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Share Your Personal Stories




We are coming to the end of the summer, a time when many young Mormons take a few days to Trek. In an effort to better understand the hardships, sacrifices, trials and triumphs of the 19th-century pioneers who built the LDS Church’s foundation, these folks take to the hills to literally walk in their forebears’ footsteps. For some, this experience of seeing the world through different eyes changes their life outlooks dramatically, and they come away with renewed understanding of the importance of many things in life.

We are living now in a time where new pioneers are climbing their own mountains. These pioneers are LDS men and women sharing their LGBT status openly with family, friends, bishops and stake presidents. Sometimes their loads are lightened by loving hands, and other times their loads become heavier as they confront fear, rejection, prejudice and misunderstanding.

This post is a place where we can begin to understand and think about the trials and triumphs of these 21st-century pioneers. How has your life or the lives of your friends and family been influenced by homosexuality? Has your faith been changed – strengthened or diminished – as a result? How have existing laws regarding same-sex marriage (or lack thereof) influenced you and/or your loved ones? What would you like the rest of us to know so we can better understand what it is like to walk in your footsteps? There is a Primary song that includes the lyrics, “I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Let us walk with you a mile or two.

As you consider posting comments here, please recognize that personal stories deserve the highest respect of everyone involved. As the Primary song continues, “Jesus walked away from none, he gave his love to everyone, so I will, I will! I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.”


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103 Responses to “Share Your Personal Stories”

  1. 1Tomon 03 Aug 2008 at 8:26 am

    Thank you for the invitation to comment. I will start this off with a
    true story.

    I had an uncle-in-law (a descendant of handcart pioneers) who was in a
    relationship with a man for more than 35 years. They did all they
    could to legally formalize their relationship, but they could not
    marry.

    When this uncle died of lung cancer, his partner did not receive
    Social Security survivor benefits, as he would have if they had been
    able to marry.

    In addition, his partner had to pay inheritance tax on the 50% share
    of their house which my uncle had bequeathed to him. If they had been
    married, this wouldn’t have happened, as spouses are free from
    inheritance tax.

    Finally, the property tax basis on the house went way up, because it
    was registered as a change in ownership. Again, had they been married,
    the tax would not have changed.

    These three things combined meant my uncle’s partner could no longer
    afford to stay in the house they had shared for three decades.

    Does that seem fair or equitable to you?

    The church is well within its right to deny marriage to whomever it
    chooses. In fact, it already denies temple marriage to those who don’t
    meet the requirements for a recommend.

    But this is about CIVIL marriage, a legal document. And until someone
    can articulate a rational states’ interest in denying civil marriage
    equality, it is the right thing, and the American thing, to make sure
    all people enjoy the exact same rights.

    I also find it odd that LDS church members, of all people, should be
    screaming about “ignoring the will of the majority.” Am I remembering
    wrong, or weren’t church members forced out of New York, Illinois and
    Missouri because they were a minority whose rights weren’t respected
    by the majority?

  2. 2Scott & Markon 22 Aug 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you for this site. I’m a Utah native, born and raised in St. George. My partner was born and raised in Orem. We met in Salt Lake 16 years ago and moved out of the state. We knew we would never have any rights there.

    We’ve lived in Southern California for the last 12 years. We own a home, we have successful careers, we have very good friends and neighbors. It sometimes hits both of us though – we miss our families, and they miss us. Jobs and other commitments don’t leave many times when we can take several days away to go back to Utah and visit. We’ve missed school plays, first dates, marriages, births. But we’re getting married in a few weeks, and our families will be here to celebrate with us. That the church we grew up in, and that had so much to do with shaping who we are and what we believe now wants to reach out from Utah and take away our marriage is discouraging, to say the least.

    It’s good to know it isn’t the whole church fighting against us.

  3. 3Anonymouson 22 Aug 2008 at 10:54 pm

    I was baptized several years ago in California. The day leadership from my ward came to my home with political literature, encouraging me to vote against gay marriage rights, was the last day I affiliated myself or my children in any way with the LDS faith.

  4. 4Berton 23 Aug 2008 at 11:02 am

    I liked men every since I was very young. I didn’t even know about homosexuals until I was in my teens and I learned what the feelings I was having were. That’s when the crap hit the fan. I’ve been told by the church members and my friends and family about how bad people were that were homosexual, and that we were all going to hell. Well being told that your whole life makes you figure why am I even here then if I’m going to hell for what I’m thinking. I never even went with a man until I was 24.
    I drank and did drugs trying to get over my feelings for the hate that I had for myself because I was evil. I even went to a Doctor that claimed he could cure homosexuals by shocking it out of them. I went to him for six months and he is still using this useless method at the Utah State Prison. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work and all it did was screw me up even worse.
    Now I’m close to 60. Never had a boyfriend, had a few married Mormon men that would come visit me once a month and they go home to their wife and kids feeling guilty until they couldn’t stand not being with a man again then they would come to visit again.
    I can’t believe how society wants everyone to live the way they want you to and not the way I was born. Yes I know I was born this way, I’ve had feelings since I was 6 or so.
    One of the big arguments I always hear is gay people can’t have kids and that is what your here for. Well I think their is plenty of people out there popping out babies fast enough I don’t need to do my part their.
    I finally quit the church because the way they condemned me for my beliefs and I’ve never regretted it since.
    I’ll just live out the next 10 to 20 years alone waiting to go to hell. I’ll have a lot of friends down there!

  5. 5james catalanoon 23 Aug 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Since I was a kidd I knew I was different than my brothers,but i did not know how, I was born in a spanish country, its was not untill I became a teenager when i found I was gay, I was told I will burn in hell for that. I went to differents religions to becamen a good christian and ask for forgiveness, I will bend my knees and pray for hours, sometimes while kneeling I will hit my self with my dad belt, and ask heavely father to change me, because I was evil i was gay,I have scars all over my back, I also starved my self for days, so God will remove the gayness out of me. And nothing happened,I became lds hopping for a change, because I was evil and gays burn in hell(thats what the gospel or the church leaders teach] I had depresion and I tried to kill my self, my bishop maked my life miserable its was pure hell .since I left the church and acepted my self gay man,everything has change. I am finally the happiest man ever in hearth, i have a lots of friends, no more pills for depresion and people telling me I am a bad seed.
    I love life and i love myself, i know for fact we are born gay, we do not choose to be gay, and thats something we can not change, i can’t belive in the 21st century theres so many people especially in church that comdemd inocent people for the sexual orientation. and playing with their minds. May God has mercy on them.

  6. 6Roberton 23 Aug 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I was born a Mormon and loved the religion a great deal. As I grew up and became aware that I was gay, I bargained with God trying to get changed. If I’d go on a mission, then would he change me? So I did that. Then it was a Christian therapist who recommended the military (to make a ‘man’ out of me), and I did that too. Excelled in it. While in the military, the branch president told me about the church’s program to ‘change gay men.’ And I left the military and went to Utah. And I went into that program. And after a time it became apparent to me that nobody was changing. I demanded the church therapist in Farmington introduce me to someone they had changed. He refused. I insisted. He finally, in a fit of anger, blurted out that there ‘was nobody yet but that there were a lot of men who were happier now as they were closer to the goal.’ As it sank in that I’d been lied to (and it is a lie!), I did something I would not have done previously. I opened myself up to the possibility that everything I’d been taught about the church was not true. I began studying the real Mormon history – books written by real historians. I visited Gerald and Sandra Tanner. As I learned the true history of the church, I came to hate it. Hated it for the lies, for the harm it had done me, for the deception it still utilizes to gain unsuspecting converts. I wrote a letter to have my membership removed, and I walked several blocks to a mail drop. I can still remember hearing the letter drop inside the box. And with every step I took home, I felt lighter and freer than I ever had in my life. I have never and will never regret removing the power these blind arrogant and ignorant men had over me. My heart aches when I read of young gay men who have killed themselves because they accepted these fools as prophets and revelators of God’s will. If you are gay and depressed – and reading these stories – I would beg you to please understand that there is a wonderful life away and out of the church. Take the time to study it’s past and history – not the sugar coated glorified version you hear from them. But the true and fully documented actual history. It will be easy for you to walk away from it. And it may save your life. It did mine..

    Nevertheless, my family remains Mormon and under the influence of what I now believe to be a cult (not in the classic sense, but in the sense that people have forfeited their responsibility to think for themselves and are content to just ‘follow the brethren.’). Therefore, I am always greatful for Mormons who do have the abilty to think for themselves, and who can listen to their heart – having the courage to stand up to this evil the church is engaged in. Many of you risk your membership for posting on this site. My thanks to you for your courage.

  7. 7Chadon 27 Aug 2008 at 7:19 am

    First I want to share my gratitude to the visionary developers of this website and organization. I finally feel that I have a worthy cause to channel my energy into.

    I grew up in rural Utah on the same street that my Grandparents and Great Grandparents lived and died. A neighbor boy and I learned who we were after school over 12 years in our youth. I am eternally grateful to him for never letting me believe that who are should be a source of shame.

    My family was supportive, while trying everything in their power to steer me in the direction of the LDS Church. My Mom lived in a state of denial about who and what I was. Fortunately my talents kept me busy and engaged in the arts from a very young age.

    I moved away from Utah in the early 90′s to New York where I met my best friend. He was Gay, Mormon and lived his life with a brutally honest code of ethics. He helped me to live my life with that same honesty and a “It’s their problem if they can’t deal with it” attitude.

    I ended up in California where I now reside with my partner of 12 years and have an excellent relationships with everyone in my family. My family loves me, my partner and includes us in their lives fully.

    The marriage issue is important to me to ensure that ALL AMERICANS are treated equally all the time. Our constitution mentions no caveats. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”… this includes GLBT Americans, their right Marry, build families, lives and care for our loved one throughout the entirety of our lives. Once we break the integrity of our constitution it becomes a false document that is changed at will to reflect religious ideology.

  8. 8Miaon 30 Aug 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Perhaps I am too young to understand (only 15 years of age) what love is, however I truly believe I do.

    She helped me to move away from the shackles that binded me. I was only twelve at the time, but I have always known. Not in a traditional sense, of course, but I’ve always preferred the fairer sex.

    However, just the other day, some friends were discussing abstinence, and how they “were worth it”. When they turned to me, I barely chocked out, “Yeah. Of course.”

    The truth is, how can I be abstinent if I am not allowed to marry?

    In my state of Alabama, you can have sex with your cousin, get married (heterosexually) at 16, but, of course, I am not allowed to follow my own heart.

    I truly hope you can change the church. Don’t mind me, I’m just busy trying to change the world.

  9. 9admin3on 03 Sep 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Hang in there, Mia, we all hope for a better world for you and your friends where struggles aren’t so tough and loads are lighter to bear.

  10. 10Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 05 Sep 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Mia– I like your attitude. I believe that it will be your generation that will literally change the world. Many of us “older” people are doing our best to make a difference, but I think one of the more effective things we can do is to support and encourage our youth. I teach high school and I’m so encouraged by the sensitivity to social justice issues that the young people of today have. Go for it! Always remember that you have lots of allies.

  11. 11Clay Whipkeyon 12 Sep 2008 at 12:57 pm

    If you want to protect marriage and family, you’d be better off focusing on child abuse, adultery, pornography, gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, too much non-interactive entertainment, etc. etc. Gay couples who want to get married are not going to hurt my own traditional family any more than the neighbors down the street who are common law married. The value of my family is my own responsibility to honor and respect, regardless of whether it has a superior status in society.

    Equality with people who live a different but peaceful lifestyle does not devalue your own lifestyle.

    The real motivation behind these initiatives is the false notion that we can prevent young people from being gay if they see gay couples are treated as lower in status and class. Its not about honoring your own family, its about dishonoring an alternative to try to scare kids straight.

    You can only honor your own family by being an example of love and unity within your own home. Laws that are designed to prevent equality between differing peoples will not do that job for you.

  12. 12Jeanieon 12 Sep 2008 at 11:37 pm

    I’ve debated for weeks whether to share my personal story about why I’m involved in fighting Prop 8. I guess I’m a bit fearful as to how it will be received. However, I find myself reliving the events of 2000 when Prop 22 was on the ballot and perhaps sharing will be somewhat therapeutic for me and possibly helpful for others. So here goes…

    I was born into a very active Mormon family. I have been a Relief Society President twice and a Primary president. My divorce after 22 years of marriage was difficult but shortly thereafter I found my soulmate and fell in love with the most honorable and ethical man I have ever met. He is, however, an atheist so our relationship was not popular with my extended family or the church.

    I was excommunicated in 1998 because my sweetheart and I decided to live together before we were married. We needed to be together as a family unit, but he had some serious issues with the institution of marriage. I needed to be married to live together because of my religious beliefs. Rather than end the relationship, we made a compromise. We moved in together, knowing that it would cost me my church membership. He would work out the emotional issues he had about marriage. We went to the bishop with our quandary, our solution, and I was excommunicated. I kept attending church. My sweetheart kept his word. A year later in Nov. 1999, we were married. I went to the bishop to find out what needed to be done to be rebaptized.

    About the same time, Prop 22 was being debated. I was disturbed by what I heard in church and eventually decided to join the No on 22 campaign. In the process, I came in contact with many members of Affirmation. Stuart Matis was one of the individuals who shared his story with me and we began a dialogue.

    At my first formal meeting with the bishop regarding my rebaptism, the bishop asked me if I had to do it over, would I choose to live with my sweetheart again. It was a difficult question to answer. The year had been one of the happiest in my life. I just told him that “I’d prayerfully consider the situation and make the best decision I could”. He didn’t really like that answer and then expressed concern about my opposition to Prop 22. He questioned whether I had “fully repented” of living with my husband prior to marriage. He decided to send me to the stake president. If the stake president was OK with it, then I could be rebaptized.

    The meeting with the stake president took place about three weeks before the election. I suspected that Prop 22 was going to be the big issue in the discussion. Stuart Matis spent an hour on the phone with me before the meeting, calming me down and giving me ideas of what to say. That evening, most of the discussion with the stake president was about my activities with the No on 22 campaign. “Do you know who is stealing our signs?” “Why can’t you just vote no and not be public with your opposition?” Stuff like that. Finally, after two hours of this, I asked “Are you asking every prospective member who is being interviewed for baptism how they are voting on Prop 22? Are you denying baptism to those who are voting no?”

    “Of course not,” he quickly responded.

    “Then why are you asking me?”

    “You know, you’re right.” That was it. He said he would call my bishop and they would set a date for the reconvening of the church court so that I could be cleared for rebaptism. I was elated!

    A little over a week later, Stuart Matis took his own life on the steps of his ward building. I was devastated. At his memorial, a former bishop from Santa Cruz who had long advocated for gay members, spoke these simple words. “If you are gay, always remember this…God loves you unconditionally. He wants you happy, not miserable. He wants you alive, not dead.”

    The lead article in the metro section of our local paper on the Saturday before the election told the story of Stuart Matis and described his relationship with me. When I went to church the next day, NO ONE at church said anything to me. There were no condolences, nothing. Instead was the announcement about where to put the yard signs on election day. I was fighting back tears throughout Relief Society and into sacrament meeting.

    That Sunday before the election was a Fast Sunday and many gay members throughout the country had decided that they would get up in testimony meeting that Sunday and “out” themselves to their ward. Because of the excommunication, I was not supposed to speak at the pulpit. I kept thinking of the courage that my gay friends were showing that day. Finally, I leaned over to my 16 year-old daughter and said, “I have to speak.”

    She squeezed my hand and said “I know. Go for it.”

    I’m sure the bishop had to squelch the impulse to tackle me before I got to the pulpit. I repeated the words that had been spoken at the memorial and added that I KNEW that these words were true and that my home would always be a safe haven for gay members and their families.

    The bishop then got up and said that what I had spoken was not church policy and that supporting Prop 22 was.

    I came home to a message on my answering machine that the bishop needed to meet with me. When I did go see him the day after the election, he informed me that my rebaptism was being postponed because “obviously I had not repented from living with [my husband].” He asked me to begin meeting with him on a weekly basis for “scripture study”. I told him that I could no longer be part of a church that prevented me from helping my brothers and sisters like I believed that Christ would do.

    I never went back.

    Many of my gay friends told me that I shouldn’t let anyone ever tell me that I was no longer a Mormon. I hung onto that. I would tell people that being a Mormon was an integral part of me, even though I was no longer a member of the church. Now for the first time, eight years later, with the church’s actions on Prop 8, I’m feeling embarrassed to say that I’m a Mormon.

  13. 13Elisaon 13 Sep 2008 at 5:27 pm

    My brother and I did not get along well when he returned from his mission. Our biggest source of contention was gay rights. This issue so divided us that after an argument where he objected to the homosexual content depicted on a television show during a visit home, I left my parents’ house in the middle of the night to make the four-hour drive home on icy winter roads with my young son.

    A few months later, my brother revealed to me that he is gay, that he had done everything in his power to change (including hours of counseling, prayer, soul-searching, “reparative therapy,” and time spent in a “gay recovery” group), and that he had twice attempted to take his own life. On the mission that he had devoted himself to so sincerely, he was assigned a companion who said he “could tell” my brother was gay, and who threatened multiple times to kill him.

    Today my brother and I are friends once again. He has come to accept and love himself for who he is, instead of believing that God wants him to be what he is not. He is able to reach out and help others.

    Very early in my life I began to question Mormonism’s history of discrimination against blacks, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. No one ever had a satisfactory answer to why these things were ok, and I eventually realized there is no answer that gives us permission to treat anyone as a lesser human being. Jesus embraced the oppressed; so should we.

