Let Love be Love

kazden-cattapan-642673-unsplash

Nicole is a mother, feminist, and activist living in the Salt Lake Valley with her partner Kerstin and blended family of seven. She credits the women in her life for shaping her values and her hope for a world filled with compassion, authenticity, and uncompromising love.

It’s so hard to find any words to express my feelings about the news about the changed policy.

I type and delete and type and delete.

I couldn’t find the right words because I couldn’t find words that were true enough to myself, but that I thought would be safe from hurting or offending my family who are still members.  I love my family very much and they have been so great with Kerstin and me.  Since they’ve been so careful not to hurt us, I really, really don’t want to hurt them.

I think I’d just like to describe my dream world.

I wish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had never taught that homosexuality was wrong.  The teaching does deep damage to families.  We all know what it feels like to watch that scene in a movie or TV show where a teen, terrified, comes out to their parents, and a parent takes it badly.

Imagine living it — from either side.  That doesn’t need to happen.  We aren’t born rejecting the idea of a woman loving a woman, or a man loving a man.  We learn it, we have learned it from laws, traditions and religions.

And it breaks families apart again and again and again.

But since the Church did teach it, I wish it had never decided to teach that not only are the “acts” (the sexual side) wrong, but also being a family as a gay couple is wrong. Marriage, commitment, raising children — all these things that as Mormons we were taught to see the immense good in, The Policy taught us even those are wrong, if you are gay.

This was and is so deeply hurtful on a daily basis to me.  My family is wrong.  The relationship that has saved my life is wrong.  The way we are raising our kids to love love, to love whom they wish to love, and to love everyone regardless of whom they love.

This policy said love has limits.  In my mind and in our home, love doesn’t have limits.

But since the Church did teach that and does still teach that, even if it’s not classified as “apostasy” anymore, I at least wish the Church would apologize. I wish it would acknowledge that this is condemning love and families, and why that is wrong.  I wish the Church would reinvest in love of everyone, without prescribing what a “good” love looks like. I wish the Church would acknowledge that the way the religion taught us wasn’t healthy.

I wish the Church would apologize to the people who lost family and friends who were LGBTQ to suicide, addictions, and other fatal or lifelong harm from coping with rejection.

I wish the Church would apologize to people who gave everything they could to believe until they couldn’t cope with the dissonance anymore. Who left, betrayed, because even though they were told the Church loves its gay members, this certainly didn’t feel like the way to love someone.

I wish the Church would apologize to active believers, who may not have felt that this was love either, but became torn between a Church they loved and people they loved.

But, since church leaders haven’t and probably won’t apologize, I wish they would at least stop teaching it and allow LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ members alike to take homosexuality OUT of their religious beliefs, and to believe in unconditional love.  To believe that love and families, and love of family members, is good no matter what it looks like — in THIS life, regardless of beliefs on the afterlife.

I wish the Church would let good be good, and let love be love.

I know my family is not wrong. I know my love is not wrong. I know this is the most right I have ever felt.

I hope yesterday’s announcement is a step toward my dream, toward a love-focused world. These teachings need to change. The hurt needs to stop, and the damage needs to be repaired.

And to the believers, who stuck with me and my family anyway, and who showed and show us pure love, thank you. You’ve helped this change push forward.

And to Kerstin, all my love. ❤️

*Photo by Kazden Cattapan on Unsplash

Comments

  1. Cameron says:

    Thank you for writing this. I have the same wish.

  2. Agree!
    Well stated.
    I feel so sorry for those who lost all hope with the implementation of the POX. I, too, wish our leaders could apologize to them and their loved ones.

    Let us stop forcing people into a mold. We have so much to learn from each other. Let us meet people where they are and extend love, patience, and fellowship.

  3. [Moderator] We have removed a number of comments that ranged from rude to very personal and thoughtful but off-topic to this post. I’d like to set a firm guideline for future commenters on this post: READ THE ROOM. If your comment is something other than a note to our guest writer, maybe find some place on the internet other than a post containing the very tenderly expressed wish, of a very tender heart, at a very tender time, where you can share your thoughts. This isn’t the place for detached philisophical ramblings and debate. We have a very attached, very real human being here who has shared her feelings. There are many places on the internet other than precisely here where comment-writing functionality exists where you can make all types of comments, so if you’re going to make one here, make sure it really truly is a thought best expressed right here.

