Saturday, October 16, 2010

The dissenting voices must come from within the church

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attend every Sunday with my husband and four children. I've served faithfully as a missionary and in numerous callings over the years. It is hard to express how deeply disappointed I am with what my church has said and done regarding homosexuality. Please know that there are many of us who do not feel the same way as our church leaders. I have been asked how I can stay in my church after the Props and Elder Packer's comments. I ask myself the same question. I've come to the answer that if those of us who oppose the church's position on homosexuality jump ship - change will never occur. It will only be by voicing our concerns and dismay that things might be different for our children and grandchildren. The dissenting voices must come from within the church - criticism from outside the church is seen as adversity - and only makes church members more entrenched. My daughter is at BYU. While most still follow hold to the "iron rod" unquestioningly, there is a growing group who are having conversations about the issue and are gaining courage to speak out - which is far harder than any non-Mormon could understand. I am saddened by what my church has done. I'm trying to make a difference. I hope change comes.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Things will change as more of us stand up for the teachings of Jesus

Phyllis Barber wrote something in her essay entitled "The gift of a broken heart" which was published in Sunstone magazine #150:

“My faith is fortified by my Mormon heritage and the strength and determination of those ancestors who came before me. I am a product of what they began and insisted on creating with their ardent belief in a Kingdom of God and a United Order. These roots are my roots, and my faith is stronger because these roots have nurtured and provided a platform of belief and trust in divine guidance. I’m inspired and moved by the power of my Mormon community, in which people are striving to love with pure and open hearts; in the knowledge that I am a cell in the body of this community, even though humans sometimes struggle with what love means.” -Phyllis Barber

The last line is most important. I am sorry for the pain and anguish the church and gospel I belong to has caused my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Most people are doing what they think is right, but are making a sad error.

Things will change as more of us stand up for the teachings of Jesus and our own conscience instead of the traditions of our fathers.

Stay strong and fight the fight!


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about hate.

I want to say I'm sorry. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about hate. It's not about forcing anyone to live a certain way. Moral agency means we each get to choose our own path, and that means EVERYONE decides for themselves. I'm sorry that my church occasionally forgets our 11th Article of Faith: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege,let them worship how, where,or what they may."


Friday, October 8, 2010

I can't even begin to say what a painful and soul-damaging experience this has been.

I am a bisexual lifetime member of the church, who was living in CA when everything happened with Prop 8. It's easy for me to "hide", as a wife and mother with small children...and so I did. I can't even begin to say what a painful and soul-damaging experience this has been.

I lost a dear family member to Prop 8. He had come out ofter his mission, and his family had reached a sense of equilibrium...celebrating his civil union the year before. Prop 8 changed all of that. He asked his family to support his marriage, and between him and the church, they felt that it was the righteous choice to pick the church over their son.

To this day it makes me angry just thinking about it; considering how much damage was done in my family alone. It makes me sad that I felt so threatened. The things that were said to me be other members, feeling perfectly justified, were hideous. The things that family members have said to me have been equally so. It breaks my heart that I am not allowed to live and let live. I can't state the way I identify myself without a battle and condescending statements that I couldn't possibly feel the way that I do unless I have sinned.

It's been a long road for me since being bullied into voting yes on Prop 8...and I am deeply sorry for that choice. I have learned and grown, and am choosing at this point to begin to step away from the church. I can't believe the amount of guilt and shame that have been heaped on my head--when I have done nothing other then tell a few close people that I find women attractive--my heart goes out to those who have been hurt by this, both non-members, and members of the church who have not hidden the way I have.

The statements this past General Conference have been a final straw for me. It is a lie that the church is taking the same stance it always has. For years under President Hinkley the policy was encouraging members to treat *everyone* with respect. While members, of any orientation, were encouraged to remain chaste until marriage, I never saw the sort of shame that has been handed out in recent years. Going back to telling gay members that they can and should change has set the church back more then ten years. Do not believe that the policy and tone has remained the same, please, I beg you.

I can't change that vote...and I can't change the years of silence, head down, as people have said these thing from the pulpit, but in general meetings and local wards, but I can offer my deepest apology for my silence, and vote with my feet. While I can't change the beliefs of others, I have never felt the god I pray to every night condone this. Between the church and painful as it might be...I choose Deity.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We are all here to practice our free agency. To choose....

I've been a member of the LDS church all my life. I've just recently started to open my eyes to the fact that its definitely not perfect. I too disagree with Packers recent talk and the church's involvement in Prop 8. I've always been taught that the whole reason we came down to earth was to gain a physical body and practice our free agency. Why does the church feel it has the responsibility to affect someone else's choices. We are all here to practice our free agency. To choose....


