“Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” —Matthew 15:27
The Church is not a welcoming place for LGBT people, and most are either forced out or leave. Meanwhile, there are still very many LGBT Mormons who want a place in the church. There are even more who don’t have a choice because they are being raised there. Most of these LGBT Mormons are willing to accept that their relationships may never be recognized by the church. Many are even willing to live a life of celibacy in order to maintain their membership. I mourn with these people and I want to plead with the church leaders that they at least let these LGBT people eat the crumbs that fall from the table.
Can there be a crumb for our youth? Can there be a single positive message for our LGBT youth in the curriculum? Can there be a single message specifically for their parents? A message that Christ would want them to love and nurture their LGBT children and prepare them to succeed in whatever life they choose for themselves?
Can there be a crumb for that gay youth who has never disobeyed the law of chastity but who has ward members who won’t take the sacrament if he passes it to them?
Can there be a crumb for that gay youth at a youth conference who hears speech after speech about how terrible homosexuality is, but hears nothing that speaks to him/her?
Can there be a crumb for that lesbian youth who is told at church that it is better for a child to be raised in a group home or foster home than to be raised by two loving lesbians?
Can there be a crumb for the 15 year old who is kicked out her Mormon home because of her orientation, and sleeps in the snow near the entrance to her school because she has nowhere else to go?
Can there be a crumb for the 400 LGBT Mormon youth who are homeless and wandering the streets along the Wasatch Front and who get no support from their families, nor their Bishops (nor the state of Utah who offers excellent services to homeless adults, but no services to homeless teens, leaving them to survive in the streets as best they can, many of whom have to sell their bodies to survive and take stimulants to avoid the dangers of sleeping in the streets)?
Can there be a crumb for the parents of a gay youth who feels like their family is divided and are told that their child won’t be with them in eternity?
Can there be a crumb for these parents who mourn that their family no longer sits together at church, because their gay child feels too much pain at church?
Can there be a crumb for these parents who worry that their LGBT child will take their own life, or get involved in unsafe behaviors? Who wish their child could have the guidance of a church that rejected them?
Can there be a crumb for the parents who take a stand for their LGBT child, but then lose their callings or their temple recommends as a result?
Our Young Adults
Can there be a crumb for that young adult who has decided to end his life because he concludes that the only release from this painful conflict is death?
Can there be a crumb for the BYU student who after 3 years of school there is facing expulsion because she held another girl’s hand (with a further punishment of having her academic records withheld, thus wasting 3 years of education)?
Can there be a crumb for the BYU-I student who lives in constant fear of being discovered or the BYU-Hawaii student who is reported too often to the standards office by overzealous roommates for minor things such as having a rainbow flag in his room?
Can there be a crumb for the BYU graduate who is sitting in her commencement exercises celebrating her great achievement, but is crushed when she is told from the podium that she must fight against her own equality in order to be a good Mormon?
Our Active Members
Can there be a crumb for those active LDS celibate LGBT people who live according to all the church rules, but still find themselves marginalized in their ward? Who are reminded every week that they are less than their heterosexual peers?
Can there be a crumb for the active LDS celibate young adult who strayed as a youth, and now has his membership record permanently annotated, thus restricting him from callings with youth and children for life, even though he has fully repented?
Can there be a crumb for the return missionary who is now in same-sex relationship but wants to enjoy the fellowship of her ward and remain active, without facing an excommunication (even though she knows that she won’t be allowed a temple recommend)?
Can there be a crumb for the excommunicated but believing LGBT Mormon who is not being allowed baptism unless she divorces her wife of 25 years?
Can there be a crumb for the man feeling stuck in a mixed-orientation marriage of 20 years? Who wants to stay for his children, but is getting more and more suicidal every day?
Can there be a crumb for all LGBT/SSA people who pray every general conference that there will be even a single message of love directed toward them?
Our Family Members
Can there be a crumb for those who have left the church, but are then demonized and ostracized and excluded from family relationships?
Can there be a crumb for those who have never been Mormon but are seeing their civil rights restricted because they live in places that have a Mormon majority and these places won’t grant basic protections against housing or employment discrimination until the Church endorses it?
There are many LGBT Mormons who will settle for even small crumbs, but only a few of them are being offered a place at the table, thanks to those rare sympathetic local leaders who are making a difference in their congregations. When will all LGBT Mormons be offered a few of these crumbs that fall from the table? Will the Church decide to minister to those who fall outside of the model promoted in the Proclamation?
My hope lies in the rising chorus of brave, faithful church members who are loving and welcoming their LGBT brothers and sisters into the fold. They are slowly changing attitudes in their wards and in the hearts of their fellow Mormons. I have a deep gratitude to these LDS allies who have blessed my journey. They have set an example of how it can be done. I know that Christ would have numbered himself among them if he had lived in these times.
I challenge every LDS person who loves their LGBT brothers and sisters to write a letter to their local leader as well as a member of the 12 apostles and plead with them to consider giving some crumbs to the despairing, isolated LGBT members of the church. Even if the church leaders can’t promise a change in doctrine, they can offer love, hope and empathy and they can inspire the all church members to do the same.