My daughter is bringing her girlfriend home. What’s a Mormon mom to do?

Thanks for stopping by Ask Mormon Girl. We’ve been up and running for almost two years. It’s a place where people who find themselves alone and in a religiously sticky spot can find a little company–from me, and more importantly from the kind souls who frequent the comments sections.

For those of you who haven’t visited before, I thought I’d repost a query from a few weeks back that captures some of the good things that happen here. To see the original post with comments, click here.

Our 20 yr. old daughter told us 2 1/2 yrs. ago that she was gay. Considering she had just broken things off with a not so great relationship with boy and she has always dated boys, this was a shock. This was during a very rebellious time in our daughter’s life and she left home twice. We are LDS and have lived our faith and been very involved and active in the church her whole life. No one can believe she’s gay. We continue to support our daughter in those positive endeavors; college, sorority, she comes to dinner every Sunday and I send her little cards with positive, uplifting things written and we go to lunch, shopping etc…but for me this lifestyle is wrong and so I don’t want it in my face or around me…which means I prefer she not talk about it, partners are not allowed to come over, etc. We let her know that she gets to choose the lifestyle she wants to live – it’s her life. But we also get to decide what we will or won’t allow around us – it would be hurtful to her father and I to see her with another girl and out of respect to us we feel she should not bring them around. The church doesn’t have any clear-cut guidelines for How Parents Can Best Handle Dealing with this type of situation…and I wish they did. We really feel like we’re trying our best to keep our family together and strong in love but I see that not being enough on down the road. I fear that as each year passes and we continue to stand firm that no partners are to be brought around – our relationship will begin to deteriorate and we don’t want that. We extend our love to our daughter always – but will not allow her to bring her partner to things – will this further alienate us from her? Are we not being fair? What about respecting our feelings and beliefs?

DT

Dear DT:

Thank you so much for writing. The fact that you are willing to reach out and share your story with a stranger makes it clear that you really care about your relationship with your daughter. It’s an extremely sad part of our culture that many Mormon parents of gay children feel that they must sacrifice their relationships with their own children to honor LDS beliefs.

I’m impressed by all the ways you have tried to maintain a positive relationship with your daughter even though her coming out has clearly been difficult for you. As much as we all emphasize the strong feelings young gay people experience when they come out, it’s important to acknowledge that parents have feelings too. Have you given yourself the space and support you need to work through your own feelings of disappointment, worry, and fear? Have you been able to confide in anyone? Do you have a support network? There are other parents who have been down the same path, and they could be a terrific resource for you. Let me suggest you visit the LDS Family Fellowship website, at least as a starting place for reading the perspectives of other LDS parents of gay children.

Certainly other LDS parents of gay kids can give you some perspective on the long-term consequences of asking your gay child not to bring her partner home. Let me tell you what I’ve seen: in families I know where the parents have told adult children not to bring a partner home for the holidays, I’ve seen gay children try to honor their parents’ advice, until they find they can no longer bear the impossibility of choosing between the family they came from and the family they want to create, and they stop coming home. Sometimes siblings follow, out of solidarity with the gay child. Yes, sad to say, it’s likely that you will alienate your child if you refuse to acknowledge her partner. That’s a stark outcome.

But let’s not go there for now. Let’s make sure you have the support you need to process your feelings about your daughter’s homosexuality. Maybe someday, when she starts getting serious with a particular partner, it might be possible for you to work out a middle-ground solution, like meeting in a neutral “third space” as a gesture of your desire to maintain a relationship, even if it is difficult for you. I know any gesture you make will be greatly appreciated by your daughter.

I’ve noticed that life often presents us with a choice: you can be right, you can be loved, but you don’t always get to be both at the same time. This life is short. Eternity is long. Only God has the answers. I hope you will encounter a great deal of mercy and kindness on the path that lies ahead of you.

Don’t you, readers? I would especially love to hear from LGBT AMG readers. What advice do you have for mom?

Send your query to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.

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42 Comments

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42 responses to “My daughter is bringing her girlfriend home. What’s a Mormon mom to do?

  1. I left a comment about this on the fMh crosspost and mentioned the “Lead with Love” documentary that was produced by the U of U psychology department to help parents in this situation. The film recommends avoiding rejecting behaviors and gives examples of what not to do. Unfortunately, the letter quoted in this post includes a number of the things mentioned in the film.

    “No one believes she’s gay.”

    “I send her little cards with positive, uplifting [religious messages].”

    “[F]or me this lifestyle is wrong and so I don’t want it in my face or around me.”

    “I prefer she not talk about it.”

    “Partners are not allowed to come over.”

    “What about respecting [my] feelings and beliefs?”

    The daughter will interpret these statements and behaviors as rejection by her parent. These messages and actions will harm the adult child psychologically and damage the parent/child bond.

    (Google “lead with love documentary” to see the film.)

  2. Clint

    The partner is not an “it”, the partner is a person. This is crucial, do not forget this.

    Do not allow yourself to see your daughter and her partner together and then think of their sex life immediately. This aspect of their common life really is no one else’s business, including yours. If you aren’t a lesbian, you can’t really understand what happens and why it happens anyway, so don’t try. Concentrate on other aspects of their relationship; none of these violate any “moral laws”, and these aspects are also the most easily understood, evaluated, appreciated and enjoyable. That which you find most objectionable, or at the least the most “yucky”, is also that which you will never ever see, know about, or have any interaction with whatsoever. If you didn’t hear the thump or see the stump, the tree in the woods never fell. Ignorance must be bliss, and anyway this is an ignorance that nothing for you can overcome, because you’re a straight woman. What bodies do together is only about 5% of what a sexual encounter is all about, and the whole 100% is something you never will, or can, know. Since you don’t want to anyway, what is the problem? Can’t and don’t want to, that is a win-win. Ask for the grace to move on from your imaginings and self-torturing gross out sessions that happen at the expense of your complete acceptance of your daughter. Is this a fair and just price to pay for phantasms of your mind?

