Saturday, October 22, 2011

The illusion of 'aloneness'

I am launching a new book project, and I want you to participate. 

Over the past few years--and few weeks, especially--I've gotten literally thousands of emails and messages from people around the globe that share their personal struggles and triumphs as LGBT Mormons, family members, and allies. While I knew what we're undertaking here in the bay area--and the LGBT issue in particular--was of passionate interest to many, I didn't expect the volume of personal accounts and narratives.

A common thread that runs through each of these (independent of the author's orientation), is a sense of "aloneness:" the fear (or reality) of being ostracized by our brothers and sisters in the gospel for being gay or otherwise different--or for caring about someone who is.

A second—and equally important—common thread is a renewed or continuing sense of hopefulness that is attained simply from realizing we are not alone, and the comfort and increased testimony we have in our Savior and in the human family when we realize there are those out there who feel just like we do and share our burdens with us.

I've found that sharing stories--sharing experience, strength, and hope--helps erode this sense of aloneness. For it is simply that: an illusion. As we raise our own voices, we find we are joined by others, and our collective strength grows as children of our Father, and as disciples of our Savior.

I'd like to undertake a project that gives voice to those individual stories of challenge and optimism, and I need your help. Share your story with me--and allow me to give voice to them collectively.

Send me a postcard (of any design), or short letter with your story of struggle and hope. Ideally, they would fit in the page of a book if photographed--but some may be longer, others will be shorter.

I will not share your name, your location, or your ward--there will be no identifiers, so everyone can speak freely and from the heart. You can be LGBT, straight, Mormon, or of no particular faith at all--what counts is your story. Your letter can address any or all of the following, or contain something you'd like to share of your own choosing:

-What you felt when you learned about the cultural shift we're trying to make in our faith in San Francisco
-How you've struggled to find your 'fit' within our Mormon culture
-How people within our faith have responded to you about your status as an LGBT individual or ally, or as someone who is perceived as different
-How someone or something has helped you or given you hope—and how that has increased your faith

You have the capacity to change lives.

You have the capacity to help someone feel a little less alone.

You have the capacity to shoulder the burden of others--for we are surely commanded to do so.

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. 

"In the meridian of time, among other things, the Savior gave a touch here, a kind word there, food (both real and spiritual) to the hungry, advice and counsel to those in need. He gave prayers with the frightened, kindness to the passed-over, respect and affection for the children, loving care for those who are burdened. "And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things."
--Stephen A. West, "Out of Small Things", Ensign, May 1999, 28

Mail your cards and letters by November 30th to:
Mitch Mayne
1450 Sutter Street
PMB #506
San Francisco, CA 94109

Email me at

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