I knew this day would come. I've tried to prepare myself for this request. As much as I have discussed it with others, and contemplated my actions, I still struggle with how to respond. I've been formally asked to provide my written consent for my daughter to be baptized into the LDS Church.
I've known, for her entire life, that this day was inevitable. Like my sons, I had planned to begrudgingly sign a letter and trust them to make the right decisions for their life. I have the same level of trust in my daughter, and the strong woman she will become. However, given that my family and I have been continually (and recently) abused by this religion, I find myself, out of cheeks to turn.
My quandary is this: how do I make my daughter happy without being a hypocrite and consenting to those things for which I have been holding others accountable? I find myself angry, once again, knowing that I truly have no option other than concession. If I withhold my consent, I hold fast to my principles (which I know are true), and refuse to allow my child to innocently join an organization that had temporarily refused her admission, just a few months ago. In so doing, however, I degrade my family relationships, create animosity with my ex-wife and lose the respect of my children.
I'm angry because this is not my fault. The church's Board of Directors (aka General Authorities), have been thugs against my family...especially in the last few months. These men have placed me in a position where I'm the bad guy for being gay, and the bad guy for refusing my daughter membership to their wholesale, religious, warehouse store. There's no option for me to win in this scenario. I feel bullied by the church, and its supporters, to concede.
I saw someone recently post a quote, summarily stating that "the best reaction to someone's offense is to turn and walk away." As a kid though, my dad taught me that if my bullies were hitting me in the back of the head with stone-filled snowballs, I should turn around, punch them in the nose, and make them cry. When executed, this tactic proved efficiently, successful. A few, well placed fists ended months of torment as I walked home from school.
Now, during these last few, cold months, as church officials smash the back of my head with the proverbial snowball, I'm ready to punch. But, this time, I can't use my daughter as my fist. I can't hold my daughter's baptism hostage, because I have too much at stake. I picture my old bullies, spitting in my face, laughing as their arms tightened around my neck into a headlock, giving me a black eye. This time, I can only use my words, to shame those who have repositioned me in the circumstance that I overcame as a teenager.
As this day has now arrived, I will continue to struggle with this request. I will trust my beautiful, intelligent, strong daughter to make future decisions that work best for our relationship. I will provide my consent. I will not stop though, holding my bullies, and those who sustain them, accountable for their abuses.