The only Mormon policies or teachings that ever really impacted me, however, are the ones that took place between 1965 (by birth) and 2006 (my resignation).
Since I voluntarily left the LDS faith, my ongoing concern has revolved around my children’s indoctrination and how that impacts my relationship with them. I’ve commented on current gay LDS issues because they continue to impact me and my children. I’ve been repulsed by North Star, humored by Mormons and Gays, challenged by Circling the Wagons and either uplifted or dismayed by all the other gay Mormon bloggers out there.
More importantly, however, I know there are younger versions of me out there today. Pre-adolescent gay Scouts and gay Aaronic Priesthood holders must be getting so many confusing messages from so many different sources that just didn’t exist when I was that age. The only message I really got was in quiet, embarrassed, muted tones that there’s something called homosexuality that makes people really uncomfortable, angry and embarrassed and that whatever you do in this life, DON’T be IT.
Still, deep down I knew that I was IT despite the horror. But I had no coping mechanisms and so I followed a path that included faithfulness to the church, and a lot of heartache, shame and hopelessness along the way. Fortunately that never led me to the despair of attempting suicide, but it was certainly close enough that I can fathom it, and I know others who have.
What if there had been voices in my community expressing messages of self-worth, love, admiration and unity, absent the condemnation, ambivalence and hell-fire? I can’t fathom the difference it would have made in my life. I found something today that the current younger versions of myself need to read.
If you are LGBTQ in any shape, form, at any point along the spectrum, or related to someone who is and if you have any sort of connection to the LDS faith now or in the past this is the definitive web site to check out.
It’s fairly new and I have to be honest that I ignored it when I first heard about it. It was around the same time that the LDS church officially published their tepid attempt at addressing the issue in an intelligent and loving way. No More Strangers is different from that. It’s not North Star or even Affirmation where despite claims to the contrary, the underlying message is “Be LDS” or “We feel sad if you can’t believe and be faithful like us.”
I don’t get the self-righteous vibe from No More Strangers like I do from other blogs out there. It seems to walk the fine line between accepting the reality of homosexuality and welcoming the varied approaches to life inside or outside the LDS faith.
So far, the No More Strangers bloggers do this much better than I do. I realize I tend to be more critical of the LDS faith on my blog to the point that I’d probably not be invited to post over there (although I swear I’d kick it down a notch if I were 🙂 ), but I do believe that I’d get along with and be welcomed by the authors in person. I’ve actually met and shook hands with several of them. They include straight allies such as William Bradshaw, Carol Lynn Pearson, Cary Crall, Laura Compton, John Dehlin and Kevin Kloosterman. Notable gay authors are Mitch Mayne, John Gustav-Wrathall, Daniel Parkinson, Kendall Wilcox. I have nothing but good things to say about those that I’ve actually met. I don’t agree with them all, but I respect them.
My only observation would be that there seems to be too few actually gay authors like myself, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not. I admit that having straight, faithful LDS voices speaking in favor of and in support of their gay brothers and sister is tremendously helpful. This site has that.
But maybe a voice is needed over there that says, “Thanks for the LDS support, but no thanks on the ‘please come back’. I fully admire and and encourage the changes for today’s youth. I’ll see you all at my kids’ ward functions, and warmly hug you at your future LDS-approved weddings, but my life is better without the LDS Church and my LDS interest remains due solely to my children still being raised it. Thank you for working to create an environment where it is OK for them to love and respect me, their gay apostate father.”