By Mister Curie
Since my disaffection I've learned that a lot of things in the "world" are nothing like I believed them to be. The Church, in its quest to rigidly define the path of righteousness, has created a lot of false bogeymen. Take, for example, apostates and homosexuals. These are two groups that the church counsels us to avoid due to their "sinful" choices, making us believe that they will recruit us to their causes.
MoHoHawaii recently listed three stereotypes of non-believers: (1) non-feeling, (2) intellectual, (3) evil. These largely reflect what I grew up believing about apostates from the Mormon church: that they want to destroy the faith of others, that they intellectualize themselves out of faith, and that they desire to sin. These apostates are pitiable creatures, "crawling over or under or around" the truths of the Gospel that they have either intellectualized themselves away from, or simply ignore in their desire to live a sinful lifestyle, but they must be avoided at all costs because of the poison they spew. Similarly, I grew up believing that homosexuals were evil individuals who chose to sin in the worst possible way and who want to recruit others into their sinful lifestyle.
It took becoming an apostate and realizing I am homosexual for me to recognize that I had been taught many false things about both apostates and homosexuals. Upon losing my belief, I joined the New Order Mormon forum for "apostates". There I met some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Largely these people did not desire to be sinful, they weren't evil, they weren't non-feeling, but I must admit many of them were very smart intellectual individuals. The forum is largely a support forum for those who are reeling from the realization that what they have been taught all of their lives is not true in the way they believed it to be true. They are hurt and frustrated. Their plight is largely similar to that of homosexuals and they have adopted many of the same terms, including being in the closet and coming out. The reaction of family and friends to their "coming out" is also similar to how many homosexuals are treated upon coming out. These open "apostates" often face divorce, loss of other family relationships, and the desires of others to "change" them. John Dehlin has fantastic series of podcasts at Mormon Stories that attempts to humanize the "apostates." The Mormon Expression podcasts have a similar, although somewhat more angsty, focus.
Similarly, homosexuals are nothing like I was led to believe. Joining the MoHosphere and developing friendships with many of you, has been a fantastic, affirming experience. The MoHo journey is not about the decision to become homosexual and there is no effort to recruit others to be gay, nor belief that such recruitment is even possible. MoHos often struggle with accepting that homosexuality is not what they have been led to believe all their lives, sometimes leading to the contemplation of suicide. Their plight of coming out of the closet and the reactions of spouse, family, and friends are well documented. And the doctrinal contusions I see posted around the MoHosphere, frankly, border on apostasy. Dismissal of writings of apostles and prophets as policy and not doctrine (including, but not limited to the Proclamation on the Family), failure to support the church's decision in Prop 8, wanting the church to change to allow homosexual marriage for eternity - these are all out apostasy. MoHos go through the same things that the apostates on New Order Mormon are going through. MoHos recognize that what they have been taught about homosexuality is wrong. The apostates recognize that many of the things they have been taught about the church are wrong and they struggle to understand the new reality.
Being at the crossroads of these two great journeys, the world makes the most sense if the church is wrong about both apostates and homosexuals. The reason the church leaders are so wrong about homosexuality is the same reason they have been wrong about racial equality, gender equality, and polygamy: because God isn't speaking to them in the way church members are led to believe He does. There is no special link between the Prophet and the Divine that enables them to give God's will to us. We cannot trust with blind faith in their guidance, believing that if we will only listen to the Prophet we will be guided safely home to the Celestial Kingdom. The same thing applies to why the archeological and DNA evidence fails to support the Book of Mormon, why the Temple endowment ceremony largely mimics 18th century Masonic rituals, why there are multiple, conflicting accounts of the First Vision, and why the Book of Abraham does not match the translation by Egyptologists of the Egyptian funeral scrolls: its all human fabrication. There are multiple issues with the church on all sorts of levels, apologists jump through hoop after hoop to explain them all. But there is one hoop I can jump through that makes all the other problems go away, the church is not true. The God I was taught to believe in, who loves me and wants to guide my safely home to His presence, is not the same God that would put so many false leads in history so that we have to rely on faith despite the physical evidence to the contrary.
As J. Reuben Clark stated, "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."
Or as Gordon B. Hinckley stated, "Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues."
Gordon B. Hinckley also stated, "Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."