Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bishopric Member Opens Pandora's Box

September 5th....
I was just notified that the below member--Mitch Mayne was called to be the Executive Secretary in his ward.  Some might consider this calling a part of the Bishopric but I do not.  He is an Executive Secretary which is mostly administrative work in the office. Sorry for the misinformation. Here is the original post:

Over the last week, there has been a flurry of blogs, comments and discussion about a man who was called to be a counselor in the Bishopric for the Bay Ward, San Francisco, California Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  
Normally this would not be an issue or a big deal but this particular man has publicly announced that he is openly gay and has been called to this position of Priesthood leadership.  Reading further on his statement, we find out that he was in a relationship with another man but had broken it off over a year ago because of other issues. 
Yesterday I spent several hours reading the comments and discussion of what other members and former members of the Church wrote about his occasion and there seems to be a misunderstanding with some about this whole situation.
I felt very strongly to write about it on my own blog and post what I think is a fair assessment of what is happening.  I am not a spokesman for the Church but I would like to support all Priesthood leaders in their inspired decisions and I feel that this is one of those decisions. I found the original writing of Mitch Mayne which I posted below so you can read what he has to say for himself along with a picture he includes on his website. 
Re-post of Original Writing From Mitch Mayne:
"I am Mitch Mayne, and I am an openly gay Latter-day Saint.
On August 14, 2011, I was sustained as a member of the Bishopric in the Bay Ward of the San Francisco Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).
I accepted this calling because of the opportunity it presents me to serve my Savior and my community. And, I accepted this calling as my authentic self: A gay man who loves his Savior, loves his Mormon family, loves his counterparts within the LGBTQ community, and recognizes himself to be completely whole as I am—just as my Father made me.
Up until a year ago, I was in a committed, monogamous relationship with my partner of several years. I wore a wedding band. I attended church and held callings within my ward. But, life is not without its own twists and turns, and I had to leave my partner for a variety of reasons, none of which had to do with pressure from the church. It was, without question, the most painful decision I’ve ever made.
As a result, my current circumstances provide me with a unique opportunity to serve in a Priesthood leadership role within my community. Will that always be the case? Perhaps not. I will likely not be single forever, but I am now by choice—given where I am in my own personal healing process.
I am open to a relationship if fate brings that my way. I am not committing to a lifetime of celibacy; I am committing to adhere to the same standard of behavior that we require of any heterosexual member in a Priesthood leadership position. And, I am committed to being completely forthcoming and transparent about my relationship status with my leadership.
I understand that for my gay Mormon brothers and sisters and those who support them both inside and outside our faith, there is special meaning here: For it demonstrates that not only do we as gay Mormons have a home within our faith if we so choose, but that we also have a path.
It is a humbling honor to be asked to serve in this capacity, and I am grateful for a Church leadership that views me as an asset that can help serve our community. Nonetheless, I am simply an ordinary man, blessed to have been placed in extraordinary circumstances. And as such, a man who is willing to bring that experience to bear to help others as they strive to find their place within the gospel, and within the Mormon family."
Some of the discussion given elsewhere say the Church should apologize to those of same-sex groups who felt they were ostracized by Church Priesthood leaders telling them that this practice is sinful which according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ-- if anyone participates intimate relationships outside the bonds of legal and lawful marriage is considered a sin .  See link below.
Some discussion included members in good standing who were shocked by this calling because of how Brother Mayne presented his voice as one who will eventually go back to the same sex lifestyle in the future.  This has been very disconcerting. But the fact remains that he is worthy now.  I was somewhat frustrated by those comments of many who could not understand why Brother Mayne was called.  
He was interviewed by his Priesthood leaders and found worthy to be in this calling. That is it!!!  Under the direction of his Priesthood leaders he is worthy to fill this calling. Which means he is worthy to attend the temple; which means he pays tithing, is honest in all his dealings, supports all Priesthood leadership and has a testimony of Jesus Christ.
What Brother Mayne has posted in his statement about "not living a life of celibacy forever" was probably not a good idea as it sounds like  these Church leaders have a double standard but the fact remains he has been worthy for at least a year and has been forgiven his sins. The fact of the matter is he does validate his statement saying that he has chosen the same worthy behavior of those who are Priesthood leaders.  That should say enough.  He is worthy to hold this position and no apologies are necessary from anyone.
I believe I understand why  Brother Mayne would post such a statement publicly. First and foremost, he wanted  those of the same-sex orientation to know that he was loved by the Lord and wanted them to experience this as well .  He expressed concern over the many less active members of his ward--and every where around the country-- that there is a place of comfort and peace in church attendance.
I have a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which I practice through my membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I know that those Priesthood leaders would not act in contrary to gospel principals.  I know Brother Mayne was called under inspiration to serve in his ward.  I hope all who read this will have a better understanding of this situation.
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