Others have posted this, but I can’t help myself. This is a well-worth-watching video on the life of gay Mormons.

Check it out here, and please pass it on.


  1. DW June 8, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    Excellent video? I thought it was really quite poorly done with a lot of alarmist and extreme rhetoric just left hanging out there with no attempt to contextualize.

  2. John Dehlin June 8, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    OK…how about “well-worth-watching”?

    For me, any time real people stories can be told…in a human way….it’s progress.

  3. Johnny Rotten June 8, 2006 at 6:00 pm


    Thank you!

    I have a very close sibling who is struggling with same sex attraction and a year and a half ago came out to me and my wife. This sibling shattered all my preconceived notions about why someone is homosexual and what that means. The ABC story is powerful and only touches the surface of a very complex and difficult issue for many families in the Church today.

    I wish more members had an understanding of the years of pain and loneliness that those that struggle with same sex attraction face. Even when they have understanding families, the structure, counsel and Church doctrine leave them with only two options; celibacy or leaving the Church they love.

    They are condemned by nearly everyone in the Church today. It is sad and painful and my heart aches for my sibling.

    Thank you,

    Johnny Rotten

  4. Rhapsidiom June 8, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    While this was interesting, I hope it was not representative of the majority of gay Mormons. I don’t think it was. It would seem easy to believe, based on watching this “unbiased” and “open, honest, and respectful,” story that most or all gay Mormons are just waiting for the Church to come around to the Church’s point of view. There was, however, a very slanted point of view given in this media segment. The producers of this ABC segment dealt a sly hand. I don’t think most gay Mormons are waiting for the Church to change.

    Sure, the Mormon church was represented, in Elder Marlen K. Jensen. He did a fine job, and it was one nice counterbalance. But aside from him—he must have seemed a foreign mystic to the producers—the problem of being gay was only represented in terms of non-recovery. The *only* gay support group represented was of Mormon gay fathers, whose premise was that it was impossible to overcome being gay. There is a definite, absent representation of other types of support groups or helps for those who are gay but desire to change, even though I am certain support groups exist for men and women who want to do so. ABC and its producers were, unfortunately, blind-sighted to this aspect of the story, despite the countered viewpoints of Jensen.

    Further, notice how anyone who wasn’t gay (the marriages) were set distantly from the camera. I think that was a manipulative technique, even if the intent of the camera man was to only show us how isolated gays can feel. It nevertheless sold the idea that marriage between a man and a woman could not feel as close as so-called “gay marriage,” which terms “gay marriage,” in my book, actually makes no sense, if marriage is, by definition, between a man and a woman.

    While I make no judgements on any particular individual or situation, per se, without knowing the particulars, it is false to believe that a man or woman cannot change. No question, if someone finds oneself having same-sex attraction for another person, that can be a lonely, difficult, and tempting path to walk. I can sympathize with the struggle. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with being gay, in the sense that one might have feelings that are out of one’s control. I just wish ABC had the story straight. (No pun intended.)

  5. jordanandmeg June 8, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    It’s so unfortunate when anyone is ‘condemned’ or shunned. So unchristian. Even if the church disagrees with a practice (which it has every right to), there should be no decrease in expressions of love.

    When my dad was a stake president, he did his best to end church courts with expressions of love and invitations of fellowship. That went for pedaphiles, adulterers, you name it. Excommuncation was a last resort and no one was ‘condemned’ or hated in the process. He was probably the exception to the rule, but he ran things the way I think they should be, the way I believe Christ would.

  6. Daniel W June 9, 2006 at 10:20 am

    Yes there are support groups out there for those with SSA who want to change. However, it has been my experience that there is a vast number of people with this issue in the church who ARE hoping the church will change it’s stance but it’s not how you think. Sure a few would like to see the church embrace homosexuality but most of them are not stupid. What they want is for the church to change how it deals with people who have this problem. In the past, the bishop would just hand you a pamphlet and told you that if only your faith and testimony were stronger, you wouldn’t have SSA. Now, thankfully, they are starting to turn from that but it still needs to continue to progress. For many (notice I didn’t say all) SSA does stem from many early issues (like 1st year of life) and other issues throughout life that can be worked through and could lead to the man or woman finding their same-gender attraction fading and attraction for the opposite sex growing stronger. That’s not always the case but for a lot of people this has been a great help.

    http://www.evergreeninternational.org/ would be a great place to start looking.

