An Open Letter to Tyler Glenn

The Provo City Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dear Tyler,

I’ve been a fan of yours for a few years now. I discovered Neon Trees not long after I returned from my mission and have enjoyed your music ever since. I recall about two years ago or so (if I’m remembering correctly) when you had an open air concert in Provo. My apartment was close enough that I could listen from my balcony. It was wonderful!

I was inspired by your courage to come out back in 2014. I remember thinking how great it was that you were, it seemed, able to juggle your sexuality with your faith (certainly not an easy task for members of the Church with same-sex attraction) in a wholesome and healthy manner.

But then something changed. I read yesterday in the Salt Lake Tribune how the Church’s recently enacted policy towards same-sex couples and their children deeply affected you. “[Your] exit from the LDS faith,” I read, “was triggered after the November announcement that married gay couples would be considered apostates of the church and children of gay couples would not be allowed to participate in church rites.”

At the same time a friend of mine sent me a link to your new music video. “Trash”–––a provocative title. I watched it with interest, which quickly turned to shock. The opening lyrics gripped me. “I think I lost myself in your new religion / You say a prayer for me like a superstition.” And then, “Maybe I’ll see you in hell / Okay, whatever / One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Surrounding you were distorted images of Joseph Smith, upon one of which you spat.

Then you entered the elevator.

That’s when my shock turned to sadness.

I’m not outraged, or indignant, or offended, Tyler. I’m sad. Sad for a number of reasons.

First, and foremost, I’m sad that you’re obviously in such a deep and dark place of pain and frustration. I understand why. And I don’t want to diminish the reality of that. In fact, I share some of that pain and frustration.

I’m also sad, however, because you’ve taken that pain and frustration and instead of finding reconciliation and atonement, you’ve turned it into vitriol and anger. And what’s worse, you turned it into profanity (in the literal sense of the word).

You see, Tyler, I write this after working a double shift at the Provo City Center Temple. I arrived for my shift before dawn and finished in the afternoon. While in the temple I felt peace, safety, comfort, and enlightenment. I was spiritually vivified as I administered sacred ordinances to others seeking refuge from the blood and sins of this fallen world.

I officiated over a company of Latter-day Saints as they received an endowment from on high. Watching over the company, I saw soft tears in some eyes, and heard gentle sniffles in the room. My own eyes moistened more than once. I noticed many smiles as each member of the company, one by one, conversed with the Lord through the veil.

This was the peak of holiness for me and several others. We were away from the world, learning about God’s plan of salvation for his children, and making sacred covenants. We were making eternal bonds with dear ones away. We were in the house and presence of the Lord.

That’s why I’m deeply sad that in your anger you felt you were justified to degrade the sacredness of the tokens of the priesthood. The rites of the temple are dear to the hearts of millions of Latter-day Saints, including my own. To see them profaned before the world was wounding.

But I’m not just sad because of that. I’m also sad that now I cannot show your music video to other Latter-day Saints who may have been sympathetic to your plight, or who may have wanted to better understand you. I’m sad that now to many Latter-day Saints you’ll be just another angry ex-Mormon who “can’t leave the Church alone,” and who is out for revenge. And so they’ll tune you off, block you out, and turn you away.

That’s the last thing we need at a time like this.

I hope you’ll understand that I’m not saying this to guilt you. Nor am I saying this as some kind of call to repentance. Rather, I’m saying this because I feel very strongly that respect, civility, and sympathy is a two-way street. I’m saying this because actions have consequences, and I’m afraid your actions have only placed greater enmity between the LGBTQ community and members of the Church.

You feel hurt and betrayed by the Church. I understand that, and I don’t doubt your feelings are real (and, heck, even justified). I’m not asking you to pretend like everything is just okay; like your feelings don’t exist. Nor am I asking you to keep your mouth shut and suffer in silence. Rather, I hope that you’ll understand why I and many other Latter-day Saints now feel like it is much, much harder to fully support you.

Let me end by saying this, Tyler. You sing, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I confess that I’m not exactly sure how to understand this line. I suppose you could mean several things, and I suspect that one of those meanings is that you feel like trash.

You are not trash, Tyler. Not to your Heavenly Father, not to your Savior Jesus Christ, and not to me. You are a treasure. You are a beloved son of Heavenly Parents, who weep with you in your pain (Moses 7:28). You have infinite worth in Their eyes. As it says in the revelation given to the man whose image you spat on, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).

