No, Mormon members: We can’t sweep Tyler Glenn’s “Trash” under the rug

I heard Tyler Glenn’s song, “Trash” one night while I was perusing YouTube for new songs to find on iTunes. It was catchy, somewhat soulful, and it took a few seconds before I recognized a familiar prophet as a painting on the wall in the video and I realized what he was talking about. And then I saw other signs–other sacred things–that made my stomach turn. He was talking about leaving the church because he felt “pushed out”.

I watched the video about three times and on the third time, I closed my lap top and realized I was crying.

I wasn’t offended. I wasn’t suddenly outraged. I was sad for him. Very sad.

tyler glenn 3

Many of us, whether LDS members or Buddhists or Pentecostals or Agnostic or whatever else, find comfort where we’re at. Many of us fit in to the lifestyle we lead and love it. We have friends, we don’t have very unique situations (at least not situations that stick out too much) and we have positive experiences that make us stay.

And then there are those like Tyler Glenn, who are hurting and crying out in the form of blogs, music videos, interviews, art, or a slamming door as they walk out.

Since the release of this music video I’ve seen outraged members express distaste for Tyler Glen’s band Neon Trees. I’ve read awful YouTube comments and have seen plenty of blogs or statements contrasting Glenn’s message. And although I get the anger and the pain and the message that these church members are feeling and trying to convey, I think we need to step back. What’s the real issue here? Is it our need to defend ourselves and keep our bubble shiny and untouched, or should it be the need to understand those like Glenn who find themselves outcast, shamed, and lost?

black sheep

We need to be done sweeping Tyler Glenns of the world under the rug.

When I was in the Pentecostal church I worked as a teacher for the young kids, a lot like I do now in my church. All the kids were behaved, sat where they needed to, and played well with the other children. But then there was Ben (we’ll just call him that for the sake of his privacy). He acted out, he screamed, he bit me so hard once that I had to bandage my hand up afterwards. I couldn’t stand this kid and I breathed a sigh of relief when he wouldn’t show up to church, much to my shame when I look back on it now. He was so different, so misbehaved, so incredibly painful to watch. Even the other kids didn’t want to play with Ben.

But then, one Sunday as I was cleaning up the room and sweeping cookie bits off the tile floor, his parents came in the room to talk to me. They apologized if Ben had been hard to handle. He had developmental issues they told me, and had been in the foster system ever since birth. He had been abused, suffered from lots of delays, and didn’t have many friends. Ben was often sad and would scream out loud and say so in ways that didn’t make sense.

bad boy

After they left my classroom I remember sitting down and crying. Crying in guilt. In shame. In pain for Ben. And praying that Ben would come back each Sunday, screaming fits and all. Because it was where he belonged and I wanted him there.

I’m not saying Tyler Glenn is a misbehaved child. Obviously he’s not. He is a respected musician who served in the church faithfully and is a grown man. But the analogy, even now, rings true for me.

How many times do we see the Bens in our safe world screaming and biting and tearing things up, all the while rolling our eyes and turning our backs and praying they’d just be quiet? How many times do we not seek to understand that they have been rejected, they have been abused, they have lived with self-hatred fueled by the minority and never tamed by the majority?

tyler glenn 2

Why are we still children, pretending these people don’t exist? Pretending like we haven’t been them at one point or another?

Tyler Glenn said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “My entire life and perspective on God, the afterlife, morals and values, my self-worth and my born sexual orientation has been wired within the framework of this religion that doesn’t have a place for me…I served [this church]. I was the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. I believed it till six months ago.”

I understand we can’t lead everyone back. And some people don’t want to be reached out to. I get that. But firing back by saying he’s wrong and that his perception is skewed isn’t only wrong, it’s damaging. What if the sin that you carried, your deepest, darkest secret, was suddenly public knowledge? What if, even by some misunderstanding, you felt like you were a square peg?

I don’t quite understand Glenn’s pain or anger right now. I haven’t been through it. But I know how it feels to not blend in. To work through doubts and pray for the faith to endure. I know how it is to feel anything BUT treasure. I bet you do too.

tyler glenn 4

We’re all treasure, yes. But let’s take a second to look around and see the ugliness and address it and let those who are struggling simply know that we SEE them before preaching and going on rants about how wrong they are to speak out.

I love my church. I love that Christ leads it, and the culture does not. I love that the pure doctrines and truths are completely simple and lead to joy and are not convoluted with opinions and skepticism and misunderstandings that lead to false teachings.

And because I love it, I love who Christ loves.

Tyler Glenn, outspoken angry ex-members, bloggers who have re-blogged my words with fiery come backs, the black sheep, the ones who wail and scream and bite me until I bleed all because they aren’t heard. And I don’t want their trash and their muck to be quickly swept away.

I want to hear them and see them and undo the taboo. I want to fight for them and work toward a day when this happens less and less and even when it does happen, at least we did our part to be the people we need to be.

Because I know without a doubt that Christ would fight for them.

And I know He’d tell us to turn around, to face the ugliness, and to remember that this is our purpose–to go in search after the one.

Note: Edits have been made to protect identities as well as to withdraw a statement I made without realizing it was untrue and that I had misunderstood this person’s message. I appreciate this person reaching out to me to let me know the error and welcome all feedback.

