Category Archives: lgbt

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m an out gay Mormon serving a mission, and I need help.

Just over a year ago, I stood at the back of the first-ever Mormon temple in Kirtland, Ohio, and witnessed a choir of gay Mormons sing “How Firm a Foundation” with a grace and power that would make the Mormon tears roll down your face.  And next to me stood a young gay Mormon man, nineteen and red-headed and freckle-faced, who’d travelled across the ocean from Europe, just to be in the company of other gay Mormons.  Just to be understood.  And as tears rolled down his freckled face (of course), he asked me: “If they could see us”—they being, I don’t know who, perhaps Church leaders?—“don’t you think they’d change their minds about us?”

I didn’t have a good answer for that.  But I fell in love with him (of course) the way forty year-old Mormon feminists can’t help but fall in love with nineteen year-old gay Mormon men who are preparing to serve their missions.  And I’ve been writing to him from time to time, as his friend and sister Mormon.  Which is what we do for one another.

This week he sent something of an SOS:

I’m not doing so well. I’m struggling to get along with my companions, who I have so little in common with.  And the “no hug” rule really hurts, since I tend to connect readily with women, and a hug comes naturally to me.

Not to sound like a spoilt child, but I need wisdom.  Bigotry exists, and people have formulated ideas that are hurtful, and I’m desperately trying to be graceful, but I am what I am and I won’t be made into something I’m not.  A lot of positive changes have come through service so far—forgiveness, trust, reliance of myself, strength for the underdog—I just need wisdom on how to make it through.

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My 12 year old daughter says she is attracted to girls. What is a Mormon mom to do?

I have a daughter who is 12 going on 20, and is the most amazing, brilliant, and wonderful girl. She recently told me that she is quite certain that she is attracted to girls and always has been. I was shocked mostly because I didn’t think she was old enough to really be attracted to anyone! Well, not really, but she is still so young I was very surprised that she was so definite.

I am worried for her though. My family on both sides comes from serious pioneer stock. Our family’s sense of identity is deeply rooted in the church. I have somewhat parted ways with the strict orthodoxy that nearly all of my family still lives by. I am so happy that my daughter knew that she could trust me enough to tell me something so personal and difficult. But I don’t know what this means for her. She is finding Young Women’s more and more difficult. Lessons about the temple are particularly painful, and my heart aches as I watch her cry. 

What should I do?

SKE

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Filed under family, lgbt, parenting

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m Mormon. I’m Gay. I’m torn in two. Help?

The story this week, readers, is in the questions.

Dear AMG,

I am a 26-year-old returned missionary, have a temple recommend, serve in the Elder’s Quorum presidency in my singles ward, and am attracted to men.  Without detailing the entire melodramatic saga, I’ve been dealing with this issue my entire life, but it has really consumed a lot of my attention, energy, and vitality in the last four years.  I made some pretty intense missteps in my efforts to come to some level of catharsis, and was consequently disfellowshipped.  I was reinstated, and have served as faithfully as I know how in every calling I’ve had.  I’ve been involved in LDS-oriented organizations helping to support active members of the church who are gay.  In short, I’m giving it my all.  I feel forgiven of the mistakes I made years ago, and am assured I’m in good standing with God.

Yet, I haven’t been happy.

I met a great guy recently, a BYU grad student, who is in very much the same boat.  We connected both on this issue and many other commonalities, and we’ve started spending much of our spare time together.  He has become my closest friend and confidant.  While we haven’t gotten involved in any way that would compromise either our church membership or his standing in school, I realized one morning that I had a de facto boyfriend.  Scarier still: I loved him, and was ok with that.  He has since communicated with me that he reciprocates those feelings.

 And yet, I’m not happy.

There’s something about being a gay Mormon that makes you feel that joy’s simply not part of the equation.  Either I stay involved in the family-oriented church I very much believe in, single and isolated, surrounded by families, or I pursue a relationship I desperately want, yet that would alienate me from my family, my friends, and worst, the surety of my personal convictions.  No road seems viable.  And two different poles of my soul are tugging ferociously toward opposite directions.  I’m not suicidal, but have known three men who have taken their lives, and scores of others who’ve made attempts.  Everyone thinks these kinds of deaths are results of bullying, bigotry, or bias.  In truth, for many men like me, death seems like a pleasant relief from the grind of life’s contradictions.

Despite our insistence to the contrary, gay Mormons don’t have a corner on the suffering market.  How could my pain even begin to compare to some of the crucibles others face?  We all have our Gethsemanes.  I’m certain my current one is light compared to many others.  The difficulty I face is an unsettling feeling there is no path through this; all paths seem to lead to the same sense of cut-off damnation.  Four years of learning, growth, and effort have been beneficial, yet seemed only to wield more question, more uncertainty.  Any advice for a guy being torn in two?