I hope you’ll never forget your eternal worth, Tyler, and that you’ll find peace, wherever it may be.

Your friend,
Stephen

43 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Tyler Glenn

  1. The church participates in a lot of silencing the pain and anguish of its members. Tyler now has the opportunity to express that frustration and humiliation through music. He deserves to grieve the loss of the church in his own way. Saying he shouldn't lash out at a religion is like saying we shouldn't be angry when someone close to is is raped or murdered. The same grieving and anger is happening her. Maybe in time it is not unreasonable to ask for forgivness, but the process is long and complicated. I still have days in which I am angry beyond words at the betrayal of my beloved church. Do not judge Tyler for his grief.

    • "Do not judge Tyler for his grief."

      Where do I judge him? I bend over backwards to make it clear that I'm NOT judging him for his feelings.

      I am disappointed in his actions. That's not the same as judging him personally.

      "Saying he shouldn't lash out at a religion is like saying we shouldn't be angry when someone close to is is raped or murdered."

      You'll forgive me if I say that's a grotesquely misplaced comparison.

    • Stephen-"Where do I judge him?" I don't think you judge him. It's just that, sometimes, condescending self righteous people who feign victimization as a way to smear guilt onto their antagonist, can easily be mistaken as a judgmental person. Of course, I want to make it clear, I'm not judging you. (Is that how you do it?)

      Anonymous -"Saying he shouldn't lash out at a religion is like saying we shouldn't be angry when someone close to us is raped or murdered." Stephen-"You'll forgive me if I say that's a grotesquely misplaced comparison." I'm someone who has battled the struggles created by serial sexual abuse, perpetrated in my childhood, and also felt betrayal by my church. I agree they are vastly different. The harm caused to me during my childhood has had such a profound effect on my interpersonal relationships that, if I had to quantify it, is a thousand times worse than the lies and betrayal I have experienced from the church. That being said, Tyler is as justified in his reactions (as long as he remains truthful), as someone who has experienced other forms of loss and betrayal.

  2. Yes, that is a grotesque comparison, made by someone whose capacity for rational thought has been greatly eclipsed by their emotional state.

    There are rational people within the LGBT community. It is unfortunate that we don't hear from them more often.

    • Notice how you can't argue against his analysis, so instead you attack his faith and person. And you don't think that's a lack of rational thought being eclipsed by emotional state?

    • So, Tony, let me see if I understand: Tyler's thoughts can't be considered rational because his "rational thought has been greatly eclipsed by [his] emotional state." However, as Kalie points out, the premise presented by most religions that truth can be determined through prayer and feelings is completely rational. Meaning, I can completely discredit people whose opinions counter my own world view by appealing to the fact that their "rational thought has been greatly eclipsed by their emotional state"; however, if they point out that my world view has been eclipsed by my feelings and emotional state, then they are clearly wrong. Makes sense.

    • So, Ryan, if I was to say I taste many of the truths taught by the LDS Church, you would likely say, tasting is not the same as reason or rational thought. And if was to say, I put my belief in God to the scientific test, some may say it is not the same scientific method–even though I'm a trained, though amateur scientist (4 years of college, but no degree in the hard science fields as I switched to computers, sort of). Is not tasting a way of knowing something as one of our senses? Well a testimony is another sense some have developed and some who have a testimony AND a scientific background have put it to a rigorous test. For me, my belief was not based on feelings, though it did involve communication with God or prayer. What is wrong with prayer, if it works? And it works as long as the qualifications are met, one of which is that one follows most-of-the-time the answers given and not just "playing at praying". (Makes 6 senses.)

    • Anonymous May 9, 2016 at 11:58 PM

      The problem with prayer is that it is incredibly polarizing. I can't tell you how many people I taught on my mission that said they prayed and knew the LDS church wasn't true. Why does God tell people to stay away from the LDS church then? It's so subjective. It's anything but a conclusive way of determining truths.

  3. Beautifully written. I agree 100%. The people within the church may be fallible, but anyone who truly understands the gospel, knows that it does anything but silence pain and anguish. And that comparison above was heinous. Feeling anger is a necessary and healthy regulatory emotion. Lashing out in anger (especially against a church) is never a healthy way of dealing with things.

  4. The tone in this felt patronizing to me. I do appreciate what you are trying to do, though. A few thoughts:

    "I'm also sad, however, because you've taken that pain and frustration and instead of finding reconciliation and atonement, you've turned it into vitriol and anger."

