Sunday, November 8, 2015

You are not alone. You are loved.

Normally, when one gets some upsetting news, you need some time. A few hours to calm down, a good night's rest, some contemplation, some discussion with others. Then you move on.

I thought this would be the case after I heard the news Thursday regarding the leaked revised Handbook policy about the church excluding kids of same-sex couples from membership. I hoped to 'make sense of it all' after a couple days of cooling off.

I haven't. It still bothers me. I'm still upset (if not more upset than I was on Thursday.)

The thing is, I had a hard time pinpointing WHY I was so upset. I've distanced myself from the church over the past couple years, so in reality, this shouldn't bother me.

But it does.

During my weekend of thinking and pondering, this thought came to my mind several times: Why on earth would a gay couple want to raise their kids in the church?! In a way, I was trying to play devil's advocate so I could achieve that "moving on" process I just mentioned.

Then I came across this heartbreaking post on Facebook from Devon Gibby, the author of A Shout From the Housetops. (please read the FB post.) Ouch. Right in the feels.

Devon is gay, married a woman, had two kids. They divorced, and he now lives with his partner. Devon and his ex-wife have decided to raise their kids in the church. But because Devon now lives with his partner, the kids' membership and baptism are now in jeopardy.

He says:
"Children of felons and rapists don't even have such a harsh punishment. I'm really hurting. Just when I thought that I had found a way to live with tolerance toward the church they've come out and attacked my family in a very personal way."
I then thought of other folks who used to be in mixed-orientation marriages who have since divorced. Now their kids' membership and baptism are in jeopardy.

This is why I'm upset. As Devon said, it's an attack on the family. I'm angry because this policy affects a lot of families, families that are just trying their best to do what is right.

We are hurting. We are confused. Even a handful of TBM's are hurting.

Some other random observations from the last couple days: (because you know, I like short, random stuff)

*Of course, they got the apostle with the gay brother to make the clarification. It bothers me the church uses D. Todd everytime they need to discuss LGBT issues. "Look, even an apostle has a gay family member! We love all the gays!" (sarcasm)

*The Ex-Mormon forum on Reddit gained 130 subscribers in just one day. The average is 20. Many people are threatening to leave the church because of the new policy.

*Can't confirm - but I've seen several statements that calls to suicide hotlines have greatly increased this weekend.

*Zing. (read the whole thing)

*An astonishing 18 blog posts were made to the Moho Directory just this weekend, the majority venting about the policy changes. I've never seen so many posts in a short amount of time.

*Most of my straight, TBM Facebook friends either shared the Well Behaved Mormon Woman blog post or the one about the woman raised by two lesbians (sorry, not linking here) with the line "This is a great perspective." It's like they're doing their duty by sharing the link, then moving on. They don't get it.

We are hurting.
While many of us can vent via a blog post or Facebook status, I'm extremely worried about those who have remained quiet. Those who are deeply closeted and are confused by all the news. Those in MOM's who have kids and thinking about their future. Those preparing to go on a mission, but now not so sure. Those who are scared to talk about this for fear of rejection.

To these people - please know that you are loved.

I love you.

You are not alone.

I've seen the above graphic many times on FB and Twitter. These resources are there for you. And I'm here too. If you need to vent, chat, etc., use the Contact Form or email me, and I'll listen (er, uh, read.)

To the leaders of North Star. I've made it very clear I don't agree with your organization. But your believing members are hurting. They are confused. They need help. Please develop a buddy system and have members check up on each other - and if possible - in person. North Star folks are extremely delicate. They need a listening ear. They need a hug. And I'm sorry, but a temple trip and fast two weeks from now ain't gonna cut it.

It's going to take some time for me to cool down. At the same time, we all need to reach out to those directly affected by these changes and show them our gratitude.

You are loved.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Page from church handbook leaked, Internet blows up

It started flowing around the 'net today as a rumor, but by the end of the day, it was all confirmed.

It leaves a sick feeling in my stomach, but at the same time, I'm really not surprised by the announcements.

Today we've learned that:

1) Children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized.

2) Those in a same-sex marriage fall under the definition of apostasy.

I swear, every chance the church takes a step forward when it comes to accepting homosexuals, it takes 472 steps back.

