I don’t plan to send this letter, but I’m writing it just the same. I won’t send it, because I already know what your response will be: no response at all.
I spent my childhood, adolescence, and much of my adult life believing that you had my best interests at heart. I have the same story that you must have heard hundreds of thousands of times by now. I knew I was different from other boys from the time I was five years old, I knew to hide it by seven, and I started getting teased about it at 10. While all of you were (presumably) learning how to like girls and what that meant for you, I was learning how NOT to like boys, how to form a part of myself deep down inside that no one could know about.
I don’t blame you for any of that, of course, that is just how society treats gay people. But here’s the part where you are to blame, where you hurt me: you created and backed up church policies that taught the contradictory doctrine that God loves his children and creates them in His image, yet he doesn’t create gay or transgender people. You published books that taught me that being gay was being selfish, was not trying hard enough, was a crime against nature, was an abomination, was wrong. You taught me how to be ashamed of who I am in God’s eyes, and perhaps worse, you taught me that I could cure it, if I just tried and kept trying.
And so I spent days in prayer and fasting, nights and mornings on my knees pleading, wasted energy in public service. I asked for blessings, I served in every calling, I was faithful and true, I served a mission, I was unfaltering in my resolve. And every General Conference, I would tune in with open heart and ears, hoping beyond hope that there would be guidance from God on how I could live with myself, hoping I would finally fit in and belong, feel that God loved me.
What I didn’t know is that my story is the story of hundreds of thousands of other gay and lesbian Mormons, and it is even harder out there for the transgender Mormons, the ones whose spirits don’t match their bodies, and the ones who are made to believe they can’t even exist. No answers came, not ever. And worse, no compassion. Only calls to repentance.
Because I was raised this way, because I was made to believe I was broken, I never held hands with or kissed another person until I was 26 years old. I married a woman and we had children. I went to therapy. I did everything I was told, and I was a shell of a person, empty and broken and bleeding and pleading. My entire life.
And there was no light from God, no compassion, no love. I began to hear of other gay Mormons out there, excommunicated for being homosexual, being told to marry someone of the opposite gender, being sent to reparative therapy camps where they would be abused. I heard about the Proclamation on the Family, Church’s stance in Proposition 8, and I heard about the suicides that resulted after both. Dozens upon dozens of bodies that were broken and bleeding like me until they couldn’t do it any longer. A mass grave of God’s LGBT children, dead because of the words you spoke.
And now, I am no longer a member of your organization. I finally accepted myself for who I am. It was like coming up for air after years of holding my breath. I finally felt what it meant to kiss someone, to hold hands, to feel whole. I finally understood that God loved me, once I realized the words you speak are not the truth. I was, quite literally, born again, my baptism and rebirth made possible only through leaving your organization.
I now reside in Salt Lake City, just blocks from where you meet, from where you make decisions and policies that impact the lives of my loved ones and community and family. Though I am not a member of your church, I see and feel the pain you cause in the hearts of LGBT members around the world, and the wedges you drive into families. Every few weeks, there is some cold and painful new announcement from your mouths, or from your offices, that sends furious winds across the lands, and every time there are those who are like I was, silently suffering and hoping beyond hope that you will show your love instead of your disdain.
I grew up with an abusive step-father. Much of the time, he would just ignore the fact that I existed. Then he would get violent, with flung fists and objects, ugly and painful words. And then, on rare occasions, every once in a while, he would do something just a tiny bit kind, and I would light up and think that he loved me again. Days later, the cycle of ignoring and abuse would start all over again.
And it dawns on me, that this is you. This is how you treat your LGBT members. You ignore them most of the time, then you are cruel and spiteful and mean. You use penalties and punishments, lay out impossible expectations, give poor counsel, and throw around harsh words like apostate and sinner and abomination. And then, from time to time, you will say or do something just a tiny bit kind and everyone will hope beyond hope that at last you are changing, at last you will show love. Then the cycle of ignoring and abuse starts all over again.
And yet the thing that makes me most furious? Only the merest shred of kindness on your parts is needed to save lives. No dramatic change or reversal in policy is necessary, no temple acceptance. All it would take for you to save lives would be just a few words of kindness.
Elder Nelson or Elder Oaks or President Monson, any of you, standing up and saying, “My dear brothers and sisters, those of you who are gay and lesbian and bisexual and especially transgender, we want you to know that God loves you and he wants you to be happy. You are welcome in our wards and worship services. We love you and we want you to be part of us. We are so sorry for any pain our actions have caused. Please, never never think of harming yourselves. We love you and are here to help.”
A few words and hearts would heal. Lives would be saved. Families would be reunited.
Men, there is blood on your hands. Every time a Mormon mother throws out her lesbian teenage daughter into the streets, it is on your hands. Every time a young transgender boy cries himself to sleep, praying for God to make him a girl inside, it is on your hands. Every time a gay man takes a woman to the temple, promising to love her forever yet knowing he can’t, it’s on your hands. Every time a council of men gathers to excommunicate a member of their ward for daring to find love in the arms of someone of the same gender, it’s on your hands.