    I believe Tyler has done some due diligence in attempting to find reconciliation over the last few years so it seems unfair to undermine his spiritual wrestling over this. I also don't completely agree with your labeling him with anger a couple of times in your post. Tyler's demeanor in press releases and interviews comes across as anything but anger. This is a music video. Music videos are meant to be dramatic and artistic. We don't look at T-Swifts blank space music video and reach out to her in sadness because she is angry. Though I believe anger was a natural byproduct of his faith reconstruction, I don't love that it is the emotion that we are pointing fingers at.

    I am trying to understand why I was not outraged or shocked by the video. You mentioned being wounded by his depiction. I guess I figure we live in a world were we are all constantly doing things that desecrate each others sacred beliefs and we just need to learn to deal with that. We eat cows that are sacred to Hindus, Muslims walk on the temple mount held most sacred to Jews, Christians have art which depicts images of prophets (including Jesus) which is forbidden and offensive in Islam, mormon missionaries mock other christian denominations' revivals and speaking in tongues.

    That is nice that you feel that refuge in the temple. But using that argument sounds like you believe this should be the case for everyone. Bear in mind that you are a white, privileged, straight man in Mormonism. Your experience in the temple (and the church in general) is substantially different. To assume it is equally peaceful or faith promoting for a woman, black man, or homosexual is not really seeing reality through the lens of a more global and diverse audience. I understand addressing the fact that he should not have utilized those symbols in his video – the "You see, Tyler…" again felt patronizing and undermining of the fact that he clearly understands that people have those experiences and convictions in the temple because he has been through these ordinances himself and comes from an active believing mormon background.

  5. I also don't think I agree with the rhetoric of having to keep civility to avoid creating greater rift or enmity with mainstream mormonism. People have tried to be civil about this issue. There are plenty of peaceful blogs and individuals calling for awareness and tweaking of policies. When people want to address their concerns with the high ups they are told to take it to their local bishops or stake presidents who often (if not always) don't have answers for gay-related issues – and that is where those issues stay. That type of quiet speaking out doesn't really demand change or bare minimum – attention from church headquarters. People like Tyler have their place in God's kingdom in bringing immediate attention to issues that need to be addressed. Most of the major changes we have seen within the church have come from whistle blowers from the bottom up. We think all is well in Zion but there is something fundamentally wrong when the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth ran by Christ himself through modern day Moses's (I don't know how to pluralize that) does not really have a place for gays. People pull the whole celibate card but I don't understand that. We are told one of the most important things you will do in mortality is to marry the right person at the right place at the right time. Single gay men can't become bishops, they can't become stake presidents, they can't become general authorities, they cannot go on missions, they cannot become mission presidents, they cannot become apostles, they technically cannot receive their calling and election because they are not sealed. That feels like God telling them (through his anointed) that they are not spiritual, good, or strong enough to teach and lead congregations or receive the most sacred ordinances. Though we are simultaneously asking them to do something considerably difficult. Based on their condition (single because of being gay) there is a limit set for how far they can progress in their callings. Though I admit none of us should aspire to positions within the church, how do we think it is okay to set that barrier ahead of time to any gay celibate man in the kingdom. Are we to really be still and believe Christ is the author of such a crippling system?

    Though I may be called a heretic, I appreciate what Tyler has done. I think the LGBT community is black and blue by both societal punches as well as religious. I see Tyler as showing up at a playground and sticking up for the bullied children who are not being heard and have been enduring spiritual and physical blows (unintentionally by the institutional religion). Again, I realize how jarring it is to witness that music video but I think it ultimately does us good to stare these complexities in the face and wrestle with God and our church leaders regarding them.

    My $0.02, have a nice night :).

  6. I think all of you still in the church just don't understand our point of view and never will until you are in our shoes. I quote from Tylers song:
    "If you wanted me to stay
    I'd repent my days away…"
    Active members seem to think that we have a choice in leaving the church. All too often the church has forced us out. We have been told over and over again in so many ways, some subtle, others not so subtle, that we are not welcome in the church. I was a convert to the church and those who were born in the church never fully understood what converting to a new religion is like. In the same manner those of you still in the church will never understand the heartwrenching process that is deconversion. Of course Tyler is mad. He has just lost his whole worldview and something he had been deeply emotionally invested in. Tyler is going through the grieving process, maybe you don't understand that. What Tyler needs is for you to "mourn with those that mourn" not your pity and condescension. Once he is through with his grieving process he will be infinitely better off than he was in the church. I know I have been. Trying to make it work in a church that doesn't want you is a soul killing experience.

