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Hello Laura. You said that you have been hurt by members of your faith. May I gently dispute that statement?

I am a former Mormon -- still on the Church rolls, but no longer believing or active.

I used to believe that the Church was true, but individual members were flawed. This frame of mind allowed me to excuse all sorts of beliefs, statements, and actions of the institution. With time I came to believe the exact opposite was the case -- That the individual members were actually pretty good people, but the Church itself was to blame.

These are people who, for the most part, are extremely generous of heart, who will bring you dinner in the time of tragedy, or who are naturally loving and accepting. Mormons are not naturally prejudice against blacks or gays. They don't believe that women should be treated as second class citizens. The institution teaches them these things. When they act within the context of the group or the institutional Church, things can get very bizarre and even ugly.

I submit that if these good people felt free to follow their own hearts and the inner light of their own consciences, rather than the expressed doctrine of the Church or what they perceive to be the expectations of the group, then they would not behave the way they do.

So I think that it was not the members of your faith that hurt you, rather it was in fact the the Church itself -- or your faith as you frame it -- that is not true and causes otherwise good people to behave viciously. Let's be clear and honest. The opposition to prop 8 was not some grassroots fringe movement of crazies against which the Church stepped forward to play a moderating role. Rather it was a top-down movement that was deliberate, planned, and orchestrated by the Church itself. The Church encouraged otherwise kind, tolerant, and loving people to behave in ways that were at best cowardly or borish and at worst hateful and hurtful.

Honestly, in this instance, which was it? Was it the Church that was true and good while the people were flawed or was it a flawed and error-prone Church that led otherwise good people to do bad things that they might not have done otherwise?