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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Suicides They Forgot & My Plea to Those Contemplating

Let me first start off by saying how heartbroken the last several months have left me. It started out with my reaction to the Mormon church's exclusion policy. That was the last push I needed. It left me with so many negative feelings about everything. I hated the church, I hated the leaders, and most of all I hated myself.

A good amount of you have been made aware of the growing number of youth/young adult suicides within the LDS church the last several months. I, like many others wish I could have done something to help. I wish I could have offered some sort of message of hope, or even just held them. I never even met them... I can hardly imagine how hard its been for their loved ones. Why are we losing so many precious souls to suicide within the LDS church?

My answer is this;

There is no message of hope or love given within the church for our LGBTQ youth. They have even said that we aren't defined by our sexuality in the church... yet the church is favored towards heterosexual men and women. I'd say we are all defined. Especially when they title us "Apostates". There are plenty of resources given by various members of the church and people have started so many wonderful groups and organizations, but they are not valid in the churches eyes. The church will not even acknowledge that the suicides could possibly have anything to do with the hurtful words they have shared. Why? because apparently it is out of love. I have come to the realization that messages of "love" like this are really just a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. It's a statement that people who are afraid to have their own beliefs say. They like to say that they see us as equal, we just cant have our kids baptized, and if my future kids want to get baptized they need to do so once they have disavowed their parents marriage. I have heard people try to back it up and I am so done with all of the ignorance, all the hate, all of the excuses. Something needs to be done and it should not have to be spelled out. People are dying, and that's got to end.

Dear LGBTQ Mormon youth and young adults,

We are here, We see you. I, and so many other allies see you and know you exist. We know that you are worth so much. The church and the teachings can make you feel worthless and when you feel like you can't get cut down any shorter, another swing of the axe is taken to you from the pulpit. I commend you for sticking it out. Being in the church was hard enough for me as a kid. I can't imagine the pain you may have when attending Seminary or Institute. Other people just don't get it. They were born into a church that works for them. We on the other hand are seen as a problem to most. We are a pest it seems like at times. Some of us are lucky enough to have family members who come around and become the most supportive people in our lives. I have been lucky enough to have that, and I feel so guilty at times. I feel guilty that my parents love me and see me as their son, I feel guilty that I am welcome at family gatherings, I feel guilty that young members of my family are able to comprehend what gay is and that its okay to love your significant other. life was not always like this for me though. I know what the self hate feels like, I know what the feeling is like of constantly wanting to take your own life. I know what the relief of the blade feels like. You are taught your whole life that the church is everything, and then you wake up one day and realize that to the church, you are nothing. The church has literally nothing to offer me. I have come to that conclusion for myself. You guys may be on a different journey though and maybe the church is something you want to stick with for a little while longer. I just plea with you that you do not let the church leadership define you. You have WORTH, you have BEAUTY, you can have a wonderful life with whoever you LOVE. Do not let the church define your worth. Your worth is already in you. You just need to find it, nourish it, and have faith. After all, faith is like a little seed right? Have faith in yourself and in God, or whomever you believe in.

I am just now finding and discovering my worth. I have spent so long feeling like a victim of this Ungodly policy. I have decided though that it shouldn't effect me since I no longer "claim" the church. It does effect me in a sense though, because I know there is an 8 year old somewhere sitting in church somewhere not knowing what these feelings are that he may be feeling and he is scared to mention anything to anybody. There is a Teachers Quorum president, a Laurel president or Secretary out there somewhere who is getting home from school after having that lesson in Seminary about marriage and eternal families. They just want life to end right then. I HAVE BEEN THERE, please take it from me. Life gets better. The shit eventually washes away. Please ENJOY your youth. Be who you want to be. Wear whatever the hell you want to wear to school (within the dresscode). Be you and don't let anyone tell you to be anything or anyone else. Make people uncomfortable, get out of the status quo. These are all of the things I wish I did when I was younger. I would not change any of the hate, bullying, or rumors that were spread. I am telling you now that no matter what is going on it will get better. Just BE-YOU-tiful. I wish I could somehow see you when you are reading this. Drop the razor, drop the pills, stop bruising yourself, and stop digging your nails into your skin. Maybe I don't know you, but I LOVE YOU. I can't tell you enough how much I love you. So many people love you and we are routing for you to come out stronger than ever! Please know that there are people who are more than willing to be your family, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to hear. There are so many trustworthy people who will keep it confidential because we know how hard it is. We wish we had someone when we were in your shoes who we could talk to. Come to us please. We have the resources that the church doesn't have or isn't willing to use. You don't need counseling to get rid of the "gay". You don't need to "pray it away" because believe me, if that worked at all I would have been straight when I was in 7th grade. We are here and we love you for who you are. Please remember that.

Sincerely,

Your brother

Zachary Lorin Jones