    When I left Mormonism, I didn’t know at the time that one of the people I was standing up for was my own brother. How grateful I am that I spoke out for him, and that he is still here today.

    Both he and I are relieved, finally, to be free.

  14. 14Franon 16 Sep 2008 at 4:58 pm

    just wondering since Stuart Matis gets mentioned so much. From what his parents said, Stuart would have neverever wanted to live out his homsexuality, and supposedly would rather die than be in a homosexual relationship. If he was so opposed to living it out, would he have wanted homosexual marriage to be available. From some comments it kinda sounded like he would have wanted that, but from what his parents write it sounds more like he would have supported the Church’s view point. Does anyone actually have any credible information on how he really felt about these issues (besides the fact that he didn’t want to be hated and shunned etc. for how he felt?)?

  15. 15admin3on 16 Sep 2008 at 5:28 pm

    The point of Stuart’s story is not how he felt about same-sex marriage, Fran. The point of his story is how he felt as a gay man in the LDS church. Whichever side we are on regarding marriage equality, we should, no, must be more loving, kind, forgiving, thoughtful and welcoming of ALL of God’s children – of ALL of our brothers and sisters. Stuart was not alone in his LDS experience and suicide.

    Many LDS church members have come a long way in acknowledging the value of every life and of every member. We have a long way to go, and our efforts should focus on what really matters – that Life is ALWAYS more important than Politics.

    Obviously, Stuart and others like him felt un-loved, un-wanted and un-worthy – enough so that they concluded there was no place on Earth, let alone in the LDS Church for them. This is a horrible, awful, shame and the burden is on all of us who continue to live to make sure no more lights like Stuart’s are extinguished by their own hands, or dimmed because of our words and actions.

    Now, with that in mind, please let’s return to the topic of this thread – that of sharing personal stories. As we learn about one another’s strengths and weaknesses, we discover ways to bear one another’s burdens and to celebrate one another’s joys. And we will all need support as the turmoil increases.

  16. 16Jeanieon 16 Sep 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Since this is part of my personal story, I will answer Fran’s questions. I personally knew Stuart Matis. We had several long conversations about his life, his experiences being a gay Mormon, AND his feelings about gay marriage. He was appalled by the church’s backing of Prop 22 in 2000. Please read his essay to get a good understanding of how strongly he felt about this.
    During his conversations with me, he told me that he didn’t talk to his family about all of his feelings about this. He loved them very much and feared upsetting them even more. He never showed them or told them about the essay. I personally gave his mother a copy AFTER his death when I found out that she knew nothing about it.
    During one of our last conversations, he told me about meeting someone. He had been celibate all his life, and up to this point had really avoided establishing any relationships. But he said that for the first time, he was seriously thinking of pursuing this relationship. He asked me alot of questions about my relationship with my husband and soulmate. He wanted to know what it was like to meet someone and feel that connected. I have no reason to believe that he didn’t die celibate, but what I heard was some hope that somehow he wouldn’t be alone.
    Stuart’s story is about being gay and Mormon, but it is definitely about marriage also. It was something that he felt very strongly about and he entrusted that message to a few us in the hopes that his words would make a difference. Read the essay. I believe that it is available here on this website.

  17. 17Franon 16 Sep 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks. I think I found the essay…

  18. 18Daniel McInerneyon 09 Oct 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Growing up I adored stories of Joseph Smith and wished that I had lived in that time and been able to get to know and work with him. I felt the same in elementary school when I learned about Martin Luther King Jr., and again in high school when I studied Gandhi.

    I saw divinity in these men. I felt they were men who not only understood but lived Christs teachings. It might be a weird thing to say about Gandhi, but as Gandhi himself said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

    Tragically appropriate words.

    I am gay… obviously gay. I was the little kid who loved to go shopping and play house and dress up. No one was surprised when I came out.

    Even my mother says she’s always known. She’ll admit that I was born this way, but that doesn’t mean she accepts me. I was sent to therapy to be de-homosexualize (fyi – doesn’t work, just induces more guilt). When that didn’t work I buried my soul and turned off all emotion so that I would be able to endure a lifetime of being alone. That didn’t work either, so I attempted suicide, multiple times.

    Faced with the very real possibility of death by my own hands, I decided enough was enough. I told my parents I was going to stop fighting myself and start live as a gay man that I am.

    My parents, previously so supportive of their brave and “afflicted” son, now spent hours yelling at me. They said I was going to hell. They said they wished I was dead because it would be easier to live with. My mother even called me a son of perdition.

    We stopped speaking to each other. Rocky years passed. Gradually we rebuilt a fragile relationship. They even came to my partner and my commitment ceremony. I honestly thought things were getting better.

    Then gay marriage became legal and my partner and I became husbands. When Prop 8 came around, I asked my family how they would vote. All but one send they would vote for it. I begged them just to abstain. They were mortified that I had asked them to go against the prophet. We fought. We broke.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever have a relationship with them again. I don’t know if I can forgive them for voting to dissolve my marriage. I’ve asked them, “what if there was an amendment to dissolve your marriage and I voted for it, how would you feel? They were repulsed that I would equate my marriage to theirs. They were quite literally disgusted by the idea.

    I’ve been told I am not welcome to phone them. If I come to their home they will call the cops on me. I have been warned in the name of Jesus Christ to keep my perversion from their families. My brother informed me that I had sold my birthright and I was disowned.

    Homophobia destroys lives, it destroys families. Marriage doesn’t do either.

    And all of this craziness with the church is like a personal attack. MY church, the one I grew up in and loved, MY church is spending millions of dollars to dissolve my marriage. They are sending letters from the apostles to be read over the pulpit denouncing me and my friends. They are organizing community events and setting up call centers. It’s like being disowned by my family all over again.

    I loved the church, but I don’t know, if they changed policy tomorrow, if I would choose to come back. I love so much about the church, but being on the receiving end of all this persecution, I don’t think I could put it away. The best I can do is wish the church well and ask that they not interfere with my life anymore.

    Daniel

  19. 19Kyleon 16 Oct 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I cannot express how much everyone’s discussions here mean to me. I am gay and grew up in Utah with a wonderful family that I love very much. My parents divorced when I was nine and during those years family and Christ were all I had to fall back on and they became of the highest value to me.

    As I started realizing my attraction to other men, I threw myself into church thinking that if I was good enough, God would stop punishing me with these feelings. As I was tormented internally by my struggle, I was lucky enough to meet some wise, caring individuals who told me that nothing could stop my Savior from loving me and that I was never alone.

    I finally stopped going to church and my family learned that I would not fight myself for them any longer. Five years later they are starting to understand what I have gone through and have begun to accept me, but it is still difficult.

    I became heavily involved in fighting the amendment proposed in Utah in 2004 and our hearts broke when it was proposed – we knew from the start that it would pass, that we would lose our rights in an unprecedented way, but we could not stay silent. Now, four years later, I am happy to continue that battle, and for once I believe this discrimination can be rejected and would have more easily been able to do so had the church not become so directly involved.

    I want the church leaders and members to know what it feels like to think that the part of your life that connects you to God is telling you that the way you feel is wrong. It crushes your soul – I felt unwelcome to faith, love, and life itself. Sometimes I felt I had little reason to keep on living and if it had not been for the amazing people who helped me along the way I may not be here today. They cannot tell members to love us and discriminate against us at the same time – it doesn’t work.

    For those of you who are LDS and question what you should support, I ask you to ask God – which option here is following the most important teachings of loving your neighbor? I would never want to impose my beliefs on others and I hope you will understand that you are imposing yours on me, my friends, and those I wish to make my family.

  20. 20Jeanieon 17 Oct 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Kyle–Thank you for sharing your story. One of the things that makes me sad about the church’s involvement in this is that it puts families in the position of having to choose between the church and a family member–particularly so if the family member is gay, but also if the family member is a straight ally.
    My mother is one of the most loving and caring people I know. The church is also very important to her. In 2000 she felt so torn by what the church was pushing with Prop 22 (the precursor to Prop 8), that one night she broke down and told me that she wished that I had died instead of getting “involved with all those homosexuals”. (Again, remember, I am straight. My involvement was campaigning against Prop 22 and becoming acquainted with gay Mormons.) That is a pretty hard thing to hear coming from your mother, even when you are a 45-year-old adult. Having a “forever family” was her mission in life and she felt that I had now forfeited any chance of going to the celestial kingdom. You can sort of see her logic in thinking that things would have been better if I had died a year before. The estrangment from my family lasted for over 4 years. I was never angry at my mother or other family members. I was angry at the church for putting them in a position to feel like they had “lost” a daughter.

  21. 21Joseph Holliston 20 Oct 2008 at 6:44 pm

    My name is Joseph Hollist and I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I write that with reverence and gratitude.

    I am not a resident of California but both my older brother and my younger brother are. They are kind, loving, and, I believe, two of the most generous men that I know. I have looked up to both of them and I am proud to call them my brothers. I sometimes feel terribly sad that we live on opposite sides of the country.
    My brothers are not gay but have been deeply concerned about our church’s involvement in California’s Proposition 8. The church’s involvement has affected our entire family in negative and profound ways.

    I have heard many opinions about the issue of gay marriage. I have heard views from my non-LDS friends. I have heard from Latter-day Saints who are strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. I have heard from a few Latter-day Saints who support gay marriage. I have heard from gay men of LDS backgrounds about their desire to live in committed relationships with a same-sex partner and have those relationships recognized by the state in the form of marriage. I have read the official statements generated by our church.
    But I think I offer a unique perspective:
    Not unlike most LDS men of my age, I am married. I am a father of two children. I am active in my church calling, and I attend the temple with my wife. However, unlike most LDS men who are married, I am homosexually oriented. (Although, I know that there are many other church members in my situation.)
    I feel lucky and blessed that my wife took the challenge to marry me, even though she was fully aware of my sexual orientation. We love our children and feel extremely lucky to be a family. But it has not been without some extremely painful times and terrible confusion for both my wife and myself—neither of us were aware of the extra challenges that come with a marriage like ours.

    Although our local leaders have been supportive and kind, they do not know how to counsel us. I have had NO role models. The church has never issued a pamphlet, a statement or a word that has given me, at least, any encouragement.

    I never heard one positive thing said about gay people in church during my childhood, teenage years or even as an adult. I was left alone as a teenager to deal with this deep personal conflict with only the emotional tools of an adolescent.

    I have had to find strength from within. Three years ago I finally confided and confessed to my family about my homosexual orientation. My parents, my brothers and sisters have been a tremendous support ever since.
    And my wife has been a constant source of strength and love.

    So I wonder, is the church’s strong support and backing of Proposition 8 to help protect families like mine? To protect marriages like mine?
    What is motivating members to spend so much time and energy to support proposition 8? I can’t speak for them. But, I need to speak for myself.

    As I followed the church’s course of action and California’s church members efforts to pass Proposition 8, I have been deeply hurt. I am hurt because the church’s support of such a measure grants permission for church members to make hurtful and untrue comments. More importantly, the church’s stance to be so heavily involved in Proposition 8 perpetuates the false idea that people who are gay have made an evil choice.

    Please do not congratulate me for the choices I have made. Any Latter-day Saint who is homosexually oriented has some very difficult and painful decisions to make. My choice has not been without negative consequences. For one, I spent much of life being dishonest about myself with those I loved. I spent a tremendous amount of energy deceiving friends and family into believing that I was not gay. I was not honest with many young women that I dated and caused them pain.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for my fellow gay Latter-day Saints who had the courage to confront the painful conflict between religious belief and personal knowledge. Even in the face of losing friends and family, many of my friends chose to be honest with themselves and to God.

    I do NOT regret the decision I made. I regret only that there is so much misunderstanding within the church and that many for my fellow gay Latter-day Saints no longer feel welcomed or loved within the fellowship of the church.

    I want to convey a message of hope and love to my brothers and sisters in California who are homosexually oriented. I feel for you, as you have had to live through your church’s involvement in Proposition 8. I went to church with my older brother last summer in his San Jose Ward and was shocked at the negative comments that were made about homosexuals…all in the name of protecting the family. One Sunday was difficult enough…I can’t imagine attending church through months of that kind of rhetoric.

    If I had the opportunity and honor to sit with the First Presidency, I would want to convey the following:

    1. Gay people are not the enemy of the family and are not outsiders of the church. They probably sit in every ward and branch. We yearn to be a part of the church and have fellowship with our fellow Saints.

    2. We carry a very heavy burden. (The church’s involvement in political matters such as California’s Propsition 8 creates an even heavier burden). I was lucky enough to marry, but the challenges have been great and my wife often suffers in silence with me. For many homosexually-oriented Latter-day Saints, they live with the loneliness of knowing that they will never be allowed to truly love or be loved. And they often bear their burdens of their secret in complete silence, fearing the worst if they expose themselves.

    3. Please create a “safe space” for those struggling to reconcile their homosexual orientation and their place in the gospel and the church. A place where they are able to speak openly and honestly.

    4. I hope that church leaders in California are spending as much time and money caring for their flocks, especially those who are homosexually oriented, as they are in fighting for the passage of Proposition 8. This may be crucial in sparing the lives and souls of many young Latter-day Saints.

    I hope that church members in California and throughout the church are reaching out to their gay brothers and sisters. Please ask yourself these questions:

    “Who’s family am I helping by working toward and voting Yes on Proposition 8?”

    “Who I am helping get closer to God by working toward the passage of Proposition 8?”

    “Am I actually hurting others by my words and actions?”

    your brother, Joseph Hollist

    If feasable I would like to submit this via video to be put on the Mormons for Marriage website. Joseph

  22. 22Bryanon 21 Oct 2008 at 9:20 am

    Thank you for your website. As a gay man who was raised Mormon and who sees Mormonism as a foundation of who I am today, I have had extreme difficulty reconciling my feelings with my faith, my conscience with my heart, and my past with my future. I moved away from Utah because being close to a place and culture I love, but one that refused to love me as I was, was too painful.

    Finding this website was a breath of fresh air. I have tried to love my heritage without being bitter about being forced out of it. The knowledge that there are Mormons who would wish to embrace their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is inspiring and incredibly moving. Any bitterness I felt toward the Church can now be replaced with the hope that things will someday change and with the faith that the Mormon conscience I was taught as a child, to treat everyone as Jesus would, is not dead.

    I cannot say enough what your website means to those of us who feel alienated and rejected by the Church.

    Thank you.

  23. 23Chet Reynoldson 21 Oct 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I served a mission, went to BYU, and eventually realized I was not only GAY since my earliest memories; but also, that I couldn’t change that fact. I tried for many years.

    I have been in a serious, committed relationship for 22 years and still feel devistated that my family has never accepted nor acknowledged my loving partner. Because of him I was not invited to family events such as Thanksgiving and Family Weddings. My brother’s family refuse to come to my home. My only consolation is that my partner’s family very much consider me a part of theirs.

    My separation from the LDS church occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was attending church with my Mom and Sister and the lesson was about Secret Societies that Sunday. I was shocked when the first and only example of a Secret Society given was the Gay movement!

    Wow, and I thought that the Mafia was what a Secret Society was and the underlying sins involved were lying, theft and murder?

    The lesson deteriated from there as members spoke up to relate how Gays were the reason for all our modern problems and had to be stopped from molesting and converting other young members of the church. I looked at my Mother and Sister who sat there beside their Gay son/brother nodding their heads in agreement. I remained silent until we left the church so as not to cause a scene. After contronting my family about this outrage – they indicated that they saw nothing wrong about the lesson and supported the church and all it’s teachings about homosexuals. That was my last LDS church experience.

    My Mom passed away a month ago and I was saddened by the lack of love and emotion among my brother and sisters families at the funeral. My brother (Bishop) and his wife also look down on my sister because she has been married three times. His wife checked out everyone’s underwear at the cemetary to see who wasn’t wearing their garments… I just hope and pray that not all LDS families are like this.

    Please love your Gay Sons and Daughters – that is the first and most important commandment after all, isn’t it?

  24. 24JoeandSharonon 23 Oct 2008 at 10:07 pm

    We were disappointed when the LDS Church urged its members to once again give of their time and means to discriminate against gays by supporting a constitutional amendment to deny same-sex marriages.

    We have been through this before. For over a century the church condoned discrimination against blacks by denying them the priesthood. Wide spread public protests put the church in an unfavorable national spotlight, and it was a blessing to the church when President Kimball was inspired to change the offending practice. The decision to give up the discrimination enabled the church to grow and prosper. Had the policy not been changed it is likely that the church would now be a marginalized cult with little influence.

    Now we are going through it again, only this time the discrimination is directed at gays.

    The two situations are not entirely analogous, but the effect of the discrimination on the giver and receiver is the same. The very act of discrimination not only does harm to the person being discriminated against, but it is also harmful to the person doing the discriminating.

    The act of discriminating against gays by denying, by force of law, their desire to marry, is a demeaning process that can only canker the soul of the church and its members. It cannot have a positive influence on the lives of anyone involved in it. It is an act of unkindness, insensitivity, and exclusion and cannot possibly enrich the soul. The soul can only be enriched by the exact opposite–kindness, love, and inclusion.

    Our gay daughter and her loving partner have a child and that child is every bit as much a child of God as any of us. Their family is every bit as much a family as any of ours and their son is getting as much quality parenting with two moms as most children are getting from their heterosexual parents. How can a ‘pro-family church’ or anyone else feel a sense of joy and achievement by pro-actively diminishing the happiness of gay families? Our daughter and her partner are every bit as moral and conscientious about doing what is right as any of our heterosexual friends and the idea that they should be excluded, ostracized or ridiculed is without merit.

