Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I don't hate you

Some have commented that sometimes I'm too hard on the Mormon Church.  I can't completely separate my emotions from my thinking but I do try to base my written posts on realities that I have experienced and observed.  
I feel damaged from my association with the Mormon Church, damaged because from a very young age the church planted in me powerful beliefs that conflicted with what I knew about myself. With the moral authority of God, the Church taught me to hate myself and to suppress who I am. How could I argue with God? I believed for a long time that the problem was me because it obviously could not be God or His church! Only years later did I finally come to the realization that the problem is not me and it's not God. The problem is the organization that got between us, the Church.

I fully acknowledge that I was probably more gullible than most, maybe because I was more faithful and believing than most people. I've always been a spiritual person. I should have been more challenging much earlier. I'm not typically too gullible in areas outside of religion, but when you have grown up believing that an organization is God's hand on the earth and can essentially do no wrong, it becomes easy to find other explanations for the organizations behavior. 

I don't believe that the Church intended to harm me or any of it's gay members or others who don't easily fit into the Church. But nevertheless, the fact is that I and many others have been deeply hurt. Just because there was no intent to harm does not mean that the Church is guiltless. Similarly, a careless driver who accidentally runs over and kills a small child is not guiltless, even though the driver had no intention to harm the child. The drivers of both powerful organizations and powerful vehicles need to be accountable for their actions, intended and otherwise.  

So very much could be accomplished by a humble admission of fault by the Mormon Church's leaders and an expression of willingness to change and to do better, followed up by actions demonstrating this new commitment. 
I don't ever expect the Church to be perfect just as I don't expect me or anyone else or any organization to be perfect. But, a key part of growth and development is a willingness to acknowledge mistakes and do what we can to make amends. When the driver of the car who killed the child is unwilling to acknowledge any error, the driver makes it harder for mercy to intervene. The driver just appears to be a fool. Is it any wonder that the Church is appearing more and more to be the fool, who though obviously in the wrong on any number of issues, continues to claim no fault. The Church has painted itself into a corner by continually emphasizing the near infallibility of the organization's leaders, which makes admitting fault all the more difficult.

So I don't hate you. If anything, I have some pity for the church leaders. No single leader has created the mess, but many by their inaction have allowed it to perpetuate. Now is the time to show some moral courage and stand up and do the right thing.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your post. You lay out very clearly some of my own feelings towards the church. It isn't a matter of blame. I frankly don't care whose fault it is that doctrine, policy, and practice leads to so much spiritual abuse (and in some cases suicides) of gay members, but the fact is it's happening and needs to stop. Instead of pointing fingers or trying to avoid blame, it's time to take some concrete steps to end some of the abominable things that have been happening. It may be true that the church is no longer electroshocking people, but brainwashing them into thinking they can not be gay via Evergreen (or to be fair, no longer be same-sex attracted or diminish same-sex attraction) and abusing them psychologically and spiritually isn't much better.

    Don't be too hard on yourself, although I understand that and often feel the same way. It's easy to look back now and realize you were gullible and not critical enough, but at the time you were raised in the church and to respect authority. I'm the same way. I'm a PhD student and only recently have put some pieces together to say, this just isn't right, and I've been abused by an institution I trusted. You were just trying to put your whole heart into what you believed was true. But if you were going to give them that kind of respect, they should have respected you. It isn't your fault. I think some anger is justified.