 

 

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46 thoughts on “No, Mormon members: We can’t sweep Tyler Glenn’s “Trash” under the rug

  1. Except they are heard. Far too much. Empty drums sound the loudest. And we are tired, angry and disappointed.

    Our opinions are what is being swept under the rug. We are told we are bigots if we don’t agree. We are told we are homophobes if we don’t agree. We are silenced by their hateful words. We are not allowed to have a voice because we don’t agree.

    They are not victims. They act spoiled, and entitled. We aren’t allowed to defend ourselves, but they can say whatever they want. And they say it plenty.

    And yes. I do wish they would go away. Their words are torture. We are being told we have to sit there and take it, or we are hateful. It’s like being tied to a chair, and gagged. We can’t get away, and we can’t say a word.

    These people are bullies. I have no patience for their agenda.

    • I have never replied to a blog like this before, so here it goes. I am LDS, my mother was a convert to the church and my father was born into it. I grew up in Arizona until moving to Utah in 1980.

      That said, if you truly believe in your religion you don’t have to defend it, hateful words will not sway or anger you, and you will be at peace. Christ loves all God’s children and those in pain and turmoil should not be seen as bullies and we don’t need to become bullies when presented with views we don’t share. I was taught by my parents that they would love me no matter what I did, they may not like it, but they will love me. I will make mistakes but I won’t be forsaken.

      I remember speaking to a friend of mine that told me that while on a mission in the Netherlands the missionaries were having trouble keeping new members activated. After asking the members of the branch to help in their activation, they told her she “we don’t like who you are bringing to the church” and they preferred to keep the membership where it was and not include those that are struggling. Christ doesn’t just want the beautiful, obedient people, he wants us to come and learn of his love no matter where we are in the journey.

      Resolve to be the calm and shelter in the storm and not the thunder.

    • In order for someone to be a bully, they have to be preying upon someone who is weaker. In the Mormon context, gay people, intellectuals, and ex-Mormons are weaker because they are out numbered, shamed, and often shunned.

      When you are abandoned by your family or kicked out because you’re gay, you’re a victim. This happens. Not “practicing gay people”, as if that would make kicking your kid out any better. Just gay people.

      When you have an entire church cooperating to encourage your child to reject and shun you because you no longer believe in the church and you proselytize for goodness in other ways, you’re a victim.

      Mormons can defend themselves. They just usually don’t because they don’t have anything to say. Joseph Smith really DID have multiple First Vision stories. The church really DID have a racist policy against black people. Mormons run away, plugging their ears, shouting, “Anti-Mormon material!”

      Your opinions have been the dominant opinions for centuries. You are not in the minority. It just feels that way because popular culture is accepting gay people and political systems are accepting gay people. You’ve been in the minority of these things for five minutes and listen to you whine about it. Gay people have been killed and are still killed for being gay and you think they are spoiled, entitled whiners, especially if they’re Mormon? I mean, given the context of this post, who are you talking about?

      Liahona Mormons are not heard. They are not heard in church. They are shut down if they speak up with more liberal opinions. They are dropped from callings. They are socially shunned. Anyone who is different is shunned. Divorced adherents say that they feel socially shunned, too. Anyone who is different is not heard in the church. They dont’ get a voice from any pulpit. They don’t get a chance to help shape things.

      And talk about an agenda! Who has the bigger agenda when your church is spending millions (billions?) to try to convert the world?! They spend far more money in proselytizing than humanitarian work and gay people, who just want to be left alone and be allowed to live and love legally according to their beliefs, are the ones with the agenda? They aren’t the ones with the agenda to change everyone else and make them live their beliefs. They don’t want you to be gay. They want you to stop oppressing them. They’d have zero agenda if you didn’t start the whole thing with your own agenda. All gay people, all ex-Mormons, all feminists, are all just responding to the religious conservative agenda. Y’all are the initiators. No one would have to be loud or heard or “bullies” if the church wasn’t throwing the first punch. YOU STARTED THIS. You are the bully, preying upon the weak and vulnerable.

    • And instead of trying to fight and get away, why don’t you try compassion and validation and see how much more peaceful you feel and how much better the situation becomes. You want to fight and silence. There’s your problem. Where’s the Christlike love? You think ALL these people are just full of it? Have NO valid points at all? Have no real shared pain for a reason? They are all bad and wrong, wrong, wrong and the church is totally perfect? In all things? And then when the church admits fault and changes, they still were always perfect? This is so immature and insecure.

    • Maggie: I feel sorry for you. LDS true believers are not NEARLY as persecuted as they like to believe. Members have been pointing their wagging fingers at “others” for a long, long time: and making some pretty condescending judgements. I’m SO GLAD that the LDS Church is getting a taste of their own medicine. (finally). Doesn’t feel to nice, does it?!

    • You are confused about Tyler’s “agenda”. Tyler believed your leaders spoke to/for god– as such, he felt Mormon-go rejected him. He found out that your leaders don’t speak to god any more than Warren Jeffs does… He found out that he had been shilling for a liars. It turns out Tyler Glen is a better person than the people he had pledged his allegiance to, gave 10% of his income to and brainwashed others for.

