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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.