    No one believes she’s gay? That doesn’t matter. She is.

    You prefer she not talk about it? Again, what “it” are you talking about? The only “it” that seems problematic is the “it” that she’ll never talk about because you are her mom, and also you aren’t a lesbian. Everything else she might and will talk about, such as joy, love, life decisions, daily joys and concerns, fun trips, new purchases, funny things said, happiness, etc., none of these should be morally problematic for anyone, for they are blessings perfumed with grace.

    No partner”s” should be brought around? What leads you to believe that there will be more than one? Why do you assume this? That’s like asking you not to bring your husband”s” around. Already your language choice is contributing to the dysfunction and is not conducive to healing your relationship with your daughter. Second of all, regardless of what you imagine they do, why wouldn’t you want to know the person with whom your beloved daughter has made a life? This is perhaps the most important decision your daughter will ever make, and has the most ramifications on every aspect of her life, from emotional well being to finances. If you don’t want to know, then your own expectations of your daughter are more important than your actual daughter, a false mind-daughter is more important to you than the one you actually have running around in the world.

    Feelings come and feelings go, but your daughter is forever, and esp. as a Mormon this is essential to your beliefs. You want your feelings and beliefs respected? No, you want them privileged above all else. When Abraham went to sacrifice his son, he was sent a substitute and got to keep his son. You have come with your daughter, ready to sacrifice her to the idol of your beliefs. But the rest of the story is that God will send something else, and you will get to keep your daughter. What you will offer up instead is the false daughter in your mind, to be consumed in the fire of divine love. God can teach you a whole lot through your lesbian daughter. Will you learn? Will you be broken open and transformed? Will you accept the limits of your knowledge, and dispense with the grotesqueries you have projected upon your daughter that have no basis in reality?

    You must, and you know this.

    • You make some good points. There are things (details you mention) that the mother, regardless of the daughter’s preferences, doesn’t need to be concerning herself with. That does not, of course, remove the mother’s right to have her own belief about the matter.

      I’m not sure where you get the notion that the woman refers to her daughter’s partner as an “it”, as it seems that every reference to “it” is focused on her chosen lifestyle (regardless of whether you choose your sexuality, you do choose how it fits in your life). And it’s quite possible that partner*s* was intentional or factual. She can have multiple partners/girlfriends/etc. over a period of time without it being the equivalent of plural marriage. You seem to have assumed that she went straight into a deep, committed, long-term relationship right away, rather than having any dating experience after informing her parents of her sexuality. There’s a lot that can happen in 2 1/2 years.

      I think Joanna’s right on that this woman is experiencing a serious conflict between wanting to love her daughter and feeling like accepting her daughter means she’s condoning her lifestyle. Especially as a parent, where it’s common to feel ownership for your child’s choices. She needs to find a way to reconcile her love for her daughter with being true to her beliefs. Part of that is understanding that this girl is living her own life. What would she do if one of her kids just decided to leave the church? Granted, this has another layer, but I think the real first step for her is mentally separating her daughter’s choices from her own. When she’s done that, she’ll probably feel more able to sincerely express love for her daughter without putting her down, and try to strengthen a relationship that can still be a very positive and close one. In the long term perspective, I think she really would regret alienating her daughter because she couldn’t sort out her own feelings and deal with the matter more positively.

    • Ann

      Wow, Clint. Powerful and beautiful. I love what you wrote. I’d love to talk with you off-line. Any chance you’d send me an e-mail? I’m at Ann.becker61@gmail.com.

    • Carley

      Wow Clint,
      Well said! Thank you.

  3. Chris

    Balancing sexual orientation and your religious faith is a very complicated issue to deal with. I grew up Mormon and served a mission before I could finally admit to myself that I’m gay. But even today I’ve been unable to find a balance of the two that doesn’t seem demeaning or insulting to me.

    My father is in a similar situation as yours. I understand how uncomfortable he is with me being gay and I avoid mentioning it around him. But no matter how much we don’t talk about it, I’m not going to change. I didn’t spend years agonizing and trying to not be gay just to suddenly become straight. Unfortunately, our relationship can’t change, or grow, either. If I can’t tell my father about such an important part of my life, there’s a disconnect in our relationship. It can’t be a genuine relationship because, it’s based on lies that inevitably make us feel worse–him for the lies he has to tell himself about me and me for the lies I have to tell him to make him feel better.

    To be honest, it will probably be uncomfortable for all of you at first. You’ll be nervous for the concerns you already mentioned and your daughter is most likely already aware of them. But it’s important to work on them because the relationship between you and your daughter is too valuable to risk. As difficult as it may be for you, your daughter’s partner is a part of that life, and by extension yours. There is nothing against your beliefs about being warm, accepting, and treating others with respect, even if you’re uncomfortable with them.

    I hope that you find a way to accept them. If your daughter and her partner were to break up, it’s heartbreaking to know you can’t go to a parent for comfort because they refuse to hear about that aspect of your life. It only helps to highlight the chasm between your worlds.

