25 September 2013

Outer Darkness

If there's anything that I've learned from speaking and participating at Affirmation two weeks ago, it's that there are high emotions surrounding being gay in the Church. The workshop that I participated in was highly weighted in why we stay in the Church as LGBT Mormons, but there were many participants who expressed their concerns, and pain with staying in the Church. I'm someone who will defend the Church when it deserves to be defended. I am someone who finds the good in the Church when there is good to be found. But when there is no good to be found, I don't stay silent, and I don't go away. It's just how I roll.

Because I don't let up on my convictions, I get beat down. Often. Which sucks. But it makes me wonder how many other LGBT Mormons, and our allies, get beat down for our beliefs and our lifestyles. How much longer are we going to be marginalized? How much longer will we hear the audible gasps and feel the unabashed stares? How many more friends and family will quietly walk out of our lives?

I've grown weary. I hear the disapproval of my peers often. I get it on social media, and through my emails. To them, I'm an apostate. I discourage the Spirit from coming anywhere near me, and by extension, them. I entice doubt, not faith. I promote deviance, not obedience. I am Satan incarnate... I am damned to Outer Darkness.

Believe it or not... these are all real examples, and they are all people who claim to "love their LGBT brothers and sisters". Some even claim to be building bridges between the communities. This doesn't build bridges. It tears them down.

My bridge is slowly crumbling... and sometimes I don't know why I stay in the Church. I honestly have no idea why I put myself through the pain. I wonder if I would be happier outside. I wonder if Christ only atoned for our sins... rather than for our sorrows. I wonder if God loves me. I wonder if He had me turn out gay so that He could damn me to Outer Darkness. I wonder if God is the vengeful God of Evangelical Christianity. Is He the loving God that we say He is? I want to believe it! I want to believe that He is compassionate, and warm!

But why are His children so cruel?


  1. I'm sorry to hear that your bridge is crumbling. For all the progress that we have seen in recent years in increasing understanding of homosexuality and how it is viewed within the church I still suspect that there is a lot of pain, heartache, and misunderstanding yet to be endured before we come to any widespread understanding in the church of how to address this appropriately.

  2. Check out Carolynn Pearsons book The Hero's Journey of a gay and lesbian mormon

  3. I've recently started reading your blog. I find myself agreeing with most of what you have to say, and have truly enjoyed hearing your perspective.

    I'm not really sure why I'm commenting right now, but I wanted to say that I think it sucks that it's so hard for you in the church.

    I feel like if a person has made the decision to be a member of the church, and remain active in the church, the only opposition he/she should receive should be external. There's never an excuse for one member of the church to make another member feel like they're not welcome (although Glenn Beck sometimes makes me differently, j/k).

    One of my closest childhood friends was driven away from the church after he realized he was gay and came out of the closet. He and I had fallen out of touch, and when we reconnected, he told me everything that had happened, and how his own family had made him feel like an apostate who had no place in the church, because of his feelings (not his action; just his feelings). He was afraid I would react similarly.

    It was no surprise to me, however, that he was gay. I knew he was back when he was ten years old, but he hadn't figured it out yet. It didn't matter to me. He was my friend. I loved him like a brother. I knew back when we were kids that he would figure out he was gay eventually, but I didn't realize at the time how hard it would be for him when he came to that realization.

    My heart ached for him when I heard how his family and friends had mistreated him, just for being who he is. My heart aches similarly whenever I hear of anyone who is being pushed away from the church because they don't fit the Utah cookie-cutter definition of what a good Mormon is. I wish we could just love each other, as Christ told us to do.

    1. You are amazing. I needed to hear this today. Thank you

  4. Ellen, your experiences echo my own. I have felt deep pain at the hands of my brothers and sisters in the gospel - for the sole reason of supporting, loving and defending my gay son. It is not right, It is not Christ-like. It needs to change. But it will only change if WE keep pushing for it. It is the hardest battle I've ever been a part of. I fight discouragement, disillusionment and the loss of my faith and testimony constantly. Let's strengthen and lift each other. Let's be one another's cheerleaders. We can each be the balm we need to soothe our hurts and heal our wounds. To me, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ at work. This is what our baptismal covenants - comfort those that stand in need of comfort, mourn with those that mourn - look like in action.

  5. You said it exactly right- His children are cruel, but HE IS NOT. That's why you stay in the Church. Because it's His, not theirs. You stay because you know it is true. That's why I stay- because it's true. If the people could have driven me out, it would have happened a long time ago. But, they don't drive me out because it's not for them that I stay. It's for Him. You stay because you love Him, too.

    Stay strong. He loves you and wants you here. Me, too. :)

    Sending love and good energy. Duck

    1. How do you know it's "true?" What do you mean by "true?" I find that we as LDS feel things and because we feel good, we call it True, capital t. Not likely. I've been happier since I've accepted that and myself and left the church. The peace I feel now way outweighs what I felt as a life long member and RM. The church is not True. Joseph Smith was a strong leader, not a prophet. The Book of Mormon is not scripture nor is it historical. The leaders of the church today are not Prophets, Seers nor Revelators. Let it all go and you'll find clarity.

    2. I know it is true because it has been revealed to me. Yes, it is good. But, it is more than that. It is truth revealed. How do you know it is NOT truth? Because you DON"T feel it, you say it's not true? Has it been revealed to you that it is not true? Because you feel peace, that is your revelation? You let it go. That is your choice. Not my choice. I am not going to let it go. Truth is important to me. Now, please leave me alone.

    3. Play nice kids... everyone's experiences are vaild, and authentic :) You both are amazing!

  6. Well, considering you haven't mentioned perfect knowledge encounters with the Holy Ghost which you later denied, I'd say the people telling you you're off to outer darkness need to read their scriptures! That said, God loves you and so do a great deal of his children.

    Your post made me think of this scripture, a very, very sad scripture, but a beautiful one:

    Moses 7:31-33, 41

    And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

    The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

    And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;


    And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.

  7. All have fallen short of the Glory of God. We're all in is together. The mean ones just lie to themselves. Hang in there; there's way more of us nice people then them, we just don't brag about it. Other than I guess I just did.