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We’re no longer friends, I guess.

I should have expected it, but I’m still hurt. I just noticed that my favorite mission companion unfriended me on Facebook. He’s no longer anywhere on my friends list and yet he’s on mutual friends’ lists.

I’m not exactly sure what I did to deserve such a dramatic move. He had known about my apostasy before Facebook. As a rule I never post controversial opinions on friends’ walls so I couldn’t have offended there. That’s what I use this blog for and it’s anonymous to boot.

My Facebook wall is pretty innocuous. Occasionally, I have posted links to gay rights issues. I reviewed the last six months of my own activity and there’s one post that may have done it. Its the only one involving religion at all. The comments section is a bit messier, more controversial than I tend to get.

Here’s the image I suspect led to the offense. This image and my follow up comments to a different friend must have done the trick. In the comments someone claimed that the term “rape” as used in the scripture in question didn’t mean actual force. It only meant fornication. While I disagreed with his interpretation, I also said that it did nothing to lessen the silliness of the rule and that it is still not followed by modern Christians…that it highlights how people interpret the Bible to match their own prejudices especially with regards to resisting gay marriage today:

I’m guessing that that exchange offended my former companion…

All this made me recall some of my mission experiences with this companion.

If you’ll remember, I left off describing my mission at my first companion eloping. I was then placed immediately with a neighboring companionship and we became a threesome. We got along famously for about 3 weeks. I later learned that one of these companions committed suicide after the mission, due to his homosexuality I suspect.

My third companion was my least favorite. Elder J. He was an American with very low self esteem. He was upset that I was American; for he wanted a Brazilian companion to help him master the language. His solution to that problem was to only speak in Portuguese with me. It was extremely annoying. After a meeting with a family I’d ask him what happened and he’d answer me in Portuguese. If I could understand Portuguese I wouldn’t have had to ask the question. During one companionship inventory he told me he didn’t want to be companions with me because there was nothing he could learn from me. After a three month nightmare with this guy I was finally transferred out of that first area. I had told the mission president in an interview that I didn’t like my companion. The mission president responded by saying,

“This experience will help you later in life when choosing a wife. You’ll recall personality traits that he has and then avoid those in a potential mate.”

Oh brother! He at least had a sliver of compassion since he tranferred me at the next opportunity. The mission president decided to send me to Jacarei’, a small town with Elder P (the one who would eventually unfriend me on Facebook). We were both new in the town and lived in a house with 2 other missionaries who were also assigned to that city. Elder P had been the financial clerk in the mission office and I was his first greenie companion. All said, that time period with Elder P in Jacarei’ was the turning point in my mission from a time of misery to something fun and even “spiritual”.

What a difference a friend can make!

Elder P and I became friends. We remained companions for almost 4 months and in that time we had a lot of fun and even success. I think we baptized around 40 people which included about a dozen guys our age that also became friends of ours. When I left my mission they traveled a significant distance to see me off. They later served missions themselves. I don’t regret anything about that time period of my mission.

In the years since that time Elder P and I remained friendly. I’ve visited his home several times and attended his wedding (which at the time I was devastated to learn wasn’t a temple wedding). I saw him occasionally while I was at BYU and teaching in the MTC. He attended my wedding and we remained loosely in touch over the years although we lived at quite a distance from one another. As it would turn out he became the more religious one as I became the apostate.

After my faith crisis, I came out as an apostate to him in a letter or a phone call. I don’t remember which. I never came out as gay to him, but he certainly could have figured it out. I had learned with my wife that too much information at once can overwhelm people to a point that they’ll never recover. I neither hid the fact nor boasted about it.

He was devastated by my apostasy and he even contacted our former mission president to nark me out. Out of the blue one day when I was at my new boyfriend’s house our mission president called me! Still, even after that, we friended each other on Facebook and all was cordial, or so I thought.

Something made him decide that being loosely connected to me on Facebook was a disadvantage to him. I can only assume it is that I’m gay or decidedly ex-Mormon. It’s certainly not the first time someone has reconsidered their relationship with me because of those facts. I have several siblings who barely acknowledge my existence as a result.

Still, it honestly hurts. I’d rather get a nasty, self-righteous letter condemning me than to be subjected to this sort of apathy.

For the record, my phone lines, IM, Facebook friends list or e-mail are always set to receive and reconnect with a lost loved one.

Yet, for being gay or for leaving the LDS faith I won’t apologize or feel ashamed.

See Also:

Mission Experiences (Act I, Scene 1)

My First Missionary Companion Eloped

Mormon Missionary Moments: Drawing on the Powers of Heaven

Send My Child on a Mormon Mission?