**I know that individual members, leaders and even congregations want ME to be in the Church. I would like to thank them for their words of kindness and genuine acceptance. You and Jesus are what keep me going back.**
As I struggle to attend Church or even be around faithful members, people reassure me by saying, “the Church wants you”.
The Church wants me. OK. But does the Church want ME?
ME [n]: feminist, loud, often angry, immodest, potty mouth, sex positive, LGBTQ ally, and accepting of those who do not keep the Word of Wisdom.
The Church says:
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families”
“If you feel you must come and demonstrate, we ask that you do so in free speech zones adjacent to Temple Square”
“We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.”
“Our Heavenly Father wants us to keep our bodies covered so that we do not encourage improper thoughts in the minds of others.”
“You don’t ever use any indecent language, do you? That would be a disgrace.”
“Unchastity is next to murder in seriousness.”
“…marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God…Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose”
“Tell your nonmember friends about the Word of Wisdom and urge them to live it.”
Breaking Word of Wisdom
From what I gather, The Church wants an unspecific feminist member blob that will eventually conform back into being a good member. I will not and cannot go back to who I was.
I’ve heard the lovely words of acceptance during General Conference and then repeated from other podiums:
“If you seek truth, meaning, and a way to transform faith into action; if you are looking for a place of belonging: Come, join with us!”
What a lovely message! It gave me hope, strength and encouragement. Unfortunately, words have not transcended into action:
I was not allowed inside of meetings.
My friend and role model was excommunicated.
Most painful was the grueling missionary application I submitted. I was willing to commit myself to the Church entirely for 18 months. I endured horrible interviews, medical appointments and a soul-crushing 3 month wait.
I received an insensitive rejection from a stranger in the stake presidency.
If The Church wanted ME:
They would listen.
They would make a space for ME.
They would make ME feel safe.
They would care about what and who I care about.
This past year has made me realize that the Church doesn’t want me. Growing up they did. I was very obedient and righteous. Now that I think for myself and challenge paradigms I am not wanted.
I feel betrayed by the organization I devoted so much to.
And I don’t know how much longer I can stay.
Beena is a university student with a soft spot for rats and graphic tees. She also loves vegetables, especially the ones she grows herself.