I am reading with great interest all of the news about Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover. I have expressed before my puzzlement at how someone who is truly transgendered could bear to live in the public eye as a man when really they are a woman. But it’s not for me to judge. And I realized that, regardless of my own feelings on the matter, I am not interested in judging Bruce Jenner. If you want to read my former blog on Jenner, written 2 weeks ago or so, just type in the search engine, Bruce Jenner does not identify as a woman.
And the subject of this blog is about how I was spiritually destroyed by those who did not show me compassion when they realized I am transgendered. Although I argue with the term, because trans means change, and I believe I was always a woman, just with a birth defect. So I don’t feel I’m changing anything. That being said, let me talk very openly about the damage that is done to people, anyone, regardless of whether or not they are transgendered, when they are allowed to fall through the cracks.
On May 22, 1991, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was excited because before that I had no idea why we were on earth. I thought that when we died, we just slept. How boring. But over the years in the Church, I began to realize my best self. I was a good teacher in Relief Society (a class for adult women), and I was a good example for other members because I loved the Church so much. In fact, you could say I became arrogant in my goodness. I judged others horribly, and was extremely self-satisfied. I had it going on! Or so I thought.
The totality with which I loved the Church explains the totality of my alienation from religion after I was pretty much excommunicated (although technically I’m still a member. I don’t think they care enough about me to actually excommunicate me).
Here’s specifically what happened: Even before I joined the Church, I told the missionaries about my physical situation. I had male genitals, although not fully formed, and after puberty, I had natural breasts. One time when I told my Bishop this, he said that I was just fat. The missionaries felt prompted to tell me that I was the lady I always thought I was. I felt so accepted and glad that I had found this wonderful Church when the missionaries had come to our door. My mother and I got baptized very quickly, because we felt it was right. I have never been a spiritual person like my mother in terms of ‘feeling’ things, but I intellectually loved the Church and resolved to do my best to be a good person.
After I joined, I told my Bishop about my situation, too. He assured me that he had picked up that I was a special person and that I had absolutely nothing to worry about, that he was behind me 100%. When I joined, I really wanted to go to Ricks College and be surrounded by young people because I had been so lonely throughout my life, as I am so different. In 1992, I was blessed to be able to go there, to Idaho. I met many wonderful people. While there, I remember my Bishop from home in Nova Scotia that the First Presidency (highest powers in the Church) had approved my surgery to make me a full woman. I fasted in gratitude. I was so happy. I could scarcely believe my good fortune! So, so grateful.
But soon after that the Bishop showed confusion. He had never said that. In the church, there is something called a Patriarchal Blessing. I prayed that God would reveal to me His plan for me through the Patriarch. Was I male or female? I wanted Him to give me the answer. I had no doubt I was female, but I wanted religious assurance. And I got it. He said I was one of His special daughters, and that I have a special mind and body. I did not tell the Patriarch anything about my situation because it’s supposed to be God giving the blessing, not the Patriarch. Later, when the problem Bishop entered my life, he told me that the Patriarch should reexamine his spirituality and that my Patriarchal Blessing was irrelevant (that may have been another Bishop, the last part).
In the Church, there are such things as callings, where God puts you in a particular position; for example, as a teacher of Relief Society. It’s a calling for women only, and the callings are supposedly straight from God. I was called twice to this position, more evidence if anyone wanted it, that I am female in the eyes of God.
After Ricks, I moved to Utah to start working. I was forced to return to NS when the Bishop in Utah told me that I could not have female roommates, and how would they feel if they knew the truth about me. He told me the first time he’d seen me, he knew I was weird. So I had to leave a good job and return home. I worked for a while in a call centre, then returned to university. This was 1996 by now. Over the ensuing years, I would talk with the problem Bishop, who shall remain nameless, and he would be very confused about my situation, but also extremely arrogant. He was convinced he was right. He told me that there is no third gender, but he couldn’t answer me when I asked him about the Patriarchal Blessing or the women’s callings. He would only say that he was right, that the Patriarch was wrong, etc. He made me use the handicapped washroom because he didn’t think it was right for me to be in the women’s washroom, and he said I probably wouldn’t be comfortable in the men’s washroom. He also informed me that I wouldn’t be receiving any mercy.
