In Judo you conquer your opponent by yielding to them rather than exerting force upon them. You use their energy against you to your advantage.
I took Judo lessons in Japan for about 6 weeks. The “6 weeks” only part is another story. Despite the lessons being taught in Japanese, I did learn that one lesson.
I believe that this Judo philosophy is a practical approach in social interactions as well.
Your prophet DadsPrimalScream predicts that this LDS handbook policy will work to the advantage of gays and their families because there really is no fighting against it. There’s only yielding and using that energy for our own good.
I have already experienced it in just the last several weeks.
I’ve seen some of the good that can come from the way some church members have reacted to this policy. Here are four special moments that have happened with me, and one that happened to a friend.
As soon as I heard about the policy I wrote an email to my son on a mission. On his next P-Day he wrote back telling me that he knew about the policy because his mission president had called him as soon as he had heard. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing, so I wrote his mission president.
I was concerned for my son because, while he’s not directly affected apparently, it does seem to send a message to my kids that the church doesn’t want any more of them in its midst. I expected a polite but short reply from his mission president, but he wrote me back this long detailed explanation of the gay men he has known in his life and in his leadership positions. He wrote how he admired and loved each one of them and how he had developed close friendships with some of them. He talked about how it caused him to study homosexuality on his own and reach his own conclusions about homosexuality. He said he didn’t understand or agree with the policy and assured me that there’d be no application of it felt by my son. He said that if he applied every single policy in the handbook to the letter he’d have sent several of his missionaries home. He was the most understanding person towards me and my homosexuality of any church leader I’ve ever encountered in my 40 years in the church. Love was expressed as a result of using the opposing energy of this policy to show empathy.
The second experience is with how I handled talking about it to my 3 younger daughters. Making my unconditional love for my children the focus of that conversation gave us our own little spiritual experience. A child deserves unconditional love and they if aren’t going to get it from their heavenly father, they’ll get it from their earthly father. I’m oddly grateful for the chance to share that experience with my daughters. Love was experienced as a result of using the opposing energy of this policy to show empathy
Third, after a few e-mails back and forth with my son expressing love as well as confusion over the policy, last week he sent me this:
“I’ve been thinking. I know at times that can be a dangerous thing (haha), but Dad. The new church policy thing (old news I know, but hear me out) is a very good thing for the both of us. Know why? Because now we are a SHOE IN for the Amazing Race when I get back!! Think about it: A Mormon son and his gay father… Who the heck wouldn’t wanna watch that?! That’s quality TV right there, don’t even try to deny it.”
ISN’T THAT AWESOME?! I felt love as a result of my son using the opposing energy of this policy to show acceptance.
Fourth, I’ve lived in the area for 3 years. I have a very LDS sister who lives in the area that I’ve probably seen twice in that time. There’s not been anger or even criticism, but just apathy and avoidance towards me. I’ve seen her car in the driveway at my ex’s house when I’ve been there to pick up my kids a few times, but she’s never once visited me. Soon after the policy I got an invitation to Thanksgiving and so I swallowed my anger and pride and went…
Nothing was said about the policy but I can’t help but think it was somehow involved in the sudden turn-around. I can only speculate. But even for my part, it gave me a little confidence that I was taking the high road by not allowing such a thing to make me unwelcoming to love. Love was enjoyed as a result of using the opposing energy of this policy to show empathy.
And a friend of mine who works for an arm of the church was very troubled by the policy. He was emotional and outspoken in spite of the danger to his position that such an opinion could pose. Observing all of this take place was just the welcoming environment and catalyst that his college-aged daughter needed to come out to him. To me that is huge! I can’t imagine coming out to welcoming arms while still in my teens like that. This coming out was as a result of using the opposing energy of this policy to show acceptance.
LDS loving reactions to this policy is allowing youth who would otherwise have timidly waited years longer to come out.
None of these examples represent exerting opposing force against this policy, but they demonstrate using the energy from the policy against homosexuals and their children to show empathy and love.
I know not how to defeat others; I only know how to win over myself.