Honoring President Monson’s Legacy as an LGBT Mormon

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For many LGBT Mormons, the passing of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson has been a bittersweet moment. As many have noted, he steered the Church during some of the most painful moments for our community during his 54 year career in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency. He was also a famously kind, charitable, humble, and hardworking man. Balancing these realities has put a strain on many LGBT Mormons- active, doubting, progressive, post, and every philosophical shade in between.

After finding out the news this morning I sat in my cold car, eyes screwed shut, and thanked Heavenly Father for allowing him to live a rich life that blessed so many. As I drove across the frozen prairie, I sang along to an old BYU-Idaho choir recording of “We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet” and thought about the ways in which President Monson’s legacy will outlive the 90 short years he spent in his second estate. Continue reading

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Mixed Orientation Marriage and the Art of Sacrifice

You are 21, and drowning in grief. Your father has died suddenly, leaving you anchorless. You are suffering from a debilitating and nameless disease, and every doctor you see passes you along, telling you that there is nothing they can do for you. You are in a relationship with a woman who you love desperately, but who loves the sharp highs of anger and fuzzy lows of drugs more.

At your local library, you find a book, beautifully written, telling you that you are a beloved daughter of a Heavenly Father, and He has a Plan of Happiness for you. It tells you about the pattern of things that He has set forth, and that you agreed to in the pre-mortal realm. The book says that there is more to life than pain, and that we have come to this world to learn and experience joy. You read it greedily, taking it with you on your breaks to work, sneaking in as many pages as you can away from your girlfriend’s watchful eyes. In it you see truth, beauty, light and- most importantly- hope.

Six months later you sit in front of the local Mission President. You confess to him that you are a lesbian, but that you have broken up with your girlfriend of two years and are living separately from her in preparation for baptism. He smiles; you’ve said the right thing and you bask in his approval. Cutting ties with your girlfriend was painful, but the sacrifice was worth it. Your sins can be washed away. Your homosexuality can be washed away. Continue reading

No Closet is Bulletproof

WARNING: This blog post will discuss some topics of a personal and sensitive nature (rape, homophobia, abuse, violence, etc). If that disturbs or triggers you, please do not read it.

My name is bijte, and I’m a lesbian.

I have been closeted for a year now.

I came out in 2005 (or rather, was forcibly outed) in my small, rural, conservative town.

In 2006 I was a victim of corrective rape. Continue reading

What We Didn’t Hear at General Conference

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Last weekend was the 186th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a time when Mormons around the world assemble in chapels, stake centers, and living rooms for 8 hours (or 10 if you are a Priesthood holder) of spiritual instruction and revelation from our leaders. We’re told that the words spoken within the Conference Center and broadcast around the globe via satellite are the will of our loving Heavenly Father- the scriptures of a modern age- and Latter-day Saints eagerly await each April and October session, hungry for new spiritual insight.

 

This is often a joyful and exciting time for Mormons as they gather with their friends and families, cook large post-Conference meals, and excitedly speculate on new temple announcements and doctrinal changes. For weeks afterwards Mormon social media accounts are flooded with quotes, videos, and even Conference related memes to capitalize on the fresh spiritual momentum that comes with hearing the Apostles and General Authorities reveal God’s plans for His people.

 

It’s a little different if you’re a LGBT Mormon, however. Continue reading

The Abrahamic Test

Two weeks after news of the exclusion policy broke, my bishop called me into his office. He is a kind man, and I know he means well, but he sees my life as a lesbian as one full of pain, sorrow, and sin. He’s told me before that he thinks I am strong to face this road, as if it was my choice, as if my sexual orientation is a millstone around my neck. He cannot see the joy in what I am, or the beauty- only the eternal consequences. I was nervous to be singled out this way, and apprehensive that what he had to say could offer me any comfort.

“Sister Bijtje, the Stake President has asked that I reach out to any members who may be struggling with news about the recent policy regarding LGBT members and their children. I wanted to make sure you understand that this is coming from a place of love and we have to trust in our leaders.” Continue reading