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|Coming out Mormon to the Gays: Avoiding Joseph F. Smith’s Answer|
Aug. 2nd, 2009 at 5:34 pm
I have been overseas for the past six weeks due to work-related reasons. My wife and daughter did not come with me, so I have been staying as a guest with a professor at the university where I am teaching and doing research. He is educated and sophisticated, has lived extensively abroad, speaks three languages, and follows American sports, politics, and news. He lives in a five-bedroom apartment with his niece, nephew, maid… and boyfriend.
They are very kind, hospitable, and give me a lot of privacy. I am at work a majority of the week anyway, and on weekends they usually spend their time holed up in their rooms with their respective significant others. Still, most mornings and evenings we gather at the table for meals. The professor and his boyfriend are always eager to discuss the United States, their country, the differences between them, etc. The conversation is good and we all get along very well. Here’s the thing: they don’t know I’m Mormon and I’m not sure I want them to find out.
Anyway, since the professor is affluent, gay, and knowledgeable about American politics, I admit that I worry that it would be unpleasant if he were to discover that I’m Mormon… you know, Prop 8 rearing its ugly head and all that. Furthermore, I am a guest in his house and will continue to be for some time; so I really don’t want to deal with the possibly awkward ramifications. (Obviously, I can’t know for certain that it would be unpleasant, but it’s not a risk I am keen on taking.)
At work and school I’ve never had a problem being open with gay friends and colleagues about my religion — I’m not accustomed to hiding it and have had several good discussions on the subject. However, I feel like being a “guest” in someone’s home changes the rules somehow. Though I certainly wouldn’t lie if they were to ask me, I do feel like perhaps I am unconsciously avoiding it, as if it would somehow be disrespectful to my host.
Obviously, my upbringing tells me just the opposite — that spending so much time with a “non-member family” without discussing the gospel makes me a) a bad member and / or missionary and b) a coward. Anyway, since I’ll feel guilty no matter what, I’ve resolved to just stick with the status quo, only owning up to my “mormonity” should an opportune occasion arise.
I’m not really asking you to judge my actions, not because I’m not open to the possibility that I am a bad mormon / coward that’s handling things poorly (this is possible, even likely), but rather because, since every situation is different, it can be hard to know what you would or wouldn’t do without being there yourself.
However, for the sake of discussion: all things being equal, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?