Those caught in this transition period as the Brethren work things out have the continued and real possibility of trauma, rejection, and suffering as they stand at the intersection of their Faith. This is why LGBTQ led organizations such as Affirmation are so necessary to support our LGBTQ peers during such changes.
Like doctors and pilots, I didn’t make up the principles that govern LGBTQ mental health — we have merely discovered them and now use them daily to safeguard lives. I pray with my feet every day that Latter-day Saints will come to fully understand these discoveries too. We are all part of one body in Christ. May we see that each part however different is equally needed by us.
It can take as much or even more courage to seek help for depression, anxiety, or trauma as it does to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. There is help though, and Rich Keys encourages anyone to seek it by sharing his own struggles and successes.
I offer this original poem in the hope it will help this world and the people in it to take a few deep breaths, let go of the fear and stress from their minds and bodies, and get back to the truth that is the love of a dog and why we call him Man’s Best Friend.
Regrettably, on social media, these friends and neighbors pointed their fingers and mocked a young gay valedictorian, just because he delivered a BYU-approved speech at his commencement. It was a surreal moment as the comment sections became a “great and spacious building,” as spoken of in Lehi’s vision in the Book of Mormon, full of detractors scoffing at LGBTQ members of the church pressing onward towards the tree of life.
If you attend the Affirmation International Conference next month, find a stranger and get to know them. It may be the only time each year they can be who they really are in front of others…and you’ll leave with a greater love for your fellow man, whoever or wherever they may be.
It was in these quiet moments of pain and confusion that I felt another triumph: That of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me to be.
We felt like the Church had turned its back on us. It’s frustrating to me for that reason that, while this change is positive, it didn’t come with an apology or action for change.
Samantha Allen toured some of the most conservative states in the US to collect and share the stories of the LGBTQ Americans who live there. She’s now published this collection of stories in her new book.