I write this as an activist who is not active in the church. I know that those of you who are are feeling very discouraged after General Conference this week. I know that everyone has reasons to leave the church that they weigh with reasons to stay, but I want to plead with you to please add this to the balance. The young LGBT people in the church need you at church!
I know that you can’t stay for this alone. But if something is tipping the scales for you, then please remember the young vulnerable youth that desperately need one person in the ward who will accept and understand them. That youth has parents that will also need support when they learn that their child is LGBT. If we leave them alone they will be left to the wolves. Having just a single ally can make the difference of life or death for some of these youth.
So I am calling on all Allies. Your best chance for saving these LGBT teens is from within the church. Not because you will change the institution, but because you will be an influence for change in your ward. And you will be the person that this despairing youth can turn to when the whole world seems against them.
I am calling on parents. You need to save your children first. If this means you have to leave then you must leave. But if there is a way for you to stay, or if your children are older, then consider staying for the next generation of youth. Your unique perspective will give credibility to your voice.
And I am calling on LGBT people. If you have to leave to save your own life then please leave and fast. But if you are in a place of strength, then please consider staying. There is nothing that changes attitudes faster than having a friend or ward member who is LGBT and letting them see your true colors. I know some of you worry about ex-communication, and I ask you to consider letting go of that, and not giving it any more importance. By not caring about excommunication and refusing to attend their courts they cease to have power over you. In fact, as Bob Rees pointed out, if you are excommunicated that actually gives you the advantage of being able to choose a less hostile ward, if the one you live in is unbearable. It also allows you to use your tithing money to promote causes that will help LGBT Mormon youth.
I obviously understand those who leave. I left and I can’t possibly go back. So there is no way I can judge any of you who make that decision. As an outsider I can fight for changes, but I can never have the same impact that I would have had by doing it right there, in my own ward, and from within the church. And you must take care of yourself first and your family. And there really are so many ways to help that it makes sense to do it from a place where you feel loved and accepted. But if you are one of those people who is on the line, and looking for a reason to stay, then stay for the youth.
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