    We should all learn to understand that gays can have a relationship every bit as moral as a heterosexual relationship. The morality of a relationship is based on kindness, love, respect, and sharing and caring. It’s how we treat one another that matters.

    Hopefully the church can find a way to recognize that truth. It may be painful, as it was to admit to the error of discrimination against blacks, but someday the truth of moral gay relationships should be recognized. The blanket condemnation of gays is as wrong as the blanket condemnation of blacks.

    The greatest beneficiaries of giving up discrimination would be the individual members of the church. Church members are much better people because they gave up discrimination against blacks, and they will be much better people when they give up discrimination against gays.

    Joe and Sharon Watts

  25. 25Codyon 24 Oct 2008 at 2:45 pm

    One of the difficulties I have is the assumption that homosexual feelings are simply a “choice” that is as easy to choose as one might choose to drink or wear a particular outfit. While it is true that I have chosen to act on my homosexual feelings and attractions at this point in my life, I did not choose to be gay and spent many, many years of my life trying to suppress and eradicate these feelings from my life. I have been an active member of the LDS Church for most of my life, and I have done everything I was ever counseled to do in regards to my homosexuality. I have fasted and prayed more than you can imagine, received numerous Priesthood blessings, paid my tithing faithfully, went to church diligently, served many callings, read my scriptures, went to the temple, dated women, counseled quite honestly with my leaders, and went through reparative therapy. I have many friends and acquaintances who are gay and Mormon (or grew up Mormon) who have done the same, and so many of just seem unable to be anything but gay, and unfortunately the church I have so ardently believed in and followed all my life does not seem to give me any satisfying answers for how to combat it. I’ve been given many suggestions, but none of it works.

    I’ve heard people ignorantly say that we’re just not trying hard enough or we’re giving in to weakness and sin too easily or it’s just our cross to bear in life like bad health or a predisposition to alcoholism or what-have-you. I say that until you’ve walked in a gay person’s shoes, you just really can’t have any idea what it’s like, just as I have no idea what it’s really like to grow up black or be a woman. I can try to sympathize with the experience of an African-American or a female, but I could never presume to really understand things from their points-of-view. They’ve simply had a different life experience than I have, and it is likewise with my experience and a straight person’s. My feelings and attractions feel as natural and right to me as I presume a straight person’s do for someone of the opposite sex. I don’t know how to be any other way, and when I’ve attempted to be, it has only brought me angst, depression, stress, and a feeling that I’ll never be able to measure up to what I’m told I should be by society and my religion. I know some people have this false thinking that a person could be turned gay. From my experience and that of the gay people I know (which are many), you either are or you’re not.

    I’ve also seen people go through reparative therapy and others get married to someone of the opposite sex, and the ones I know of either feel incredibly unfulfilled in their relationships or the marriage ends (sometimes leaving kids or a spouse whose self-esteem suffers for a problem they never had control over in the first place) or the reparative therapy causes more harm than good. Frankly (and this is only based on personal experience of myself and others I know), I don’t feel reparative therapy works. I think it’s a temporary fix akin to trying to heal a gaping wound with a Band-Aid.

    What I can say simply from my own experience is that I would not have been happy in a marriage with a woman. I also dated several great women and was forthright with all of them about my sexuality, and in the end I knew it would be unfair to both of us if we were to marry. In retrospect, that turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. The relationship I’m in now is the longest-lasting, most fulfilling relationship I have ever had, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am happier and more at peace than I ever was when I was trying so hard to live my life as a straight Mormon man. I do not feel deluded or misled, and I am unquestionably happier.

    The fact is, while I still believe the LDS Church is true (a fact that cannot be erased because of a strong spiritual experience I had when I gained my testimony), I had simply reached a point in my life when the gospel as I was taught it was simply too hard to live. I could not be what the Church (and I assumed, God) wanted me to be. I was too weary, too broken, and the cross was just too heavy. And I had tried all the things I had been taught to allow the Savior to take the extra load. I was defeated, and I could do no more. I had met a great man that I was falling in love with, and while I tried to deny my feelings for him when I first met him, it became abundantly clear to me that we were meant to be together. After accepting that and coming out (knowing full well doing so would endanger my eternal salvation) something amazing happened that I did not expect: I became happier, more at ease, more willing to be myself, more at peace, more stable, and my relationship with God seemed to improve. If the Church is true (which I still believe), then I cannot explain why doing something I’ve been told is sinful and wicked has brought me more peace and happiness than I had felt in a long, long time. And you know what? I no longer care. I just know things are better for me, and I know that I am doing the best I can and that God is fully aware of that. And that is enough…for now.

    The fact is the Church (and, I guess, God, by extension) has given me few options. In an interview with Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, I’m told that no one knows what causes homosexuality, it may be in-born, it may be incredibly difficult to control (but controllable enough not to endanger my salvation), that therapy may or may not help, that marrying a woman may not help, that it may always be a problem in this mortal life, and that the best option may be to live alone and celibate for the rest of my life. Oh, and by the way, it isn’t good for man to be alone, either. One of my frustrations (and that of many others in similar situations) is that the options seem unfair and unreasonable. I know the leaders of the Church are good men who are trying hard to understand and help those who deal with same-sex attraction, but many of us feel they simply don’t understand, try as they might, and do not offer us counsel that works for us. Ultimately, as much as I tried to, I just couldn’t get aboard that train. It is my hope that if I am in the wrong that Christ’s atonement will pick up the slack because I simply wasn’t able to do it. If that makes me weak and a sinner, so be it. I just couldn’t do what was required. They say the Lord will never give you a trial you can’t overcome. This is something I wasn’t able to (and no longer desire to) overcome. I feel better about myself, my relationship, and my life than I did before I came out, so I’m okay with it.

    I am well aware that the LDS Church isn’t the only organization that is fighting for Proposition 8. I only focus on it because it is the one that I have the most immediate relationship with.

    People say gay marriage is a moral issue, and I guess that’s where I have problems. Of course, those who are absolutely certain that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the only acceptable form of marriage will doubtless find same-sex marriage to be immoral. But look at it from someone’s point-of-view who doesn’t believe that. There are gay people out there who simply would like their relationships to be recognized by society as being normal and good; who would like to have a legal ceremony that recognizes their union. This isn’t just about legal rights, because it’s true, California already gives domestic partners similar rights as one might find in a heterosexual marriage (although most states, unfortunately, do not). I just want those who disagree with same-sex marriage to imagine how it feels for a gay couple who loves each other just as much as a heterosexual couple does, who pay their taxes and perform their civic duties like any other American, who are raising their families, going to work, and doing everything else their heterosexual counterparts are doing to be told they don’t have the same right to marry. If the same-sex couple doesn’t see their relationship as immoral, then it does feel discriminatory; it does feel like they’re being treated differently when they just want to be seen as normal like any other couple, straight or gay. Proposition 8, then, is only about the straight couples’ freedoms, not the gay ones. When women and blacks weren’t allowed to vote or when African-Americans were denied the right to sit or shop in the same places white people did or drink from the same fountains or use the same bathrooms, they were being treated differently even though they were just as much citizens of this great country as anybody else. I assert that gay people are being treated differently as well. One may argue that a woman or a black person cannot help what they are, and I would argue that most gay people feel the same way about themselves. They feel that this is just who they are. And people are free to believe that this is false, but I’m just saying how many of us feel.

    And if marriage is indeed an eternal ordinance that can only be sealed in heaven as it is sealed on earth, then what difference does it make if a man-made law is changed to include all citizens, and not just some? It won’t change the law in the eternities. And while I understand the majority of voters voted for Proposition 22 a few years back, I believe that is what these judges are getting at: is it constitutional to prohibit one group of American citizens from the same right that another group has?

    You can never really know what another person is like unless you walk in their shoes. Try walking in my shoes for 37 years and proponents of Proposition 8 might feel differently about this issue.

    Our prophet and leaders continually encourage all members to extend compassion, kindness, and understanding, as true disciples of Jesus Christ to those with same-gender attraction. Unfortunately, not all do. There are still many ignorant and sometimes even hateful things said and done to those who have this issue in their lives. I know that leads to hopelessness, unworthiness, depression, guilt, and other negative feelings, and I would imagine similar feelings caused Stuart Matis to commit suicide during the political season when Proposition 22 was being lobbied. I have never personally felt hated by anyone in my church, but I certainly have felt misunderstood. There is still much educating that needs to be done, in my opinion.

    I know for me this is still a transition. Even though I am in violation of the commandments as they have been given to me, I feel I am doing the best I can and can do no more. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, my partner and I have not had sexual relations (and we have been together for about two and a half years), I still pay tithing, I go to church, I am honest with my leaders, I participate as much as I am able to in my ward, I pray, and I very much have a desire to get married to my fiancé. Ironic as it may seem, I am trying my best to live as “Mormon” of a life as I am able. I hope we can be legally married. It would feel more appropriate to me if we could. But either way, it will not change our love or commitment to one another. It would just be nice if the rest of the world recognized it the way I recognize my straight friends’ marriages.

    I am not bitter towards the LDS Church in the slightest nor do I hold any malice or ill will towards it. I know some of my gay friends do. But frankly, I would rather be as happy as I am and be wrong than feel as miserable as I did and be right. As it is, I feel very good about where I am in my life and very fulfilled in my relationships with my partner, my family, my friends, and, most importantly, God. I can’t ask for much more than that.

    Bottom line, I’m a normal guy who just wants to marry the man I love. Doing that isn’t going to force anything on anybody else any more than who my straight friends have married has negatively impacted mine.

  26. 26Steveon 26 Oct 2008 at 7:57 am

    I have thought a long time about this issue, and looked closely at both sides of the argument, but I think a child’s right to a mother and father should trump the right of gay marriage. It seems to me this issue has been overlooked by both sides. A marriage license is, at its core, a right to be formally recognized by the government as a parent of a child, especially when every other right of marriage is already bestowed upon gays. While children are unfortunately denied a mother or father, or both, by choices and circumstances beyond their control, it is a completely different matter for the state to decree that this right no longer exists. We enjoyed this right. Every other generation in the history of this country has enjoyed this right. It is well established that the best circumstances for children is to be raised by a mother and father in a low conflict home. Who are we to declare that future generations don’t have a right to a mother and father? Would you be willing to give up your father or your mother, or deny others the opportunity to have such a relationship? That is the unintended consequence of gay marriage.

    I also believe that if we are going to change this fundamental right that children have enjoyed throughout history, that change should be made by the voice of the people, not the judicial system. I empathize with people wanting to be married, but in my opinion, the consequences for future generations of children are too great.

  27. 27Juliaon 26 Oct 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Steve,

    I read your post earlier this morning, and something about it has been bothering me for hours. I finally put my finger on what it was.

    I was raised LDS in a family that was very strong and active in the Church. My mother was Relief Society President for many years, and my father spent many years serving in the Bishopric. I went to BYU for my undergraduate education, and it was during my time there that I first was able to acknowledge to myself that I am gay.

    I struggled with that for many years, trying first to overcome my same-sex attractions, and then trying to reconcile my religious beliefs with my inability to overcome those attractions. It was an incredibly painful time for me, and I spent those years feeling lost and helpless. The church offered no solace for me, conversations with my bishop left me feeling even less peace with the gospel. I seriously contemplated doing myself physical harm.

    It was only when I decided that my own well being was more important than trying to figure out how to fit myself into the confines of the LDS faith that I was able to acheive some measure of peace and solace. Years later, when talking with my mother about the struggles that I went through during that time in my life, she said that she regretted in some ways having raised me in the LDS faith. She said that realizing how much pain I endured in that struggle of trying to reconcile my faith with who I am, made her realize that perhaps being raised LDS was not ultimately the best thing for me, and that she was sorry for all the pain that it caused me.

    Even though being raised LDS did cause me a lot of emotional turmoil and pain, I don’t fault my parents for making that decision for me. They made a decision that they felt was right for their family. And I respect their decision. Even though it was hard for me, I learned a lot of valuable lessons from enduring that experience, and I am a much stronger person for it.

    But, I didn’t have a “right” to not be raised Mormon if my parents felt that was best for me. I didn’t have a “right” to choose to be raised by a non-mormon mother and father instead of a Mormon mother and father. Kids don’t need the “right” to choose the circumstances of their upbringing. Realistically, this isn’t even feasible. They just need parents (or a parent, for the case of kids who have single parents) who are willing to do whatever they can to raise their children well.

    And, so this is the part that really gets me. If a loving same-sex couple is raising a child, shouldn’t our society to everything possible to help ALL parents meet the responsibility of raising their children well, teaching them to be decent and responsible people and giving them the tools to succeed? I think the answer to that question is yes, and that’s why I can’t understand why someone would want to strip same-sex couples of the ability to have the legal protections and the responsibility and social support that come with a legally-recognized marriage.

    Passing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage won’t stop same-sex couples from having and raising kids. It will just ensure that those kids are raised in families that don’t have access to all the same rights and protections and responsibilities of heterosexual married couples.

  28. 28Captain Moronion 26 Oct 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Steve, Sorry, but kids don’t really have a right to a mother and a father. It’s a nice sweet theory, but the definition of a theory is a nice sounding premise ganged up on by the facts. I someone infringes on my right to free speech or press, i can sue them. If someone tries to keep one from voting at 18, they can be sued. Who can the kids sue to get their mom and dad back? We would never take away a child from a single parent household. What about kids in orphanages? Who do they sue?

    I wish it were as easy as it is to say, reality shows otherwise.

  29. 29admin3on 26 Oct 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Okay, time to nip this in the bud. Anyone who wants to share a personal story here is welcome to do so, but let’s not get lost in the debate weeds here. Thanks – only 9 more days to go – hang in there, everyone!

  30. 30Lisaon 26 Oct 2008 at 8:20 pm

    THANK YOU! I am parent at Creative Arts Charter School, and I so appreciate that you actually took the time to read about our school and understand the values and appreciation for diversity that we’re trying to instill in our children.

    Our school is home to several same-sex parent households. Any time we have a school event (and we have a lot ) our children are “learning” about same-sex partnerships. I have known for several years the parents who planned the trip to surprise Erin, and there was no agenda aside from letting her know how much the class appreciates and loves here. And it’s not that the children “witnessed” the wedding, they were on the courthouse steps throwing flowers when she came out.

    I have been in a loving, respectful heterosexual marriage for fifteen years, and I am fighting side by side with my gay and lesbian friends to help defeat the introduction of discrimination into our state’s constitution. Thanks for fighting along side us.

  31. 31InHisHandson 27 Oct 2008 at 10:04 pm

    I have a 16 year old Daughter who since elementary, has always been tom-boyish. She dressed & did everything & anything a boy would normally do. The month of her 15th Birthday (in 2007), she began menstrating. Soon after, I started noticing a change in her physical appearance. She was growing excess facial & body hair. Didn’t think anything of it. Then early this year (Jan. 2008), I realized she hadn’t asked me to buy her her feminine supplies other than the only one I first bought the month she first started menstrating. In 2007.

    I approached my Daughter (still tomboyish) & was told she had only had 2 or 3 periods in the last year, 2007. I was alarmed. Set up an Appointment w/her Doctor and after many tests were done, she was Diagnosed with PCOS-Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. A health problem that can affect a women’s menstral cycle, ability to have Children, hormones, blood vessels, heart & appearance. PCOS Women have high levels of “MALE” Androgens, irregular/missed periods & cycst on their ovaries as well as all the symptoms of PCOS like Male pattern baldness, weight gain, acne, pelvic pain & the list goes on. PCOS patients are also at High Risk of having Diabetes, High Blood pressure, Cancers etc. She’s now on multiple medications for PCOS.

    Heartbroken & concerened, I started researching PCOS. In the process, I came across some stunning heart sinking information of Studies that were done that have linked a high percentage of Girls & Women w/PCOS to live a more bisexual/lesbian lifestyle because of the hormonal confusion/inbalance of MALE hormones in a Girls/Womens body. Never said a word to my Daughter. All I could do was hope & pray the findings were false.

    Three months after her Diagnosis, I found out she was dating. A Girl. I was devastated, sad, disappointed & felt I had failed as her Mother. Sat my Daughter down & had a full blown heated & teary eyed discussion about her sexual preferance where she openly admitted being bisexual.

    Could my findings of PCOS & a girls/womens sexual preferance then be true? Maybe, just maybe their is a medical connection.

    But as rough & tough as it was to find out our only Daughter at the age of 16 was bisexual, over time my Husband, myself & our Sons as well as extended family have learned to cope & deal with her sexuality. We’ve had many long talks with our Daughter together & individually. We’ve opened our hearts, minds & arms to her more now then we ever did before. During these conversations, we never failed to let her know that we LOVE her & in no way will alienate and/or disown her and made it clear to her. Told her that her health & happiness is more important to us over her sexuality. That both are TOP priority!

    We also reminded her that we, as her Parents will do anything and everything in our power to see to her health, well-being & happiness here on Earth as a Daughter of our Heavenly Father.

    The Church has always taught us as Members, to Love One Another and “Family First”. Our bisexual Daughter has refused to attend Church stating she feels uncomforatble & unaccepted there. Her refusal means her happiness. And if she refuses to attend, then so be it! Our Daughter is our Daughter & we will stand beside her & support her. All the positive’s about our Daughter outweighs her sexual orientation. With that said, we will leave it….InHisHands!

