08
Jul

About that letter to my bishop

It’s been over a week since I wrote a letter to my Mormon bishop asking which church meetings I should miss if I wanted to avoid hearing the LDS church restate its position on gay marriage. I shared the letter in a private Facebook group, hoping more bishops would handle the issue more carefully if they heard from ward members before Sunday. From there, the letter attracted more attention than I expected.

More

I’ve had two top-5 stories on Medium, and this letter saw more readers in one day than any other story had in a month.

It was a terrible letter

I’m not typically a reactive person, and I wrote this letter while I was feeling annoyed. It is accurately written, but it creates conflict instead of encouraging productive action. That’s really too bad, given the size of its audience.

It wasn’t all bad

But I did hear from a lot of people who felt inspired by my letter to have productive conversations with their leaders. Some bishops themselves even referenced the letter in talking with members in their ward. Several LGBT Mormons reached out to say it helped them feel more welcome to know that conversations like these are still happening in our church. At least it helped spark new ways of talking about what is, by now, a very familiar issue in Mormonism.

What I should have said

If I had let my letter cool for a while in my drafts folder, it would have been better. Our church does have a history of racist teachings from General Authorities, and our current approach certainly echoes the approach our grandparents heard from their leaders about race, but I would have turned down the intensity a few notches. I’m not typically so combative.

And frankly, I could have just saved myself the effort, because others have said it better. The Mormon Mental Health Association issued a statement that is on point, and Benjamin Knoll wrote a delightful pseudo-press release highlighting an even more appropriate historical comparison.

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