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How has LDS Church support of Prop 8 affected you and your family?

In light of recent court proceedings indicating the deplorable actions of The Church... as a member, I'm revoking my membership and I kinda want the world to see and hopefully encourage others to do so as well. You can follow it here:

www.dearthomassmonson.com

Adam OndiAhmen


I curtailed church attendance many months ago. While I love the people of my old congregation and would gladly take a bullet for many of them, I can’t imagine rejoining them any day soon. In that regard I know what people are thinking. I’m sure that when my name comes up in conversation, some sigh and say I’ve given up a heavenly reward to feed a petty objection. They have, no doubt, assumed that anger and pride are what’s keeping me from God’s good grace and that the church’s support of Proposition 8 was at the root of my small-mindedness.

While I certainly opposed Prop 8, I was never angry with the church’s position. Rather, from the mix of emotions I’d felt at the time—shock and embarrassment among them—the one feeling that emerged most dominant was an overwhelming sorrow. As someone who has suffered long episodes of depression, I had to put distance between myself and the church, if for no other reason than to protect my health. My reckoning was this: If God really wants gay men and woman to miss out on the most growth-promoting and love-inspiring of human relationships, I will accept the consequences of not worshiping Him.

That being said, nothing Christ ever taught gives me reason to fear.

I, like many young LDS men and women, fulfilled a proselytizing mission for the church. In my case, however, there was no burning conviction that I was doing God’s work. I could have easily declined the call, since my parents didn’t share my devotion and were alarmed, even upset, by my decision. But I went eagerly, hoping and believing that by my efforts the truth would be revealed to me—that everything I’d been taught would piece together like a finished puzzle and express itself as logical, beautiful and perfect. Yet by the end of my mission, that hadn’t happened. Neither has it happened since.

Instead, it became clear to me that the truth is far more complicated than I, or any mortal, can comprehend, which is why God said, “Let there be light,” instead of, “Let the universe be filled homogeneously and isotropically with a high energy density.” In this way, I liken the words of the prophets to first grade readers that point us in the right direction but leave for us a world of learning ahead. With respect to the teachings of the LDS church, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t accept two primary claims supporting it as God’s only “true” religion: namely that the church was led by a prophet and it possessed additional scriptures that revealed more of the mind of God. Nevertheless, the church seemed to offer a helpful—if not imperfect—rule of thumb as to how people should live and I supported it on that basis. Now, I no longer feel that way, but Prop 8 was only one of many reasons leading me there.

To me, Christianity should conform to Jesus’ teachings and not some lesser throwback to Judaism. In this failing, the LDS Church is not alone, but that doesn’t make it right. Its belief in blood atonement, for instance, harkens more to Old Testament justice and animal sacrifice than Christ’s admonition to forgive. The many Mormon scriptural references that describe God’s nature as vengeful and jealous smacks less of John than Leviticus. As a person of color, I’m offended that God cursed his wayward Book of Mormon children with a dark skin and called them loathsome, just like He’d done in Genesis. The numerous oaths Mormons take (and they know what I’m taking about) is consistent with Israelite practice, but is counter to Christ’s directive to “swear not at all.” The prohibition against gay marriage is an extension of the Mosaic Law’s demand to stone homosexuals—not to mention the LDS Church’s early restrictions against miscegenation—but it’s inconsistent with Christ’s ideal of love unfeigned. On this point I could go on and on, but to summarize: Jesus wants us to be better than the Ten Commandments, yet we remain more Judeo than Christian. And while the points I’ve raised may seem minor, they sum to an intolerant worldview that causes its followers to be motivated by fear and a loathing for the very human attributes God imbues in us.

If the church would grant me a wish, I would ask it to eliminate the phrase Mormons everywhere teach their children to repeat like a poor affirmation: I know the church is true. The sentiment not only leads to self-deception, but it runs counter to the intersection of two of the church’s most important beliefs, that: 1) we came to earth, in part, to develop faith and 2) faith is not a perfect knowledge. If we took these two beliefs to heart—embracing uncertainty as a necessary human condition that demands humility and eschews judgment—we would see our dogmatism for what it is: a silly kind of boastful swagger unbecoming of Christ’s disciples. If we were to do that, we might learn to love unconditionally and be the better angels inside of us.