      From outside your indoctrination, Tyler’s agenda appears to be to reach out to others in his position. Many people are finding out their faiths aren’t so “divine” at all. They’re just people like you– people who imagine themselves moral because of whom they feel superior too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJMSU8Qj6Go

    • Maggie, you are obviously taking all the hurt of the bigot label and completely fail to understand anything. No one’s tying you to a chair. Popular media will always be what it is. Who is being tied to a chair are the gay children who are told they will never be happy because “gay thoughts” = wickedness. In addition, there is a double standard, a lack of original doctrine in the most correct book on earth, a lack of honesty, a constant change of policy. The children tied to the chair are also denied a life of any kind of intimacy if they should want to keep their family and community. They are further denied any chance for the ultimate prize you take for granted. May the last be first and the first be last. May you reap what you just sew. May you say “Lord Lord, when did I see you suffering?” and may you remember these words at your judgement. May you realize that this keeps you out of your top kingdom and relegates you to perhaps cloud 3 in Terrestial or Telestial land because you failed the test of loving your neighbor. You have one great law to recognize. By all means, let out your spite, hit back. I only need turn the other cheek and it is you I am sad for. I see the flames of hell encircling you.

  2. Having seen many fall away from the Church, my heart also aches for these individuals.

    My problem is the approach of many of these departing brothers and sisters. I understand that they are hurt. Often, when the culture (not the doctrine) is the cause of the pain, they have every reason to be hurt.

    But, when I speak with offended or questioning individuals (and I have on many occasions), they have never been willing to approach their Bishop and discuss their concerns. They are never willing to speak to leaders or reach out to those members that sincerely want to help them. Instead, they reach out to the John Dehlins or the media. Instead, they attend the Saturday afternoon session of general conference so they can scream “no” at the top of their lungs–even though this act represents a serious misunderstanding of the practice of sustaining. Or, in this case, they create music videos where they deface religious icons that are important to many.

    I wish they would reach out to the many caring bishops that would sit with them and help them understand, resolve, or overcome their issues. Obviously, there are bishops out there that–for unfortunate reasons–may be unapproachable. In my experience though, the vast majority of these leaders are willing and desperate to help.

    To sum up my thoughts: my heart aches for them, and I wish they would use the mechanisms in place to get the help they need. Those mechanisms do exist, but they don’t appear in the forms we are used to in a democratic society. They aren’t done on the street corners or in a crowded forum; instead, like the act of rescuing a lost sheep, they are done on an individual basis.

    • I recently left the church and my first step was talking to the bishop. Who is a good man who I still respect, but offered little to know answers or comfort. After I walked out of a Sunday school seeing members laugh and scoff about people who were confused about the new policy pertaining to children of gay parents not permitted blessings or baptisms till age 18 and condemning their parents ways, I expressed how hurt I was, confused, and apalled at the behavior of supposed loving members. I was given generic answers and so after my own prayer and contemplating on my own, I came to the realization that the men in Salt lake are just a group deciding what they feel is best for the church, but I feel like lately the decisions are based on a public image for the church and not what God truly wants. This isn’t cause of democrats, it’s not an agenda to just push or win, it’s pain and this persona of love that members of the church hide behind on their pillars of arrogance and hierarchy. Brigham Young warned that the dangers of Satan would strongly be among the members of the church. He’s not referring to the hurt ones who leave. Nope, time for members to take a look in the mirror and see how Christ like they really are.

      • If their decisions were based on a public image they wanted to portray, they would follow the path of least resistance and go with what has become popular.

        I am sorry you are hurting.

    • I wasn’t offended. I was a lifelong member and became aware of historical and doctrinal information I had not been exposed to. I reached out to my bishopric and was given no answers. It’s not that my bishop wasn’t caring. He didn’t have the answers. The “mechanisms in place” don’t work. I tried. I have never been on a street corner nor do I have or want an audience.

      I appreciate the author of this blog for recognizing Tyler’s pain in the video. A lot of members could learn from her empathy.

    • Yeah, I doubt you’ve talked to many people. I reached out to the bishop. He didn’t know about Joseph Smith’s different First Vision accounts. When I told the missionaries, they told me that was evil and looked at me like I was evil. Then, lo and behold! the church released an essay on it admitting it. The bishop said he would try to find an intellectual to answer all my questions. He never did. My intellectual husband refused to listen to me or talk to me about things. I mean, that’s no surprise since he avoided all conflict and never validated my concerns or feelings about anything. No surprise, we got divorced.

      I know a lot of people who sought out leaders. The CES Letter is entirely that: one man who was given access to a CES Director, sent him a long letter with his concerns and got NOTHING back. Most people leave over a period of YEARS though you may not know they are struggling. They keep it quiet until they go and they spend a long time searching for answers because the consequences of leaving are so great. Most lose their families. They lose their friends. Some lose their jobs. And you really think that these people just didn’t meet with their bishops and they took their decision to leave all in stride? This is a story you are telling yourself to comfort yourself. It’s not true. It’s not statistical.

      The leaders usually don’t know as much as we do and are too afraid to read about it to “help”.

      If you knew what I know, you’d understand why people are leaving.

    • Pretty much everyone I know who has left the church (and I know quite a few), spoke with the bishop many times. Maybe by the time you talked to them, they had already talked to the bishop several times and didn’t want to take YOUR advice to speak with him AGAIN.

