You’re Not Broken—I’m Sorry

Budapest Shoes

Children’s Apology

Last year, my wife and I traveled to the congenial country of Hungary.  We toured The Great Synagogue of Budapest, the largest in Europe.  Hungary is still struggling to come to terms with its treatment of their Jewish population during WWII.  By war’s end, at least 70% had been murdered.

Our tour guide told us of a recent concert she had attended.  It was a singing & dancing group of German high schoolers.  At the beginning of the program, a couple of the children stepped forward.  They apologized for crimes their country had perpetrated during that long-ago war.

The story touched me.  Born years after this horror, these children had had no part in it.  They were not official spokespersons for their country.  Yet, they were willing to apologize to a people who had been wronged.

Here’s my attempt to follow their poignant example.  An official spokesperson for the LDS Church, I’m not.  But, I am the church.  At least part of the church.  At least a single part of the church.  And this little part of the church, along with any who will join in my cry, say I’m Sorry!  We are sorry!

Rainbow Ribbon

To My Gay Friends, Both Known and Un

For all the ways we’ve been wrong—I’m Sorry.

  • When I was young, church & culture tutored that gay was foul and perverted. I wish the prophet had spoken.  You weren’t broken.  We were wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • You chose to be gay. So the leaders say.  I wish the prophet had spoken.  You’re not broken.  We were wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • chairTo some, they tried to shock your gay away. At the Lord’s college, you were strapped in a chair, electrodes placed down there.  Movies of naked men were turned on.  If you were turned on, an electric shock in turn was turned on.  You wanted the strongest current to be cured.  But, gay doesn’t work in those ways.  You were simply tortured in those days.  An elder from my mission endured this, in submission.  Today, he’s still gay.  From the church, he’s parted ways.  Oh, how I wish the prophet had spoken.  You were not broken.  I went along, although I didn’t know.  Now, I’m so, so, sorry.  Tears blur my eyes.  I just want to cry….I’m sorry. I’m sorry
  • You were told to pray and pray and soon the gay would just go away. Of course, it didn’t.  You became depressed.  Maybe next time pray and pray all of the day.  Still gay and more depression came your way.  With no cure, some couldn’t endure.  By their own hand they sent themselves to the heavenly land.  I wish the prophet had spoken.  These precious people were not broken. We were dead wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • Marry, your respected leaders said!  You faithfully followed, while full of dread.  Your gay didn’t magically go away.  Now, with children and spouse, heartache and shame, you finally came out, and all suffered pain.  I wish the prophet had spoken.  Now a family’s broken. We were wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • Finally, something sure, that would result in a cure. You agree to participate in reparative therapy.  Humiliated, disgraced, and degraded again.  You cry because no matter what you can’t win. Now, this procedure is discredited & thrown in the trash bin.  Why couldn’t the prophet have spoken?  You were not broken.  We were wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • With Prop 8, we tried to legislate away, the rights to marry if you were gay. I don’t know if the prophet had spoken. What I know is, you are not broken.  This was wrong.  I went along.  I’m sorry.
  • Last November the edict came, out of love was the claim. If the gay marry, throw them away.  Really?  It just sounds wrong.  These are my friends.  I don’t want to follow along.  I’m sorry.
  • November’s policy also contains what I consider to be a stain. Children of parents who are gay, will have God’s choicest blessings taken away.  No baptism at 8, no holy spirit to guide, no priesthood at any rate.  With shame, the policy will make  kids want to run & hide.  Has a prophet really spoken?  The rules are broken.  We are wrong.  This time I will not go along.  I’m sorry.

I wish the prophet had spoken.  You are not broken.  We were wrong.  Next time, I will not just go along.  I love who you are, just as you are.  Of that, I feel very strong.

I’m Sorry.

