Matis Memorial

A quiet morning at the park.  A candle is lit, and then another.  The scent of roses and early morning among the redwoods fills the air.  A voice sings through the dimness.  Another joins.  A chorus of harmonies swells and then dissolves to silence as a speech is given.  Time to remember.  Time to pray.  Time to love.  Time to rejoice in the dawn of a new day, a new life, a new acceptance.  Blessed Jesus, grant them rest; grant them everlasting rest:

Video from the first part of the program:

Video from the second part of the program:

Thanks to all who helped out!

7 Comments on “Matis Memorial

  1. Thank you ALL for doing what you do to bring light and understanding to those who walk in fear and darkness of what they don’t understand. Tears of joy and healing…streaming…

  2. I enjoyed the services. I appreciate seeing so many people there who were united to stop gay suicide. Way too many precious lives are lost because we are not willing to stretch forth our hands to help those in need.

    The only part that I didn’t like was when they accused the Church of taking a misstep and saying it needs to change. I wish we could have come together to fight against gay suicide, without using it as a forum to attack the Mormon Church. I wish there was an organization out there which good members of the church could join who want to improve the situation for all sexual minorities in the church without accusing the church of having taken a misstep. Unfortunately, it seems that members only have two options – support the church or support gay people. This saddens me because I do not see a conflict between the two. I think you can love, affirm and support gay people without saying the church has taken a misstep. I think using gay suicide as a forum to get out the message that the church has taken a misstep only further alienates gay members of the church who are supportive of the church and the direction it is going in dealing with homosexuality.

    However, the main point of the service was about love, and helping people feel welcome. I do think there needs to be a change in the church. I think we need to more closely follow the leadership. They have been clear that those who refer to themselves as gay and lesbian are welcome in the church, but I don’t think we as members have created that environment for them. I think overall, the event helped bring that to our attention.

    • I’m glad you appreciated the memorial. It was a cathartic experience for those who attended in person as well as for those who were able attend vicariously via the internet.

      That one person out of the several who spoke said that churches need to changes is a realistic message. As long as there are Mormons who feel that open (or private) expressions of bigotry are safely aired within the confines of chapels, meeting halls, and firesides, everyone must work together to effect a change of attitude.

      The church has changed significantly in the 10 years since Stuart’s suicide, making concerted efforts to express love and support for gay members; working with the Salt Lake City Council to encourage anti-discrimination ordinances; sending a clear message that having same-sex (or gender) attraction is not a sin; telling members that the reasons behind homosexuality are complex and not uniquely a choice; no longer expressly encouraging opposite-sex marriage as a way to “cure” homosexual tendencies; allowing (and encouraging) celibate gay members to hold (and use) temple recommends and callings. But there is still a long way to go.

      There are still young men and women who internalize the idea that their homosexual tendencies make them unworthy of being called children of God. General Authorities continue to need to counsel these young people on a regular basis. Bishops and stake presidents continue to work hard to dispel this myth among their own flocks, but yet somehow the message still comes through.

      How can we stop these precious young souls from internalizing feelings of worthlessness, despair or (even worse) self-hate if we don’t change what we’ve been doing? If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you cannot expect to achieve different results.

      Thankfully, changes are being made, one heart at a time. And if we can introduce more people to each other, we can make more connections to effect more individual changes, increasing the safety net for those already on the fringes.

      If they even have just the desire to have one toe in the tent of Christ, shouldn’t we do what we can to make that one toe welcome? Perhaps in the hopes that the desire for connection will increase as more people reach out in welcome and fewer people build up walls of fear and prejudice.

  3. The pastor of my local MCC congregation, Rev. Mike, was very active at the memorial. Sadly, he is stepping down as of Easter and we will be seeking a new spiritual leader. He is an inspiration and a blessing.

    Love and hugs to all,

  4. Absolutely. I think overall the memorial service helped that. That is why I supported it. These things DO need to change. I am working hard to change the attitude of the members. Bringing to light the real problem the church has with gay suicide is one way to do that. That is great. I just think that using gay suicide as forum to criticize the church will only work to put off members who would otherwise sympathize with gay suicide. I think in the end it will do more harm than good.

    Believe me, one of my biggest goals is to help members accept people with same-sex attractions. I want them to hear our stories. I want them to understand what we are going through. Just through personal experiences, I have found people are more willing to listen when they don’t feel attacked. The more you associate gay rights with an attack on the church, the less sympathetic people are going to be towards that goal.

  5. Well, for Stuart, it was the attitude of the Church in Prop 22 that caused his suicide and last year the Church again supported anti-gay legislation. What kind of message of love is that giving? Yes, I know and appreciate that there are those within the Church who are working hard to counteract that and extend love to the GLBT community. However, this is not church wide.

    I am in a very conservative ward and during the campaign on 8, one of our stake leaders gave a talk at our Sacrament meeting that pretty much laid all of the ills of society on homosexuality. What a great talk, teaching our youth and children to hate gays. There was no love in his talk. The Church has a very long way to go. And, I’m sure if there were any children or youth who heard his talk and all of the other rheteric that happened in my ward during the campaign who are gay, they loathed themselves even more. And, as long as the Church is involved in anti-gay legislation, those loving, compassionate leaders who are trying to reach out have a very difficult job.

  6. Sheryl, so beautifully stated. When people say to me “God loves the sinner but hates the sin” and “we don’t hate gays, we just need to protect the sanctity of marriage” I always ask “how do you think it makes a gay person feel when you say things like that and then vote to strip them of equal status under the law? Tust me, they don’t feel loved, they feel loathed, no matter how you candy coat the words, the results of the actions makes gay people feel hated.”

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