    • Why would they talk to their bishops once they understand that their bishops don’t really speak for any gods? When you are a Mormon bishop you supposedly believe in the racist, sexist, homophobic, bizarrely communicating god of the treasure seeking, polyandrous Joseph Smith– Why would anyone imagine such a bishop would be more useful to talk to than a Bishop in the FLDS or a Muslim Cleric for that matter. Heck, I’m sure a Scientologist witnessing the pain of their members experiencing “disconnection” would suggest auditing and clearing.

      Suicides are done on an individual basis. I suspect Tyler Glen’s public disenfranchisement will save many gay Mormon youth from the suicides their church has lead them to contemplate.

    • Non-member here, with a life-long fascination with the church and years of experience reading about and talking to those who leave. I occupy a strange middle ground in this debate, and as such I think I can explain the behaviour of those departing in a way that makes sense to you.

      I’m sure your experience with leavers is honestly represented here, but bear in mind that nobody really knows another person’s story. Those people who refused to talk to the Bishop were almost certainly carrying trauma you didn’t see. In virtually all cases, leaving the church is an incredibly painful and lonely experience. It is not a decision that people undertake lightly, or simply because they are offended. Imagine what it would take for you to lose your faith, and you have some idea what these people are up against. They don’t want to lose their faith. Very often it is an internal battle that is fought and lost over a period of months or years.

      The thing that makes this battle so incredibly painful is the fact that usually it cannot be shared with anyone. Raising serious doubts and concerns, unless it’s done with extreme caution, will in most cases provoke angry and frightened reactions. Believers will see it as a threat to their reality, and they will react defensively. In order to maintain the peace and protect those they love from pain, doubters tend to carry their doubts alone. They hide the burden until they cannot hide it any longer, and usually at that point they leave. This decision can seem sudden and rash to those around them, but it isn’t, it is simply the visible culmination of an invisible struggle.

      Usually a leader’s friends and family will counsel them to pray, read scripture, talk to the Bishop, as though the leaver hadn’t tried all these things repeatedly and found them to be ineffective. It hurts to hear these suggestions, because it reminds the leaver that their friends do not understand their struggle and cannot help them. Some people will not meet with a Bishop at any point during their deconversion, but this is rare, and usually happens because the leaver understands their own problems well enough to know that the Bishop has no answers for them. It’s not that Bishops are not caring and eager to help; of course they are. It is that solutions simply do not exist. Again, imagine what it would take to destroy your faith and you will understand why a meeting with the Bishop is not going to change anything.

      You say that you have empathy for those who leave, and I believe you. But bear in mind that even kind intentions, when improperly expressed, can cause damage. When you speak to someone who is on their way out, please give them enough credit to assume they have already prayed and asked for help. Approach them with an attitude of trying to understand them, rather than trying to fix them. Whether they ultimately choose to leave or stay, their journey and yours will be better if you treat one another with respect and kindness.

    • First person I went to was my bishop and then my stake president. Nobody had answers. Instead my concerns were validated and I was told I wasn’t alone in my crisis. Even my stake president said regarding the treatment of LGBTs, “I’m trying to be the man standing on the hill that gets the signal to church leaders that we can’t treat people this way.” the last guidance I received: “do what makes you happy. Despite all the things that don’t make sense about church history and doctrine, living the LDS gospel has made us happy so that is what we recommend you do…”

      Living the gospel didn’t make me happy. Lifelong member, eagle Scout, RM and hetero married man with kids here. I felt like the things the church was asking me to stand for were no longer moral so I couldn’t stay. Leaving made me happier and have a clearer conscious so I did. It was extremely painful to leave in that my whole identity and perspective on life was tied up in the teaching of the church. now that the dust has settled I’m happier than I ever could have imagined being. It’s a whole new existence. A whole new life. A life where I no longer see the world in terms of polarized Mormon in/out groups and a God meticulously calculating every sin and half sin we might commit and requiring us to donate countless hours performing ordinances for the dead and gone in immaculately ornate clubhouses, but as a global family living in the now and dedicating time towards what this living family stand in need of right now in front of our faces. I trust my heart and no longer trust the men who said I needed to dismiss my own morals because a man said God said something contrary. More focused on my own family now than I ever was when laiden with church callings. I don’t need your pity. Pity my old self that gave up so many years of devotion, sacrifice and passion for a religion that wasn’t what I was taught it was and didn’t bring me happiness. If the church works for you, great, but you need to understand there are tons of us that tried hard to make it work, and used the hell out of the “mechanisms in place”. It’s no picnic to leave. It’s not an easy way out. It’s the hardest thing most of us people do in our whole lives and we do it because we are trying to do what we believe is the right and moral thing to do.

      Also just to be clear about the practice of sustaining and the law of common consent: Joseph Smith said “no man can preside in this Church in any capacity without the consent of the people. The Lord has placed upon us the responsibility of sustaining by vote those who are called to various positions of responsibility.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:123; see also D&C 20:65) And from lds.org we get “this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints. (See D&C 26:2)”. Obviously there church isn’t practicing what it peaches here. where was this church wide vote regarding the decision to deny a population of children entrance into church membership and the gift of the holy ghost and temple attendance? Sustaining is supposed to be the law of common consent on action, a vote for our against, and the people are supposed to either approve or deny the decisions leadership have made and the very selection of called leaders. If you think it’s just a time to offer group affirmation and think you aren’t supposed to yell a No when you disagree with who has been chosen or what those leaders are deciding for the church then you don’t understand the purpose of the practice.