    Now that said I wanted to address your point that those who leave the church, cannot leave the church alone. I know it feels that way to all of you still in the church but lets set the record straight on this one. As a kid, whenever I would get into a fight with my brother and would try to blame him for "starting it" my parents would kindly remind me that it takes two to tango. What they meant by this is that when people fight there is always blame on both sides. Sure ex-mormons have a lot of issues with the church and we aren't afraid to make them known. So yes we as a community bear some responsibility for our criticism. The church however is not blameless. Just last week at BYU's commencement one or your general authorities called on all who were in attendance to shun those who have left the church. To me those are fighting words, not loving or re-conciliatory words. Just this past Friday Jeffry R. Holland gave a talk in Tempe Arizona in which he said, " I am so furious with people who leave this church. I don’t know whether ‘furious’ is a good apostolic word. But I am. What on earth kind of conviction is that? What kind of patty-cake, taffy-pull experience is that?" If Elder Holland is allowed to publicly express his "fury" over mine and Tyler's leaving the church while at the same time question our conviction, then how can you with a straight face turnaround and tell me I am not allowed the same fury and questioning towards those who pushed me out of that church? Turnabout is fair play my friends. I think those in the church have an over idealized view of what their leaders say. We who have left the church are hyper sensitive to these kinds of subtle attacks at our character, conviction, integrity and personhood by those with power in the church. I would just ask that all of you still in the church take a moment to consider that maybe things aren't as black and white as church leadership try to make them appear. We who have left have legitimate grievances and we deserve to be heard. To us Tyler is a courageous pioneer for speaking his own personal truth to power. Ex-mormons don't hate the church but we all have a complicated relationship with the church. We hate the abuse and mistreatment we received from the church. In a sense you might say we "love the sinner, but we hate the sin." I don't expect you who still hold fast to your beliefs to understand me, but I hope at least you have the courtesy to try.

  7. In leaving the Church, you're running from the hospital, the place where the Lord himself established the path to healing.

    The Apostles teach a celestial ideal, and the hosts of imperfect strivers reach with all our might. That ideal, that standard, is the same for all. It doesn't change because your challenges in arriving are different than mine.

    The foundation is testimony in Christ, and the restoration of His gospel in these latter days. If you felt that testimony once before, you can feel so now. The Church is still true. The Book of Mormon is still a true testament of Jesus Christ. The first vision still happened in that sacred Grove of trees.

    Just because the way is difficult, and you see other patients in your ward who don't seem to understand what you're going through, don't run away. They're not supposed to be perfect yet, either. The Healer is making His rounds and can prescribe what you need. He can, and will heal you. As He has healed me. I may have been admitted in a different Ward than you, and my treatment options may have been a little different as I limp on through mortality, but we share a universal Physician who with a touch can soften our pain. With a word can heal our hearts.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is restored on the earth today, and He is there. He is inviting.

    As a veteran of hospitals both physical and spiritual, I've encountered a lot of nurses, and a lot of providers. Some get it. Most dont. One always will, and He is here, in this Church, beyond that veil. He reaches out through priesthood power. He heals through imperfect mortal hands who nevertheless answer the call to minister with Him.

    Do you think you walk your painful road alone? Do you think you are the only one who hurts in this? Could He not be preparing you to administer in those aspects that you have come to know so well? Are you not walking a path now that young Saints will look to follow? You are running from the very place where Christ needs your help the most! You say there isn't compassion and understanding enough yet regarding this issue? Who else but you can stand and say, "I've been there. I've shed those same tears. I know what you're feeling. Don't go. Please. There is help and healing ahead. He can heal you. He will heal you."

    You are in this church for such a time as this. And we need you. He needs you. To shine a light of divine compassion and love where the pain and suffering is most severe. The trauma wards of mortality need willing hands, and hearts who know and feel. Come help the good work move along. We love you. Of course we don't perfectly understand. We were admitted into different wards. Don't judge us for our weakness and frailty. Forgive us as we try to help you while avoiding the same. He is here. He is making His rounds. Though it reeks of our imperfect strivings, please don't leave. We love you and need you, because it is our own brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, cousins and friends who are following behind us in coming days and years. Many are suffering the same trials you face now, and we do not/will not know how to help as you will, having felt the Atonement reach into your particular despairs and lift you up. Yours are the hearts and hands to guide them through. Nothing is denied. Nothing is withheld. All are alike unto God, and He needs you now, here.

