So, I feel I should elaborate a bit more about my decision to remove my name from church records, to resign my membership. It’s a big decision and one that does not come easily.

I have obviously not been active for a long time. I haven’t elaborated much since my last post on this topic many months ago – but I guess for me, once I came to know that I am the person God made me to be, that being gay is not a curse to be overcome, but a blessing, I regained such an overwhelming peace in my life. Which led to the absolute knowledge that what the church teaches about gay people and same sex attraction is wrong. And from there, it was a pretty easy step to see holes in many of the other doctrines and teachings.

I think one of the most surprising things, as the years have passed, is the incredible happiness I have in my life outside the church. Once you are outside of it, it becomes so easy to see how much “mind control” there is in the church. I put that in quotes because I don’t think people are actually being controlled or brainwashed. But there is so much rhetoric about how awful people’s lives are when they leave the church, how they go down this path of sin and they get sick, they lose their loved ones and they die alone. This is not an exaggeration. Just recently someone told me a story of someone who took his name off the church and was subsequently murdered – as if the action brought on the consequence. And when you are inside the church, it’s not like you live with this fear or anything. But it’s still accepted as a fact – people who leave the church are unhappy and tragic things happen to them.

Since I separated myself emotionally from the church, I have come to terms with many issues in my life, I have met and fallen in love with the most incredible person I’ve ever known, I have more financial stability than I’ve ever had in my life, I got a job that finally not only pays me enough to live on but that I really love (I’d never experienced both of those qualities in one job before), I bought a house with my partner – my life is happier than it’s ever been. So I can’t speak for anyone else – but for me, I’ve never been happier than I’ve been outside the church.

I’ve left my name on the records, partly as a concession to my family and partly just out of inertia. I’ve thought about it once or twice, but it was never important enough to go through the process.

But now, after the past few months of activity over Proposition 8 in California, I’ve decided it’s time. It’s no longer honest for me to leave my name on the records of an organization that is actively trying to undermine my relationship and our ability to provide for one another.

I feel very peaceful about the decision itself. But I do feel a lot of anxiety about talking to my immediate family about it. I know people who didn’t feel the need to talk to their families about taking this last step. But I feel that I should, for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s been an important part of my life and I think just writing the letter and sending it almost denies that important role it’s played. I’m leaving, and it’s the right decision, but that doesn’t mean I regret my involvement in the past or that I don’t recognize the role the church has played in making me who I am. (hence, my ‘break-up’ song by the Indigo Girls in my last post – cheesy but how I feel.)

Second, I rarely talk to my family about these issues, and I think it’s only fair that they hear from me about it now and then. I won’t be angry or hurtful when I talk to them and I won’t harp on it afterwards. But I feel that they should know I’m doing it and why. I don’t want them to be able to think that somewhere deep down I still agree with the church or that someday I might change my mind. I want them to know how hurtful the church’s actions and words are for me. But I don’t want them to think I’m asking them to leave the church or disagree with the church. I’m not. But I feel that, as someone they love, I should have an opportunity to tell them how I feel, since the church dominates the rhetoric on this topic. It’s scary, because the church is seen as faultless by its members. So, as much as they love me, they will also think I’m wrong. But I still feel that I need to ask them to consider my feelings and hear me out.

So, my plan is to talk to my mom and my sisters – I don’t need to tell more people than that (although obviously anyone reading this will also know). But I don’t need to “force” the conversation on anyone else. And then I’m just going to continue to live my life.

It’s been a very emotional couple of months. One of our closest couple friends got engaged about a week ago and along with being so incredibly happy for them, I was also sad for us, that we don’t get to do that. But there’s only so much I can do about that. Mainly, I can live my life as openly as possible, so that’s what I will try to continue to do. And hope that we’ll continue to make progress, in courts, in state legislatures and in public opinion.

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This has been a long time in coming. It’s time for me to say goodbye to the church, though like the end of any relationship it’s a bittersweet ending. But it’s gotten a bit abusive of late and I have to cut ties for my own sanity.

I’ve listened to this song a lot over the past few days. It pretty much encapsulates how I feel as my lifelong relationship with the church comes to a close…