"Tired" is my default state of existence, but Daylight Savings Time screws me over even worse for at least a week. So I'm going to cheat and mostly use someone else's words today. I don't have much to say personally about the recent snafu with BYU's Honor Code change regading "homosexual behavior". I think it was very poorly handled, that someone should be fired for how poorly it was handled, and that the firestorm of negative publicity and protests is both warranted and deserved for how poorly it was handled. I think it worth noting that the sentiment in Elder Johnson's letter of clarification (inexplicably published two weeks after the fact), that behavior which "cannot lead to eternal marriage" is "not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code", if truly believed and enforced without hypocrisy would also lead to crackdowns on opposite-sex pity dates (a bane of my existence when I used to date) and non-committal makeout sessions (a phenomenon by no means limited to BYU, but nonetheless so pervasive at BYU that I've literally never heard that particular term or its acronym NCMO in any context that isn't BYU.)
Not mentioning the current controversy by name, but clearly catalyzed by it, a blogger at By Common Consent published this post that I find very, very relatable: "My Holy Horcrux"
To fill up the remainder of space, I repeat some words posted to "Mormons Building Bridges" on Facebook today by John Gustav-Wrathall. I won't offer any specific commentary as it's not my place to weigh in for or against the validity of anyone else's faith journey, but I like what he said. It comforts me a little.
"I did a fair amount of dating when I was at BYU. All members of the opposite sex. There was no romance involved at all. At the time I had no concept of what romance might even feel like in a relationship. In all my dating, there was never a moment, there was never a special someone, with whom I felt a deep yearning to build a life.
"That fact became a pivotal component in the personal crisis that led to a deep depression and severe suicidal ideation in my junior year. That and the fact that when I finally did feel that romantic spark, that powerful magnetic urge to be with another human being, to love them and to be loved in return by them, and to build a life together, those feelings welled up in me in relation to another guy. I discovered romance at BYU, just not the kind that I was supposed to.
"When I was with him, I felt alive. I felt deeply happy. And when I was not with him I dreamed of being with him, and I felt deep sadness at the thought of not being able to be with him.
"The following summer, I resigned from the Church and I left BYU forever. My crush left too, following several suicide attempts.
"It was a heartbreaking end to my relationship with Brigham Young University. There were few BYU students more idealistic and passionate about their faith and their testimony of the Church than I was. As I matured sexually, it became increasingly impossible for me to see a way through the conflict between my faith and my gayness, which is why death became an increasingly appealing option to me.
"Ultimately I survived because God revealed himself to me, and he showed me something about me I’d never been able to see or understand or accept. Also because he promised to go with me on whatever exodus I needed to go on. And God has kept his promise.
"I abruptly quit BYU just before the beginning of my senior year. I found another school that accepted all but my BYU religion credits, and I graduated and found myself free to explore what it meant to be gay, including whether to be in a relationship, and if to be in one, how to be in one. I ultimately met and committed to the man who has been my husband, teacher and soul mate for going on 29 years.
"In 2005, nineteen years after I escaped that dark place where suicide seemed like my only option, I felt called to go back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was crystal clear, it was powerful, and it was frightening at first. I followed the prompting of the Spirit, and the result has been 15 years of activity in the Lake Nokomis Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ, despite being married to a man and excommunicated. I have learned and grown so much from affiliating with the Saints, from studying the Gospel with them, feeling the Spirit among them, serving and being served by them, and receiving ministry and blessings through the restored priesthood.
"I am so grateful. Most importantly, I know I am where I am supposed to be, and I know that the journey that I am on is only just barely beginning in relation both to my husband and to the Church. I know to a lot of people that sounds crazy, but I know it deep inside from a decade and a half of knowing that the Gospel is true and almost three decades of knowing my marriage is true.
"My wish for LGBTQ BYU students today is that they could have a safe place to learn and grow in their faith and to learn and grow in their self-understanding, as they grow intellectually and prepare for their various vocations in the world but not of it. I wish BYU could be the place where they could do that. BYU was not that safe space for me. It almost killed me. I don’t know that it has become safe yet for LGBTQ students today, though it is getting better as the Church continues to learn and grow and struggle to understand these issues better.
"Here’s what I know in this situation. The Lord is at work in all of this. The Spirit is present and is at work teaching us in and through all of this — through the angst, the heartache, and the struggle, and through the moments when all of that provides a context for us to really practice charity with one another.
"As we continue to bear with one another, hard hearts will soften, confusion will give way to clarity, and at some point, the Lord will finish the work in a way that we will know it was him and nobody else who has done it. That is my testimony.
"In the meantime, I strive for gifts of patience, faith, hope and the pure love of Christ."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.