Friday, November 27, 2015

Leaving in droves?

Gay Mormons and those who support gay Mormons are not leaving the church in droves as is being posted on Facebook.  At a recent rally in SLC fewer than 1,000 signed a petition to have their name removed from the church records of the LDS faith.  

Now, I look at those 1,000 people and I feel horrible for the hurt feelings, pain and suffering these - and others - have gone through and are continuing to go through. I have been in a few of those pairs of shoes, and I am currently dealing with my own issues inside and outside of the church.

While these thousand people are humans worth more than casual consideration, 1,000 people from various states of membership and church activity does not constitute a mass exodus. So, add those 3,000 from the lawyer we read about and then double that. That's 8,000 ish. There are still plenty of gay Mormons not leaving  the church. 

I am one of them.

The scriptures predict -- or prophesy, that there will be those who choose to leave Christ's church. If it isn't over this, then what tasty tidbit will cause more than thousands to leave?

I will not be leaving the church, and I can bet you there are more difficult times coming. The distinction between those who believe and those who do not will become even more cavernous.

Those who have had a problem with the church will see this as an opportunity to take action. There will be those currently on church records who have not seen the inside of the local LDS meetinghouse in years.  They will use this as their reason to leave -- and I understand where they are coming from.  Many of them will be belters. Facebook will be full of them. 

While I don't agree with them, I have family and friends who are belters, and they are still my friends. They make fun of me for following blindly and I make fun of them for finding the reason they have been looking for all along. We are still family and friends. 

Is this a test of faith?  No, I do not believe that this was created to be a test. It will have that effect to be sure. Or, maybe everything is to test our faith and our ability to be kind even through extreme differences. I don't know.

Here is an excerpt from a blog with an interesting POV:

"Todd Richardson, 31, an out gay man who belongs to a ward in New York City, said the policy, “broke my heart,” adding, “this hit me harder than any other one thing.” Richardson said his community is accepting, but that “the church has never been affirming by any means.” The current situation has proven difficult for him: He plans to get married and start a family, and the church’s decision has made it clear how hard that will be. He told me that this is the first time he’s ever really questioned leaving the church."

"But Richardson is choosing to see the church’s decision as a hurdle, rather than an exit point. He prayed on what to do, he told me, and said he “got this profound feeling that this is a hard thing, and for whatever reason that it’s happened it’s been allowed to happen. And the savior is asking me if I’m going to walk way… and I decided that I’m not going to.”"

"Christian Harrison, who lives in Salt Lake City, also described a deep connection with his faith. Harrison told me that he grew up within the church, and that it’s been far from easy. “I was called an abomination growing up,” he told me over the phone. “I’m used to having people that I revere as men of God hurt my feelings.” But these interactions with clergy didn’t prevent him from having “a lifetime worth of spiritual experiences that are too sacred to share.” These experiences, he said, have “knit my soul to this church.”"

"For Harrison, the misguided opinions of LDS leaders aren’t reason enough to stop doing the spiritual—and charitable—work of the Mormon church. That work includes fighting for change from within the LDS. He’s concerned that if people abandon the church in protest at this time, only its most callous members will remain. “When the tender hearted all leave, where does that leave us? Where are we as a faith if we scare off everyone that is sensitive to the needs of our minority groups and those that are vulnerable?”"

Here's another quote:

"Einbender fears that he and Mickelson, despite their ward’s sympathetic bishop, will be excommunicated. There’s “a lot of local leadership that have no desire to excommunicate anyone,” he told me. The Handbook gives local leaders enough autonomy to allow them to look the other way from gay marriages if they choose. But, he said, it’s not that easy to find a gay-friendly bishop. Bishops aren’t permanently placed within a ward; they swap after five years. So finding someone who won’t excommunicate you is a gamble—as Einbender says, “bishop roulette.”"

It’s possible to practice as an excommunicated Mormon. John Gustav-Wrathal, a senior vice president (along with Richardson) at Affirmation, a group for LGBT Mormons and their allies, was excommunicated in 1986. He’s participated in the church as best he can: He attends prayers, participates in charitable missions, sings in his ward’s choir, and describes himself as a “believing Mormon.” Like the others, he feels accepted within his congregation.

Gustav-Wrathal told me that he left the church when he was excommunicated, but returned nearly two decades later. “I am very compelling, very powerful personal spiritual experience.” Gustav-Wrathal told me. “I felt God telling me that it was time to go back.”

At the end of the day, the gay men who are sticking with Mormonism don’t believe that the church leaders have the authority to dictate their relationships with God. As Harrison told me, “This is my church."*

*Excerpts from: "Meet four gay Mormons standing by the church that wants them out" by Danielle Wiener-Bronner on FUSION


  1. I am happy that you find peace in the LDS religion. Some of us found it to be an abusive environment. Many have made it official recently over the new policy. The number of 1,000 was from the one-day mass resignation event. For many, it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Others have LGBTQ children who felt it was necessary in order to support their family.

    The "leaving in droves" comment was from an LDS general authority. Perhaps he would know better than the person on the street.

    Frankly, I am happier away from the church. My relationship with God has not changed. While I appreciate you feeling bad for us, it is a bit disingenuous. I am sorry you are hurt is very different from I am sorry that I caused you pain.

    I appreciate the sacrifice that you make to be in the LDS church. I can only hope that you appreciate mine. Regardless of what I do, I will never able be where you are in the church. Yes, a gay Mormon man will always be higher on the totem pole than the woman who birthed him.

    1. I've been schooled. Your angst clearly reaches further than one month ago. Are you a woman who has felt put down by priesthood and priesthood leaders? You would be justified. And I couldn't give you a reason for women not having the priesthood. Nor has anyone been able to tell me why my orientation is not appropriate for the/in the LDS church. We all have pain. Yours is just as heart felt as mine. I wish you well.