  7. Gunner June 9, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    I watched it yesterday and thought it was very well done. I’ve never studied the issue much from a religious point of view but find that the first comment on its supposed “alarmist and extreme rhetoric” is odd as I find it from both sides of the issue.

  8. MichaelD June 9, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for posting this video.
    Actually, I am not mormon, but I was a lutheran christian, and I am gay.
    When I realized that I was attracted to boys at the age of 15, I was not sure what to do.
    So I just waited and hoped for it to go away. I read all those nasty statements in the bible,
    in the old testament as well as the psychological insights of St. Paul, the great hobby-psychologist.

    When I turned 19 and dated my first boyfriend, I of course got stronger pricks of consciousness, because my christian upbringing fought against my feelings and desires.

    When I split with my first boyfriend, I decided to “change”. I looked for help and found a help ministry, a christian one.
    The next half year I took part in this group were hell for me.
    The basic procedure in a Christian help ministry is first to establish a pseudotheory of why you are gay.
    The most common pattern is detachment from father, overbearing mother, or the opposite.

    There was a remarkable study about homosexual males which found that 60% of gays felt detached from their fathers. Halleluja, now we found the reason why they are gay.
    However, a thourough psychological study compares this figure to the overall population, and, what a miracle,
    the overall population also has a percentage of 60% of men feeling detached from their fathers, probably because in our society, the Dad mostly earns the money and spends less time at home.

    When you are not aware of this, however, you buy into these pseudotheories about how you became gay.
    But when you try to figure out how to use this theory to change your sexuality, it turns out to be not useful, because many of your persuasions and emotional patterns of behaviour are just formed during childhood.
    So you seem to be in a hopeless situation.

    But that’s when the star of the evening, the gala-queen, Jesus, the saviour of our world, comes into play.
    So what you do then is to pray, and to read the bible, and to fast, and to go to church regularly, and so on.

    What does this lead to? I will tell you:
    It leads to a total split up between your rational mind and your feelings and emotions.
    While your rational mind is indoctrinated with this evangelical rightwing interpretation of a thousands of years old book, your feelings and emotions are suppressed, and whenever they arise, whenever you see a cute guy on the road, in your class, in TV, anywhere, you feel guilty, you have to look away, you have to suppress your emotions, because they are of the devil.
    The more you try to suppress them, the stronger they get.
    It is really like being posessed by a daemon. It’s like not going to the toilet inspite you have to,
    the urges get stronger and stronger.
    And then you pray to Jesus, God and the holy ghost, or to all simultaneously.
    And nothing changes.
    And you wonder:
    Doesnt god love me? Why doesn’t he answer my prayers? What does he punish me for?
    Did I do something bad during my childhood so that God has the right to punish me?
    And you pray more.
    All this keeps piling up, you get more and more depressed, living in an unhealthy life of denial, hiding,
    tearing your own soul apart in a rightwing christian side and a homosexual “sinner” side, hating yourself for who you are.

    It took me a long time to realize that God isn’t there. One day, in the mountains, I finally had a spiritual experience, the most spiritual experience in my life. And this was the enlightenment that God does not exist.
    If God doesn’t exist, that explains why he did not, inspite of all my prayers, help me, although he is described as such a nice guy in the new testament.
    If God doesn’t exist, that explains why the Bible contains, besides many nice and helpful chapters, so many cruel and hateful and unhealthy passages which make living a hell, because everyone is fighting against other religions, other sexuality, against women and so on.
    All this then made sense to me, it fit into the picture.
    I had finally become an adult, myself responsible for my actions,
    myself responsible for what I do, what I choose, what I feel and how I react to those feelings.
    It was the greatest relief I have ever felt in my life. It actually felt more loving not to be loved by anyone than being hated and tortured by this vengeful christian God.

