The Strength of Serious Doubt, Difficult Questions, and Disagreement with the LDS Church

LAST WEEK, I LISTENED to a previously recorded broadcast of LDS apologist and nuanced thinker, Patrick Mason, who asked something like: how can we minister to members with serious doubts and difficult questions about LDS doctrine and practice? It’s something I’ve thought a great deal about. But this time, the question hit me differently, and I understood the disempowerment inherent in categorizing people in faith (or trust) crisis as doubters and questioners of the gospel rather than as those in disagreement with the LDS Church. I felt down to my bones how condescending the question is, how it supposes doubts and questions are weaknesses in need of fixing as opposed to a step forward along a path of spiritual growth.

I consider myself a nuanced Latter-day Saint, but I’m not someone plagued with doubts and questions that disrupt my faith in God. I’m a woman who’s invested decades in study, reflection, and prayer about the difficult realities associated with being LDS. Although I’ll never relinquish questioning as a vehicle for learning or cease to view faith as impossible without its companion, doubt, I assert I am not weakened because of these perspectives, nor am I living in some miserable state of unknowing. My state of unknowing broadens me because it prevents me from shutting out possibilities. My study, reflection, and prayer (each catapulted by curiosity and desire for self improvement) have brought me to a state of disagreement with the LDS institution on some significant issues, not to a state of faithlessness in God. 

Continue reading “The Strength of Serious Doubt, Difficult Questions, and Disagreement with the LDS Church”

LDS LGBT+ Youth are Watching: A Gay Man’s Reminder to Speak Up

GUEST POST: Growing up in primary, it was ingrained in me that I always needed to live like Jesus because, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was special. People are always watching so we need to be an example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. That lesson has stuck with me. I’ve always tried to be like Jesus, which is hard when the authorities of your church and others who love you tell you living as a gay man is incompatible with discipleship.

I was raised in Salt Lake City. As I grew older, I realized that I was having “evil” thoughts, some would say “unnatural,” about other boys. I became especially careful at about not doing anything that would give away that I was battling “demons” on the inside. After all, people were watching. They’d see. They’d treat me as an aberration and maybe an enemy of the Church. At some point, my actions became less about setting an example and more about not letting anyone know my secret. I was afraid that my community wouldn’t accept me. So I hid my true nature and pretended to be someone that I’m not.

Continue reading “LDS LGBT+ Youth are Watching: A Gay Man’s Reminder to Speak Up”

No Man is “Trash”

Previously published at By Common Consent, dated May 4th, 2016. 

Angry? You bet. Tyler Glenn’s latest song and video boil with rage. Glenn, a gay man and former missionary, was embraced by the church for his Tyler-2advocacy in building the inclusivity bridge. That is, until the LDS church’s November 5th policy change regarding homosexuals—a change that codified those in same-gender marriages as apostates, required their excommunication, and forbade the baptism of their children under certain conditions. The policy change hit him hard, like a gut punch, he says. Feeling himself betrayed, denigrated, and literally dismissed over his sexual orientation, Glenn took a hard look at less-visited areas of Mormonism and decided he could no longer believe. The release of “Trash” depicts a stunning reversal of attitude toward his faith heritage. Continue reading “No Man is “Trash””

An Affirmation Book of Mormon Challenge

book of mormonToday I accepted what many will consider an unconventional Book of Mormon Challenge. The challenge directs participants to read a chapter a day (which means finish the Book of Mormon in 239 days) “and then apply your mind to consider the implications, search for and refine meaning, and PONDER the significance of the chapters you’ve covered. ” Hardly radical. The only unconventional aspect of this challenge is that isn’t coming from some bishop or other church leader, not from a seminary teacher or family member, but from Affirmation, a support group for LGBTQ Mormons, their families, and friends. Continue reading “An Affirmation Book of Mormon Challenge”