By Equality Rider Eric Dean Karabetsos
Salt Lake City. The capital of the LDS church.
For me, while I had left the church almost 6 years ago, this was a homecoming for me – a time of reflection, growth, and an epic journey of discovery.
I left the church in April of 2006 after I had sat down and read the New Testament cover to cover for the first time. By the time I had gotten to the end, I knew I was changed – changed in the sense that God had given me a very strong desire to seek a new path to him.
Flash forward to 2012, and here I am back in Salt Lake City. This time, I did not come as an adoring member of the church, but as a 2012 Soulforce Equality Rider, here to bring to light all the damage the church has done to people who identify as LGBTQ.
Coming back to Salt Lake was a lot of things for me; but, if I had to pick just one word to sum it up, it would be bittersweet.
I had been looking forward to the Salt Lake stop ever since it was announced because I knew that, in visiting this place, my life would come full circle – I would be returning to the place of my spiritual “birth,” so to speak.
During the drive from Denver, I had come to know just how much influence the church had in making sure California’s Proposition 8 was passed. I was in tears when I found out. It’s safe to say that this newfound knowledge I had put me on edge as I went into a meeting with five Soulforce Equality Riders and five public affairs officials of the LDS church.
For me, the meeting was an intersection of my faith background, where I am now in my walk with God, and the work I am doing with Soulforce. In the end, I felt that we had all had the opportunity to share our stories and understand each other better despite our differences.
Overall, I really enjoyed being back on temple square. After all these many, many years, I can say that, if it wasn’t for Soulforce, it never would’ve happened – and I’m so thankful that it did.
About the Blogger:
Eric, from Pittsburg, PA, has been looking for opportunities to promote equality, and believes God led him to Soulforce.