And every time a 15 year old child wraps a rope around his neck and hangs himself from a closet rod because he believes God didn’t love him enough, it is on your heads.
You claim to speak for God, and you deliver words of hatred. If you could look your own children and grandchildren in the eyes as they sob, and tell them, “I speak for God. You are broken. He loves you, just try harder to change. Anything else is a sin. Try harder.” If you can do that… well, I can’t imagine how the spirit of God you strive for could possibly dwell in you.
I could never look into the eyes of my sons and see anything but a miracle. Not something to be fixed or amended, but a perfect child who deserves every ounce of happiness in the world.
You who are men. White, elderly men. You who are retired fathers and grandfathers, men who wait for years for seniority appointments into the roles of apostles and prophets. You who speak in the name of God to millions of his children here on the Earth. You who say that you don’t, you can’t make mistakes; and that if you do, they are the mistakes of men, not of God. You who hold the powers of life and death in your hands.
If you see dead teenagers and broken marriages and parents disowning their children and pain in the hearts of your LGBT Saints as acceptable collateral damage in your quest to enforce your views of the laws of God, well, then, I want no part of the God you believe in. The God I believe in is one of love.
I won’t send you this letter because I know it will be met with silence.
A few words of kindness and compassion from you is all it would take.
Brethren, people are dying. Children are dying. And it’s on you. The blood of children is on your hands.
61 thoughts on “Dear Mormon leaders,”
Amen and amen
Before you rant you should do your research.
“Every soul is precious to God and to the church and the loss of life to suicide is heartbreaking,” an LDS church spokesman, Dale Jones, said. “Those who are attracted to others of the same sex face particular challenges and pressures in this regard, both inside and outside the church. We mourn with their families and friends when they feel life no longer offers hope. Each congregation should welcome everyone. Leaders and members are taught to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to reach out in an active, caring way to all, especially to youth who feel estranged or isolated. The church has repeatedly stated that those who feel same-sex attraction and yet choose to live the commandments of God can live fulfilling lives as worthy members of the church. We want all to enjoy the blessings and safety offered by embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ and living the principles of His gospel.”
Sally Forth, maybe it’s you who needs to do research. Rather than just parroting the words of the church spokesman, I invite you to try empathizing and understanding the struggles and challenges of Chad and people like him. If you’re unable or unwilling to do that, then I humbly submit that you’re part of the problem.
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Steve, this is not the drone you are looking for.
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Please note, the author is asking for the first presidency to speak these words, not someone in the church PR department. There is a world of difference in the distinction.
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They have..spoken words of acceptance and love. They love the person, not the sin. The Lord expects people to be celibate unless they are married. So a heterosexual woman, or a man who never marry, are under the same charge as a homosexual person. To not have sexual relations with someone to whom they are not married, even if they are very attracted to someone. It is the deed, not the person, that is wrong, and the Prophet and his counselors do not make the rules, God does. I listen to what they say, and I read their words, and they have been very kind and loving on many more than just one occasion. It has taken members longer to get on board with the acceptance and love of homosexuals than it has the Brethren.
If the church’s tone were one of abuse and dismissal, it wouldn’t be as hard. Because they teach that Chad is spiritually and morally defective, that the person he was from young childhood is not the way God intended him to be, that if he just prayed and tried hard enough he could change, and that on top of this they say they love him, he and so many others like him have spent their lives in a hopeless cycle of self loathing and desperation to be what nature doesn’t allow them to be.
The truth is, Chad didn’t choose to be gay, and he can’t become straight, any more than a straight person could choose to be gay. The cruel reality is not that Chad is gay, but that it doesn’t matter how much scientific evidence accrues that contradicts the church’s teachings on homosexuality, the leaders are pretty much immune to that evidence. They don’t understand; they don’t intend to understand; they already have their doctrine and don’t intend to learn otherwise. They claim to love Chad, but how can they love someone they can’t even see? If you claim to love someone, but don’t intend to even try to understand why they are the way they are, to walk a mile in their shoes, your claim is empty and you deceive yourself.
Real love opens a person’s eyes.
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Sally Forth, it should be obvious that they haven’t done enough.
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Empty, pathetic words from empty, pathetic old men.
Do you truly not understand what it takes for someone in the LGBT community to be welcomed into the church ? It’s right there, in black and white, in the statement that you posted.
The church will embrace them…IF…and only if, they ignore their true selves and live by the commandments of LDs Inc.
That means that they have to live a lie their entire lives. They can never follow their hearts. They are not allowed to love the people they love.
They must enter into a fake heterosexual marriage – destroying not only their lives, but the lives of their spouses and children as well.
Then, and only then, are they welcome into the church.
Perhaps you need to research the Bible a little more – because none of what the church practices were the teachings of Jesus.
