CW: religion, suicide
It was buried in a longer post, but in case anyone was confused, I have left the church I grew up in. Nuff said, but for the friends who want to know why, here it goes.
First, there’s a lot I love about my experiences and the gospel as I understood it. So this is tough. I don’t know what to make of where I am now. I just know I can’t go back.
If all are alike unto God, I cannot tolerate an institution that promotes power imbalances based on the way we were created. I can’t tolerate the constant glorification of love and marriage for some, while others are essentially told “Sorry, we won’t allow you the same things we have. But if you’re good enough, God will fix you when you’re dead.”
To be clear, the church forbids suicide doctrinally. But the “just wait til you die” message leads to many really wishing something would happen, some accident or illness, so they won’t have to keep enduring in pain and loneliness for the rest of their lives. Others give up on themselves and church doctrine at the same time.
Quietly queer folks endure week after week of folks talking about them as if they aren’t there. If they say it makes them feel isolated, they’ll likely hear, “You just need to serve others and forget about you.” Just like everyone else does.
People said I should just compartmentalize the stuff that bothers me; keep it on a shelf where I can ignore it. And for years, I did, hoping I could gently push back in hopes that people’s hearts and minds would change. I’d convinced myself it was more an issue with how flawed individuals treated individuals, not the essence of the church itself.
But then someone up top wrote an article disparaging single moms and LGBTQ+ folks and their families. The church opted to publish it, too, and hasn’t redacted anything. I was just about done crying it out when my friend’s trans child died by suicide. I wrote letters with my concerns, which were ignored, of course. Then I was just done, period.
Not sure what’s next. “Just stay true to your covenants” some friends have urged me. Like fealty to this church? I just can’t right now. Others have encouraged me to try the opposite of the rules I’ve followed. Get a girlfriend. Try alcohol and coffee. Become atheist. These all feel like personal preferences. Right now I just want to tune into what I want to do.
For now? I believe that life is more than a random fluke, and that we’re connected to each other and the stardust we’re made of. I believe in love, growth, forgiveness, creation, and joy. To grow, we have to recognize where we’re coming up short, and address that. It requires work and responsibility for ourselves, for our home, and for how we treat each other.
I believe that regardless of whether there’s a next life, we should make this one better for all of us. I’ll keep trying to live that way.
If I’m condemned for that, so be it. But I don’t think I will be.