I always said I would continue attending my LDS wards as long as I felt it was working for me. I'm not sure that it is anymore. Surprisingly, it has less to do with the fact that my participation is limited (although that does play into it) and more to do with the fact that I just don't feel as inspired or engaged or connected as I would hope to be when attending worship services.
As I've been "outside the box" Mormon-wise, so to speak, these past two and a half years it's allowed me to see the religion in which I grew up with different eyes. While some meetings and classes I've attended since my excommunication have spiritually uplifted me, I find the majority of the time I feel bored and unengaged. Whether this is the fault of the speakers and teachers in the meetings or whether it's my own fault (or whether it's a combination of the two), I do not know, but it's how I've been feeling.
Admittedly, the ward I attend when I'm in Utah is one I feel more connected to and inspired by, probably because it's the ward I grew up in. My ward here at home has left me feeling a little cold. The people have been nice and welcoming, but I have found the meetings and classes unbearably uninspiring since I've been back.
It truly doesn't help that I can't comment in class. I miss sharing thoughts, and frankly, I'm tired of just listening. I've done it very diligently for two and a half years now, and it's just not enough for me anymore. And as welcoming as everyone is, I just don't feel as involved as I would like to be.
This doesn't mean I won't still attend my Mormon wards. I think I would miss it if I didn't. But I don't think I will be attending as regularly as I have been.
I recently read something on In These Gay Mormon Shoes that kind of expressed some of my feelings:
"...I have come to the realization over time that I am part of two worlds that cannot coexist. One must prevail over the other. This is not something I would have accepted as I began this journey of mine. I had to discover it on my own. But the truth is, I cannot have both. I can either build a life and family with a man I truly love, or I can be an active, participating member of the church. I have experienced some of both in my life.
"I grew up in the church. I was someone members would speak of fondly and praise. I served a 2 year mission... The Church has been the bulk of my life experiences. I have many fond memories. I have also fallen in love...
"I would never give up the chance to love and be loved the way that I have experienced for anything. And I have only had a glimpse of what this life could be like. I would never forfeit love for a religion that would have me deny it. And so my choice is clear. I choose love over Mormonism. And if I am to be punished by some invisible being for loving someone, shame on that being for crushing something so beautiful. I do not wish to be part of an organization that actively fights to deny me my happiness. I will not support a church that attacks my family."
His thoughts are not exactly my thoughts, but he does express much of what I feel. I love Jonah. I still love and even respect the religion I grew up in. It is still and will always be an important part of my life. And I am not abandoning it. But I feel like I need to step away from it a bit.
I don't feel the need to attend another religion, either. And I know I will still attend my LDS wards when I feel the need. But I just am not feeling as fulfilled by attending church as I feel I should be. And, yes, it's true that no matter how welcome specific individuals make me feel, it's hard to feel welcome and supported in an organization that won't let me speak my truth and which doesn't approve of the relationship that brings me such happiness and joy.
There are some that may feel disappointed by my decision and I'm sure others who will think, "It's about time! What took him so long?"
I wanted it to work. I wanted to be both Mormon and gay. I wanted the two worlds to coexist in peace and harmony. But like In These Gay Mormon Shoes says, they really can't. That ideal doesn't exist. I thought I could make it work for me, and for a while I did, but it just doesn't feel like it's working anymore, so I'm taking a break.