    • The problem is that you still see this as a war, and that we are all casualties of that war, waiting for treatment. The truth is I am whole, as I have always been whole. When I learned that truth, more than anything else it has set me free. Sure I feel pain, disappointment, loss, and all the range of human emotion and experiences; but that is not because I am a fallen man tempted by Satan. It is because I am human and that is what it means to be human. I am perfect in my imperfections, I am perfect because of my unique set of flaws along with my talents. The church taught me I was broken, it was not until I learned that I had never been broken that I found the true healing in this life. It was not until I learned that I am exactly who I was always meant to be that I found peace and contentment. The church was that shackles that held me bound, it was the terrorist that tortured my flesh and told me I was the weak one. It was the lie that kept me staring at the shadows on the wall of the cave, believing they were reality. I had to leave the cave to emerge into the sun and realize the real world had always been there, waiting to embrace me. I know those of you who are still in the church will probably never believe me but I am an infinitely happier, more fulfilled, self actualized person now than I ever was as a member of the church. I have seen the light, and having embraced that light I will never again descend into the darkness. I hope you can understand that.

    • When you're told you don't exist by an apostle and another one tells you that God wants you and your kids to be excluded from the church, you're left with few options, none of which are great. All are clearly NOT alike into God in the eyes of at least some of the apostles.

      LGBT Mormons want to believe God and Jesus can love and heal them, but it's EXTREMELY hard to believe that when the leadership of the church isn't saying that.

    • If it is a war, at least I know my enemy. And it is not you. It is not the LGBTQ community. You're drawing lines that separate you from your closest ally, your most most staunch advocates. You'll find one day that what you thought to be a cave, was actually the Fortress, and your best defense against the real foe, the real enemy. The Apostles you love to hold up as blind guides are holding up the only real light in this issue. Therapy hurts. The road to recovery is always taxing. Don't reject their expertise without even trying the treatment. Until you do, and especially when you undertake a reading of their remarks that ignores the compassion and love, you will never know. I read their words, and see where you see pain. I see where you find grounds for offense, and misunderstanding. But my reading and yours should be able to read it with open eyes to see the love as well. Open ears to hear the compassion. It's there. There is a second opinion that trumps all. No, it isn't that big building sitting across the mist. Look up. Trust the Comforter and Guide Christ promised to send. He will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. Seek and ye shall find. Mysticism this is not. This is faith. That evidence and assurance that transcends physical evidence, and visual assurance. The world yells pretty loud, and tries to blur the true identity that could otherwise guide us through. An Apostle said we should be shifting our own identity more toward that of being sons and daughters of God. That is not a negative thing. That's what Elder Bednar was saying. You say he implied you don't exist. You ignore the true identity he wanted so desperately to assert in your mind and heart. If this is the only identity you believe you have, then this message is the most important one you will ever tackle in your life. You are first a son or daughter of divine parentage. That means you can do it. That means you can win. If this is the negative message you resent so much, then you're working really hard on a spin that ignores what he actually meant. That you can win. That the Church is the best ally in doing so. That we had better think twice before getting out, especially if we haven't even tried it yet! We aren't even willing to try what they said! This isn't placebo. The treatment only works if we do it. Take it! Try it! Then come and talk to me about the hypocrisy of these short sighted men. Men who have given up their professions in the sole pursuit of bringing us back to God.

    • Anonymous May 1, 2016 at 10:21 PM

      "You're drawing lines that separate you from your closest ally, your most most staunch advocates."

      Then, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

      "The Apostles you love to hold up as blind guides are holding up the only real light in this issue. Therapy hurts."

      If you're referring to SOCE, tell that to the judges who are consistently ruling against the groups who practice it.

      "n Apostle said we should be shifting our own identity more toward that of being sons and daughters of God. That is not a negative thing. That's what Elder Bednar was saying. You say he implied you don't exist. You ignore the true identity he wanted so desperately to assert in your mind and heart."

      Uh, yeah. No "implying" going on here. Bednar straight up said, "There are no homosexual members of the church." Some ally.

      When these "men who have given up their professions in the sole pursuit of bringing us back to God" decide to jump on board with social science, a conversation will start. Until then, suicides will continue. LGBT members will continue to leave and disappear.

