This is a guest post in response to the possible excommunications of Kate Kelly and John Dehlin.
I Still Want to be Mormon, but...
by Jessica Brinkerhoff
Jessica is my cousin, neighbor, and friend. She blogs about life, including her faith, at She Picked the Left: Jess the Mess.
When the church decides it doesn't want people like John Dehlin or Kate Kelly, two people who have helped me stay connected to the church, they are saying they don't want me. I have many of the same questions and issues they have, and if they don't fit then I don't either.
One of the most devastating realities of John and Kate facing church discipline and possible excommunication, is that they have created spaces that felt more like the Gospel for me than the church has.
I feel like I fit in the Gospel. I hoped that I could fit in the church and the Gospel at the same time. But now I wonder if church leaders remember what the Gospel means. The Heavenly Parents I know welcome hard questions. They welcome different ideas and interpretations. They give constant revelation and answers. I know because they made me, and they made me to ask hard questions. They made me to think for myself and come up with my own ideas and interpretations. I am a daughter of Heavenly Parents, and this knowledge empowers me to be authentic and brave.
But the church seems to be uninterested in sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents who do not conform. If I have to choose between being authentic about my faith and staying in the church, I will choose authenticity. I hope I never have to make that choice, but it seems like church leaders have asked John and Kate to do just that. Is it just a matter of time before I have to make the same choice?
My heart breaks at the thought, because even with all my issues, I still want to be a Mormon. I want to have callings, go to the temple, listen to my kids sing in the primary program, do visiting teaching, watch conference in my pajamas with my family. I want to be a Mormon. This church is my spiritual home, and I don't want to have to give it up.
I ask church leaders to please not make me choose. Please don't make me choose between being me and my spiritual home.
I keep wondering how many times my heart will be broken by a church I love so much. And I wonder how many times I will let my heart be broken before I leave what I hold so dear.