March 21, 2015

I Broke The Rules Of My Disfellowshippment


Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone but I kinda broke the rules. Listen, I'm not a rebel by any means and in fact I'm kinda ok with dogma. And I'm not sure I'm ok with that. But, anyways, I was peer pressured into it, ok? It was not my fault. So, I kinda broke a rule imposed to me by being disfellowshipped from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Oops. Wanna know what I did?

Alright, so there I was, my first stake conference here in Utah. And I'm sitting in the front row. Now, ok, I'm not usually a front row sitter. In fact, I'm very comfortable in the back, in the corner, where no one can see me. But since I was singing in the Stake Choir, the first row was reserved for choir, so I was sitting in the first row. Anyways, it got to the point of the meeting where we do the sustaining of church officers. Starting with the prophet going down. Then the Stake President then all the High Councilors, yada yada. And I kinda raise my hand to sustain leaders. Now, ok, I know what you're thinking. "That's not a big deal". And to most people it's not. But technically since I'm disfellowshipped from the church, I'm not allowed to. Heck, I'm not even allowed to thank people when they're released by raising my right hand. When those new members move in and their sitting right next to you, I'm not allowed to raise my hand to welcome them into the ward. But I did sustain the church leaders at stake conference. Why did I do that?

To be honest, I don't know why. I mean I can make us excuses and come up with reasons why I possibly did it but deep down, I don't know why. So let's go over the reasons I think I did it.

Embarrassment? Certainly thats always a factor. In fact, a few months ago I was sitting in Elders Quorum and one of the presidency was being released. The High Councilor got up and said, "All those who would like to thank Brother So-and-So, please do so by the raising of your right hand." Now remember, I'm not allowed to raise my right hand. And so, when I didn't, the High Councilor felt the need, for some strange reason, to question me, openly and quite pointedly for not raising my hand to thank the person who was being released. What the heck! I mean, that kind of embarrassment, while is on a grand scale, repeats itself every Sunday I sit next to someone in church.

And then there is judgment. I mean, there I was, sitting in the front row, direct line to the Stake President and his councilors and the Stake President's wife, who, did I forget to mention is the General Relief Society President of the church? Yeah. I mean, it's embarrassing enough but to have them sitting right there and be able to look at me and see that I'm obviously paying attention. But I'm not raising my hand to sustain them. What are they gonna think? I mean, that kind of judgement was real and I was dealing with that, like, in the moment.

Now I've sat in numerous stake conferences where I'm not even allowed to raise my hand to support my father, back in Oregon as a Stake President. I was even in General Conference in the Conference Center and I wasn't even allowed to sustain the people who were sitting in the very same room as me. The prophet and his apostles. So, why was it different this Sunday?

For some reason, that Sunday, I slightly and quickly raised my hand for each sustaining motion. I don't know why I did it. But, I know that in that moment I knew that I shouldn't. But I did. I broke a rule. Now technically, according to the papers I received after I was disfellowship, if I break the rules that was set out, I could receive further discipline. But, I mean, let's be real. I've broken plenty of those rules. Many times. But this one, I've never broken.

There certainly is part of me that thinks a lot of the rules that I've been told I need to live by are bogus. And that's totally another topic for another time, which I think is going to be an important thing to talk about for me. But this one, I've never broke. So why did I?

Alright, let me just state the obvious. Maybe it was a twitch. Repeated over and over again for each sustaining. Heck, maybe there is a rebel coming out of me, trying to break the bonds of my disfellowship. Maybe I'm just easily embarrassed? I don't know what it is. But I kinda curious to see what happens when I go to Conference with my parents in the Conference Center in two weeks. Hmm, I'll let you know what happens.


  1. Trev, what you are experiencing is auto-response, which happens after many years of doing something, sort of like a habit, which is difficult to break. I don't think that folks who are disfellowshipped should be forced not to raise hands to support someone or say thanks. Would Jesus Christ want you to not Honor Him as Savior and Lord just because you were found to be bad enough to be disfellowshpped? Actually, I have been a member of the LDS Church for 44 years, a convert when I was 28. In all those years, I have always felt that such actions were unChrist-Like. I follow the Rules Christ set up in the time he was confronted by the pharisetic mob wishing to stone the harlot; what did he do? He stooped and wrote with his finger in the sand... which leaves nearly 2000 years of speculation open to what he was doing in the sand; I think the most accepted view of this, was that he was writing the names of all those in the mob who did the nasty dance with her. And it goes along with what the Lord told them, "Let he who is without sin (perhaps the rest of this translation into English was changed by the so-called scholars of the 3rd Century - at the counsel of Nicaea, who followed the Emperor Constantine's wishes to alter some passages to be more acceptable by those pagan living in Rome at the time? Could the real rendition of that scripture be stated this way, "Let him who is has not sinned with the woman, throw the first stone at her" ?? My point in all this is, that not one of us is spotless, and without sin, and worthy of Salvation, but because of the Atonement, which Christ fulfilled, all men can be saved if they declare faith in Jesus Christ. I bet you haven't given up on Jesus Christ, and hence, can raise your right hand to the square, and Sustain Him, or any other of His servants. There has to be some review on such a rule established by the Church Leadership. I pray that the Lord Himself will make it clear enough to all of us, one day very soon, that none of His children are unworthy of His Sacrifice. This I do believe, and I still sustain all our leaders, because I know that they are called of God, as was Aaron. I am not a perfect man and no one else of us is, but what we need to do, is do our very best to follow the Gospel Plan of Happiness that Heavenly Father has set up for all of us; you know the Drill; repent of your sins, then do not return to them.
    If a person is Gay, that is not the right term; for I know no true person who is gay, following the gay lifestyle. Father set the Rules, if we wish to live in the Celestial Kingdom, the natural man desires must be subdued and abandoned. That that all mankind can do, it may be a difficult road to follwoing, but hey, 70+ years isn't a long time to live with the challenge, when thinking of how long Eternity is, and that if we are sick, or mamed, or have many others challengs, including Same Gender Attractions, it is something Jesus Christ can fix. Read Proverbs 3:5-8, and I'll quote it here, so that others can read it without trying to find it in their Bible, 5 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."

    Jacob Shimron,
    Winchester, TN USA

    1. Jacob, thanks for sharing your thoughts. There is a lot there to unpack, but let me address two things you brought up.

      First, I agree that I shouldn't be barred from sustain leaders or callings in the church. You are right that no one is without sin, thus I should have that same right. However, because I am subject to the church's current policy, I do not sustain and have been asked not too. Whether I agree with the policy or not, I am willing to abide by the church's rules on this matter.

      Secondly, being gay is not a sickness, or a challenge. God made me this way and neither He, nor I, have any intention to change it. Being gay has made me a wonderful person with insight and compassion on those who are cast aside from the general public. Gay-ness is not something that can be fixed, simply because, there is nothing to fix! I know that God loves me just the way I am, and I do not need to to try to conform to what others on earth want me to be.