Yeah, they key here is having the statement *spoken* (rather than published) by a member of the First Presidency, especially Thomas S. Monson but hopefully each of them individually, particularly if done at General Conference when the members over whom they have influence are paying attention.
A spokesman, the PR Department, Mormon Newsroom are all copouts: they don’t have priesthood authority in the eyes of the others and fathers of gay kids or the young believing gay kids themselves. This entire letter was about the harmful doublespeak that comes from leadership. They provide false moral cover with words like “God loves all his children” when the angry people are watching, but when everyone’s attention is focused on them, they use the opportunity to claim they are being persecuted and and everyone needs to work to make sure they continue to have the right to discriminate #Fairness4All. Meanwhile, there are kids dying, Mormon kids that are listening.
“We want all to enjoy the blessings and safety offered by embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ….” that is unless you are a child of someone in a same gender relationship, of course!
….there are others who believe it is imperative to understand that when you are truly baptized into Christ you become part of a new creation. By taking on the life and mind of Christ, you increasingly view yourselves and others from a changed perspective. Former ways of defining people by economic status, social class, sex, gender, or ethnicity no longer are primary. Through the gospel of Christ a new community of tolerance, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and love is being born as a visible sign of the coming reign of God.
Sally, the churches statement on the matter is lip service, and nothing. These men might be bothered by the numbers. But they will NEVER accept any responsibility to the fact that their own words have caused this. Nothing any of those men in the position of a General Authority, NOT A WORD that any of them said about homosexuals has been found to be true. They like to think they are right about this, but clearly on all aspects of this, they are wrong, and have been since the beginning.
When these men stand before christ and say “But lord, did we not cast out devils in your name, yadda yadda” . The lord will simply say, in the correct translation of the text. “I never asked you to do ANY OF THIS!!!!”
If only! I really want to not hate the Mormon church…
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A great reminder that the church was created for our betterment, not the other way around. If the church no longer serves our purposes, if the tool we have been using no longer serves our needs, it is best to move on to something higher and better. There is tremendous love and great joy to be found moving on beyond the walls of Zion as we discover the greater levels of spirituality possible.
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Have faith in you, be your own god. That’s all there is really. And stop blaming other people for your misery. Just step out of the Mormon church and you will be very happy (or gay, but isn’t that the same thing?). I left this church more than 10 years ago and I wish I had done that way before that. One of my better decisions. Forgive me my language mistakes: I’m from the Netherlands, where being gay is the most normal thing in the world.
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Tony, that would be good advice except that Mormonism here in Utah is the culture as well as the religion. You can ‘step out of the Mormon church’ but you can’t leave the culture. I can see how it would be much easier to do that in the Netherlands. Sure, we could leave our homes and families, but why should we have to? This is our home as well, and we shouldn’t have to leave to find equality and respect for who we are.
Fantastically written! I wish more people could see this and better understand people are people, and we all want to be treated with love and kindness.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
This is me. This is my story (minus the marriage and resignation). Everyday I try to put my frustrations and pain on paper, and I just can’t find the words. This was a great representation of what I have been wanting to write, put couldn’t in my confusion and pain. Thank You, Chad!
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Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story of pain as a gay young man in the church. The number of lives lost to this horrible policy sickens me. This tragedy not only includes the thirty five kids who took their lives because felt that there was no future for them as a gay man or lesbian woman, but tHe hundreds of kids who will attempt to end their lives and be harmed in the process, This story has hit me hard because as the mother of a straight teenager with long term mental illness I know first hand how this story plays out. Having a child with mental illness is a grueling ordeal. The frequent texts during the day to make sure our child is safe, the nights our child didn’t feel safe and slept on our floor, the trips to the ER, and the frustration that weekly therapy and monthly psychiary will never cure our child takes it’s toll. The hardest part is knowing that out efforts are only buying a few precious years with our child and one day the envetisble will happen. That is the reality of mental illness, The part that truly sickens me is that these families could escape all of this pain by simply loving and embracing their gay kids as gay.
Thank you for making this public. There are many that can relate and it does more for them than it would ever do for the close minded few that pretend to lead Mormons.
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Perfectly stated. I couldn’t agree more.
Reblogged this on runfromlogan.
Thank you Chad for taking the time to write this. It is precisely because of this type of callous disregard for the welfare of others, this type of ignorant lashing out at those they fear, that I will never do anything in support of the institution of the LDS Church again. These prophets, seers, and revelators are dangerous because they claim a direct and unique connection with God, they demand their adherents strictly obey all that comes from their mouth, and they criticize and condemn any who dare question their authority. These men are horrible abusers, and I too want nothing to do with the god they follow.
Thank you for this Chad. Those exact words have been ruminating in my mind and heart for the past several weeks- “the brethren have blood on their hands”. And as someone who grew up idolizing these men and their teachings, even now it breaks my heart to utter those words and it’s not something I would say lightly. But I can’t deny that it’s true, and a part of me will always grieve the magnitude of that betrayal. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
Wow, what a powerful read. It is quite heart breaking. And as I find my life filled more and more with people I love who are LGBT, who are honorable good people, who are in my family & friends, I find it makes all the difference. So much easier when you think you don’t know anyone like this and easier to push them away. Send your letter, Chad!
