By David T. Reid
Hello, my name is David. I am an excommunicated Latter-Day Saint. It was in the latter teen-age years of my life that I received a knock at my front door by a priesthood leader who then handed me a plain sealed envelope. Held inside was a short and brief letter requesting my presence at a bishop’s court hearing for consideration of my membership. My heart sank as if the world had ceased to exist and the heavens were no more. I mourned as if I had been sentenced to eternal death. However, I already knew inside my heart what the outcome would be. Previously, the local leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints thought I should be taken away from my family to reside with another Mormon family that had a “strong father figure.” At the same time, I was made to see a church psychiatrist to determine just how deep my “homosexual feelings” were. All the while, I was stripped of my priesthood responsibilities and belittled by vicious rumors swirling around the congregation. What can a child of God say in defense of himself? I had already been judged, prosecuted, and found guilty of the crime of being gay. I was shackled and bound by the very same kind of ignorance in which Joseph Smith Jr. had experienced from others throughout his life. I was offered no forgiveness unless I denounce myself and forsake my true spiritual identity. Thus, I tried to end my life, as suicide and death were a better option than living in an unforgiving world.
So, here I am, almost a half century old. It is truly a miracle that I remain alive. It is God’s will not mine. For this I know through the power of the Holy Ghost. There are countless days I imagine ways to end my life because of the hurt and pain in which my own brethren have suffered upon me. However, like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said to our Heavenly Father, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” My Heavenly Father has wept for me as well as the Lord Jesus Christ because of the trials and tribulations I have faced. They have personally told me this by the laying on of hands. I stand alone like so many of my brothers and sisters who lay silently in their graves forgotten in a world that considers us only as a footnote in history. We are not remembered for the good works in which we have done, but rather for our homosexuality. Perhaps one day, someday, our Heavenly Father will bless each one of you with the wisdom and truth of the power and glory of our Heavenly Father’s kingdom. I pray and write this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Upon My Knee ©
Mr. Reid was a very active member of the Cortland, New York branch. Originally his family came from Syracuse, New York where his mother joined the church in the early 1960’s. His ancestral background is tied to Scottish, Jewish, and possibly Native American Indian roots. His ancestors’ settled in upstate New York where they once operated the Salt Mines near Onondaga Lake; and nonetheless, they patriotically fought alongside George Washington in The Revolutionary War. Throughout David’s life he has been personally touched by the life and works of Joseph Smith Jr. So much so, that he has visited the majority of historic sites where Joseph Smith lived like his birthplace, family home, and cabin in Palmyra, New York. David lives only a few minutes away from the Susquehanna River where Joseph meant his wife Emma Hale in Afton [Formed from Bainbridge], New York. Mr. Reid has performed temple work in Washington, DC and has had the honor of attending the open house of the Hill Cumorah Temple. David wasn’t baptized until the age of ten by instruction from church leadership. Since the age of ten, Mr. Reid has been writing poetry and short stories for almost forty years. His works have been nationally published in periodicals and books.