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am so sorry, and ashamed for what my church has done

I am so sorry, and ashamed for what my church has done in the great state of California I have been taught most of my life in the church to try to be Christ like and kind. For a church that constantly claims it is Christian, I don’t believe it is helping its own cause with this effort to remove the civil liberties of a specific groups.
I am a former bishop from Canada. As you are likely aware, we had a similar law passed in Canada a number of years ago. My wife and I refused to sign the petition we were asked to sign in a combined PH and RS meeting. We felt that our church had enough history of bigotry and bias as to not wish to be part of it ourselves.
There is something, deep down in our soul that tells us that taking liberty away from others, no matter what the issue, is not right.

I ask the church leaders who are likely monitoring this sight one simple question. Hasn’t our own LDS history been enough filled with embarrassing examples of discrimination and bigotry that we don’t have to be the very last ones to change on this issue?
I love my Country, I am proud for its history of kindness towards its citizen's. The passage of the rights act which provides the rights for gays to marry has not destroyed our county. If anything it has helped us to learn that all the fear mongering the LDS has led us to believe on this subject is simply, out of date and wrong.
Not all church leaders agree with what Salt Lake has done on this issue, we are simply smart enough to not leave our actual name with our posts.

Sincerely ANO

I'm changed, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry too. I should have said that I didn't agree. I was so shocked the church kept pressing the issue. I though it would go away but it didn't. I complained to my husband but I wish I would have tactfully stated my opposition to more people. I wasn't being authentic to my true self. Even with this, I do love the gospel. Brigham Yong said, “The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.” I wish I would have said something.... sorry to all my gay brothers and sisters, I love you, I'll fight for you, I'm changed, I'm sorry.


Please accept my sincerest apology

To gay / lesbian / transgender people everywhere, I'm so sorry for what our church has done with Prop 8 (and the other anti-gay things they have said and done in the past). Please accept my sincerest apology and know that I—and others like me within the Church—am working to change how we view and interact with the gay community.



We need to make the rights of individuals equal and not put it in a vote.

Dear Victims of Prop 8,

Even 4 months after Prop 8 passed, I am still so deeply ashamed.  I was born Mormon.  I lived as a practicing Mormon until November 2008.  I wasn't always 100% active, but I tried to be good and I felt the Mormons taught love and understanding.  I was so very, very wrong.

I am at a loss for words.  My husband and I knew that Prop 8 wouldn't pass.  How could it?  We are living in a modern society and I felt the American people had learned so much from the Women's Suffrage movement and the Civil Rights movement, that Prop 8 didn't have a snowballs chance in Hell.  My husband and I voted NO by mail and didn't think much of it.  I had NO idea that the church I paid tithing to, was spending my hard earned money on something I didn't support.

Apologies aren't enough, though I am so very glad I found somewhere I could voice myself.  I could sit here all day writing the words "I'm sorry" over and over.  As apologetic and ashamed as I am, the emotion I mostly feel is angry.  Maybe I am immature, weak or impressionable, as I was raised in a pacifist religion, but I am more angry than I am sorry.  I had no idea that the Mormons were the force behind all those stupid signs about religious freedom and family.  I didn't know any of that until I was listening to 97.1, Tom Leykis opened my eyes to the astounding amount of money that was being used to pass Prop 8 and like 70% was from the Mormon church.  What a bunch of hypocrites.  That sealed the deal for me.  The moment I knew that an organization that I thought taught the love of Christ and God and the idea of family, didn't, I was out.  I want my tithing back.  I want to donate it to whomever is in charge of righting this wrong.

Anger, frustration and being tired of the nonsense is what changes the world.  Check, check and double check... so what do I do now?

I sat through the week prior to the vote, knowing in my heart that Californians would vote NO in astounding numbers.  I was so wrong.  I was so disappointed to be Mormon, to be Republican, to be a Californian, to be straight, knowing that I did nothing.  I didn't put up a sign, I didn't hand out fliers, I had no reason to believe that we as a people could vote to deny people equal rights.  I want to go back, I want to preach the truth like how I was taught all my life.  Gay marriage will not take away religious freedom.  Gay marriage will not diminish the relationship I have with my heterosexual partner, who I married.  Gay marriage will not tarnish families, it will make them stronger.  I want to put on a name tag, I want to go door to door.  I want to stand across the street for those Holier than Thou religious folk holding their Yes on 8 signs with my one No on 8 sign.  They wanted people to honk if they supported them.  I would have my 2 year old hold a sign that says "Honk if you're bigoted".  That was all they were really doing.

What are we going to do next?  Have separate drinking fountains for gays?  Is that the way we want to move as a country?  Is that what we want to teach our children?

I feel so stupid for having faith in my fellow man.  I feel so stupid for not doing more.  I want to do more than just sign petitions.  I want to explain to everyone that was so easily scared by the religious propaganda, that they prey on your fears to make you feel superior.

