Last year, my wife and I traveled to the congenial country of Hungary. We toured The Great Synagogue of Budapest, the largest in Europe. Hungary is still struggling to come to terms with its treatment of their Jewish population during WWII. By war’s end, at least 70% had been murdered.
Our tour guide told us of a recent concert she had attended. It was a singing & dancing group of German high schoolers. At the beginning of the program, a couple of the children stepped forward. They apologized for crimes their country had perpetrated during that long-ago war.
The story touched me. Born years after this horror, these children had had no part in it. They were not official spokespersons for their country. Yet, they were willing to apologize to a people who had been wronged.
Here’s my attempt to follow their poignant example. An official spokesperson for the LDS Church, I’m not. But, I am the church. At least part of the church. At least a single part of the church. And this little part of the church, along with any who will join in my cry say, I am Sorry! We are sorry!
To My Gay Friends, Both Known and Un
For all the ways we’ve been wrong—I’m Sorry.
- When I was young, church & culture tutored that gay was foul and perverted. I wish the prophet had spoken. You weren’t broken. We were wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- You chose to be gay. So the leaders say. I wish the prophet had spoken. You’re not broken. We were wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- To some, they tried to shock your gay away. At the Lord’s college, you were strapped in a chair, electrodes placed down there. Movies of naked men were turned on. If you were turned on, an electric shock in turn was turned on. You wanted the strongest current to be cured. But, gay doesn’t work in those ways. You were simply tortured in those days. An elder from my mission endured this, in submission. Today, he’s still gay. From the church, he’s parted ways. Oh, how I wish the prophet had spoken. You were not broken. I went along, although I didn’t know. Now, I’m so, so, sorry. Tears blur my eyes. I just want to cry….I’m sorry. I’m sorry
- You were told to pray and pray and soon the gay would just go away. Of course it didn’t. You became depressed. Maybe next time pray and pray ALL of the day. Still gay and more depression came your way. With no cure, some couldn’t endure. By their own hand they sent themselves to the heavenly land. I wish the prophet had spoken. These precious people were not broken. We were dead wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- “Get married,” your respected leaders said! You faithfully followed, while full of dread. Your gay didn’t magically go away. Now, with children and spouse, heartache and shame, you finally came out, and all suffered pain. I wish the prophet had spoken. Now a family’s broken. We were wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- Finally, something sure, that would result in a cure. You agree to participate in reparative therapy. Humiliated, disgraced, and degraded again. You cry because no matter what you can’t win. Now, this procedure is discredited & thrown in the trash bin. Why couldn’t the prophet have spoken? You were not broken. We were wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- With Prop 8, we tried to legislate away, the rights to marry if you were gay. I don’t know if the prophet had spoken. What I know is, you are not broken. This was wrong. I went along. I’m sorry.
- Last November the edict came. Out of love was the claim. If the gay marry, throw them away. Really? It just sounds wrong. These are my friends. I don’t want to follow along. I’m sorry.
- November’s policy also contains what I consider to be a stain. Children of parents who are gay, will have God’s choicest blessings taken away. No baptism at 8, no holy spirit to guide, no priesthood at any rate. With shame, the policy will make kids want to run & hide. Has a prophet really spoken? The rules are broken. We are wrong. This time I will not go along. I’m sorry.
I wish the prophet had spoken. You are not broken. We were wrong. Next time, I will not just go along. I love who you are, just as you are. Of that, I feel very strong.