I was born in the church. I grew up adhering to the principles I was raised in because I was a stalwart saint. I graduated from seminary, I served a mission, I graduated institute, I baptized, I taught, I prayed, and I begged for God to take away my homosexuality. Youth of a Noble Birth Right.
When the church started to ramp up it’s anti-gay rhetoric, the chasm between the church and me began to be visible. The concourse for self-love was never mine in the church. President Packer, who recently passed away, taught that homosexuality was a choice. Why wasn’t I able to make that choice? I grew up hating myself, wishing I were dead, wishing I weren’t me, wishing I didn’t exist. Men are that they might have joy. Men are created in [His] image and have infinite worth . . . am I and do I? What is wrong with me? Why did I hate something that God had apparently created? If God created me, then why should I have a fundamental issue with any of God’s principles? Am I a sin? Am I a born apostate? Is there any chance of me making it to the Celestial Kingdom, and was I ever intended for such?
When conference comes, the pulpit sings of hope to unwed women, a staggering priesthood holder under economic pressure, a wife burdened with a husband’s porn addiction, alcoholism, abuse, and even a child’s death amongst couples old and new. However, one suffering minority I have never heard addressed is the group of us gay Mormons in the church. We only get to hear talks about how others should handle us.
I was one who wanted to stay in the church, but the brethren never acknowledge that WE — gay, active Mormons, even exist. Not in the same way they acknowledge those who fit the mold. We, as a group, are ignored. We are put in the category of carnal worldly sinners that deserve others kindness and prayers. We have been raised in this house and we are not being kept by it. No one fits in, but I always thought all belonged.
We are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandchildren . . . we are family. Family is forever. Where is our place in forever? Why can no member of the priesthood — not even the living prophet, seer, and revelator — answer where exactly our place is?
Doctrine is harsh, it always has been, but Christ delivered doctrine with tender hands and acceptance. He didn’t use “No offense, but…” statements. In ancient times, people sat with their backs against the walls of the temples for a reason – they weren’t permitted to enter, but they knew they were at the right place. They were told to stay as close as they could to what they knew what right.
We are not allowed in the temples, sometimes literally and always proverbially, and the new ‘policies’ are sweeping us off the sidewalk. Our faith is held as naught. I am not asking to change dogma to include homosexuality, I gave up on that notion. But, tell me, where is my place as me? Don’t tell me where I could be, tell me where I can be. No more do not’s — let’s start with what we all can do.
We get no hope. No voice says hope, no hand reaches to comfort, and no ear comprehends. We are being pushed out the door and being told “You are choosing to leave, please don’t.” God is almighty, omnipotent, and ever-loving; there is NOTHING He can’t do. Would it be that hard for the church to have a place for us? Instead of drawing more lines in the sand with more policy, can’t the Church just say to us struggling saints “This is your home — come home to us. There is indeed a place for you.”
We are now orphans. No voice says hope from the pulpit, the house that birthed us will not keep us, the mother has forgotten her sucking child, and there is no room for us at the inn. I never wanted the great and spacious building, but I can’t reach the tree of life. The straight and narrow path is covered in road blocks and red tape.
Where do we go?