08 February 2012

THT: A New Resolution

Lately, I've been quite active on facebook... posting articles of interest about gay marriage and the church. I've gotten quite a bit of backlash for it which got me thinking. I let my personal feelings muddy my dialog with other people on this issue. I need to stay calm and collected.

I've decided that this month, I will write my letter of resignation to church headquarters.  With that letter, I am sending all my feeling of betrayal, anger, hurt, and rejection. I will still comment on and post articles of interest to me, but I will stick to facts and not get personal about it. I will not make someone feel like I think they are inferior because of their beliefs or opinions. I will replace criticism with fairness and anger with kindness. It is something I need to work on and I think it will be good for me to make those changes.


Anonymous said...

Do you think a letter will remove all your feelings of betrayal, anger, hurt, and rejection? I don't think it will. Only forgiveness can remove those feelings. Forgiveness will allow you too see the good and the bad of the Church and remain on neutral ground. Good luck in your journey as you try to move on.

Trev said...

You know you only need to deliver your letter to your bishop, right? If you're writing to Salt Lake to make a statement, that's great, but if it's for mostly the function of resigning, then bishop would probably be quicker and easier.

Of course, I feel stupid writing this because I'm sure you know way more about all this than me, but I like commenting, after all.

Trev said...

Oh, and if you are writing to make a statement, do please post it to your blog.

Sulli said...

Anonymous has a point, BUT for me my letter meant a great deal. I know there is a lot of debate as to what that letter accomplishes. Basically, you still end up counted in the church's numbers but for me it was about me drawing a line in the sand. It was about me saying to church that I was done and that they no longer had power over me.

For me on that edge of belief and non-belief telling them to leave me alone was very important. Telling them, and writing down the words that they did not have authority over me anymore was important for me psychologically.

Now I was not DONE in the sense that I moved on but by sending the letter I was in a place where I was able to start taking control of my own life. I walked out the door on my own.

Sulli said...

IF you think your bishop might sit on your letter I would still send one to the Church Office Building. When I sent mine I sent one to bishop, stake pres and COB and let all three parties know that that the others had received letters too.

I figured there was no reason to let the bishop yank me around. He was held accountable for getting his paperwork done because the other people had a letter too.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@ Anonymous- Of course I will not literally be packing those feeling up in the letter. It is symbolic of my desire to let that pain go and allow the healing to progress.

@ Trev- I do not have a bishop. The last time I was part of a ward was at BYU over a year ago and that bishop was a real piece of work. It really is no effort at all to send it directly to the church office building. I don't care to meet with bishops and stake presidents to go over my decision with me. I don't think my letter will make a statement. It will simply be my official resignation in writing. I think it is likely that one church employee will read it and that person will have no influence on the church. But I will include it here when I send it.

@Sulli- Thank you for sharing your experience... I think I can relate to your words.

Anonymous said...

I had an immense feeling of lightweight freedom when I delivered my resignation letter to my local bishop. I believe whatever you write, you will feel the same sensation.

Julian said...

Jonathan, I only came across your blog today via your '4 choices' video. I'm sorry that the hope and optimism you expressed in your choice (#4) has not worked out in reality and you are about to leave the Church.

You sound like a great guy, with a great boyfriend and relationship. I'm not a Mormon, live in the UK and am about 15 years older than you, but it would be nice to think that by 2012 all organised religions would have made more progress towards fully accepting gay people and their sexualised relationships. The impression I got on a brief visit to SLC and Temple Square a couple of years ago was that if you are in a procreative, married heterosexual relationship then your life is pretty much sorted as far as membership of the LDS Church is concerned. Fall out of this narrow definition and you will not be fully welcomed into the fold.

While it is a tragedy that you cannot currently be a full part of the church with your boyfriend, hopefully wisdom will prevail at some point soon. However, always remember that even when your church or mine does not fully welcome gays, Jesus Christ and God does, the church is simply an intermediary, it is for you to develop your relationship with Christ in alternate ways if need be.

Best wishes to you and your boyfriend.

Jules x

Anonymous said...

I am a gay mormon....and where I can find a partner who is a gay moron? i study at cambridge university...do u know how??I wanna be happy Jonathan plz help me

jimf said...

> I will stick to facts and not get personal about it. I will not
> make someone feel like I think they are inferior because of
> their beliefs or opinions.

Staying (or at least acting) calm and thoughtful, and not
responding to name-calling in kind, ls always a good idea.

But avoiding hurting the feelings of people whose feelings
will be hurt simply by hearing someone disagree
with them is not always possible (except by keeping your
mouth shut and staying out of sight). Some people just don't like
hearing other people tell them or even imply that they're wrong.
And people who think not only that they as individuals are right,
but that they're right because they go to the right church
and believe in the right god, can get even more upset when anyone
dares to contradict them (and they can justify their anger
by pointing out that not only they as individuals, but their
families, their friends, their church, their church leaders,
their prophets, and their god are all being insulted and
demeaned and defied when somebody dares to express views in
public -- or live a life in public -- that is contrary to
what they, their families, ..., their god consider morally
right and good and healthy and holy).

