Yesterday I was reading a touching blog post about the experiences a girl named Lauren had growing up gay in the LDS Church. Her struggles struck me deeply, and I tried to imagine what it would be like to feel completely out of place in the church. As I read Lauren’s experiences I had a profound realization: I too am out of place in the church.
The Church doesn’t want the real me; they want some false, fake version of me that doesn’t exist.
The Church doesn’t want the real me because the real me believes that
- I have no right to tell a gay couple that they can’t get married
- I have no right to force my belief system on anyone else
- Woman and men are equals in every sense of the word, and that this view needs to extend beyond lip service; it must be shown in action too
- Churches should use their money to help the poor rather than building gaudy temples and shopping malls
- We should be addressing the LGBT suicide epidemic in Utah, not ignoring it
- The Church turns women into sex objects by telling them that they become porn when they dress in a certain way
- The Church turns men into sex objects by telling them that they are sex-driven creatures who will become rapists if they look at porn even once
- Smothering your sexuality, rather than embracing it, is dangerously unhealthy
- Porn isn’t inherently bad
- God’s true church (if such an organization exists) should be up front about its faults, rather than hiding them away in obscure essays on its website
- The Book of Mormon isn’t a historical account and was likely a fabrication created by Joseph Smith
- Having dark skin isn’t a curse from God
- Love is sacred, and that means not getting engaged after a few weeks/months. It also means being with somebody that is truly important to you.
- Emotions are not a valid way to discern truth
- No man should tell a woman what to do with her body
- Middle-aged men with no formal training should not be asking teenagers about their sexual habits, especially behind closed doors
- People should never give 10% of their income to a multi-billion-dollar church before feeding their children
- A black and white, good and evil view of the world is not only fallacious but downright dangerous
- Close family and friends should never be excluded from a marriage ceremony
- Joseph Smith was wrong to marry multiple women. Choosing to marry teenagers and other women behind his wife’s back was utterly despicable. All of this spits in the face of the church’s “marriage is sacred” rhetoric
- It is wrong for any faith tradition to force its beliefs on other people
- Any divinely-inspired church should focus primarily on helping its members become better people rather than worrying about whether they masturbated last night
If I were to advocate for any of these things openly, I’d risk excommunication. It’s happened to others and it sure as hell could happen to me. The Church doesn’t want members who think for themselves, they want members who will submit to the church’s will, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.
Unfortunately for them, I refuse to bow down. I would rather live authentically and be frowned upon by my friends and family than to live miserably as an inauthentic shell of myself.
Note: I am in no way trying to imply that my struggles are comparable to Lauren’s. While my experiences in the church are difficult, I’m confident that Lauren’s are more strenuous by a significant amount.