The Life of Duncan

"Personal Purity, Family Unity, Selfless Service"

Feedback About My Music and Addiction Recovery

Today I had a well-meaning member of our LDS community (ward) give me some (unsolicited) feedback about (1) my organ playing in church and (2) my openness about my pornography addiction and subsequent recovery, two topics which are near and dear to my heart.

We spoke for about an hour, so I won’t recap the entire conversation, but this is the essence of the feedback he gave me:

#1 – RE: My Music – I play too loud (he couldn’t even hear himself singing), use too many shrill tones and play too ornately adding extra notes, interludes etc. He referred to this as “priestcraft”. “They can get away with this kind of playing at General Conference” (fancy arrangements, interludes, etc) but, according to him, it’s not appropriate for Sacrament Meeting.

Secondly:

#2 – RE: My Addiction Recovery – He said, “If I were you I would bury your past deep and leave it far behind you. Don’t discuss it with your kids. Don’t share it or talk about it. Bury it and move forward. It’s not who you are.”

Breathe….

To start with, I believe he shared this with all the love of which he was capable.  I’m sure he has the best of intentions. and it certainly has given me some things to think about.  I’ve given both of these questions much thought, even before he spoke with me, for many years.  He did said that this was simply his opinion and that I should ask others what they think after telling them that it was him that told me, and just see what they say.

So I did. I took his feedback seriously, and I asked around.

Regarding my music; after speaking to a fellow musician/composer/arranger in the ward (Christian Hansen), I came to the conclusion that older ears (this man is a very successful financial planner in his 70s) are most likely more sensitive to the higher pitches and louder tones.  I will take this Into consideration as I’m accompanying the singing.  Point well taken.

Regarding my openness in sharing my path to recovery, however, I told him that I completely disagree (which I do).  Actually quite the contrary I have been told by many many people that my sharing has opened them up and changed their lives.  I asked Dave & Laurel Smith (neighbors to the north) what they thought, and their feedback was that after I spoke in their ward the response was EXTREMELY positive and that they received this feedback from MANY individuals in their ward who have commented since I spoke.  Dave actually wants me to come back next year to speak with their new group of students.

I spoke with another individual in our bishopric, Andrew Clark, about both questions, and his feedback was that he feels like we need MORE openness like that, more sharing, more discussion and specifics…and coincidentally that he wouldn’t change anything about my playing.

Lastly I spoke with two other people and got the same feedback regarding openness with my path to recovering from addiction.  It’s faith-promoting and inspiring to them and to Gina and I, to see the change that has taken over my life (our lives) as well as those whom we interact with and testify to.

I mean, maybe I’m off my rocker.  Maybe I should “bury my past” and “never talk about it with my kids or anyone else.”….

For those of you who read this I’d welcome your feedback and input on the subject matter as well.  Do I bury it or share it?  And what should others do who either have success in breaking free from the cycle of addiction, or are currently struggling in addiction of any type?  To bury it, or to talk about it?  That is the question.  🙂  Thanks for your input.

p.s. We had a fun dinner tonight: popcorn and smoothies (green smoothies, like the Blendtec kind :))

photo 1

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Doesn’t she just have kind eyes? And a kind countenance? Love this woman

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