The climax to all of this came when I was in another branch of the Church, in another town, and orders came that I was not allowed to attend Relief Society, the class for adult women, etc. I was not allowed to use the women’s washroom. I was not allowed to keep tricking everyone with my disguise. And when I was in one of my endless meetings with this problem Bishop, he told me I would not be receiving any mercy. Even after all of this, I was honoured to help out in the Church as a volunteer for the children’s Primary class. One day, the other Bishop told me that I would not be able to continue doing that as a member of the Church had raised a fuss, saying that I was a threat to the children. I gave up at this point. For a while I had been dying a slow death inside. Especially when I’d hear people stand up in meetings and say how much their Patriarchal blessings meant to them. It appeared that the doctrine of the Church applied to everyone but me. Apparently, I was not worthy of receiving revelation, or having God talk to me, etc.
I reasoned to myself that I wouldn’t put up with abuse from a man in a relationship. Why was I allowing it with this Church? I left. Or, as the saying goes, the Church left me.
Before I had joined the Church, I had struggled with being obsessed with sex. Perhaps because my own body is so broken, I was fascinated by the superb bodies of others, male bodies. While I was active in the Church, I had overcome this problem. Completely and totally. But around the time that I was accused basically of being a predator of children, I was weakened to the point where I started being obsessed again.
I won’t go into details, but I do want to write the following as a warning to anyone who cares about others: Show compassion. Because when you don’t, the following is what happens. I made a deal with the devil that if he would give me sex, especially with the guys that I knew personally in my life and was attracted to, that I would serve him. I was willing to do absolutely anything if it meant that I received the sexual attention of muscular men. I am attracted most to slender or muscular guys, and men of Middle Eastern descent. That probably explains why the weak part of me would be willing to make a deal with extreme Muslims if it meant that I had a steady stream of attractive young Muslims to satisfy me.
A theme of my life has been that no one has cooperated with me, except for my mother, who is like a living Saint. The weak part of me is so addicted to the thought of being cooperated with that I have waited to see who would cooperate with me more, God or the devil, and I would follow whichever did the most, and the quickest. I went from someone who cared mightily about being my best self, to wishing to be recruited by ISIS or the Illuminati if they would satisfy my sexual desires. I am still weak. Perhaps in the future, the circumstances of my life will improve and I won’t be so tempted to do evil. But this small story of my life is a warning to others. Take care of each other. Even people who try to be strong can become weak, if told enough times that they don’t matter to God, and if it seems like God did nothing to help you. I have a lot of anger toward God, which I know is evil, but it honestly represents my true feelings. This isn’t meant to offend anyone, just to say that when someone is willing to make a deal to join extreme groups for sex, obviously the person in question is spiritually broken. But rather than judging me, which I totally understand if someone does, a better choice would be to help me and support me. I am ashamed, but honest, to say that it seems like I could go either way now, although I have hope that it will change in the future. If evil showed cooperation with me, before goodness did, I think we all know which side I would advocate for. And that is dangerous.
Thank you, Caitlyn Jenner. As a person who shares some things with you, I’m not sure I recognize myself in you, and so I remain unconvinced about your life story that you are claiming. However, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for shining a light on this issue, which is going to help people like me. People are certainly a lot more tolerant than they used to be, and that is extremely heartening.
This is all in my book, in the form of metaphor: He Talks To Me, Too, which you will see on the right-hand side of my website. You may have to scroll down. God talks to the transgendered. He talks to gay people, black, white, brown, straight, Muslims, Christians, the evil, and the good. He talks to everyone. If my story has touched you in any way, I urge you to buy the book or at least read the book description. I think it’s an important book for those who have fallen between the cracks, those who are in a position of power to make sure no one does fall between the cracks, etc.