by Glenn McRae
Submitted to Affirmation following The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s reversal of their November 2015 policy changes that prohibited children of LGBTQ parents from being blessed and baptized and characterized members of the church entering into same-sex marriages as apostates. These changes became known within the LGBTQ Mormon community as the “exclusion policy,” “policy of exclusion,” or “PoX.” The day after the reversal of this policy was announced, Nathan Kitchen, President of Affirmation, invited anyone willing to and share their authentic feelings and all their stories of grief, anger, relief, sadness, happiness, confusion, whatever they may be that surround the rescinding this policy. “As President of Affirmation, I want to be sure Affirmation does not hide you or your stories as we move forward,” wrote Kitchen in his invitation. If you have reactions or a story to share about the reversal of the exclusion policy, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read other stories and reactions to the reversal of the exclusion policy.
My name is Glenn. I am a gay man, and trying to remain a member of the church. I’m mostly confused about how I feel.
3.5 years ago, I was not a part of the LGBTQ community. I am definitely gay, and have been my whole life. Preparing for my LDS mission in 2013, I had successfully killed the gay part of me. When I got back home in 2015, I knew for certain I was going to marry a woman. I had never listened to a gay person’s point of view. I “knew everything”. I was a returned missionary after all.
That November, I wasn’t surprised at all by the policy. I “understood” why God would want to do that. I thought it protected children of same-sex couples from the psychological distress that would happen, coming from a loving home to a church that told them their parents are sinners and wouldn’t be with them forever. I “understood” that God would provide a way for the LGBTQ members to live happily and obediently.
Just over a year ago, I finally came to terms with my sexuality. The full story can be found on my blog. I’ve finally been a part of the LGBTQ community, and I’ve gotten to know beautiful, wonderful souls. Over the past year, I’ve finally come to terms with who I think God is and how He loves us. I ask myself how I could ever possibly convince an LGBTQ individual to join the church, knowing they’d be kicked out again because of who they are.
So, on April 4th, 2019, I was excited, because a door had been opened. I talked to my boyfriend to see how he felt. He was excited too. But then I read more and more opinions about the policy reversal. So many broken hearts, angry hearts, and bitter hearts. Because of where I was 3.5 years ago, I can’t share that pain because this policy has only affected me once.
I feel sorrow that I can’t connect with the beautiful people I’ve come to know. I can’t ache like they do. In a way, I feel like I’ve let the community down, though I’m still new to the LGBTQ experience.
But I still feel a hope for things to come. It might put us back to 2015, but at least we’re headed in the right direction again.