Rank and File vs Oaks

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asb
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Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by asb » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:51 pm

TL;DR: Are rank-and-file members mostly ignoring the rhetoric coming from Elder Oaks on LGBT issue?

A little background:

I am a transgender woman who, until recently, has been mostly in the closet. I’m starting to take baby steps toward coming out.

I am life-long LDS. I first starting having issues with the church back in 1998, but it took until the spring of 2015 for the shelf to fully crack. I mostly still attend on Sundays when I am home due to family. You know that story.

Starting in 2004, I would from time to time – while away from home – attend church services in female mode. I have no pretense that I “pass” well.

For a while I would do this once every couple of years, but I have done it more frequently the past few years. In total, if my count is correct, I have done this 33 times.

In the past two years (2017 and 2018) I have attended services 16 times. In all but one case I attended the entire three-hour block.

(Why do this instead of taking the day off? I’m not really sure. At first it was, in a fashion, my way of thumbing my nose at the church, but it seems to have become more than that.)

My observations:

Some of the units I’ve attended are small, rural branches or small wards. Others are large urban or suburban wards. Mostly they have been located in the United States mid-west or United States south-east. Mostly these are one-offs, but in a couple of cases I have returned to the same ward a couple of times.

Here is the thing: I have been in every case (with one possible exception) treated kindly and with the utmost respect.

(And that one exception really wasn’t all that bad and may well have been something that I heard wrong or misinterpreted.)

Of course, every ward/branch is different in how they receive visitors, but overwhelmingly I have been warmly welcomed and received.

Despite how Elder Oaks tells (or implies) that people like me should be treated.

I realize that there is likely a big difference between how I am treated as a visitor (where I will probably never be seen again) as compared to a regular member of the ward, but still it has been surprising to me over and over again.

I happened to show up at branch/ward conference on two occasions. I was at first mistaken for a stake visitor at both locations. At both of these conferences, I spoke with the stake presidents and was treated without judgement. At one of them, I was invited to a potluck afterward and by happenstance sat at the same table as one of the SP counselors and his family, as well as with the SP himself. We had an enjoyable time.

At another ward (in a very conservative area in the deep South), before the service a very humble man introduced himself as Brother X and we had a brief conversation. I later learned that he was the stake president spending a day in his home ward. After the services, he and I had a lengthier one-on-one conversation in the hallway about the local area and some of the local happenings.

On a couple of occasions, I encountered a few women who seemed to be of a more liberal bent, and they went out of their way to welcome me, to learn about me, and one of them really bent over backward to help me with something. I have stayed in occasional contact with one of them.

It’s almost as if the bulk of church members are snubbing Oaks’ anti-LGBT rhetoric. That doesn’t fix the policy problems coming from the top, but it does give me hope that the culture is heading the right direction and that members at large are already ignoring Oaks.

Blashyrkh
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by Blashyrkh » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:46 pm

Please forgive me if my post is blunt. I mean no offense. Politically I am very, very right wing. I have never been a strong Mormon. In the past a lot of people have been afraid of LGBTQ people. We were never really exposed to them and held some pretty nonsensical beliefs. These are our friends, our neighbors, our family members. Not some lower class of sexual deviants looking to prey on our kids and infect them with "the queer" as my grandfather would have put it. Times are changing. Hopefully for the better. Despite my "extreme"political views I truly hope that you are continually treated with kindness and respect that you deserve as the decent human being that you are.

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:00 pm

Fascinating social experiment. Thanks for sharing your findings.

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deacon blues
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by deacon blues » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:12 pm

Great post. I would hope if you met President Oaks face to face he would at least be gracious. I hope you feel welcome here at NOM. :D
God is Love. God is Truth

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MalcolmVillager
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by MalcolmVillager » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:37 pm

Great post. I think you are probably right. Sadly, Oaks and others have the power and mind co trolls over the masses.

May your experience with the sheep continue to be amicable.

Mackman
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by Mackman » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:41 pm

Thanks for sharing your story , That takes some courage !! I hope you will continue to be treated as the child of God that you are. Wishing you all the best.

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wtfluff
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by wtfluff » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:43 pm

asb wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:51 pm
I realize that there is likely a big difference between how I am treated as a visitor (where I will probably never be seen again) as compared to a regular member of the ward, but still it has been surprising to me over and over again.
My immediate, off-the-cuff reaction to your post is that the above statement about you visiting is the reason you are treated well. I work with a transgender woman who has NOT had a good experience in her ward. The last time I heard anything, she had been asked NOT to attend relief society because it made the other women in the ward "uncomfortable."

That being said, I pray to any sort of deity-like being in existence that feels like listening that this is the case:
asb wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:51 pm
It’s almost as if the bulk of church members are snubbing Oaks’ anti-LGBT rhetoric. That doesn’t fix the policy problems coming from the top, but it does give me hope that the culture is heading the right direction and that members at large are already ignoring Oaks.
The younger generation is definitely more accepting of LGBT folks, let's hope they're rubbing off on the older generation.

I also hope that Oaks tones down his hateful rhetoric when he takes over as CEO of the corporation. If not, I hope that folks can ignore his hate-speech like you have mentioned
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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2bizE
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by 2bizE » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:59 pm

Yes. I often hear TBMs say that Oaks is their favorite. It makes me cringe.
~2bizE

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Hagoth
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by Hagoth » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:29 pm

Welcome to NOM, asb! Thank you so much for sharing that, it's very encouraging. I wonder if your experience would have been any different if you had attended Utah wards rather than "mission field" wards.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Advocate
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Re: Rank and File vs Oaks

Post by Advocate » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:52 am

Glad to hear you feel welcome and not judged.

My experience has been that most members of the church are really good people. They may not think through things completely, and they don't always think for themselves, but they generally are willing to help someone out and try to love their neighbor.

I've found that I tend to enjoy interacting with members of my ward and enjoy being around them. Most of my issues with the church come from Salt Lake, especially the idea that "when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done."

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