49 thoughts on “You’re Not Broken—I’m Sorry

    1. Yes. I certainly did. Not any more. My rainbow ribbon is pinned to my chest every Sunday. I have voted OPPOSED at the past 3 conferences and plan to continue. But, you may have known all this already. Someone else reading these comments might not. Bonnie, thanks for reading my blog and recognizing one of the key elements I was trying to get across.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t go along, I spoke out and tried to make a difference. But the voices of the church leaders were stronger. I was ostracized but so thankful that I was strong enough to stand up for the rights of sexual minorities….Especially when my child and I realized that we had a diverse family. I only dread the wedding. That will require the best LGBTQ activism of my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for standing up. You blazed a trail. You should be proud that you stood up for the right. By speaking out you helped and lifted people you are not even aware of. To some degree things have changed in the church. Not huge changes. But noticeable none-the-less. I’m sorry you dread the wedding. I have now attended 2 gay weddings. They were joyous events. In the first, the active LDS family of one of the grooms has almost completely abandoned him. That is so unfortunate. In the second, the LDS family involved was totally supportive. All my best wishes to you!

        P.S. thanks for reading my blog.

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  1. I agree with Bonnie and Sam on that even though it felt a bit wrong, I was there ready to say, “That @#$%@ Gay agenda!!!”

    Now that I found out a young man I grew up with committed suicide (not too many miles from where Sam lives) I am ashamed of myself. My other best friend in the church came out as gay and left the church. I look at those two and I think which is better? The one that listened intently and followed the prophet and apostles at the time, or the one that said, “Sorry – I am GAY and that won’t work for me. Bye!” At least I can tell the latter I am sorry and give him a hug. I can say that the parents of the person that committed suicide divorced and left the church. The other set of parents are still in the church.

    I struggle now to even attend at all – even with my rainbow tie clip. I hear some folks saying, “Stay and help the situation and if you leave it will just become worse for the youth growing up.” I understand, but I feel I am conspiring with evil in doing so.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dear Happy,

      Thanks for your sorrow. My two best friends from my younger days also came out as gay. Fortunately, they both weathered the storm. No help from me. I’m never going to say that again. I want all the gay people in my circle of acquaintance to know that I’m a loving and safe place. Of course, I can understand why you might leave the church. Sometimes, I feel it’s more difficult to defend my staying in than it would if I left.

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  2. well a good friend of mine who knows i am gay and LDS just forwarded this to me and I am sitting here at work … trying to hold back the tears. I experienced everything that the author wrote: i attended BYU, tried to deny, suppress, ignore, those feelings. Had multiple encounters with Honor Code counselors, Bishops. It was always the same stuff: go ahead and get married and it’ll go away. Pray and sing hymns when tempted and it’ll go away. Fast and read the scriptures and it’ll go away. Attend the Ever Green meetings and it’ll cure you. When i told them it didn’t go away, it was “because i did not have enough faith”.
    Our Church leaders have blood on their hands! Some days i want to remove my garments and be done! How can i be asked to be celibate for the rest of my life?! To be alone and not have someone to share my life with?! What kind of a life is that? i too knew some people who took their lives over this. i won’t do that, ever. I love the Lord and He loves me. But this Church has become a destructive greedy religion that tares families apart.
    So thank you for writing that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It always was a destructive, greedy, religion. It was founded by a malignant narcissist who lied, stole, and sexually predated on other men’s wives. Please investigate thruth of the church. Words are not dangerous those anti-Mormon things they try to hide from you are nothing but the truth. The truth is luring prop,e away from the slavery, the cult, that is the church. You were born perfect. Live as such, not lonely and celibate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alyson,
        I have investigated the truth claims of the church. There are huge problems. Gut-wrenching problems. I do not and will not disregard them. They influence my attitude and direction that I am pursuing today. My gay friends were born perfect. In my blog I wanted that to be crystal clear.

        Thanks so much for your comments.

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      1. Bruce,
        I obviously I’m in complete agreement with your statement that my gay friends are “as whole and as perfect as anyone else.” Well said.

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    2. Manny,
      It’s to you and the thousands of others like you that I apologize. I blithely and blindly went about my business in the church, raising kids, holding callings, pay tithing, attending the temple. All the while having no idea how my church was treating you. I’m sorry. I’m not blind now. I see you. I hear you. Your are my brother and my friend. You are good in God’s eyes and in mine too.