    • TK, perhaps I am just reading your comments incorrectly, but it seems like you are assuming quite a bit about members who leave their religion. People who leave their church are some of the most courageous people I have ever met. You think that Tyler’s defacing of Joseph Smith and his visions is an inappropriate response? Do you know the story of Martin Luther? How he essentially defaced the leaders of the Catholic church when he posted his 95 theses. It was said that his writings were “scandalous and offensive to pious ears.” Or how about Joseph Smith, Jr. even? Did he not publicly claim that EVERY SINGLE RELIGION ON THE PLANET was false? Don’t you think that may have rubbed some people the wrong way, or offended a person or two? Why is it wrong for someone to voice their hurt, pain and disagreement in a setting that is not behind a closed door with someone who has a set agenda?

      • Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church as a public notice to invite discussion with other scholars. This was commonly done at the time, and he was being very respectful and sincere in his desire for dialogue. The heading of his Theses reads: “Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.”

        When some groups of radical Protestant reformers turned violent and began smashing sacred images and statues in churches, Martin Luther came out of hiding after being excommunicated to speak against such actions.

        Clearly, some ways of expressing disagreement are better than others.

  3. You’re right, Kayla. Jesus Christ would seek him out, with a message of love, and treat him with respect and kindness. We are all His children, and every one of us deserves respect for our selves, our personal experiences, our thoughts and our feelings, no matter how our views might differ, from one person to the next. Did the father kick his prodigal son out the door and down the front steps, telling him he was no good, and he wasn’t part of the family any more? No. And neither should we treat anyone that way, even figuratively. I want to be kind to everyone. For that is right, you see?

  4. Well said. We are far too quick to push out those on the way out of the flock. In my opinion, we should allow people to decide what they believe, and be respectful of that. We must rise above the disrespect and coarseness of hatred or disappointment. We must show love to those that are in pain and hopefully, that love will invite them back to the fold one day.

  5. Watching his video made me think, “lost soul.” He said it in his interview, being gay was his natural way. Mosiah 3: 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. Glenn has lost all humility.
    Reminds me of Lucifer, unwilling to submit his will the the Father.

    • You seem very uncurious about how someone gets to the point that he did. I think it is lazy and mean to just say “he wasn’t willing to submit,” when he is portraying in that video how hurt and rejected he feels.

      When he desecrates your church’s icons, it’s because he feels that it did the same to him in reverse. He was treated like trash, and the ending scene shows what could have happened to him — what happens to many LGBT+ Mormons — if he hadn’t realized he was treasure. And found people who treasure him.

    • By your reasoning, being straight makes you just as much an “enemy to God” because it is a natural thing.

      • Amen. Engaging in procreating heterosexual intercourse with your temple-sealed spouse would be making you an “enemy to God” because that is a natural desire. How sad so many church members are quick to point out the mote while ignoring the beam.

  6. Beautiful. It seems that I constantly need to be reminded to love everyone, even though I really do. I get caught on the emotional band wagon and follow along. I will slow down and observe those around me, especially those hurting, and I WILL be inclusive and non-judgmental. Thank you for your post, I love it1

  7. Kayla, I’ve never been Mormon, but what struck me about Tyler’s song is how deep the hurt is. I think you get what he intended, but a lot of people are (understandably) missing it.

    What I can say is the hurt some of us outside have felt because of the pressure and mobilization of the LDS church in passing Prop 8. Because of that, I and quite a few of my friends were not able to solemnize same-sex weddings for several years, even though our respective faiths permit it. Some of my friends could not marry for years.

    Mormonism really needs to atone for what happened in California, and how it hurt people who have nothing to do with the LDS church.

    That’s, of course, in addition to caring for people who a) are LGBT(etc.) and in member families, b) members who wish to leave the church. Not everyone’s going to agree, and valuing people who are different in the LDS culture—one that highly values conformity—is difficult.

    • Deirdre, are you aware that prop 8 was not produced by the LDS church? That the largest force behind – and supporting it was a coalition of black evangelicals? That they (surprisingly considering how often they attack Mormonism) approached the LDS church and asked them to become involved? That the LDS church didn’t become involved until they felt certain the prop 8 was written to protect the religious definition of marriage, without negating an civil benefits, which have traditionally been linked to marriage (i.e. a civil union identical in every way to marriage save for thwe word ‘marriage’ would be allowed)?

      • 1. Non-black voters voted for Prop 8 at a higher rate than blacks did. It is absolutely unfair to pin this on any evangelicals (unless you count LDS as evangelical).
        2. Mormons provided ~70% of the funding for prop 8. People were asked to empty 401k plans(!) to “help.” (Though it’s also worth noting that some Mormons contributed significant money to defeat Prop 8, including a single donation of $1M from Bruce Bastian.)
        3. LDS mambers were also asked to mobilize, manning call centers.
        4. The religious definition of marriage has no business being in secular law.

        You might find the LA Times project on Prop 8 useful in dispelling myths about Prop 8 funding. Or watch 8: The Mormom Proposition.

        As I’ve said elsewhere, in my opinion, the answer God gave to the request on gay marriage in California was to make it lawful in all states. Some people just don’t like God’s answer.

