Teaching with the Elders

As I said in an earlier post I have seen many uses of my Mormon.org profile and have heard of elders using it in the field as a teaching aid. For a while I felt shocked by this and even wanted to pull down my words from off of the Mormon.org site because I didn’t want to be the token gay that let’s elders say “Look we accept everyone, even the homosexuals.” But in the past month I have realized that I am okay with that because my profile stands proudly saying I am gay and it’s the only one. Any other profile that talks about the issue takes the stance that the person “struggles with same-gender attraction.” By having my profile there it might have influencing power over members who might read it.

The second thing that has made me desire to keep the profile up is that I have seen how it is used in real life. Not fully the profile being used but instead me. Let me explain. On my first visit to the San Francisco Singles Ward the Elders made a point of meeting me and getting my information. This was largely because they are teaching several young ladies and need another male in the room so they wanted to get my information so I could help out.

Well a couple weeks later they reached out to try and have me help teach with them and, after some scheduling logistics I showed up at the ward to help them teach this young lady, we will call her Jenny. I met with the Elders for a couple minutes before the lesson to talk about what we were going to teach, where I could pitch in, and the overal strategy to let the spirit teach Jenny’s heart through periods of silence in the lesson.

Now these Elders were actually 2 new elders because I had only really met the one and he was out on exchanges so we had Elder Jin and Elder Hakim teaching Jenny and they were going to challenge her to be baptized 3 weeks later. Jenny’s main concern was telling her deeply-religious father that she wanted to join the Church.

Throughout the lesson I stuck to the Elders teaching strategy of staying silent until I was impressed by the Spirit to throw bear my testimony and break a particular bout if silence. I listened and obeyed to the spirit and began by turning my chair so I was facing Jenny directly.

“Jenny, your Father lovs you as much as your Heavenly Father loves you and because of that, your Father will come to understand in time. I know of Heavenly Father’ love for you because these Elders have no clue who I am. We met today, but the Lord prompted them to have me there for this lesson today because I have deep sympathy and near empathy for your situation. These elders don’t know what I am about to say but I am gay.

I had to tell my Mother and I remember feeling just as you do know about telling your father. Before telling my mother, I was worried about being disowned and being told “you are no longer my son” but I knew the truth of who I was and told my mother. It has taken her time but she has come around and loves me without regard to my sexuality.

I know that these elders had no clue that I had lived through a similar experience as you are going through right now. I know that the fact that I am here is proof of Heavenly Father’s deep love for you. That Love is the same type of love that your dad has for you and he will come around in time. Take courage in that love.”

Jenny is set to get baptized now and I have had a follow-up lesson with the Elders and her and it has gone fantastically. I have also met with the Elders one-on-one and had a lesson on the atonement, completely open about my sexuality, and it has gone great.

After these experiences I have decided to leave my profile online as a tool for missionary work because I know that it is doing good in the world.

  • Yeah, do keep it up.  That’s awesome!

  • Kit

    WOW!  You just blew my mind open with is story!! Gosh – I wish I’d been a fly on the wall with a clear view of Elder Jin’s and Elder Hakim’s faces – not to mention Jenny’s.  Thank you for sharing this!!  Or should I be thanking the spirit?  It’s been over a year since the elders invited me to go teaching with them because I’m now inactive.  But you have reminded me of something I need to think about all over again – and that is my whole understanding of the spirit – not so much the scriptural theory but in terms of how the spirit actually, tangibly, practically operates within and through me.   So, thanks to your post here, I have decided to ask the elders to come and talk with me about that.  (This is also stimulated by a talk a watched recently by Prof. Ellen Langer from Harvard, who, although she was addressing her usual subject of Mindlessness and Mindfullness, was actually talking about the Spirit and how we use it :)) (http://blip.tv/slowtv/mindfulness-and-leadership-ellen-langer-5351787)
    David, I hope you do keep your profile online but that decision will always reside with you.  From my perspective, I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts to keep the world an open and honest, healthy place.  The openness of your videos and commentaries on what you observe and think of the world are inspirational to many – and also charming in the sense that we see get to witness an intelligent young man working through such issues with committment alongside modesty and verve.  Such a thing being rather rare in these latter days, I hope you will continue to grace our lives and our own explorations.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this.  Thanks, Bro!

  • Cinch

    Please keep the profile up.  It provides hope to a lot of people.

  • Burtcannjr

    When I was learning about the LDS church, the missionaries actually referred me to your profile. Since then I have seen your youtube videos and joined your blog! Though I declined to actually join the church I still find your profile to be inspirational.