Justin Utley responds to Brad Wilcox’s ‘apology’

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So, race and priesthood weren’t the only offensive and problematic parts of your sermon, Brad. Still, overall, no matter how cringe, what you said is supported by #Mormon doctrine, Mormon history, and sermons given by other Mormon prophets/apostles.

I CAN relate, however, to the segment where you said “if you leave you lose everything.” I was raised in the LDS church. Devout. Served on Seminary and Institute councils. I served a mission, went through conversion (exgay) therapy at the behest of my bishop and LDS Family Services. I did everything I could do to stay devout. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t sustainable or realistic.

In desperation, I left to forge my own path. And you were absolutely right. I did indeed lose everything: I was shunned by members. I was ridiculed and humiliated by bishops and stake presidents. Blacklisted. I lost my purpose. My support system. My dignity. My identity. My friendships. My relationships. Opportunities. And it almost cost me my life.

But you know what? In losing everything I was told, taught, and promised, I gained so much more. I learned true self-respect. My world view expanded. My empathy and compassion for others grew by leaps and bounds, without ulterior motives. I was free of the shackles of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias. I came to know a god that I’d never known or couldn’t have ever known before.

Had I not stepped away, and lost “everything”, I wouldn’t have gained everything. I wouldn’t be alive. I wouldn’t be thriving. I wouldn’t know true happiness. I wouldn’t have had the incredible experiences and gained the powerful perspectives I now have as a result of being an “outsider” in a truly amazing world of possibilities. The horizon is so much bigger and so much more beautiful than I ever imagined before.

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