by Glenda Crump
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@example.com. You can also read other stories and reactions to the reversal of the exclusion policy.
I remember where I was the day my straight daughter told me about the policy of exclusion in November of 2015. I remember thinking it can’t really mean what it says. My church would never exclude children for something their parents did. No church, especially the LDS church, whose focus is on the family, would cause families to be torn apart and family members to feel rejected and excluded. Then finding out it was true, I wondered how this would affect MY family. My daughter was married to her wife at the time and they both had already left the church, so this new policy would not affect them or their children. But over the next few months, and even years, I watched how it hurt my friends and their families. I watched friends suffer as they lost their children and as families were torn apart. I watched my friend’s heart break as her sweet wife took her life because she couldn’t take the guilt of not following church leaders. Would my God of Love and Inclusion really send this revelation? So many people felt in their hearts that that policy was wrong. The church doesn’t get to decide the way people feel about what is morally right, even within members of their congregation. My faith was shaken!
Now, several years later, the church suddenly reverses the policy and things are suppose to be forgiven and forgotten. When my gay daughter sent me the link with the announcement I was so happy and relieved it was finally not overshadowing our Mormon LGBT community and our church. I was thrilled the dark cloud was lifted, but then the reality of 3.5 years of suffering hit me; pain and even death that can never be undone. Those lives will never fulfill their purpose. Those families will always have a hole in them. Those hearts will always hurt, and most relationships will never be the same. As all of that sank in, I began to wonder about the validity of the church, any church, that would hurt and exclude so many for how they were born while claiming doing so was not just policy but revelation from God. Then suddenly it’s no longer important? No longer God’s will? Was it really ever?
It is hard to reconcile a religion whose leader tells us the policy is a revelation from God and then just a short time later reverses the policy with no apologies or recognition of the pain it caused. Again my faith is shaken! I am beyond grateful that the church no longer will punish the LGB community to that degree. It is a step in the right direction, but we have so far to go!