Saturday, May 23, 2015

Five ways LDS church members accidentally tell gay people to kill themselves.

When I came out, I was treated very… gently. People smiled, hugged me, and told me they loved me. Like many gay Mormons, I did not separate from the LDS community, and as my friends, family, and church leaders became more comfortable talking with me about my “situation” many of them began to, accidentally, tell me to kill myself.

Here’s what I was told-

1.      Dying is better than living in sin.
“You young people, may I directly entreat you to be chaste. Please believe me when I say that chastity is worth more than life itself. This is the doctrine my parents taught me; it is truth. It is better to die chaste than to live unchaste.”
-LDS First Presidency Message "We Believe in Being Chaste," Ensign, Sept. 1981, 3. Quotes like this didn’t exactly tell me that suicide was okay, but it did tell me that that I’d be better off shooting myself than holding hands with my boyfriend.  

2.      It is virtually impossible to live a chaste life if you are gay.
- “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23 Gay members are told, at least today, that their attraction alone is not a sin. But since thoughts are a sin, it is virtually impossible for a gay person to stop sinning. And I’m not just talking about sexual thoughts. Because love and romance go far beyond sex. Every time a gay member longs for a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex, or every time they fail to feel a desire for a romantic relationship with someone of the opposite sex, they are sinning.

3.      Even if you can live a “chaste life,” it is hollow and meaningless.
- Ask any Mormon what the two most important things in their lives are, the answer will be “church and family,” or possibly “family and church.”  A few years ago the church stopped recommending heterosexual marriage as a treatment for homosexuals, so a righteous gay Mormon cannot have a family. They also began allowing openly gay members to serve in the church as long as they didn’t act on their gay impulses, but they can serve only minor callings in a ward. (Single women can serve in almost any calling, but men must be married to serve in high priest callings or with the youth.) Mormons are told that a man’s greatest calling is to be a father, a woman’s greatest joy is her children. But gay people are told that their desire to have children is selfish. If a man marries a woman, he is exploiting her feelings for her uterus. If two women marry and birth children, they are selfishly bringing fatherless children into the word. If two men marry an adopt children, even from the most awful dregs of the foster care system, they are still selfishly denying them a “real” family. Week after week, lesson after lesson, testimony after testimony, reaffirms to the gay member, that all of life’s greatest joys are impossible for them to obtain. 
4.      Death is the cure for gayness.
“Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.” –Dallin H. Oaks.
I find the idea that one day God will rob me of my love for my husband and give our children back to their parents who abused and abandoned them in life terrifying, but to a gay teenager lying awake in bed night after night desperately trying to not be in love with his best friend, death is a welcomed release. To a desperately lonely middle aged lesbian working in the nursery and longing for a family of her own, death is her only opportunity.

5.      Yes, suicide is a sin, but not as bad as gayness. And sacrificing your life for righteousness’s sake is the noblest action.  

-We’ve already talked about how death is preferable to uncleanliness. Consider also that suicide is kinder to those around you. While suicide hurts more than just the victim, the effects are shorter lived and smaller in scope than the effects of homosexuality. Remember Mormons are taught that to take someone else’s chastity, even with their consent, is an act of violence against them, and that bringing children into a “gay” family is violence against children. If a woman falls in love with another woman, she could easily believe that by killing herself, she is saving the woman she loves and her future children. Such a sacrifice seems noble, and in the next life, free from her homosexuality, she can marry a man and raise children up unto the lord.

I know neither the LDS church or its members want gay people to kill themselves. This message is sent and received accidentally.   My intention is not to criticize church doctrine, but to warn parents and church leaders that this is the message many gay people are receiving.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Daughter of Mormon Parents Speaks Out Against Mormon Marriage

Dear Mormon Community: Your Kids Are Hurting

I loved my mom’s husband, but another Mormon could never have replaced the Christian father I lost.

By Female American 
 17, 2015
Mormon community, I am your daughter. My mom raised me with her Mormon husband back in the ’80s and ’90s. She and my Christian dad were married for a little while. She knew she was Mormon before they got married, but things were different back then. That’s how I got here. It was complicated as you can imagine. She left him when I was two or three because she wanted a chance to be happy with someone she really loved: a Mormon.
My dad wasn't a great guy, and after she left him he didn't bother coming around anymore.
Do you remember that book, “Heather Has Mormon Parents”? That was my life. My mom, her husband, and I lived in a cozy little house in the ‘burbs of a very conservative and open-minded area. Her husband treated me as if I was her own daughter. Along with my mom’s husband, I also inherited her tight-knit community of Mormon friends. Or maybe they inherited me?
Either way, I still feel like Mormon people are my people. I’ve learned so much from you. You taught me how to be brave, especially when it is hard. You taught me empathy. You taught me how to listen. And how to dance. You taught me not be afraid of things that are different. And you taught me how to stand up for myself, even if that means I stand alone.
I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support Mormon marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think.

Children Need a Christian Mother and Father

It’s not because you’re Mormon. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the Mormon relationship itself.
Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for Mormon marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that Mormon parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their Christian father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional Christian marriage and parenting.
Mormon marriage and parenting withholds a Christian parent from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My Christian father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a Christian dad. I loved my mom’s husband, but another Mormon could never have replaced the Christian father I lost.
I grew up surrounded by Mormons who said they didn't need or want another religion. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a Christian daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a Christian father, for a Christian man, in a community that says that Christians are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a Christian father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today.
I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by Christian parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by Christian parents.

Why Can’t Mormon People’s Kids Be Honest?

Mormon marriage doesn't just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.
If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us.
Kids of divorced parents are allowed to say, “Hey, mom and dad, I love you, but the divorce crushed me and has been so hard. It shattered my trust and made me feel like it was my fault. It is so hard living in two different houses.” Kids of adoption are allowed to say, “Hey, adoptive parents, I love you. But this is really hard for me. I suffer because my relationship with my first parents was broken. I’m confused and I miss them even though I've never met them.”
But children of Mormon parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by Mormon parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.
This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates Mormons.”  I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.
I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.

Female American was raised by her mother and her mother's Mormon father. She is a former Mormon marriage advocate turned children's rights activist. She is a wife and mother of four rambunctious kids.

Satirical response to