    There are still religious thoughts in my mind, because I was raised that way and I cannot get rid of that way of thinking, but with time, they have become more encompassing, I see that Christianity is only one of many manmade religions, which without any doubt contain many insights of our previous generations, but have to be adapted to fit into modern times.

    Although I had a period of time in which I was a hateful atheist, which is probably a typical reaction after being betrayed for such a long time, i have come to see things more relaxed, to acknowledge the strength of religions without overseeing their weaknesses.

    Hey John, where on the faith-stage scala does that put me? Four?

    Anyway, all I wanted to do is give a big warning against those christian change ministries,
    all they will do is tearing your brain apart, causing serious depressions, which might even lead to suicide (attempts). I therefore urge everyone suffering from same sex attractions to NOT consider these an option, unless you want to put yourself into great danger with regard to mental as well as physical health.
    But now I wrote much about myself in a much too long essay(?).
    That’s for now,
    I love your podcast, John, and hope you will release a new one soon.
    You have made marvelous podcasts in the past, but the podcast about your own beliefs was one of the best podcast in general I ever heard, and the interview with Grant Palmer was also a very great one.
    I think our beliefs are quite similar, though I never had a fetish for extraordinary underwear ( ;-) ).
    Michael D.

  9. noyo king June 12, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    I served as a Mormon bishop for 5 years and “no” I am not challenged with same gender attraction. I currently serve as an ordinance worker in the Bountiful Temple so I guess that suggests I am very much an orthodox Mormon. I attended numerous meetings at Evergreen International and came to know and speak with some fine people there including the director, even one emeritus general authority about this subject. As I went to Evergreen meetings I could usually spot the other bishops and stake presidency members or their designated high council representative. The tendency I observed was to wear one’s uniform there, lest someone see you and conclude you are gay. By uniform, I mean a dark suit, conservative tie and a white shirt from the Distribution Center. Being somewhat rebellious by nature and comfortable with my own sexuality I always went casual, loafers, Docker khakis and a golf shirt.

    For several years I read all of the literature I could get my hands on and spoke with therapists and counselors in and out of LDS Family Services in addition to attending the annual Evergreen conferences. I spoke with my stake president who was always helpful and supportive. I excommunicated no one. I did make financial contributions to Evergreen as recommended it to several. I did this as I sought help for those struggling in my ward and their families. Also I did this to understand the decisions of our own daughter, also a returned missionary, who lives a lesbian lifestyle. I know firsthand of the pain and disappointment in the life of a family when someone declares their gay lifestyle. I also know first hand that life can continue for families with a loved one living contrary to church commandments and doctrines. Positive relationships based on love and respect and acknowledging the grand role of agency in all of our lives has made this possible. I hope too my feelings and thoughts have been influenced by the spirit of Him who gave all for us. Our daughter deserves much credit for her patience with us her parents as anything during these intervening years.

    I know miracles have happened in the lives of a few who are challenged with same gender attraction and I also know of the pain and suffering of others where no miracle has happened. These are very tough questions with few answers but that is also true and descriptive of a great number of other things in this life that have no easy or simple answers.

  10. John Dehlin June 12, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    noyo king,

    it seems to me as though your ward, and daugtetr, are quite fortunate to have you. Thank you for reminding us that there are definitely thoughtful, sensitive leaders in bishoprics and stake presidencies–and that there are white hats and black hats on BOTH sides of the idealogical spectrum. It should be obvious, but sometimes we (the liberals) forget this in our anger and frustration.

    Also, thanks for posting on this blog. I’m very glad your voice is here.


  11. James June 13, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I am a member of the LDS Church and I am gay. My views and beliefs about myself and the church have changed considerably over the past couple of years.
    Being gay and mormon is VERY conflicting. It brings about a lot of emotional distress and psychological trauma. I was raised with religious values that affected me to my core. I went through LDS based counseling which used a reparative therapy approach. At the time, this helped me, considering the fact that I felt totally alone and without support.
    As commented by others, the issue of homosexuality and the LDS church is a very complicated matter. I believe that it would greatly serve the Church to study up on issues related to sexual orientation and find ways of using affective approaches in dealing with its members regarding homosexuality.
    Personally, I believe that the Church will never change its stance on the acceptance of homosexuality. The very core of the Church is related to heterosexual relationships and the family.
    I believe that my sexual orientation is an important part of who I am. I do not believe in reparative therapy. I believe that God sees me as the beautiful person that I am. I believe that my sexual orientation is not a “handicap” or a struggle that is meant to be conquered. God loves me for who I am. I stand firm in my belief.