There are a lot of thoughts running through my mind right now - mainly anger. So this post will be quite scattered.


Most people know that I'm LDS, but a much smaller percentage know I'm gay. As news of this announcement spreads over the coming days and weeks, am I going to be seen as a homophobic jerk due to my association with the church?! At the time of this writing, 3 of the 4 broadcast TV channels in Salt Lake City are reporting the news on their homepages. (C'mon ABC 4, you're a little behind! EDIT: It's there now!) With this kind of coverage, it won't take long for this news to go national and international and I'll just want to hide and hope friends and acquaintances forget that I'm LDS.


Today I've also been thinking a lot about the TBM gay folks. How do they feel about today's news? Are they a little upset with their own church? Or does stuff like this make their faith and devotion even stronger? Is this even a story to them? Blogger GayMormonMan, who says he's a TBM, seems a little perturbed by everything that happened today. Some of the most anti-gay marriage people I've come across are gay/SSA men married to women. I'm really curious as to what's going through their minds right now.


Randall Thacker of Affirmation was quoted in this Salt Lake Trib article:
"I cannot imagine Jesus Christ denying any child a baptism because of the status of their parents. It goes against everything I ever thought the savior and baptism was about."
I admire Thacker's humbleness in giving a quote! My quote would have been a little on the mean/upset/angry side! 
This commenter on KUTV's Facebook page was not as conservative as Thacker: 
"When will they stop with the hatred. Now they are involving kids. But, at the same time - I would hope a gay couple would not want their kids affiliated with that church anyway. Just sickening they felt the need to have this declared/announced. Shame on them."
But again, should we really be surprised by all this? We all know how the church feels about same-sex marriage. I guess the leaked handbook photo and subsequent media coverage by multiple outlets (during sweeps month!) is making this all a little overwhelming. 
While the announcement bums me out, it'll be interesting to see how everyone (straight, gay, LDS, non-LDS, ex-LDS) react to this PR nightmare. (Thanks John Dehlin!) 


Article of Faith #2 - We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My rejection letter from the LDS Church

Many years ago, I was in a rut at my then workplace. I decided to put out some feelers and see what other job opportunities existed. A good friend of mine suggested I apply for a manager-type job with the LDS Church. She said I'd be good at it. I was honored that this friend thought I should apply for such a high-profile job - so I did. It was a great opportunity in a career field that I loved (and went to college for!)

I didn't meet all the requirements. The COJCOLDS wanted 10 years experience and I had about 8 in the related field. But I still thought I had a chance. Back then, I wanted this position. How cool would it be to work for the church I grew up with and devoted two years of my life for?! (I know that sentence may come across sarcastic, but I'm not really trying to be!) :-)

I freshened up my resume, wrote a nice cover letter, and applied.

This was their response:

In a world where most employers don't send out rejection letters, I was kinda surprised to get this. (Especially the "Will Not Be A Finalist" in the subject line!)

I didn't get my hopes up, but I was still kind of bummed when this showed up in the ole Inbox. Applying for jobs will always be a tedious process, and after this email it was back to the drawing board.

Today, I have a job I love, nowhere near the headquarters of the LDS Church. So the "Best wishes for your success" line in the above message actually came true.

Over the years, this simple form letter from a "No reply" email account has really made me think. What if I really did get the job?! Would I still be in the closet? Would I be miserable? Would I still be single, or pressured into marriage? Since you have to have a current temple recommend to work for the church, would I have to confess to my bishop about my "same-sex attraction?" What would I have done with the doubts about the church I've accumulated over the years?

A bunch of questions I'm glad I don't have to worry about answering.

This email I've saved for 7 years also shows how naive I was. What was I thinking?! A gay Mormon approaching 30 seriously applying to work for the church. I guess I had the mindset that I could overcome my gayness and somehow work for an organization that really doesn't know what to do with people like me. Just think, me, a gay person, would have to defend my employer regarding conference talks on traditional marriage. That would have been fun. (This time, I am being sarcastic.) 2008 was NOT that long ago! It's fascinating how much my views on homosexuality and the church have changed.  

Seven years later, I'm more than grateful I don't work for the church. That would have been an absolute recipe for disaster. Plus I would have hated wearing a white shirt and tie six days a week.

Crisis averted.