  32. 32Justin Utleyon 27 Oct 2008 at 10:09 pm

    There is an off-broadway show opening this week in New York City called The Play About Henry, which is based of the true events involved in the suicide of Henry Stuart Matis. Interviews were conducted with friends and family of Henry, as well as his bishop at the time.

    A very moving story for those who have the opportunity to see it. There is a trailer on YouTube about it. Search for “the play about henry”.

    -Justin Utley

  33. 33Randyon 28 Oct 2008 at 1:06 pm

    You know, who are they to tell me I am an abomination to God. I know God loves me and that he is ok with my decisions. I feel so strongly about this, that the Prophet himself can stand next to me at judgement day. I have a lot of questions I would like to ask God. Common sense tells me that God would not come down and tell men that they can have as many wives as they choose, but it is evil to be Gay. They are wrong and how nice it must be to speak to God about all these things and never have the need to prove any of it!!! How arrogant!! I don’t think any of the Church leaders would appreciate someone talking about their intimate lives the way they talk about us! And when they talk about Gay people, they are reffering to our intimate lives! What right do any of them have! seriously, sex is not always the most important. I could live as a monk and still I would be Gay! I tried marriage! It does not work for me. Family values! Huh!! It is so easy for them to treat us like garbage. I guess we don’t belong to that big old Celestial family! They all say what they want, but ask yourself when they have ever listened to us? I am a child of God. I am not some stinking animal that you throw out with the trash. I do not need to repent of this!!! And I speak to God about it every day. Why would I want to be in some Celestial kingdom with people who do not love me. You don’t treat people you love in this way and I will not beg for someone to care. I almost died this last year and I had my own spiritual experience. I know that love to others is the most important! I will continue to love all those people I have always loved, but no more begging. I will never let anyone make me believe that my relationship with God is worth less than any other! God knows me inside out! I am none of those horrible things that they say! And my personal life is mine! The hate and the lies that the Church puts out there is truly a shame. They know much more than they talk about. Yes, being Gay will teach you which people actually love you and the ones who really don’t know what love is! They can all do as they please because I will continue to be me and those who love me will give me the respect that they expect and want in their own lives. But, you know, the pain I truly feel inside is the loss of the people I love! But that is not my choice and I wont pretend to be someone that I am not just to get their love. It does not work that way. God bless all of you

  34. 34Debbion 28 Oct 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I am so glad my husband found this site for me. I have felt so alone the last few months as everyone at church has talked about prop 8, and I sat there quietly, not able to voice my thoughts without fear of their reactions. I have been a member of the church since 1989, serving a mission and holding many callings. My husband is a nonmember and has seen how much this issue has hurt me.

    Through my own prayer and meditation, I have come to believe that:
    1) No one “chooses” to be gay – they are created this way.
    2) God doesn’t make mistakes, so if someone is created gay, that must be part of God’s plan for them.
    3) God loves all of his children, and I need to do the same. In fact, both my patriarchal blessing and a few blessings I’ve received have included specific instructions to me that I am supposed to love all of his children, and to help them know they are loved.
    4) Even if I DIDN’T agree with another person’s lifestyle, as long as their lifestyle doesn’t hurt anyone, I don’t have the right to interfere with it.

    When Prop 8 began to be discussed at church, I appreciated that we were asked to pray about the issue and IF we felt strongly about it, we should give of our time and means to support it. Unfortunately, this quickly changed to a charge for all members of my ward to be active in getting Prop 8 passed, with any who opposed seen as enemies of God! My husband and I spoke about the situation often, and he was very respectful (as was I) with members of my ward, not taking a big stand because I was afraid of the backlash.

    My ward has had at least one evening of standing on the corner, waving signs at cars at commute time. I was shocked at the signs they held. PROP 8 = RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and PROP 8 = LESS GOVERNMENT. I respect peoples rights to support their ideas, but these signs are just insane! Prop 8 says that one religious view should impose itself on other’s rights regarding marriage. Prop 8 says that the government should limit who should be allowed to marry. As I drove home, looking at those signs, I felt embarrassed to be associated with those people.

    We did not plan to put up any lawn signs because everyone knows where I live and I didn’t want the drama. I decided I just would tune it all out. However, when all of the talks at church included discussion about the YES ON PROP 8 campaign and our Relief Society email list inundated my inbox with notes about rallies, calls for donations, and other prop 8 news, I became more and more frustrated. Finally, YES ON PROP 8 signs began being distributed on Sundays at church, and everyone was expected to take one for their front lawn. At that point, I told my husband we could get a lawn sign stating NO ON PROP 8. A few days after it was put up, it was mysteriously stolen from our yard. Later that week, before we could get a new sign, I came home to find that someone had planted a YES ON PROP 8 sign in my front yard! I quickly removed it.

    My husband ended up spray painting a circle with a slash on it, turning it into a NO ON PROP 8 sign and replaced it on Sunday afternoon. A short while later, he glanced out the window to see a woman in our yard removing the sign! I recognized her as a member of my ward!!! My husband quickly went out to confront her. She lied and said that she noticed it had fallen down and was picking it up to put it back up. She then said she noticed that it had been ruined and was going to replace it for us. My husband explained that it was our sign, in our yard, and was as he had wanted it. She then demanded to know if the strip where the sign had been was really on our property! He assured that it was definately part of OUR yard and demanded that she hand him the sign and leave our yard. He replaced the sign and she and her husband raced away. Last night someone ripped the sign and I patched it back up. Today, we came home to find it completely destroyed.

    I cannot believe the level of hate and intolerance I am seeing in my ward. I hope that not all wards are like this. I didn’t go to church last Sunday because I didn’t want to deal with it – and am not looking forward to Stake Conference this coming weekend. It is nice to know that I’m not the only LDS member who is voting NO on Prop 8.

    - Debbi

  35. 35Rod Gordonon 29 Oct 2008 at 9:57 am

    I was recently married in California. I live in Salt Lake City. My entire family is Mormon. Getting married changed my life. I never imagined that it would affect me so deeply. Now, when I go to weddings, I don’t feel like an outsider looking in. I ask my coworkers how they would feel if someone told them they could not be recognized as a married couple. One coworker told me that marriage has always been between a man and a woman and should stay that way. My response was to ask her a few questions. When did marriage become something between a white man and a white woman? When did marriage become something between a black man and a black woman? When did marriage become something between a black man and a white woman? Even if schools are required to teach that gay marriage is equal to or the same as straight marrieage, so what! The love that I have for my “HUSBAND” isn’t any less than the love that is shared by any straight couple. In fact, I dare say that I love my partner more than many straight married people love their’s. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him. I dream of a day when people’s hearts are no longer filled with hate, predjudice and fear and they can start loving the way Christ loved. My aunt asked me if I thought this might be a test from God that I was failing. My response was to ask her if this might not be a test of her love and tolerance and that she might be the one failing the test. I can’t force others to love me. I can only extend my own love whenever possible. Good luck to all and thanks for letting me write.

  36. 36anonymousactiveon 29 Oct 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Debbi,

    I feel your pain. Just know that many of us are on your side. Vote no on H8!

  37. 37Natalieon 29 Oct 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Debbi,
    That sounds so atrocious! I cannot believe people would go to such great lengths to silence your voice!

    Have you talked to your bishopric about this? It sounds like it might be time for some serious mediation. Nowhere in the doctrine of our church are we counseled to be coercive, sneaky, and dishonest. Sounds like perhaps those should be the themes of your upcoming Stake Conference, and that they should just let Prop. 8 alone for a while!

    I am so sorry for the conflict you have to personally undergo because of this. Best of luck, and stay strong!

  38. 38Keithon 29 Oct 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Debbi,

    I agree with Natalies’ suggestion that you talk to your bishop about the destruction of your yard sign.

    Like you, I’ve sat silently through church meetings while significant time was spent rallying the troops in favor of Prop 8. While there was one occasion where I spoke up in response to a few comments I thought clearly crossed the line, I’ve been afraid to make my position known.

    Last Sunday, however, the issue came to a head, when I was challenged as to why I had no signed up to volunteer for the effort. I simply responded that I didn’t feel the same way others in the ward felt about it. While I suspect there were a few who immediately wrote me off as an apostate, I was surprised at how understanding and respectful the response was. I haven’t felt any repercussion, and I have little reason to believe that I will.

    I believe it is important for your bishop to know of your treatment, so that he has the opportunity to address the issue. Regardless of what happens with Proposition 8, I suspect that there will be need for some serious fence mending. All the better to start as soon as possible.

    Finally, I think it’s important for those Church members, and to a lesser extent non-members, to understand why the Church is taking its particular position on this. I don’t think anyone can be truly surprised about it. And notwithstanding some members, I have absolutely no reason to believe that the Church is anything but sincere and well intioned on this. And I can’t simply dismiss that a person I sustain as a prophet has come out in support of it. I can’t rule out that he may see or be aware of something I am missing.

  39. 39InHisHandson 29 Oct 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Hi,

    Sorry everyone but does anyone know where I can get a “Vote NO to PROP 8″ sign in Utah? Or do they only have them in California?

    InHisHands!

  40. 40Lauraon 29 Oct 2008 at 6:00 pm

    You can download many things here at the official No site.

  41. 41John S.on 02 Nov 2008 at 9:44 am

    The Church teaches that both Mothers and Fathers have Divine Roles in the raising of children. Both are very important. Today society is promoting the raising of families by people of the same gender. This arrangement does not provide the same balance or opposite perspective.

    I found an interesting quote from someone who is actively opposing the Church’s stance on Proposition 8. “Pinyon pines and Utah Junipers also share an interesting botanical trait. They are monoecious, which means that both female and male characteristics—cones or berries and the flowers that pollinate them—exist in the same tree. Thus both God and humanity in my garden are simultaneously male and female, and gender role constructs are simply irrelevant.”

    I am not against Gays or the protection of Civil unions but I am concerned about the long term challenges that society will face when more and more children grow up without both a father and a mother. Putting society’s stamp of approval on same sex marriage sends a message that gender does not matter, roles of men and women do not matter, and that it makes no difference to the well being of children to raise them in a fatherless or motherless environment.

  42. 42Kelly Wilsonon 03 Nov 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I am not Mormon, but I have many friends who are and have respected the Mormon community my entire life. My family has been troubled by the forcefulness of Mormon neighbors about the Prop 8 issue, we actually have several neighbors who are Mormon here in Pleasanton. These families put not one, but several Yes on 8 signs on their lawns. I have several friends who have received phone calls from Mormons asking them how they plan to vote on Prop 8. I thought that churches were supposed to stay out of politics?
    My story actually sounds like a made for TV movie but it is real, 100% real. My father after 24 years of marriage to my mother, and 5 children he “came out” with his homosexuality, a secret he had tried to hide as long as he could remember. He says he was born Gay and married my mother trying to be straight. We are Christian, I was raised in a Church where my father was also an Elder in the Congregation. Our church did not encourage dating unless you were engaged to be married, you dated in groups before that, and chaparoned after your engagement until you married. I married at 18. After 9 years of marriage and 2 children my husband too “came out” with his homosexuality. He wanted to stay married but told me his secret so that I understood why our sex life was practically non-existent. He didn’t feel attracted, but he loved me and being a family.
    Just as my parents divorced and remained the best of friends, my husband and I divorced and remained the best of friends. Sadly he died of AIDS in 1989 with me sleeping on a cot at the foot of his bed in the hospital. I can tell you he did not choose to be Gay, he was born Gay. My father, who remains the best father in the world, a father who would do ANYTHING for me or any of my siblings did not choose to be Gay either. When you know a Gay person who has tried to go straight, you have more tolerance. We are all God’s children. Gay people should have the right to a legal marriage and all the rights we have. The love they have for their partners is no different than the love we have for ours.
    Thank you for your website.

  43. 43Fiona64on 03 Nov 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Kelli, thank you for sharing your story. Many of our neighbors have numerous “Yes on 8″ signs on their lawn, and the (rather large) teenaged son of one of them came over to try to physically intimidate me into taking down our “No on 8″ sign last night. I was *furious.* The boy was sent on his way with a civics education that he lacked when he arrived at my doorstep and the information that we had already voted against Prop 8 and his behavior would never change my opinion (in a nutshell).

    I wish this was the first example of physical intimidation I’ve faced since supporting “No on 8,” and I do not see how people can reconcile this kind of behavior with their self-professed “loving Christianity.” :-(

  44. 44Sheri Lawsonon 04 Nov 2008 at 3:56 pm

    In 2000, when Prop 22, The Protect Marriage Act, was on the ballot here in CA, I was an active member of the church with 3 teenagers. When the church had my kids actively promoting this proposition, I was appalled. From the core of my soul my heart screamed how wrong it was. I ended up leaving the church over it. If they could be so blatantly descriminatory and prejuduce over this issue, what else had they lied to us about.

    Time passed and my heart softened toward the church, although I never went back. I have two daughters who are now married in the temple and devout Mormon. When I began discussions with them regarding Prop 8, I was met with much opposition, and even though I was simply trying in a loving way to open their eyes to how desciminatory it is, one son-in-law wrote me and basically told me to stay away from him and his children with my liberal views and that I was no longer welcome in their home. When my daughter found out she cried and apologized, but my heart aches that the church has taught my children to descriminate. It breaks my heart that the very institution that the church is trying to protect, the family, is being ripped apart like this. Where is the compassion? Where is the love the Savior taught?

    Thank you for creating this website. My prayer is that somehow it will help soften the hearts of those being mislead through some unrighteous judgement of those who they don’t understand.

    Love
    Sheri Lawson (used to be Hancock)

  45. 45Natalieon 05 Nov 2008 at 9:38 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those why may be hurting after the results of Prop. 8 tonight. I can only pray that those who were married already will be able to keep their new families intact.

    I am so sorry this joy was taken from you. It makes me feel almost ashamed to enjoy my heterosexual marriage so much.

    The success of Proposition 8 has, if anything, weakened the importance of traditional marriage in my eyes. If the majority can just bully the minority into accepting its views, how meaningful is it to partake in this discriminatory institution?

    My prayers are with you all. Thank you for your efforts. I wish I could have done more.
    ~Natalie

  46. 46anonymousactiveon 05 Nov 2008 at 1:57 pm

    This battle is far from over. It is going to be tried again. Gays will be married in California–it is all a matter of time. I felt awful when I heard the news.

    I feel ostracized for not only opposing prop 8, but also being a mormon democrat. I have already heard a few sarcastic remarks about obama in church meetings.

  47. 47Bryanon 05 Nov 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I labored for Yes on 8 with no enmity in my heart for anyone, though I realize the issue is heartfelt one for many on the other side of the issue. I hope everyone bears that in mind, moving forward. It makes me sad to think that bad tactics and ill behavior would used by any side in this campaign (we dealt with physical threats of our own and had to replace a lot of stolen signs, but what’s new).

    Some have asserted that same-sex marriage will eventually find a permanent home in California–that may well be. I couldn’t say. But I think everyone that stood for what they understood to be right and/or what they felt the Lord would have them do (whether you were YES or NO), those folks have something to be proud of. On that basis, I would have been have been satisified with my efforts win or lose (unless it was lose by 10 votes…then I would have kicked myself). I know me and “my kind” are viewed as bigots and hatemongers by many that I’ve heard from, but I hope we can move forward peaceably. I don’t expect anyone to give up on their convictions, whatever they may be.

  48. 48Nikon 05 Nov 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I am appauled that this has passed. I am appauled to know that some of my tithing money would be used for something so despicable.

    I have thought long and hard about this… I am going to take my name off the records.

  49. 49Lisa A.on 05 Nov 2008 at 10:03 pm

    anonymous active:

    your experience is exactly as mine. it will take me a long time to heal as well. at this moment, i have no desire to return. i literally listened to someone in sunday school wishing a bad fate to befall san francisco. i was just shocked. i’m looking towards attending the unitarian universalist congregation going forward.

    i am a single mom. my definition of family is all-encompassing, and the lds churches definition is not. i am saddened.

  50. 50Lauraon 05 Nov 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Nik (49)

    Everyone has to make these decisions on their own, and it’s sad that you (and others) feel the best way to resolve the pain is to walk away completely. And every camel has a “last straw.”

    If it makes a difference to your thinking, at least the church didn’t donate millions of dollars itself. Expect for a few thousand dollars to reimburse flight and hotel expenses, the $15 million+ that came from Mormon circles was donated by individual members, most of whom live in California.

    Of course, the Church put together and aired the big satellite broadcast in early October, held numerous conference calls with California leaders, created and developed content for its own website and provided a very good framework on which to build a large volunteer and leadership base.

  51. 51Jeanieon 05 Nov 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t think that it is exactly fair to assume that people are walking away from the church as a way to deal with the pain. For some it is a matter of integrity and also a way to let their voice be heard in a very clear and unambiguous manner. The reasons why a person leaves the church become a matter of record. Having one’s voice heard is important. I think everyone here has wanted to make a difference regarding this issue. There are multiple paths to make that difference. The decisions made on how an individual is going to proceed in order to make equality a reality for ALL people should not be second-guessed by another.

  52. 52Jeanieon 06 Nov 2008 at 12:00 am

    Despite the outcome of Proposition 8, this Nov 3rd vignette shared by a member of my UCC congregation, speaks to the power of love and the importance of teaching our children that discrimination is wrong.
    *****

    Every evening, Miguel and I drive up Carmen Drive and he says “Look Momma, those yellow signs, why people honking?” I explain each time in similar words that those people believe things that Momma and Mima do not. Everyone has signs because they think that we should believe what they do. I am not honking, because I do not agree with them. Where we live it is OK to be able to say what you think and believe different things. (referencing a book by Todd Parr “It’s OK to be Different).

