Thursday, December 11, 2008

What more can be said? I’m sorry

I’m sorry.

I am sorry to my gay and lesbian friends in California that we Mormons got involved in an issue designed specifically to deprive you of the social and legal comforts that marriage can bring.

I am sorry that we Mormons live in a world of contradiction. On the one-hand we condemn the homosexual community for its supposed instability, promiscuity, and immorality, while on the other we seek to deny you the very institution which, according to our own heterosexual world-view, would provide the stability, commitment, and moral fortitude we claim you lack.

I am sorry because we claim that that children have the “right” to be raised in a home with a father and a mother. We are so committed to this idea in fact, that we would rather see those children already born into difficult and non-ideal circumstances languish in foster-care and other flawed systems, rather than be given the love and stability that your homes are so ready and willing to provide. Oddly, we claim that children have this “right” to both mother and father yet our own divorce rates would indicate that many Mormon children do not enjoy this “right.” Also, I’m sorry that all of our attention has been focused on you and not on preventing single persons the ability to adopt, or stripping children way from single mothers or widows and who are depriving their children of this “right” to both mother and father.

I’m sorry that our Proclamation on the Family reads more like a threatening letter from a divorce attorney, than a Jesus-like plea for compassion, love, patience, and understanding.

I’m sorry that we have spent so much time and so many resources in this “moral” battle while ignoring other battles of equal, if not more certain moral concern. For a church that has, for at least one given reason, engaged in the Proposition 8 fight to protect the will of the voters, we have been oddly silent about troubling provisions of the Patriot Act, for example, which clearly violate the rights of voters and citizens.

What more can be said? I’m sorry.



  1. Seth --

    Re: that proclamation reading like a threatening letter -- I've thought that for years. ;) I came out of the closet (for good -- i.e. telling my parents and everyone) the same year the church issued the proclamation -- I wondered if the only reason I found it sounded belligerent is because it was obviously written to "protect" the church against people like me specifically -- in any case, I took it as a sign that there really was no point trying to stay in the church anymore and I left.

    I'm glad to see all the expressions of love and support here -- such a heartfelt counterpoint to the video on election night, which literally made me sick to my stomach, watching the Yes On 8 people break out in wild applause and cheering as the race was called in their favor. I wondered -- what on earth are they so happy for -- non-gay Californians were not affected by Prop 8 one bit -- they have no more, and no less, than they did on Nov. 3. I, and my friends, on the other hand, have lost. I have friends who got married who are now just "maybe" married. I won't be marrying my fiance either, now, any time in the foreseeable future -- and yet, here were all these people cheering and laughing and high-fiving each other at the mere prospect of having "won." Won what, I wondered.

    You're right to ask what more can be said. The answer is, not as much as there is to be *done.* And if I may be so bold, I'd issue a challenge to anyone in the Mormon church who may be feeling some remorse for their vote, to do something positive next time this comes up -- which it will. If Mormons were to help us in some appreciable number, instead of rising up so mightily against us, every time, it would do much to heal the divide between us, and you.

    And by us, I'm not just talking about gays. I'm talking about our families -- some of us have loving families who have been able to see through the church's hate campaign against their own and love us the same as their other children. This goes further than just the gay community -- we have families and straight friends, too, by the millions.

    It would be nice not to feel like everyone from my "old life" was an enemy. ;)

    This blog has been an amazing find, and a very profound first step toward softening my heart toward Mormons, from whom, I hope you'll understand why I'm saying so, I haven't exactly been feeling the love lately.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Dr King said -- the arc of history is long, and it bends toward justice. We will get there eventually. We are on the right side of history. Thank you for being on our side.


    Scott Van Tussenbrook
    Los Angeles, CA

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Well said. The right of a society to make its people feel whole is truly the mark of a healthy society. We have been programed and desensitized throughout the last eight year. The quality of life for many of us has just slow eroded away - in a way that we become complacent.

    Again, well said. I also follow the davidreidlowell.blogspot he is gay and out. He speaks frequently about faith, religion and the desensitization that has happened to all of us, where we begin to feel that is normal and acceptable to 'be sorry', to hide, and to take a second seat to others. Discrimination does still exist, especially if you have a conservative career or live in a conservative area - it is just done in a nicer manner now.

  4. Almost a year later, I found your post. If you read this, Seth, know that what you wrote was very moving and quite unexpected. God bless you for it. Really.


  5. I can only get through the first page of these posts without breaking down, so Seth, this comment is for you and any others who read it.

    I am a lifelong Christian, raised Catholic, became a leader in evangelical student ministry in college, followed by marriage to a pastor.

    Yet the way I saw Christians behaving in October of 2008 effectively destroyed my faith.

    I no longer enjoy a sense of belonging to or community with a group of people so eager to prevent others from expressing the deepest level of commitment our society knows. Who consign the inevitable children of those relationships to illigitimacy.

    My dismay at how followers behaved caused me to deeply question the teachings that have shaped my entire adult life.

    The passing of Prop 8, in the eyes of some, may have protected marriage. For me, it has set me adrift. I feel lost. I don't know how to believe again. I don't know if I want to. And, obviously, the foundations of my own marriage have cracked.

    This site is an answer to prayers I've been unable to pray. Thank you for your honesty and courage.