623: Elizabeth Grimshaw – Facing LDS Excommunication for being Same-Sex Married

11391502_1001222329896613_6557403950580000251_nElizabeth Grimshaw was raised Mormon. She knew she was lesbian as a teenager, but spent her early years (teens and 20s) attempting to date men and to marry a man. In her early 30s, after many failed attempts to be “straight,” she came out as a lesbian, stopped attending the LDS church, and began dating women. Elizabeth found a committed partner 10 years ago, and married her partner 8 years ago. They are currently happily raising a daughter in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Even though Elizabeth has not attended an LDS congregation since her early 30s, she was recently approached by her LDS bishop (whom she’d never met) in her driveway, and told that: 1) she needed to pray to God about whether or not to leave her wife and child, and that 2) if she wouldn’t divorce her wife and child, that she would face excommunication from the LDS church.

This is Elizabeth’s story.

Please consider: 1) sending Elizabeth’s bishop an email (through Elizabeth) to stop this action, and/or 2) reaching out to both church leadership and/or news media to help Elizabeth’s story be told. Elizabeth’s only goal is to be left alone.

To send a message to Elizabeth’s LDS bishop, or to contact her with media requests, please email her here.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. The Morons who run the LDS Church are so uncivilized it’s actually surprising they have figured out how to use indoor plumbing.

  2. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I hope you find some comfort and solace knowing so many of us members love you and accept you fully and think these leaders and this policy is wrong. Just wrong.

  3. Elizabeth, I wish you the best.

    It’s sad that not all who want to can sit at the table of Christ in the Mormon Church. ALL are “worthy.”

  4. Hello, I haven’t listened to the podcast and don’t plan on it so this comment should be appreciate in a general sense.

    I don’t understand why the LDS movement wants to pursue people who are not in active communion and haven’t been for quite some time. To do so smacks of persecution. And that is perhaps the issue that ahold reforge the most attention. That a person who hasn’t been to church and is not interested in being in communion is removed from church membership is not really anything to get to concerned about. However, it’s the persecution of people that is the problem

  5. The old idea of a ward project was to get the in actives back to church. The new concept is apparently to rid the church of the gays.

  6. This is unbelievable! What next? John, the so-called witches of New England were hunted and hanged; Bloody Mary cleansed Britain of Protestants; her sister Elizabeth returned the favor and rid it of Catholics; Hitler tried to obliterate the Jews, JW’s, Gypsies, and Gays; the infidels were beheaded throughout Persia; Islamic terrorists have targeted Jews and Americans; the KKK burned crosses on the lawns of Blacks, or worse lynched them; and now a Mormon Bishop attempts to destroy a legal marriage and a little girl’s family. All of this in the name of purification! This attempt by radicals to purify a land, a church, a race, a belief is as old as Adam. It is the worst form of cruelty, and it is the most destructive ideology embedded within the consciousness of the human race. Please continue your work, please. I listen to your stories every day! Your efforts make a difference, and your foundation provides a refuge.

    1. I loved this J.C. I love that you thought of their daughter too. After all, isn’t the church supposed to be about keeping families together and strengthening them? Does this child not matter because her parents are gay?

      1. It just seems as though the Church is protecting the institution over its people. It isn’t even about the doctrine anymore. I’m not sure what is and is not doctrine, and I’m not sure it really matters either. There is just something so profoundly sad in all of this. All in all, Elizabeth received her answer, and she received it from the source of all being: she is unconditionally and infinitely loved, and not only that, she is accepted by Christ. Here is a woman who found direct access to divine truth, just as we are taught to do. And it flies in the face of the leaders of the Church! Elizabeth, her wife, and their beautiful daughter absolutely matter, and the Church cannot take away that divine acceptance that was given to her directly from Christ himself.

  7. If your goal is “just to be left alone” Just resign. The morg is a fraud by any rational measure. Don’t give them the smug self righteous satisfaction they will have when they trump up a kangaroo court to have you removed. In your resignation letter let them know that you don’t want any further contact with the church or its officials. Especially the stupid bishop that confronted you in your driveway.

