equality / Gay / gay mormon / latter day saints / LDS / LGBTQ / mormon / religion

Widening the Divide: Two Monks, The Mormon Church, and Moving Forward

I work with teens.  And sometimes they argue.  And I help them with conflict resolution.  And sometimes they just can’t get over whatever it was that originally pissed them off.  When that happens, I’ll sometimes tell this story about two monks.  They were travelling together, and during their travels, they came across a woman that was relatively “worldly”, something that they rejected based on their belief system.  She was at a river and afraid to cross because of the strong current.  She asked the monks to help her cross.  The younger of the monks turned away in disgust and refused to carry her.  The older monk, without hesitation, picked her up, carried her across the river, and set her back down.  She thanked them and went on her way.  The younger monk was clearly frustrated and chastised the older monk.  The older monk responded by saying “I merely picked her up and put her down.  It is you that is still carrying her”,

After telling this story, I’ll talk with the teens about holding grudges and dredging up the past, even after a conflict has been resolved.  Resolving a conflict doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is happy and gets along.  It means that the affected parties have come to a conclusion on how to move forward.  It has been resolved and you can move forward.  Dredging up the past and holding a grudge means that something isn’t working or that it hasn’t been completely resolved.

I can speak for myself as a gay man and former Mormon.  I want to live my life like anyone else.  I want to live in a place where I know that I’m safe, I will not be homeless or jobless or discriminated against because of the way I live my life or my own personal beliefs.  I just want to live my life.

I know the church opposes the way I live my life and the choices I make.  I don’t want to be an active mormon, either.  I’ve (mostly) made my peace with the church.  I had issues, worked past most of them, and I’m moving forward.  I feel like I’m the monk that picked the woman up and set her down.

When the church encourages members to “thoughtfully and prayerfully consider an issue and vote accordingly”, they are stirring the pot.  When they continually emphasize their stance on LGBTQ people, they keep dredging up the past.  When they hold a news conference to announce that they support LGBTQ anti-discrimination rights, but that individuals and companies should have the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people (thus voiding everything just said), they continue stocking the fire that is fueling anger between the church and the queer community.  They are the monk that is upset that is upset that people aren’t living the letter of the law.

To the LDS church.  You’re losing members.  You’re creating a greater divide.  Maybe that’s your goal, but if it is, you’re going about it in a very two faced way.  I have picked the issues up and I’m doing my best to put them down and move on.  I want to move forward without frustration or anger towards the church because I learned a lot from my years in the church.  But when you continually bring your issues with me and the queer community up, you make it hard for me to move forward without frustration.

I suggest that you state your case one final time, and move on.  There is no need to keep bringing a community that is trying to just trying to live it’s life into your drama.


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