    • Lars

      I agree. Parents should love their kids regardless of sexual preferences. It shouldn’t matter if their Mormon or any other faith. As parents we tend to want to go with the norm. We want our kids to be “normal” as desiring the opposite sex, successful in sports and business. Then we can be proud parents and avoid any negativity regarding our kids. But we should love our kids beyond the norm and accept them for what they are – our kids.

  4. Ellen

    Mom, first you need to accept things as they are. You keep on making statements about how unlikely it is that your daughter is gay, but you are wrong. She is gay. Plain and simple. It was so strong a reality that she felt the need to share it with her family, even though it meant losing a lot of their respect. This doesn’t seem like a whim decision, it seems to be a permanent lifestyle. Does that mean you need to understand everything about it? Absolutely not, major life changes are difficult to accept from our loved ones. However, it does mean that you need to face actual reality. Your daughter is gay. This is the reality.
    Not accepting this as reality is sort of like if your parents had said to you, “you won’t be married to your husband forever. You don’t really like him, eventually you will come back to your last boyfriend and stop acting so crazy.” Accepting our children’s life decisions is difficult, but refusing to face reality is harmful to both you and your daughter.
    I think it is important to step outside of yourself a little bit in this situation. It is obvious that you love your daughter, but do you really love her, or the image you have built of her? If she is supposed to hide chunks of her life from you so that you can continue loving her, is that really love? If your other children never told you about their spouses or your grandchildren, could you really have a close relationship?
    Also, there are many times when our children will make decisions that we don’t approve of. If your daughter chose to live with a man outside of wedlock, would you not allow him to come to family functions? This would also be stepping outside your sense of morality, but would you feel the same affront?
    Again, think about if your parents would not allow your husband to come over because he did not fit their sense of morality, but you were still welcome. Would you keep on going over, would you spend your holidays with them over your husband? When families do not respect and value our relationships, it is almost impossible to maintain a family bond .
    I believe that your relationship is so important to both you and your daughter, because of how much you have both tried to maintain it. Don’t blow it just because of a difference in beliefs. If we use Christ as our example, as we should always be doing, he did not disassociate himself from others just because of a difference in morality. He wasn’t afraid of being around those thought to be sinners, he sat at their dinner table and loved them for the people they were. Learn to love your daughter, and whoever she chooses to be with, for the people they are, not the religion they follow.

  5. I’m a fifth generation Mormon, now an agnostic. I’m heterosexual and follow a fairly strict moral code. So, let me tell ya little secret .. shhh .. There’s a lot of gay in the Church. It’s just math .. large families equal greater probability for gay children. Growing up in the same ward my whole life, I knew exactly who all the gay kids were. So, it ain’t no big surprise to anyone in your ward that she’s gay. I think you may be the last to know.

    I went on a mission in one last attempt to find God .. it didn’t work out .. but since I was the rebel, every missionary came to me with their personal problems. I was like a kind of Mormon Yoda. I was shocked. There was so much gay sex (strike that) just sex going on, I thought I was back in Reno. When I got back home, I found out that it just wasn’t my mission, but EVERY mission. It was like an unholy plague of inappropriate touching.

    Not to mention all the famous gay Mormon leaders throughout the history of the church – or that Noah and his son were gay,– and really if you think about the whole chronology of the life of Christ .. I mean just think about it.

    Here’s what I’m saying. Relax – turn the Mormon dial from 11 to say 5.

  6. Tim

    I believe God would have us to love our daughters just the way they are.

  7. Karen Staab

    There is a fundamental error in the thinking of this mother, and I believe that until she realizes that her premise is inacurate, she will have trouble growing emotionally, as her daughter clearly is doing. Homosexuality is not a “lifestyle.” We are born with a range of sexual feelings and gender identifications. We are very fortunate that in this country we have the freedom – always under threat from people who see only black or white on a number of issues – to think and read and explore deeply in order to understand the world around us. My mother was raised Mormon in Newton, Utah. She was forced into a marriage with a man who was gay, although he was born too early to know that this was a perfectly fine way to be. She was very, very smart and when she got to and internationally recognized graduate school in biology, she understood both their unhappinesses and left the husband and the religion. She also abandoned the predjudices that came with her childhood religion. This was an important thing for her to do because she found herself studying in the South. My mother and my father(a born Southerner), who was also well-educated and wonderfully broadminded, recognized the horrors of discrimination and the intellectual falsehoods that were being taught as “truths”, just as homophobia is still taught today. They were early members of the “underground” civil rights movement in South Alabama. So I learned “at my mother’s knee” about discrimination and all the ways it can hurt both the object of the ill will and the person who is doing the hating. For it is hate. As soon as I moved to New York in the 1970s I stayed up to date on the cause of homosexual liberation, as did my brother and my sister. For we were brought up without prejudice, even tho we lived in a place and time where it was deeply embeded. I am so glad for this heritage, for I could welcome my Lesbian daughter – the most beautiful, spiritual, loving, giving child one could imagine – into this flawed and incredibly wonderful world. Love is all there is. Spread it.

  8. Friend

    I am not a Mormon but I know this is not a Mormon / gay issue. It is a traditional conservative / gay issue. My brother came out just after graduating college. It was difficult for my parents. But they made the decision that God would want them to love my brother no matter what. And if I were a Mormon, I think the teaching of the ‘eternal family’ would be my beacon. First, love. You don’t have to embrace the lifestyle yourself. Just love and accept your daughter and be kind to her partner. This is how my mom thinks of it: If you had to justify your actions would you rather say I choose to love and I loved someone who chose wrong; please forgive me. Or would you rather say, I chose to condemn and I condemned someone who I was supposed to love; please forgive me.

