Friday, November 6, 2015

When Being a Mormon is Hard

Getting called a goody-two-shoes in elementary school for not swearing, being pressured by soccer coaches to change my decision to not play on Sunday, getting called a bigot during Prop 8--none of these things were that hard for me. I knew where I stood, had confidence in my position, and didn't really care what anyone else thought about me anyway. To be honest, the hardest parts about being a Mormon have not come from outside the church, they've come from within.

For the most part, I'm okay with that. I would be wary of any faith that didn't push me to stretch and grow, even if that process was uncomfortable, daunting, and even devastating at times. My religion asks so much from me, so I feel justified in expecting the same from Mormonism--and for the most part, after long periods of wrestling and pleading and praying, I have not been disappointed.

Questions and concerns about women and priesthood have led me to develop a deep testimony about my power as a woman, even while I still cringe at many things I see and hear about women at church. Painful discomfort with some aspects of temple worship ultimately led me to the most peaceful and affirming meeting with church leaders I've ever had, even though most of my questions were answered with, "We don't know." I feel that God has let me experience the dark so that I will do everything I can to find the light.

Today I'm in the dark. I'm heartbroken about the policy change regarding LGBT families. I may feel this way until I meet my Savior with a joyful embrace and long list of questions. I can't wrap my heart or mind around it. I'm praying for the ram in the thicket. I'm crying out, saying with tears, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

I am confused and dismayed, and no platitudes can smooth it over for me, or for the people actually directly affected by this new policy.

Instead of posting shallow, reductive, and patronizing articles offering unofficial, speculative "insights," please keep your baptismal covenants and simply mourn with those who are desperately mourning. You don't have to disagree with church leaders to empathize with those who have been placed in much more complicated situations than your own. You don't have to sanction gay marriage (I don't) to listen to stories, believe them, and say "I am so sorry." You know what? You also don't have to mention that you don't support gay marriage. Try and love and listen without an agenda.

We're always saying that we hate the sin, but love the sinner. I hope we can start showing that love by opening our hearts to the pain of others instead of trying to dismiss it or explain it away.