I’m in the privacy of my home giving you a standing ovation!!!!!!! Beautifully written.
You feel so sorry for yourself how can you keep on breathing?
You are pissed that the church wont give you what you want. The church does not set policy, they guide us in Gods policies. You wanna go screw men and live together? Go. No one is stopping you. No one is going to chase you down to excommunicate you either. The church did not set the standard, God did. The church leads and guides. You have your free will. You are using it. Your big problem isnt the church. Its your guilt.
Your condemnation will never help. There is a difference between standing for truth and belittling. Vulgar language also does not help to make you have any more influence than your average internet troll….
Victoria, what a terrible example of an lds person. I am lds and I am horrified at your lack of compassion and love.
You, Victoria, demonstrate exactly what the problem is. If the church were truly representing Christ, those who claim to be disciples of Christ would have more compassion and empathy for your LGBTQ brothers and sisters. You and the leadership are obviously incapable of such Christlike love. You ARE the problem.
A little dramatic? Every single member of the church has sin lurking inside of them, not just gays. Every single Latter-day saint needs to keep him/herself in check. It’s either telling lies or stealing or 1,000 other things. You think you’re a martyr because in the eyes of GOD, who you really are is an abomination and a sin? WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Every human being needs to change and become born again. Every single human being needs to make the effort to put aside their sin and take upon themselves the nature of Christ. It’s a satanic lie to belive that your sin is somehow more special than anybody elses. Or that because your sin is so extra special, you can keep it and that God will just accept it. If you’re a born theif, or gay, or whatever, if you don’t use your time on earth to humble yourself before God, admit that you’re a sinner, and learn how to overcome your natural self, don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you’re special and that everything will be ok.
But not every single person is considered an apostate. I can “lie, steal, or 1,000 other things” and still be a member in good standing. However, I cannot love another of the same sex in an intimate way without being condemned. There is a difference in the eyes of the church. My God loves ALL his children, even more perfectly than I love my own. My God would not condemn something He created based on ignorance. The pain our LGTB brothers and sisters feel is real. There is no sanctuary in the church for them. There is no sanctuary in the church for those of us who love and support them. When liars and thieves are called apostates, I’ll endorse your post.
Is it a sin for a person to enter into a loving relationship and commit to live their life as a helpmate to someone that they love?
Walter, I have no idea if you are married, divorced, single, dating, a happy bachelor … I don’t know. But if you can tell me that you would be perfectly fine if someone told you that you’re not allowed to love someone … That if you do love someone and decide to live out that love then you are sinning … If you’d be fine with that doctrine, then you’re a unique individual who would be able to live the church’s teachings and stay sane. But the research shows that this is not the case for the average human being. The research shows that denying ourselves the right to love someone and have some romance in our life is harmful to our being. I don’t believe that a loving God would ask that of someone.
Loving someone isn’t a sin.
I have been a Mormon all my life, Sometimes there are things I don’t understand but I read and study so I can make an intelligent decision. I have wondered why some of our brother or sisters have made the decision to be attracted to others of the same gender. If you marry a woman just because she’s a woman and you are attracted to men you have hurt another life. If you have children by this spouse you have messed up another life. So who is responsible then? There is no easy answer. We can blame other people or God himself or our families or society but the ultimate blame is yours.. If you cannot admit that you feel trapped in the wrong body say this is who I am. I am a man but prefer men’s company. I don’t can about decide your sexual preference or what goes on behind your closed door just don’t continually throw it in my face. What is going on with you is your decision do not make it mine. You still have your freedom of choice. Don’t expect me to my your choice. I am who I am. I am a child of god and so are you. Good luck in your choices, May you call on our Father in Heaven to help with you choices in the future. I will pray for you.
Putting the GA’s and BOM aside, choosing to be gay is a sin according to the bible, this is NOT a mormon thing. Revelation? Only if you consider the the bible to be the word of god.
For some reason you have a need to blame someone for your own messed up choices. So you choose the LBGTQP target of choice. And blaming anyone else for suicide is a cop-out… man up will ya?
Disman1 the bible…is that the one about the guy that lived inside of a whale for 3 days? I especially liked the chapter about how God flooded the entire earth and the human race was repopulated by one 900 year old man and his family. That level of inbreeding actually would explain, well, people like you.