  8. The nice feelings you have towards your church and services does not make any of them true. I too had those types of feelings towards my faith… I always thought yours was goofy and weird….. I am sure you think my previous religion, Catholic, is as well. The point is….. They are… Just because someone WANTS there to be some sort of mystical supernatural existence, doesn't mean there is…. and when people on this earth start condemning others for their own personal choices, that is unacceptable and angering. At some point there is no reconciliation with something we realize is a fraud.

    • Putting aside the fact that you're misconstruing Mormon epistemology, where in this post do I ever claim that my feelings towards my faith make it true?

      "I always thought yours was goofy and weird….. I am sure you think my previous religion, Catholic, is as well."

      I actually have tremendous respect for the Catholic Church. While I'm not Catholic, I don't find anything in Catholic ritual particularly "goofy."

      And I certainly wouldn't purposefully mock it in order to provoke Catholics.

  9. Church leader's message to LGBT Mormon youth has been defined, and it's an adventure in sadomasochism: either abandon your human self to a life of celibacy, or be abandoned by your church and face separation from your family, for all eternity. It doesn't matter which choice LGBT Mormon youth make, they lose. Mormon leaders have learned a trick, with a little misdirection, they can appear taller by standing on the heads of others. Unfortunately, some LBGT youth get trapped in the Mormon rabbit hole and struggle to navigate out of it. For anyone who has been made to feel outside the reach of Christ's compassion, please think about it, "Would God really create a meandering stream and then command it to become a straight ditch?"

    For those who feel so, so sad watching Tyler express disdain for the deception his church so freely spread; when a gay guy's actions in a music video cause you to contemplate suicide, in the way church leaders actions have caused gay youth to, I'll be moved by your sadness. But for now, you come across as sniveling, patty- cake, taffy- pullers.

    • "It doesn't matter which choice LGBT Mormon youth make, they lose."

      Coming from a position of unfaith, I can understand how one might have that perspective. However, I don't think this perspective gives LGBT Mormons who wish to remain faithful in the Church enough credit.

    • Everyone's experiences are vastly different in this life. Everyone's experiences are valid, even though they may seem opposite. Its part if this experience called mortality.
      Tyler's experience is public. There was an emotional and religious earthquake in November. There is still a lot of search and rescue going on, and unfortunately a lot of very beautiful and spiritual people being tossed out like trash. Unwanted. Being marked unfaithful due to circumstances beyond their control. That standard has also been applied to their families. Its a mess. Its not getting any better, but weekly there has been insult added to injury. Many are struggling to find a place at the table for themselves. That is the greatest shame in all.
      We need to be respectful right now of all vantage points in this, and refrain from assigning a litmus test of faith.

  10. The video and lyrics are just awful. Anything filled with the spirit of this type of regard towards any religion is anything but tolerance and respect.

    If a friend of mine behaved in such a way, I would just look at him with a gaped mouth, gather my things and leave.

    He might be angry at the church, but I don't have any idea what type of "reaction" he expects to enlist because of this video. The video has absolutely zero redeeming or laudable qualities. I'm still just astonished at not only at the sheer contempt for icons in LDS beliefs but how he as a person composes himself.

    • I have a really hard time with this right now. I am lds and i'm in high school and i feel really confused. I felt the spirit when i listened to tyler's song the same way i felt when i did baptisms for the dead last month. My best friend is gay and he is struggling with being accepted in our school (in utah county). When I hear this song i feel comforted that my friend is not alone and it gives me the same good feeling i get in the temple. Am i feeling the spirit wrong?

  11. Wow. You don't even see how you haven't only drunk the Koolaid, there is no distinction between it and you. Look back at what you wrote. Look at the words you chose. You took a "company" through the temple. Your eyes were "moistened." You write like a general authority talks. I'm sorry, I couldn't make it through the whole thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if you used "save" the way you've heard it a million times in conference … as in, "I love that song, 'save' the last two verses." It's kind of like the Matrix for those of us who've unplugged – which clearly Tyler has. When you're in it, you can't see it, feel it, or touch it, but you know something is off. Once you're out, you can't imagine ever having been so far in. That's a been there done that for me. I know I still have a few friends and family who still think I'm just experiencing a crisis of faith. I'm not. My eyes will never be "moistened" again. I'll never be part of this "company" (yes, been through the temple and know the reference) again. Maybe someday you'll choose the beauty of real life instead of a manufactured reality of the woman in the red dress and the perfectly cooked steak.

    • That's a lot of bold talk for someone who's too cowardly to post under their real name.