        You may also find my husband’s piece interesting; he pointed out why the definitions of “male” and “female” are difficult because intersex biology makes boundaries difficult (regardless of how you feel about gay or transgender issues). Google on kudzu and marriage.

        The dilemma of innocent Olympic athletes helps highlight one sort of problem with “marriage protection” laws, with which anyone can have sympathy — citizens with genetic anomalies but who aren’t trying to game the system being shocked to have their marriages to what they thought was the opposite sex suddenly annulled (or prohibited).

        I do hope you enjoy your D&C 132 polygamy in the afterlife, though.

      • Deirdre, I’m sorry If what I said came of as combative. I didn’t mean to.
        1. I was not referring to the final voting, I was referring to the creation and evangelization of the bill. I don’t mean to pin it, just to point out that it was not a Mormon thing.
        2. The church donated ~ $200,000 toward prop 8. Total funding was ~%80,000,000. Yes there were some local church leaders who overstepped – telling members to use retirement funds etc… That exceeded what the Church asked members to do, and was inappropriate.
        3. The church ‘call centers’ were members, in their homes, who donated time to poll people on their position on prop 8 (not persuade), then call back and remind the ‘yes’ and ‘maybe’ responders to go vote. (I don’t doubt that many overstepped. People are like that. But only polling and reminding was church sanctioned).
        4. There are many opinions on the word ‘marriage’ (I wrote a short post on the subject – http://r-pentomino.blogspot.com/2015/06/different-flavors-of-marriage.html) Some thing religion has no place in it, some think government should never have gotten involved. As I say in my post, it is too bad people get hung up on a particular grouping of letters.

        I’ve watched a fair amount of propaganda on both sides. “Understanding is a three edged sword”. What strikes me is that both sides are overly emotional and passionate, and struggle to find a practical compromise as a result.

        I won’t pretend to be able to correctly understand or interpret D&C 132, but I seriously doubt it means what most think it means. As for myself. I am struggling to manage 1 family, so I will just stick to that, thanks :).

        I really didn’t mean to come off as attacking you, I apologize if you felt I was.

        P.S. There are a number of links from that search hit, can you point me more specifically to your husbands post? I will be happy to read it. Thanks.

      • Edwin, I guess we’re at maximum nesting, so replying to your prior comment.

        I apologize for being snippy. Yes, a lot of the creation of the bill wasn’t from LDS. It was from people who are fundamentally ignorant about biology, as there are five or more common sexes, though we do not have English names for the other four. Of course more than 99% are of one of the two most common. My husband’s piece is here.

        As the US government recently described in the lawsuit against North Carolina over HB2, there are aspects of chromosome differences, external genitalia, internal reproductive organs, as well as differences in brain development. The “traditional marriage” gender binary just doesn’t, and never has, existed in reality.

        (The five most common sexes are the chromosome arrangements: XX, XY, XXY, XYY, and X. There are quite a few others, but far less common.)

      • Deirdre, thanks for sending me the link! That was a great article, with some very good information, and apart from the Nov 5 addendum, he did an exception Job of being very neutral in his tone. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and the considerations he addressed. It did raise in interesting (perhaps rather philosophical) question, or line of thought: The different variances listed are generally of two types: a genetic deviation from the normal (by at least 3-sigma). The other are chemical (or other biological) drifts from norm. So then, at what point, or how do we distinguish (or can we distinguish), these from any of a number of other such conditions which are labeled as a disorder or disease? (I am asking that from a purely clinical, non-political perspective, though inevitably politics slips in). Turner Syndrome is in fact listed as a Common disorder, medically speaking, along with Color Blindness, Haemophillia, Cystic Fibrosis, etc…). What then are the implications with respect to curing, vs treating vs coping.

        Anyway, your husbands post raises some very good questions regarding unintended consequences. I am still inclined to think that perhaps the best solution is to rename the various components of marriage. If they are all something different, then there is not much to argue about. I think the one key justifier for the Prop 8-esque laws was as a free speech protection. (i.e. protecting photographers, dressmakers, musicians, chefs, etc.., from lawsuits for refusing to use their art (expression, a form of speech) in a way that goes against their personal principles), and free religion protection (protecting churches from lawsuit for similar reasons). So, if the various components were separate, then perhaps there would be … gray area. Like I said in my post, sad that we get hung up on a particular grouping of syllables. I seems to me there is a possible solution that meets all parties. (Also, from a Mormon perspective, one of the fundamental tenants of the LDS church doctrine is Article of Faith 11: “We claim the privilege of worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how where or what they may.” Key to LDS faith is the idea of personal choice and accountability (Utah was one of the 6 or seven states which signed to repeal prohibition in fact). I think many of the members need a gentle reminder of that. But if both sides could stop pointing fingers and finding fault, perhaps we could find a happy compromise. One other semi-related post of mine which you might find of interest…. http://r-pentomino.blogspot.com/2015_03_01_archive.html

        Thanks again.

    • Trying again (posted this earlier, but it doesn’t seem to have made it). It seems you mistook my post as an attack – my apologies, it was not meant as such.

      1. I did not mean to pin it on anyone. only to point out that it was not a Mormon thing per se. It did not originate with the LDS church, and they were only one of many groups involved in promoting it.