Chad, thank you so much for posting this, and sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences. It’s as if you read my mind and my heart because almost everything you wrote I can relate with or have experienced. You are definitely not alone. I applaud you for standing up for yourself, and for the many of us who have suffered as you have. I think it is time for us to stand up for ourselves and claim our place in God’s family. Whether the Church accepts us or not I think it is important that we honor our own divinity, affirm it in each other, and accept ourselves as equally loved, accepted and wanted by God. I think we are in a pivotal time, when we can each choose how we respond to this conflict. Do we love more? – or less? Do we seek to understand? – or preach? Do we honor and defend our worth? – or do we capitulate? Do we reach out in hope? – or do we yield to despair? Do we grow closer to God? – or farther away? Do we follow Christ? – or follow some other role model? There are so many ways in which we can evolve if we choose to. This pain can purify us and strengthen us if we focus on doing so, I believe. And sharing with others is a huge step in creating positive changes inside and outside of ourselves.
The problem with Chad’s story is that it is based on a false premise that our mortal condition is our identity. Therein lies the problem. A mortal trial is not who we are; it is only temporary. We are dual beings. Our sexuality is not our identity. We are children of God and this life is only a brief moment in the eternal scheme of things. This is a probationary time to see if we will do all things the Lord our God has commanded us. This life is only the 2nd act of a 3 act play and “Happily Ever After” was not written until the 3rd act. Until we come to that understanding we will always search for ultimate happiness and not find it. The Brethren are inspired of God and convey His mind and will. It is us who need to hold on and have faith and continue to press forward. Understanding will come in time. God bless!
Amen. The scriptures tell us that God is a God of Love, period! Not a God who loves you ONLY IF you are a certain way.
F you, Mormon institution. This makes my heart break and blood boil. I understand a bit more what my Mormon LGBT friends go through. Their outbursts of pain, fear and anguish make more sense to me. This “church” is toxic and not loving of everyone like it should. Church should be a building of broken people. Not a museum of righteous people. Mormons, obviously, disagree. They excommunicate before they help.
Sin is the willful action to go against or not do what one understands to be right. A choice is requisite. Mortality is an imperfect realm.Imperfect in all aspects. I have diabetes, I did not choose to have diabetes; my diabetes therefore is not a sin. Someone with a birth “defect” did not choose to have that challenge, therefore it is not a sin. There are innumerable ways in which we are all organically and genetically imperfect. None of these are sins. Most LBGTI’s are born wired that way. It is not a sin; No choice was made. Nor are these defects; Defect is a term which needs to be erased as applied to humans. These are differences, not defects. Minorities in all instances are not defects but differences, variations on a theme, if you will.
There has to be a paradigm shift in labeling LBGTI’s as sinners to just being different. We are all the same, we are all imperfect, we all sin, we all have aspects of ourselves we have no choice in. Lets stop calling apples oranges.
The concept of this article may be on to something but the content tells me this author has an ax to grind which makes me less likely to believe what they say. Such as “excommunicated for being homosexual, being told to marry someone of the opposite gender, being sent to reparative therapy camps.” Bombastic words that are completely untrue. Gay people are not excommunicated unless they, as well as heterosexuals, engage in sexual relations outside of marriage. There is no church policy on telling anyone to marry anyone regardless of their sexual inclinations. Therapy camps? Come on, mixing lies with truth doesn’t make the lies true.
Talk about how you feel, your concerns for the LGBT community, and suggest solutions, but don’t make up lies to try and convert people to your point of view.
Then to ask for “A few words of kindness and compassion from you” but say “the blood of children is on your hands” makes the author sound as hypocritical as the men that he/she is criticizing.
You will convince far more people of your point of view if you use a lot less flourish…which to be honest…bold or extravagant statements are a tool frequently used by the devil to hide the lies he is trying to spread.
Stop looking like a tool of the devil and more like the angel you claim to be.
Dave, you might try actually listening rather than preaching. Almost everything Chad related I have also experienced FIRST HAND, as have many of the gay people I know. So maybe you should ask people, gay people, what it is like to be gay and what they have gone through, and then get back to us. Until then try not to speak unless you have something constructive to say or have walked in another’s shoes. As I mentioned, listening is a good start.
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Baloney, Dave. These things all happened to my father-in-law, destroying the lives of two good people in the process. You’re in denial if you want to pretend the Church never did these things. Those who’ve lived through it see through your lies.
Thanks for your thoughts. I think it’s important to remember though that the church can’t just change the law, if it would we would be nothing different than alot of churches out there that kind of follow the public opinion to avoid bad talk, much like a political party trying to appeal to as many people as possible. We believe that these men that you are talking about actually do recieve revelation directly from God and that He governs the church. If you believe that, you have to understand that God knows best and that in the long run, sticking to it through this hard trial, will give you the most joy and happiness there is. If you don’t believe that these men are called of God, then you make an excellent point. You gotta find that out for yourself.
Then there is another side of the coin and that is how church leaders (including the first presidency) and members can love people with same-sex attraction and the groups meantioned in the topic. No matter the person, nothing but love should be shown to him/her. I think the church have had trouble with knowing how to show love for these people because it’s such a complex and morally loaded question. I think through the years the intentions of the church has been good but not always the actions taken. I think though with the launch of the mormonsandgays website, openess about the questions, talking about it in general conference (just as a few examples) they are trying to reach out and show love. These things show that improvements are being made.