  8. Her Bishop was simply telling her that she couldn’t be a member of record if she is in a same-sex relationship. She knew it was against the Church’s teaching when she started; its not like this was a surprise to her. Anyone who lives in immorality (by the Church’s standards) is subject to church discipline, not just people in same-sex relationships. But before he removed her records he wanted to make sure she knew what was happening. How much more hurt would she be if he simply removed her records without her knowing?? He wasn’t threatening her, he was just telling her what she needed to do if she wanted to stay on the records of the church. This story is very misleading. But kudos to her for not making her stake and ward public on this interview (that was pretty unprofessional for the interviewer to ask). And kudos to her for sounding so calm and not angry, and for sharing her belief in God. I wish her the best.

    1. Wait, wait, wait George, since when do bishops seek out people within their ward boundaries in unmarried same-sex relationships and issue ultimatums of excommunication. They don’t. So enough with your blather about the article being misleading. Pot, kettle, anyone?

      1. I understand where you are coming from and I respect your point of view. But, Bishops have authority from the Church to discipline members as they deem appropriate based on the members’ understanding of the Church’s standards and the severity of the immoral transgression. Its true that another Bishop may not do the same thing in their ward; but, we don’t know the individual circumstances of this story that led the Bishop to do this. The simple fact is that he was acting within his jurisdiction. And you are not correct in your assumption that this similar thing doesn’t happen with other Bishops. I have a close friend who was excommunicated when he began a same-sex relationship. In fact, his story was very similar to this one. He was told if he didn’t repent then he would likely be excommunicated. And then he was. I hope this clarifies my point. I am not expecting your to accept it, just respect it.

    2. And I thought I was the only one on here using common sense of what is going on and not playing silly victim card. Good comment. If a club wants to remove membership from a member for not keeping club rules, the person being kicked out of club is not a victim.

      1. Hi, I think you’re not unfair in your comment. But there’s an element of persecuting associated with the church’s actions. The emphasis has lately been that homosexuality is bad and we don’t want anything to do with it. It becomes an issue when there’s an organised effort to go after a recognised minority I think that qualifies as persecution. Should the church be involved in persecuting minorities?

    3. I agree with you in a sense, George, but there are elements of a purge in all this. If people haven’t been active in years and it seems clear they don’t want to come back, why not just leave them alone? Even for someone who has drifted away from the church, being excommunicated from your childhood religion is traumatic, and that’s trauma local leaders purposefully inflict under the guise of maintaining doctrinal and moral purity. I keep paraphrasing John Larsen whenever I get into conversations about this. John argued that homosexuality is the hill the Mormon church will die on. I think he’s right because the church’s certainty and self righteousness blinds them to the fact they are becoming less and less relevant in the everyday lives of members, especially young members.

      1. I agree with your first point that generally, Bishops shouldn’t go around finding people and excommunicated them, and most Bishops don’t. We don’t know enough details of this story to know why the Bishop did. But if he felt that she had gone far enough against the Church’s teachings then he was obligated by his conscious to take action. Excommunication is not simply about removing someone from Church’s records, but is a consequence for actions the Church sees as disqualifying the individual for the covenants made at baptism (when the individual becomes an ‘official member’). But, I fundamentally disagree with you that her leader was purposefully inflicting trauma. I am a local leader and I have a full-time job and a family; we have much better things to do with our time. Plus, leaders spend way too much time trying to love and pray for the people in their area that they would not purposefully afflict trauma. Whether or not you disagree with what he did (and it is totally within your right to disagree), his actions were not out of guile.

        Your second point is interesting (about what John Larsen said) and brings up the bigger issue of the Church’s general stance on homosexual relationships. From the Church’s perspective, the issue of homosexual marriage is not about staying relevant, but about doing what they think God wants them to do. While the Church is trying to better its relationships with the LGBT community (and admittedly, it has a long ways to go), it can’t simply change its doctrine to accept something it believes is fundamentally wrong. If you believe that you are acting in accordance with the will of God, you simply don’t care if you become less relevant in the minds of young people, or any people. It’s true that the Church’s stances has changed in the past on certain things, and so it may with future things, but unless that happens, the leaders of the Church are obligated to act in accordance with their conscious. It’s wrong to correlate the Church’s stance on homosexual relationships with hate and bigotry. While they are trying to love all individuals, they simply can’t accept everyone’s actions and viewpoints. Its totally within your right to disagree with the Church’s stance. But to the Church this is not a political issue, but a doctrinal and spiritual issue.