    “Momma!!” he says. “I see BLUE! Do we honk for BLUE like yours?” (my No on 8 sign).

    We laid on the horn, whipped a U-Turn and went to stand with the Camarillo Democrats. We tolerated about a half an hour (It was chilly). Miguel overheard something about marriage…how he recognized and correlated a Lesbian wedding we had at our church on Sunday to the signs out on the street I am not sure, but he said, “Momma, you and Mima married?”
    “Yes, we are. We are here to make sure that people who love each other can get married” I said. My mind was spinning, trying to figure out how he made the connection…..

    As we walked away, he said “Pick me up, peese”. I did. He kissed my cheek and said “I love you”. Hallmark Moment.

    As we drove away, past the Camarillo Democrats, honking wildly, he said.

    “Momma, I like Blue, Blue my favorite.”

  53. 53Anonymouson 08 Nov 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I am a convert who used to be gay. What a way to be! When I was gay, I fully embraced the lifestyle and truly believed that I too was born that way. Now I can no longer understand how that was possible. I am tolerant of gay people and the way they have chosen to live their lives. I do not support gay marriage. I amaze myself that I feel the way I do. I have a very interesting story and I am in such a quandry as to whether or not I can speak this story publicly. When I was baptized, I interviewed with the Mission President and repented of my sins and past life. All this I did with a clean heart. I know without a doubt that for the first time in my life I am in the right place, doing the right thing, living the right way. It is possible to change. Can everyone? I don’t know, nor would I expect this from anyone else. I felt a great deal of sadness as I read these responses. I know what it takes to tell your story. Please understand that I do not hate. I don’t understand the feeling of hatred. I voted yes on 8. Was I right or wrong? I don’t know. Just like the rest of you I had to vote according to my heart, not according to the way the Church wanted me to.

  54. 54Nikon 09 Nov 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Laura (51)

    It’s been a long journey and you are not the first to try to get me back to the fold.

    Please know that in no way am I dealing with the pain by walking away, quite the opposite actually! I am getting more involved and more politically active. I am walking away from a church that has spent MILLIONS in TEARING MY FAMILY APART! How is that protecting families? I have done NOTHING but put my well deserved time and effort into the church, only to be told that my family doesnt deserve the same rights as every one else.

    I do not think that it is right that the California Govt is letting a majority vote on a minority, which is what the GLBT community is.

    In the words of Brigham Young,
    “Marriage is a civil contract. You might as well make a law to say how many children a man shall have, as to make a law to say how many wives he shall have. (Journal of Discourses, 11:268-9)”

    So to keep up like I have been talking, marriage is govt contract and it still has nothing to do with religion. Therefore, I am taking the religion out of my self and standing up for what is right in society. Jesus would stand up for the societies outcasts, and that is what I will do, with no thanks to the church that professes to be ‘christ-like’.

  55. 55Bethon 10 Nov 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I debated submitting a post, fearing my own feelings, and wondering how to share my son’s tragedy in a way that would mean something. I was so scared to say anything, but had seen this website as a beacon of light to us LDS mothers who struggle everyday with somehow defending our belief in the Church with explaining to our children when the Church does something that hurts them. I felt that I needed to write something. . . anything to begin to heal my sadness.

    I have been watching and reading these posts for days, I have read just about everything I could find from the Church, and on the internet. Then I read the post above by #54 Anonymous and just had to write something, realizing that the person I was before would have been swayed by that story. I would have been looking so hard for something familiar in all the posts to tell me that I did not have to change my beliefs. That the Church leaders were always speaking the words that God has given them, and I could trust them even against the still small voice inside of me that was telling me to follow my own heart. #54 I wish you the best in your pursuit, and I am not saying that just maybe, you will be one of the only ones to ever succeed, but I have seen with my own eyes that such changes do not seem to last very long. I hope you are telling the truth about your story, and not just making the claim that you have given up homsexuality then posted it anonymously among all these heartfelt stories. I understand the need to be anonymous, but I cannot help but wonder about whether you are sure of what you say.

    I watched my youngest son go through a similar ordea and we too thought that homosexuality was his trial in this life. That he has somehow agreed to be tested in this way in the Sprit world and that he could beat it. My husband and I did all we could to show him our love and support and also encoraged him to be further involved in the Church. We held so many meeting with the bishop, we cried so many nights fearing the worst for him, and we just wanted him to have what we had. He wanted that too. He did all that we asked. He was so beautiful, such a blessing to our family. He was always the first to help out, and was such an inspiration to both his younger sister and even his older brother who seemed to always getting in trouble. He struggled so very hard. I saw the light of Christ in his eyes and even thought that one day he may be the Prophet. I know that is boastful, and I don’t mean it that way, he just seemed to have a connection to the other side that none of the rest of us did. He was so painfully honest with us. We tried everything, prayers, blessings, conversion therapy. He went on a mission, and we were so fearful for him out there. He got so depressed, and had one companion who was especially mean to him but we encoraged him on. When he came home early, we were so let down, but we tried to help him move on.

    He went to college, he was naturally a really good student and became so active in Institute. We thought that the homosexuality was behind us, he stopped talking about it completely. He would still get very depressed but he seemed to be dealing with it on his own. He had met a nice girl through his involvement in the student housing association and had given her a promise ring. We were pretty sure that they would marry when he graduated. He told us that he would be bringing her home for Thanksgiving. When he showed up without her we were worried. He was in another one of his very depressed moods and we ended up in a long, tearful conversation, where he told us that he just wanted to have a family and “be normal.” We told him that he could and that he just had to make the “right” choice. But now when I think back I’m not sure we understood at the time what he meant. I remember the look in his eyes when he seemed to plead for us just to tell him it was okay to be him, to be gay, to have what my husband and I had but with someone he loved. We went to bed that night with things unresolved. I regret that terrible decision so much. I cry about that horrible decision to go to bed leaving him in so much confusion. I left him alone, and he felt he did not have our love unless he could somehow not be gay.

    I woke up to hear my daughter screaming and crying. I stumbled down the hall and could just see her leaning over into the bathroom door with her feet in the hallway. She pulled back and I can remember so vividly her look of terror on her face as hands were covered in blood and she screamed to me. I didn’t know what had happened. My husband, who must have been right behind me caught me because I passed out. I woke up on the carpet in the hallway to see my husband in the bathroom holding my son trying to wrap his arms in a towel. My daughter had gone to call 911. I pulled myself from the floor and crawled in a state of full panic to hold my baby. I don’t even remember how I got past my husband, I just knew I had to plead with God not to take him. I still know that I felt the Comforter come over me as his soul slipped away. I thought I could convince his soul to stay… I just thought if I tried hard enough I could bargain with God not to let him go. It was too late. I feel so immensely guilty for our failings. He wrote to us that he loved us and could not find what it was inside him that made him gay. I know that it was God that made him gay and it was my trial in life to accept him, and I failed so completely.

    We had the opportunity to save him that night by telling him he could just live and be gay but we did not. My husband and I stood for hours in the hospital that night with our clothes soaked in his blood. I felt so sinnful, because it was OUR fault. We were wearing the badge of our sin. I would not take them off because I felt that it was all my fault, I laid for days in our room and don’t even remember for how long. I am not sure I can ever be forgiven for what we failed to do, but I can tell you that it is not okay to let anyone treat any of these children poorly for even one second longer. That for me is what this discussion about this amendment and everything else is about. I was adamantly opposed to Proposition 8 because it encourages the same unintelligent thinking by people who just need a reason to hate gays and lesbians, that led to my sons taking of his own life. The Church cannot expect everyone to see the fine differences between its support of banning gay marriage and yet still loving our gay children. These don’t go together because many in the Church see it as an approval for treating gay children like they are not Christ’s children.

    My daughter left the Church after my son’s suicide, but my husband, and I have remained. My eldest son doesn’t go to church very often, and he just won’t talk about it at all. I still am unsure of my membership. The members of the relief society of my ward I think know that my son was gay and have been careful not to say anything homophobic around me, but I know that my husband has not been so lucky. He is really struggling with his membership in the Church. My soul aches, because I cannot see how being so sure of ourselves in trying to change my son it brought anything but sorrow. If we had accepted him, we would still have him with us today. Please tell everyone you know to tell the Church leadership to reverse its course. Please. It serves no purpose to make these children feel that the gospel does not speak to them.

  56. 56Franon 10 Nov 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Beth, I’m crying for you and your family right now. You certainly have done a good job at showing the conflict that arises when you’re a member of the Church and struggle with homosexuality. It’s heartwrenching, heart breaking, and I don’t know what the solution truly is. Suicide is definitly not the answer. I’m so sorry for your family, your son, your loss and your heart ache. I’ll remember you in my prayers tonight!

  57. 57Jeanieon 10 Nov 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Thank you, Beth, for having the courage to share your story. I am so sorry for your loss. The LDS suicides forever haunt me. I don’t understand how members can turn their back and pretend that they don’t exist.

  58. 58Lara Cleveland Torgesenon 10 Nov 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Beth,

    I read your message through tears. My heart goes out to you and your family and your dear son who is surely with God now. All the stories of true heartfelt and sincere regret, the “if only” stories, have to do with our intolerance of homosexuality. If we had tolerance, if we accepted everyone for who they are gay or straight and told them to find live, find happiness–that we loved them without conditions–would we ever have these “if only” moments? I don’t think there would ever come a time when we would be lamenting, “If only we had banned gay marriage!” “If only we had been stricter!” “If only we had used a little more “tough love”!”

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story with us. It surely was not an easy one to write or relive, but perhaps another mother’s child will be saved as a result. Beth, I hope you and your husband will find it in your hearts to forgive yourselves. It’s obvious that you loved your son and he knew that. Many of us who were raised in Mormonism held beliefs that homosexuality was somehow deviant, unholy, something that could and should be changed or suppressed. We just didn’t know.

    I wish you comfort, peace, and acceptance.

  59. 59Fiona64on 11 Nov 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Beth, thank you for sharing this story. More people need to know how LDS doctrine hurts families.

  60. 60Jasonon 11 Nov 2008 at 10:53 pm

    I’m a happily married heterosexual, with 3 kids. I’ve known a few gays in my life, a few on the mission, a few at BYU, a few elsewhere. I really have nothing against them especially since in most cases I think hormones and creation’s randomness creates people of all kinds. I find it interesting that so much effort is spent to diffuse love between two people, when there is so much hate and need in the world. If you are gay, I just wanted to write to tell you that I feel for you and want to be counted among those who care.

  61. 61Sheryl Becketton 12 Nov 2008 at 12:39 am

    Beth, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can only imagine how you felt that day and how you feel now. If only more people understood homosexuality.

    I remember back to a conversation I had with my immediate supervisor. We’d worked together for several years at another company, so I knew she was a lesbian. She asked me one day, knowing I was Mormon, what the church expected of gays and lesbians. I gave the answer that the church expected the same as it did for single members, celibacy. What I didn’t understand at that time was that it also expected them to give up a social life and never have the hope for love and companionship. How little I understood at that time.

    Shery

  62. 62Anonymous #54on 14 Nov 2008 at 2:30 am

    Beth I am very real. How could someone manufacture a story such as mine! I am saddened by your son’s suicide. I understand what depression is and the urge to want to commit suicide. I suffer from major depressive disorder. This is a biological condition. I never once struggled with my lesbianism. I had several long term relationships. I felt at a very young age that I was gay and I accepted this. When I stopped being gay, I did this years before I converted. So my becoming straight had nothing to do with my conversion. My best friend tells me that I was never really gay. I have to disagree with her. I can’t see myself ever returning to that lifestyle. It is all so alien to me. I can’t believe that I ever led that kind of life. I am a single woman and yes I do uphold the commandments. I am celibate. This is very difficult because I absolutly love sex (straight). I can date several men right now, but I will not date a non-mormon man. This gospel is my passion and my only conflict right now is that I can not have sex. When faced with the choice I always ‘choose the right’, as corny as it sounds. What made me change? I don’t really know. All I know is being straight feels very right. That I was once a lesbian sickens me. I never had any kids and now I am too old for that. I’m not too old to get married, and I look forward to marrying that one man who is meant for me. Where ever he is I know he is looking for me too. This is God’s promise to me and I know that I will be blessed abundantly.

  63. 63Melissaon 14 Nov 2008 at 10:24 pm

    I am so glad to have found MormonsforMarriage videos on YouTube which led me to this site. I am happy to hear the opinions of loving LDS members.

    I’m not LDS, but I live in Vancouver, Washington where there is a sizable LDS community so I know many church members as acquaintances, and one of my friends is a church member. I met him in high school but he didn’t talk much about religion so I haven’t learned much about his faith, and now we don’t talk as much because he moved to the east coast and has a family and career that keeps him busy.

    I only know a few things about LDS, some are positive and some are negative. What has always made me uncomfortable about the church is its history of discrimination, particularly racial, and its very slow acceptance of people who fall outside of the white Christian heterosexual norm.

    Though I know plenty of kind church members, unfortunately, I know more who are socially and politically conservative and intolerant of diversity. To me, the LDS Church has always seemed more negative and judgmental than other Christian churches.

    So you can imagine how touched I am to learn about church members taking a stance on such an important and controversial issue as gay marriage. I am grateful people are making their voices heard.

    I am not lesbian but have always been an advocate for gay rights because I believe LGBT people are the last group of citizens to be so blatantly and painfully discriminated against in the United States. I believe this inequality is morally and legally wrong. I am passionate about this issue and will fight for gay equality as long as I live because injustice for any is injustice for all.

    If enough of us just keep speaking out, future ballot measures like Proposition 8 will not pass.

  64. 64Merrie Leeon 15 Nov 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I just have to applaud all of you brave members of the Church for sharing your other beliefs. I know it takes courage. I am a former Mormon who no longer believes it is true, but who loves the members of the Church as my own. They are my neighbors, best friends, and the kindest, best people on earth. And you are the best of that bunch. You who kindly dare to share. I do believe it will be people like you who keep the LDS Church thriving, because I believe your influence will help it to change its stance. I look at the history with President Kimball and the revelation about blacks receiving the priesthood and see it as a strenuous, intense, nervewracking process, but I believe that the good in people’s hearts will prevail. When Church leaders talk about why blacks weren’t given the priesthood, the rhetoric is now completely different, and the rationale that was used to keep them out has all but disappeared from the books. No one ever speaks about the belief that blacks weren’t as valiant in the pre-existence, therefore they received the curse of Cain and were given the black skin because they were less valiant than the whites in the preexistence. That is what used to be the common stance. And think how awful that whole notion sounds now?

    I believe this will happen with gays, but it will be a process, one which I’ve seen already unfolding. The rhetoric must first die down (so the Church doesn’t look completely dopey by backing down), and the prophet must pray, but I believe he or a future prophet will get a revelation (not that I believe in that stuff at all, but I’m still open to being wrong on just about anything), and this whole discrimination will be a thing of the past. I cheer you on, and am grateful to know that the LDS can’t all be forced into that same mold. It’s not good for anybody. You go!! I have no influence (my agnostic status discounts anything I could possibly say), but you do!! Much love, much appreciation. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe I or the other people who have left the church are much different than those who are still in it! Of course, it took leaving the Church to find this out. What a relief!

  65. 65Patti J. Baineson 23 Nov 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I wrote this note on my facebook page in response to a number of posts from LDS member relatives and friends on both sides of the Prop. 8 issue.

    Speaking up or remaining silent

    Lately as I’ve read blogs and posts on various websites trying to understand the issues surrounding the controversy regarding Proposition 8. A thought came to mind …that regardless of my own orientation or belief system it’s important to defend the rights of others from those who would deny those rights.

    I have only to look at the past to realize that this is true….Some three years before Hitler began his systematic cleansing of Europe of the Jewish population he targeted other groups he considered “inferior” “immoral” and “weakening ” of civilization. He first targeted senior citizens, particularly the elderly veterans , he felt they were a drain on society, he then went after the disabled, multi racial children, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, gypsies and finally in a sytematic, organized and well thought out way went after the Jews. Interestingly enough there was one other group that often fails to get mentioned and that is.. Christian pastors and other clergy who finally after nearly 15 million people were killed began to speak out, as they too realized they were next on the list. All of the above was done with the blessings of a much too silent majority.

    So why did the German’s of that day remain silent? Although some would say, that it was due to fear, the facts support another conclusion, and that deep within the psyche of this people was an underlying belief that Hitler was “right” about those other’s groups. People remained silent because they believed that these groups of people werent “worthy” of life, that they in fact were ” inferior” and “draining” on society and worse were seen as “undermining” family values. So in essence they saw the torture and death of so many as “right and “moral”. It was the “predjudice”, “ignorance” and “intolerance” of a large “moral majority” that led to the demise of millions.

    I’m afraid that we as a country we may be on the same slippery slope as those German’s long ago. When I hear other’s making denigrating remarks about “race”, “orientation”, “age”, “economic status”, “ethnicity” or “beliefs” I know we’ve not learned much at all about history. Hatred in it’s “self righteous” form is destructive. We can moralize all day long, but the reality is God is no respecter of person’s, he accepts us all, he doesnt love some of his children and some not at all, he loves all his children, and we’d be far better off, if we did the same.

