I love so many things about my church. The people in the church are wonderful. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is beautiful. There is much to love and admire about the structures and organizations that exist within the church. I love church service and the ways my callings have strengthened and fortified my spirit. The people in my wards have sustained me through the most trying times in my life and I will forever be grateful to them. But I do not understand this. I do not understand the church leadership's harsh stance towards gays in the church (and outside of the church for that matter) and I am realizing that I will never be able to reconcile it like I can with so many other things that I don't love about the church and its controversial history.
Here is a guy, Steven Fehr, who has served a mission, who loves and follows the gospel, who is a better member of the church than I will ever be. Who....for goodness sakes.....stayed celibate until his commitment ceremony even though he knew formalizing his relationship would ultimately end in his excommunication. I can't help but question what Christ would do. Would he really cast this man from the fold, force him to worship from the margins?
If you're gay in the church, you have to remain celibate unless you marry. Yet, no marriage or commitment ceremony is recognized by the church. It seems like a cruel and impossible predicament for faithful gay members.
I have a lot of respect for Steven's decision to continue to believe, even from the sidelines. I am convinced that it is people like him that will eventually change church policy. Yet it must be heartbreaking, embarrassing, to continue to worship as a second class citizen. I can't say for sure that I would make the same decision to stay if I were in his shoes.
In the context of this debate, I often think about my children. What would I do if one of them came out to me? Love them, of course. Would I leave the church if they asked me to? If they felt disrespected by the church's policies towards gays? I would strongly consider it. Yet, I have friends who have suffered as a result of Prop 8, and even gay friends with sweet testimonies who have been pushed away from their church membership. Yet I stay. Does this make me a hypocrite or a heroine? I don't know, probably neither. I DO know that I desperately don't want to leave, but I never feel completely at peace about either decision - staying or leaving.