Hey friends! Evan here.
As I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions, I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from Community of Christ and start attending Unitarian Universalist services instead. The Unitarian Universalists are genuinely wonderful people who clearly have a deep connection with the Divine. However, despite their warmth and hospitality, I couldn’t help but feel like a visitor in their midst, as my true home is in the Restoration. I had contemplated returning to Community of Christ in hopes that I could recapture some of the comfort I felt there before, but also felt like returning may be akin to reuniting with an abusive and unapologetic ex-partner out of desperation and I would inevitably experience more pain and anguish.
However, as I made preparations to publicly release my book many of my friends from Community of Christ were quite enthusiastic and supportive of this book, knowing full well what the subject matter is on. These were the friends whom I had distanced myself from when I made the choice to abstain from church activity as a form of protest against the February Policy. I had missed their presence in my life, and THAT is what I longed for. I expressed these feelings of isolation to my wife last week, and was unprepared for the profound wisdom she would impart to me.
She acknowledged that the February Policy felt like a personal retaliatory strike against me due to my polyamory equality advocacy within Community of Christ. However, she offered a different point of view. She suggested that the First Presidency might have felt compelled to make a hasty decision, and as a result they were influenced by the generational spiritual trauma and willing ignorance that the church gained in the Nauvoo era. She assured me that my friends had also missed me and believed that they were advocating for the church to overcome these relics and instead recognize my worth and dignity. While validating my feelings of pain, anger, and betrayal, she also acknowledged that in times of intense emotional distress we often express ourselves with definitive statements. She then highlighted the tremendous growth I’ve had in the last couple months through the process of writing “Maxims of the Mother”, and reassured me that it was perfectly acceptable to reconsider my previous statements after processing these emotions.
Her words had a profound impact on me. She, a polyamorous woman who isn’t a member of this church, had witnessed the painful impact of its discriminatory policies upon her and her family. Despite this, she displayed remarkable compassion by recognizing that the discrimination stemmed from a place of deep-rooted trauma. She believed that this trauma will be overcome through the work of my friends, and it will likely happen quicker with my help. She encouraged me to reconnect with those I love and cherish and to reclaim my identity and heritage.
Nevertheless, I maintain that that substantial reforms are necessary for this church to truly embody its proclaimed aspirations. The unchecked power hierarchy, the inclination to cater primarily to wealthy and conservative segments of the church at the detriment of others, and the mere performance of democracy are all fatal flaws that plague the church. I have serious doubt about whether the church will live long enough to implement these essential reforms. Regrettably, International Headquarters appears to be far from an asset in making these changes, and more often impedes our progress towards a more equitable future.
Moving forward, my respect for and trust in Church and priesthood leaders is dependent upon them upholding the Enduring Principles, (especially “Worth of All Persons”, “Unity in Diversity”, and “All Are Called”) by not being involved in hypocritical, ignorant, and discriminatory actions, behaviors, and policies. To gain my respect and they must instead actively fight against such oppression within and beyond the walls of the church.
And so, I want to publicly announce that my break from Community of Christ is over. I recognize that my sanctuary was never with the church as a whole, but with my friends. I will be as vocal as ever about my condemnation of injustice within my church and will only seek refuge with people who also make such condemnations.