I’m sure more can be done, but I have a strong testimony in the church and I really do believe these men are called of God and that they are full of love and good will. I know that your trial will be eased if you follow Christ in your life. If you do that outside of the church, I’m sure you will feel blessings too. But make sure before any of you rule out the church because of this policy you truly seek and find out if this is the right way, God’s church, the restored gospel of Christ. Because if it is, no matter who you are, you will find the most comfort and be the closest to God that you can be. More than any other church no matter what they are peaching.
I send you my good luck and love!
It was doctrine that black people couldn’t hold the priesthood till the 1970s. Mixed races were a sin, and white was the pure blood race. Do you think God revealed that black people suddenly were good? Did they change to be good people? What happened with that post civil rights movement act?
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Bottom line the LDS Church is sick and twisted full of lies and I am amazed how many really dumb people are falling for their BS. Chad more power to you I hope you are living a finally happy life. It should not matter who you love and being punished ny the Mormon church if it is the wrong Gender wjy are all you Mormon believers think God made us all different ? So he could pick and chose who to love ? I don’t think so. So Chad thanks for writing this and I hope it will open eyes and you will live happily ever after
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Thank you – your story is healing.
Utah is a very conservative sheltered culture and some of them are still afraid to say the word “gay,” so I’m not surprised with the uptight reactions from members and church leaders. That kind of treatment is wrong, and I would have to call it a cultural belief that some Mormons have to un-learn. We’re imperfect. On the other hand, if you go to California, the culture is much more accepting of the LGBT community. It’s not unusual for an openly gay member to be called as a Bishop. Naturally, the law of chastity always applies, but you’ll find the atmosphere to be much different.
Thank you for sharing this. It needs to be said and heard over and over and over again. Not to change the hard-hearts and ugly minds of these men — that will never happen. But so those who are currently suffering what you did will know they’re not alone. I invite you to read my response to the new policy adopted last autumn. (And entrenched as “prophecy” recently). You can find it here: https://jessicaramseygolden.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/open-letter-to-the-president-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints/
Good luck to you sir. Congratulations on making it over the wall.
Thanks for expressing your pain and hurt. I think one of the problems is that you are equating a same-sex attraction as if that somehow forces you to act out on that attraction. I have an attraction to gambling and I believe an addiction to alcohol may well be in my DNA. It may well be part of who I am, and Got made me with these weaknesses. Each of us has our own demons/challenges to face in this life, it wouldn’t be much of a test of our own ability to choose the right if none of us had any weaknesses.
Having a gambling addiction or same-sex attraction doesn’t mean one has to act out on it though. There are many people who have to sacrifice their own desires on the alter of spiritual progression. You can feel a same-sex attraction and still be a happy member of the Church, just as I have had to fight to keep myself from gambling, alcohol or other temptations… overeating could also well be included. A sexual desire is NOT the same as acting on that desire, and indeed we are asked to overcome the natural man to get closer to God. Rather than give up your fight to “be gay”, why not take responsibility for your actions in your own sexual life. Feel a sexual attraction to who you feel, but don’t act on ever impulse that you feel, instead become a stronger person and overcome these attractions/urges. All of us (gay or straight) must do that to return to God and live worthy of his blessings. Here is how one gay man decided to handle his urges:
Yes there are those who are despondent and depressed and even suicidal over their fight with same-sex attraction, just as there are those who kill themselves when they can’t get free from drug addiction, alcohol addiction, low self esteem, overeating, or any of a myriad of other personal demons. But that doesn’t mean those who say you shouldn’t do drugs or over eat or drink are to blame. The blood of those who kill themselves in the depths of depression cannot fall on those who tell the person with the weakness that they can overcome it. Where does that responsibility lie? Certainly there is a failure at the local level to help these lost souls and certainly their family and medical professionals can bear some duty to help all who commit suicide, but you can’t lay the blame on them either. In the end anyone who kills him/herself does so as a personal choice because they feel they have no where left to turn. But they are wrong. There is always an answer and the person who selfishly turns to self-murder as a last result must be the one who bears the blame for that action, for it is a personal choice and a selfish act. Don’t you dare blame the mother or father, or pastor or psychiatrist for a suicide. We, all of us, need to do better at showing love, but a person who is determined to kill themselves is ultimately responsible for that act, not anyone else… especially when there are those out there who are actively trying to love them and help them.
You may as well just blame God for every action, or lay the blame for all selfish acts on the Prophets for speaking out against anything as being wrong. If I have the desire to have sex with farm animals or little kids or a desire to rape or murder, should I be the person God has made me and act out on those desires, or would you recommend I try to overcome those desires and act in accordance with God’s laws instead? Desire does NOT give you the right to act on something, and being depressed about not being able to act out on your desires does not justify suicide, or condemn those who try to prevent you from acting out on those desires.
