Hey there. My name is Sara, and I’m a queer Mormon.
This is a controversial statement on quite a few levels. Perhaps the most striking is that I am no longer a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was born to ‘goodly parents,’ devout believers in their religion and obedient members of their church, and for the first two decades of my life I was the same. Honestly, it would be hard to find a member more devout than I was; I had unshakeable faith in God as a loving, eternal Parent, in Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God and my Saviour, and in the LDS Church as the one true vessel for the Gospel and Priesthood of said God.
I was … a lot. I was a lot. The fervency of my faith sometimes made even my priesthood leaders uncomfortable. I don’t say this to self-aggrandize nor to self-deprecate -- only so you can have a window into the sort of person I was and the sort of life I lived. I was ‘cringy’ … but when I look back at myself, I don’t cringe. Instead, an unfathomable, unmeasured tidal wave of love knocks me off my feet. My breath catches when I look at her; she brings tears to my eyes. She was a lot. She was a little bit ludicrous. And I am never going to stop trying to live up to her legacy.
So here I am now, five or ten or twenty-six years down the road, depending on how you look at it, and I will forgive you if you don’t recognize me. A lot of things have changed. Gone is the unshakeable certainty about the organization of the universe. The woman I am now is an agnostic atheist, a dabbler in witchcraft, proudly bisexual, unapologetically feminist, and many other things that seem diametrically opposed to the girl I was, if you only ever saw me on the surface. I am profoundly grateful to have loved ones who look deeper and understand that everything that was essential to that faithful Mormon girl has persisted into me. First among them, my mother, the reason I am here. My mum and I disagree vehemently on half of the things we believe, but we love each other more vehemently, and we agree on at least one thing: love is more important than being right. She, our friend Anne and I are here to have authentic conversations about the things we disagree on most, because we believe that will strengthen our relationship and help us each to better embody our values. We feel called to have these conversations publicly so they have the potential to help others, to make a case for radical compassion and connection in an increasingly fractured world.
This is not a debate. There will be no scoring of points, no triumph at another’s expense. We will agree. We will disagree. We will challenge each other’s positions, but always stay grounded in our mutual foundation of deep love and respect for one another. Because we’re both still reckless believers in the power of unconditional love to heal our wounds, as individuals and as a society. We reject any outcome to this war, save for the one where we bury our weapons and win together.