Ruthie Robertson, an adjunct professor at Mormon-operated Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus, sought to mark the start of Pride month with a post to social media expressing her support for the LGBT community.
However, she also raised her concerns about the troubling LGBT-rights record of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to which she belongs.
Within hours, Robertson was called in for a meeting with the university’s administration and ultimately found herself left without a job in retribution, with the classes she had been scheduled to teach in the summer and fall abruptly canceled.
Salt Lake City’s KUTV reports:
She wrote about the LDS church fighting for California’s Proposition 8, an amendment to the state’s constitution, fighting to stop same sex marriage in the state and allowing religious universities, doctors and adoption services, among other services, being denied to same-sex couples.
Robertson, a member of the LDS church, said she has many gay friends and wrote the post to let them know she supported and loved them. She said she could not remove or rescind the post.
“I could not take it back,” she said.
Robertson said she felt secure in making her post on Facebook because it is private; no students followed her online and her beliefs have never been taught in a classroom.
The text of Robertson’s original Facebook post was archived by The Washington Post, which also spoke with her:
Robertson told The Post that throughout her life, she has struggled to figure out where her personal beliefs fit into her religion. She was particularly dismayed in November 2015, when a new Mormon policy was leaked from the church clarifying that those in a same-sex marriage are considered apostates, and children living in a same-sex household may not be baptized until they are 18. Once they reach that age, children must choose to disavow their parents’ lifestyle in order to request to join the church.
“I fought for so long trying to find my place in this church,” Robertson said. “And then I kind of felt like the rug was pulled out from under me.”
Though she is still a practicing Mormon, Robertson said that since her firing, she has contemplated leaving the church. She worries the church will excommunicate her following the publicizing of her Facebook post and firing. But she does not regret the Facebook post.
“I think it was something that needed to be said, especially in the community I’m in,” Robertson said.
The LDS Church has since held fast to this new hardline policy against its LGBT members, and recently made negative headlines when one of its officials interrupted and silenced a pre-teen girl who was trying to come out about her sexuality in front of her congregation.