And here’s a final note. If we did practice that kind of humble and non-judgmental faith, we would pray fervently that God, in His infinite wisdom, would make us instruments in His hands to help His gay sons and daughters find solace and a place of welcome somewhere. We would pray that they find joy, not to mention alternatives to what seems like an epidemic of suicide. Unfortunately, they won’t find that in the Mormon Church—not today—where prayers are never uttered in their behalf, but where that adage, “We love the sinner, but hate the sin,” rings as often as it is hollow and hackneyed.

www.newchristianethics.blogspot.com

Alan Bahr
Lafayette, CA

I'm not gay, nor have I ever been inclined to experiment as such. I was born and raised as a Mormon, left the church for a few years in my late teens - early twenties, only to come back in my mid twenties to marry a man in the temple. The marriage lasted 24 years, but my belief in the church and its doctrine came into serious question for me around 2000 during the church's involvement in Prop 22. I eventually left the church completely over it.

I'm not one to blindly obey - I've always had to have legitimate reasons for my actions. Somewhat paradoxically, I've never been much of a rebel. I feel like I've had a compass which has guided my path, although most religious people would question that. Those who are spirtual probably would not.

My heart has been so broken over Proposition 8 that I've almost burned bridges with my own grown children, who still remain active members of the church. Obviously that's not the answer. That would be like cutting off my nose to spite my face. But trying to convince those I love how wrong any type of persecution or discrimination is against tax paying, law abiding citizens just because they are gay, has worn me out. I can't imagine how those directly affected with this persecution feel. I suppose they are used to it. But in my wildest dreams I had no idea how much homophobia exists in the world, and is being perpetuated by church leaders who have been entrusted with the care and keeping of their flocks.

How do they justify the blatant hurt they are inflicting on sons and daughters of God? How do they reconcile the devastation a child feels when they are told they are an abomination in the sight of God? How do they look at those who they know are gay and see their true souls, the part of them that is like God?

It is my deepest desire to see this page in our nation's, as well as the church's history closed, and looked back upon as a huge error in judgment. I pray for the day that two loving people who want to commit to one another and share their lives with all the good, bad and in between times, will have the opportunity to do so with full equality under the law, regardless of what gender they love. That, I believe, is how the Savior would do it. And it is my desire to follow the loving example of Him.

Sheri
Laguna Beach, CA


I came out in March of 2008. I was excommunicated in August. So the whole Prop 8 issue came at a very interesting time in my life. I come from a large LDS family. I have 9 other siblings. When I first came out everyone was supportive, concerned, but supportive. Of my nine siblings 2 are inactive another was excommunicated several years ago.

When it came down to who voted which way. The active members of the church voted Yes, the inactives or non member family voted No.

My brother who is a lawyer tried to explain to my family why Prop 8 was wrong on a legal front. He was verbally attacked for doing so, and one of my sisters will not even talk to him now. He says that our family is not really a family anymore. I was originally asked not to attend any family Christmas gatherings because it made my parents uncomfortable, and they wanted to be able to enjoy the holidays. Someone protested that and we had the gatherings at a neutral location.

My parents in October asked me "to go away and leave them alone and go and enjoy my new gay life with my new gay friends" They were claiming to be speaking on behalf of my entire family. My inactive sisters and my non member brother have been kind and warm to me ever since I came out. For the others, including my parents, the closer it came to election time, the more distant they became, to the point that my parents don't talk to me, and my other active members don't ever call me.

The bottom line is that Mormonism = Hate with Prop 8. During the whole Prop 8 thing I never got preachy about it to my family, as I felt it would cause problems, when asked I simply said I felt it was wrong because it was taking away and existing right. So they distanced them selves from me all on there own. I did not argue with any of my family members over Prop 8, but yet they are now so uncomfortable around me I could feel it as think as pea soup during the holidays.

