“Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, obey their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them.” -Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Local church leaders are continually turning to progressive queer groups like Lift&Love, LatterGayStories, Encircle, Mormons Building Bridges and others asking these groups for advice and resources to help them retain queer members who are steadily leaving the church.
How can I help my queer members? What can I do to keep them on the covenant path? What are LGBTQ people so mad at? What can I do to help LGBTQ people see that the church is not their enemy?
Too much of today’s religious trauma is caused by false tradition and moral complacency. It is caused by leaders of the church who harm queer individuals. It is caused by members who declare themselves as allies to marginalized communities—but then, raise their hand to the sustaining square to obey and support the very leaders that are central to that abuse.
I will be bold: pastoral trauma is currently being inflicted by church leaders, particularly apostles and prophets. And your continued sustaining of those leaders means that you will obey; you will not criticize; and you will continue to work with—and for those leaders. That is the perpetuation of abuse.
Not apologizing for past mistakes in this arena is abuse.
Not using the General Conference pulpit to amend false teachings is abuse.
Not centralizing on a unified message is abuse.
Not holding themselves and those who speak on their behalf accountable is abuse.
Local leaders and allies: some of the greatest things you can offer queer members will not be found in a PDF, podcast, or on a lapel pin. If you really want to be effective, you will need to address the abuse at its source. You will need to raise your voice to the *actual people* who are driving queer members and their families out of your chapels. You will need to make sacred your sustaining and opposing votes.
It’s really that simple. Stop the harm at its source and you will no longer injure your congregations. Again and again, church leaders vent in frustration that their wards and stakes have taken a loving and inclusive approach to queer topics and queer people, only to be thwarted by mixed messages and often times, un-Christlike rhetoric from the apostles and prophets.
The church is keenly aware that a very small percentage of their membership identifies as LGBTQ+—but what wasn’t anticipated is when a queer person walks out of the chapel doors for the very last time, they aren’t doing it alone—they are taking their family and friends with them.
Bishops, stake presidents, relief society presidents, young men and young women leaders, general members of the church, if you want to support your queer friends and family, it’s time for you to stand at your church leader’s doorsteps and hold them accountable for the suffering that continues to come from their authority.
The right hand can be raised in opposition as boldly and confidently as it is raised in sustainment.
Opposition can be uncomfortable. Your decision will be unpopular. You will likely be judged. Your allegiance will be questioned. But you will be doing the right thing. Do what is right, let the consequence follow.
Are you “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and [will you] stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places”?
I challenge you to embrace your baptismal covenant.
I challenge you to be different.
I challenge you to lead.
Are there any opposed? Please indicate with the same sign.