“Sure” I said. I knew this day would eventually come. I thought I’d be more nervous.
We began with the Patriarchal Blessing interview, very simple and easy, done.
Then the more weighty questions began, we got through number one, when he asked the next one I told him I had trouble with that one.
“Do you sustain all the members of the Quorum of the Twelve?”
“I am not sure about that one.” I said.
“Oh”, he said. “How so?”
“The easiest way to explain is to point to Elder Packer’s talk in the last General Conference. I don’t agree with him.”
I explained my problems with the church’s involvement with Prop 8 in California, and the church’s involvement in Hawaii before that concerning Gay Marriage laws. I explained that I understood why the church published The Proclamation of The Family. I also explained about how that made me feel as a child of a single mother, that my family was no longer “up to snuff” and broken because we no longer had a father at home; as well as seeing my mother grow happier going back to work and turning away from the impossible expectations of the church. How I as a working mother, even though I chose to work and would not change it, feel out of place in the church.
Then this led to my feelings about my Gay and Lesbian friends, friends so close I consider them family. My friends who accept me without judgment and love me unconditionally, feelings I return.
Then I talked about how I felt the church was expecting me to feel differently about some people, encourage me to join in this ridiculous idea that certain people should be denied some of the civil rights I have.
I came out to my Bishop.
I don’t hate anyone.
I don’t want my kids learning to hate or judge anyone.
I think everyone deserves to basic civil right to marry whom they choose. I think civil marriage is different than religious marriage and so it makes sense that civil marriage can include marriages between Gay men and Lesbian women.
Then he told me I would not be able to have a Temple Recommend, but he thought I should still go ahead with Patriarchal Blessing. He thought this formal blessing would help me sort through these issues. He told me to fast for 24 hours before, and pray, and study the scriptures.
Strangely I feel ok about this. I feel like I am being honest for the first time in quite a long time. I am no longer silent.
Becca Wilcox AKA AmazonaWomona