  4. I know my family is not wrong. I know my love is not wrong. I know this is the most right I have ever felt.

    Yes. While my circumstances are very different, as part of a “part-member” family, I have a sense of the feeling that one’s most important life decisions incur something less than approbation from one’s religious community.

    At any rate, I very much appreciate your testimony.

  5. pamelaweste says:

    Thank you Nicole. I’m sorry for your pain. Seems like this policy change/reversal is leaving people reeling. I wish there were an apology, and acknowledgement of the pain it caused so many members and families.

  6. Loursat says:

    Nicole, thank you. Much love to you.

  7. Wilhelm says:

    “Love doesn’t have limits…”, “My love is not wrong…”, “Let love be love…”

    All fine heterosexual ideology. Indeed the heterosexual is the proto-homosexual.

  8. Mike H. says:

    This is a difficult issue. The Church had made errors with Gays in the past. Check out Carol Lynn Person’s story, for one. The electroshock “therapy” didn’t for for others.

  9. Billy Possum says:

    Thank you, Nicole. It is right and good for those of us whom this change does not directly affect to hear from those whom it does. I am sorry you are hurt, but glad you find some hope in progress.

  10. Jessica says:

    I share your same dream. Thank you.

  11. Nicole, thank you for your beautiful thoughts. When I converted to the Mormon faith I thought I had it all figured out. Then I discovered that it was full of imperfections, some of which came to impact me directly and some which didn’t. I have had my own wishes and regrets about the Church. I think often of my mixed race grandmother who joined the church despite vehemently disagreeing with the Temple and Priesthood ban. I asked her once (as I was on my own faith journey), “why did you join a seemingly racist church?” She told me “because God clearly told me to join, and he told me that he needed me to help it change.” She wrote weekly letters to President McKay hoping to inspire that change. She sent pictures so he could see who was being impacted. She patiently persisted and lived to see changes many years after she started. She never believed all of the fence-sitter (or other theories) she had to hear in her Sunday School classes. She had such a nuanced and lovely testimony when she passed away. I have been on the inside trying to effectuate a change for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters by emulating her. I feel so unsure if staying is the right thing to do when I read stories like yours, especially because my husband and I have leadership callings so it feels complicit to a certain extent. This was your church and you did nothing wrong and it hurt you. I am so very sorry.

  12. Yes, they need to apologize. Yet they probably won’t. As Dallin H. Oaks said in an interview in 2015, the church does not seek apologies, nor does it give them.

  13. Nicole, I’m sorry for your pain. I hope your family attends and is loved in your ward.

  14. I’m glad for this post. We all need a home, no matter who we love. The Jesus I believe in wants every family, and loves everyone no matter who they love, or who their parents love

  15. Dear prophet is channeling Brigham Young a lot these days. The first I recall was a 1990s talk in which dear leader said that God’s love IS conditional. That is wrong on so many levels that it would take an essay to mention all the wrong-ness. He is still saying that God’s love is conditional; if you don’t fit the mold – then you don’t pass Go and collect the $200.

    It is so difficult to see how this can be teachings from Jesus himself, when Jesus ate with the “unclean” and revealed his resurrected self to women first, AND he also denigrated the occupiers of the chief seats.
    “Cold prickly’s” in dear leader’s speeches too frequently to be coincidence.

  16. Exactly right Nicole. Thank you, your words give me courage. I am a Mormon believer, I just don’t believe bishops, presidents, seventies, apostles, prophets, seers, and revelators are perfect. Sometimes they are pretty messed up. I am not perfect either, I am often pretty messed up, we all need grace. One of the graces we have been given is the true and heartfelt and tender courage and love found in your words. I don’t want to leave the church anymore than I want to leave an imperfect family, but I might not have a choice when I start my social transitioning someday. I have your same wishes and some parallel hopes for my transgender circumstance. I hope for every joy for you and Kerstin and your children. As an imperfect Mormon who has sustained the leadership and paid tithes, all through disagreeing with the policy of exclusion, may I say… I am sorry. I am sorry. And I am grateful for the kindness in your words. Lona.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.