Jeff Hall | This past Sunday we had Stake Conference with Elder Ronald A. Rasband from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (For those not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ, Stake Conference is a regional meeting where about 8-10 local congregations meet together; it’s held every 6 months or so)
The night before going, I felt prompted to write a letter to Elder Rasband expressing my thoughts and feelings about being an LGBTQ member of the church and want to share the text of that letter with you here. I wanted to be bold and direct but also respectful in tone as I wrote it. I don’t know if anything will come of it or if I will even get a response, but I hope it helps inspire change and some path forward for LGBTQ members of the church. I was able to hand deliver this letter to Elder Rasband while shaking his hand after the meeting. Here is the letter:
3 Nov 2019
Dear Elder Rasband,
My name is Jeff Hall and I am a gay, active member of the church. I’ll keep this brief as I know you are busy, but I want you to know that from my perspective, there are a lot of LGBTQ members of the church who are in real, agonizing, deep emotional and spiritual pain right now. It feels like there is no place for us in God’s plan, not here, and not in the next life. The decisions we are faced with are impossible.
We have unique gifts. We want to serve. We want spirituality in our lives. We want a relationship with God. We want to be a part of this community, this church, and the gospel. We want to bear each other’s burdens that they may be light.
We want to have an intimate relationship and real love in our lives. We want to have families and children. We aren’t necessarily after a “LGBT lifestyle” (whatever that means). This isn’t just about some carnal desire for sex. I just want a family and to be loved and to serve and love others. That’s all. I’m sorry, but the current church direction of “stay celibate and it will all get worked out in the next life” isn’t really working for us. There is no hope in that. There is no comfort in that. There is not comfort in the idea that we will suddenly be made “straight” in the next life. That is potentially why so many of us commit suicide, is because there is nothing here for us, so let’s just move on to the next life. It is taught that we are here on this earth that we may have joy. How are we to have joy?
I can’t help to think and feel there is more knowledge to be revealed regarding our Heavenly Parent’s LGBTQ children. That is the beauty of the gospel and the church is that we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. That is the only thing that really makes sense regarding this, is that there is more to be revealed.
I don’t know what that looks like, but I can’t help feeling that there is more out there for us. There has to be. We are not broken, we don’t need to be changed, fixed, or given conversion therapy. God made us this way for a purpose. Our gifts are unique and bless and teach others. But we need love and we need acceptance, and we need a way to participate in the gospel that is meaningful and fulfilling and brings joy. Our current options for participation are not meaningful and fulfilling and are frankly depressing and full of unimaginable anxiety and stress.
Now I would ask, are the messages that are currently spoken in general conference and taught by church leaders regarding God’s LGBTQ children supposed to be comforting or hopeful to anyone– straight or LGBTQ? Is that how Christ would really minister to His Father’s LGBTQ children were he here on the earth? I honestly do not believe he would. He would love us, heal our hearts, and want to be with us. He would wipe away our tears and teach us. He would provide space and a place for us. He would have a message of hope and a path for us.
I don’t know what the path looks like. I have my personal ideas and theories and some personal revelation regarding it, but I am not able to receive that revelation for the church like prophets and apostles like you can.
Something is seriously broken in our church regarding this issue and I would plead with you and the rest of the brethren to please consider that—to talk with and sincerely get to know more of God’s LGBTQ children and LGBTQ families, to council together with new perspectives, and to honestly petition the Lord to find out what he really has in store for us and how we can stay in the gospel while being true to the way our Heavenly Parents created us to be and the unique gifts they endowed us with.
My heart aches; we are in deep emotional and spiritual pain. LGBTQ people are emotionally, spiritually, and literally dying here. Is there any Balm of Gilead for us? Is there a seat at the table of Christ for us? Is there a place in Christ’s Church and Gospel for us? And most importantly, is there a place in our Heavenly Parent’s Kingdom for us?
Your brother in Christ,