    • The eternal family doctrine really should be what they hold on to. The trouble with it (and you may be aware of this) is that we believe that one needs to live certain virtues and standards to enjoy the full extent of those blessings. Homosexuality is an ideal that doesn’t fit with that. I think the reality is that final judgment isn’t made by us and the most important thing to do is love your children regardless of the choices. I also don’t think it’s wrong to try to encourage your children to hold the same standards you hold. BUT, when the second starts undermining the first (particularly when the kids are now adults), it’s clear that the relationships will suffer and a well-meaning parent can do more harm than they ever realized.

  9. I grew up in a Christian household, not Mormon, and when I came out to my family I got only loving acceptance. The most touching for me, was the unconditional embrace from an older, conservative brother. One can never understand how important family acceptance is to a person who has struggled with the whole persona of being gay in a society and culture that is still not exactly welcoming. It’s incomprehensible to me how anyone can ostracise close family members based on their sexual orientation. That kind of ostracism is one of the really dark aspects of faith traditions that reflect the intolerance of many of those traditions towards their fellow humans.

    And please, don’t refer to gay persons as having a “lifestyle.” That is particularly irksome.

  10. Kris

    Dear DT:
    I truly believe that I was led to this question through an extreme quirk of fate, as I have never been on the Ask Mormon Girl site before, and I feel like I have some perspective on this issue as an active Mormon mother with over fifty years of experience.
    Although I currently do not have any children who have come out as gay, I had the experience just last week of having one of my children’s friends come out to me. This young man attended church with us for years, and continues to be one of my daughter’s closest friends. He has been through incredible amounts of pain, including a multi-year bout with depression, and now he seems to have gone through that pain and his whole countenance has changed — I am guessing that he has come to terms with being gay, and feels that he can now relax and get on with the rest of his life. Besides being obviously happier, this young man is now accomplishing many things that he previously had put on hold.
    I was your typical conservative-thinking Mormon up until ten years ago, when my youngest was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. You may ask what this has to do with your daughter being gay, but it actually does having something to do with this. I was just learning about my son’s diagnosis, and I attended a conference on autism. Part of the conference was a panel of four men who had high-functioning autism. Out of the four, only one was incredibly well-spoken and easy to relate to. Naturally, I listened more to this person – a person I couldn’t see because I was so far in the back of the conference room. All I could judge him on were his words. As he spoke, he referred to having a “partner” – and at first, being a very conservative Mormon, I thought this might be a business partner. But as he talked more, I realized he was talking about his life-partner, and that he was gay. Almost like a bolt of lightning hit me, I came to this conclusion – when given the prospect of a child with high-functioning autism growing into a relatively high-functioning adult with autism, who very well may not have any partner (heterosexual or not), I WOULD GLADLY TAKE A GAY PARTNER. Having someone else love my child as much as I do became infinitely more important to me than abiding by a rule of the church. This was the most important personal revelation I’ve ever received.
    I wish you much luck with your daughter. She is as much a child of god as anyone. Your unconditional love for her will do more for her spiritual welfare than any other thing you could do. I know that this is hard, and this is not what you signed up for. High-functioning autism for my son was also not what I signed up for, but I got it anyway. I’ve adjusted, and it is hard – but I have learned a lot in the process. You will learn too. None of us really knows what you are going through, but I can guarantee you that loving your daughter totally will bring you closer to God.

  11. First let me say that I come from an outstandingly devout and active LDS family. I am a 6th generation Mormon and was raised in the heart of the Jell-O Belt, was an Eagle Scout when I was 14, played church basket ball, etc. etc. etc –and I’ve known I was gay since before I even knew what it meant. Of course I did everything in my power to suppress that and the emotional and spiritual toll was brutal. After 30 years of struggling with it my family finally, at least superficially, accepts me, but they never really will until the church does. After B. Packer’s General Conference speech in 2010 I wrote and asked to have my name removed from the church records.

    They sent me an invitation to my ward’s Christmas party. I did finally succeed in leaving the church for good and all.

    Unless and until you show us your love and acceptance and not just mouth the words you will continue seeing people like me–the lucky ones–leave the church and leave our families. And you will continue to see an impossible number of suicides among your youth.

    If you want to really know God, stop looking at what needs to be changed in your daughter and start looking at what needs to be changed in you.

  12. Ann Ferist

    I would like to lead off with fact that I am not Mormon, nor have I ever been, but wanted to throw out another perspective on this issue.
    I had a parting of the ways on some moral issues with my mother at a young age – although I am not gay. I left the Roman Catholic Church at a young age and this greatly hurt my mother. She told me not to bring up my spiritual beliefs which now lean towards a mixture of Christianity and Buddhism because it upsets her (and she thinks it’s immoral). We still keep in touch – I call her at least once a week – but our relationship is very one sided and I don’t feel at all close to her. I ask her about how she is doing, she tells me and I listen, but over the years, I share less and less with her about my life. We talk about the weather, our gardens, our cars – everything except the most important aspect of my life – my hopes, fears, beliefs, and goals. I am very sad to say that for the past 30 years I haven’t felt much of a connection to my mother, because she didn’t want to hear about what I consider to be a large part of my life , yet if you asked my mother, I bet she would say our relationship is fine. My point is, if you want to have a TRULY CLOSE relationship with someone, you really have to include the whole package. You can’t ask them to leave a large part of themselves outside and welcome only the parts you agree with inside your house. You might try envisioning how it would feel if the situation were reversed, and you couldn’t bring your husband to her house, nor could you talk about him with your daughter. What impact would that have on you? How might you feel towards your daughter? What impact do you think it would have on your relationship?
    Just some thoughts…..