    When Rob came out, I too had mixed feelings, there was joy that he was finally free to be who he knew in his heart he was…Rob has always been an honest person, to maintain a lie, must have been a horrible thing for him and I rejoiced knowing that he was finally free of that . There was sorrow, for I knew that for him to “put things right” meant some deep and personal hurts for him and those closest to him. There was anger, at those in my faith told me things like “it would have been better for him if he’d died of cancer when he was young rather than be gay” and there was fear, fear that one of my children or grandchildren might have to face the predjudice and hatried of others and worse that this “hate” or “predjudice” might come from those within their own family or faith.

    I am so proud of my children and family , because by in large when Rob finally spoke up, they embraced him, loved him and let him know without any hesitation at all that he was and is…loved, accepted and part of who and what we are.

    We are a nation of diverse people, we need to speak out, when the rights of other’s are being violated. Recently according to a news article out of Salt Lake, a letter was sent to a stake center with “white powder” in it. The Church stated that it was “Prop. 8″ opponents that did this. However the article went on to say there was “no known group or suspect. For the church to make such a statement in the absence of facts is wrong and leads to further predjudice against those opposed to Prop. 8., just as it’s wrong to send threatening letters to a stake center.

    Mormon’s ought to remember their own history of being discriminated against.. Many of our early leaders were killed because of ignorance and misunderstanding. Families who were seen as “abherent” were driven into exile, some of them still are in this country, and at a time when those families turned to the church, found church leaders backing off on earlier “visions” and prophecies and changing directions to meet the demands of a more powerful majority. The rift of which is still evident today.

    We can agree to disagree, and we can continue to work toward the strengthening of all families, even those who’s family patterns we may not agree with. Hatred in all it’s forms in wrong. We need to have the courage to speak up, to make our voice heard when it would be easier to sit quietly on the sidelines, because if we don’t, if history is to be believed…we might be next on the “list”.

    Just a thought….

  66. 66Patti J. Baineson 23 Nov 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Dear Beth:
    My heart is with you, as you struggle to find peace, in what is an unimaginable tragedy.
    I too have a gay son, who I love more than life. I too find the Church’s position unfathomable. I just want you to know you’re not alone…that there are other members out here..who hear you and know the truth of what you are saying.
    Thank you for sharing your truth with us. I know it will save many lives.

    Sincerely
    Patti Baines

  67. 67Franon 24 Nov 2008 at 7:31 am

    Patti, being from Germany, I find your assumptions on why Germans didn’t speak up both inaccurate, and…offensive. I know it’s important to speak up, and it’s sad to see all over history the silence of many on things that we can now see as horribly wrong. But silence isn’t always born out of agreement.

    I am also sure that there are many now who don’t speak up not because they think gays don’t deserve marriage, or are lesser human beings or whatever, but for many many other reasons that can include anything from fear to simply not having a clue what’s going on.

  68. 68jan petersonon 25 Nov 2008 at 2:49 pm

    My heart is so full to find this forum! In Utah, it is so easy to live in terror of being found out, that you differ with the authorities, that you find positions the church takes as deeply troubling, that you will end up being an out-cast, too. I am so proud of all of you who have the courage to stand up for what is right. I never knew Mormons like you existed. In my experience, one either conformed fully to the church or left. You give me hope that someday Mormonism may develop into a religion that allows its members to respectfully disagree without fear of ostracism, disfellowship, losing a temple recommend or being found unfaithful. When our souls and the Holy Spirit tell us that something that is church policy or doctrine is in direct conflict with the spirit of Christ, it is extraordinarily painful and terrifying. God had to give me a gay son for my love for my child to be stronger than my fear of disapproval from the church. I am ashamed to admit such moral cowardice. I am so blessed to have this extraordinary young man as my son. He has stretched my soul and opened my eyes to the truth that all our gay children, parents, brothers and sisters are God’s children. Our only calling is to love them. They are no more sinners than are people who are heterosexual. Jesus said that by their fruit you shall know them. Who my son is is sweet beyond words. Mormon fruit, however, is becoming increasingly bitter. That is heartbreaking.

  69. 69Sherion 16 Dec 2008 at 6:31 pm

    To Anonymous, After reading your comment it reminded me of some data I recently read about homosexuality. I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember that a large percentage of teens and young adults will experiment with homosexuality, but by their early to mid 20′s few will have remained a true homosexual. I have a boss that’s gay, and several very close friends, and for them they knew early on that it wasn’t a choice for them, and experimentation was simply to try and not be gay in order to be accepted by society. Eventually every one of them realized doing so was ruining their health, their happiness and depriving them of any real joy.

    Perhaps you fit into the first categoy. I personally led a fairly immoral lifestyle for a few years in my early twenties, and even though I was presented with many opportunities to have a lesbian experience, It was not something I ever even considered. I had absolutely no inclination in the least and the thought of it made me very uneasy. That’s how I imagine it is for people who are born gay, trying to have a relationship with somone of the opposite sex – it just feels wrong to them, if they are truly gay. Just my thoughts.

  70. 70Kimon 18 Jan 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I believe in all God WILL reveal…this has been really hard for me, especially being at BYU where I feel like no one sees things the way I do, and how every day in my Book of Mormon class, kids were saying how Satan is trying to control the family.
    I still believe in Christ, I believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, but I think the Mormon culture is threating to quash the religion itself.

  71. 71Fed51on 28 Jan 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Kim, thank you. As a gay student at BYU, the past few months have been especially hard for me. The support from the (very) few people like you who actually seem to care about this issue is really what has kept me going for the past while when things have been so hard.

    Thanks.

  72. 72Fiona64on 26 Feb 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Dear Friends:

    This is the text of an e-mail I sent to a lesbian friend the other day. I am a straight ally for equality, and I have been threatened with violence (I kid you not: “Why don’t you kill yourself so I don’t have to beat you to death,” signed “In Christ’s Love”), told I am a closet lesbian because no “normal” person would support gay marriage, told that I am morally corrupt, and a whole host of other things. I am exhausted. Anyway, this is what I sent to my friend:

    I titled it “I don’t know how much longer I can do this …”

    I am so close to tears this morning, with the deliberate ignorance and flat-out hate speech on the Bee site. I don’t know how gay people stand it, to be honest. No wonder the suicide rate in the gay community is four times that of the straight community. If I were bombarded with that message every time I turned around, I don’t know that I would want to live, either. :-(

    I keep trying to think about that young gay kid who may be out there reading … who may see that not everyone thinks he or she is loathsome and perverted and feel a little bit better. I remember the times in my life when a kind word made me burst into tears of gratitude — and how determined I became to comfort those in need as a result.

    But I don’t know how much longer I can hold up. :-(

    I’m going to a candlelight vigil next Wednesday night, to support and honor those who are making their CA Supreme Court arguments on Thursday. I hope that will help me feel stronger about the whole thing. Right now? I just feel so beaten down.

    I can only imagine what it’s like for you. I am so, so sorry for what humanity has done to you, Beverly and all of the other gay people I have ever known.
    —-
    What I realized today, friends, is that we cannot do this kind of work in a vacuum. We are subjected to all kinds of abuse for standing up in favor of our friends’ and neighbors’ civil rights — and it is depressing and upsetting. The horrific things that have been said to me have caused sleep disturances, nightmares and all kinds of issues.

    And yet, I do not feel like I can stop. I think about Dustin Lance Black’s beautiful acceptance speech at the Oscars — about that young gay or lesbian person who may read my words and think “Not everyone thinks I am some kind of loathsome pervert; maybe today I *won’t* commit suicide.” But it is so hard.

    So please, friends, support each other in person as much as you are able. I am going to this vigil because I need to be around like-minded people to remind myself that not everyone in the world is hate-filled.

    Thanks for reading.

  73. 73Sherion 02 Mar 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Laura, I feel like I monopolize so much of this site and I don’t want people to get sick of me, but I find it therapeutic. I want to respond to Fiona64, so if you want to just forward this to her rather than post it that’s fine with me:-)

    Fiona, I so feel your pain. I have been experiencing the same thing with hate filled and threatening comments on my YouTube site. It’s so disheartening to know there are really people in the world with such dark hearts. I understand people who really haven’t thought this issue through and are simply being obedient. But those who go out of their way to spread such darkness and hatred completely breaks my heart because I know if it makes me feel this bad, I can’t imagine what it does to the homosexual community.

    I’ve created a YouTube site where I have 5 or 7 videos supporting our gay and lesbian friends and have met some wonderful people through my videos – and also some terrible ones. And just like you my life has been threatened over and over again.

    I’m happy I read your post because it inspired me to do the same – I will attend a candelight vigil this week to be around wonderful like-minded people. I will be joining the one in Costa Mesa.

    Please free free to contact me at any time through my personal email.
    Sheri

  74. 74Fiona64on 03 Mar 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Sheri, thank you so much for your kind words.

    I am just holding on for tomorrow night. :-)

    Hugs,
    Fiona

  75. 75Ericon 15 Apr 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Joseph,

    Something that has helped me better understand these important topics is the article “God Loveth All His Children” published by the LDS Church (http://www.lds.org/topics/pdf/GodLovethHisChildren_04824_000.pdf). As a member of the Church who struggles to find answers to the many questions and concerns coming from many voices concerning same gender attraction, this document stands as a ray of light, and is inspired by God.

    Sincerely,

    Eric from Idaho

  76. 76Sherion 21 Apr 2009 at 11:46 am

    Eric,
    Out of curiosity I looked up the article God Loveth His Children and read it. Once again my heart broke for the homosexual community. Those sons and daughters of God, who through no fault of their own, came into this world with same gender attraction (I believe a character trait and not a character flaw) and every day they have to try and fit into a world that is completely against their natural order. Can you imagine believing that in order to get to heaven you had to live a completely inauthentic life, denying yourself the opportunity for a fulfilling existence with the person you love? Turn the tables and think about that.

    In the guise of love the church is perpetuating homophobia by putting out this type of rhetoric. It is cloaked with what appears to be love and compassion, but does nothing to heal the broken hearts of those who have been persecuted and cast out from among the people they love, because of who they are and whom they love. In fact, quite the contrary; it adds to the problem and instills fear and more self loathing.

    It is not the homosexual community who needs to rearrange their thinking, it is the religious community who need to start following the admonition of the Savior to Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you wouldn’t want your personal rights taken away to marry the person you love, then please don’t perpetuate the myth that the fight to protect marriage is done in the name of love.

    P.S. Joseph, thank you for telling your heartbreaking story. I’m sorry you have had to endure such an inauthentic life due to standards which have nothing to do with love or the teachings from the Master jesus Christ.

    Sincerely,
    Sheri

  77. 77Sherion 17 May 2009 at 7:01 pm

    While waiting for my book to be released I’ve been busy on the Helium.com website writing articles there. Here’s my latest

    The writers of this country’s Constitution and our Bill of Rights, strategically placed within them safeguards to ensure that one group’s ideologies could not be forced on another based on religious beliefs. Our country is the melting pot of the world with all colors, races, creeds and religions recognized and honored. As long as our legal system protects citizens from illegal activity meant to harm another, our diverse set of beliefs is what makes this country great.

    When it was decried that there would be a separation of church and state it was with good reason. For our country to indeed remain the land of the free and the home of the brave, it was deemed vitally necessary that we remain a democracy and not become a theocracy. Although Christianity is the dominating belief system within the country, implementing Christian beliefs into law stomps on our constitution and renders it useless. It negates the rights of those who have no such beliefs, who share another philosophy or ideology, and it sends a clear message around the world, that unless you are Christian you are not welcome within our borders. Our legal system is set up to punish criminal offenders who desire to do harm to others. Gays and lesbians don’t fit that profile. They are born attracted to the same sex, and other than that difference, they are like heterosexuals in every other diverse way.

    For these reasons, the fight to supposedly protect traditional values and marriage by denying same-sex couples the right to legally marry, is a blatant violation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which promise ALL citizens the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and that one religion will not have power over another. If your happiness does not rely on you having the same rights privileges and responsibilities to share your life and love with a same-sex partner, why would you need to punish someone who IS simply looking for that opportunity and who wishes you no malice at all?

    The Bible is not a good litmus test for what is right for every citizen of our country. Some of us are Buddhist, some Hindu, some Atheist, some Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Pagan, etc. To enforce Christian rule upon all of us and say, “we are going to enforce our Christian beliefs on everyone because we know what’s best for all of you” will take us backward toward a time when witches were burned at the stake, and heretics were tortured and murdered for following the wrong type of Christianity.

    Tax paying and law abiding citizens, whose only difference is their attraction to their own gender, are productive members of society who love, laugh, cry, feel, hurt, volunteer, worship, think, understand, and to deny them equality based on ambiguous scripture is a very dangerous step toward a theocracy rule. If it happens to be your religion that ends up as the recognized national religion, that may be good for you. But if it’s not, it could be your rights to worship how you want that are in jeopardy. To take civil and human rights away from a minority because we don’t like what they do in their bedroom is an extremely slippery slope with no positive outcome of any kind.

    If you can’t get passed those images in your mind of gays having sex, I would highly recommend that instead of dwelling on what they do in their bedrooms, try bringing a little more spice into your own life. There is no evidence of any kind that shows how allowing same-sex couples to marry will hurt society in any way. It’s actually quite the contrary. Allowing couples to legally commit to one another with love and respect and have that union recognized legally through the courts and in society is a stabilizing force; that goes for both same sex couples and heterosexual couples. Many heterosexual couples take marriage for granted. Divorce rates are more than 50%, child and spousal abuse is on the rise, teen pregnancy is at an all time high. And that’s within the heterosexual community. If marriage between a man and woman is so sacred, why are the statistics within those marriages so negative?

    Same gender couples, who have had to fight every inch of the way for every bit of respect and equality they have achieved, will not take the word marriage lightly. In fact, I believe they just may show us all what marriage truly means.

  78. 78Fiona64on 18 May 2009 at 11:03 am

    Sheri, allow me to give you a rousing round of applause for that article. Thank you for putting it so well. May you change hearts and minds of those who read the article from an anti-equality perspective.

  79. 79Art 3on 24 May 2009 at 4:54 pm

    My uncle recently came out of the closet. He is a successful doctor. He has been happily married for many years with four wonderful children. I have an exceptionally high opinion of him. He left his wife and children but still plays an important role in their lives. His old wife and he are still close friends. Their love and affection for each other has changed very little. Our entire family is accepting of him and we still enjoy seeing him at family get-togethers.

    I don’t know why he is gay. I doubt he knows. He has fought it for years. The fact is that despite everyone’s best efforts a family is divided. Children will be raised without the consistent presence of a father figure. Things will be difficult. Not many cases turn out this well and yet it is not good enough. The family truly is the most important unit of society and gayness in every respect damages the family. One can argue that the effects of proposition 8 are negative but that is not looking at a remedy of the root cause. Homosexuality is wrong as revealed by God in the Proclamation of the Family. Only people choosing to overcome gayness will ever feel the full joy that God has intended. Legalizing gay marriage will not help them in any way but temporally (and to be more concerned with temporal things than things of a spiritual nature is infinitely short sighted).

    Be it a biological tendency, an environmental condition, or some combination, homosexuality is either right or wrong. The church is either led by a living prophet and Christ himself or it is not. Then the question is whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or if it is not. I can not be convinced by any words as clever or eloquent as they may be that any member of the Church can be sincerely converted to Christ’s teachings of the family and still support gay marriage.

    Tolerance is a different principle entirely. If the day comes that the majority of the people of this country or any chooses to legalize marriage between members of the same sex or marriage to animals for that matter then so be it. Mormons are the ones that, sad as it was, picked up and moved to a distant land and made it up from scratch because they were not tolerated. They didn’t complain, they submitted. We are not giving gays the boot. We are tolerant of them in every way but that doesn’t make the sin they commit any different from other sins; something from which they should repent and turn away. They are welcome among us just as all we sinners are welcome. To ask the Church to condone gay marriage is no different than asking them to support the legalization of drug sales, or theft, or an endless list of other absurd suggestions that clearly cross the moral line.

    I recognize that emotions run deep on this front. It makes it difficult for anyone to make a good decision on the matter. It seems like people that have a close friend that is gay want to defend them. Those that are ignorant of the homosexual concept avidly support prop 8. But I am talking about the question of right and wrong. We have to cast our own emotions aside and ask ourselves “what is God’s will”. I submit that it is to have righteous men marry righteous women so that children can be raised to do the same. All His children can receive those things necessary to return to Him and we can have eternal happiness.

  80. 80Lauraon 24 May 2009 at 7:01 pm

    First, I am sorry that your family has been negatively influenced by the dissolution of a marriage that was not protected.

    May I be the first to suggest that, had your gay uncle not married a woman in the first place, your family would have been protected from this awful situation. May I further suggest that, had your gay uncle been able to marry another gay man, another family would have been created, strengthened and protected.

    May I also remind you and everyone else that there are temple-recommend-holding homosexuals in the Church and that being gay is not a sin. Christ sacrificed his life for all of us and he presents each of us with his gift of eternal life. We are free to accept that gift or throw it in the mud or put it on a shelf, but we are not free to take someone else’s gift or to force them to use it the way we think it ought to be used. The Savior of the World laid down his life to put an end to death. Let’s not diminish that sacrifice by killing one another spiritually, physically or emotionally. Let’s instead find ways to nourish and uplift our brothers and sisters and make spaces for them to feel welcome in God’s tent.

  81. 81Art 3on 24 May 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Laura, thank you. You marked a point I ought to clarify. I don’t mean to say that attraction to a member of the same sex is a sin. I stand with the church on the definition of homosexual sin as the practice of physical intimacy or in other words as acting on temptation. I recognize that to feel temptation in itself is no sin. I apologize that this was not clearer above. Also, he was not gay (or hadn’t decided that was the case) when he got married in the temple. He served a full time mission. I realize that his position is one i can’t pass judgment on since I have no understanding whatsoever of his internal battles. I wish we would have known about this before he decided to start living the lifestyle. Perhaps we could have been more supportive.

