by Luiz Correa
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 can only begin by telling my story about the 2015 policy reversal with a question. What father would take away from his son the privilege of serving Him? The 2015 policy hit my family and me mainly. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since I was 15 years old. I served with great love and hard work in all my callings. I was a full-time missionary and always dreamed that one day my children could follow this same path and doctrine.
I married a woman in the São Paulo Temple. The Lord blessed me with a daughter who I taught the gospel principles to and always encouraged her to be in the church even after I accepted my being gay. Her mother did as well.
Leading up to the release of the exclusion policy in November 2015, my partner, daughter, and I attended church every Sunday. We were constantly discussing my daughter’s great desire to serve a mission, which made me extremely happy. After the release of the policy, she told me that she no longer wanted to go on a mission because she would be denying the love and support she had for her parents and their same-sex relationships. She said could not preach something that she herself did not agree with and that it would go against the feelings she had for us.
Her decision made me very sad. Worse, the policy change also led to her decision to no longer want to attend church on Sundays. She turned away completely from the gospel that she was born into. I still attended, but my feelings for the church were diminished because of the policy.
Today, I do not see the church as a place I want to be. The church may have brought me many joys, friends, a healthy way of life, and a daughter I love; but, it has managed to destroy my family’s dreams and desires.
What is important to me today is the knowledge that God, my Eternal Father, loves me as I am. I am sure that he was not the one who instructed church leaders to exclude the children of same-sex couples. I am sorrowful for everything that was done that separated families, for the loved ones lost, for those who lost their desire to serve, and for the many who left the church. Why did all of this have to happen? To exclude people when Jesus Christ asks us to be united? The damage has been done. I do not believe the reversal of this policy will change anything. Today, I am a believer in God and no longer in a doctrine.