If and Then
Up until last night this has been my story.
But the reported and confirmed changes to the Church Handbook of Instruction in regards to the children of gay parents has thrown me into a bizarro, Sliding Doors world and now it is impossible for me not to write my “what-if” story.
What if this policy had been in place in 1991, the same year I turned 8 years old? What if my parents’ marriage had disintegrated, as most mixed-orientation marriages do? And what if my father had done the entirely human thing and pursued a new relationship with a man he loved and was attracted to?
The policy is clear…I could not have been baptized.
Then what? I know I would have been devastated. In my existing story, church was one of the few places of comfort for me as a child–I can only imagine it would be more so if I was dealing with the break up of my family. Don’t, for one second, think you would have been protecting me from anything–not being allowed to be baptized would have been a source of deep sorrow and shame for me. Not to mention what this would have done to my mother, who was and is a committed member of the church. This would have absolutely broken her heart. To add that burden on her after all that she carried…there are no words for that cruelty. And I have to wonder what it would have done to my relationship with my father? Would I have resented him? Would I have been able to overcome the awful rhetoric we use towards our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and actually see my father for the amazing, Christ-like man he is? I hope so but I don’t know. I am absolutely certain that this policy would have destroyed my family in ways I cannot even fathom.
What is most tragic to me is that we don’t have to play a hypothetical, if/then game with my life. There are children today who are suffering because of this incomprehensible and thoroughly unjustifiable policy. I know of two children whose baptisms were scheduled for tomorrow but have had their saving ordinances cancelled because their fathers are in gay relationships. Think of what we have just done to their lives. We should be so ashamed.
One more thing, the church has just thrown a bomb into our midst without one word of explanation or clarification. There are very real people who no longer know what their status is in the church and in the eternities. Our stories changed last night. I, myself, have to wonder when I will have to start paying for the proverbial sins of my father? My mother is several years older than my father and has a chronic illness; it is within the realm of possibilities that my father could have a male partner at some point. And what then? Do I have to disavow him to keep my temple recommend? Is it possible that I could lose my membership and saving ordinances? If I refuse to condemn my father–which I absolutely do–why should I be able to keep my covenants when another child of a gay parent who does the same thing isn’t allowed to make them? This policy is so cruel and ill-conceived that I cannot even begin to articulate the depth of my anger and contempt.
I don’t like to write posts like this. I like to approach hard things from a measured and thoughtful place. Perhaps I should have taken the time to work through my anger and grief. But I have to be on record as saying No to this. If there is anything the Mormon church has taught me it is that my family is worth defending.
I will not be silent.
This is wrong.
This is not of God.