    I would like to first say that yes, there are recommend holders that are attracted to members of the same sex. Whether that recommend has any authority before God is dependent on whether the member is acting upon those feelings or trying to overcome them as the church encourages. Every recommend holder faces temptations of every kind, there are even some unworthy of their recommend that enter the temple. God knows. And I don’t say it to be rude either. Only that temptations of a homosexual nature are as any other temptation but regardless should not be acted upon and absolutely should not be legalized.

    I don’t say any of this to change your mind or the mind of anyone else. I only want to ask the unanswered questions:
    How can you claim to be LDS in good standing and yet not fully believe the teachings of the church or the current prophet on a matter that the church has so clearly spoken out on (which is rare by the way)?
    Why do you try to claim that my uncle would have created a happy family with another man when one of the fundamental problems with gay marriage is that no children can be naturally created (multiply and replenish the earth comes to mind)?
    Why do you dodge the absolutely essential question of whether practiced homosexuality is right or wrong (if you think it is right then you appose the church you claim to be true, if it is wrong then surely you wouldn’t encourage it in any way)?
    Your position on the matter seems to be a logical fallacy. Please explain.

    I appreciate the time and effort put into this site which allows mature discussion of such a difficult topic. It is a topic that will never die in my family and I like to better understand other points of view.

  82. 82Lauraon 24 May 2009 at 10:37 pm

    I will take some time to answer your questions here, but please remember this thread is really not a place for debates – it’s a place for sharing stories about same-sex marriage.

    he was not gay (or hadn’t decided that was the case) when he got married in the temple. He served a full time mission. I realize that his position is one i can’t pass judgment on since I have no understanding whatsoever of his internal battles. I wish we would have known about this before he decided to start living the lifestyle. Perhaps we could have been more supportive.

    I hope that you can continue to accept and love your uncle, especially since you “have no understanding whatsoever of his internal battles.” Not many years ago, Church leaders counseled gay members to marry people of the opposite sex, ensuring them that heterosexual marriage would cure them/free them from the temptation of homosexual attraction. Many temple marriages were created that way and, sadly, many ended when the spouses realized that, try as they might, heterosexual marriage did not free them from homosexual attraction. Some of these stories are here on our site and others can be found through some of the links on our blog roll. Thankfully, leaders no longer counsel homosexual members to marry heterosexually, providing some element of protection for both potential spouses and future children.

    How can you claim to be LDS in good standing and yet not fully believe the teachings of the church or the current prophet on a matter that the church has so clearly spoken out on (which is rare by the way)?

    First, my standing in the church is between me, the Lord and my bishop, and none of us has a problem with my standing in the Church, or with my testimony of the reality of a living, loving Christ; therefore, you needn’t worry yourself about me either.

    But, since you asked, I make that claim the same way thousands of people opposed to racial discrimination and anti-miscegenation counsel prior to 1978 claimed to be members in good standing. I make that claim the same way thousands of people opposed to polygamy 120 years ago made that claim. I make that claim the same way thousands of people with questions and conflicts about myriads of gospel points make that claim. While the gospel is black and white for some, for many others it is not an all-or-nothing question. The point is to walk in faith anyway.

    I make that claim because, as Bruce R. McConkie says, “With all their inspiration and greatness, prophets are yet mortal men with imperfections common to mankind in general. They have their opinions and prejudices and are left to work out their own problems without inspiration in many instances.” Are prophets inspired about the importance of families? Probably. Certainly all children deserve to live in stable, loving, supportive homes. Certainly society is better when parents teach their children how to love their neighbors, respect others and better themselves. Does that mean only heterosexual parents can provide that environment? That has not been my experience. Does it mean my children should be sheltered from families that don’t look like ours? No.

    Is there a place for gay people in the Kingdom of Heaven? I’m sure there’s a place for each of God’s children in heaven. I live here and now, though, and my job here and now involves not making anyone else’s here and now a living hell by standing silently by and letting them suffer “in quiet desperation” until it is too late and they throw away their lives. Just as God notices each sparrow that falls, He also notices each human being who is struggling. He cannot be here to reach out a hand and pull them up – we have to do that for one another, wherever we are and wherever we’re standing.

    Why do you try to claim that my uncle would have created a happy family with another man when one of the fundamental problems with gay marriage is that no children can be naturally created (multiply and replenish the earth comes to mind)?

    First, families without children are as much families and those with children. Just ask any of the heterosexual, childless couples in your neighborhood. Ask them if they are happy families even though they don’t have naturally created children.

    Second, adoption is not just a possibility – it is a reality (and there are thousands of children in California who are living with parents of the same sex). If we are going to protect children, ALL children’s families need protection – not just the children of traditional unions. Ask any adoptive parents if their families are unhappy because their children are not naturally created.

    Third, artificial insemination and surrogacy are realities of 21st century childbearing options. Ask any couple that’s been through fertility treatments, surrogacy or AI whether the children resulting from those procedures are happy or unhappy additions to their families.

    Fourth, gay parents bring both themselves and their children when they form family units. Perhaps your uncle, like many other gays and lesbians, might have found a spouse who already had children.

    Perhaps it’s not directly relevant to your question, but I’ve yet to meet any gay parents who are parents by accident. Same-sex parents have to surmount difficult obstacles in order to become parents, either by adoption or birth, and I’ve yet to meet any children of same-sex parents who were unwanted or “surprises”. I have, however, met many children of heterosexual parents who came along a little sooner than their parents planned. And we have all heard of stories of innocent lives lost because irresponsible adults didn’t want to be weighed down.

    Why do you dodge the absolutely essential question of whether practiced homosexuality is right or wrong (if you think it is right then you appose the church you claim to be true, if it is wrong then surely you wouldn’t encourage it in any way)?

    Well, I guess we have to define what “practiced homosexuality” is. Is it attraction? A hug? A kiss? A date? Holding hands in public? A back rub? A crush? Love letters exchanged? A whack on the butt after a touchdown? Dancing? Sex/or something like unto it? Sharing a house? Sharing a bed? Going on a vacation together? Any physical contact between members of the same sex that makes a heterosexual feel “icky” when he thinks about it?

  83. 83Alan Bahron 30 Jun 2009 at 7:29 pm

    In curtailed church attendance some months ago. While I love the people of my old congregation and would gladly take a bullet for many of them, I can’t imagine rejoining them any day soon. In that regard I know what people are thinking. I’m sure that when my name comes up in conversation, some sigh and say I’ve given up a heavenly reward to feed a petty objection. They have, no doubt, assumed that anger and pride are what’s keeping me from God’s good grace and that the church’s support of Proposition 8 was at the root of my small-mindedness.

    While I certainly opposed Prop 8, I was never angry with the church’s position. Rather, from the mix of emotions I’d felt at the time—shock and embarrassment among them—the one feeling that emerged most dominant was an overwhelming sorrow. As someone who has suffered long episodes of depression, I had to put distance between myself and the church, if for no other reason than to protect my health. My reckoning was this: If God really wants gay men and woman to miss out on the most growth-promoting and love-inspiring of human relationships, I will accept the consequences of not worshipping Him.

    That being said, nothing Christ ever taught gives me reason to fear.

    I, like many young LDS men and women, fulfilled a proselytizing mission for the church. In my case, however, there was no burning conviction that I was doing God’s work. I could have easily declined the call, since my parents didn’t share my devotion and were alarmed, even upset, by my decision. But I went eagerly, hoping and believing that by my efforts the truth would be revealed to me—that everything I’d been taught would piece together like a finished puzzle and express itself as logical, beautiful and perfect. Yet by the end of my mission, that hadn’t happened. Neither has it happened since.

    Instead, it became clear to me that the truth is far more complicated than I, or any mortal, can comprehend, which is why God said, “Let there be light,” instead of, “Let the universe be filled homogeneously and isotropically with a high energy density.” In this way, I liken the words of the prophets to first grade readers that point us in the right direction but leave for us a world of learning ahead. With respect to the teachings of the LDS church, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t accept two primary claims supporting it as God’s only “true” religion: namely that the church was led by a prophet and it possessed additional scriptures that revealed more of the mind of God. Nevertheless, the church seemed to offer a helpful—if not imperfect—rule of thumb as to how people should live and I supported it on that basis. Now, I no longer feel that way, but Prop 8 was only one of many reasons leading me there.

    To me, Christianity should conform to Jesus’ teachings and not some lesser throwback to Judaism. In this failing, the LDS Church is not alone, but that doesn’t make it right. Its belief in blood atonement, for instance, harkens more to Old Testament justice and animal sacrifice than Christ’s admonition to forgive. The many Mormon scriptural references that describe God’s nature as vengeful and jealous smacks less of John than Leviticus. As a person of color, I’m offended that God cursed his wayward Book of Mormon children with a dark skin and called them loathsome, just like He’d done in Genesis. The numerous oaths Mormons take (and they know what I’m taking about) is consistent with Israelite practice, but is counter to Christ’s directive to “swear not at all.” The prohibition against gay marriage is an extension of the Mosaic Law’s demand to stone homosexuals—not to mention the LDS Church’s early restrictions against miscegenation—but it’s inconsistent with Christ’s ideal of love unfeigned. On this point I could go on and on, but to summarize: Jesus wants us to be better than the Ten Commandments, yet we remain more Judeo than Christian. And while the points I’ve raised may seem minor, they sum to an intolerant worldview that causes its followers to be motivated by fear and a loathing for the very human attributes God imbues in us.

    If the church would grant me a wish, I would ask it to eliminate the phrase Mormons everywhere teach their children to repeat like a poor affirmation: I know the church is true. The sentiment not only leads to self-deception, but it runs counter to the intersection of two of the church’s most important beliefs, that: 1) we came to earth, in part, to develop faith and 2) faith is not a perfect knowledge. If we took these two beliefs to heart—embracing uncertainty as a necessary human condition that demands humility and eschews judgment—we would see our dogmatism for what it is: a silly kind of boastful swagger unbecoming of Christ’s disciples. If we were to do that, we might learn to love unconditionally and be the better angels inside of us.

    And here’s a final note. If we did practice that kind of humble and non-judgmental faith, we would pray fervently that God, in His infinite wisdom, would make us instruments in His hands to help His gay sons and daughters find solace and a place of welcome somewhere. We would pray that they find joy, not to mention alternatives to what seems like an epidemic of suicide. Unfortunately, they won’t find that in the Mormon Church—not today—where prayers are never uttered in their behalf, but where that adage, “We love the sinner, but hate the sin,” rings as often as it is hollow and hackneyed.

  84. 84Sherion 01 Jul 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Alan,

    I know I recently read your article/letter somewhere else – but can’t remember where. It is profoundly wise. (I’m running out of adjectives to use when something moves me to tears;-) You make so many valid points, and again I find myself wishing I had been able to use this in my book, which I’m happy to report as of yesterday June 30, I am a published author!

    Again, I think a compilation of these types of ideas and experiences about and with Mormonism would make a very thought provoking work.

    ~Sheri

  85. 85Ebony S.on 07 Oct 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I am a convert to the LDS Church, having joined it Jan. of this year (2009), at the age of eighteen. I have been raised in the Christian faith, and have come, over time, to realise it is a faith about love and charity. It is only when people- who out of most likely genuine love for others- begin trying to help others right their wrongs, and then get caught up in misinterpretations, that things go horribly south.

    Things turn to the worst, as they begin pulling out Biblical passages to condemn certain minorities. I am a lesbian; knew I was different since I was nine years old, and told my mom I wanted to marry a beautiful woman wearing a white dress. (My mom had laughed at me then, thinking I was just kidding around, but alas; nine years later, and I’m still hopin’ for that woman for me).

    I am typing this is my college dorm room, with one of my roomates a few feet away from me. I have two roomates; both are LDS members too; we go to the same ward. But I love them so much, and they me, that I told them my “dark” secret. They both are cool with it, and even support same-sex marriage!!

    I had joined the Church out of genuine love for God and Jesus Christ; I felt so close to Them whenever I went to Church, or read the Scriptures. And I love Them still; I firmly believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; I just happen to be a gay Believer.

    A few family members know I am lesbian; they’re all like, “Well, when you go to Canada to get married, make sure you call us so we can come!” They are family, real family, and it makes me happy to know they accept me.

    It has taken me awhile, but I now firmly know that it is not God who I am coming out to, or trying to reconsile with; it’s people who believe they are trying to protect God from me. And it hurts to have people who you know and love think you are sick and “un-natural”.

    Once, (a few weeks ago, actually), I had been riding with Casey (one of my roomates) and Danielle (another friend from Church), as we were going apartment shopping. We were looking for apartments to lease for next school term. As we were riding along, we somehow got onto the subject of Prop. 8 in California, where Danielle is originally from. She mentioned she was glad it passed, and said something akin to “Yes; I think only straights should have the right to call their marriage ‘marriage’. Gays can keep their Civil Unions and should be able to adopt, but they shouldn’t be allowed to call their Unions ‘marriage’”.

    Her words hurt so bad, that for a minute, I could not think of anthing to say. (She doesn’t know I’m lesbian, and I will not be telling her anytime soon…) Casey then piped up after seeing my crestfallen face, and mentioned she believed everyone deserved to be happy; that’s why God created us, right?

    I gave her a grateful smile, and then we turned the topic to other things.

    But it blesses me, trully, to come across sites like this, and LDSapology, and see that there are Mormons who believe in equality for all.

    I only hope more and more faithful LDS people open their eyes to the truth. :)

  86. 86Philippeon 31 Dec 2009 at 11:18 am

    I am Mormon. I am gay.

    Those two I never understood to be a problem whatsoever and I embraced it as the gift of Love from God… until, the Mormon Members and my parents started saying that it was absolutely vile and disgusting and wrong and the worst sin. (I quote my older sister’s hurtful words after she got pregnant with her first child and told me that I would never touch her, “You F*** Sh**! Thats what you do!” she yelled)

    Then conflict broke out completely in my life.

    because at this point, the conflict was so great, it was a huge moment of weakness! What a perfect opportunity for Satan to use my wavering faith, as well as people’s persecution of homosexuality! In retrospect now, I can see how he won, he urged me to stop praying, disconnecting me from God, he urged me to reject the scriptures, disconnecting me from Christ, and he made me angry and hateful, disconnecting me from the Holy Spirit.

    This brings in drugs, promiscuousity and thoughts of suicide. Exactly what Satan wants! After a good long while, and after pushing away Satan’s hold on me, and moving forward with my life in a positive and honest way, my recovery occured.

    Now after 30 years of life, I am 1/3 done my life on this earth, and I have FINALLY reconnected with God through prayer, started reading the scriptures again, and have had honest experiences with the Holy Ghost. This has not “removed” my homosexuality, but it has strengthened it, and my testimony that God exists and created us! Jesus died for our sins and is our savior!

    I have read the scriptures and studied them, I completely agree with Sheldon (eventhough I cannot read Hebrew, it doesn’t matter.. I have God on my side). I have prayed for clarity above all else, and I have finally received a small piece of it to help me live a good life.

    Satan will use whatever weaknesses we have as an opportunity to enter our lives, and homosexual youth are highly susseptible to this invasion. Homosexuality is not the sin!

    I urge ALL homosexual people to live MONOGAMOUS, MORAL, HONEST lives with their partners! Do not let the world trick you into promiscuousity at Gay Bars or Parks, and wear down the fabric of your faith! Find God’s gift of Love, and be with someone honestly and be moral! Find yourself, and find God! This is the key!

    And once you are past this, you can finally start working on all the things Jesus asked of us to do which are so important, charity, honesty, and love for our neighbours! Do not fall prey to the sins of Sodom and Gamorah, inhospitality to strangers, leaving them out to die in the barren desert…

  87. 87Sherion 05 Jan 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Philippe,

    What a beautiful revelation and testimony. Thank you for sharing such a touching and heart wrenching story of your journey. It is those like you who I fight for every day. it is people in shoes such as yours that have my heart aching and breaking over and over again. It is why I almost alieanated my family because they were prop 8 supporters and nothing I said would open their hearts to the truth of what you have said here.

    I am a straight woman with 3 children and 3 beautiful grandsons and have found part of my life’s path is fighting for the GLBT community. I am on the Speaker’s Bureau for PFLAG and have found it to be the most rewarding volunteer job I’ve ever had.

    Bless you Philippe, for expressing the truth so eloquently. Homosexuality is not a sin, but rejection of God’s children because of whom they love certainly is.

    May God continue to bless you on your path. Please feel free to contact me anytime. You can get my email address from Laura if you’d like.

    Sheri Lawson

  88. 88Sherion 06 Jan 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Here’s another link to one couple’s story that I found to cover ALL the bases on homosexuality and the church. It may already be posted somewhere here, but I didn’t find it. It’s long, but very much worth reading.
    http://prideinutah.com/2010/01/06/true-mormons/#comment-681

  89. 89mikeon 12 Feb 2010 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for this website. I’m an outside observer but one message seems consistent as I read here, there is no such thing as reparitive therapy success where homosexuality is concerned? Is that right?

  90. 90fiona64on 13 Feb 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Mike, “reparative therapy” is not only unsuccessful but has been rejected by every legitimate psychiatric and psychological professional organization because it is downright *dangerous* to the people subjected to it.

    You may want to check out this article in its entirety: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_expr.htm

    Quote: “potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by a patient.” APA President Rodrigo Muñoz, M.D. stated: “There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation…there is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive.”