Prop 8 has shown me that LDS members will cast out a family member and believe and support everything the church tells them to do. LDS members are unable to be free thinkers in fear of being less of a member. Prop 8 has torn our family apart. When I came out in March, ALL of my family express how much they loved me and supported me, but by election time, they stopped talking to me.

Michael Collins
Palmdale, CA


I have known since I was very young that I am gay. The Mormon Church taught me that this was unacceptable. So I prayed every day that I could change. I thought that if I went on a mission that God would help me change, that didn't work. So, like the fool I was, I thought I would date and get married. Then for sure God would change me. I got married and had three wonderful children. Of course sex was rare (my wife was very fertile) and of course it was to me disgusting and I had to fantasize about having sex with other men. I was married 21 years and was about to tell my wife. (She actually knew that before we were married I had sex with another man) I had been in touch with another gay man who went to the same mission as myself. (Switzerland Geneva) We e-mailed back and forth and he told me that there were several other gay men who served in the mission. I never met this man in person but I did ask him who. There happened to be one on the list that I knew and who was living in San Diego. I happened to have a trip to San Diego planned to run the Rock n'Roll Marathon there a month and a half later. I asked him to get in touch with this other man and ask if I could call or write him. He did and we got ahold of each other. We e-mailed back and forth and talked a few times on the phone. I went down on May 30th and he came to my hotel and took me out that night. We had a wonderful time and ended up in the hotel room that night and had a great night together. The next day we also spent together and then on June first I ran the marathon and had to go home to Las Vegas. I then went into a severe depression and knew I had to tell my wife. She knew something was wrong and had suspicions of what had happened. She finally pulled it out of me and then I told my children. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. My two boys have had a hard time with it but my daughter has been very supportive. She has even met my boyfriend. I told my sister and my mom and step father. Now everyone who is important to me knows. I have since been to San Diego several times and he and I are engaged. We will be married (God willing) in June if the California Supreme Court overrules prop 8. When that passed it was a very dark day for us.

I honestly don't know if the church and others feel that passing prop 8 is going to stop homosexuals from having sex. To me it would make more sense to allow gay marriage, this would stop a lot of sex between people who don't even know each other. To me it would strengthen marriage. I saw the lie filled ads the church sponsored and church members starred in. A church that preaches Thou shalt not Lie, Love thy neighbor as thyself, has a lot of repenting to do.

I am no longer a member of the Church. The church decided that it didn't want me as a member any more when I told a tribunal of the church that I was not going to stop having sex with my partner.

I had a brother who also got married who was gay. He had five kids. Divorced his wife and when rumors of he being gay started surfacing he quickly got remarried. A little while later, after his wife found out he killed himself. So to me the church is partially responsible for the murder of hundreds if not thousands of people.

So what has the church done to me. Well, I am sure if it were not for the Mormon church I would not have gotten married. Many people including a great Mormon woman would not have been deeply hurt. My brother would not have committed suicide. I would not have a mother who said to me that I betrayed her. And I would be getting married in June to the man I love. The Mormon Church has a lot of good in it but to tell someone who they should or shouldn't love is plain wrong and Who they can and cannot marry is down right despicable.

Many in the church say that they love the "sinner" hate the sin. Many say that they have friends who they love who are gay so they cannot be bigots, haters, and discriminators even though they are against gay marriage. Well, there were some slave owners who loved their slaves but thought it was ok to have them as slaves. During the 60s there were plenty of whites who said that they had friends who were black who they loved but it was ok for them to be segregated. Therefore, they could not be bigots. It is exactly the same thing here. If people are against gay marriage they are bigots, haters, and discriminators. They can say what they want to make themselves feel better but facts are facts and actions speak louder than words. It is time the leaders and members of the church look deep down and realize that they are no where near being Christlike. The God I know and the Jesus I know would never discriminate nor hate. I would like to hear from others who may have had similar experiences. my email is aan245@interact.ccsd.net

