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I Am Old Today

Old Man on Bench

by Kevin Rex

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 [email protected]. You can also read other stories and reactions to the reversal of the exclusion policy.

I am old today after trying to know what and how I feel on the reversal of the awful policy. I’ve seen so many doctrinal changes in Mormonism, in the so-called Church of Jesus Christ. There’s one right there, Mormon to full-name church usage. I usually feel wise after living so long through it all. The General Handbook of Instructions itself is almost antithetical to saving souls, and I recognize that it was a “leak” that made the awful policy of exclusion public in the first place, a policy that called gay parents apostates and that made their children suffer accordingly. I fought with my sons-in-law, good straight boys that they area. Such an Old Testament way of doing things, this Handbook way, every jot and tittle, being enumerated by such a book. I thought we Mormons were more enlightened than micro-managers, and yet such a bureaucracy exists, and such a political “leak” became necessary. Now, it’s gone? Can spiritual wellness and physical lives be erased that easily?

This aged wisdom of mine smells horrible sometimes, like a really strong, aged blue cheese. I feel horrible and the policies or doctrine or whatever they are, are horrible. I remember all the other doctrinal or policy changes, or whatever you call them, because I was there. I lived them, trying to be obedient and “living” the gospel as presented to me by God’s authorities. I was in bishoprics and on Stake High Councils and I read over and over again the General Handbook of Instructions. Now, I realize that a doctrine by any other name still smells horrible, so let’s be sure to throw God under that bus full of General Handbooks of Instructions. God did it. God made the policy, then He changed it because “we” are ready now to receive it. When I was young, God made the law that said masturbation caused my being gay back in 1974 when I started puberty. God revealed to his prophets and apostles back then how I could overcome all my gayness; just stop masturbating. He’s now modified that policy or doctrine, dropping the “makes you gay” part and keeping the rest, though that may change, too. You never know.

After my mission and trying my very best to not only stop masturbating, but to do His work and do it sincerely, lovingly, perfectly, then I was ‘posed to just come home and marry a girl and have kids. It’ll all work out and you’ll be straight eventually, the policy said, or was it the doctrine? I can’t remember which was which. But definitely up in Heaven, you’ll be straight. Then, and then, and then . . . and on it went until I was old and depressed, and practically perfect at being a straight Mormon man. And, in the meantime, other smelly doctrines, or policies, have come and gone, too. Were all these changes for the better? Perhaps yes, but does God really work by this method of flip-flopping? Is He or She really so “not-quite-omnipotent” that They can’t come up with better teaching methods? I am old, and I know how to teach. That’s one thing I learned in Mormonism. I teach love, and I know how to teach it, too. And so, I must love my mother and father who gave me Mormonism and taught me the best they could how to love, and I forgive them, just like I should, and must, forgive the Policy Changers. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to take a while. Meanwhile, I’ll be gay, and I’ve decided to marry a man, also a former Mormon, but he didn’t marry a girl and have kids, so I’ll share mine with him, and all the grandkids, too! We’ll be grandpa’s together.

4 thoughts on “I Am Old Today

  1. Dear Brother Kevin Rex. My feelings upon reading your reply to the changing or reversal of the policy put into place in 2015 and now here in 2019, having lived through those ‘confussion’ year’s. Thank you for sharing your own personal experiences. For myself it was a validation towards my own conclusions, upon now being we are starting week two, of living beyond and past the reversal of the ‘Policy’ .! Let’s say that it’s a rarity, finding someone with such a story, or such a unique history. I’ll admit it’s probably why this is touching me at such a deeply personal level. You see I am probably that “other Guy” whom looks back at you when your looking into a mirror. Yes it happens. Am just now turned 60, with also Two Grand Children, a Grand Daughter who’s soon to turn 11, from oldest Son Danny now 31 and a Grand Son 4 from younger Son, Dusty who is now 26. Reversal in our own storyline. I entered into a Male/Male relationship with my Husband whom was married with children. The term of “Step Parenthood” while it accurately describes the situation, was never used in our life or Family. My Own Father was never received as anything other than Grandpa, from the Boys lips, and I am sure, Hearts too. Dad passed on in late 2012 .. sparring from Him what would have been a hurtful church policy. The Boy’s both married Wives not church members. Truly appreciate though their support, from two young woman who’s action was to learn more and support not just us but their husbands too ..! So when this first came to be, it’s sad uglyness although a negative ; has triggered actually such understanding an much Learning by these two younger. Woman although not LDS then, today they have it going on … Unlike anything I’ve seen before in other changes that threstenedy our Families in any context of the word, Love. Its brought about such a outpouring of Inspired Love into what for them, is part of their own family history now, through marriage for them. I sign this, another Loving Family, one that overcame.

  2. Hi Kevin–my once and former phone buddy as I drove to and from Boston!! I’m still doing that, you know–driving to and from Boston. But a lot of other things are not the same at all. Love watching the great changes in your life. I love reading your words, because I can hear your voice in them. So here we are on the other side of policy. I stepped away from the church–not all the way, but far enough away–when POX was ushered in. The ushering out does not tempt me to change my stance. It’s still the same–good and wonderful people are still excluded. So I stay with them, in excellent company. Love you, Kevin!
    Michael

  3. Kevin, thanks for posting your feelings and experience. Our histories seem to start the same. With the same hopes and promises and failures. I finally admitted that I couldn’t keep up with church demands when I realized they quietly stopped proclaiming that there are no gay children of God to hosting a gay and Mormon website.
    My kids grew up in a different world, never questioning the validity of gay friends and acquaintances. They don’t understand how I could live a self-condemned life based on the promises and warnings of prophets now dead. Some are angry after I came out to them last Fall, my wife already knew but she is livid with my choice to ”run off and pursue the gay lifestyle, blinded by Satan.” I’m still married, still a member and trying to build a viable plan. It’s not about the lifestyle, not even about the church. It’s about me, who I am and how I can be genuine and true to what I know. I’m gay!
    It’s good to hear there is hope, even in New England, even at 59.

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