**The following was posted on my personal Facebook this morning.**
Some of you are luckily, unaware of the topic I am about to address. Some of you have not been able to get this topic off your newsfeed for the last two days. I apologize for always bringing this topic up but I want—need to add my voice.
On Thursday, November 5th the highest leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (of which I still identify with) secretly released some changes in official policy regarding members who are gay and lesbian in a same sex marriage and their children. If you want to read up on what the changes entail check here for an unbiased look at the facts.
Members in a same sex marriage: http://kutv.com/…/lds-church-issues-update-on-what-is-consi…
Children of a parent in a same sex relationship: http://kutv.com/…/lds-church-to-exclude-children-of-same-se…
I will not engage on Facebook with the reasoning behind policy. I would be more than happy to do so in person, as such a discussion deserves. I will however share why this policy has hurt me so much and causes me pain. I am sharing this as a Mormon who is gay. This policy directly affects me. This is a policy written for me and those like me. Everyone else whether they be Mormon and straight or gay and non-mormon are unaffected. It is me, a gay mormon who has to deal with these policies. So I want you to hear from me why it hurts.
I am hanging on a branch. This branch is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I use to be sitting up on the branch, I even use to be climbing the tree, higher and higher, years ago. When I came to the realization that I could not in good conscience marry a woman and subject myself, her and our potential children to the lies and fake love that would be needed from myself in such a marriage, I began to understand what being gay really meant in this life and in this church.
I have struggled for many years with how to move forward. I have painlessly searched inside myself and outside myself for ways to stay in a church that roots itself in the belief that a traditional family is the only way to live. I had to root myself in Jesus Christ as He was the one who I could look to when everything else taught did not apply to me. I look to Him when I see, hear and feel things that sting me to the core in church and from it’s members regarding gays and lesbians.
I struggle going to church every Sunday. There have been years, months and weeks when I just stop. You do not realize how hard it is to go somewhere that preaches the importance of families and the earthly joys it brings while also telling me I do not get that. When members thank their spouse for supporting them and strengthening them and confessing they could not be who they are today with out them, I am told having that kind of person in my life is a sin.
I struggle to sit through talks, testimonies and lessons when I hear attacks unknowingly directed at me. I fight to remind myself that my relationship is not with the members of the church but with God, my Father in Heaven. I continuously remind myself that people are not perfect, only God is perfect.
I struggle to hear that the world is attacking the family, attacking the church and attacking the gospel and that I am the attacker. I painfully tell myself I have to keep following God’s love and his teachings and push out the opinions I hear while in the pew.
I seek solace in the life of Christ. I feel peace in the hymns of the church. I find relief in good leaders of the church who welcome me as I am, despite what policy is.
This has all changed. Policy has changed. Whereas before, the local leader was allowed to look at my heart and my struggles and my faith, as tiny and as bruised as it is, and comfort me, counsel me and welcome me into their local ward.
Now I am given a scarlet letter. I am branded as an apostate. I am unconditionally faced with more church discipline irregardless of the choices of the local leader. I am scared to go to any ward because the church has officially said, I am not welcome, I am an apostate. My potential children are not welcome to the blessings granted in this life from membership of the church. They are branded and treated differently than other children.
I fully expected to raise my children in the church. The church is still who I am. I understood the contradictions that would be taught. I was fully aware of the challenges that might bring. But I knew I wanted that for my maybe future kids. They will not get that now. Due to no action of their own, due to only the action of their parent they have to go through extra hoops to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They are treated as others who must pass extra testing and wait extra time because of me, not because of themselves.
I sit here today, debating with myself if I go back to a church that has repeatedly told me in numerous ways, I am not welcome. With all my sins and cognitive dissidence I already faced going to church, I now add more to the list. I was already struggling. I was already hurting. I was already using the last bit of strength to hold on.
I have been hanging on to this branch called the church for a long time now. I have been trying to climb back onto the branch even with everything being a gay mormon entails. I am hanging on to the branch with my very fingertips but the church keeps shaking the branch. And I am losing my grip.