Dare to Tell – Day 8
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