I’m Out – Day 8

Dare to Tell – Day 8 

Kimberley’s Story

I’m Out

I had a remarkable childhood.  The Mormon Church was, in many ways, my home.  We travelled a lot, lived in many different countries but we always knew that by the first Sunday after the move, we would have already made some friends.

The Church was my home, my family, my community.

I could never have predicted that day, two years ago, when I would send the bishop a letter to ask him to take my name off the rolls of the church; that I would so completely and utterly dissociate myself from the church that I loved so much.

The Church influenced my choice of university where, ironically, I met a wonderful woman.

My father didn’t like, condone or understand my relationship, but said ‘You’re my daughter, above all I want you to be happy’.

So, I was out; my family and friends knew and accepted me.

At first I insisted that my Church had a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards lesbians and gays.  Though I no longer attended regular services, I felt connected and secure with their stand in the issue.

But in time, I could no longer deny what I was witnessing.  I could see that the Mormon Church was contributing millions of dollars into a campaign that simply promoted fear and hatred of the gay and lesbian community.

In my university, run by my church, 74% of gay and lesbian students have considered suicide as an alternative to telling their parents and church that they are gay.  25% of gay and lesbian students have attempted suicide.

I could no longer keep quiet.  It was time to leave home.

As I wrote and delivered that letter, I severed all ties to the home, community and a lifetime of remarkable, blessed memories.

It still hurts.

 

Kimberly Burnham is the author the book ‘Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open’ http://www.livelikesomeoneleftthegateopen.com

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20 comments on “I’m Out – Day 8

  1. What can be more heartbreaking than the fear that your family will stop loving you, and reject you, because of who you are.

    • It is true Martin. I have been very fortunate in the way my family has embraced my partner and I but the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints (the Mormon church) and political candidates trying to force their views on me, has create a more hostile atmosphere for myself and anyone who is different. I am fortunate to be able to tell my story. many young people are still not safe to do so. The more of us who tell our story, the more visible we are and the safer and more welcoming we make the world for ourselves and everyone.

    • Thanks Doreen. I am reminded of two quotes….

      Brené Brown said, “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow
      exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

      “A strong person stands up for themselves, a stronger person stands up for others.” I am standing up for myself and saying, “This is who I am,” in the hopes that others will also be empowered to stand against hate and bigotry, wherever it is found.

  2. Wow, powerful words. I can relate SO much to your story (having grown up Mormon and left the church in college). Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thanks Stephanie. Part of my awakening to the value of diversity and inclusiveness was while I was serving a mission for the Mormon church in Tokyo Japan before returning to Brigham young University and falling in love with a woman.

  3. You did a difficult, but important and courageous thing. Stepping into the light of your truth is not always an easy process. When one person steps up into their truth, it empowers others in both seen and unseen ways. Namaste!

  4. There’s great courage and bravery in this story. I know how powerful church/community can be and it’s not easy to speak up, be heard or sometimes to actually speak against it, no matter what the religion. Inspiring.

    • Thanks Diane. I believe if we speak up and talk about how the actions of people, who say they are acting in the name of God affects us, we can change the world and make it an abundant, safe, joyful place for all of us. I think it is what we all want.

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