Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Congregation of One, part 1

I jotted some experiences down while I was in medical school and I've been meaning to share them for some time. They make a loosely connected narrative of my experience in the last several years making a serial pseudo-story. I thought since I'm quite busy right now and unable to post much or comment much on other blogs, I'd take this opportunity to share.

A Congregation of One

I feel like I’m in a place a little left of reality. Or a little right. I’m happy. And conflicted. Mormon and gay. I’ve been discriminated against by gays and Christians, Mormons and doctors, conservatives and liberals. I belong nowhere. I’m a middle class white male. I’m a minority among minorities.


“Landon. Come on.” She gave me that look. The head slightly tilted and cocked eyebrow that screams, “How oblivious are you?”

After a pause: “Jeremy.” Yeah. That made sense. The New Med News article in which he defensively railed on religious bigotry directed toward gays was the tip off. I took the revelation in stride and just said, “Yeah, I had an idea on that one.” It was down time on the wards and our political banter had led to gay marriage and then to gays in our class. I, clueless as a rule, didn’t know any gay class members. Or, rather, I didn’t know who they were.

But now I did. I had speculated as much since meeting Jeremy for the first time as we both sat waiting for Sacrament Meeting in the local Mormon congregation for single students. Mormons are odd like that—divvying up congregations by demographics. Our unknowing congregation of two had settled near the back. Despite that we both had attended BYU, we both had majored in the humanities, and we were both in the same med school class, we never hit it off as well as I would have liked. We were always friendly, but where I was the ardent Mormon, he was the skeptic and seemed reluctant to appreciate someone so willing to fall in line with the saints.

“Hey Jeremy, great article.” I said one day just entering Epperson Research Building from the CCOMF bridge.


“I sort of disagreed with a few things, but overall I loved it.”

His face fell slightly. “Interesting. Like what?” We chatted. It was a great discussion. What neither of us knew, but perhaps both suspected, was that each of us secretly being in the gay Mormon congregation had clarified our reasoning on this topic. We both had insights perhaps beyond what you would expect from a typical Christian or a typical queer. We ended up e-mailing on the topic to pick up where we left off the spontaneous exchange.

And then, there I was receiving confirmation during our pediatrics down time. I felt a little cheap. Like a fourth grader wanting to hear who liked who—but unwilling to fess up to his own crushes. Coming out, even though not directly to me, had signaled shifting loyalty in my friend. Or, at least, clarified his long-standing loyalty. My congregation was now officially a congregation of one.

Index for A Congregation of One
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8

No comments: