I mentioned in my previous post that Kim had written a letter that she read to my bishopric. I wanted to share it with you because I think it's important to know what kind of love we share. We're two gay women who love in such a profound way. Listen to her words of support, adoration, confidence and love. She truly provides the most complete love I've ever experienced.
The first thing I noticed about Kelly six years ago was her drive to do the right thing. She made it clear she would not even associate with anyone who might deter her from her goal to stay true to her faith and her marriage. Even today she associates only with those with values and goals that match her own, and does not associate with those who would deter her from her faith. I’ve known from the start that Kelly is a good woman with a good heart who loves the Lord, loves her family, and wants to do right. This remains true of who she is.
I next noticed her kindness, compassion, and generosity. She supported me through a very difficult situation, and even though she disagreed with my decisions and couldn’t understand them, she spoke no judgment or negative words to me. She merely listened and supported. Surely a Christ-like gesture we can all learn from.
Then I couldn’t help but notice her humor and wit. What a great joy she is to those around her. People love Kelly, they love the way they feel when they’re with her. She’s got a joyous soul that’s just plain good to be around.
Once I really looked, I noticed her amazing eyes and gorgeous mouth. You see, so many assume straight people have relationships and gay people have sex. That’s not how this works. While I can’t help but notice her eyes and her mouth, it’s her heart I’m drawn to. It’s her soul I’m having a relationship with. And this is a relationship built on love, experience, mutual interests, respect, and two people working through difficult issues and trying times. Being there for each other, supporting each other, laughing, crying, and loving, committing to each other that we’ll work on whatever comes up. While it is true the church frowns upon homosexual behavior, this is much more than behavior, and this needs to be widely known. This is about love and connection, commitment and relationship. In my case, I cannot think of anyone else I want to share my heart, soul, body, and life with than Kelly.
I had the beautiful opportunity to allow Kelly into my life enough to spend close and intimate time with my stubborn, ailing father, my unstable and sexually open sister, as well as my manipulative and alcoholic brother. That’s a trying situation for anyone, but Kelly came out of it with nothing but love for all of them. She showed nothing but understanding and respect for where they were. Again, behavior we can learn from.
Then I got to see her with her children. What first struck me is how utterly adored she is by those kids, all three. I have seen each one find comfort and love in her lap, even Jake. And they were all at home there. Kelly loves and knows her children as all children deserve. They have a relationship to be envied. The kind that comes from a good woman. And even though those children have not been a part of her choices, they are going to be affected by them, and affected by yours. Please take them and their belief in this church into consideration in how you treat their mother. They are indeed watching, and they’re watching you. For their sake, I hope you can find Christ-like compassion in your hearts to see the truth about who sits before you. Not a predator, not a rebel, but a daughter of God with a good heart.
And Kendall. What a joy it was to see how they love each other. Each one more concerned about the other than themselves. They had to make heart breaking choices for the happiness, blessing, and benefit of the other. Every one of you would be lucky and blessed indeed if you had even half the marriage they did. How perfect it would have been if only she were physically attracted to that good man. If only he were equipped to give her what she longed for, what only a woman has been able to fill for her. If you need to find fault with Kelly, find it in how she’s naturally wired romantically. Because there’s nothing amiss in how she’s wired heart and soul. Thankfully that is what the Lord judges her by.
While it is true you are compelled to discipline Kelly for having a sexual relationship with me, it is absolutely untrue that she is any kind of predator. There is nothing predatory, unkind, or untoward about Kelly. She’s not after your wives or the sisters in your ward. She’s merely a gay woman who went through some very vulnerable times and happened to agree to cross lines with two sisters in your ward, at their suggestion. Someone who has kissed one woman and had a sexual relationship with one other in 12 years is not a predator.
Nor has Kelly been in apostasy, nor has she been in open and deliberate public opposition to church leaders. She has spoken the truth of her experiences on her blog, with her leaders’ names removed. If those experiences are too negative to be shared, perhaps they should not have happened as they did. She has never spoken publicly in a way that brings shame or disrespect to the church or to her leaders. She has always spoken with kindness and understanding of the fact that some leaders are uninformed and acting in a way that is not necessarily in her best interest, but the best they know how. Kelly has also returned to church after a small absence, related to being treated poorly in her own congregation. What she has experienced in the remote and the very recent past has been utterly hurtful. This ought not to happen, there or here.
You have your sister before you whom you have known for years. Judge her, if you so need to do, for her relationship with me, but don’t mar her name and character with the untruths about her being a predator or that she openly and publicly rebels against her leaders. She’s not a threat to be banished. She’s a gentle, kind, sweet, loving, wonderful daughter of God, your sister, and a mother to three vulnerable children. She deserves to be treated as such and her children need to see their church leaders treat their mother with goodness, kindness, and love that Christ offers us all.
Quoting the pamphlet God Loveth His Children published by the church, “No one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God’s love or the extended arms of His Church, for we are all His beloved sons and daughters.” (p. 13)