  91. 91Sherion 18 Feb 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I have been working with the South Orange County, CA chapter of PFLAG for the last few months. I attend their monthly chapter meetings, and I do panels at local Colleges and Universities for their Speaker’s Bureau. It has opened my eyes to what my heart already knew; The GLBT community can only find happiness when they are allowed to be their authentic selves – just the way they were born.

    The horror stories I’ve heard about kids, young adults and adults being shunned by parents, friends, relatives and their churches (and now through orchestrated acts of discrimination through legislation) simply breaks my heart and angers me. These people who suffer silently until their only choice is suicide or truth find the ultimate happiness when they finally come out. If only others would allow them that happiness and quit trying to force them into a box created by narrow minded thinking. I have yet to hear one single story of successful reparative therapy. As Fiona 64 mentions, it’s usually just the opposite, leading to the ultimate self loathing and ultimate destruction.

  92. 92PJBon 01 Mar 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I was born the youngest of 4 kids to loving parents in southern California. My dad converted to the church in college and my mom is a direct descendent of some early Mormon leaders. My family was always active and growing up, I was always the golden child – a good student, a good member of the church, a good athlete, a young community leader. To my parents, teachers, and church leaders I was the perfect package. Yet deep down, I wasn’t perfect. I was attracted to men, and had been for as long as I could remember. I tried a lot of things to keep my feelings private – I prayed, I thought maybe it was a phase and I would just grow out of it, I tried to fight every urge I had.

    But the more I fought my feelings the more I wanted to explore them, and I started trying to pacify my urges through random hook-ups and online searches. Through middle school, high school, and the beginning of college, I continued to lead a perfect life on the outside and a tormented life on the inside.

    But eventually, as would be expected, my worlds began to collide. I turned 19 and, like any good Mormon boy, was expected to go on a mission. I could have lied and gone, but I refused to lie. Around the same time, I was arrested and though I tried to pay legal fees on my own, I eventually realized I needed the support of my family – both financially and emotionally – to get through the tough times. So I told them, just before my 20th birthday, that I had been with guys and was struggling with my attraction to men. My family was very supportive, my bishop was very supportive, and I ended up going to therapy and trying to get over my “addiction” as I continued through college. I tried dating girls and even had a few girlfriends – each the perfect package of beauty, brains, and personality; but I was never attracted to them as more than just friends, and I used my religion as the perfect out for not being sexually active. But through it all, I still went back to meeting up with guys. I even had a few guys ask to be my boyfriend, but I could never let myself go that far.

    I ended up moving to northern California for a job right after college and have been living here for the past 3 years. At first, I continued to try to go to church and lead the good Mormon life, but eventually I couldn’t do it anymore. I realized that my whole life had been spent fighting something. I realized that through all the struggle, I had never tried being honest with a guy, going on a date, or anything. So I decided to give dating a try.

    I met an amazing guy, and 18 months later we’re still together and I’m very happy with him. Slowly, I started to come out to my friends. They have all embraced me. About a year ago, I came out to my family. They are struggling with it. On the good side, they haven’t disowned or rejected me. But beyond that, it feels like they have. My boyfriend and I would like to spend the holidays together, and I would like to spend holidays with my family – but my family refuses to let him visit with me. Everyone but my dad has met my him, but only one of my sisters supports us at all.

    So again, I’m stuck living two lives. When I’m in SoCal I’m with my family but can’t be with my boyfriend. When I’m in NorCal I’m with my boyfriend but can’t be with my family. For now, it’s working all right. But like my life from middle school through college, eventually my two lives will collide and I’ll have to make a choice. Do I choose my family, who has been everything to me for so long or do I choose my boyfriend, who keeps me going every day?

    I don’t know what to do, but I’m trying.

  93. 93Kaylaon 01 Mar 2010 at 3:35 pm

    It is interesting to see that many of you who support Gay marriage insist that all of the other Mormons in the world do not “think for themselves”. To think that you feel that I, and devout members accross the world, forfeit our own opinions and moral codes. It is the ignorance of a person who has never had a true grasp on the concept that is the true, restored, everlasting gospel of JESUS CHRIST that lead them to believe that way. Those people who have lied to you and shunned you, who belonged to the church, are not “the church”. They are imperfect members; just like you and me. I follow the guidance given to me through the only prophet on earth today, because I use my judgment through the holy ghost. If we are without the prescence of God, we are forced to make our own decisions. How terrible a thought that is! You are chosing the natural man over our Heavenly Father who has an eternal perspecitive. We do not understand everything; we are not meant to! And because some people feel that concept forces them to relinquish their personal thought process, they begin to deny every instance where they felt the spirit reveal to them “this church is true”.
    “No man can serve two masters: For either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
    The gospel can be so simple if we only let it be.

  94. 94Lauraon 01 Mar 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Kayla,

    You may not have had a chance to look around at our site very much. You might be particularly interested in this page which talks about not following prophets blindly. After reading that page, perhaps you and others will have a better understanding of why Mormons for Marriage exists.

    As for this particular part of the site, it is a place intended to be where people can share their stories in a relatively safe environment, free from too much hassle or calls to repentance or scripture chasing. Some of the stories are inherently painful and their tone and language reflects that. We try in our own small ways to support those who feel they have to make tough choices in their lives – like choosing between their family or their friends; the suggestions of their church leaders or the suggestions of their personal revelations; or their spiritual life or their physical life.

  95. 95Sherion 02 Mar 2010 at 1:36 pm

    PJB, I can’t wait for a world where you don’t have to choose. Where you can live an authentic life with those you love, including your love interests and your family. I believe that is the kind of world Jesus came to bring us, but many get caught up in irrational judgements and expectations based on limited scriptures and personal prejudice. May you find the best of both worlds.

    Kayla, The church is not perfect, nor are its leaders, which they have said as much. They made a mistake about blacks and the priesthood, and eventually through political pressure they finally gave in. The same is true for gay marriage. No one is asking the church to condone gay marriage, especially in their temples. But their opinions about homosexuality does NOT give them the right to deny true happiness to those whose biggest struggle in life is a world that won’t accept their true identity, that of a gay person. Gay marriage will NOT in any way interfere with heterosexual marriage, in fact it’s been proven that where gay marriage is legal, communties thrive. So to use false information to gain a political advantage like the church did, is what is truly abhorrent in the eyes of God. Although many say they listen to the spirit and that’s how they make their decisions, unfortunatly they have been given the formula for hearing that “still small voice” from those they are following, and I’m here to tell you the formula doesn’t always work.

  96. 96JSHon 30 Jul 2010 at 9:23 am

    I never thought I would be writing in, but after reading so many of these thoughts and stories…I wanted to add mine. It is different from anything else I’ve read here…but nonetheless, it is real, too.

    I grew up wanting the ideal…marriage, family. I have never doubted my sexual orientation/gender attraction. I have always been attracted to the opposite sex. I would have believed I was as heterosexual as they come.

    Growing up I knew many gay people. I have extended family members who are gay. I have known those in the church who have eventually chosen to live in accordance with their feelings after years of trying to live within the Gospel’s teachings. I read with compassion the stories of those who tried “doing all the right things” to overcome these feelings of same gender attraction—fasting, prayer, counseling, missions, promises with Heavenly Father, marriage, etc.

    Some of the openly gay people I have known have been angry and confrontational and intolerant of others’ feelings as they as demanded acceptance of their. I struggle with that attitude in anyone.

    But then there are others….and here is where my own conflict comes in.

    I did it all “right”. I was about as ideal as an LDS person comes. I have been active, made mistakes and repented, served a mission, married in the temple, had a family. I am active today, hold a calling, and still have a living testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of a living prophet, of the doctrines of the church.

    But I have found that I love a woman. I NEVER have considered myself gay…and interestingly enough I still don’t. I don’t consider myself bisexual…my feelings for her never began as a physical/sexual type of attraction and I do not feel “attracted” to other women. But I am in-love with her…and because of that deep love, I am attracted to her and would marry her.

    These feelings have been there for over 5 years. I have questioned my soul about all the reasons and “theories” that society would throw at me. It’s not a mid-life crisis. It’s not that I have always been gay and never accepted it. It’s not that I am mad at men or hate men because my marriage has been less than fulfilling. I have tried looking at other women and imagining a relationship with them wondering if those same gender attractions do lie somewhere in me…but they do not. I am not attracted to other women, and there is still a “physical attraction” to men…but I do love her and I am in love with her and am attracted to her. I still believe firmly in marriage and will teach my kids the “correct” way in spite of my feelings.

    But, I have had to examine the things I do believe and the things I would now say to a child should any of these feelings arise in them.

    For me, and for her…we both still embrace the church and its teachings. She, too, is an active LDS woman. She does not see herself as gay or bisexual. Somehow something between she and I is there and strong. There is a love that is unusual and our greatest desire is to be able to marry and live our life together, monogamously and in every married way. But, unless something changes in the church, we will probably choose to just live side by side and hope someday to understand.

    This has been an interesting journey for me. I don’t see where I fit in. If any of my children were to be gay, I would want them to decide how they could live in accordance with the gospel principles, but if they wanted to completely embrace those feelings and act on them…I would counsel them as I would a heterosexual child. Do it right. Be morally clean, get married before entering a sexual relationship, be faithful to your partner, be monogamous. Ironically the same things I want for myself…

    I guess I am still “old school” enough to be ok not expecting people to want to “experience” my feelings by seeing me display any type of physical affection with her. I don’t expect people to want to or have to “accept” us. I just want to be able to marry her, attend church with her discreetly holding hands on the back row so no one “has” to see us, live my life with her as a couple, together, as one. I don’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable…I just want to live my life with her.

    Am I naive? cowardly? I tend to see myself as personal and private. I don’t want anyone elses choices forced upon me…I have HUGE feelings when it comes to agency.

    I understand that most change does not come without the courage and urging of those who seek the changes. For those reasons I am so thankful for those who are peacefully and respectfully trying to change the way the gay community is treated.

    Of all the comments on this site that I have read so far, I feel I understand Cody the best. I, too, am living a morally clean life and living the commandments and staying active in the church. I, too, have had undeniable experiences with the Holy Ghost and my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still bright. Do I understand all things? Do I know all things? I do not. I know I love a woman, an LDS woman, more deeply than I have ever loved anyone. I know she loves me. I know that I am more attracted to her, HER, (not her gender) than I have ever been to anyone in my entire life. I know I have a connection with her that is deeper than I have felt with anyone else and my life is happier and more balanced and settled when we are together than at any other time. I know that for the foreseeable future we will continue to live the teachings of the church, that our feelings with remain between us. We have committed to each other to live the way we have been taught, but to live that together.

    I hope someday to be able to live all of life with her. But, she and I feel we would rather be able to be “something” together in the eternities…whatever that would be… because we tried to do it the way we had been commanded to here, than to lose that opportunity because the here and now and the sexual side of things were more important to us than the love we share. Is it hard? YES! Do we want the Church to accept, at very least, civil gay marriage so we can legally and morally do it the right way? YES! But, until that time, we have to live with our consciences and live the way we feel is right for us.

    I know that our way may not meet with much approval. I know that it is probably just as difficult for hetersexual and homosexual people alike to understand. I know it doesn’t “fit”…but it is our story.

  97. [...] If you know GLBT people, encourage them to share their stories, either by writing them or videotaping them. If they have 3-5 minutes, have them sit down and record a message for the “It Gets Better” campaign. If they’re LDS, be sure to include a metatag “Mormon” so people can find it on that channel. If you’d like to share your story at Mormons for Marriage, we always welcome guest posts. If you don’t want to have a whole post all to yourself, add your story to this page [...]

  98. 98Rachelon 18 Apr 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I am a Christian, soon to be convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have felt a calling for some time and have learned so much and felt the love of God even more in my life with the help of members and friends.

    I am weary, though because my older and very close brother is gay. I support him and his decision, always have. He has never particularly been as close to Jesus as I have growing up but that’s not to say he isn’t a good and worthy human being. Out of all my siblings growing up, church was something I took to more. Now that I have found a deeper connection with God with the help of LDS, I am somehwat worried about what my family may think. As a side note, I also have several gay and lesbian friends and aquaintances. Some I’ve known for over ten years. Some I’ve worked with and went to school with.

    How can I transition into the church and still be a supportive sister and friend?

    Can I still be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and be supportive of same sex marriage?

  99. 99Lauraon 18 Apr 2011 at 2:35 pm

    You might consider what you mean when you say, “I support him and his decision.” What decision is it that you are supporting? He probably didn’t decide to be attracted to other men any more than you probably didn’t decide to be attracted to men (assuming you are straight).

    Did he decide to marry the love of his life and settle down and create a family? Supporting that decision means including him and his family equally. Obviously he decided to tell you about his orientation – supporting him in that decision includes keeping confidences and protecting the trust he gave you.

    Just as there are all kinds of Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists, there are all kinds of Mormons. Some welcome GLBT brothers and sisters with open arms and others don’t. Mormons who openly accept – and discuss their acceptance of – GLBT members, friends and family are in the minority right now, although there is a shift taking place.

    The LDS church itself has changed from stridently insisting that homosexuality is a choice to saying that it is complicated and we don’t really know what causes it. And since we don’t know the cause, we cannot condemn people just because they are attracted to the same sex. There’s lots of information about the church’s official stance on its own website, lds.org (but you might have to do a search for same gender attraction or same-sex attraction rather than homosexuality if you want to find anything).

    Despite the change in rhetoric, the official church stance is that marriage – and procreative powers – belong only in marriages between men and women. There’s a lot of hair-splitting about where to draw lines of conduct and morality, particularly as same-sex marriages are legalized and same-sex couples may be legally and lawfully wedded in civil ceremonies. The most extreme version of acceptable/unacceptable behavior can be found in BYU’s Honor Code. BYU is more conservative than the rest of the church, but if something is not allowed at BYU, you can bet that there are people who believe it should not be allowed anywhere.

    Because the LDS church has been so vocally opposed to same-sex marriages, if that is an issue of importance in your family, you’ll have to consider that. There’s a good chance they view all Mormons as bigoted homophobes (but that makes about as much sense as viewing all gay men as drag queens). The only way to get them to change their minds on that is by showing them that stance is an overbroad generalization – and that you are the exception to their rule.

    There are many members of the church who support same-sex marriage in addition to supporting GLBT friends and family. Whether or not those members remain members in good standing seems to be up to their local ecclesiastical leaders at this point. Some bishops and stake presidents deny SSM supporters the opportunity to attend the temple and/or hold callings in church while other local leaders permit those things.

    The best way to be a supportive sister and friend is to walk the talk. If you say you are supportive, then show it: Don’t treat people differently because of their orientation; welcome them (and their partners/spouses) into your home the same way you welcome your straight friends and family; acknowledge their birthdays; don’t waste time calling them to repentance; don’t tell them you “love the sinner, hate the sin”; if you are already speaking up against bullying, hate, prejudice, etc., continue to do so – even (and perhaps especially) in church settings.

    You will probably run across lots of people who don’t know they know GLBT folks. Don’t let them continue believing in stereotypes (like gays are out to destroy families or recruit children).

  100. 100LaTeishaon 25 Feb 2012 at 10:32 am

    Just curious – when missionaries teach a couple who are living together and not married, the couple of the opposite sex are required to get married before they can be baptized. What do the missionaries expect of the couple who are both of the same sex?

  101. 101Sherion 29 Feb 2012 at 2:48 pm

    LaTeisha, what an excellent question! :-)

  102. 102Laurenon 13 Jun 2012 at 3:15 pm

    From the age of 13 I knew I was different. I knew I wasn’t going to turn out like all of the other girls that I was friends with in the Church. These were my friends, the people I grew up with, and the people that were going to go on and live a normal life and leave me behind. The feeling of being different led me to being closed off and reserved and not speaking up or wanting to be involved in church activities.

    I found myself wanting more than what the church was teaching me about relationships. There was a missing piece. I couldn’t relate to the lessons that I was being taught. The only discussions were about heterosexual marriage, and I knew that wasn’t the path for me.

    I finally ended up figuring out that I was a lesbian. And after this, I started questioning my beliefs. I didn’t think that I could be a mormon anymore because of my sexual orientation and that I needed to find something else. One of the popular religions of most lesbians was atheism or agnosticism and I tried these two for a long time. I abandoned the church and started drinking, doing drugs, having intercourse with girls, and ruining the relationship I had with my Heavenly Father.

    This lifestyle went on for about 4 years. I moved into the city and enrolled in college and after being there for 2 years, I saw missionaries biking around my college campus. It made me realize how much I missed my Heavenly Father and how empty I felt. Even though I had figured out my sexual orientation, I hadn’t figured out what I believed.

    At Washington DC Pride in 2011, I saw signs that said “Mormons for Marriage Equality” and I knew that my Heavenly Father was bringing me back. After doing some research, I realized that being Mormon and being gay was ok. I had missed attending church and having people that understood me. I love my Heavenly Father and I’m so glad that there are other LDS church members out there that believe in me and support me. This has significantly turned my life around and has helped me stop my destructive lifestyle.

  103. 103Lauraon 13 Jun 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Lauren – thank you for sharing your story. May you find a peaceful place of love and acceptance where those around you show genuine love – the kind of love that reflects what your Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother feel for you. There have been a lot of grassroots changes in Mormon communities in the past four years since this website first went up. If you’re on Facebook, you should be able to find a number of LDS groups that support and accept LGBTQ members and their families – and who are actively working to make the religion more Christlike and welcoming.

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