Monday, January 13, 2014

An Open Letter to My Mormon (and no longer) Friends


Dear Mormon (and no longer) Friends,
I have been thinking a lot about our friendships lately. I think it should be pretty obvious by now that we are NOT friends simply because you are or once were Mormon. We're friends because we have something in common, our hearts spoke to each other, we have shared experiences that bonded us, we served each other, and many other reasons. I just need to make it perfectly clear, that in all reality, it really isn't because we happen to both be Mormon. I just love you for you.

 To my BYU, EFY, Mission, Jerusalem Study Abroad, and friends I've met at other various prominent Mormon meeting venues. I don't expect you to be the same person TODAY as you were back then. Heaven knows I have changed. I would hope you would offer me the same growth. So, if you have gotten married, stayed single, got divorced, left the church, came out as gay, or any other number of life-altering things have happened to you--most likely I love you even more! I find that enduring/overcoming life's challenges make us strong and strengthens friendships. I DON'T love you because we met at EFY or we went to BYU together or even because you are/were Mormon. I just love you for you.

 To my Mormon Mommy Friends. I grew up in a home with 6 ADHD siblings and a father who is a teachers (we were poor). So I know what a busy schedule and a messy house feel and look like. So don't worry so much about all your excuses about how your house looks when I come over. I didn't come to judge you. Also, yes I am a writer/blogger but you don't need to apologize to me about how terrible you blog is or how you wish you were better at making your life look impeccable online. Those blogs stress me out. Actually, the fact that you can wake up early, feed multiple mouths multiple times a day, get a million (and one) things done, and then do it again the next day is MIRACULOUS! I am still working on taking care of this party-of-one. I don't love you because you are a good cook, keep a clean house, write and awesome blog or because you are the baby whisperer. I don't love you because you are married or because you are Mormon. I might even roll my eyes a bit at your Betty Crocker, Mr. Clean, Super Nanny all rolled up into one persona, but that is NOT why I love you. I just love you for you.

 To my Gay or SSA/SGA Friends. Whether you have come out already or are still in the process I commend your bravery. I have shed and shared many tears with you and my heart aches for you. I can't tell you have many times you have helped me better understand the Atonement and what it means to truly love. Because being Mormon ISN'T the reason I love you--you can rest assured that when you leave the church I will STILL LOVE YOU. If you find the love of you life and you get married I will put on my fancy red heels and shwishy skirt and dance the night away at your wedding. I love weddings. I go to non-Mormon weddings so why would your wedding be any different. I DON'T love you because you are gay or because at one point you didn't identify as gay and now you do. I don't love you because you were Mormon or are struggling with your sexuality and are still striving to live an LDS life. These are NOT the reasons we are friends or that I love you. I just love you for you. If you find the love of your life and get married I will put on my fancy red heels and swishy skirt and dance the night away at your wedding. I love weddings! I go to non-Mormon weddings so why would your weddingbe any different. I don't love you because you are gay or because at one pointyou didn't identify as gay and now you are. I don't love you because you were Mormon or are struggling with your sexuality and are still striving to live an LDS life. These are not the reasons we are friends or that I love you. I justlove you for you.

 To my Friends Who Once Were Mormon—it's a good thing I didn't love you because you were. I am sure that you have a great reason for leaving the church and I am sure you didn't make that decision lightly. I am grateful for those of you who have shared your story with me—thank you. Whether you left out of your feminist beliefs, church history issues, because someone treated you poorly, you just stopped believing, God stopped answering your prayers, or any other number of various reasons—I still love you. You being Mormon is NOT why we are friends so you not being Mormon really doesn't matter much to me. I just love you for you.

 To All My Other Friends. If you somehow come across this letter then all I really wanted to say is that I LOVE YOU FOR YOU. You are enough--just the way you are. You are beautiful, even in your mess. You have a safe place with me. You have given my life so much color, music, and meaning. I hope we get to do a lot more dancing in the rain, intellectual conversations on countertops, tears streaming down faces while drinking tea or hot cocoa, swapping travel stories, starting businesses, exchanging Christmas cards with entertaining pictures of your growing family, and so much more. I hope you know, and if you don't, this is the reason for this open letter--that I LOVE YOU JUST SIMPLY FOR BEING YOU!

 Sincerely,
       Kylee Shields

2 comments:

Abu Halen said...

Do you still love me even though I don't play guitar anymore?

Nicole said...

I freaking love this and agree with every word.