Friday, April 11

Goodbye, Friend


I think I understand why you want to leave. At least some of the reason.

Homosexuality and Mormonism just don't seem to fit: the things you believe and the things you feel just don't seem to make sense anymore. You love the Church, the Gospel, the people. And yet, being gay separates you from all of those things. Not because you want it that way or you'd choose it that way--but because it just doesn't fit.

The Church expects you to remain silent not just to bad decision-making but outright indifference. They ask the ultimate sacrifices of you and offer very little in return. A pamphlet here and there, an understanding Bishop who just doesn't understand, people within the Church that go outside of the doctrine and tell you to follow your heart. You wonder why the leadership of the Church can't pray about this more and make a place for you to say.

I strongly believe if you could stay, you would. If there was a place that people reached out in genuine love and concern for you. A place that everyone was required to make the same level of sacrifice. Not a place of "willingness," but a place where people were required to cut out their very hearts and lay them on the altar and walk away--just as you have.

I know that its easy for members of the Church to dismiss what you say. Homosexuality doesn't fit for them either--and most don't have the courage to reconcile the two in their minds. To really give a concentrated, dedicated effort to realizing how much you have to go through would require most to understand the Gospel far more than they'd like to. To make Church a place for everyone to be taught, to be loved, to fit in requires them to break the picture-perfect, everyone is happy mold that they've been taught is the Gospel. Its easier to teach and lead a group of absolute followers--its hard to be around someone who asks questions or who does everything required of them but doesn't become the Peter Priesthood the Gospel promises to make each of us. They can't believe that someone who does everything they can, that wants to believe, that wants to follow God could stay unchanged, with the same "wicked spirit in their hearts."

It doesn't make sense to them, it doesn't feel right to them.

The Gospel teaches the importance of sacrifice, you believe that. It teaches you should give up everything to God and expect nothing for your sacrifice. Jesus gave it all, Joseph Smith did, too. Why can't you? They did it without people who understood them. Without people helping them at every step of the way. Jesus walked alone for his whole mortal life. Why can't you be, too? Each time you come to Church they think that of you. I know that because often I do, too. If you'd just give a little more, try a little longer, hold on a little bit longer, the answers will come. But they would have you wait forever.

I know you feel (and want to feel in return) love. It's beyond lust, its love. Its not contorted, or wrong or ungodly. And each of us yearns for more than just platonic love--we want real, deep, lasting love. The kind that friends and fellowshippers just can't provide. And it doesn't feel wrong.

If God really didn't want you to lead a life of sin, shouldn't it feel wrong? Shouldn't it feel ungodly? Love feels good and godly, real and deep--and that's what you feel. There's no regret like there is so-often with guilty pleasures. There's something very godlike about the love you feel, and yearn to feel, that more than anything wants to grow and flourish and bring forth fruit.

They say its easier for you to leave. I say it, too. But I know that its not. The choice to leave brings as much pain, confusion and heartache as the choice to stay. Leaving the Church does not eliminate all the good memories, growth, and Godlike service that are still found there.

You are asked to give up one of the two things you love and want to be a part of the most. The decision does not come easy. They don't understand you because they don't want to think there is ever a good reason for walking away. You don't understand why either way you have to sacrifice a huge part of who you are.

I don't understand why the Church is more supportive, why an issue that effects one in four families--and you so poignantly--could be something that isn't addressed often and with real and impatient desire to find the answers on their part.

I don't understand why there are those of us who through all the effort of our soul, just don't seem to fit in on the Gospel path.

I don't know what happens to those who walk away from their witness of the truth. I do know this. God is real. He is merciful and full of love and understanding. If anyone understands all of this, it is Him. I trust in Him that you'll be okay. Though others will condemn you to hell for this, I believe He understands--more than you or I could ever know. From what I know of His character, He is more likely to cast a judgement on those who could have helped you to stay but did nothing.

If you leave, know this. I love you--and want to understand. God loves you--and does.

18 comments:

  1. Very comforting and very peaceful. Thanks.

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  2. Never have I seen something so eloquently written. I applaud your words. With tears streaming down my face I applaud.

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  3. I love you as well. It will be interesting to see where life takes us.

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  4. You just iterated so much of what I want to explain to everyone. This is what it means to be gay and mormon.

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  5. That was so beautiful. So very very beautiful.

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  6. Beautiful. The struggle for each one of us is so great, and so many people do not understand that. We all have decisions to make and lives to live, but as I believe that I have shown, I support everyone in their own individual decision. Wonderfully written.

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  7. Thank you. Now I just need to get my family to read this.

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  8. I'm just going through a self realization that God will still love me even if I leave the church. I had always connected God's love with the church, even to the point that I would distance myself from God the more that I hated the church.
    Thank you for your words. Life is hard in our predicament. And it's nice to find others who understand.

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  9. Thank you for this post. What you said has been on my mind of late. Thank you.

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  10. hmmm...good post, keep us posted on how things go.

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  11. Wow. Why have I not seen this before. The essential paradoxes and quandaries beautifully and charitably captured. A loving face on an impossible problem. Well done.

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  12. Agreed, and it has nothing to do with this post. Your words are beautiful, i just wish it honestly reflected all of you.

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  13. I just happened across this blog, from a Facebook friend's link. Though I'm thoroughly straight, I have struggled and continue to struggle to understand why my gay friends have had to go through so much pain and heartbreak because of the Church (whether they stay or whether they leave). Your blog doesn't answer these questions--well, not the handful of posts I've read or skimmed so far--but it does as beautiful and true a job of expressing the questions as I've ever seen. Every member of the Church should read this blog. I think we'd all learn a lot. I will certainly be recommending it. Thank you, Mark.

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  14. Wow, whoever that "you" is, he is painted as pretty big victim. And "they?" Wow. Pretty big monster! But I guess that's the point, right?

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