Guest Editorials

David Archuleta’s mother on leaving the LDS Church

by Lupe Marie Bartholomew

I chose to give up my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This hasn’t been an easy journey for me, I have cried tears of pain and disappointment for quite some time before I made this decision. Either I was all in or all out, and here’s the reason why I’m all out.

In October of 2022, I was serving as the music coordinator in my ward. I loved my calling so much, even though when I was called to it, I felt very incompetent. I was starting to get to know many people, and my love for them grew as I served. The people in the ward are over-the-top amazing, and I felt so honored and so lucky to be around them. They’re humble, loving, accepting, amazing teachers, and leaders.

Some of my own family members (first-generation “Mormons”) left the church quite some time ago, and some were leaving the church. That caused me a lot of pain, and I couldn’t understand how they could do that.

Well, I decided last year I was going to remain faithful no matter who left the church and couldn’t wait to get on my journey of attending the Temple once a week, paying tithing, serving on callings, etc., and keep doing everything right even if I had to stand alone.

My son David visited my home and stayed with me many times while he did shows in Salt Lake, and we had many conversations about where he was at in his life. One day he received a letter at my house, and it was sent by a group named “Mama Dragons.“ It was a heart attack of beautiful letters from mothers of the LGBTQ community in support of David coming out. It was a beautiful thing for me to share this moment with him because I felt that these were moms with whom I could relate and who were walking the same journey for quite some time. I have just started mine, and it’s all new to me. I was surprised to see there were so many of them.

I invited David to come to sacrament meeting with me, and he came a few times, but then he stopped because he said, “It hurts too much to be there, Mom.” For some reason, I couldn’t understand why he was saying that, but then it hit me how the LGBTQ has been really not welcome in this church, “We love you, but you’re not welcome to participate in all the blessings because of who you are.” Some talks have been really hurtful towards them, and I didn’t get it then because I was so committed to stay and obey.

I cried many nights at bedtime, and my husband is a witness to this because I was feeling so much pain to see my child suffer so much. I sat in church in sacrament meeting one day and looked around and then said to myself, “God is not here.”

How can a loving God be so exclusive? I did not teach my children their whole lives to serve and love a God who is not accepting of them. God is love.

By November, I wrote a letter to my bishop and told him I was stepping away from the church.

And by March, I decided to give up my membership completely after finding out the true story of Joseph Smith and many other things I won’t go into detail.

Everything went downhill for me very quickly and did not want to participate in and support these beliefs anymore.

I love honesty and will always respect someone or an organization that is always being honest in their dealings with their fellow men.

I love truth and will stand by truth.

Sadly, I’ve seen many cases of family and friends who won’t talk to you anymore because you leave the church. If you’re one of them, I will totally understand if you choose to do the same with me. I have walked in your shoes before. I know how much pain it causes to hear the news, but I’m on a new journey now. I feel it has been an awakening in my life, and I’m finally ready to move on.

Love you all.

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