My girlfriend had her disciplinary council yesterday afternoon. As I sat on the couch, trying to play games on my iPod (to keep my mind busy) I couldn't help but turn my thoughts to the process.
I was excommunicated 4 1/2 years ago. I was angry, bitter, and resentful. Much of that was due to the fact that I had to give up my second girlfriend because of the church - the first being when I was just out of high school. But more than that, quite frankly I was pissed off that the church was about to kick me out! I loved the church with all my heart and it just didn't seem right that they were getting rid of me. Don't get me wrong, I understand that there are rules that must be followed for members who made covenants at baptism... and I had chosen to break those rules by having an adulterous affair. That does NOT mean that I will ever understand the unique position I have been placed in, being a gay woman and baptized member of the church.
Kim (my girlfriend) so beautifully shared her feelings about this in a letter to her bishopric, where she talked about being asked to live half a life.
"Perhaps just the very gravity of the difficulty need be considered. Perhaps just the utter impossibility of the position I am thus placed in need be truly considered. Because here I sit before you in a counsel and the outcome places me in a position of choosing my religion or choosing my need for human connection and meaningful relationship. Either decision leaves me with half a life. I cannot imagine my life without the full blessings of the gospel, living half a life. I cannot picture living my life once again impossibly celibate, empty, and deeply alone, living half a life."
I admit that I still feel that tug. Even though I haven't been an active member for 1 1/2 years, I still feel that the church is so much a part of my heart. I hold strongly to many of the teachings that were a part of my life for 37+ years. I will continue to be saddened that individuals cannot have both the full blessings of the church and the fullness that comes from a meaningful and committed relationship. But since that's impossible at this time, and most likely forevermore, we are left to choose. What that does to a heart is almost inexpressible, but have no doubt that it is extremely painful to have to choose between two vital parts of oneself. It just isn't right.
In her council yesterday afternoon, Kim was excommunicated. She accepted it gracefully, but do not mistake that to mean it hasn't brought utter sadness. The hardest part for her is knowing that there may never be an end to it. She isn't willing to give up our relationship, which is definitely required in order for her to regain full membership and blessings of the gospel. It appears to be permanent, which breaks her heart. But what are we gay Mormons supposed to do? I believe the answers are out there and we just need to keep working and searching for them.
Kim is one incredible individual. I believe she has been sent to help pave the way for so many of us in this position. She is calm, level-headed, spiritual, intelligent and full of beauty and love. She has a strong testimony of the gospel and isn't about to walk away from something that brings her so much peace. She is a woman who can teach and lead by example, while bringing understanding to people both active in the church and homosexuality. I stand in awe of her each day. SHE is the type to encourage change in the attitudes of so many, including church leaders. The word won't do her justice, but she is in fact a special person who has an important calling in life... and the best part is that she's ready and willing to share what she can, free of anger and resentment.
I am honored to be a part of Kim's process and blessed to be able to have her love and companionship.