  13. Brooke

    I have to give my brother and his wife kudos, they are both returned missionaries for the the LDS Church, Two of their three children are homosexual, they went through a hard time coming to terms with it(very hard) but they eventually went to their stake president, He said something that set them on the right track. He said the rest of the world will hate them it is your job to love them. My brother even goes with his son to the the gay pride parade while still being a very active member, not to say that everyone should react like this, but I believe that every soul is so important to out Heavenly Father, I don’t worry about judgement, that is off the table for Me. This is a big play ground and Our Father in Heaven is seeing how We treat each other. I love my Niece and Nephew and we are very open in teaching love and acceptance to my own children, I think it makes my oldest son a better missionary who is serving now in Arizona. I guess all I want to say is just love them, your their only parents in this world.

  14. chantz

    I recommend that you watch the movie prayers for bobby this will help a parent very much expecially because of the religious story which is true story.think about these things..
    Following are a few examples of passages which are obviously not the actual will of God:

    EXODUS 21:17: and again in LEVITICUS 21:9 “And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”

    If God actually wanted us to kill every child who in the throws of growing up, cursed or talked back to his or her parent then the population of our world would be significantly smaller than it is today, and that is not God’s answer to our current overpopulation problem.

    EXODUS 21:20-21: “And if a man beats his servant or his maidservant with a rod…(and he or she)…remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he (or she) is his property.

    Does anyone actually believe that employees have ever been personal property in God’s eyes and that killing one is ok because they are nothing more than a piece of property?

    EXODUS 22:19 and also in LEVITICUS 20:15-16 “Whoever lies with a beast shall surely be put to death.”

    If every farm boy who had had a calf, a goat or a sheep as his first girlfriend, was put to death, then we probably wouldn’t have enough farmers left to feed the hungry. God never said that.

    EXODUS 31:15 “Whoever does ANY work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”

    How could anyone who knows the love of God believe that God would have anyone who did any honest work on Sunday, killed?

    LEVITICUS 20:10 “The adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death”.

    Surely, if throughout history every adulterer and adulteress who had ever lived had been put to death it would have depopulated much of the planet. That is not to say that adultery is not a sin before God, but He has never been so bloodthirsty that He demanded death for the average sinner.

    LEVITICUS 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman…they shall surely be put to death.”

    God never said that He would have His children killed who happened to have been born with a God-given genetic heritage which made them prefer members of their same sex as partners. If this were true we would not have been blessed with the world’s greatest works of art dedicated to God and His Glory. 

    LEVITICUS 20:27 “A man or a woman who is a medium…shall surely be put to death.”

    God has blessed many men and woman with remarkable spiritual and prophetic skills with which to divine the future and help people. Why in the world would He have those people whom he has blessed as seers, killed?

    LEVITICUS 24:16 “And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.”

    Wow, if everyone on earth who, in a momentary fit of anger, used a blasphemous word, was put to death by their congregation, our churches would be mostly empty. Surely t
    his is not the law of a loving and forgiving God!!! People are so afraid of what they don’t know or don’t understand instead people follow what everyone else thinks and believes why should we all be the same if we were all the same then this world would be one boring place that’s why we have different races religions and spiritual beliefs ,we need to learn to understand do research and think for ourselves instead of just being followers.LOVE comes in different forms and different ways but at the end it still comes from the heart.if being gay was a choice then when did you deside to be straight?open up listen and learn and get incontact with pflag parents and friends of gay and lesbian siblings or children they will help u aswell.

  15. Violet

    One simple step is to remind yourself that sexual orientation does not equal identity. The single most problematic proposition by the LGBT movement is to make sexual orientation a basic part of a person’s identity – when it is exactly this idea that separates; creating an “us and them” mentality.

    She is your daughter. Remember that. Remember who she is, and then treat her the way you would like to be treated.

    • sandie

      violet-i am very confused by your statement as sexual orientation has EVERYTHING to do with one’s identity. it is not human’s who have given people their identity it God who created us uniquely as man and woman.
      Psalms 139 confirms the uniqueness of one’s identity in creation.

  16. Most people replying here are looking for a middle ground, and that is usually a wise course. I’d like to add a different opinion to this discussion, however, and say that In this case, oil and water really don’t mix. I don’t see how you can get to a middle ground, except by pretending that Mormonism is something other than what it is, and by also pretending that your child only deserves part of your love and won’t be damaged by your contempt for who they are.

    Isn’t truly loving and fully accepting gay people and their choices in conflict with your understanding of Mormon values? To look for a position half in one camp and half in the other is to practice an insincere dualism based on a desire for your own, personal, emotional comfort. Practicing honesty winnows your options: Either you courageously accept homosexuality in a sincere disagreement with your religion and take a stance that amounts to an open defiance, or you reject a core part of who your child is, undermining her or him by offering a tepid “love” characterized most by what is missing–the full validation and unconditional acceptance that only a parent can give. Of course neither course feels good, but truth does not depend on what feels good to you.

    • sandie

      productor-what is your source of authority for seeking a middle ground? if you believe that manmade laws supersede God’s word at what point do your opinions stretch beyond compromise? where is it that the middle ground will crumble and be ‘no more’ for you?

      • No, Sandie, I don’t seek a middle ground in this case. The question, familiar to any practicing Mormon, is “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” If you say, “No,” how can you support and affiliate with your gay child when the church adamantly opposes homosexuality? Parents of gay children can establish only the illusion of a middle ground; there is no point of intersection where Mormonism and homosexuality happily co-exist. Pretending there is one is to train your brain to think irrationally.

