Bravery Bulletin: Reaching Our Leaders
Bravery Bulletin blog posts acknowledge regular people behaving in ways befitting a disciple of Christ that are powerful in their quiet ease. Those spotlighted in the Bravery Bulletin are often chosen because of their gentle and seemingly simple acts toward LGBTQI/SSA issues and people.
After a new bishop was called to my ward about a year ago, I made an appointment with him to talk about Mormons Building Bridges and all I had learned about what our LGBT brothers and sisters experience in rejection and heartache. I gave him a Family Acceptance Project booklet but left his office wondering what, if anything, would come of that visit.
The weeks following that visit were discouraging. The next obvious step seemed to be to contact the stake president. Trying to figure how best to approach this, I turned to prayer. I found myself praying while driving, grocery shopping, doing laundry, reading, and pretty much everything else I did. Every time, I experienced hesitation. “This can’t be right,” I thought. I believed it was coming from the discouragement I felt after seeing my bishop. I kept praying and finally had clarity in thought. “Wait. There will be a change.” So I did. Guilt would nag because I felt urgency internally that something had to happen in my ward and stake. Certain I had gotten the wrong communication, I kept going back. The same answer returned each time: Wait.
A few weeks ago, we got a new stake presidency. With a friend, I visited him. Knowing what we were meeting with him about, he had asked his two counselors to also be there. We gave a packet to each of them containing the Family Acceptance Project booklet, information about Mormons Building Bridges, mormonsandgays.org, the Safe and Sound program, and personal experiences written about by our LGBT sisters and brothers, and their families.
The 30 minutes scheduled quickly turned into an hour and a half. My friend, whose son is gay, brought to the meeting a mother’s yearning and powerful expression of her eternal love for her child. I brought awareness that, as an ally, these issues are increasingly important to members who feel compelled to make our wards and families safe places. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit through open hearts and the concern and love expressed. Our individual testimonies were given during the conversation. We were assured that the meeting would not be the only one. My friend and I left feeling uplifted and something more tangible than just hope.
Our leaders’ support and understanding help members to feel comfortable talking and learning and, hopefully, embracing our LGBT members. Reaching out to them prayerfully can give us more opportunity to serve as the Lord’s hands.
–Submitted by Susan Dortsch Mikesell