        1. George, thank you for some thoughtful comments. As a multi-generation b.i.c. ex-Mormon (my ancestor wrote the hymn “O How Lovely Was the Morning”) I “get” what you are saying. In the rear view mirror, however, the landscape appears in much sharper focus than from inside a Temple. History teaches us that founders of churches demonstrate an impressive proclivity to inventory their own personal prejudices and then canonize those attractions and revulsions and then blame it all on God. This is precisely what happened with Blacks and the Priesthood, and I think you know that; it’s more than obvious. Did God suddenly decide to stop his Bigotry in 1978? If so, then we can conclude by historical evidence since then, that God perhaps decided to cut Blacks some slack so He could focus more attention on His Misogyny and Homophobia skillsets. I would apologize for being disrespectful, but instead I will follow Elder Oaks’ lead and not apologize . . . in this case for stating the plain truth that a loving God might just have achieved a level of spiritually mature to rise above Bigotry, Misogyny and Homophobia. The Brethren? Apparently . . .. not so much. They were virtually forced to relent on Blacks. It will happen eventually with women and SSA. And when it happens, it will have nothing whatsoever to do with any God. It never has. Never will.

        2. David Macfarlane

          Thanks for your response, George.

          This whole thing reminds me of a few different people who’ve made decisions contrary to the church based on conscience. According to Brent Metcalf, when the late Steve Christensen (killed by one of Mark Hofmann’s pipe bombs) was called to be a bishop, he made clear that he would not excommunicate anyone. If that was a requirement, he said, he would decline the job. I’m reminded of Stewart Udall and his opposition to the policy on race and priesthood long before it was even a consideration. I think of Doug Wallace, the high priest from Vancouver, Washington, who ordained a black main in 1976 to try and force the issue on the church. I feel these people acted out of independent conscience, and some suffered at the hands of the church and members as a result.

          You may take issue with my use of the word “purposefully,” but I will stand by it. Whether this bishop’s act was out of guile or not makes no difference to me. He had a choice to make, and I would argue conscience had less to do with it than the fear of being disobedient. Because that’s how the church works. If you, as a local leader, have better things to do with your time, then by all means do them. Stop demonstrating time and again that the church as an organization is more important than the individual members, even those who haven’t attended in years. It is not. It simply cannot be.

          Look, relevance is a byproduct of choice. The church can stand on principle all it wants, but after a while it becomes harder to believe that this is God’s one true church when organizational behavior deliberately creates separation. I think it’s not hard at all to demonstrate that the church is practicing boundary maintenance and protecting against legal culpability with regard to homosexuality, and I think most who are not devout members can see that. The much ballyhooed gay rights legislation in Utah was just such an example. Read through the bill and look for the carve outs for church businesses.

          Really, everything is a political issue, potentially, if you can’t bring people around to absolute agreement with your doctrinal and spiritual perspectives. The numbers–roughly just 1/3 of all members globally go to church at least once a month; the church is practically dead in Europe (yes, most churches are); the majority of young returned male missionaries go inactive if they don’t get married shortly after returning; ex-Mormons are the least likely group to join another faith after departing this one; while conversion rates are fairly high in Mormonism given all the missionaries, so are rates of inactivity not long after joining, which means the church’s grow rates come down to active Mormons having more babies–suggest declining relevance.

          I don’t think the church should be so naive as to think they can just lay down the doctrine and people all over the world will believe. If that were true, blacks would still not have the priesthood, polygamy would still be a thing, the temple rites would still include ghastly self-immolation rituals, and the church would still be trying to move Native American kids into Caucasian homes in hopes of making them white and delightsome.

