Sunday, November 22, 2015

They Will Never Break You

I, like many, was surprised how the LDS Church's new policy regarding LGBT people and their children affected me and my family, despite having left Mormonism years ago. I wrote about it on social media over the course of the week, but wanted to give those thoughts a place here:

The deep pain of betrayal by your own community never really fully goes away. It is a level of rejection that is hard to forget, especially with occasional reminders that you are still an outcast. It always seems that just as I feel like I've finally triumphed over those deep-seeded feelings of rejection, the knife is rotated just enough to remind me it was never removed.

I can handle it. I am strong enough to defend my dignity and humanity and I have developed armor to protect the self-worth I've fought hard for since leaving that abusive environment. But, I fear for the ones who aren't capable or who aren't strong enough or who do not have a voice. Know that you are precious, worthy, and good. Do not let the ignorance of others put out your light. You have so much to offer the world.

When I was a kid I remember other kids catching ladybugs, prying open their vibrant red cover, and pulling off their wings so they wouldn't fly away. I never understood why anyone would do such a thing to a beautiful, harmless ladybug.

As I grew older, I learned that we encounter these people in our lives as well. They seek to remove our wings, sometimes in an attempt for control or to exert authority over us. Other times it is simply for their own pleasure. And some do it because our ability to fly is threatening to them... it challenges them. They may even succeed in clipping our wings.

But they cannot destroy the heart. They cannot keep us from joy. They cannot take our power. We can be whole again. We can fill our lives with beauty and light. And we can still fly to the highest of heights.

from Normal Song by Perfume Genius:

No memory, no matter how sad
And no violence, no matter how bad
Can darken the heart, or tear it apart

Take my hand, w
hen you are scared
And I will pray, if you go back out there

Comfort the man, h
elp him understand
That no floating sheet, no matter how haunting
And no secret, no matter how nasty
Can poison your voice, or keep you from joy.

The last thing I want to share this weekend is a poem written to my younger, former self- and to all those LGBT LDS youth who are suffering in silence, just as I and countless others did before them. To those who feel they must seek to justify this policy and insist that it is for the good of the children or that it is out of respect for LGBT people, think of the message these leaders continue to send to the kids sitting next to you in church who, unbeknownst to you, are gay or transgender.

No one in my whole world growing up ever said anything in defense of gay people. And as I was groomed to become the perfect Mormon boy, singing “follow the prophet,” “I hope they call me on a mission,” and “I love to see the temple,” I also became increasingly aware that I would likely be rejected by everyone in my world if ever they found out the truth.

It is shameful that these kids continue to be treated as collateral damage. That the epidemic of suicide and homelessness among LDS LGBT youth is so easily disregarded. It is a crime. To defend it is to be an accomplice. I hurt for your youth, perhaps even your own child.

They will never break you

God’s love is stronger than their ignorance,
But still their words cut deep,
They pierce your precious soul,
And stain your beautiful innocence.

Know you are not broken,
That they will never break you.
God’s love is bigger than their silly fears,
And they will all be gone soon.

The love you feel is real.
The love you feel is stronger.
Let it in and give it out,
You are not the monster.

Please take heart and please be strong
The road to find your worth is long.

But oh, the joy, the joy, the joy-
And they will never break you.
They will never break you.
No, they will never break you.


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  2. I think that the lady bug is the wrong allegorical choice. The butterfly fits better in that, we all have caterpillar years, but then we fly, and away we go. I enjoyed your poem. If people have the context of the poem, they can see at it's actual depth, and it is a very powerful testament to the human spirit, and the growth of character in comings of age.