        The desire to connect with gay children is strong enough to pull Mormon parents towards hypocrisy. The writer who started this thread talked about partially supporting her gay daughter, but asking her daughter to keep the gayness hidden. How can we not sympathize with the pain that leads (essentially) to “I want to address this moral dilemma by pretending it does not exist,”? Those who do look the truth in the face will see that any love they offer their gay children gives them strength, but the children choose how they use that strength. Any parental support of a gay child effectively encourages the choice to participate in a movement that is leading to a society in which the 10% of the population that are born gay are treated as moral equals and allowed to live, love, and marry as they choose.

        Conversely, denying parental love is a very effective way to undermine your children. The family of origin is our foundation, the major source of self-esteem and confidence for most. If you reject your gay children, they are more likely to become involved in drugs, gambling and other self-destructive behavior; they may founder in their careers, and choose negative, unsupportive relationships. Gay children who are hated by their parents are less likely to illustrate homosexuality as a legitimate life-style, instead their ruined lives may appear to ratify a common Mormon belief against being gay.

        So I see no middle ground here, but there is an alternate viewpoint. If rejecting and debasing your own children is wrong, homophobia is just another mistake to be put on the dust heap of Mormon history, along with polygamy and racial restrictions. Love your gay children fully, including their partners.

  17. sandie

    your advice caters to secular values and fails to hold to God’s standards. why do you think that you have the capacity to speak and influence the minds of the people in the church?

    • It is true that I desire to influence; that is the purpose of speech. I do not assume I will succeed, but nor do I assume that church membership is a shield against influence. Others may not see “God’s standards” quite as you do, and the readership may be broader than you seem to assume.

      • sandie

        producto

        i appreciate very much your willingness to talk in a loving way about a very painful topic. i believe the issue of boundaries with our children goes beyond homosexuality. it hurts me deeply that our society has put such
        a stranglehold on our young people that societal norms are accepted
        by the church and there is no clear cut right and wrong any more.
        .

  18. sandie

    when you say that others don’t see God’s standards as i see them to be
    i think the discussion comes down to the theological issue of law and love.
    christ said “i did not come to abolish the law..”.your definition seems to
    interpret love as tolerating behaviors that isolate those who behave outside of God’s law. i ask again-what are the boundaries and norms of behavior that you are unwilling to accept as going outside of God’s law? there is a boundary for all of us.

  19. Christianity is a mix of voices going back to early Judaism and every sect struggles to reconcile contradictions and establish “God’s standards.” If, as you say, Sandie, Christ “did not come to abolish the law,” then what parts of Leviticus continue to be applicable? Many would argue that other biblical language establishes that Christ did abolish those laws, and even in a predominantly Christian culture, we eat shellfish, work on the Sabbath, and do not kill disobedient children.

    So given the inevitability of multiple interpretations, perhaps the most logical way for any Christian to decide about anything is to consider what Christ said about it. In fact, there is no record that Christ chose to say anything against homosexuality. Therefore, your premise that people’s gay children are operating outside of God’s law depends on the interpretation of priests, prophets, and apostles. Sandie, you misunderstand if you think my argument is to tolerate behaviors that go beyond the boundary of God’s law. Rather, I advocate that people should decide for themselves where the boundaries are. If Christ never spoke against being gay or for rejecting gay people, shouldn’t Christians agree that love of a gay child trumps other opinions and functions to grow your heart and extend your boundaries?

    You speak of “behaviors that isolate” people, but loving a same gender partner does not isolate anybody; rather, the rest of us who happen to be heterosexual do the isolating behavior… or the accepting. Is there any problem in this accepting? My best friend’s daughter was married recently…to another woman. All four parents were present and fully supportive (one father was the pastor who performed the ceremony), and extending my love and acceptance to the brides at the wedding didn’t hurt me, or negatively affect my relationship with my wife.

    In answer to your question, the behavior I don’t accept is that which causes harm, and I have never heard a credible argument of how homosexuality is on the wrong side of that boundary. On the other hand, spitefully refusing to accept your child’s gay lover, who is presumably no more gay than your child, is based on a harmful, nonsensical, double standard. What qualifies anyone to act as judge and what good does punishment by isolation achieve? In fact, the only harm I see comes from homophobia, especially when it causes parents to reject or marginalize their children and thereby destroy their own families.

  20. sandie

    hmm! i am trying to understand your logic. i agree with one thing that loving your child is important. but loving your child and tolerating wrong behavior are two different things.i also disagree that the Bible does not address homosexuality.as breaking God’s law. there are seven passages in scripture which i am sure you know-but choose to ignore-which describe sex with a same sex partner as a sin.

    i also have friends who are homosexual.and two of my best friends have children who are gay. their childrens’ choice is breaking their hearts and their behaviors are creating a great deal of conflict within their families-so i don’t understand your rationale when you say that no one is being hurt by their behaviors?.

  21. Sandie, you don’t know that sex with same gender is wrong. Bible may say it is, but how come Jesus even addresses thinking about another man’s wife, but says nothing about homosexuality? Even if gay sex is “wrong,” how does loving your child’s partner do harm? They have sex together, but you aren’t there cheering the act. It is none of your business once they are adults.

    Being gay isn’t a problem. When homophobic parents choose to have their hearts be broken and choose conflict—those parents are the problem. The large, accepting heart does not break. Instead parents can choose to be delighted that someone loves their child as much as they do. When the parents get over their hatred and stubbornness, there is no more conflict.

