TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
spacerasta
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Apr 2015, 00:46

TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by spacerasta » 16 Apr 2015, 18:45

Hello everyone, this is my first time posting here. I have a lovely wife and two children. I served a mission in Fort Lauderdale in 2004 to 2006 and I have been active most of my life, except for about two years before my mission. I really believe I've prayed about the church and had an answer that its true but I've been down paths on both my mission and off that make it hard. My sister (transgendered male to female) hasn't come out to my family yet. She's thought of suicide as alternative. I'm in full support of the change, I'm in support of all LBGT, which makes it hard to reconcile in regards to my faith. I've also struggled with depression and self medication, I do my best to avoid it, but sometimes its hard and I resort to taking pain pills to manage it. I'm well versed in the history of the church, I've also read the CES letter, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, and The God makers. None of that bothered me a ton, but once the questioning started, its hard to make it stop. Long rant made short, its hard to feel at home in the church due to LGBT family, depression, and reasonable doubt. Any advice?

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3405
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 Apr 2015, 19:39

Here's how I think change happens (aside from slowly):
1 - the tolerant minority is uncomfortable due to the intolerant majority. If they speak up, they are shouted down, outed, or ostracized. This stage works fine so long as society at large is in agreement with the intolerant majority.
2 - the tolerant minority is comfortable outside the church and uncomfortable in the church. The intolerant majority retrenches against "the world" and doubles down on defending the indefensible. But due to societal tolerance growing, speaking up gets mixed results (leader roulette).
3 - the tolerant people are the majority. The intolerant minority are unhappy about it and long for a return to the way things were. They constantly say the wrong thing and get social glares for it. They start to stay quieter as their views become less accepted.
4 - the tolerant people are the norm, and the discussion is tolerance focused. The intolerant people are the crazies, often the older generation who will say outrageous things, but you can't really change them, so people just ignore it.

Guess what phase I think we're in?

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5915
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2015, 19:44

Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you found us.

Please understand that I mean this out of concern for you and I have no ill intent, but the first thing I suggest is professional help for your depression and self medication.

I'm assuming your sibling has not taken many steps to actually become a female, or else your parents don't see her much. That's pretty hard to keep secret once the process starts. Nevertheless, she has confided in you and that's positive - except that it also puts a burden on you since your parents don't know. You and I both know suicide is not the answer, but that doesn't change anything. The only thing I can say about that is that you need to continue to love her unconditionally, regardless of what the church says. You cannot be in any "trouble" for loving your sibling.

As to your doubts, focus on what you do believe. Ignore the rest for now, that stuff isn't going anywhere and it will still be there when you're ready to deal with it. If you believe that God loves you (and your sister), focus on that. If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, focus on that. You said you believe the church is true - focus on that and look at what aspects of the church you think make it true. Other stuff you believe will also come into focus. I know what you mean about the questions not seeming to stop, I felt that way once, too - but they do eventually stop.

I'm sure others will pop in to say hi and probably offer better advice than I do. Don't be a stranger.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Minyan Man
Posts: 1464
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by Minyan Man » 16 Apr 2015, 20:10

spacerasta, thank you for the introduction. You seem to be in a hard place for now. This is a good place to work things out.
hawkgrrrl, said:
the tolerant minority is uncomfortable due to the intolerant majority. If they speak up, they are shouted down, outed, or ostracized.
I know all our experiences may be different. I have spoken up in my ward a number of times. Never has anyone tried to shout me down, etc.
It may depend on where we live or the size of the city or the social make up of the ward. I've heard in PH former Bishops speak up too.
We may not be the majority. However, it is still worth the effort to speak up from time to time.

Again, welcome. Please keep posting.

spacerasta
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Apr 2015, 00:46

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by spacerasta » 16 Apr 2015, 20:21

DarkJedi wrote:Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you found us.

Please understand that I mean this out of concern for you and I have no ill intent, but the first thing I suggest is professional help for your depression and self medication.

I'm assuming your sibling has not taken many steps to actually become a female, or else your parents don't see her much. That's pretty hard to keep secret once the process starts. Nevertheless, she has confided in you and that's positive - except that it also puts a burden on you since your parents don't know. You and I both know suicide is not the answer, but that doesn't change anything. The only thing I can say about that is that you need to continue to love her unconditionally, regardless of what the church says. You cannot be in any "trouble" for loving your sibling.

As to your doubts, focus on what you do believe. Ignore the rest for now, that stuff isn't going anywhere and it will still be there when you're ready to deal with it. If you believe that God loves you (and your sister), focus on that. If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, focus on that. You said you believe the church is true - focus on that and look at what aspects of the church you think make it true. Other stuff you believe will also come into focus. I know what you mean about the questions not seeming to stop, I felt that way once, too - but they do eventually stop.

