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A Parting of Ways

One of my favorite movies, especially as a child but now as well, is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  The whole movie is lots of good fun.  However, the ending always makes me sad because Christopher Robin has to go away to school and leave Winnie the Pooh (and the other animals) in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Christopher says to Pooh, "Promise you won't forget me?  Not even when I'm 100?"  While neither party is excited about the farewell, it is clear that the time has come to say goodbye.  I watched this movie just a couple weeks ago, and this particular scene stuck out to me even more than usual because I have come to a farewell in my own life, which has left my heart just as heavy as Pooh's.

It is hard to say goodbye to a person--one that you have loved and spent many happy days with.  The longer you have known the person, the closer you have become, the more difficult saying goodbye is.  I believe the same thing applies to abstract or intangible things as well as people--ideas, concepts, organizations, etc.  There is an organization that I must bid farewell that has been a large part of my life for my entire life.  I was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My family has been members of it for eight generations now--my earliest Mormon ancestors having joined the church a few short years after it was organized.  The church has been a large part of who I am.  It has shaped me and molded me in many different ways.  I have grown to love my church very much, to turn to it for comfort and support in difficult times during my life.

I have had my name removed from the records of the LDS church.  It was not done out of spite, anger, or bitterness.  As I have said in the past, there is none of that in my heart.  I bear the Church only goodwill and support in its endeavors to better the lives of people worldwide.  Rather, I have left the church out of respect for it.  I respect the church's standards and its right to dictate what is acceptable conduct for its members.  Since it has decreed that sexual activity with a member of the same sex is unacceptable, and I intend to engage in such activity with my husband when we are married, I decided that the best thing for me to do was to resign my membership so as to have a conscience clear of having violated my church's standards.  I do not seek to justify my actions (which some would call sin) because I feel no guilt in the decision I have made.  I merely wish to respect the Church's teachings that such action is sin by withdrawing from its organization prior to violating that teaching.

Up until this point, I have continued to attend the LDS church even though I am no longer a member.  As I mentioned in my post about Pridefest, I have found a few churches here in Knoxville that welcome gay people.  I will likely attend one or more of them to see if any one strikes my fancy.  Having been raised in such a strongly religious family, I cannot simply give up on religion altogether--that would cause my heart to shatter.

The Mormon church is not just a religion, but also a culture.  At the time being I still consider myself a cultural Mormon.  That may or may not change in the future.  I presume that I will always be able to identify with Mormons culturally because I am quite familiar with the culture and what it's like to be Mormon.  The young adults at church that I am friends with are very welcoming and do a great job including me in their activities.  I hope that will not come to an end anytime soon.  I know that I have many good friends in the church that will remain friendly to me even after this knowledge is made public, for which I am truly grateful.

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