      2. Only because we seem to have a bumper crop of folks with same sex attraction within the church and then everywhere else. John’s point is one of Canon. Given doctrine a same sex marriage is completely out line with the current belief and for a given man to become “like God” then he needs a wife or wives to do so, to begin with. The Church, in John’s opinion will become more hard line with social issues. Clearly the leadership feels it can afford to loose a good part of the liberals and feminists, and then their gay members as well. Matter of fact in Alan Rock Waterman’s latest Blog,: How long before the Church Collpases? …… “It’s no secret that in recent years Church growth has stagnated, not only in terms of converts, but in the amount of tithes brought in, now that the cat is officially out of the bag regarding what a tiny amount of one’s wages a person is actually required to tithe. But that isn’t what’s currently giving the hierarchy the fantods. If it were only turncoats and unbelievers jumping ship, no one would be surprised. “……… In this opinion Rock states clearly that turncoats [which many on this page qualify for the adjective] and inactives (Sister Grinshaw certainly would qualify as one] are a COST, meaning that resources better used are wasted in persons that in all probability are not going to return and continue within the Church. I may throw in the proposition that The Church is simply cleaning the books for good. Nothing personal. In a Facebook post about Rock’s blog post a gentleman that goes by the name of Tom Cryer simply has a well stocked and fueled Brimstone lake for all Turncoats, Apostates, Tithe evaders , Communists, Same Sex attracted people, Democrats, Feminists, people of color and illegal aliens whether they’re within the Church or not. Tom represents the people that John [Larsen] talks about…. and I agree with John. Rock itself has a not so faint smell of a Fundie trend in himself, mind you. I like his posts and he’s done a good job about some themes like The Word of Wisdom and Tithing that needed attention.

        1. David Macfarlane

          Yeah, I get that homosexuality flies in the face of the eternal progression and uncountable numbers of children doctrine. But if that’s what members have to adhere to and nothing else matters so much, the church becomes a one-trick pony in which most of mankind will feel out of place. That and it claims to be the Church of Christ, who had little to say about eternal procreation, homosexuality and the like. He did talk about love and acceptance a lot. Clearing books? The church has no expenses related to me, so why should they try to expunge my membership?

          1. Rock put forward that theory. I’ll say that, at least in my kase, I have been inactive for a LONG time although I call myself a “no so good Mormon”. Clearly there is a cost of maintenace of my records in the Church. I’m listed as active though, and of course I am not. Matter of fact my membership still resides in Mexico, a place where a no longer live in anymore. I suppose a couple of missionaries show up looking for me from time to time and my kids tell them that I’m not living there anymore. But that is KOST here and in the USSR my friend. I don’t know where you fall in this issue but it is rather sad that the BoM has very little light to shed when Jesus showed up here in the Amerikas. Except for a quite similar discourse from the usual suspects: The Synaptic Gospels. Matter of fact most of the early Church doctrine is made mainly from people like John and Paul [no word I think if there was a Quorum of the 13 then ] and the early Church Fathers. In my side of the fence there is just a New Wave kinda sort of narrative on Jesus but little meat to show. Did he consider himself a Jew? One could imply that he did, since in this Church we have to acquire this arcane Jewish Priesthood…………………….belong by acceptance to one of the 12 tribes and such. I sometimes wonder why is it that some folks invoke the Jesus teachings when little is known about them and the “new” revelation simply takes us back to the end of the neolithic: Abraham and his migration.

