Friday, January 8, 2016

IP Memoir: Divine Guidance and Karma

I'm working on a memoir of the year I came out. I wrote the following passage the other day after contemplating how fortunate I was in my early coming out process.

It’s funny: in retrospect, I look back on those early days of coming out and analogize them to when I was learning about and joining the Mormon Church 27-1/2 years earlier. Part of my “testimony” of the truthfulness of Mormonism had been based on the fact that the “Lord’s hand” did indeed seem to guide me during that period and seemed to have prepared me for the events to come. In fact, I used to say that mine was a “textbook conversion,” an example of how members of the Church could do missionary work the right way. I had been approached by a member who was my boss. She convinced me to take lessons from the fulltime missionaries and also introduced me to a family that would play a crucial role in the formative early days and weeks after I had been baptized. Then I had moved back to Ohio “under inspiration” where I participated in bringing three members of my family into the Church and where I met my future wife. It was an extraordinary conversion story.

All of this seemed to be by divine plan, and that’s what I fervently believed for the next 25+ years. But, in hindsight, I could say the same thing about my coming out process. The groundwork had been laid for several years as my marriage crumbled. It was then precipitated by a very powerful unforeseen event: Packer’s talk. I thereafter somehow found the courage not only to embrace my sexuality but also to move forward on a path that led out of the closet into an unknown future. Shortly afterward, Colin entered my life, then others followed. Through the instrumentality of my blog, I met people who introduced me to others who introduced me to others. I found the gay fathers group because it came to me, not because I had sought it out.

Today, I’m not much of a religious person. About the only thing that I definitely believe in is karma. I no longer believe that the Mormon God – a personal Heavenly Father of flesh and bones who, through the intercession of Jesus Christ (also a resurrected personage of flesh and bones) and the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost – actively intervened in my life to bring me into Mormonism nor that this God had prepared the way throughout my life to embrace the faith. But, I think it very well may have been my karma to follow that path so as to experience what I experienced over the next 28 years of my life. When it comes to the path on which I embarked upon coming out, however, I am confident that it was my karma to do so. That confidence, that faith, helped sustain me not only during the year of my coming out, but in the years that followed, and it sustains me now as I again face an unknown future.