I went to a conference yesterday put on by Mormon Stories. It was very powerful, and I am profoundly changed. I am working through those feelings now, but there is one story that has hit me at the very core of my soul.
It is the story of a man- a sweet, kind-looking, and humble man.
He stood before us to bear his testimony, and this is the story- from my memory and in my own condensed version:
When I was a young boy, I felt an attraction to other boys. I knew that it was wrong.
I went to college, and before my mission, I told my bishop that I had these feelings and attractions to other boys. He told me that if I went on my mission and served, if I did God's will, I would be cured.
I went on my mission. I did my best. I came home. I was not cured. I felt I had failed.
My bishop told me that if I just got married, I would get better. So I got married. I had two children. I was not cured. I was not better. I was still gay. But I still loved the church.
Now, this man, his wife, his children- an entire family- will pay the price.
As this man spoke, something inside of me broke open. Maybe it was compassion, empathy, love. I don't know for sure, but I now know that this, if nothing else, will keep me forever from rejoining the LDS church. This beautiful, amazing, and faithful man has had his entire life destroyed because his Mormon leaders treated his innate sexuality as an illness, or a disease, or something that could be overcome. His suffering has been prolonged, and innocent children and an innocent woman (whom he was counseled not to share his illness with) join in his suffering. And this man still loves this church. The actions of his leaders disgust me. And the saddest part of all is that there are so many others like him, and so many leaders just like his.
How can an organization that claims to be of God do this?
I have only one answer, and it is devastating.
This organization can not be of God.
How can the Mormon people allow their religious organization to condemn faithful and true believers?
I believe there are a plethora of answers. Maybe they honestly believe their leaders are God's mouthpiece and don't question them, maybe they don't know any gay people, maybe they don't want to think about it... I don't know.
God is love.
God is compassion.
God loves ALL people.
It breaks my heart to see a church that I once loved destroy people who so desperately cling to their beliefs. It enrages me.
As a member of the LDS church, I was taught to stand up for those who were different. There is even a Primary song that says, "if you don't walk like most people do, I'll walk with you..."
I am making a stand. The Mormon chruch has broken many people- my people- and I will stand with them.