Randall Thacker serves on the Board of Directors of Affirmation – LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends and previously served as its international President, focused on growing the organization to meet the needs of tens of thousands of LGBT Mormons internationally. He is a Strategy Consultant and Leadership Coach.
November 5, 2016 was a turning point for many LGBT Mormons, as it was for me. After responding to numerous media inquiries and working with the Board of Directors of Affirmation – LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends to respond to the policy and the pain in the LGBT Mormon community, I decided to take a break from the dialogue, in particular, from social media news feeds. I needed to remove myself from the endless discussions about the new policy and its impact on LGBT Mormons. I decided to enter what I called a “Period of Discernment” for a few months.
What did I learn from this period of discernment?
1) I was reminded that there is a marvelously beautiful and peaceful world out there that doesn’t have anything to do with being LGBT and Mormon
2) I realized that the clarity of the Church’s position through the policy was actually more emotionally and spiritually healthy for me because it set very clear boundaries in regard to my relationship and my future family’s relationship with the Church and removed guesswork and false hopes
3) I realized that my central hope was no longer in the Church eventually accepting my same-sex relationship and family. I have let go completely of the need for that hope – not that I don’t care or desire for that in the future for myself and others – but my happiness is no longer dependent on it and that is a huge relief!
4) My truly and deepest hope now is focused on Jesus Christ, the Rock of my salvation. This laser focus allows me to silence completely all the unhealthy LDS rhetoric of heterosexual and patriarchal dominion and supremacy in this life and the next.
The best way to describe the overall paradigm shift I’ve felt in the year since the policy change is one of “spiritual freedom and equality.” I have become the fully responsible party for my spiritual growth, in partnership with Christ. It’s as if the Lord has made a personal deal with me, saying, “It’s between you and me now, Randall!”
While reading the Book of Mormon recently, I was reminded that: “Everything which inviteth to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ.” I decided to take this upon me as my spiritual guidepost going forward. I could seek Christ and work to become more like Him from an overwhelming abundance of sources within and outside of Mormonism. And, I was just as empowered as Brigham Young, when he stated that he was “…willing to receive truth, let it come from who it may…even the infidel.”
My DNA is and will always be Mormon, for which I am very grateful and proud, yet Mormonism’s mainstream institutions are just one of the many vehicles I will be using as I seek to grow spiritually throughout the remainder of my life.