Facebook has exploded with opinions in support and opposition of this policy from both members and non-members of the LDS religion. And what I have to say cannot easily fit into a status. So please bear with me.
I was raised in a LDS community. My mother and father were both baptized and raised in the church as well. It wasn’t until I was about 16 years old that I recognized this particular church was not meant for me. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that church just wasn’t for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t remember what I learned as a child/young adult. That doesn’t mean I disagree with every policy or teaching of the LDS religion. It just means I don’t find church/religion to be my spiritual up-lifter. I’ve found other profound ways of connecting and building a relationship with God.
I’ve been supportive of my friends and family who are active members of the LDS church. I find their dedication inspiring. I see people everyday who have testimonies that are beautiful and meaningful. I respect them regardless of their faith.
I know what the LDS church has done and will continue to do for people in need. It’s amazing how much they have accomplished by extending their arms and helping thy neighbor. I know what it’s like to have 25 casseroles, after my mother died, brought by the Relief Society so we wouldn’t forget to eat. I remember primary songs I would sing at the top of my lungs. I remember reverent prayers. I remember Fast Sundays in which I would bear my testimony about how much the Savior loves me. I remember girls camp where we once got lost on a hike and we were running out of water and low on energy…and we prayed and somebody found us and led us back to our campsite. I remember quiet still moments in which I could feel my Heavenly Father beside me in my darkest hours.
I haven’t forgotten all the good things that have come from being a member of the LDS religion. I technically still am a member. However, with this new policy, my membership is revoked. Because I have been a long time supportive for gay rights/marriage. And Because I cannot be expected to deny my father’s “lifestyle” in order to continue being a member. Which doesn’t really both me all that much at this point. But it may have bothered my mother and my grandmother. And quite possibly my father, who still believes in the teachings of the LDS church, regardless of his sexuality. But I cannot speak for other families who did not fit into a traditional family box. So you see, it hurts. It hurts tremendously to feel like an outcast. For a church who has so diligently sent it’s missionaries out to spread the word of God and convert people…it’s strange to see it “banning” children from membership until they turn 18. But by that time I’m almost certain that growing up with same-sex couples will make it extremely difficult for them to continue in the church. And so the only thing this policy really does is create tension and push people away.
Yes, other religions have had these kind of policies put into place for decades, but that’s what I thought was different for the LDS religion. This clearly excludes people. Maybe not intentionally, but it’s pushing people away every time they more backward instead of forward. And although I do not expect the church to ever change their stance on homosexuality, I do not understand why innocent children need to be humiliated because of who their parents are. This only teaches children that there are limits to love. That only certain people are allowed to join this membership. Only certain people can find peace and happiness in this church. This is a political move. It is not a move I can ever imagine God doing. And Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
I’ve never understood how a book or “doctrine” could mean so much more to a person than another human being. We don’t know everything. But in my own faith I believe that I’m a good person who may not have a “traditional family” but I love my dad and his husband. I love my mother. I love my sister. I love my family. And I’d choose them over anything any day.
And no amount of sugar coating or clarification from the LDS church is going to make this pain go away for the families directly affected by it.
And all I can do is try and remember the most important thing I ever learned from religion. “Love one another. As I have loved you.” -John 13:34
And hopefully that will be enough.
Thanks for hearing me out.