The new policies in the LDS Church Handbook 1 have had me so utterly engrossed in the debate, apologetics and backlash, that I’ve scarcely been able to sleep.
I suppose some would wonder why I would care so much since I no longer consider myself a member. I’ve asked that of myself repeatedly. Why am I so surprised? Why am I so hurt? And most of all, why do I even care?
My husband’s entire family are staunch Mormons, as are my own sister and mother. I and my husband were staunch Mormons for 22 years of marriage, and even before that. Mormonism was our life, and our joy! Mormon teachings and values still ring in our ears loudly and clearly. Even after leaving we have refrained from removing our names from the church records. For me, it is a matter of honoring that time in my life.
I also know that removing my name and my children’s names, would cause no small pains to my Mormon family. Mormons generally believe that those inactive in the church, may still qualify for salvation under previous covenants made, barring major sin. Removing my name would break that eternal family link Mormons cherish with all their hearts. A link I cherished, and was vigilant to protect for most of my life.
Though I have posted grievances on my blog before, I’ve tried to be very careful and respectful of my family’s beliefs. After all, they used to be my beliefs, I know how meaningful and sacred they are. I admit there are many times when I am so angry, that I have had to distance myself from friends and family I love dearly. It just hurt too much that they continue to believe in a church that rejects me! It hurt too much to hear my mother-in-law tell my husband that she is glad his father didn’t live to see us leave the church.
There have been a handful of staunch Mormon friends that are simply salt-of-the-earth. They cried with me, and prayed for me, and continued to love and accept me fully, even through my hurt and anger. They are a credit to their religion.
Orthodox Mormons believe the God speaks through his modern-day prophet and will never lead them astray. Policy, is approved by the First Presidency, of which the prophet is a part. If I (or any individual) ever feel differently or disagree with the prophet, I will always be wrong in Mormon eyes. Period. End of story. This is a very tough position for me to be in. Mostly, I try to suck up the hurt, like my friends and family do, put on a happy face, and try to just love. Trying to love when you feel personally attacked is exhausting.
To top it off, I have children who have come out as LGBT, making this particular policy hit even closer to home. After all, one of the reasons I stopped attending church was to protect them, both from the ripe soil the church has made for sexual predation, and the bigoted comments and attitudes toward the LGBT community.
So this is why I care. This is why it hurts. This is why I stay up worrying that the chasm between me and my Mormon family and friends will grow ever so much larger, separated by the powerful wedge of the Mormon church.