I'm sure others will pop in to say hi and probably offer better advice than I do. Don't be a stranger.
I thought that was very helpful. I am seeking professional help and my wife is aware that its become a problem. We're working together on it. My sister just started taking the steps such as hormones and things. The fear comes in when she does tell my parents and other siblings. She came out as a gay man two years ago and it was a disaster. I think this will be a whole lot worse. I just don't want her falling into a depression again. Its good to know I'm not the only one who's staying and had questions. Its a strange place within my ward and family, I feel like I've been the only one to come across anything. I'll try your suggestion.

User avatar
mom3
Posts: 3561
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by mom3 » 16 Apr 2015, 21:21

Welcome. I hope we are soft place to land.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

User avatar
West
Posts: 213
Joined: 26 Aug 2014, 14:42

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by West » 17 Apr 2015, 00:17

Welcome to the forums, spacerasta!

I sincerely wish both you and your sister the best. Sometimes, many Mormons as well as many Christians in general forget that the Gospel is centered on love. I am very glad your sister has you as part of her support system. I have seen several cases of transgender individuals coming out to their family to disastrous results; there's really no one-size-fits-all advice I can offer except for both you and your sister to be prepared for the emotional and mental pain that family members may inflict to try to "convince" her she's making a "mistake." Knowing the guilt techniques that some people use doesn't make them less hurtful when they happen, but it does offer an opportunity to plan and brace for the impact. It sounds like you're both already somewhat aware of that, though, and my heart hurts for both of you. As an FYI, I have seen http://www.translifeline.org/ recommended as a potential resource. I also have several general suicide prevention sites that I can pass along to you if you need.

I am glad you are seeking professional help for your depression. I've been in that boat before, and I can emphasize. I don't know how far you are into treatment, but if you aren't aware already, just know that finding the right combination of treatments (medication type, dosage, etc.) is often a very rough road. In my case, I was lucky in that some over-the-counter "natural" medication managed to stabilize my mood almost instantly. I have had many friends and patients who have not been nearly so lucky.

In terms of religions advice, this forum offers a lot of great resources and viewpoints, so I suggest looking around and using the search function at your leisure to check out what's been said about any topics that may be bothering you. I suppose my main advice is to realize that life has presented you an opportunity where you can make your religious and spiritual beliefs much more personal than they may have been before, and that can be a great thing. Like DJ said, focus on what you do believe, even if it's just one thing. Tackle every other issue one at a time with the knowledge that it's OK if you don't know for sure and it's OK to just hope and believe something is true without knowing it. You don't have to have all the answers. Take a step back when you need to and let anyone make you feel guilty about doing so.

I hope both you and your sister can find peace.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5915
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Apr 2015, 02:47

spacerasta wrote:I thought that was very helpful. I am seeking professional help and my wife is aware that its become a problem. We're working together on it. My sister just started taking the steps such as hormones and things. The fear comes in when she does tell my parents and other siblings. She came out as a gay man two years ago and it was a disaster. I think this will be a whole lot worse. I just don't want her falling into a depression again. Its good to know I'm not the only one who's staying and had questions. Its a strange place within my ward and family, I feel like I've been the only one to come across anything. I'll try your suggestion.
Everyone I have ever heard from has a hard time coming out to their families as gay, and many times it doesn't go well - especially in LDS families. While the church has softened its stance on being gay these days (it's OK to be gay, just not have sex, etc. - still bad IMO), it certainly has not softened on transgender. I feel for your sister.

One of the best things about this site is finding/knowing you're not alone.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Ann
Posts: 2572
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by Ann » 17 Apr 2015, 14:51

spacerasta wrote: My sister (transgendered male to female) hasn't come out to my family yet. She's thought of suicide as alternative. I'm in full support of the change, I'm in support of all LBGT, which makes it hard to reconcile in regards to my faith.
Hi, spacerasta - Glad you're here. :wave:
There were several interviews recently with Elders Christofferson and Oaks. I think I remember Christofferson saying re. transgender ("-ism?") that it was something they didn't understand yet. It was very much an aside-type of comment, but it really peaked my interest. There are wards where transgendered LDS people have gravitated. A stake president in our area has created non-geographic-boundary ward. He describes it as the ICU of the stake. And while it would be great if it weren't needed at all, at least it's there. It might help your sister and your parents to know that such a thing exists. There's a bishop out there every Sunday morning welcoming openly gay and transgendered people to sacrament meeting.

But that's all about your sister. I hope you can find the intensive care you need, too, and that this site will help.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

Roy
Posts: 4949
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: TBM and wanting to stay that way but....

Post by Roy » 20 Apr 2015, 16:04

Welcome Spacerasta,

I don't have much to add. I just wanted to say that I believe in God. I believe that God loves you and your little family, He loves your sister, and He loves your parents. I know that there is alot of pain out there. Too often we hurt each other. Sometimes we help each other and we should seek for more of this in our lives. I believe that in the end God will understand our pain, forgive our mistakes, and honor our sincere efforts.

I hope the forum is helpful for you.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Post Reply