  22. sandie

    really! it is the parents problem??? there is no sense discussing with
    you when you cast blame on the parent because they hold to a different
    set of values that correspond to their religious beliefs. i find your comments untenable!

    • Perhaps you are right that I shouldn’t put blame on homophobic parents, Sandie; blame never does much good. Rather, a better way to put this is to say that it is with the parents that the opportunity to improve the situation lies. Christian parents can choose to look a little further and see that rejecting gay children is NOT “holding to values that correspond to their religious beliefs.” In fact, quite the opposite is true.

      Everything Jesus said about how we should treat others came down to “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Jesus did not add, “…unless they do something that you disapprove of, in which case withhold love and acknowledgement because that is a good way to make them to do things your way.” If you truly believe in what Jesus said in the Bible, shunning people is in OPPOSITION to your values. Furthermore, it obviously doesn’t serve any positive purpose; where does the New Testament ever make the case that you can or should teach people a lesson with hatred?

      Yes, some parts of the Bible do make a case against sexual acts with same-gender partners, so if you believe you should follow the Bible, you can choose not to act on any homosexual impulses you might have. You can also choose not to lust after your neighbor’s wife (or husband) in your heart, etc. That is how to align your own behavior with your religion. Trying to interfere in other people’s business by withholding the love Jesus advocated…where do you get the idea that your religion “corresponds” to that? Christianity teaches that Mosaic law no longer applies and all Old Testament law was fulfilled when Jesus said, “it is finished,” just before he died. What continues forward is love and “judge not lest ye be judged,” and the other values in the Sermon on the Mount. Can you cite anything at all in the New Testament showing that Jesus would approve a policy of banishing someone who loves your child and throwing out, or marginalizing your child as well?

      Personally, I happen to stand in the heterosexual camp, so you could say that homosexuals are on somewhat different grounds. Thus, I consider them my “neighbors,” in the larger sense that Jesus meant, and I believe that “loving them as myself” is pretty good advice. Standing up for gays and lesbians here is part of how I try to follow through on that. I hope others may read and find some “sense” in this discussion, even if you do not, Sandie.

  23. Kris

    Sandie –

    I find your rigid application of “God’s law” untenable.

    Remember, Christ showed love for Mary Magdelene, who also did not “follow God’s law”. Basically, from what we read in the New Testament, Christ showed love for all (but he was frustrated with the Pharisees). Hmmm. Why? The Pharisees applied a rigid application of God’s Law.

    Personally, I don’t know how anyone stops loving their child in the name of loving God. I also never understood the story of Abraham and how he was prepared to kill Isaac in order to fulfill God’s request. What kind of God gives us children, tells us to love and cherish them, and then gives us a law that, if not followed, tells us to NOT love and cherish them? For myself, I personally choose to follow Christ’s admonition — to love everyone.

  24. sandie

    who said anything about not loving your child? to stand for a position because it is different than yours should not be construed as unloving..
    i have a question: where is the love YOU have for those with different values? do you consider attacking, blaming, misinterpreting, and labeling others who disagree with you as showing love?
    “put blame on homophobic parents”
    “teach people a lesson with hatred?”
    “Yes, some parts of the Bible do make a case against sexual acts with same-gender partners, so if you believe you should follow the Bible, you can choose not to act on any homosexual impulses you might have”.
    …how can you gloss over “some of those parts?”
    …to have homosexual tendency is NOT what we are discussing here.)

    i continue to ask a question which you have chosen not to answer:
    what is the sexual boundary that you would find unacceptable as a
    Christian? sexual abuse with young boys, sodomy, beastiality?

    • Here are my responses, Sandie:
      “Not loving your child” depends on the definition of love. This discussion has been about maybe loving your child in your heart, but diminishing active connection; that does not seem much like true love to me.
      Where is my love for those with different values? Well, I disagree with the homophobic parents of gay children, but my posts here are intended to serve as acts of love. I would hope that making the case that people are acting in opposition to their religious values contributes in some small way to the eventual reconnection of families.
      Teach people a lesson with hatred? Not sure what your question is here, but my point has been that I am against that tactic.
      How do I gloss over “some of those parts” that make a case against sexual acts? Personally, I think those parts reflect those writers’ personal prejudices since Jesus never said anything supporting them. However, whatever lack of concern I may have about gay sex, the larger issue is that sometimes people do wrong (or we think they have) and we either accept or reject them for that wrong. Jesus was not about rejecting the sinner and most Christians understand that, but for some reason, many make a bigger issue about homosexuality than, for instance, lusting after your neighbor’s wife, which Jesus did specifically condemn. This disproportionate reaction is odd, un-Christian, and anti-family, and leads to incredible suffering on the part of both children and parents. For some odd reason, parents become confused and think they are being moral when they are actually following their least noble desire to maintain their own personal emotional comfort, regardless of the expense to their family.
      To me, Christ was about loving thy neighbor as thyself, so following his lead, the sexual boundaries I think should not be transgressed are those where someone else is harmed. Exploiting children or animals or running over anyone weaker for one’s own sexual pleasure at their expense is wrong. Two adults choosing to have sex together ARE loving their neighbors as themselves, and whether their private acts conform to some parts of the Bible is “between them and their god.” It is none of my business and where did Jesus ever say I should make it my business?
      Sandie, I hope I have answered your questions, but please note that you did not answer mine. I am pointing out that pushing children away, saying that they cannot talk about a loved one, banning that loved one from the house… it may feel like a satisfying revenge for making you feel uncomfortable, but it doesn’t cause the acts you don’t like to stop; it doesn’t serve any useful purpose, or achieve any moral or religious goal. Christ did not “stand for a position” by rejecting Mary Magdalene, as Kris points out above. Where in the New Testament do you find any support for this kind of spiteful, distancing behavior towards a loved one?

