I’m haunted by the new video and song, Trash a solo venture for Neon Trees leader singer Tyler Glenn.
 
Tyler Glenn was raised LDS, served a mission, and had previously brought positive publicity to the LDS church.  In 2014, he came out as being gay, but still expressed belief in the church and saw himself as sort of an ambassador for LDS to the gay community and thought he could make it work.
 
According to recent reports, he was very upset about the policy the church came out with last November affecting LDS children of a gay parent.  Apparently, this led him to research church history which led to him losing his belief in the church.
 
I participate in various forums online discussing LDS issues.  Exmormons congregate in some of these, and lately I have been surprised at the anger so many Exmormons have.  As a self-appointed defender of the faith, it sometimes makes me want to jump in and fight back, especially when I feel the claims are unfair (not to say they’re always unfair).  Inevitably, I’ll join in the snark and make an ass out of myself just like everyone else, and then regret doing so.  That’s not what my “online ministry” is about.  I’ve been thinking hard about how to build bridges between the Mo and Exmo community.  So, it was with this backdrop that I watched this video today.
 
In the video, Tyler sings angrily against the church.  He walks down a hallway with three “desecrated” (they’re upsetting to me and certainly will evoke emotion one way or the other) pictures of Joseph Smith and spits on one in anger.  He makes hand gestures that will offend active members of the church.  The chorus goes “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  Apparently meaning the church is a treasure for some but trash for him.
 
At this point in the video, I felt sad but also a little on edge and defensive.
 
Then towards the end he repeats the line three times.

You keep throwing me out like
You keep throwing me out like
You keep throwing me out like

 
Followed again by the chorus line:

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

 
Suddenly, the meaning is flipped, and I feel it’s as if he’s saying to the church “you threw me out like trash”.  As he sings this part he draws a red X on his forehead, the Mormon version of X for excommunication in place of the Scarlet A.  Where I just saw anger, I now saw pain.  Tears flowed down my cheek as that expression of pain really hit me in a deep place.
 
I’ve been haunted all day by this and decided to write up these thoughts as catharsis.
 
In the blog linked above, Scott Turley asked “Why are people choosing to leave their faith?” and highlighted the CES Letter and this example of Tyler Glenn.  A couple things I see in the case of Tyler Glenn.
 

  1. Policies towards LGBT’s left him feeling like the church was ostracizing him.  I do not oppose the church’s positions related to LGBT, but I do hope there could be a policy or doctrine change that could lead to more peace for the LGBT members in our church.

 

  1. When researching online history, he found facts about the church which led to his disbelief. The church is making progress in publicizing a more nuanced version of history.  I ask my brothers and sisters in the church to get on board and push that forward.  Maintaining the black and white, rigid views of scripture and history of our past is creating an environment where members feel too huge of a gap when they go online and read historical information compared to their understanding.

 
I love this church.  I believe in it.  The linked blog quotes Adam Miller.
 

Don’t ask the thin question: “Is the Church true?”  Ask the thick question: Is this the body of Christ? Is Christ manifest here? Is this thing alive?

 
Yes, yes, yes.  I believe that.  I experience it.  I hope we can help all members feels that and retain that.  But we should also recognize that some don’t experience that.  And when they leave, I hope we can maintain respect and love for each other.
 
 

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