ATHENA: I recently realized that I never heard either of my parents utter that familiar testimony-bearing expression, “I know the Church is true.” They were both raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the children of Mormon pioneers. They raised me and my siblings in the Church. They never said they didn’t think the church was true, but they never said they did, either. Continue reading “My Parents were Closeted, Nuanced Mormons (and you can be one, too)”
READER POST: Earlier this week, in a leadership session of LDS General Conference, Pres. Oaks said some really hurtful things about queer people. He’s ignorant and his statements were factually incorrect, scientifically speaking.
This is not the exception for Pres. Oaks or other members of LDS leadership, including Pres. Nelson, who also made really harmful statements in a BYU address recently. Because members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view these men as speaking for God, their opinion, however hurtful and incorrect it is, carries a lot of weight. It can do a lot of good, and it can do a lot of harm. Continue reading “The Hard Work of Zion Building”
PILAR: I now live in a very different space from the lonely corner I once occupied. My life isn’t perfect, but there are times when I wince looking back at the domestic abuse I suffered, the hell I went through in counseling with my ecclesiastical leaders, and the constant feeling that I was staggering, limping, or dragging myself to some imaginary finish line. I was determined to find a way to endure to the end because I’d been promised celestial glory for eternity, and I felt that somehow that would make it all worth it in the end. I try not to dwell on this at all, and usually I don’t. But last week’s BYU devotional by President Russel M. Nelson, with its “five truths,” really struck a sour chord. His messages of worthlessness and shame covered in declarations of love and conditional acceptance were eerily reminiscent of the things I heard on a regular basis from my abuser many years ago. I tried to push it away, but the throbbing and familiar ache returned like trapped, frantic birds tapping against a window, longing to be gathered up and flung into freedom that awaits them in the open air. Continue reading “Out of Love: A Response to RMN’s BYU Devotional”
When it comes to women’s issues in the culture surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, none is more heart-rending or important than the issue of suicide. This READER POST carries a needful CONTENT WARNING for SUICIDE. –SQ
Reaching for You
brush the hair from your brow,
sing your lullaby while my tears fall on your head.
But you, enshrouded in hospital blue,
smile and say it’s fine.
And not to worry,
that you should be out
Maybe in a week.
Maybe when the scars have healed.
I reach for your hand
the hand I held when you were small,
before we knew
the demon in your mind would control those hands,
would hold the pills and
one two three four
swallow swallow swallow
when my hand, so far away, couldn’t stop yours in time.
LAURA: Ten years. Almost one third of my life. I’m not old enough to have a marriage 10 years old. Except I guess I am.
We, or rather I, had grand plans for this 10th anniversary. However life got in the way, a fact that I find hilariously ironic considering that marriage got in the way of my life. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I only mean that I didn’t want to get married and have children, especially not right away. I had incredible, adventurous, and powerful life plans.
But… marriage and children was the story God wanted me to live.
JUNE: I did the only thing I could do: defend myself with the tool I had. I was 5′ 5″ and 145 pounds. My husband stood 6′ 6″ and weighed 220 pounds. My physical stature wasn’t that tool. My instinct was. Continue reading “The Risk of Outsider Advice in a Domestic Violence Situation”
DEBORAH: She’d invited me to meet her at a favorite restaurant, one of our usual dives, even though its undergoing renovation. Sometimes we talked about our kids and school, or our husbands and the quirks of marriage, and occasionally about our own ambitions. Always, somehow, our lives as Latter-day Saints colored our conversations. To be honest, being a Latter-day Saint has become increasingly challenging for us both, largely for the disharmony between what the Church offers straight and queer populations. Yet neither of us imagined we’d be having this conversation—the one in which she agonizes over the just-made revelation that her son is her daughter, that he says he always has been and that he’s so, so sorry, can she forgive him? Sometimes hearts break over queso. Continue reading “A Trans Teen, a Church, and the Absence of Pastoral Care”
READER POST: Across the grassy park, I see a cousin I haven’t seen for six years. I shout her name and run toward her. She looks up, shakes off a child who’s clinging to her hand, and we meet in a fierce embrace, laughing and crying. I feel safe–here–in the middle of my chaotic family reunion, where I am linked to everyone, including those I barely remember or have never met, linked just as surely as I hold onto this beloved cousin I’ve known since birth. Continue reading “Generations Bound by Love and Sugar”
LAURA: For three and a half years, queer Mormons in same-sex relationships have been classed as apostates “for purpose of church discipline” and their children excluded from full activity in the church. Yesterday, that policy was reversed during the General Conference Leadership Session.
As a queer woman, I’ve watched the reactions from across the spectrum of Mormondom and I’ve very slowly and carefully made space for my own feelings. What I’ve seen is that most straight Mormons, whether they’re more nuanced and on the fringes or they’re more traditionally believing, are happy. They are celebrating even. Meanwhile most queer Mormons are hesitant, hurting again, fearful of what comes next, and mourning the minimization of three and a half years of brutal pain. Continue reading “Sitting with My Anger: a Queer Response to the Policy of Exclusion Reversal”