    God bless everyone (no exceptions)!!!!!!!

  12. MichealD June 15, 2006 at 3:30 am

    Hi, I just want to mention that on the “Mormon truth podcast”,
    the host “Samuel” has interviewed a lady whose close friend was gay and committed suicide because of the social pressure he faced, especially from his family.
    The link is:
    episodes 18-20.
    It’s sad that this is actually happening in the current century.
    I hope for a brighter future for homosexuals.

  13. Loren June 7, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Ever since learning about the First Vision and the church when I was 13 years old, I have always believed in personal revelation and have had a personal relationship with God and Spirit…

    When I came to realize that I am more attracted to men than to women, I also knew the stand of the LDS Church, which I had been active in for 25+ years, and in which I graduated from BYU and was a temple parton and was always an avid genealogist… I expected that was a big problem with God and the church if I was gay…

    Before then, all I had ever heard of in the LDS was the negative things in the Miracle of Forgiveness and other negative church publications and talks by GAs while at BYU…

    However, I also had a good spiritual life and knew God had always been there when I needed direction… so one day I was thinking about the plan of salvation and my life… it occurred to me that from my own memories, I had these gay feelings all throughout my life, from childhood to teenage years to adult years, and they always were there… at the same time, God was always there, too… as I thought this thru, it became a revelation that God created me this way and did not care if I had these feelings, God was with me and loved me as I am and that included my gayness.

    Ever since this revelation, I have had positive thoughts about my gay feelings and find them to be wonderful, just as straight people feel about their feelings… I see tham as given as a gift from God and as wonderfully and lovely things.

    I have also worked in a big hospital for mearly thirty years and was working there when the HIV/AIDS crisis broke out and became a huge problem in both society and in the gay community… I knew a lot about AIDS before coming out almost a decade after that… this knowledge helped me to be careful after coming out and to keep my gay feelings within a safer context… I let my gay experience be spiritual and social more than sexual. I waitied until I met a man I loved and wanted to be with and who was also HIV negative, before having any sex. Even tho I never had sex until I was 51, I feel good about that if I am safer for doing that.

    After leaving the LDS by resignation when I felt the time was right and finding spirit with some other groups along the way, I have settled into my own spirit path. That includes only one spiritual rule, the Golden Rule. For action, my path includes having a good job, eating good, sleeping good and taking care of my body. This included going out to dance as often as possible with the gay community and giving some alms to charity groups in the community. Dance is a big part of being gay because people can dance their hearts out in any moves they want to make and no one care how they do that. I hate dances with set patterns and steps. I love to move with the music and the mood, making up my own dance as I go. You would not believe how many others love my style and tell me so.

    Some 25 and 30 year olds cry on my shoulder that they are getting too old to dance and life is getting too complicated. I tell them to relax and enjoy life and plan for good things, that they have a whole life ahead of them to live.

    Another personal secret: Before I go out, I eat food for energy and while I am out I drink water or juice to rehydrate my body, as well as wearing ear plugs to soften the music. I may buy one bottle of water, then refill it after I go to the rest room later on. Sometimes that means I drink three or four bottles of water at a dance. The only hangover I get is feeling tired, like after a workout. I dance till closing time, when they turn off the music, then say good night to friends and head home to rest. In New York, our dances get going about midnight and dont close till 4 am. That is good, because I get home from work about midnight, in time to go out when I want to dance away the cares of the worknight.

    Life can be wonderful as a gay man. You dont have to hate yourself at all. God loves you whomever you are. Live the Golden Rule and live your gay life to the fullest that you want. Stop the self hate and start the self love.

    I learned a lot of these positive things from the gay Mormon group called Affirmation, which has been teaching gay Mormons positive values for 30 years… go see Affirmantion.org.

    Loren in New York in the USA.

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