I walk into an LDS meetinghouse for the first time in 5.5 years and the one woman in the ward I know well enough to know I respect is speaking at the pulpit. It is a farewell address. Her family is moving to the Bay Area this week. She thanks the ward for making room for her, for her family, for her faith and her doubts. She peppers her talk with calls for inclusion, beginning by greeting the women in the room first. “Good morning sisters and brothers.” This woman has daughters. She knows what’s happening to them here. She mentions girls’ camp fondly, and I remember my years camping with the young women in my childhood ward the same way. For a fleeting moment, I think: I could raise my daughter here, too.
Twenty minutes later, the deacons file into the aisles to administer the sacrament while the little girls all stay in their seats, and I think: Absolutely not. Never again.
This church needs to ordain women and marry gays or it needs to topple. There is no middle ground.
There may be a place here for me, but I will not subject my family to the psychological violence of being second class, of being taught bigotry dressed up as doctrine. There are other churches that will take us in, other hospitals where the wounds they treat are not of their own making.
I sit with a hymnal on my lap and sing the alto part to every song.
I am a pioneer, to be sure, but the trail I’m blazing is out of this church.