Mark has been more than Ricardo’s bishop; he’s also been a friend and confidant, which is why he’s so grateful that Ricardo had enough confidence to share his story about same-sex attraction with him.
There are many wonderful people that I have had the opportunity to serve with over the years. All of them have helped me to see the goodness and genuine love that exist within each individual, exhibiting the same basic need to be loved and to love others. Ricardo Rosas is one of those people.
Even before I was called as a bishop, I served with Ricardo in many other capacities. We’ve seen each other’s struggles and successes. Sometimes it’s hard for people to open up to a bishop or close friend about things because they fear that there will be shock or disappointment if they reveal certain personal information. However, I am grateful Ricardo had enough confidence to share his story about same-sex attraction with me.
It has helped both of us learn lessons that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Ricardo seemed to have a little hesitation at first. However, I’ve always appreciated those who are willing to seek support when they feel sad, lonely, depressed, unforgiven, or confused. Not only was it a burden lifted off his shoulders, but it was an eye-opener for me. I realized there might be others who are in the same situation or who have other concerns and might be keeping them bottled up inside.
The disclosure of same-sex attraction in no way changed my respect for Ricardo.
Nor did it alter my thoughts concerning his ability to serve, love, and help others.
He has continued to serve in various callings, sustain a loving temple marriage, maintain temple worthiness, and raise his family in righteousness. Some within the Church may avoid talking about their own same-sex attraction because they’re afraid people will see them as “bad” or “unworthy.” I have witnessed the opposite with Ricardo. These members are not bad. They are loved, and they are just as involved in life with its ups and downs as anyone else.
If temptations alone defined the spiritual nature of humanity, we would never have any hope.
A favorite verse of scripture comes to mind with regard to Ricardo. In the Book of Mormon, the Lord reveals a profound doctrine to the prophet Moroni. Ether 12:27 reads: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
We are all tempted in one way or another. Even the Savior was tempted.
Ricardo has turned a weakness, or what he perceived as a weakness, into a strength by coming unto the Lord, humbling himself, and seeking understanding through the Spirit.
He wants to share his story with others, not for personal recognition, but to let others know that
there is hope, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to receive happiness in this life and the next.
There is a lot more to Ricardo’s story, but that’s for him to share. I know that he is genuinely a more positive person. He and I have both gained more insight than we had before about compassion, courage, understanding, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.