Saturday, February 9, 2008
Unfortunate metaphorical rodents of unusual size
I have for some time really deliberated on whether or not I am going to post the most recent letter from my mom. It is very personal, but honestly after some consideration (about 2 weeks worth) I have decided that it may be important for people in this community to see this letter. I would say having your family disown you is the bottom line of coming out and telling your family you don't want to be celibate therefore in the church anymore. This is by far not the bottom line, but I think it's worth reading. This is my mom's letter to me:
You have asked me if I can do something. This is what you have said to me:
“I need you to ask yourself.. what does Clark want. What are
Clark’s hopes and fears.. How can I be an ally to Clark on his journey.
This is how I want to be treated by you. Will you do it?”
I have been pondering and thinking, reading and questioning. I have been influenced a great deal by a book I am reading called, The Death of the Grown-up, How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization. It is not a church book, and it is not written by a church member, but it is illuminating. Very.
As I have been reading and as I have been deliberating about my feelings about Christmas this year, I have come to some realizations for myself, about my life, what I want, and what I feel, and what I can no longer stand to live with. I actually feel like I have two choices, I can leave this planet, or I can stay and create the kind of life I want for myself and my home.
You may not know this but I have made huge personal concessions to be able to accommodate the people that some of my children have become. I have tried to stay fully invested though, and I have always found that the rewards for my relationship with you have been plentiful. You have always been kind, supportive, caring, respectful, grateful, dependable, independent, and your life has provided us with some very fun and enjoyable experiences. But even with you and me there has been a shift. I don’t think it was intentional. I don’t think I am the cause of it though. I feel that I have remained the same and that you are the one that has changed. Maybe you feel good about that change. Maybe it was the “YOU” that has been waiting so long to come out.
I see that you have chosen a path for yourself. That is perfectly viable. You are so free to do that without any conditions on my part. You are, as you say, 31, well almost.
You call this your “Peaceful Path.” I hope that it is peaceful for you. And I understand that anyone that is creating a peaceful path for themselves will do everything that they can to protect that “peacefulness.” Of course. But in your effort to protect that peacefulness, I have been given some very clear messages from you. Last September on the way to the airport, you told me clearly that I was not to be your God, or your conscience. Now you tell me that I am not to be your confidant, as you will be taking your problems to your peer group, who I guess understand you better and who I am sure will totally support your ideas. That will continue to maintain your peace. So what is left for me in my relationship to you. Oh yes, MOM. But wait, MOM is a parent, and parents have responsibilities, even to their adult children. When I think of the ideal parent I think of our Heavenly Father and I know that He is not only perfect in his parenting, but also that He loves us unconditionally. I think we understand unconditional love differently. He loves us unconditionally, but He will let “no unclean thing into his presence.” What kind of love is that? He loves us unconditionally, but He is the one who caused the flood that completely cleansed the earth from all wickedness. He will be the one that burns the wicked with fire when it consumes the whole earth.. Wow, what kind of unconditional love is that?
I think your kind of unconditional love means not saying what I think because it will hurt you, not being who I am and standing up for what I absolutely and unshakably know is correct, and not allowing those who are as you say you are “in apostasy” to tell me what to say or when to say it. I am under a personal command from my Heavenly Father to “Be courageous. Be ready and willing always to accept the challenges in membership in thy Father’s kingdom in testimony and thy reward shall be joy and exaltation in thy Father’s kingdom.” Never in all my imaginings about my own family did I think that I would ever need that courage with my own children. Life is interesting.
If you don’t like what I have to say, if you wince when you see an email from me, if you are afraid of the truth because it causes you to tremble under the consciousness of your own guilt, I cannot help that. We can either have a true relationship or a very shallow one, and I feel us moving quickly in that direction, but I refuse to give anyone permission to tell me what I can say and when.
I love you Clark, but I have to tell you that so many people have commented to me about how dark your countenance was this Christmas. They have told me that you have lost the light in your face, the sparkle in your eyes. They say that you are still the same sweet, kind person but that magnetism, that charm, those gifts that you held as long as you were trying to live the gospel are gone. It makes me want to weep. But I have learned an interesting thing from it, if a person is trying to live the gospel and failing pretty badly, the Spirit stays with me and continues to bless them. The Lord is very merciful with our weakness and our failings. It is not until one turns oneself over completely to the adversary and begin to work in behalf of his kingdom, tell many that this is not the Savior’s church, and you don’t have to live it, that the Spirit finally departs.. Oh how Satan must be rejoicing over you. Stripped of your best spiritual gifts and the ability to bring people to the Savior, you are now an enemy to the Savior’s church. You are now an unmissioanry, telling your gay friends, “Don’t feel bad if you leave the church, it’s not the Lord’s church anyway.”