I AM sorry.  I am so very very sorry that "my church" was the force that made so many marriage certificates legally useless.  I cannot believe, nor can I fathom the inequality that gets passed off as okay because of God.  So many bad things happen in the name of God.  If God is our father, and he loves us anywhere near as much as I love my two little girls, I know that he loves ALL his children unconditionally.  White, yellow or black.  Gay, straight or bi.  We need to separate Church and State.  We need to make the rights of individuals equal and not put it in a vote.

I hope with all my heart that equality becomes federal law, that two consenting adults can marry each other in any state, even UTAH. 

I was so ashamed, that I no longer consider myself Mormon.  My parents and three younger brothers no longer speak to me because of my decision.  But I have to live with myself, and I cannot live with raising my children in such a hypocritical church.  I will not teach my children to believe they are better than others because they are Mormon, straight, white, religious or anything else.  Families are what you make of them, and they don't have to be the married straight couple with 2-10 kids whose names all start with the same letter.

I hope that we as a people can right this wrong and give gays the same rights.  And I hope when the right wing nuts try to discriminate against Atheists, saying that since they don't believe in God that they shouldn't be able to enter into such a sacred union, that we all learned an important lesson.  People have so much faith in church leaders and what they say God wants, that people are willing to vote to discriminate and deny people rights and civil liberties the law protects.

The saddest thing of all is that my mom, dad and three younger brothers all still feel like they did the right thing.

With love and humility,

Leilani (Mascio) Pearce
Brea 1st Ward
Brea, CA 92821  

Even though I don't know you, even though we may never meet, I sincerely, truly love you.

To everyone: I'm sorry.

To all the gay community, and their friends, family, and millions of supporters, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I don't have the courage to stand up for what's right.

To my fellow church members, I'm sorry I don't have the patience to try to help you understand why it is that I feel the way I do about the Church and it's stance on gay marriage.

To my parents, I'm sorry I've been living a lie for the past few years, unwilling to see the shame on your face if I were to tell you how I really feel and what I really believe.

To my grandchildren, I'm sorry that you have to be ashamed of your grandfather's inaction during a time of inequality that you won't be able to understand.

To the activists that would judge me based on my religious affiliation, I'm sorry for the actions of the Mormon Church that has forced your first impression of a Mormon like me to be filled with distrust and disgust, even when some of us actually sympathize with you and truly do love you - and I'm sorry we're the slim minority in our Church. I'm sorry I don't have the guts to walk away from an institution I have fundamental disagreements with; I'm sorry that I'm afraid of being caught supporting equality; I'm sorry that it's the powerful pressure of the Church that makes me afraid of associating with you.

To the millions of noble Californians who turned out on Election Day determined to make a stand for civil rights, for equality, for freedom, for love, I'm sorry that I couldn't do more. I love you. Even though I don't know you, even though we may never meet, I sincerely, truly love you. I'm sorry there isn't a better way for me to express the gratitude and compassion I feel for you for all you've done to stand up for dignity and civil rights.

I'm sorry that I cave into pressure. I'm sorry that I've been pressured into going to BYU next year, where I won't be able to voice my opinion. I'm sorry that I've been pressured to serve an LDS mission when I turn 19, preaching for a church that fought to continue discrimination, violating its own principles to push members to support an intolerant agenda and contribute millions to a political campaign based on deceit and fear. I'm sorry that I'll most likely continue to hide in the anonymity of the internet to voice my opinions, too afraid of attracting negative Church attention to myself.

I'm sorry that I'm not brave, like you.

But maybe someday, that'll change. Maybe someday we'll meet - maybe at a rally; maybe at a celebration on the day gay marriage is made legal in the U.S. - and I'll be able to proudly look you in the face, no longer with shame, no longer with fear, no longer prone to pressure, and then I'll finally be able to say, I did it. I stood up for what's right.

'till we meet,

If I had been a California resident my vote might have made a difference this time.

I'm a Utah Mormon and I'm sorry. A few years ago when Utah passed similar legislation I voted against it but my vote didn't matter much at the time. If I had been a California resident my vote might have made a difference this time.

If it's any consolation, I no longer support the Mormon church in any fashion, financially or otherwise. I am standing against bigotry and will face whatever consequences result.

The people I love the most in this world are Mormon. I live with them. I enjoy their company. However, I've lost respect for those who so willing jump on the bandwagon of hatred and intolerance and proudly declare they are doing God's work. If that is indeed God's work then I've also lost respect for the Mormon God.

The Mormon church may consign me to Hell for my disobedience. I don't care. I'd rather go to Hell than for following my conscience than go to a heaven filled with haters and bigots.

Bert W.

New posts to be coming

Things got busy and the site took a back seat for a while. However, in light of Elder Boyd K. Packer's recent general conference address, we will be posting old and new pleas for forgiveness from fellow Latter-day Saints who want to apologize for the homophobic rhetoric and actions from our Church leaders.