      But please, don't let that stop you from making worn out, cliched, shabby, and eye-rollingly easy cultural references that I'm sure you think are pretty darn clever.

    • Stephen, I hope this doesn't offend you, but you are obviously a thoughtful guy who wants to be helpful, so I want to be helpful, too, by offering an observation:

      Anonymous did use some inflammatory language. I don't blame you for feeling insulted. If you look past that, however, he or she was presenting a thought for you to consider: that you are so caught up in your personal experiences/views that you are experiencing a sort of self-deception that makes it impossible for you to see the world through the eyes of someone on the outside. Word choice aside, he/she was making almost the exact same argument as others in this thread who have said or implied that those who leave or criticize the church are deluded and are in error because they won't open their eyes.

      True or not, I would recommend you consider your reply. Instead of challenging the assertion, you called him/her a coward and belittled his choice of a very relevant metaphor. And then walked away. I think most people would look at such a response and conclude that you were completely stumped by Anonymous and, being flustered, couldn't come up with anything beyond, "Oh yeah? Well you're a JERK!"

      Emotionally, this guy got the best of you. I would love to hear you make a counterpoint, but if you don't think Anonymous (or anyone) is worth your time, it's probably best to not reply at all. (At least that's the advice I would give myself.)

    • There's no counterpoint to be made. Anonymous hasn't made an argument, only an empty accusation. Anybody can throw out accusations of self-deception. Anybody can claim anybody else is living in the Matrix, and refuses to face reality. Such is easy and cheap.

      What's harder, and what I think is more productive, is to assume good faith on the part of those who disagree with you, unless you have really good reason to do otherwise. That's why I have little tolerance for people who pull these moves. Let's get past the cheap polemics and assume good faith on those we disagree with for the sake of dialogue, etc.

  12. Stephen,

    Get used to writing letters like this. As the church continues to cement itself in its position of anti-homosexual bigotry, attacks on these “sacred” things will continue. In his infinite wisdom, God decided to set up the world in such a way that there will be 10 times more homosexuals than there will be members of his “one true church”. The church is going to lose this battle.

    Don’t worry though. You can always go hide in your multi-million dollar masonic mansion and do your rituals. Keep up the double shifts, Mr. Holier than thou.

    • "Get used to writing letters like this."

      Nah. I got plenty of other really interesting things to focus on.

      But thank you for bearing your testimony nonetheless.

      "Masonic mansion." That's a new one. Well, points for getting it to alliterate at least.

  13. After all the talking and singing,(and writing about the talking and singing,) it seems that the LDS faith doesn't fit Tyler Glenn. It didn't fit me either. It does, however, seem to fit you really well. That's fantastic.

    For me, Tyler's video was sad too. But for a different reason than you alluded to. My sadness was one of recognition. When I finally made the "break" from the LDS faith, it hurt. The ties are deep. It was a huge part of my identity and leaving the belief structure meant leaving a large part of myself.

    I hope he gets through it. Many people do. Like any loss, the grieving process takes time. I fully expect him to do so.

  14. Stephen, I can tell your letter is sincere and heartfelt. I used to write like that also while I was still oblivious to how we've been lied to. I'm a former convert and am so sad and frustrated about the lies the missionaries taught me (I'm sure unbeknownst to them, as they've been fed lies, also) as well as the historical and current cover-ups by headquarters.

    You wonder why "ex-mos" can't leave the church alone. Well, it's because the Church can't leave others alone. They interfere with human rights not only in the church but also by the laws they influence with their resources. They have destroyed families and lives.

    Those who fit neatly into the box (like I did) and whose box is protected by a bubble are not going to understand what I have just said. I get that. And I try to have compassion for those members who know not what they are saying or doing when they continue the robotic Church rhetoric. But you seem like a compassionate person. Let that compassion lead you to the truth. Neutral, objective sources to begin with are MormonThink.com and CESLetter.com

    • A couple of things:

      1. Your post is sincere and heartfelt, but dripping with sanctimoniousness. Which is fine I guess. I don't get enough of it from ex-Mormons all the time, including the several ex-Mormons on this blog post. So thanks for that.

      2. "You wonder why "ex-mos" can't leave the church alone." Please go re-read my post carefully. You'll see that I talk about OTHER Church members having this attitude. To wit: "I'm sad that now to many Latter-day Saints you'll be just another angry ex-Mormon who 'can't leave the Church alone,' and who is out for revenge."

