A few days before Easter Sunday, I messaged on a Facebook Group “Queer For Christ-DC”, asking about some LGBTQ friendly churches, because I wasn’t going to go back to my LDS Singles Ward in Crystal City, Virginia. There were many reasons behind my decision on leaving. I am forever grateful that I have found Luther Place Memorial Church, and know that I am welcome there.
Your probably asking, CJ, why did you leave the Mormon church? Well, grab a chair, sit down, and relax, because it is quite the story.
I came out over Facebook, on June 27, 2014. I figured it would be the best way, because I have family on Facebook, and many friends, both inside and outside the church. After coming out, I got a welcomed response that I never expected from many friends, both old and new. Family, of course took it hard, but I knew they would slowly start to accept me.
A few days later, I get a call from my Ward Executive Secretary, stated that “the Bishop would like to see you.” So, I gladly accepted the offer to meet with Bishop (this would have been my first meeting ever with the Bishop since joining the singles ward). In my mind, I thought I was going to be offered a calling. Instead it was something else.
When I met with the Bishop, he and I talked, he mostly talked about my “public declaration that I am gay on Facebook”, and he also stated that IF I do anything not contrary I was to come to him, and we would talk about it. In my mind, I was, thinking okay, I can do this.
Instead, I went inactive. I would invite the missionaries over for dinner and we would talk. I even invited my Home Teachers over, and we talked. I just wouldn’t go to church, because I was afraid of the Bishop. I went back one time, because I felt compelled to do so. I sat with my Home Teachers, because I felt safe. I shook hands with the Bishops counselors and completely avoided the Bishop.
During my time of inactivity, the Brethren of the church, spoke at General Conference in regards to same-sex issues, and I also got filled with anger.
I knew my time in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was coming to an end. I wanted to live my life, in a way I wanted to. I didn’t need a church, or a Bishop telling me exactly how I should live my life. I am a gay man, and should live it like any other gay man. I should be happy.
The overall factor of me leaving the LDS church, was my Bishop, and to some extent the Brethren of the Church (Apostles, Quorum of the Twelve, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, the members in my Ward (Local Congregation) were super friendly and very accepting, and to this day, I am still friends with many.
Now, I belong to Luther Place Memorial Church, in Washington DC. I feel more welcome there, and more accepted than I did with the LDS Church.