Uncertainty

Lynnette has a PhD. in theology and pretty much runs the show at Zelophehad’s Daughters. She’s a longtime friend of BCC and one of the best people we know.

Last fall, I happened to be visiting Utah, and I made a last-minute decision to attend the annual Affirmation conference being held in Provo. It was my first time attending, and I was really struck by the optimism I encountered there, by the hope that it was possible to be both Mormon and LGBTQ. When the policy came to light just a few months later, I kept thinking about that. I saw way too many defenses of the policy that claimed that no one was getting hurt because gay people wouldn’t want anything to do with the church anyway. I found myself wishing that the people confidently making that assertion could have seen what I’d seen at that conference.

I was surprisingly detached when the policy came out. It was all a bit surreal, honestly, just because it seemed so ridiculous. And the usually well-polished PR machine of the church appeared to be scrambling, which was actually kind of fascinating to watch. It wasn’t too surprising when they modified it a week later, and I think I maybe hoped that this pointed to a trajectory in which it eventually disappeared.

What ended up hitting me the hardest was Elder Nelson’s talk in January, in which he explained how it was actually a revelation. Intellectually, I was skeptical (it certainly hadn’t been rolled out like a revelation). But emotionally, it got to me. It was deeply painful to hear that not only church leaders wanted me at best marginalized, and quite possibly gone altogether—but that God did, too. I don’t really have words to describe just how it feels to be directly told that the harm being done to people like you is divinely authorized.

Despite all of that, I haven’t left. I won’t say that option’s not on the table, but it hasn’t seemed like the right decision, at least not for me. The policy has, though, has changed my relationship to the church. To be fair, I was skeptical about a lot of things before this happened, but in its aftermath I feel an increased sense of wariness when it comes to church leaders. Also, I used to somewhat defiantly assert that this was my church, too, when people tried to suggest that I didn’t belong because I had feminist or less orthodox views on things, or because I was gay. I notice that I’ve lost that. I can’t confidently say that this is my church, that it’s a place I belong. I’m not actually sure there’s room.

I should add, though, on a more positive note, that on the local level, there have been people who have really been great. I was surprised by how moved I was when a number of members of my ward wore rainbow ribbons to church last year. One of the members of my stake presidency called me up when he heard about me, told me he had a gay nephew, and said to contact him if I ever needed anything. And I’ve deeply appreciated the LDS friends I have in various places who’ve spoken up about their concerns about the policy, and who’ve reached out to me.

What about the future? Before the policy, I had the perhaps naïve idea that things would eventually change when it came to LGBTQ issues. The church had definitely softened its positions over the years, after all. Now I’m not sure what I think, or whether it’s worth it to stick around and see what happens. I’m taking thing slowly, but I have no idea where I’ll be in another year.

Comments

  1. Good to hear from you, Lynette. Love and blessings to you.

  2. Love you, Lynnette. Thank you for sharing your voice with us.

  3. I hope you stay. Our church would be diminished by your departure.

  4. Thank you for this!

  5. Proud to be your sister, Lynnette. I wish I could make the church as a whole a safer space for you. Whatever happens, there’s always room for you in my pew.

  6. Michael H says:

    I’m grateful for these recent posts and the network of support they facilitate in light of the total disappointment the POX has produced. I simply pray that we are doing everything we can to voice our concerns in our wards and to our leaders. Are we declaring ourselves “opposed” when the opportunity arises? It seems many of the feelings expressed in the bloggernacle and elsewhere online would suggest that we are, but I’m not sure that’s 100% the case.

    I pray we never let the ease of internet discussion diminish our ability to push for change and cause us to confuse dialogue with action. The steady solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers/sisters voiced on the bloggernacle is wholly warranted, but I fear much of it is going unaccompanied by non-digital, public forms of dissent. I’m not saying this is the case with any one person on BCC reading this, but I know it has been with myself (I’m trying to change) and more than a few friends and family members who are deeply disappointed with last November’s policy.

  7. Aussie Mormon says:

    “Are we declaring ourselves “opposed” when the opportunity arises?”
    Based on the fact that the people that were loudly vocal in their opposition in general conference last month seemed to be the lowest since the whole “all opposed” movement kicked of a few years ago. It seems like the chances to show public vocal opposition aren’t be used.
    Sure people can hand in their temple recommend etc, but that’s not going to do much support wise outside their ward/stake.

  8. Ronkonkoma says:

    Per LDS theology only a husband and wife who keep their covenants will be able to remain as husband and wife for all eternity. All others will be separate and single forever and ever. This being said why on Earth would the LDS church support an lgbtq lifestyle?

  9. I could never tell you (or anyone) to leave or stay. That being said, I hope you find the answers you are seeking, regardless of what anyone says. Also, gay, straight, whatever, I believe everyone deserves love (romantic and otherwise). I hope you are loved through this painful time, even if others don’t understand your questions.

  10. Kristine N says:

    I am as yet unconvinced this policy is God’s will. I do believe that Pres Nelson felt something and that he interpreted that something as confirmation of the policy, but I’m unconvinced that’s the only interpretation. The thing about feelings is that they’re not even as precise as words, and words can’t even completely accurately convey meaning between people.

    We have a story of Elisha the prophet calling down bears to maul a bunch of children who ridiculed his baldness. Often I hear interpretations of that story that focus on how bad the children must have been to warrant being mauled by bears. I personally hate that interpretation. I prefer to see the story as a warning to those who are granted authority that if they ask for something and do it in the name of the Lord that the Lord is bound by their authority, even if the outcome is terrible. The Lord gives us agency and lets us deal with all the consequences, intended and not.

    To me this policy fits squarely in the category of a something that was asked for and has had horrible unintended consequences. My interpretation of Pres Nelson’s feeling is that he felt confirmation of Pres Monson’s prophetic authority during the announcement of the policy. Since the policy was what he wanted it was easy for him to believe that it was a revelation.

    I firmly believe this is a policy of men. I can not grasp how a loving God would cast off a group of people for something they do not choose. I pray that I will live long enough to see this policy rescinded.

  11. Since the policy was what he wanted it was easy for him to believe that it was a revelation.

    Exactly.

  12. I understand that so many are in pain over the announcement. But are they truly thinking of the welfare of the children involved?

  13. I can’t speak for everyone, but the role of the children in this whole mess is my central concern. I am *truly* thinking of not just the children who may be raised in households with a gay parent, but also of the children who are gay and members of the Church. I have personally witnessed the suffering. It is great and profound. It changes a person to witness and share the suffering.

  14. One might think that a Church that has made at least two huge changes in its orthodoxy in the less-than-two-centuries of its existence would be more cautious about declaring unorthodox beliefs to be apostasy.

    One would be wrong, of course.

  15. Leonard R says:

    It’s still your church.

    And Bro. B – Yes, we are thinkng about the welfare of the children. And wondering the same thing about those who support it.

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