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    3. Manny, you’re in a deeply abusive relationship with your church. Get the hell out while you still can! Remaining in abuse is not honoring yourself or honoring God.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I will agree with every thing you say, Sam. Many LGBTQ members are owed an apology for some rather archaic thoughts and practices of the church in the past. However I will not agree with the doctrine on gay marriage. This is in direct opposition to the Plan of Salvation and Eternal Exaltation. This thwarts the Lords plan and on that I can’t agree. I admire your stand on this and add my apology to the rest of the ill treatment. The Prophet has spoken and I feel that through his words, we have been been commanded to love all His people’s, because they are His children. There is something more wrong with those who choose suicide as a way to rid themselves of their pain. I get very upset by those who make statements like the one above that says the leaders have blood on their hands . This is absurd and a very hateful thing to say. These people have their agency and with all the psychological help available out there, they need only to seek it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janice,
      So you and I stand together in offering an apology for the way we(the church) have treated gay people. I believe this means a lot to our gay brothers and sisters whom we love.

      Regarding gay marriage. My concern isn’t with whether or not we accept gay marriage in the church. Let’s just take those who are not members of the LDS faith. In California, gay marriage had become legal. The church then spent tons of time and treasure to take that right away. I believe we were wrong to do that. In my view, when the supreme court declared gay marriage legal, our society progressed forward. However, I don’t believe that acceptance of this practice should be forced within the church. We should have the right to accept of reject it. But, outside of the church, we should not be denying or taking away rights.

      Thanks for you very insightful comment. All my best, Sam

      Like

    2. They need to seek psychological help because the Church leaders whom they were taught to love, revere, respect and follow – from birth – have told them that they are an abomination. In one of his last General Conference addresses, Boyd K. Packer wondered aloud why God would make anyone gay, then said, “He wouldn’t do that.” That’s just one example out of hundreds. The message to our LGBTQ members has been clear and strong and constant: they are flawed, disgusting, unwanted. Absolutely these Church leaders have blood on their hands. If this upsets you, maybe you should spend some time pondering why that is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sam, from the bottom of my broken heart…thank you. I went along as well – waking early to meet with other stake members to fulfill our assignments of placing “YES on 8” signs around our Encinitas, CA community before the sun came up. I felt conflicted but the prophet had spoken.

    A couple years ago I just couldn’t do it any more – for all the reasons you’ve listed. November was my tipping point. I’m also sorry – and doing what I can to make amends.

    Unlike you (and I admire your position) I simply can’t align myself with the church I dedicated over sixty years of my life to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Collette,

      I truly admire your position. The day the November decision came out I left the church in anger. That lasted one day. Believe me, I get it when people don’t stay.

      All My Best & Thanks for joining me in being sorry.

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  5. An absolutely beautiful essay, Sam. My sincere compliments and support. With deference and respect for others’ opinions – I must say for myself that I consider the LDS Church’s current policy and treatment of these “children of God” to be wrong. It’s just a bit to convenient to simply say “The Prophet has spoken…all discussion is over”. We ALL KNOW NOW that past Prophets have been proven to be wrong before i.e. Brigham Young and the policy of Race and the Priesthood. So, I humbly submit that the discussion is far from over!.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love your comment. Jesus set up the governance of the church with two vital components. The leaders and the rank & file. The Law of Common Consent is mentioned multiple times in the D&C. Frequently, we latch onto a new doctrine, policy or principle with only one or even no scriptural references. Yet, we disregard the concept of common consent which seems to be hidden in plain canonical sight. As a result, the church does NOT function as it should. It’s vital that the rank & file take our rightful Christ-designated place in running the church. “When the prophet has spoken, it’ time for the people to speak.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sam, regardless of D&C mention of Common Consent, the modern LDS-Inc has become a top-down, autocratic dictatorship run with an iron hand by obsolete dinosaurs who have blinded themselves unconscious with out-of-control wallowing and self-consuming indulgence in their favorite hobbies of homophobia, misogyny, racism and bigotry. The Brethren are heartless, unrepentant monsters in expensive suits masquerading as somehow affiliating with Jesus Christ? Say what? With Jesus Christ? How can this be?

        Sam, do you “get it” that the Q15 have hearts that are so much darker than their suits that they don’t even realize … do not even realize … they are doing anything harmful or immoral? They have to be aware that young, gay members of their church internalize their teachings and then … and then what do they do? … some of them loathe themselves so deeply they do what? … they commit suicide? They listen to what The Brethren they believe speak for Jesus tell them … and then they commit suicide?

