I’ve wanted to write a post about how it felt to walk in the Capital Pride Parade. About the joy I felt. The love. The Spirit. But I’m too afraid. I’m too afraid to air what a beautiful experience it was because I know of the backlash. I know that the minute people see the sign “Mormon’s for Marriage” they’ll start quoting scriptures and conference talks to me. They’ll make me feel bad.
Because guilt works, right? Well, apparently not. In fact, nothing has worked to change how I feel about this. I think it would surprise many to know that I have not wanted to feel this way. That it does not feel good doing something that is contradictory to what my prophet has said. In your emails, you have told me over and over again that I am not following the prophet. That I’m on my way to apostasy. I don’t know what you’re trying to do when you say these things. Scare me? Because I’ll be quite honest with you. I am scared. I’ve been scared about this issue for years and years and years. I love this gospel. I love how I feel when I am at church. I want my children to grow up in the church because it teaches so many great things. I am a better person because of it. I have my husband, the greatest thing in my entire world, because of the gospel. He is the man, the father and husband he is today because of the Gospel. The church isn’t even just a religion to me, it’s a culture and a heritage. Most of my friends are LDS. My family has been members of this church for generations. I am proud of that heritage.
Then there’s this. This one thing. I feel like I’m living my life according to the teachings of Christ and his prophets in every other way. Am I perfect at it? Not anywhere near close. But I am trying. For the past several years, I did everything that I knew to have a “mighty change of heart” in the area of gay marriage. I’ve read and reread conference talks, press releases, and scriptures that apply in this area. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I did not want to feel anything but how I’m supposed to feel. The church brings me such happiness. In the end, the only thing that has felt right to me time after time, was standing up for gay rights.
This is not the LDS church’s stance. This is my own. Please know that in these posts, I am not trying to convert others to my way of thinking. Especially not members of the church. I’m doing what I always do here, writing how I feel. Writing what I believe to be true. I write for me. I have wrestled over this issue for years and have never for a second taken what I’ve written or done lightly. I knew in airing my convictions, that I would be criticized. I just did not realize how much it would hurt.
I have stood up for the church many times in my life. I have been ridiculed for my belief in the things of the gospel. None of that has hurt as much as the pain I have felt these past weeks from members of my own church. For the hurtful things that have been said. For the attacks on my testimony and my faith. No amount of criticism outside of the church could have swayed me from it. It’s been the attacks from within that have given me more pause about continuing my membership in this gospel than anything else. Be careful with your words. You might think you are just stating how you believe, but there are times when it is truly hurtful and does not work to bring people closer to Christ, but push them further away. You have every right to stand up for what you believe, and I respect that. Just be careful to not judge, to not condemn. For that, you have no right. If you continue to feel a need to tell me that I’m going to hell, please just don’t come back to my blog. This is MY blog. This is how I feel. You do not have to be here.
It’s humbling to feel all of these things, all of this pain, and know it’s just because I have stated that I support gay marriage. I could not imagine what it must feel like for a gay person in the church. That makes me ache for them. For the people who only want to have love and acceptance in the church that they love as much I do.
As much as you do.