She isn’t a (hand gesture) "normal" Mormon, you see. She said that while she hugged me at the memorial service for her neighbor, Jim, a beloved friend of my wife. She mentioned it, presumably, because Elenor had just introduced me as her wife (as one is wont to do). And this sweet and vibrant woman, who also happens to be married to the bishop, wanted us to know that she supports same-sex marriage.
I was struck by her unabashed compassion and bravery to be open with what were, I wondered, rare sentiments among women married to LDS leadership. I was also struck because she wasn’t the first, or seventh for that matter, Mormon person to express being both unwaveringly devout to her faith and simultaneously a supporter of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people. Rather, she is part of this blossoming group of Mormons — young and old, near and far, prominent and lay — to openly favor fairness.
One of my former clients identifies similarly. She and her husband are members of the LDS faith, and both wholeheartedly want to see LGBT people in Utah treated with the same dignity and compassion they enjoy.
And Elenor’s family, some of whom are lifelong members of the LDS Church, accept me into the clan like I’m one of their own.
In saying this, I am not aiming to define the norms of a culture that isn’t my own. But, as someone who knows what it means to feel abnormal and alone, I hope that the Mormons across this state and around the world who believe that love is more powerful than judgment know that they are not alone. That they are part of an ever-expanding group of compassionate people — religious and not — who believe that no matter what happens after we leave this life, all people deserve fair treatment while here on Earth.
It is when we think we’re not normal, that others don’t think and feel as we do, that we can become mute and segregated. Arguably, it is that sense of isolation, the loneliness, that we should work to eradicate – not love in some of its varied forms.
Marina Gomberg is a communications professional in Salt Lake City.
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