December 19, 2015

A Gay Mormon Martyr and the Questions I Ask Myself

After the November policy change in the church I took to Facebook to post my thoughts. I wrote the feelings of my heart, sharing the pain and frustrations I face as a gay mormon. I tried my best to be a voice of one who was the target of the new policy. A day later, a friend from high school text me and accused me of being a martyr.

In his opening text he called me out.

"So I have a question were you hoping the church would say same sex couples is totally fine?"
"No. I know they don't agree with it."
"Than why go on Facebook and try to be a martyr for something you know the church doesn't agree with?"

I was offended. I got heated and we exchanged some hot words. However, a month and a half after he text me, I continue to go back and ponder on his accusation.

I was standing in the middle of the church's road and I saw the headlights. Why then, do I lay down and cry out after being hit? Going further, do I even have a right to call a foul?

I was raised mormon. With true intent I completed all the rites and passages a traditional mormon would. After my mission, when I was disfellowshipped from this church due to sexual transgression, I began to drop in haste outward expressions of my mormon faith. I stopped wearing the temple garment. I stopped paying tithing. I went completely inactive for years and when I did go back to church I was less then active. Today, I worship with my local ward but on my own terms and conditions.

According to the membership rules and guidelines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I am a member in poor standing, verging on excommunication. The only reason my membership has not been revoked is because of kind and loving local leaders who see my intent of heart and allow me to worship in my own way.

One would question, if I am not doing the things that mormons do, why be a mormon at all? This is a fair question. That is why the accusation from my high school friend has bothered me so much. If I am not a card carrying mormon, why do I claim to be hurt by the church's policy?

Don't get me wrong, I do have a right to be hurt by the church. There are so many reasons why what they do affects me still to this day. Their actions and teachings affect me even if I am not a picture perfect member. Yes, there is the cultural mormon in me still. My family is mormon. It is a part of my life and has been for 28 years. More than that, I believe in the gospel. I believe the church, with all its imperfections, is the religion that holds the legitimacy of the gospel.

But why do I cling to some teachings of the church while I disbelieve others? What keeps me claiming my mormon identity when I fully live a life contrary to its teachings? What do I want from the church?  Is there even room for me in the church? What do I want from the gospel? What do I want my relationship with my Father in Heaven to be like? What role do I give the church in my life?

Right now, I have thrown my relationship with the church in the air. How things land is up to me.

This upcoming year, I hope to do some investigation. I hope to come to find some answers for my life and spirituality. I hope to no long play the martyr. I hope to find a root in who I am and what I do, even if it doesn't jive with what others think is right or wrong. I hope to find myself.