Another Spiritual Update

I know I just gave a spiritual life update, but I have a bit of another one. However, a quick recap of the last couple years:

Community of Christ enticed me with progressive and enduring principles like “All Are Called”, “Worth of All Persons”, and “Unity in Diversity”. I came to believe that this would include people like me and families like mine. However, last year the First Presidency showed this wasn’t true.

I took some time for myself, but then decided to do some activism, hoping that I might be heard and my family be accepted. Instead, World Church leaders did things like destroyed communities I was in in order to prevent talking about families like mine in Community of Christ. This was painful for me, but I kept enduring because I had just enough hope that I could make the needed difference – perhaps I could rebuild those destroyed communities.

My family and friends have been very kind and understanding of me needing to be a bit of an activist this past year. However, after lamenting to them regarding a series of discouraging church interactions this week, they very gently suggested that that my relationship with Community of Christ is toxic. We talked about it, and frankly I had a hard time arguing with them; it was a bit of an eye-opening moment.

I decided I wanted to try one last time. I am NOT asking the First Presidency to start performing polyamorous marriages, or even overturn their policy. However, I am asking them if they are even willing to have a conversation about where polyamorous people belong in the church, or if they even do.

I have already been asking to have this conversation for a year, and I can’t wait anymore. So, if by the 3-year anniversary of my confirmation the church hasn’t responded to my cries and pleas, I will be resigning my membership and continuing my spiritual journey elsewhere. This is the letter that I sent to my apostle, pastor, and the First Presidency:

Evan’s Letter of Request

To my family and friends in Community of Christ,

I have poured my heart and soul into our spiritual home. I have delved deeply into our church’s history, been an active participant in worship services, and even written legislation for World Conference. My dedication has been rooted in a desire to be an integral part of our church’s next steps, particularly connecting with and attracting younger generations who have been disenfranchised by their previous religious affiliations.

Regrettably, my enthusiasm for the church is marred by an acute sense of alienation. The First Presidency’s policy which was put into effect on January 28th, 2023 effectively created a class system where certain families are more favored than others. These unfavored families cannot serve in a priesthood capacity regardless of their personal call or the support of their congregation.

My family is polyamorous, and thus I am unable to actualize the call I have. So, over the past year, I have dedicated considerable efforts to creating educational resources about families such as mine in order to foster a dialogue for greater inclusivity. Among other things, these efforts and resources include “The Polyamory Primer”, “Maxims of the Mother”, “Faithful Disagreement: Polyamory in Community of Christ”, dozens of posts on Heart of Discernment, and countless private conversations. Despite this, there has been a notable lack of engagement from the First Presidency and other World Church leaders, with some even actively avoiding these resources and seeking to prevent me from telling my story.

In light of these circumstances, I respectfully and lovingly seek a definitive response from the First Presidency regarding their willingness to engage in a sincere and constructive dialogue about the inclusion of polyamorous families in Community of Christ. This dialogue is not only crucial for me, my family, and other families like mine, but also for the church’s mission to express that there is unity in our diversity.

I have already been waiting to have this conversation for over a year, and should this request for engagement not be addressed in a timely manner, I will be compelled to resign my membership in Community of Christ on February 6th, 2024.

Evan Sharley