        The Brethren will never voluntarily relinquish the stranglehold they have on the minds and wallets of the believing members of the Church. If you do not shut yourself up, Sam, they will eventually excommunicate you for your crimes of publicly speaking your own truth and personal values, which are in diametric opposition to the core values held by The Brethren who own and control the Church you are trying to change.

        By remaining a member and continuing to donate your time, energy and talents to an organization that is, frankly, evil at the core, you are unwittingly supporting that evil, Sam. You have a good heart and a kind and compassionate soul. If Jesus exists, he is proud of you. Consider if you would better serve your fellow citizens (subjects, actually) at Church by voting with your feet instead of your uplifted hand.

        You and John Dehlin have so much in common. Do you realize that if John had not been excommunicated, he would still be an active member, attending his meetings every week as you are? And yet, he has confessed that he and his family have never been happier … out of the Church.

        Sometimes the most important, pivotal decisions in our lives are mercifully forced upon us by others. It happened to John. It will probably also happen to you as well, Sam. The Brethren were not amused by John’s efforts to effect positive change from within the Church they own and control, and they are not amused by your efforts either, Sam. For your own well-being and happiness, I hope they kick you out sooner than later. It’s unlikely you will save yourself anytime soon. Just wait and see if the greatest blessing you ever receive will be The Brethren revoking not only your temple recommend, but your BIC membership.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam, you are right. They are not broken. They are loved. There are many who feel that the LGBT community should be judged and forgotten. Instead, I say love as Jesus loved and leave judgement to God. I am a member of the LDS community, and I love the gospel. I also love my neighbors, And I thank you for your tender heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So much here to digest to agree with and to counter. I,like many here in the last days,have found myself quoting from the musical ( from my youth in London, staring Anthoney Newley) Stop The World I Want To Get Off… I think this is a common thought among us or at least something like it…Yesterday as I considered the challenges that beset me right now, I asked allowed, ‘ why can’t all this get sorted out’ ? Almost immediately it came to me that part of enduring means, in many cases, we will be in the dark, so to speak. The Lords lamp to our feet is not always available. As for much of the other stuff in this apology, Obviously many of us were interpolating and extrapolating what was ‘Right’ through the years. I believe that what we see today is expediency. I don’t think that expediency is bad, it’s just expedient, for now. The Lord will speak when He is ready. In the mean time I have to trust His Judgment and his timing… I actually said some years back that the battle over Gay Marriage was de facto lost already. My thought was that we should all have Civil Unions and let the Churches deal with Marriage per se. I have enough life experience to understand Same Sex Attraction to quite an extent…and to be sympathetic and loving and kind etc. But I really think we may be missing the point…. How much different is it for faithful single sisters to remain celibate for their whole lives… My heart goes out to those who are facing that choice but we don’t have the disgustion about their dedication and sacrifice to stay within the guard rails of the Gospel. I have to believe that they are sustained by the Lord at times when they may need it… I know that the promises of Ether 12 are real and that anyone who obeys the Gospel can get help as promised by following the patten mentioned therein. That is not to say that the help may be incremental and that the Strengths mentioned may not include a total ‘cure’. Although eventually they will. I do know that The Lord has promised to wipe the tears from our eyes. I look forward to that day. I am so Grateful for you Sam and the influence you have been on our family…. I am grateful for the commandments of God including those which are very hard for me. My natural proclivities have been Majorly dampened down over the years by what I believe is the Grace of God, with a little help from me which involved compliance, obedience and enduring many times hanging on by the skin of my teeth as they say and making a fool of myself… I want to be supportive , kind and loving and quite honestly I find it actually easier to do in relation to Gay people often… But I do not want to give the impression of encouraging them to break the commandments of God…. I expect their rewards for enduring these difficulties will be factored into the difficulty factor of their innate weaknesses. And Inlook forward to that day and those rewards..

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    1. Richard, I do feel your response is logical and I feel you have a caring heart and are trying to still follow God via the church leadership. I used to be there also. I just can’t “keep quiet” when even in places where gay members are generally being accepted they are still committing suicide. And I think overall we are not even accepting gays very well. Do you think your might might be changed a bit if you had a child that left a note saying, “I am sorry to cause you pain, but I could not take it anymore” just before swallowing a bottle of pills?

