Dear 100 Hour Board
Should I publish an informal blog post about my experiences as a gay-Mormon? A blog post that would detail why I've decided to switch colleges and leave the church? Or should I just leave BYU quietly and be known as "that guy"?
I've grown up Mormon and in Utah and so, of course, most of my social circles are Mormon. I'm known as a pretty classic peter priesthood. I've come out to most of my good friends at this point and my entire extended family knows. Except for my grandma on my dad's side... *shudders* I hold a few important positions in non-profit organizations that were created around Mormon culture and Mormon values and I've made a lot of friends at these things. I would like to say that I'm pretty influential in these circles. If I just leave and say nothing then I'm going to leave a pretty big impact. Some people, younger teenagers, are going to be shook. But if I tell people why I'm leaving then I'll be able to control my public narrative.
I really care about how homosexuality is viewed in the church. I've found through personal experience and through the experiences of others that a lot of the LDS population's beliefs around this issue are outdated and I'd like to help update the people around me in an educated, sincere, diplomatic and kind way.
Is it better to be known by the people you care about, large groups of people you care about (think around 500 people), and to let them know why you've chosen a specific path that they WILL disagree with? Or is it better to exit quietly, still with a level of disgrace? I'd like to say "exit gracefully" but "grace" has never been one of my strongest traits.
Is it worth it?
This first piece of advice may not apply to you; after re-reading your question it sounds like you're sincerely looking to gently approach this topic to educate people, not to express anger or vengeance at the Church. But I'll still leave it in because I think others out there are wondering if they should take a similar action, and this is important for people to know:
I think it really comes down to why you're doing it. Are you publishing your blog because you're angry at the Church and want some form of vengeance? Or are you doing it because you sincerely want to help others and realize this is a painful and tricky topic for people to navigate, and you want to help people/the Church change for the better? If you're doing it out of anger, you might want to hold back. That's not saying you should never publish your feelings and thoughts—maybe after you get through the anger and the pain you realize you want to publish it not to get revenge but to sincerely help others. If you want to do it to help others, and in an "educated, sincere, diplomatic and kind way," then I say go for it! Just always remember what your purpose is. If it's out of anger, trying to prove that you're right, or decrying Mormonism because of its flaws, then maybe not. But if it's to increase understanding and meant to help people both in and out of the Church, I think it's okay.
My honest opinion is that publicly expressing why you're leaving is important. For example, more people in our generation support same-sex marriage because they are more likely to know someone who is part of the LGBTQ community. Knowing these people really humanizes the issue. Elder Christofferson, for one, has said that it's okay for members to openly support same-sex marriage on social media, while many other members and leaders think this is a form of apostasy. I don't think it's a coincidence that Elder Christofferson has a gay brother and is probably more open to the idea than other leaders who do not have that exposure. You would likely have a similar impact on your friends and family. Likewise, if everyone who leaves the Church writes about why they are leaving, that might have some influence on what the Church does. I would so much prefer the Church to be showing this sudden increase of support for LGBTQ youth due to people leaving instead of people committing suicide.
Ultimately, it is up to you. If you're still not sure, ask God. Meditate. Ask your closest friends. But my vote is for you sharing your story. And if you do, please send it to me as well (firstname.lastname@example.org), because I would love to hear it.
-guppy of doom