Guest Post: I Love You, So I Say This, parts 5-8

Guest post by Anonymous. This Mama got a gay kid for Christmas in 2019. In March 2020 BYU signaled LGBTQ acceptance in an update to the Honor Code, and hastily retracted it. Feeling protective, this Mama wrote what she wished she could say to her Mormon family members. A week later, the first major COVID lockdowns started, and the BYU incident was pushed to the background. A year later, this personal appeal to the better angels is a plea in remembrance of that horrible week. There are 19 short pieces. This post is parts 5-8 of 19. The others will be linked here when they are published.

Parts 1-4
Parts 9-11
Parts 12-13
Parts 14-16

I love you. So I say this. Part 5

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

You may think I’m over-reacting. You’d like to believe that, wouldn’t you?

You raised your family, and my mom raised mine, in Wyoming. Your son and I met at Dean Morgan Junior High in 8th grade. We attended Natrona County High School. We had scholarships to the University of Wyoming. Why does that matter?

We knew Matthew Shepard. Do you recognize the name? If not, you need to learn it.

Today.

He was a year behind us. I remember having him in a few classes. I remember him being the quiet kid. I remember him wearing a signature grey sweatshirt. I remember a day in class when someone commented on how he wore that grey sweatshirt every day. I remember all of the kids – us – laughing. That’s my strongest memory of him. I never remember him smiling, but actually, I wasn’t really paying attention.

I was part of his childhood by being on the periphery and not being there at all.

That is a thing I live with.

Right now, there is a play running in our town, called, “Considering Matthew Shepard.” There is a PBS documentary series. There is a law.

Perhaps you think I am over-reacting.

No, I am not.

I love you. So I say this. Part 6

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

I have read a few books on supporting your LGBTQ teen since your grandchild came out. All the books talk about trauma, safety, counseling. All the books encourage the parent to support their teen. All the books implore unconditional love. All the books suggest you find resources before you ever think you’ll need them.

Can you guess why?

The books also say that, when your kid comes out, you may experience a period of mourning for what may have been, or dreams for them that you must now leave behind in order to embrace the new reality. I don’t mourn my child’s queerness. When it comes to mourning, what I mourn is that her geography has constricted. There are places where she may literally be unsafe to exist. Wyoming will always be one of them for me. Utah too. Kids die in these places.

Matthew Shepherd died in Wyoming when you were living there. I hope that matters to you. It happened to a soul in my life. Among my people. Among you. Among us. I was there, and I wasn’t.

Perhaps you think I am over-reacting.

No, I am not.

I love you. So I say this. Part 7

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

As a young child I wanted to marry my cousin Curtis, who was about 10 years older than me.

As a young teen, I visited my extended family and met Curts and his roommate Dave. They invited my grandparents and I over for dinner. The day before we were to go, Curtis took me aside and explained that, when I came over for dinner, I would see only one bedroom. He told me that he and Dave considered themselves to be married, even though they didn’t have a license. He walked me over to Dave and took his hand. They invited me to look.

I still remember my right hand holding Curtis’s wrist, and my left hand holding Dave’s, as I inspected their matching rings.

I told Dave that I liked him and that if I couldn’t marry Curtis, I’m glad he did. I told Dave to treat him right.

Years later, Curtis died of AIDS much too young.

Perhaps you think I’m over-reacting.

No, I am not.

I love you. So I say this. Part 8

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

You know I was a convert, the only one in my family. You saw it happen. As an older teen, I found Mormon friends. I could stay for sleepovers on Saturday nights if I went to Church the next day. I went to dances, activities, and was baptized the week after I got my driver’s license and could drive myself to sacrament meeting. I think you may have even been there at my baptism.

I encountered teachings on LGBTQ people in the context of “For the Strength of Youth” and of worthiness interviews.

Yes, even I, for awhile, entertained the notion that AIDS was a plague sent by God for the sin of homosexuality. Writing that makes me throw up in my mouth. I outgrew such notions.

But I thought it, for awhile. It was ugly, it was wrong, it was real. It made sense in the context of the gospel. Good people can get trapped by bad ideas. This is why good people need repentance. And that is why there is a Savior for good people. Cuz we’re all bad too.

I want a bracelet saying “What Would an Ally Do?” I am learning, on a journey, making mistakes.

I told my bebe, “I’m not perfect. I’ll mess up. I’m sure I already have.”

Your gay grandchild told me, “I expect this to be a process.”

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4 Responses

  1. Kathy Mitchell says:

    “”Good people get trapped by bad ideas. That is why good people need repentance.” The God I was taught to believe in, in many ways was a bad God. When I started to reject the bad ideas taught to me, He became a good God. Now I can trust Him with my whole heart. Thank you!

  2. Bryn Brody says:

    Oh friend. Holding you in solidarity, support, healing. Thank you for speaking truth.

  1. February 22, 2021

    […] Parts 5-8 […]

  2. February 26, 2021

    […] 1-4 Parts 5-8 Parts […]

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