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.
When the November 2015 policy was leaked, I was absolutely distraught. Even though I am a straight woman with no LGBTQ family members, I was struck by the injustice of it all. During my college years, my gay friends had been counseled that their sexuality was a choice and the best course of action was to choose a heterosexual marriage. When it becomes clear that this is damaging, terrible advice the church’s next move is to punish the children who came from those marriages? I simply couldn’t sit back and stay silent any longer.
I realized (as a woman with no connections to any general authorities) my only real power is my time and my tithing money. So I began to give my tithes to support LGBTQ charities. As for my time, I saw through the Young Women’s leadership calling I had committed to and then I took a “church sabbatical”.
Of course, my phone lit up when the news was announced that the policy/doctrine had been reversed. I felt many different emotions including happiness, anger, and exasperation. But I think the most prominent emotion I currently feel is confidence—confidence in my own moral compass, my own ability to recognize when something is wrong and to act accordingly. I can—as my mother has always encouraged me—be the change I want to see in the world and our church.
At this time, I remain unable to trust the church again with my time and tithes. My LGBTQ brothers and sisters deserve better. I will wait with them, on the outside looking in, until those changes come to be.