Darrin and I stayed up till 2:00 a.m. Friday night. We had purchased new desks for our computer stations and wanted to assemble them (fun date night). To make room for them, I had spent the last few days throwing away anything I could find that would escape the radar of my family. I wanted to move a seven-foot high bookcase, which collapsed on top of me, making a horrible mess, and that led from one mishap to another--hence the 2:00 a.m. bedtime.
We arose at 5:45 to get ready for our temple trip, deposited Tabitha and DJ at their grandparents' home to be with my sister and family who were visiting, and left town around 7:00. We arrived at the temple, met Attempting the Path, Tito, and the Jerman, and spent a couple of hours in a very beautiful place. Smurf, his mother, and Carrot met us outside the temple afterwards, and we all went to lunch with the students from two of the singles wards, one of which was Darrin's ward.
We all traveled back to Smalltown, USA, ate dinner and went to our Stake Center where AtP, Jerman, and Smurf addressed local stake and ward leaders on the topic of living the gospel while dealing with the issue of being gay. Jerman started us out. He was somewhat hesitant and a bit nervous as he talked about an uncomfortable and highly personal, sensitive subject. His words were so appropriate as he told of his experiences and bore his testimony. He was humble and sincere and a wonderful opening speaker.
AtP followed Jerman. A different perspective of the same topic was presented. AtP included beautiful words about his feelings toward his deceased brother, as well as bringing his own experiences and testimony to those who listened. A wonderful spirit, brought by the Jerman's message, continued and increased as AtP spoke to a countinuously more receptive audience. My favorite part of AtP's remarks was when he, without hesitation, bore witness that he was a Son of God, and that was a much more important part of him than any attractions he might have.
Smurf was the final speaker. He, again, added one more perspective as he addressed the topic. He was funny and engaging, and had the advantage of an audience who was now listening intently as they realized how courageous these young men were, sharing a very private and controversial part of their lives in a reverent and sincere way. Smurf shared scriptures and testimony, and ended with a poem he had written, which, by his own admission, sounded much like something which could be attributed to Dr. Seuss.
The speakers were followed by a question/answer session. The questions were appropriate, and very thoroughly answered by the gay panelists (who openly admitted how nervous they were to answer such questions). Following the Q&A, refreshments were served (purchased by DJ and David--choice of a root beer float OR gay-pride sprite/rainbow sherbet float--their own idea), and most of the audience stayed to chat, introduce themselves, and ask more questions of AtP, Jerman, and Smurf. It was a most amazing evening. What a beautiful event. I am so grateful that these three would be willing to travel so far to help my stake better comprehend a difficult and highly misunderstood subject. I will get to have a chance to follow up on this meeting in a couple of weeks, as I address the stake auxilliary leaders in a training meeting. Thanks to the words said tonight, there will be little left for me to say.
Smurf and Carrot returned to our neighboring state, to spend time with Smurfs family. Jerman, AtP, Tito, and David came to our house and visited till the wee hours of morning, then Tito and David left for David's house and we all went to bed.
There are moments I sometimes wish could be frozen in time. This unbelievable day is one of those.