  25. sandie

    i appreciate your taking seriously the questions and answering them in your own way-even though i disagree with your interpretation of scripture.
    your are right that Christ loved those who were living a sinful life style.
    however, he said to the prostitute “i love you but go and sin no more”.
    i have never said to ban your child or to isolate him or her out of revenge.

    my point is this: if we accept sexual boundaries that are spiritually wrong there is no need for redemption and wholeness-no need for Christ’s teachings. His words are powerful when he says “i am the way, the truth, and the life-follow me”. He did not say “tolerate the norms of society-follow the ways of the world”..

    i wonder if you happened to see Dr. Phill show tonight? is was about
    a young woman in love with a young man with iinfantiism and insistence
    on being fed and diapered like a baby. following your argument, “the young man is not hurting anyone. it is the couple’s life and they can do what they want with their lives?” it is natural and healthy for the parents to have realistic expectations for their daughter and that relationship is a far cry from one which is whole and healthy. dr, phil defined unhealthy as that which interferes with a person’s functioning and goals. do you honestly consider homosexuality a healthy life style as same sex couples do not have sex nor can they procreate in the natural way that God created the universe?.

    that is all that i am saying. if we let go of expectations and conform to the norms in society and start reframing what is healthy we have lost our compass and are guding our young people in the direction of a life style that is broken and has heartache and long term consequences.

  26. A

    I was in a relief society meeting once when one of the mothers of a friend of mine, who is gay, stood up and said something that I think may help this mother. She said that there are enough people out there telling our kids they aren’t good enough and she said there is enough turmoil they face out in the world. Home should be a place where they can always get a hug. That doesn’t mean you always agree with them or approve of what they do, but that they have one place on this earth and two people (their parents) that, through thick and thin, will offer them support and love when they need it. I am not a mother. I’m sure this situation is very difficult. But my advice? Give your daughter what she needs from you at this time in her life, which seems to be bringing her partner home. If she must live by the rules of chastity in your home, so be it, but let her share someone she cares about with you. Give her a “hug” by showing her that you are still that person for her. And like Joanna said, take some time to sort this out yourself too. And this SHOULD be a two-way street. If you compromise, she should too. Otherwise one of you will feel taken advantage of or unappreciated. Good luck with this!

  27. Kelsey

    Dear Mom,
    I feel I understand your turmoil as I have seen the unrest that my “coming out” has caused within my own family. But all of this unrest was monitored from a distance. I came out to my parents when I was attending BYU-I via email. My heart was pounding when I hit the send button. My parents, on the surface, were so great about everything. Instead of isolation they made sure I knew that they still loved me (although, eventually this phrase ‘I still love you’ became irksome). When I came home for break my Dad took me aside and we had a talk about how unimportant sex is in marriage anyways. What really mattered was friendship. I was stunned. And thats when things ceased to be only black and white for me. This was when I truly saw that although they appeared to be accepting, they still expected this to be a phase that would pass until I was able to happily form a “friendship” with a boy. And this is when the distancing started. Not just from my family but from the Mormon faith.

    The whole culture was hard to stomach when I felt that I couldnt show who I truly was. When majority of my peers at BYU-I were extremely homophobic, leaving me feeling extremely isolated. I was playing pretend every single day when conversations about marriage and cute boys both on the screen and in real life, came into play. It was torture. And I felt really alone. And it was through all of this that I truly started gaining a testimony of God and of His love for me. And then I started dating.

    I asked my mom one Christmas if I could bring my girlfriend home. Her response coupled both acceptance and distance. I was confused. The acceptance part: Yes, I could bring her home. But she still expected me to be chaste. We would be sleeping in seperate bedrooms. This part I completely respect. No matter the relationship, I think keeping equal guidelines for all your children is most important and I did not expect anything contrary to that. The distance part? She was to be talking to both my little brother and my little sister about my sexual orientation before I was to arrive. But without me? This hurt. Especially when she wrote back expressing my little brothers reaction. He was hurt and he was angry. Who wouldnt be? Any eleven year old boy would be torn and confused between a sister that he loved and a religion that he was beginning to love as well. These are conflicting issues that are never talked about. These are issues that torment a lot of Christian families.

    I ended up coming home alone. I thought this would be best. My relationship with my family is great except for the fact that we never talk about me being gay whatsoever. I know the topic is uncomfortable for them, so I shy away from it and cling to friends that have accepted me. I would councle you to continue showing your daughter love and affection in all the ways that you are doing now. And I would also very strongly encourage you to be a positive influence for her by speaking with her about these issues in the sense that she will recognize you reaching out, branching out from your comfort zone, to include her. You could have a misconstrued view of a lesbian relationship. And coupled with that, although my parents and I hardly speak of my own relationships, I have learned a lot about a healthy relationship from them and I want to mirror what they have in my own life as I seek out a partner of my own to spend the rest of my life with.

    To sum it up, just remember that every child needs, NEEDS, the love of their parents. And you cannot just love part of the child. There is no such thing as impartial love.

    There are many, many other mediums she could turn to to feel acceptance. But none are as secure as a loving family. Just imagine another person giving her that acceptance she sought after from you and didnt receive. Isnt it heartbreaking to see someone elses maternal arms around her in support?

  28. Shannon

    just one thing, love is a verb not a noun. Practice love fully and you will know how to love and be loved in return. Love unconditionally,
    beleif is a dicey bit of business.

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