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    1. Richard,

      It looks like you and I have the same spelling. No errors detected.

      You mention that Jesus has promised to wipe away the tears. I love that sentiment. For me, it’s incumbent to attempt to follow his example. So, I’m trying to wipe away the tears in the here and now.

      As always, you present a very thoughtful and insightful viewpoint. Thanks!

      Now, I want to tell every reader of my blog: If you think you have found a misspelling, don’t worry about it. Richard and I both spell it that way.

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    2. I have 2 who could qualify for that possible outcome if indeed the the Gay issues are pushing some into the corner of suicide… The other one is in rehab for the third time. She as been threatening suicide recently. And we have been waiting for years for the proverbial knock on the door.. And still are.. However, if part of my enduring the outcomes you suggest is to have to endure it… Not happily , nor willingly, but where would we go? As Peter said in not going away…
      . The Gospel is about Death and the recovery therefrom… We already have one child in the spirit world.. so some of the feelings would not be unfamiliar… I have great faith that were those things to happen, that special consideration would be given to those who may have been the victim of a misjudgment by the Lords leaders… I also will hold on the the promises from President Faust before he died about the redemption of Children sealed to parents… We are at the CROSSROADS of Eternity… The Saviour has the keys to Death and Hell… and since he has already downloaded our lives and pAid the bill during the time in Gethsemane I am confident that he knows the whys wherefores and the way to bring his children home… Children that he bore up during his ordeal.. I am not, neither do not wish to convey that my stand is is in anyway a slight to others who are dealing with these same issues… As for the Elephant in the room … HELL.. I hold on to the experience of Alma the Younger who suffered for a short time and was born of the Spirit… I see no reason why that would be unavailable to others… Not that we should rely on it.. Indeed it may be that those who are ‘trusted’ by Heavenly Father with same sex attraction in this life may already have a PASS of sorts if their difficulties are insurmountable here… I’m not going to throw the Baby out with the bath water because of the Lords timing… One thing I would like to share is the special feeling I got when my son died.. I felt that God was trusting US with this trial… I believe that we will thank him for all the experiences with which he trusts us as we kiss his feet… As for now I will pray for clarity for us all from his leaders . I’m sure they are praying as President Kimball did along with the other Apostles re: Priesthood Blessing for all worthy males. Until then I will continue to live all my Gay Friends and family and thank God that is seems SO easy to do so, because of their sweet spirits..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Richard,
        I love your insights. We all go through turmoil in life that is often held inside as too tender to share. Thank you for sharing here. Thank you for expressing your love here for our gay friends and family.

        You are a special man, Richard, my friend.

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  8. Change seems to come so slowly. I think that people forget that we are not to take a prophet at his word. We need to ask in prayer to receive confirmation. This small step is so overlooked. I support the prophet of this church. Part of my support is to let him know when he doesn’t have this LGBT policy quite right. It’s affecting all of the member of the church, not just the ones who are LGBT. I pray for the Lord’s intervention. But maybe it’s not the Lord’s intervention that is needed. Maybe he is waiting for our voices.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jillian,

    Reading your words gave me goose bumps. I believe the Lord IS waiting for & expecting our voices. The restored church was established with the Law of Common Consent. Along with our gay friends this Law has been marginalized, minimalized, and dismissed. I too support the prophet. He’s the leader put in place by Christ. Not the dictator. The membership is the counterbalance to approve or disapprove decisions by the prophet. When we are silent, things go awry. It took 125 years before the black priesthood ban was corrected. That’s not the prophets’ fault. It’s our fault for not voting it out. For not insisting that common consent be strickly followed. We, as members need to step up to the plate of our responsibity. “All things in the Church must be done by common consent.” -D&C

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Baby steps, I know, but I’m hoping some day you post a FB profile photo with your beautiful ribbon. Thank you for standing up for the marginalized and disenfranchised. You’re my hero, Sam.

    Rhonda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my dear, gay Jewish, formerly Mormon friend. My apology is written for you. All my best in you pursuit of sanity! That is truly a worthy reason to pull away.

      Liked by 1 person

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