      3. "But you seem like a compassionate person. Let that compassion lead you to the truth." Thank you, it has. It's led me to the truth of the Restored Gospel.

      4. "Neutral, objective sources to begin with are MormonThink.com and CESLetter.com" You cannot be serious. The CES Letter and MormonThink are about as neutral and objective (and just as fallacious, BTW) on issues related to Mormonism as Ken Ham is neutral on issues related to evolution and creationism.

    • Stephen, you feel G.S.A. is being sanctimonious. Do you feel your blog post was not also sanctimonious? If the answer is no, I would love to know your opinion on why and how a reader could tell the difference.

    • Sanctimonious: "making a show of being morally superior to other people."

      I shared my feelings and concerns in my blog post. I did not make moral judgements, nor make myself out to be superior to Tyler Glenn, morally or otherwise.

      If people think my post was sanctimonious, then they don't know what the word means.

      But to answer your question, as soon as you start saying things like, "While I was still oblivious to how we've been lied to," or, "Unbeknownst to them, as they've been fed lies," and the like, then you're being sanctimonious.

  15. As a Gay Mormon man who has tried to faithfully fulfill what the church has taught and been let down by it. I can understand Tyler's response to the announcement last fall. He is someone who is struggling to find his place after feeling betrayed by something he clung to and defended for years. I can also say that the church's response was and is not kind to those like Tyler and myself. Church is meant to be a refuge to those who struggle and a place for them to seek out answers. What happens when the answers they recieve from their bishop are that we are incomplete and we can be made right after this life. When you are struck with every cutting remark or unkind joke and prod by "faithful" members about those who struggle with this issue. When all the teachings in the church lead to the sealing ordinances of the temple and know that you will never be able to have that companionship and love in this life because of something you did not choose to feel. And trust me when i say it is not a choice to feel this way i would much rather be attracted to a lovely LDS Girl and get married in the temple my life would be much easier. and when you are told by your family that you are destroying the family by feeling this, not by acting on it mind you but feeling it. One begins to wonder "What is the point of even being here on earth then?" I asked myself that same question and unfortunately made the choice to try and end it. The relief i have sought out has not come from my fellow members but from those who like me struggle with finding a place. It wasn't until i made the choice to live and stop trying to fit into the mold that the church wanted did i start to feel some modicum of peace. I still meet with my YSA bishop and hope beyond hope that the brethren actually show compassion and give guidance to the bishops about how to help. But with the policy that came out last fall it becomes less and less likely. That is what hurt most is that if felt like we were being pushed out more not that the policy was ever different but that is was an us versus you feeling and many people felt scorned by it. I hope that this give some perspective to some you reading it that cannot understand where poor Tyler is coming from

  16. “You can leave The Church, but you can’t leave it alone.”

    The quote above is a common phrase wielded at former members, like myself, who continue to expend time and energy to talk, write, and discuss various Mormon topics.

    Members seem to wonder why those of us who don’t believe still care what anyone else believes? This is not limited to Mormons; atheists are often asked the same question by believers of all faiths.

    If anyone should understand the impetus to share new knowledge gained by hard work and research, however, it should be The Mormons.

    The LDS Church sends out tens of thousands of missionaries each year. Most of those young men and women leave home with the assurance they possess a knowledge that needs to be shared. They know something that much of the world does not and are desperate to hear.

    Those of us who have researched unofficial LDS History, other faiths, religions, and philosophies also feel that we have discovered something that many around us have not. We have new knowledge! New information! Many of us grew up in homes where knowing Church History was considered a duty and a virtue. When we encounter facts and writings and events that were heretofore unknown to us, our inclination and desire is to share it – especially with our loved ones – even if that knowledge contradicts and calls into question the claims of that same Church.

    I left The LDS Church when young and angry and rebellious. I tried once or twice to discuss my then less-than-scholarly objections with family members, only to feel unheard. I think it discouraged me from being more frank and honest for years. As I continue to read more and more, and learn more and more — and there is ALWAYS something more — I want to share my message. I want to share what I believe to be the truth, as I have it. I want those I love most to know what I know, because, ultimately it has made me happier and more fulfilled knowing that nothing needs be unquestioned. Nothing needs be unresearched. I can try (and fail) to understand EVERYTHING. Just as LDS missionaries believe their message to be, I believe my message is one of joy and fulfillment!

    http://www.secular-reality.com/2016/02/11/a-wave-of-truth/

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