In Gospel Doctrine class last Sunday, we were talking about obedience. The teacher wrote a quote by President Faust on the board, “Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated.” The Church leadership seems obsessed with obedience. I believe President Faust’s comment is true, but I also believe that unquestioning obedience to Church leaders is unhealthy and spiritually damaging, and only fosters unrighteous dominion at all levels of the Church. Continue reading
My bishop has been a great supporter of me being an authentically gay man who is also active in the Church and our ward. He asked me to write a letter to him explaining my feelings and experiences, and what I have learned that has helped me on my journey to authentically accept who I am as a gay man and find my mission and purpose as a Mormon. Here is what I wrote to him…
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)
I spent the holidays this year in Utah, and stayed the whole time with my brother and sister-in-law. Over the two weeks I was there, I had some really great conversations with them. They are very conservative members of the Church and believe in following the prophet with exactness, no matter what, and that we will be blessed if we do so. However, when talking about the plight of gay members in the church, I was surprised at how open minded they were to the idea of the Q15 coming out with a revelation accepting same-sex marriage in the Church. With two more vacancies in the Q15, we are getting closer to this possibility. Continue reading
I’m a bit baffled when people bear their testimony and say they “know the Church is true”. The statement that the Church is true is meaningless to me. The Church is an organization. Certainly it is a unique organization, and even very unique compared to other churches, but the Church cannot be any more true than the United Nations is true, or the US Government is true, or McDonald’s Inc. is true, or the Utah County PTA is true. It’s just an organization, and organizations are not true or untrue.
On my most recent trip to Utah to visit my children who are living there now with their mother, my 17 year old daughter opened up her feelings to me about the divorce. She said she has been really mad at me, but has been trying to get past it. The divorce has been really hard on her, and she has been feeling something is wrong with her because her parents are divorced. She had a lot of questions for me about when I knew I was gay and about when I was dating women as a young single adult and eventually dated and married her mom. She wanted to know, if I knew I was gay, why did I marry her mother in the first place. Continue reading
I am a gay member of the church and have been disfellowshipped from the church for eight years. Through all these years I have remained active in the church. Even though I have thoroughly repented and been in full compliance with the hyper-religiosity and everything my bishops and stake presidents have asked me to do, and was living my life fully in alignment with church standards, my multiple attempts to be reinstated have been denied over and and over. It has always been very puzzling to me, since my whole experience as a member my whole life, and serving as a bishop for four years, taught me that church discipline is not intended to be like this. Church discipline should always be done in love, maintain the dignity of the individual, and for the repentant it should be brief. Even if someone has been excommunicated, after a year they can be re-baptized if they have been repentant.
There are several reasons why I think my case has gone on for years and years. First, I should clarify that my disfellowshipment was not due to any illegal or heinous behavior. However, I have been told that while the sin was relatively minor, because I was a bishop, the penalties are much higher. Though I was only disfellowshipped instead of excommunicated, the Office of the First Presidency intervened with my stake president’s decision and mandated that my discipline last a minimum of five years. Normally, disfellowshipment lasts no longer than a year, and it is almost unheard of for the church employees of the Office of the First Presidency (who hold no priesthood keys) to interfere with the decisions of stake presidents who hold the priesthood keys for church discipline within their stakes. The fear of having First Presidency scrutiny of my case has deterred my three stake presidents over the years from reinstating me, even after the five-year minimum was met. Combined with some other factors, it has been a continuously unsuccessful effort to try to be reinstated.