Last Sunday we were invited to my nephew's mission homecoming. While several of my siblings' families have had sons return from missions, I think this may have been the first we were personally invited to by the parents. To be clear, I don't think we were not invited to other such events out of hostility. I imagine LDS church functions are a difficult subject for some family to bring up, even if we see eye to eye, and so they assume we'd prefer not to come or that we'd just hear about it through my parents and decide to come or not. Heck, things get lost in the mail and as phone messages too. Point is, the specific personal invitation made me feel we should go to this.
Going, though, presents a problem for us too. While I want to celebrate my nephew's return, there's the whole issue of a church that threw the first stone, one that teaches that my family is inferior, fights hard to politically harm the people I love most, and even tells its members our children are defective and questions their moral character... I can't celebrate my nephew's conversion of people to that way of thinking, any more than a mixed race family could celebrate the same back in the 60's when the LDS church was aiming at them. I also can't feel right taking my children into a church building and telling them to show respect to a place in which they and their family are slandered and plotted against.
I wish things were as they were when I came out and there wasn't this whole history of LDS involvement in Proposition 8, or Amendment 3, or on and on. Back then, going to a LDS church building would not have felt such like a betrayal to my home. I can take sitting though doctrine which I don't buy, but when that doctrine has aimed to do such harm to us, how can I take my family there, right? How could I risk my kids hearing something like what was heard at my sister's wedding?
So, it's another tricky family/faith decision. We ended up with a good compromise, though. We made the two-hour drive two-hours late, missing the church service, and meeting up to celebrate with my family back at my brother's home.
One thing, however... I walked into my brother's home and noticed he had framed and hung the "proclamation on the family" in his kitchen. He's in a new home, but I never noticed this in his old home. I suppose he must have it up, being the bishop, or maybe he agrees with it wholeheartedly now. Maybe he interprets it unconventionally as innocuous when it comes to his brother's family, as some around these parts have suggested.
I don't know; I was under the impression he was all for equal rights. As with that wedding, I wasn't about to make an issue of it there, though. All I know is that that "proclamation", with all its subtle and not-so-subtle language, has been often used as a weapon by church leaders and laymen alike against my family. It has been used to try to excuse harm to those I love most and to insult my children and my marriage on both real and supernatural scales. And it's framed and it's hanging in my brother's home.
I have to wonder how they'd react if I hung a proclamation in my home that states the unions of my siblings are inferior, threatening them that they will be "accountable to God" for violating "the family". What if I framed a paper and hung it in my kitchen, for them and their children to see, that encouraged governments to resist support of LDS marriages and families? I would, of course, never do that. I, of course, love and respect their families, but would they even come to my home, if I were similarly "pro-family"?
I'd like to think it's all unintentional. Who knows?
But, yeah. I'm not whining about anything new here. It's difficult. It's complicated. For all. Et cetera...
To be clear, I'm not saying I'll refuse to go to my siblings' homes and risk alienating family that has no ill intent because of such displays; we'll just be there feeling we are merely tolerated, which may, in fact, be part of the message intended by those encouraging LDS members to display such a thing. Also, yes, I know it could be a lot worse, and I know it is for many gay men and women.
It would just be nice to go without the wedges that strangers in the LDS HQ push down into my family with these "pro-family" proclamations from on high. It would be nice to just have the simplicity of typical family differences ;-).