God can love all of us and still give us rules to live by, and so can his Prophets. In fact, he already has…. and that doesn’t diminish his love for us.
Hello Seth. What you have just said is a perfect synopsis of the nonsense that people like Chad and I, and many thousands of others have had to listen to all of our lives. I understand that you are expressing what you think to be ‘right’, but it is really just moralizing and pontificating, repeating what you have heard from people in your church or elsewhere. What you have just said has no basis in fact, has no basis in research (check with the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Pediatric Association, etc., or any professional association, in the US or worldwide, concerned with health or psychology and they will all say the same thing; homosexuality is not an abnormality or an illness, anymore than heterosexuality is) , has no basis in the EXPERIENCE of people like us who are ACTUALLY experiencing all of this. Instead of acting like somehow you know it all you need to ASK people and LISTEN to what it’s like to be who they are (not just gay people), as most people would have the courtesy of asking you what it’s like to live, be and believe as you do, rather than presumptuously assuming you know, and then passing judgement. Chad is right to push back. His experience echoes mine almost perfectly, and I know countless others, personally, who have had similar experiences and have similar sentiments. You need to seek to understand and educate yourself FIRST before expressing an opinion, and then you need to show respect and own your view as your own rather than expressing it as preaching and absolute truth.
And, also, it has nothing to do with you. Or anyone like you. You somehow feel that you have the right or prerogative to insert yourself into a very personal and private part of our lives, judge us, assess us, condescend to us, preach to us and then walk away with smug, self righteous attitude. Rather than showing respect for us, as we would do for you, you preach and violate personal boundaries. Has anyone ever obsessed about and dissected your intimate, personal life, your relationships, your personal choices, and then asked deeply personal questions and then told you you’re wrong and messed up? Does anyone have the right to do that to you? Have you ever had someone equate your love for another, mature, consenting, adult an addiction and a perversion? Again, having a monogamous, loving, committed relationship or marriage with another consenting adult is not an addiction or in any way abnormal or unhealthy, and that includes your own. Equating a healthy relationship with gambling, addiction, mental illness, or the exploitation of innocents is ignorant and thoughtless on your part. Again, it has no basis in fact, research, or actual experience as I’ve asserted before. It’s just cultural and religious bias and ignorance. Again, educate yourself with research and the actual experience of the people concerned. Also, the intimate parts of anyone else’s relationship with the person we love is none of your business, anymore than yours is to us, so get your nose out and keep it out. Show some respect.
As far as suicide ideation, again, do your research. Shaming, judging, marginalizing and ostracizing youth and any people who are different within a culture or society for being who they are is not healthy, helpful or appropriate. The church has resisted factual, evidence based research and experience of gay people, and continues to do great harm to this demographic despite the facts and truth, and so, yes, the church is culpable and responsible for it’s wrong choices and the effects they have on innocent people. Especially in an environment like Utah where the religion and culture are deeply intertwined and there is little to no escape from either. The church cannot claim to be ignorant and so it is fully responsible for the tragic damage it is causing, despite claims of being compassionate. The fruits of the church’s actions have been pain, despair and death, and there is no excuse.
Lastly, your rather shallow platitudes of thanks at the beginning of your letter and then your statement of “God loves you” does not in any way make what you said right, factual, appropriate or helpful. In fact it was quite the opposite. I have been through hell, absolute hell, and many other like Chad and I, because of the judgmental, ignorant, self righteous people like you who feel they somehow have the prerogative to insert themselves into our lives and condemn us, rather than listen, seek to truly understand, and have some real compassion. I do understand where your coming from because I was once like you. I thought I knew it all. I thought I was right. I thought I knew the ‘truth’. And I didn’t hesitate to let it be known. Fortunately I’ve matured and actually educated myself, both through experience and actual research. I regret the damage that I caused. I know better now. I have also developed a strong relationship with God and my Savior that has grown and carried me through this. Yes, God loves me. Exactly as I am. Not as you or your church wish I was or would like me to be, but as I am. I survived. I was one of the lucky ones. Do not judge, seek to understand, and do not make it harder for God’s children to feel loved, affirmed and whole. Life is challenging enough without you making it harder, especially for the kids.
I agree with you and the AMA and all the other authorities you are referring to, a same-sex attraction isn’t any different than a heterosexual attraction to those who have it, I am sure that is the case. The Church has a right to preach to its followers that they ought to keep their sexual appetites in check and only have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex with whom they are legally married, and to obstain from sex before marriage. This applies to everyone in the Church, if you disagree with this ‘commandment’ or any other then you don’t have to be a part of the Church. Go start your own Church with your own ideas if you disagree with this, no one is stopping you.
You can worship how and where and what you may, and allow us that same privilege. That is the beauty of religion, you have a right to worship and preach as you wish.
There are plenty of other ideas and rules and even lack of rules in other religions, why not go find one that suits you rather than trying to change one that you clearly feel so strongly in opposition to?
