In general, I followed the path that a good Utah Mormon should. I was born in the covenant. I was baptized and confirmed by my dad at the age of eight. I held callings in the Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel presidencies for the Young Women and earned my Young Woman Medallion. I attended the temple and did baptisms and confirmations for the dead. I was enrolled in seminary during school and graduated with a four year seminary certificate. I received my patriarchal blessing when I was a senior in high school. And when I met a nice young man who proposed to me, I received my endowments at the age of twenty, and was sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple at the age of twenty-one.
Sounds like I should have the picture perfect LDS life, because it certainly started out that way. But if you want that ending, you should probably be reading my sisters blogs instead.
The truth is that I struggled with church and it was everything my parents could do to get me out of bed and ready each week. It wasn't the doctrine or the teachings that bothered me, it was the people. I haven't felt comfortable in a ward since I was nine.
My marriage didn't last. We were married in February of 2004 and our divorce was finalized December of 2005. There were many factors involved and the fact that I'm gay was obviously one of them.
After my divorce, I lived on my own for about four years. I tried to go to a singles ward for some of that time but the old feelings of discomfort have persisted. I haven't been to church consistently since 2007 and I usually only go when I'm in St. George visiting my sisters, or when there's a special occasion like a baby blessing or something like that. I attended the temple but when my recommend expired in 2008, I didn't renew it.
Since coming out, my perception of the Church as a whole has changed quite a lot. I still consider myself to be LDS, because that is the foundation of my beliefs. But I am in no way an active member. In my mind I now see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as two separate entities.
I have found that it really is better for me to focus on my spirituality on an individual and personal level. What I believe is what I believe. I know that God exists and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior. I believe they know and love me just as I am. I believe they know where I struggle and where I do well, and I believe that they can see I'm doing the best I can. Someday, I will stand face to face with them, and we'll talk about my life and the choices I've made and the consequences, both good and bad, that must follow. But I know they will know the entire story, so I will be judged fairly, and where I go is where I deserve to go.
I know that God loves all His children. I believe that He doesn't enjoy watching us hurt each other. I believe He knows of each tear that falls, each heart that breaks, and each silent pain that is endured upon this Earth, and I believe that He will someday make it right.
My family continues to be very active in the Church, and because of that, I know that the Church will always be a part of my life. Perhaps one day I can come to a place where I do not resent the Church as much as I do now. Until then, I continue to pray and ponder and cultivate my faith and ask God to give me the strength to live each day to the best of my abilities.