Sunday, September 18, 2005

Evergreen Conference

My wife and I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah last Thursday to attend the 15th annual Evergreen Conference. For those of you who don't know, Evergreen is an LDS orientated organization dedicated to supporting those who "struggle with same-sex attraction."

I'm in strange place really; a cultural and spiritual no-man's-land. On the one hand, I essentially disagree with the Evergreen/LDS notion of same-sex attraction as a "sin" to be reformed and changed, and yet I really love my wife and truly need support in my marriage. I may disagree with the theological underpinnings of Evergreen, but I receive invaluable support from other individuals and couples who struggle in a similar way.

This is the third year Rhonda and I attended the conference, but this year was special because Rhonda's brother Mike was the keynote speaker. He used many of the same stories I heard him tell in other workshops and seminars, but this time was so much closer to my heart. He surprised me by talking about me from over the pulpit during the fireside, but he was so gracious and kind. I wept through his expressions of love for me and Rhonda.

I had some anxiety about posting this, but as I wrote to a friend, this is an important part of who I am:

"You know, when I updated my blog tonight I decided to talk about my experience at Evergreen. I've been pretty open about my life, but I know there are a few people who still don't know about my orientation and the issues in my marriage...and yet I had such a sacred experience; I want people to know about it. I realize the best parts of me...the most tender and holy places in my heart exist because I struggled through this issue. People can never truly know my heart without knowing this essential history."

There are so many other people we met at the conference, or who we met online and then got to see in person for the first time at the conference. I wish I could name them all and say how much they impacted my life for the better, but many of them struggle in their own ways, and have not publicly ackowledged this issue in their lives. Out of respect for their privacy I simply say: thank you for all who reached out to me and blessed my life!

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