My Letter to President Nelson Asking for the Policy to be Dropped
by Cheryl Nunn
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.
Following the October 2018 General Conference, I wrote a letter to President Russel M. Nelson asking him to drop the November 2015 policy on LGBT families. I had my letter published in a newspaper because I know all too well from past experience in advocating for LGBT people and to prevent sexual abuse within the church that it’s impossible for a woman to communicate with the top all-male church leadership. By publishing in the newspaper, I hoped that the church’s public relations department would discuss the letter with President Nelson.
In my letter, I shared with President Nelson the last conversation I had with a dear friend of mine who completed suicide. In that conversation, she shared how she missed going to her ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She longed to return, but she was afraid. She knew her bishop would be required to excommunicate her and her wife for being in a same-sex marriage. She expressed to me how horrible she would feel to bring the shame that comes with excommunication on her large, active, Latter-day Saint family. I wrote that nobody should ever “be placed in the awkward position of being forced to choose between their spouse, their children, and family tradition.”
I want my friend back. She was the most Christlike person I ever knew. She lived Christ’s teaching literally. I want all the LDS LGBTQ youth and young adults we’ve lost to suicide back too.
I hope my letter played a part in the reversing of the November 2015 policy.