An illustration: there's a discussion somewhere on YouTube
among the most prominent "new atheists" (Richard Dawkins,
Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens)
about the problem they face being open and frank in their
critical analyses of religious dogma when the "faithful"
play what Dennett calls "the hurt feelings card". Some people,
even within the skeptical community (Chris Mooney is one of
them) seem to think that atheists, at least in their public
discourse, should pull their punches as much as possible to avoid
hurting religious folks' feelings. But as Dennett points out in
that YouTube video, there is no degree of pulling punches
which will satisfy such people, other than keeping quiet
altogether. (Here's a link to the part 1 of the video
"The Four Horsemen":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XLp1E ).

There are some funny (and scary) things that can happen when
two people not only disagree about a particular issue (whether,
for instance, gay marriage should be legally -- if
not religiously -- recognized), but disagree down to the most
fundamental assumptions in their world views. There's another
video on YouTube in which evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins
(who has taken it upon himself to be a vocal proponent for
the "new atheists" -- he writes books, gives lectures,
and so forth) describes a filmed interview he had with
evangelical Ted Haggard (before Haggard was disgraced among
his co-religionists by having been caught in a sexual
relationship with a man) in which Dawkins and Haggard
debated -- in a more-or-less civilized fashion -- their
quite different views on the origins of life and the role
of evolution, and then, just as Dawkins and his film
crew were leaving Haggard's compound, Haggard drove up in
a fury and started yelling at Dawkins such things as
"How dare you call my children animals? Who do you think
you are?" and so forth. Dawkins says he was actually
afraid for a moment that the final encounter would erupt
into violence (the episode is described in a Wikipedia
article about the TV documentary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Root_of_All_Evil%3F ).

Anyway, the point is -- as the encounter between Dawkins and
Haggard demonstrated -- that simply being frank about
one's **fundamental view of the world** is "fightin' words"
to people who don't share those views (and to whom those
views are anathema).

In those circumstances, you can't win by being

But that doesn't mean you should shut up and slink away,

Anonymous said...

I'm new to the church, but I do believe that one day, hopefully in my lifetime, they will change--that is the nature of the church. After all, it wasn't so long ago that they said black people would never hold the priesthood and now they can. Who knows? I truly believe this is an example of the humanity of the Prophets and Quorum getting somewhat in the way (it's the gay culture at large that is sinful, not homosexuality itself--i.e., the huge focus on partying and sex as opposed to constructive relationships) I'm both a convert and someone who has been openly gay for 14 years (since I was 13!)

I also got a new member survey thing, and in it I put that I dislike the church's stance on homosexuality. It probably won't make a difference, but taking inspiration from President Monson at last conference, I took the courage to "stand alone."

On the other hand, I have not actively said anything regarding sexuality to people at my ward. Nor do I think it's necessary--the Mission President knew, the Missionaries did, and that was sufficient. As far as I'm concerned, and this is something I have always felt, my sexuality is not the primary characteristic defining me, and as such needn't be shared as if it's as fundamental as my first name. I just stay away from the Singles stuff to a point (but ironically was called to serve in an organizing capacity for Singles stuff, so going to be a little difficult). School is always a good excuse too if necessary--since it is also the reason I haven't actively pursued finding a boyfriend/partner.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@Anonymous- I think it is this kind of thinking that is dangerous and hurtful and a large reason why gay people do not feel welcomed at church. "it's the gay culture at large that is sinful, not homosexuality itself--i.e., the huge focus on partying and sex as opposed to constructive relationships."

The church provides no support of "constructive relationships." It does not encourage them, it does not support them. Society itself is very intolerant of seeing any kind of gay public affection (ie holding hands). I've been yelled at, pointed at, whispered about, people have changed seats in so they wouldn't have to sit next to "the gays." Families often don't want anything to do with their gay child's life... or at least don't want to hear about it or see it.

You think this kind of environment produces "constructive relationships?" If the same circumstances surrounded heterosexuals, I'm not sure they would be "sinful."

There are a lot of people that need the support and encouragement of friends and family to be able to navigate successfully in this life. I have seen a huge difference in gay Mormons who have had support from their family and friends verses the ones who are rejected.

The gay "culture" at large is not sinful. Religious conservatives go around pointing to a "culture" they know NOTHING about and say, "see, they're disgusting." I have a whole lot of gay friends and I don't see this "culture" that you speak of. If they party it is no more than a straight college guy.

I hope for your sake the church does change soon. It sounds to me like you are pretty trapped. "I have not actively said anything regarding sexuality," "I just stay away from the Singles stuff," "School is always a good excuse too if necessary," "I haven't actively pursued finding a boyfriend."

You shouldn't feel like you can't talk about it or have to come up with excuses. Sexuality may not be all of who you are but it is a core, essential characteristic.

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