Friday, May 29, 2009

Forgiveness for the LDS

I forgive the LDS. I forgive the Mormons. I forgive you and I don’t know why my shoulders literally dropped several inches when I thought it. I want to know so I’m writing my thoughts stream of consciousness style in hopes that some part of my psyche or my greater guidance let’s me know.

I’ve been having a panic-stricken night. Paul and I had a serious drop in our financial well-being since moving here, especially in the last couple of months. I desperately was attempting a healing on my emotional reaction—we’ve been aware of this situation for some time without panic—but my healing wasn’t complete yet and I found myself musing about the white ribbon in the marriage equality and religious freedom video I put up on my blog yesterday.

The white ribbon is a symbol used by the LDS to represent forgiveness. I didn’t know that. I’m sure not all LDS know it. I had to look it up. But I was musing on that and asked myself: could I forgive the Mormons about Proposition 8 now that I live among them and know more about their culture and way of life?

Yes. I thought it, I felt it, and my shoulders relaxed. I kept thinking it and they dropped further and further and I felt the terror I’ve been feeling drop away. How could that be? What’s the connection?!!!

I forgive you for scaring the hell out me. I scare easily because I’m a product of a people who were persecuted almost out of existence just like you! I know that about your history now. I didn’t know it before. I’m Jewish. We carry a lot of fears about what would happen if the government passed laws that threaten our way of life, too.

Freedom to marry whoever you love shouldn’t have to threaten you—you don’t have to teach your kids that it’s okay— but I understand how fragile it makes one feel to live a way of life the greater culture doesn’t understand and to feel you might have to defend it with all your might. Gay people understand that, too, and Jews and people of any non-Christian faith living in the United States. We all understand it. And that’s why it was SO scary to find out that almost half the money raised to push Propostion 8 through came from LDS sources, mostly from out of state. That such a tiny group had the financial resource and commitment to do that to a community where they don't live was terrifying—what if they thought my group was scary? A lot of people do! What if the LDS came after me?

I forgive you for that now. I still don’t know why I breathe more deeply when I think that.

I don’t see how it changes my situation. We’re still New Age spiritual counselors in a Mormon town. The first thing people have asked when they’re considering whether to use our services is “will it conflict with the teachings of my Mormon faith?” When we answer honestly that we don’t know what the Mormon church says about going to interfaith-oriented spiritual counselors for advice and guidance the conversation ends and they don’t call back.

Our Bay Area based clients can’t work with us in-person now that we’ve moved here. It didn’t seem like we had enough business in Santa Cruz to justify staying but it was better than it’s been since we came here. Maybe with the recession that would be true anywhere we lived but we’re here so it seems like living in this community is the biggest problem we have now. I forgive you for not making it easy enough to stay by using our services—I don't expect you to think like we do! But I also forgive myself for thinking I was wrong for having come. I can see that I needed to get to know you well enough to forgive you for how you treated my community—my San Francisco Bay area community full of gay people I love. I can forgive you for that now.

Could you please try to get to know us, all of us you think are so scary and different, and respect our right to live in peace in the way that’s right for us, too? The fight for equal rights for everyone and religious freedom isn't over. You know better than most communities in the United States the utmost importance of that. Why not come out and tell those stories publicly?

Maybe it's time to put the differences aside and support each other to fight for what all communities who have been labeled different need. A marriage to come home to, with people we love, in a community where we're safe, in a country where all our freedoms are protected under the law. You have this in Snowflake and Taylor! Can't you see how valuable it's been and extend the same kindness and respect to us all?

No comments: