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Monday, March 7, 2016

God's Got This

Several months ago I was introduced to Mission Community Church by my amazing friend Lindsay, and it was so different from what I was used to. Over the course of the last few months we have all aware of what's gone on with the some of the LDS church leadership in terms of LGBTQ individuals feeling welcome. The people of the church for the most part have been loving and accepting, but when it comes to the heads of the church I can't see myself enjoying being in their presence. People who you have grown up being taught to love, respect, and sustain. They do the exact opposite towards you and you feel a sense of betrayal. It's hard for me to enjoy being at church no matter how loving people are, because I can't help but feel pushed away from the leaders of the church and looked down upon. I know some people still attend no matter what because they are just used to it, or they are just pleasing their friends or family. I've learned though that I need to stop pleasing those around me because that does absolutely nothing for my happiness. When I go to LDS church, I start seeing God as I see the prophet and the other leaders who are men just like you and I. I don't want to see God that way. I want to see Him as he is. A loving, caring Father in Heaven who is heartbroken at the rate kids and adolescents are commuting suicide because they feel lesser than. He wants everyone to be loved, feel loved, and welcome at church. You shouldn't be worried to walk hand in hand into a church building with your significant other because people will shield their kids from you out of their extreme ignorance. How in the world does it make sense that God would create somebody to be gay but then tell them they are an abomination? Or when people who claim to have your best interest at heart, and then continue to tell you and your family how much they don't agree with you. I don't believe in the God I grew up to know. I believe in my God and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm not ashamed to say that I feel uncomfortable going to Mormon church because I don't feel like I can worship in comfort. No matter how much you are trying to move on with your life, you will run into those who tell you they love you but then turn around and contradict themselves. I know that a lot of these feelings may be due to the fact that I'm very open about who I am. I'm not ashamed to be gay, and I'm not ashamed or scared to hold hands or kiss in public. It would be nice to feel comfortable at church though. I don't regret being open. This has helped me ask harder questions and think harder when it comes to my early beliefs. It has also helped me see peoples true colors in some cases. I have also seen many many people change for the better and be accepting and love me for me and not see me as some outcast "apostate". My family has been my greatest blessing in all of this. It was rough in the beginning since I didn't really grow up in a gay friendly household. I don't hold that against anybody because I see how far everybody in my family has come and I wouldn't take back how I was raised. I have put my family through hell, I'll admit that. A lot of it has to do with our different views (not about gay things just different views in general) but I also have had a hard time seeing how everything that's happened effects more than just me. I was stuck in this bubble for the longest time where I felt so alone because I had nobody to talk to and now I have all these people I can open up to and speak openly with that I don't know what to do with myself sometimes.

I am so grateful for my family and the love and support that has been shown and continues to be shown. I am also very grateful for the outpouring of love that has been felt from various people in my family ward. There are people in similar circumstances to me who choose to keep going to LDS church with hope that the church will change eventually, or that the policies will be removed. I however don't have time to wait for that to happen. I need God in my life, and I need a loving God in my life especially with everything that I have put my family through recently. I need to be able to move on with my life and feel completely welcome at church and not feel like there are limits put on my acceptance. I need to be able to talk openly to church leaders without the conversation jumping to repentance, and changing my ways because I don't like girls. I am not a thing to be fixed. I am a person. The same person who I have always been. I just feel more comfortable to actually voice my opinion on things now. Opinions I have never felt comfortable to share in the past. In Christianity people make things harder then they need to be. The underlining thing we need to know is that Church is for everybody especially when it becomes life or death with different individuals. Nobody should ever feel like they would be better off if they didn't exist. Nobody should ever feel like their family would be happier if they were gone. Nobody should ever feel like they are disposable in the eyes of God. When people gay shame, or throw hateful messages, or side with policies or statements made that are incredibly ignorant and harmful it reminds me of the people in the scriptures who were so quick to stone someone to death for being different than them or believing differently. Why are we so quick to throw stones when technically speaking we should all be stoned. Nobody is perfect.

I enjoyed going to Mission Community because it was preached that Christs church is for all. Everybody needs to have a place where they feel comfortable. They can go and worship Christ in peace and everybody is equal. I'm not removing my records from the church or anything like that, there are still things that I believe. I just don't feel welcome because of the people who are in charge. I would be much better off in a place where I don't need to worry and I can just be me. If the church changes at all (which I highly doubt) then great, but until then I choose to worship in peace, and I have to think about the future. When I have kids I do not want them going to a church that will make them choose either the church or rip a family apart. In order for my kids to be baptized in the LDS church they would have to publicly disavow my marriage and move out of my house and be at least 18 years old. In what Christian realm does that sound ok? I would much rather my kids be raised where they learn about God the way I know him to be. A loving God.

I want to reiterate though. I have nothing against people who are LDS, or still going to church services. I just know that for me at this point in my life it just is not healthy. I love all of you, and I appreciate the love and support I have been shown. I really do greatly appreciate it. Lets just stop throwing stones and look at eachother the way we would want to be viewed. I know for some people that is way to much to ask, but the would would be such a better place if everyone at least tried. Just remember, God's got this.

Until next time,

Zachary Jones <3