I’m human. I can easily itemize the faults of people and institutions in my life. Hours could pass while I mentally complete the spreadsheets in my head that outline the ways they could stand to change.
But not one thing has ever improved as a result of my mental spreadsheet. In fact, all it does is keep my mind on someone other than me, preventing me from being the kind of person I want to become. It allows me to flirt with illusions of power over other people or things–where I really have none. And in the end, I am a little more frustrated, hopeless, and resentful–and nothing about my situation with the other people or institutions in my life has changed.
What would happen if I took that spreadsheet of criticism and–gently–applied it to myself? I may complain about experiencing mistreatment from others–after all, I strive not to respond unkindly to others. But at the level of thought I am just as unkind. When I fill my time with criticizing others at the level of thought, I am just as guilty of mistreating them. The same attitude exists in both of us; we just manifest it differently.
Today I will let it begin with me. When I identify something I dislike in someone else, I can look for similar traits in myself and begin to change them. By changing myself–with the guidance of my Savior–I genuinely can change the world.
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.