      2. The LDS church itself contributed ~$200,000 of the ~$83 million. Church members were encouraged to contribute time and resources, and yes, there were some local leaders who overstepped their bounds, by suggesting that members dip into retirement funds etc…

      3. The Call centers in the case of the LDS church were individuals at home making calls. they were given direction to 1. Call and determine the disposition of the individuals (without attempting to evangelize or coerce) and 2. Call back those who were ‘yes’ or ‘undecided’ and remind them to go vote. (I don’t doubt that there were some/many who overstepped. People often do).

      4. There are many people on all sides of this debate. Those who think religion should stay out of it, those who think govt. should stay out of it, those who think both should stay out of it. It is really kind of sad that we get so hung up over a particular combination of letters (I wrote a blog post to that effect. (http://r-pentomino.blogspot.com/2015/06/different-flavors-of-marriage.html)

      I have read a fair amount of propaganda from both sides of the argument. “Understanding is a three edged sword….”

      I googled as recommended, and found a number of huts, but none which really appeared to be the post you suggested. Can you provide the URL? I’d be happy to read it.

      D&C 132… I won’t pretend to be able to fully understand its implications, however, given I am only marginally successful as managing one family, I think I will pass. 🙂

      Again, I am sorry if my response came off as an attack or anything like that. I didn’t mean it to be taken as such.

    • Thank you for sharing her reply! I, too, have struggled with this new doctrine. She is an amazing lady and gives me a little hope that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  8. Thank you for this post. This is exactly the line of thought I’ve had about a lot of situations over the years. No, we don’t have to sit back and take whatever hateful things are hurled our way. But we can keep our hearts open to people who have obviously been hurt or are otherwise pulling away. That doesn’t mean condoning their actions or statements. But it does mean being like Christ and loving our neighbors.

  9. I was told by one of my co-workers about Tyler Glenn’s video. I decided to google it and found this blog. Kayla, your viewpoints on his video are very sympathetic, which many should appreciate because those who grew up in the Church and haven’t left the ‘safety’ of it can’t truly comprehend what it’s like to do so. As someone who left the LDS Church without having been cast out or mistreated, I can say with certainty that there will always be the big elephant in the room when it comes to homosexuality. It’s what I like to call the “BUT” word.

    How many times have LDS members heard the words, “We must love those who may identify themselves as homosexual, and should never look down upon them”? And yet, the silence afterwards screams “BUT to receive full fellowship and blessings from God, they can’t commit homosexual acts.” THAT is the big elephant in the room that will never go away, and if it is ignored, then those who do ignore it may find themselves in an inner battle of morals.

    We all have the agency to choose what we want to believe. We can choose to exclude. We can choose to accept. The worst thing we can choose to do is both at the same time, because that is complete and utter hypocrisy, and it is exactly where I find so many of my still active Church friends. I don’t care if someone decides that homosexuality is wrong. I don’t care if someone decides that it is right. It’s their choice. But, don’t mistake someone’s preference for the same sex as only an act and not reflective of who that person is. Love the sinner but hate the sin, right? Wrong. Maybe for a drug addict, or an alcoholic, or a criminal, or a liar. What do these all have in common? They not only negatively affect the individual, but they also harm others. Of course we want to love the sinner and hate the sin in these instances. It’s better for everyone. But I ask, how does someone’s sexual preference harm others? It doesn’t unless YOU choose to feel threatened or harmed by it in whatever way. You can’t try and separate the sin from the sinner here without rejecting the individual.

    I’m sure Tyler tried to suppress his true feelings about himself in an effort to please God, family, friends, and his church leaders. Who doesn’t want to feel acceptance in life? Loneliness is the worst fear of all. Yet, after watching this video it is clear that Tyler was very alone because his true self was half accepted and half rejected. I hope Tyler is with those who do accept him fully and that he feels true love in his life.

    • Nobody–you are somebody 😊 You put so eloquently many of my struggles with these same doctrines and the attitudes of the church. I feel very similar. I haven’t left the church, but do really question the timing and way the policy was introduced. Thanks for having the courage to say what you did and be true to yourself. Good luck in your journey ✌

  10. Sister Lemmon,

    I appreciate that your blog entry addresses this issue with the Spirit. And I totally agree with your points. I feel like I am often on the rougher side of the LDS culture, but culture doesn’t provide salvation, Jesus Christ does. Hopefully the imperfect of the church can love more perfectly those who feel ostracized, et cetera.
    Anyway, I know that this will get a bunch of ex-mormon commenting on it, but I just wanted to say, thank you for keeping the Spirit. 🙂

  11. I was delighted to read this blog. I shared it on Facebook with this comment:

    “You see? It really is possible to be Mormon and compassionate at the same time.”

    It saddens me to see comments to this blog that essentially say:

    “I feel compassion for these people too, BUT–”

    The moment you utter that word BUT, whether explicitly or by inference, you have demonstrated you do not have the compassion you claim to have. You demonstrate that you are part of the problem: one of those people who help nurture the climate of pain for the Tyler Glenns.

    You demonstrate that you competely failed to comprehend the message of this blog.

    I had a mother-in-law who was fond of saying, “I know it’s not a Christian thing to say, BUT–” and then go on to say something that was definitely not a Christian thing to say. Somehow she believed by uttering that opening disclaimer, it made her unchristian comment acceptable.

    It did not. It only made it hypocritical.

    The same thing is going on here. Those who utter the “BUT–” after their claim to compassion are only attempting to whitewash their unchristian feelings toward those who do not feel accepted and are suffering.