Sincerely,

DK

***

Dear AMG:

I attended BYU-I for a little over a year, two actual semesters that were split up by taking a couple online classes during a winter semester. And it was brutal. I never felt like I belonged and homophobic attitudes were around every corner; in mutiple FHEs, in various RM attitudes and constantly amongst both conservative and liberal conversations. My first semester there, I was a girl that was anxious all the time that someone was going to find out. I made up boyfriends left and right and pretended that I thought a boy was cute or that eternal marriage in the temple was a reality I saw in my own future. Second semester was a different story. After I came out to my parents and various friends, I had built up a support system of mormons and non-mormons. I had done some serious soul searching. And I had taken a lot of drugs to curb my own feelings of isolation and inadequacies, as I had seen them. When second semester rolled around, I wasnt the girl out to please everyone I came in contact with. But I also wasnt one to be openly gay. I feared being kicked out and I feared being excommunicated. But there was an honesty that time.

 After that semester I didnt go back. And now I feel torn. I feel so confused. I enjoy the Mormon community and the friends that I have made there. I think the church offers great guidance and support in a lot of areas and a general sense of love that is rare to find. My whole family is active, including both extended families (minus a few cousins.) Ive tried the inactive route. But how does a gay person experience a fully active Mormon lifestyle? I don’t feel condemned for being gay, or that it is something I must seek and strive to change within me. And the more I have accepted it, the less bouts of depression I have. 

Is there any hope for this one day to be reconciled? Or will this be a constant battle I fight for the rest of my life?

Sincerely,

 

KS

Dear Brother DK and Sister KS:

I have absolutely no idea what I’d do if I were in your shoes.  I am humbled that you even wrote me. This is one of those weeks where I hope people will just read your letters and begin to grapple with what it means to be a gay Mormon.

I also hope you both take a minute to watch this just-released “It Gets Better” video made at BYU.  The filmmaker is Kendall Wilcox.  Please visit the site for his forthcoming movie Far Between to access more videos and resources.  You should also know about an upcoming gathering of LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their allies, April 20 – 22 in Washington, D.C.  More info is here.

I believe in a loving and powerful God.  I believe that God loves you just as much as God loves me.  I believe as the Book of Mormon teaches that “man is that he might have joy.”  And I am a follower of Jesus.  This Easter weekend it struck me that the message of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection story, the meaning of the atonement is that it does get better.

I don’t know how.  But I am willing to walk alongside you and learn.

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

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I’m a Mormon mom, and I don’t want my gay daughter to bring her girlfriend home. Am I being unfair? What about my beliefs?

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
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I’m a gay post-Mormon trying to get along with my LDS family. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I grew up in a conservative Mormon home in a small rural town of southern Idaho. I am also gay. After serving a mission in Russia and graduating from BYU, I am now attending a graduate school in the Bay Area. I stopped attending church within the last few years and now consider myself agnostic or atheist (depending on the day). Without going into details about my transition out of the church—which is rather complicated—I think it is sufficient to say that I am very happy with the path in life I have chosen.

While I am at peace with myself and happy with the relationship I am in, I find it difficult, as a non-Mormon (or post-Mormon) interacting with my devout Mormon family. I have to give my family credit for still loving and accepting me and how well they have adjusted. I think they generally understand that being gay was never a choice I made and not something any of us can change. I see that they also want me to be happy but I am unsure how they feel about my relationship and lifestyle.

I generally try really hard to respect my family’s religious beliefs and hope for the same in return. Recently, while traveling with my brother I was waiting for a very early morning flight. I stopped to get breakfast and without thinking bought coffee. My brother was deeply offended. Several days later, my parents called requesting that I do not drink coffee in front of them because of its offensive nature. I understand that some behaviors may be offensive to them, but to what degree should I change my life to accommodate them?

I am personally a little uncomfortable going to church, reading scriptures, and having family prayer with them. I never refuse to do so because I do not want to cause drama. I now try to avoid situations where things like this are an issue, such as not visit my family on Sundays. I love my family very much and want to be close and involved in their lives, but what is the appropriate boundary between respect for their religious beliefs and compromising my lifestyle?

–JM

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What would you tell your kids if they told you they were gay?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I’m gay and Mormon. I think I’m a relatively rare breed. I am fairly open about it in my young single adult ward. I blog about it. I’m also very active in the church. I just finished a year and a half stint as ward mission leader, which was not an easy thing for me to do. Before that I was Elder’s quorum president in my ward. To me it seems that there are plenty of gay Mormons who are out and choose not to actively participate in the church and there are plenty of gay Mormons who choose to stay closeted and marry the opposite sex, but there aren’t many who are openly gay and active. I think these factors contribute to perpetuating a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance on the subject of homosexuality in the church.

I’m curious what your thoughts are on the church’s approach or lack of approach to homosexuality. It seems content to deal with it largely in the political realm, which I think is a big mistake. There doesn’t seem to be any real overt attempt to minister to gay members on a more personal/spiritual level. What you would do if one of your own children approached you and told you he/she was attracted to his or her own gender?

HJ
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