Ashley (Alan) Warren
Las Vegas, Nevada


We have pulled back from attending church and other activities. My youngest son is gay, as is my husband's sister. We do not agree with the Church's stance on Prop 8 and have been very vocal about it. We are taught Heavenly Father loves us all equally. My sister-in-law and her partner have a 14 year old son who is perfectly adjusted and "normal." A family does not have to be a man and a woman. It can be single parents, gay/lesbian parents, divorced parents, widowed parents. We have to teach our own children that, while the gospel is true, not to believe what they are being told regarding Prop 8 from the Church. Double message, isn't it?

robin hawks
central valley, california


While I am not GLBT myself, I have close friends who are and I fully support marriage between any two people who love each other and choose that to be the best thing for them.

The church's stance has meant that my family and I have had heated debates over the topic and it has left me feeling further removed from them.

This stance does not show what Christianity is meant to promote - love, acceptance and inclusion of their fellow man. How can LDS followers honestly say they are Christian if they don't follow the true spirit of what was intended by Christ?

Removing a persons right to marriage is simply not their decision to make. Given the amount of physically and emotionally abusive 'straight' marriages within the church, you might think they would be grateful that two people want to be married and treat each other well - regardless of their sex.

L Armstrong
Sydney, Australia


Well I came out of the closet just about the time Prop 8 came onto the scene. My family has been torn apart because of the church's stance on gay's and marriage. As it stands now, I will not be able to marry my partner. I very much oppose Prop 8, and now the backers of the proposition want to nullify the marriages that have taken place.

Lyle P.
Tustin, CA


Thank you for your work on this issue and for gathering stories. My family has shared their story on my blog, linked below.

stewf.blogs.com/stewflog/2008/10/a-christlike-ca.h

Stephen Coles
Oakland, CA

I grew up with a Mormon best friend and through her family gained a love and respect for their faith. I have always had an innate sense of a Higher Power and pride myself in truly believing we are all of the same source, no matter how it is translated.

I came out to my friend and her family when I was 21 as Gay. Their acceptance of me was immediate. This lead me to believe that Mormons were very accepting as a faith and people...I held this belief for many years, and although I never was baptized into that church I would defend its validity among all other religions and faiths.

I understand that I was made the way I am and my accepting of it was both necessary and spiritual. If you don't understand homosexuality then you don't really know enough of them.

So, in light of the recent highly unfortunate passing of laws and amendments to State constitutions funded and influenced by Churches to influence supposedly secular governments, I have come to realize one very important thing:

The respect and acceptance that I have had for Mormons and Catholics and many other people and their ways of being, is not reciprocated. In fact it seems that rather than get to a place of understanding and acceptance of me and my Gay and Lesbian brethren, these groups have hatred and fear in their hearts. Fear that we will take something away from them by adding more (marriage) to our own lives.

I was with the same man for 13 years until he passed away, and we strengthened ourselves and our community in the process. We will all ultimately find that this group of people that want the same opportunities as heterosexuals, will have at least the same rate of success with their marriages...and Divorces.

I have to finally come out in another way. The Mormon church and the Catholics and any other individuals or group of people with beliefs that guide them to a place where they think any one person on this planet is somehow less than another no longer have my respect. That kind of thinking is disgusting and goes against God or whatever brought us all here to learn, love and grow. That is how your church has affected me and my family!

Chris Bale
Phoenix, AZ


When I 'came out', I was pretty much shunned by my stake. People, who I had grown up with, wouldn't talk to me, even in the neighborhood. My family hasn't been very supportive, even though most of them are no longer active in the Church.

When the Church came out in favor of Prop. 8, this only strengthened my family's opposition to homosexuality. My family used direct Church quotes and phrases to prove their point. The passage of Prop. 8 legitimized their opposition to homosexuality.

Prop. 8, in short, has pitted me against my family. It has hurt me, along with thousands of LGBT people here in CA and around the world.

Carlos Mitchell
Reseda, CA


  Share Your Comments With Us

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