There’s a small group of interfaith friends I meet with once a month on a casual basis. It’s been a great experience to learn about other faiths, and the stories behind the individual paths of the participants–ranging from clergy to new members–are fascinating to hear. What’s been most remarkable, I think, is it’s become clear that the actual ‘brand’ of faith matters less than the God we find there. Recently, at one of our meetings, a new participant asked a pretty proactive question: What question have you been asking God lately?
It was a small group, so we each took a turn and talked a bit about what’s been on our mind and how we’ve pulled God into our daily lives and concerns. I will admit, I’m a pretty deeply spiritual person and this was a tough one for me–I talk to my Savior constantly throughout the day and pull Him in on virtually everything. Rather than always being formal, my communication with Him is spontaneous and authentic. Sometimes I imagine He views me as one of those over-excited kids tugging at the shirt sleeves of a parent and jumping up and down while I do it. But I love my Savior, and I love having Him involved in my life, on every level–and I know He meets me where I am.
But what question was I asking Him? That was tougher. So when it was my turn, with my usual dry sense of humor, I responded with, ”The question I’ve been asking my Savior is, ‘When are we going to start doing things my way?” Of course, it generated a chuckle around the table and it was meant to do so.
Humor aside, there was a kernel of truth here. Once upon a time, my prayers were very much centered on getting my way and getting other people to change. ”Please let my Dad figure this out so he will love me again,” or ”Show Mom that I am right!” were common refrains.
Over time, and by developing a solid spiritual practice that has led me to a deeper understanding of my Savior, my prayers have changed. I have come to believe that changing other people isn’t my job–changing myself, however, is.
The serenity prayer has been a good guide post for me. Now, while I still share at great lengths about what worries and troubles me, I bring my Savior my joy and gratitude, as well. Today, my prayers are centered around what I’m supposed to learn, accept, or change within myself in any given situation. They’ve become about who my Savior wants me to be, and often include a request to grant me enough humility to bring my will into alignment with His. I pray for the wisdom to know the difference between my path and the paths of my fellows, and the courage to follow through with what I learn. Finally–and this is especially important for me–for those with whom I’m frustrated or angry, I pray that they be granted all the love, serenity, and peace I want for myself. After all, each of my brothers and sisters deserves that.
My Savior did finally start answering my prayers–but not until I stopped telling Him what to do.
I am Mitch Mayne. I am an openly gay, active Latter-day Saint.
I was raised in Idaho, and baptized into the Mormon Church when I was eight. I left the church for many years, due in large part to my parent’s divorce. In my mid-20s, I returned to the church of my own accord, knowing full well that I was gay, and that someday I would have to find a way to reconcile my sexual orientation with my faith.
For many years, I was fractured: I believed I was a man with a foot in two worlds, and that I belonged in neither. But as I’ve grown in my testimony of my Savior and my confidence in who I am, I’ve come to understand myself as a man with a foot in two worlds–who very much belongs in both. From August 2011 through November of 2013, I served as the executive secretary of the bishopric of the Bay Ward within the San Francisco Stake.
I currently remain an active, happy and whole gay Mormon–just the way I am.