Oblivion (A Mormon Teen Speaks Out for Others)

By Susannah Montgomery (also posted at NoMoreStrangers.org and posted at FeministMormonHousewives.org)

 

Oblivion (noun): Official disregard or overlooking

 

My name is Susannah Montgomery and I’m fourteen. I have a gay brother named Jordan and he is a year older than me. He is my best friend and I love him. As his sister I feel like I have to defend him and other gay people also. A few weeks ago Jordan and I went to EFY. One of the classes I went to had about a hundred people there, so on average about ten of them were gay. The teacher brought up the topics on what the church thought about gay people. He said that it is a choice and you can only be happy if you follow the commandments and the church’s definition of family. I noticed that Jordan was in the class and was close to tears. I raised my hand and said, “So are you saying that gay people should be alone for the rest of their lives?” The teacher said yes. So then I asked, “Does the church have a position on being gay?”  I already knew the answer but I wanted to see if he did. His answer surprised me because he said no. I said, “Yes they do. The church just came out with a website called mormonsandgays.org that says in the first sentence that being gay is not a choice.” He didn’t respond to me. I thought to myself that this man is completely oblivious to these gay people’s lives and the trials that they have to go though.

 

After class was over I went to talk to the teacher. I told him about the website and we had a very long discussion on the gay topic. This man had no idea about what he was talking about when we had this conversation and his lesson.  He kept saying that marriage is between a man and a woman, which is great and the church says its right, but he also said that’s the only way to be happy.  I told him I know plenty of gay people and they are some of the happiest people I know. They’re not choosing to be gay. They are born that way. God created all of us and he never made a mistake and we are all sons and daughters of God.  I think that is what most people disregard or over look. Also Jesus said love everyone, he never said love everyone except gay people. The church is always telling us to be more Christ-like and they’re right.

 

About half an hour later the teacher left and the president of EFY came up to me and I felt like he was completely oblivious to the gay community as well. We had a very similar conversation that I had with the teacher. Both men had never read the mormonsandgays.org website and had never met a gay person that was out of the closet. They just assumed that being gay is wrong because they weren’t educated on what the word gay even meant. They never took the time to learn about the gay community. Many young gay people are depressed and in Utah there is about one gay suicide every week. They are depressed because they are thrown out of their homes and they lose their families. They are also depressed because they are tired of being told that they are evil and they are choosing to go to hell. They are bullied and some find themselves committing suicide. When our conversation was over I noticed that a friend I met a day earlier was with me the entire time. She thanked me for standing up for the other gay people in that class including herself.

 

Another experience I’ve had was at girls’ camp, a week before EFY. All the girls my age went on a two day hike and once we set up camp we had dinner. After dinner we had a question and answer lesson where the girls asked the questions and our Stake President would answer. So I asked, “If a gay couple adopts kids can they be sealed together?” I could tell by the expression on his face that the question caught him by surprise. He talked for a few minutes and to sum it up, he basically said that they can’t. He kept trying to change the subject but I wouldn’t let him. I asked more and more questions and he didn’t really have the answers.  The last question I asked was, “Does the church have a position on being gay?”  He said, “No, they don’t.”  Here is another person who is completely oblivious to the gay community. So I said, “Yes they do. The church has a website called Mormons and gays that says that it is not a choice being gay.” He ignored me for the rest of the lesson, no surprise to me. The word spread on what I had said and done. I got some not so nice looks when we got back to camp. But to my surprise some girls and church leaders came and told me that I have their support and some told me some very personal stories that were about people or family members that were gay. They thanked me for saying what I did.

 

These experiences I’ve had have taught me that you have no idea who you’re helping if you stand up for what you believe. They’ve also taught me that not everyone knows about gay people and they don’t know that what they say can really hurt people. So, if anyone doesn’t understand, it probably means that they are oblivious and need someone annoying like me to tell them the truth. If you don’t know any gay people, you should try to meet one because it helps open your eyes to see what they go though and you will become more understanding to everyone.

 

Part 2

Hi! Its Susannah Montgomery again! Just a quick recap, I have a gay brother named Jordan and he is my best friend. I’m fourteen and Jordan is a year older than me. Last year Jordan was in high school and I was stuck in junior high.

Every day I wore my rainbow ring that looked like the lifesaver candy to school to support my brother. We had about one quarter left in the school year when a girl in my PE class came up to me and asked why I wore the ring every day. I told her that I wore it to support my gay brother. We started to hang out more and about a week later she told me that she was bisexual. She also told me that her mom doesn’t accept her for being bisexual and she used to cut herself. She said that she has had many thoughts of suicide and that if she didn’t meet a friend who accepted her for being bisexual she would have tried. She says that my ring is truly a lifesaver. We are like best friends now and we go to PFLAG together.

I have an important question for you. Are you willing to stand by and watch as gay people start believing that their lives are worthless and have thoughts of suicide and some even commit suicide? We cannot afford to lose precious lives because people have bullied them and made them fell worthless. I encourage you to be the one to sit with the person alone in the corner or stand up for the person being bullied. You may make a new friend, or even be a lifesaver.

Susannah is 14 year old Mormon teen living with her parents, her 2 brothers and her 2 sisters. Susannah’s hobbies are playing harp and crocheting. She loves playing with her 2 dogs, and she plays an awesome game of basketball. (Her family is featured in the Family Acceptance Project Video ‘Family’s are Forever‘.)

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