Kathy Stickel, South Royalton, VT – Seminary teacher chooses Christianity over Mormonism

I want my name removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints immediately. I can no longer stand to be associated with this organization and its anti-gay paranoia and lies. Those in the local congregation in Vermont have been wonderful, but the leadership in Salt Lake has politicized the church as an organization in such drastic and hateful ways that I can no longer be guilty of the hypocrisy that would be required to keep me a member.

While churches should take stands on moral issues, the extremist measures taken to advance Proposition 8 in California by church leaders, and the mindless following of church members, has moved the church from proclaiming its views to persecuting people for their marriage practices. I have watched some of the best people I know turn into hateful, venom-spewing bigots because they feel that that is what God is ordering them to do through the prophet.

All summer long, meetings in the wards I attended in California were co-opted by this hateful campaign of fear and lies, and it was disgusting to hear so many formerly honest people working on ways to break the spirit of the tax laws but keep to the letter of them, and disseminating information that was deceitful – like the “Six Consequences if Prop. 8 Fails.” It makes me sick to know that the church, through its tax exemption, is being subsidized by the people and families that it has set out to destroy, and that those people not only have to find ways to survive emotionally in the climate of fear you push, but that they have no choice but to pay the church’s share of the national tax burden or be hauled into court by the IRS.

The church broadcast on October 8th was disgusting, with Elder Ballard and Elder Clayton speaking of love and spreading hate, especially to the youth of the church. Salt Lake certainly has enough lawyers to know that the issues as presented there were deceptive at best and out-right lies at worst. It proved that the leadership of the Church will do anything to win its political aims, no matter how much hatred they stir up against innocent people, how many lies they have to push on people who don’t know better, and how much fear they send out into the world to get their cruel agenda funded. Utah has the highest teen suicide rate in the country mainly because the church’s pathological obsession with persecuting gays tells those kids that their parents would rather see them safely dead than to be what they are as the Lord made them and find love and companionship.

Mormons speak of their healthful lifestyle and yes, you have healthy lungs and healthy livers and longer lifespans than other American groups, but Utah leads the nation not only in teen suicides, but also in bankruptcy filings almost every year, it has the highest rate of anti-depressant prescriptions, and the highest per capita subscription to online pornography in the country. Your society has enough sickness in it that it has no business calling on others to change their ways, and taking choices away from people because you think their choices are bad for them. When the day has come that I have to choose between being a Christian and being a Mormon, I’m going to be a Christian.

Catholics and evangelicals have long despised Mormons and proselytized against them, but were gleeful at accepting your money and time to take marriage away from loving families. You celebrate your new acceptance among the other Christian denominations, but the truth is that the friends you’ve lost aren’t coming back, and your new friends won’t stand by you. Everyone I know who has left over this has been a returned missionary and a teacher in the church, and some were my companions on the 1997 pioneer re-enactment that generated so much positive publicity for you. We’re the ones who can’t stomach supporting an institution that takes a gospel of love and twists it to feed the bigotry of socially insulated, elderly leaders who don’t know any gay people because gay Mormons kill themselves or leave or live closeted lives of self-loathing.

This topic that you obsess over is unmentioned by Christ in his earthly ministry, and I’ve never seen anything Joseph Smith said about it, either, yet it is so important to you that it is the only subject on which you’ve sent your members campaigning in the streets for and emptying their wallets for within my adult lifetime. What Joseph Smith did say, emphatically, was that it is wrong and dangerous to allow religious groups to write their preferences into the laws, but that is exactly what you have done by pushing Prop. 22 a few years ago and Prop. 8 this year, and next year with the votes across the country against children being placed in foster care or adopted by families headed by gay parents.

My family was among those who were driven out of America into the Western Territories by other so-called Christians who felt that they not only had a right, but a religious duty to persecute them, so Mormons are the last group in this country who should be doing the same to others. Nobody knows better how far that kind of hatred can go, and nobody has less excuse for the vicious, patently un-Christian persecution the church is engaging in. I am through with that institution.

Kathy Stickel