I have a personal blog. It’s well read (by my very low standards) and many of my readers are LDS. They are now leaving in droves. Which is fine. It started with my occasional swear words. I never really used anything worse than “shit” but my family thought it was enough to have an intervention. They told me I wasn’t being a good example of the church or the family by using the language I do.
I’ve never once said the ‘f’ word on my blog. “Shit” has been used maybe three times total. People comment on there who have foul mouths, but I’m not their moms. They can say what they want. Anyways, that was the start of the “saints” leaving my blog.
After MONTHS AND MONTHS of feeling “prompted” (a spiritual term we use in the church meaning that the Holy Ghost is telling us to do something) to write about how I feel about gay marriage, I wrote a post. I ran it by my gay mormon friend, and got his okay. My husband read it and went over the word usage, the political points I was trying to make and went on to make sure that it was not offensive. My husband feels differently than I do on this topic. Sort of. Then I did something I usually do before doing something that scares the hell out of me: I prayed. I prayed to the God I love to know if what I was doing was right.
It was right.
I posted it. Immediately following the post, an other friend of mine who is gay sent me an email, part of it said:
” I’m so humbled by someone who does what is right regardless of if they have something to gain. I am simply so grateful and CHALLENGED that you are so aware and compassionate to your surroundings. Honestly, I’m just blown away and have no words that are dignified enough for what you are doing. I appreciate you and love you for fighting for what is good, right and honest — without any personal gain. You are amazing- and you make me aspire to a higher level of Christianity. Thank you. Love you.”
What followed was mixed. A lot of support. A lot of honest disagreement but thoughtful conversation about the subject. Then the mean comments came. The hate mail. Some said:
“Seven people talked about how brave you are. Brave for saying that you’re for gay marriage? Bravery is not sucking up to the masses for attention and praise. Grow up, get off your computer and raise your kids. You’re about as Mormon as Roseanne Barr. Poor *Peter.”
“This debate is a waste of time for LDS folks. You either sustain the First Presidency 100%, or you don’t. If you do, and if your opinions and beliefs aren’t in perfect alignment with theirs, then you need to do whatever it takes to sustain President Monson. We’ve always been told that in the last days, it will be VERY difficult and unpopular to stand strong as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. Wake up! This is but one of the many issues that will separate those who are truly consecrated members of the church. Sure, I personally don’t care if gays marry. But, according the the doctrine and First Presidency, the Lord does. Accordingly, I sustain the Prophet of God. If you don’t sustain him, you stand in grave danger of falling away. Follow the Prophet or follow the world; you can’t do both.”
The worst of it came from my own family. My sister told me that it was time for me to take off my garments and leave the church. That I was wicked. I haven’t had the same relationship with my family since, and it’s been over 6 months since I published that post.
This was when I fully opened my eyes. Feeling like I could not change how I felt about this issue meant one of two things. Either I was wrong, or the prophet was. And, as apparent from the comments I recieved on that post, it can’t be both.
It was the beginning of what is looking to be the end for me. Before I posted that, I was completely temple worthy. I felt like I had a difference with the church- but did not fully doubt the doctrine…yet. With that one thing being wrong, it opened the floodgates for everything else. But all of that came later.
After the post was published and the fires of hell didn’t get me, my in laws came out to visit. My in laws have been super wonderful about this thing. They’re a lot like Lance- they disagree, but they try to understand and love me all of the same. We went and saw “Wicked” in New York City. Have you seen Wicked? It’s the “back story” behind the Wicked Witch of the West, Epheba, and Glenda, the Good Witch, from The Wizard of Oz. Elpheba finds that the animals that were once able to talk, to teach at the university, etc, are being silenced. (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it) and that it’s the Wizard who is doing it. She has a choice to stay in line with what the Wizard wants, and he has some clear, but misguieded reasons for it, or follow her own convictions. She chooses the latter and The Wizard of Oz makes her out to be, well, wicked.
When we were watching the play, I strongly identified with Elpheba. I knew how it felt to be different. To feel differently than those we are supposed to revere. The song “Defying Gravity” from the play has become more than just a song for me, it’s become an anthem. The words are:
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!
It’s time to try
I think I’ll try
And you can’t pull me down!
I’m through accepting limits
”cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
I’m flying high
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!
This song is right before the intermission, and mercifully so. I couldn’t take anymore. I held my arms around me in an attempt to keep all of the emotion in. It was too much.
I wasn’t wicked. I wasn’t wicked! Defying the prophet did not mean I was wicked! Everything changed. I’m cannot be a part of a church that discriminates. I am not wrong for feeling this way. I am not wicked.