This post is about something very personal to me, so I hope you can bear with me. Also, I am not going to pretend for a second that I know anything about what it is like to be an LGBT member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I feel that I should say something about it.
There has been frequent incidences of LGBT suicides of youth in the church to the point that the church has released an official statement about it. Then, this morning I ran across an inspirational post by USGA AT BYU. Even though I don’t know much about being LGBT, I do know a lot about depression and suicide. I don’t talk about it a lot but I struggle a lot with depression and have had a history of self-loathing and self-harm. I have also seen firsthand the struggles of watching a loved one battle depression and attempt suicide several times. Needless to say, these struggles are very close to my heart.
There are a lot of factors that lead to LGBT suicides, but I am just going focus on one thing. When I am depressed the first thing I do is pull away from people. I want to be alone so as not to be a burden on people because I hate everything about myself. Once my husband starts to see that, he focuses on making me feel loved and included which really helps draw me out of it. If someone is struggling with depression the worst thing is making them feel isolated which is large part of LGBT suicides.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we know the church’s stance on gay marriage but that does not change what how we treat others. A lot of stories that I have read about those who are struggling with LGBT feel very isolated already being surrounded by a church that is telling them that acting on what they feel is wrong. I could not imagine how hard that would be. If we as members talk bad or make fun of their struggles we are only making the situation worse.
So what can we personally do to help the situation? It is very simple, we can do what Christ would do, love them. The issue is that a lot of people are not as vocal about their struggles. In church, with our friends, in what we post on social media we need to be very careful with what we say especially when it comes to comments about the LGBT community and just assume that someone listening is struggling with their LGBT feelings and have not yet come out about them, because there is a good chance that someone is.
There is room for everyone at church no matter what they are struggling with and everyone needs to feel loved and included. We make a baptismal covenant of “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and “are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” This applies to everyone regardless of their hardships and trials. People like me are going to struggle with depression regardless but when people reach out to me it helps.
LGBT and any suicide is a large issue in today’s day and age and being aware is the first step to helping the situation. Every life is precious and what we say and do makes a difference for good and bad. We need to ask ourselves, is what I am saying making the LDS LGBT suicide dilemma worse or will it help those I don’t know are struggling feel cared about?
I want to make a difference for those who feel trapped, unloved, and unwanted because I know how horrible a feeling it is. Because Christ died for us and atoned for our sins means that their is always hope and sometime it is up to us to be that hope for another.