    And are violating their own religion. Violating the clear teachings of Jesus.

    And are unquestionably the ones driving the Tyler Glenns from the church.

    I should know, because I am one of theTyler Glenns. I’ve been through it. I know the pain. I’ve watched others I care about go through the pain. I know quite intimately those of you who would behave in the hypocritical manner I just described.

    I have said on more than one occasion that I could still coexist with the church, if only the church would coexist with me. It refuses to.

    If I have to sell my integrity to be accepted by these orthodox members who feign compassion but only serve up judgment, the price is too high. My integrity is not for sale, and I think Jesus is just fine with that.

    {No, I’m not gay, so don’t bother going there.)

  12. This is beautifully written. Thank you for trying to understand another’s pain without judgement and without trying to change them. The LDS church needs more members like you.

  13. Thank you for your perspective. It’s disappointing you posted this article without watching the interview Tyler did on Mormon Stories. One day maybe you may actually understand that Tyler’s loss in belief was not caused by HIS faith crisis but the Church’s truth crisis. The leaders of the church have been caught in a lie and are like little kids gas lighting their members that nothing is seriously wrong. They are destroying families often leaving families split between the members who refuse to investigate and members who have investigated who are often husband and wife, or mother and child. They are harming families. Many men are seeking support in secret because they have a believing wife who refuses to investigate what we know now. We have facts now that trump beliefs.

    The TRUTH will set you free, but not without significant grief. It will be the hardest thing you’ll have to face. The older you are the harder. The more family members you still have that are “in” the more painful. OR you can follow their goal to mitigate loss and cause remaining members to entrench by putting your head in the sand and not digging deeper into Tyler’s pain.

    Tyler’s loss in belief has nothing honestly to do with being gay. Being gay was what led him to question on November 4th, but beyond that Tyler’s experience is waiting for MOST members who will one day have to face that we were all a part of a scam. Tyler’s anger is in a VERY NORMAL part of the anger stage of grief in this video that he has to experience finding out his religion is a fraud and his very real anger for what being gay and a member did to him especially finding out it’s all a scam. He will have years ahead of him of recovery – more than every day members. Every day total believing non-questioning Mormon’s face significant pain and grief also but not likely as intense as LGBT, or minorities, or women.

    Most faithful and believing members never stop to actually really investigate – ask themselves “what if the church is a scam?” and then study it out from not just the biased source but other sources. Would you ever trust the manufacturer to tell you a product wasn’t a scan? Now days you can look at other sources with references. Belief is a power that leaders have used to exploit individuals for centuries. Christianity is only one of many religions that found extremely effective ways to control the masses. Mormonism is not the greatest fraud, but one of many. It’s not even a top ten in frauds in history. It’s not special or significant in the grand scheme of frauds. Looking at motives from all angles is key. Why would the leadership be motivated to gas light about the scam that is the church? Follow the money is usually the best way to find out.

    Following Jesus is one thing, but choosing to follow the Mormon church now with verifiable information at our fingertips is just willful ignorance now. I was a faithful member all my adult years until I experienced what Tyler experienced. The catalyst for me was my own son saying he was atheist. Typically it takes a crisis of your storybook fairy-tale life to cause a person to actually question. Believing members would say their faith was tested, when they don’t realize that this is just when they allow themselves to question because they no longer give a shit. The death of a loved one, a crazy lds policy that comes out, a child not going on a mission, your spouse dies, a child of yours is LGBT, a child of yours has both genetalia and is XXY genetically, your fairy tale cookie cutter temple married crumbles and becomes real, etc.

    “I don’t quite understand Glenn’s pain or anger right now. I haven’t been through it. But I know how it feels to not blend in. To work through doubts and pray for the faith to endure. I know how it is to feel anything BUT treasure. I bet you do too.” Thousand of us do understand his pain – there are many support groups in place now thankfully to help us recover.

  14. I think I get – and agree with what you are saying in this post. I also understand that many members of the church cling to old protestant, Quaker, evangelical, etc… traditions about religion, which really aren’t part of Mormonism. (Hellfire and Damnation, a stern spiteful god). I also understand that Mormons are just like everybody else in the world in that they tend toward tribalism. We all (all humans) cling to our particular social constructs, we become defensive of ideas that don’t fit our constructs, we attack those outside of our tribe (and I am betting every reading this agrees with me about the ‘others’). On the other hand. I think some people are just getting tired of the constant raging. Democracts vs Republicans, liberals vs conservatives, ‘natives’ vs immigrants, Muslims vs Christians, black vs white, men vs women,… It seems every conversation today is framed in anger, victimization, retribution, indignation…. everybody done somebody wrong.

    I don’t doubt he was mistreated by some(/many) LDS members who failed to remember and apply AoF 11 and to correctly apply AoF 13 – members who were unwittingly standing on the Rameumptom (Alma 31-35).

    But quite frankly, throwing a childish temper tantrum because of someone else’s childish behavior is… childish…

    Some (/many/most) people are simply responding childishly to his childish response to other’s childish behaviors.

    But some people are just simply tired of all the childishness. For some people, it isn’t about sweeping it under the rug, it is about ignoring yet another tantrum, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe if you ignore all the poor behavior, and give attention to the good behavior, maybe the whole world will grow up a little…

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