30 June 2013

I Think I Found A Ward

I attended the 8th Ward today in downtown Salt Lake. And it was the most unorthodox ward I had ever attended. (And I say that in a very good way)

The ward boundaries cover a large chunk of downtown from 300 East to 400 West, and 500 South to 1300 South. Within the ward is a homeless shelter, multiple low income housing projects, and retirement communities. There are people with obvious mental/developmental handicaps and mental illness. And I don't think I have seen so many tattoos on as many people ever, much less in church. The ward welcomes everyone. Not just the Molly Mormon, Peter Priesthood "True Believing Mormons", but everyone.

The bishop is fantastic. He is a retired mental health professional, which makes him uniquely qualified to be called as the bishop of this ward. I have no doubt that his knowledge and background has assisted him in ministering to his ward. These are some things that really stood out for me...
  1. He is completely fine with me being gay, and believes that I was born this way. This is extremely uncommon for members of his generation.
  2. He is not concerned that I am living with my ex-girlfriend. He invited her to come to church with me.
  3. He is not concerned that I have yet to (and most likely never will) form a testimony that celestial marriage is between a man and a woman only.
  4. He is not concerned that I am a feminist, a liberal, an intellectual, or a homosexual... All of the things that Elder Boyd K. Packer warned were the "present dangers of the Church" in 1990.
  5. He will jot force me to go through the repentance process. He will be there when I am ready, but until I am ready, he wants me to attend the ward.
  6. He is bending over backwards to help me get my membership records moved into his ward. Since I do not live within the official ward boundaries, there are certain steps that need to be taken... One of which may have to be approval from the First Presidency. He wants me in the ward.

All in all... I feel good about where I'm going. It's not going to be easy... Especially if I decide to go through with the repentance process to prepare to go to the temple. But I have a bishop who judges no one. He welcomes all. He doesn't care about your past, but only about your future. And that's a special thing. It's special indeed.


  1. I think that is fabulous!!! The truth is that all wards throughout the church should be so accepting. I am glad you found a place that you can worship as Christ would first want you too, not what the natural man (or woman) would want you to. The repentance and preparing for the Temple will come when your ready, and that is the best thing about the Atonement. It's not just about sins, and most people forget that. I don't fold my laundry either, and I suck at softball, but it's one of my favorite sports. And even though I'm not a lesbian, I, too want to be able to fit into a ward and worship just as I am. See, we have lots in common, and I love you as you are!!! I hope that the ability to move your records is seamless and moves quickly. Good Luck!!!

  2. Wow! I may have to switch wards now!

  3. Found your blog from the link on Mormons Building Bridges. That is wonderful. I am so happy to hear you found a Utah ward with a Bishop that sounds like he understands you and has the special gifts that are needed in order to minister to you and others like you. I just recently moved away from Salt Lake County and although most of Utah is not this accepting, it warms my heart to hear that you have found one. Good luck, I hope you find yourself at home. :)