It doesn’t matter who we are or where we live; it doesn’t matter our political persuasion or the breadth of our testimony. Our income doesn’t matter, nor does our level of education. None of that matters when we face the startling reality that Mormons who are LGBT, particularly the young, often feel devalued and alienated from their faith community–rejected by us, their fellow Mormons, and the Church they were raised to love. A recent Salt Lake Tribune article suggests that the suicide rate, as well as the rates of attempted suicide and homelessness, are higher among young, gay Mormons than the national average, at least in the state of Utah. This means not only are we burying so many of our beloved family members, but we have in our midst an untold number of those who suffer the unquenchable thirst we call grief. In response, this Sunday, December 7, 2014, has been established as the first annual LDS LGBT Suicide and Homelessness Awareness Day. Members are asked to wear traditional (black) mourning attire to church, and, if willing, a rainbow ribbon as an outward, visual demonstration of their individual, inward commitment to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. It is a simple gesture of love for LGBT individuals and their families, a group of people who have, too often, felt alienated and excluded.
“Sonata: A Woman’s Song of War” was originally published in Sunstone Magazine in May 2005 and is republished here, on this Memorial Day weekend, as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of their country and in gratitude to their families, for whom the sacrifice does not end. We mourn with you and pray for peace.
I SPENT THE WINTER of 1989 staring out the window of a lonely government house in Fort Duchesne, Utah, at the snow-dust ghosts which the wind whipped along my otherwise uninhabited street. My sudden residence on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation was a shock to me, a girl whose only previous native connection had been to sunny, southern California. But my playground existence ended when the birth of my firstborn–a son we named William–swung me from newlywed to new mother. Parenthood served as the impetus my freshly graduated husband needed to accept a commission from the United States Public Health Service and an assignment to the “Rez.” Continue reading “Sonata: A Woman’s Song of War”