We here at Mormon Transitions are dedicated to helping people through the transition process, and that includes away from orthodoxy and toward a more progressive form of their faith, not just in thought, but in action also. This week’s news has rocked so many Mormons to their core. A church leader made it clear Mormons can think whatever they want, but they cannot act on those beliefs though advocating for all marriages. As a psychologist, I want to go on record to say that telling people their thoughts and actions can’t align is a harmful position, and we’ve heard it before and how harmful it already is for gay Mormons to a much higher degree of toxicity: that you can have gay thoughts, but if you act on them you face discipline. Mental health suffers when we don’t allow our beliefs and inner voice to mirror what we say/do: our actions, how we present ourselves to the world. Peace comes from aligning our inner voice with our behavior. It’s freeing, it’s beautiful, it’s the authentic life. And so many gay Mormons have been negotiating that balance for decades—it’s time to listen to them (they’ve been doing it longer than many of us have), ask what they need, and be there for them in this time of immense pain.
I’d be a horrible therapist if I told people what to do. As I’ve said multiple times in multiple forums, only you know what’s best for you as you transition. That said, I’ve put together a list of possible things that I have already seen done and proposed by the fearless among us, as a springboard for deciding what you want to do. If you’re feeling you want to advocate anyway and promote healing and growth beyond the guise of orthodoxy, here are some options, a few of endless possibilities:
- Make personal contact with gay members and former members you know to express love and support, either by text, email, a phone call. Ask how they are doing, and if they want to talk, you’re here, but no pressure. Maybe send them flowers and/or cookies/meals (as our cultural tradition taught us to do for the grieving).
- State publicly on social media your disagreement with the policy and inviting anyone who is similarly in pain to reach out to you because you will be a safe space for them and just listen.
- Wear a rainbow ribbon or ally button to church, large and in the open
- Speak up when anyone says anything to rationalize the new policy at church
- Volunteer for your local suicide crisis line, anyone can do it, just find out where the nearest one to you is. Especially relevant if you live in Utah or the intermountain west, but regardless, this is important work.
- Post on your ward or Relief Society facebook page how you are a safe space for anyone hurting from the new policy and offering to help in any way they need, even going so far as to say (if you are ready) that you don’t see this policy as Christlike in any way shape or form.
- If you have gay friends and relatives, be willing to have a vulnerable talk about how your support of the institution makes them feel, and even be ready to make changes based on what they say to you. One example: they may be hurt that you are financially contributing to an institution that discriminates against them and their children. I had a client for whom their family’s attendance/activity in the church didn’t bother them as they respected where they stood and their need for community, but the financial institutional support troubled them. In this case, the family (who was also struggling with perceived pressure to pay tithing on gross and wanted confidentiality anyway so that the sums remained between them and God and what they felt was right given all circumstances) decided to do tithing in an unorthodox way from then on. I’ve even heard of some who stopped paying altogether and contributed instead to the poor/needy locally and other charities with open disclosure of where funds go. That was more authentic for them.
- Volunteer for and/or donate to shelters for gay youth kicked out of their homes, and/or safe community spaces and programs for LGB youth, and/or Affirmation.
- Bear your testimony on fast sunday, at some point state your sadness over the un-Christlike policy and an invitation for anyone else who is hurting that you are an ally/safe space, they can come to you anytime.
- Stop going to church if it is emotionally wounding. Write a letter or speak to your bishop or SP saying you’ll gladly come back when the policy changes. Take the opportunity to encourage them to reach out immediately to any members or families in crisis over this.
- Organize groups or potlucks at your home inviting people to process their grief/pain over the issue and come together in solidarity in person.
- State publicly on social media or reach out to individuals you know who this is relevant to and offer to help in any way for an at-home naming and blessing ceremony of any child. You could offer your home, make refreshments, even participate in the blessing if they wish
- If you are a bishop or Stake President and you disagree with the policy, you can either refuse to convene disciplinary councils, or convene them (since it says “mandatory”) but make it clear to the individual you will not find them guilty of apostasy and you will take no action.
- Avail yourself of the law of common consent in stake conference next time by raising your hand in a dissenting vote. It won’t reach leaders in SLC, but hundreds of people around you will see where you stand and possibly reach out to you, and know they’re not alone.
- Not baptizing your children if you’re heterosexual until after they’re 18 as a show of solidarity
- Publicly share stories of invididuals and families affected by this policy on social media.
- Ask to be released from a calling that includes implementing or condoning this policy. Sadly, this would include many callings in Primary, YM, YW, in addition to leadership.
- Call Church Headquarters voicing your dissent, respectfully but powerfully. It won’t reach the Brethren, but whoever is on the other line at the time will at least hear an alternative opinion.
- Attend Affirmation vigils and events and promote them on social media, march in pride parades if you haven’t yet
On Sunday, feeling heartbroken, but needing to go teach my CTR5 class, I decided not to teach the scheduled lesson, but instead brought a pile of pictures of Jesus and talked about all the things he did to serve people and how he loves everyone, children, teenagers, grownups, grandparents, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their families look like – and that Christ wants us to love everyone too. It was my very small act of standing against this.
More posts of this quytlia. Not the usual c***, please
Martin, I understood that the paper doesn’t work because it’s basic premise (that we’d know which newborns are going to develop severe developmental issues) is bull. I think most people got that from your post, so on that topic, there’s nothing to discuss anymore :-p