This evening I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with a hero of mine, Bishop Gene Robinson, the first out gay man ordained a bishop in the Anglican (Episcopal) Community. Bishop Robinson was in town attending Sundance where a movie about his life has been screened. He was visiting a mutual friend in the Avenues and I was lucky enough to be invited to meet him.
Bishop Robinson is a wonderful man, down to earth, gregarious, and fascinating, yet gentle, kind, and Christ-like in demeanor. He spoke assuredly about the progress LGBT people have made and optimistically about our future—particularly our future as men of faith.
As we discussed the current attitude and perspective of the leaders of the LDS Church, Bishop Robinson was pleased to hear of my continued connection with the LDS Church and my assurance that in time the Church would come to accept gay and lesbian members in full fellowship. He then told me something that touched me and gave me pause.
He said, “I’m glad you are remaining with the Church, because it is from within that you can most ably be an influence for real progress. When people sever ties, either forcibly or voluntarily, their power to move our work forward diminishes. If you want change to occur, stay. Stay as long as you can, as difficult as it might be, but stay.”
To be honest, Bishop Robinson’s counsel gives me much to think about, much to pray about…