This is the Savior’s church, His ONLY church on earth. Take one member away from it and you have moved from the right side to the wrong side and there is only one leader of the wrong side. Only one.
Now I have said what I want to say. I will continue to say it as often as I want. I will continue to be who I am, namely about the best MOM on the planet earth because I am willing to hurt with truth one of the dearest, sweetest, smartest, and most valiant lost spirits that I have ever known in my ENTIRE life.
I think I know your hopes and fears. I would love to be an ally on your journey, but I cannot support false ideas, lies, and open rebellion to the Lord’s church. That would not be an ally as I see it. I would be the worst friend you ever had. Some day I hope you will be able to thank me for standing steadfast and immovable when it was one the hardest, most wrenching choices I’ve ever had to make. That is true love. That is the greatest love of all."
Well that's the letter folks. I don't really know what to say after 2 weeks with this letter. At this point I feel as if there is really nothing left to say to my mom on this matter. We are speaking at our normal frequency (about once a week) but we are not talking about this issue currently. I have just decided to shelf this for the time being and move forward with our relationship in ways that does not involve this topic. She has likewise not moved to reintroduce the topic. I think the most difficult thing for me to stomach about this letter is that my mom thinks that my feeling bad when I get this kind of letter from her has to do with my "guilty conscience"! I wish I could explain to her in a way that she could understand that my conscience is 100% at peace-- I just feel bad because I feel like on a really basic level my own mother is rejecting my authentic journey on this earth, and is thereby rejecting a piece of me. ONE of the other things that bothers me is that I TRULY feel like if I had just gone on the way I was for the past 5-6 years before I got a boyfriend: which was me going to church every sunday and trying as hard as I could to be chaste but having a random encounter with some guy every 2-3 months and then suicidally agonizing over my failure to "measure up", I TRULY feel like as far as everyone was concerned I would still have that "light" about me and would not be "darkened" as so many people in the ward apparently noticed. I wonder if them noticing this darkness has anything to do with the fact that they all know I have a boyfriend lol. The force is strong within you young one. Self-fulfilling prophesy much? Anyway, I am not trying to be nasty. I'm just venting now.
The point of me posting this letter is manifold. First of all, I think this is a common response from LDS parents. My mom particularly appeared to be very accepting of my homosexuality as long as I stayed in the church. The cost of staying in the church to me emotionally and I STRESS spiritually did not seem to matter much to her. I know I am probably sounding like a broken record, but I am sick of being used as a lab rat on the gospel proving ground-- a hamster on a wheel. I feel as if my mom wanted me to stay in the church and be a perfect gay mormon so that she could have validation for the veracity of the gospel and the LDS church. IE if clark is willing to go against who he is sexually, emotionally, and yes even spiritually for the faith that I have instilled in him, then not only is the church proven to be true-- I also also proven to be a faithful administrator of this truth-- AKA a good mother. This gay thing is so powerful, everyone agrees on that. If we can get these gay people to put themselves on the altar, and also get young women who are willing to marry them to do the same, then we will have solved this pesky "gay problem" that most religious faiths are currently facing. The mormon church will officially corner the market on corporate truth. Who can argue? You changed gay people!! YOU MUST BE THE TRUE CHRUCH. Where do I sign up for this miracle??
I am back to what I have always believed. Truth needs no buttress. Truth is truth. It stands regardless of who stands for or against it. We don't need lab rats to prove the gospel works or doesn't work. We don't need hamsters running on their wheel for their entire lives to validate our goodness as parents or children. If the gospel works for you-- I TRULY CELEBRATE YOU! I truly celebrate your journey. If the gospel has proven to be true in your life and brings you all the joy you could ask for and the promise of joy to come, then GO FOR IT! Who am I to say you are wrong. Truth is truth and only YOU can interpret truth within your own microcosm. But before I close the topic, I have to make a shameless plug for "Satan's team" here. I want you to think twice about what you accomplish for your eternal soul, or the eternal soul of the woman you marry by placing yourself or allowing her to unknowingly place herself on this truth proving altar. Is God really asking us to do this? Does He need us to do it? Who does it benefit? Is it about eternal truth, or is this just collateral damage for a religion in transition? As for my mother's truth and its potential intersection with mine, only time will tell whether those truths will create acute or obtuse angles, or none at all.