Yes, the church can preach whatever it chooses, whether it flies in the face of reason, fact or compassion. However, it cannot choose the consequences of those teachings, and those consequences have been painful and even dire for many, many people, both gay kids, adults, and the families and communities they/we are a part of, and who love them/us.
I am an adult, so I have been able to choose to leave the abuses of the Mormon church and many of its judgmental people (many people are also kind, supportive and understanding, though the institution is not). I have come to know that the Church does not in anyway own God, does not control access to God, does not even have a preponderance of the truth about God and what He teaches, and most certainly does not control access to Jesus Christ and His Atonement, or the comfort and inspiration of the Spirit. Most of the truly good, Christlike people I know now are not Mormon. This realization saved my life. I came to realize that my religious identity could be altered, whereas my sexual orientation could not. I could choose to not be Mormon (thank God), and I could be fully loved by God just as I am. It was this realization that showed me that people like you, and the Church, are the ones who are making the bad choices. You choose whether or not you believe the facts and truth, and whether or not you value the divine dignity of God’s children (actual children in many cases) over your own bias. YOU have CHOSEN how you are behaving in relation to who people ARE.
But as I said before, I was fortunate. I had some support. I was able to figure it out. Your pat answer about “why don’t you just leave” is hurtful and ridiculous. I could ask you why don’t you just take yourself and your beliefs to Africa where your point of view and biases will be welcome and supported? A child cannot ‘just leave’ his or her family. A person and a family cannot just instantly uproot themselves from their community, their culture, their friends, and their lifelong beliefs. These are existential issues that need very careful, and very painful, consideration and teasing out. The young often do not have the resources, the understanding and the support to survive this process. And that is MY main source of angst in this whole discussion, and why it makes me so furious. I have known so many who were not able to navigate the treacherous waters of this process, many of them kids.
I believe the church has lost its way and focus. Christ is supposed to be at it’s head. Christ should be at it’s center. The life and teachings of Christ should be it’s focus. Instead it chooses to desperately cling to cultural and traditional biases despite truth to the contrary. It is obsessed with sex and who’s having sex with who and in what way, just like our culture is. It’s an unhealthy obsession and focus. I can assure you that God does not care about this the way we do. He is concerned with what the first commandment states; to love Him completely, and to love others as ourselves. That’s what it’s all about. Where our hearts are. Then our actions will follow. We will naturally do what is loving, respectful and healthy toward God and our fellow man. If you wish to enslave yourself to the letter of the law, as the Sadducees and Pharisees did, rather than focus on the spirit and intent of the law, which is to teach having a life and heart focused on loving God and your fellow men, then that is your choice, and the church’s choice, yes. But you, and your church, are responsible for the harm you needlessly cause.
Chad, you had me right up to the words “I married a woman.” Now, correct me if I’m wrong, everybody, but when you marry, you make a promise to love and be with that person forever (if you’re a mormon) or until death (if you’re another religion.) What happened to that promise that you made? Did you somehow talk yourself out of it? When you hit the hard times, did you decide it was because you were really a gay and that is why there were problems? So you decided to act out your impulses? Fascinating article, BTW. I consider myself a liberal mormon, but accusing the church leaders of having “blood on their hands” is a bit of a stretch even for me. By your reckoning, all the choices we make personally is the fault of others, not our own. And I can’t go along with that. Sure, there may be a choice few who are so vulnerable that they are easily drowned by the voices of their church leaders. But, Chad, here is the definition of personal responsibility, as I just found it on the internet: (not a church website, just what came up when I googled “personal responsibility”)
Personal responsibility is the idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. A corollary idea is that because we cause our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable.
Chad, NOBODY else is responsible or accountable for our actions. Just you. Only you. Therefore, your whole premise is wrong.
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“We must try to share our blessings and not our miseries” and “our lives are what we chose to make them.” That is my feeling after reading your comments on the church. Sir Winston Churchill said both of those quotes at a time when few in England agreed about anything. So the war took them by surprise. He was the one to call the nation together and bring them to battle. He kept the nation together despite their differences. Personally, I like all religions and relish in the fact that America was founded on freedom to worship how, where, and what you may. That gave more than religious people a voice. I’ve had many gay friends in and out of the church. Both men and women. They are not gay to me, they are people with their own belief and foundation. Some of them are like you, many of them are nothing like you. We are thrown together in a unique country that blesses all of us with the ability to share our blessings and miseries. And it is my hope that we continue to be able to make our lives what we chose to make them despite the religious or non-religious beliefs around us. I certainly do not condemn or criticize the religious leaders around me for their beliefs. I think they are doing a great job of bringing this gospel to light in today’s world. I think many religions are doing a good job of preaching Christ and staying true to the heart of the gospel of good news. If you feel it is too difficult to maintain the gospel standards, you are not alone. The internet amplifies those who dissent. But I would think about the words of Christ who said to take His yoke for it is light and easy to bear. His light brings me joy everyday as I strive my best to live it as best I can. It is that simple.
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