    4. Elizabeth’s bishop is just doing the best he can under his present mind set. When I was bishop I was told very firmly by my stake president that if there were people living in sin under my jurisdiction that it was my responsibility to “keep the name of the church clean” by going to these people and calling them to repentance and or initiating disciplinary action against them. I worried over a couple in my ward that were living together out of wedlock. But they were inactive and I just didn’t feel good about intruding on their private affairs in that way. We tried to fellowship them but they were uninterested in becoming active. At the time I felt guilty for not fully doing my job as bishop by bringing them in for discipline. I have remained friends with them over the years and am so glad now that I didn’t try to call them to repentance. They eventually got married. I found out years later that the reason they had gone inactive was because the woman had been offended by her former bishop who had called her in and accused her falsely of infidelity after her recent divorce.
      I only excommunicated one person while I was bishop. At the time I felt that I had confirmation from the spirit that it was what the Lord wanted but I realized years later after seeing how negativly it effected her life that it was the wrong thing to do. I have deeply regretted doing it many times over. We tell ourselves that these are courts of love and that it is the best way to redeem their soul but in reality it only does them harm. My father who excommunicated nearly a dozen people during his term as bishop told me that after 30 years of hindsight and seeing how it had effected their lives that he no longer believed in excommunication and regretted having done it to anyone. The apostle LeGrand Richards claimed that he had never excommunicated anyone and didn’t believe in doing it.

      1. James, you get to decide whether to follow your heart . . . or follow The Brethren.

        For lotsa folks, ne’er the twain shall meet.

      2. James,
        having been in a bishopric myself (as a counselor) and having been in church disciplinary courts–sitting in judgement, I have come to the same conclusion as you. I saw fear in the eyes of my bishop not love–fear of not doing the ‘obedient thing” (wherever that pressure was coming from can be debated). The worst mantra in the church is “obedience is the first law of heaven”. It creates fear. I saw the bishop struggle time and again between love and obedience and obedience always won out. Part of the problem was how he would be viewed by the higher ups when being considered for other callings. His father and brother were both stake presidents and I sensed he felt he was falling behind if he did not also reach those milestones. As I experienced, the pressure is enormous to continue to rise. I became less a person as a result and finally asked to be released. As my father before me and his father before him, they put their church callings before their families. I realize the church doesn’t teach this but they sort of do, at least it is deeply seated in the culture and in the realm of Mormon social pressures and rewards.

    5. I couldn’t disagree with you more. 1. She was married for 8 years before the policy came out that a person can be excommunicated for having a gay marriage so no you can’t make the argument that she knew she would one day be cast out of the church for having done so. 2. Yes, it sure does seem like it was a surprise to her … and to me and many others too! 3. I know of many, many nominally LDS people who live in immorality (by the Church’s standards) who have never been or will likely be subject to church discipline — mostly because they are less active and disciplining them would make no sense. 4. If you tell someone that they have to leave their “sinful” relationship or face church discipline — then that IS a threat.

      Here you have a less active woman who is being specifically targeted for her sexuality — and that, brother, is wrong!

      I wish her the best too.

    6. It’s the double standard that is applied to gays that is the persecution. The church doesn’t go after unmarried heterosexual couples in this way. Excommunication for heterosexuals violating the laws of chastity is up to the bishps discretion. If the heterosexual un married couple hasn’t been through the endowment there is almost never any church discipline. If bishops had to do that for every straight person who was guilty they would have little time for any of their other duties! But same sex couples are easy to single out and aren’t nearly as numerous.

    7. Yes George and his words may have meant something if he had applied previous pastoral care for the said woman. Instead we have a stranger at the gate, with cold punitive measures directed towards a stranger of the community. Is that a hard concept?

  9. Thank you for sharing your experience, Elizabeth. The Lord comforting you is the best thing I’ve heard all day. You and your family would be welcome at my table any time; your eager beaver bishop, not so much. If the poor guy is freelancing and trying to get ahead in the Church™ by proving his remarkable diligence and loyalty to his superiors he’ll be in for a rude shock at some point. According to the Lord, his superiors are anti-Christ in their policy regarding you and the Lord does not claim them:

    67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

    68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. (D&C 10:67-68)

    These guys in suits are declaring so very much more than the Lord accepts as his church. Their work is as it were, the folly of the gentiles warned of by Jesus Christ himself in the Book of Mormon.

    The Lord had Joseph Smith restore the gospel with the goal of one day bringing Zion, a lovely, terrestrial society notable for everyone being of one heart and having all things in common. What the bishop has done is anti-Zion, is the work of telestial compulsion and dominion warned against in D&C 121. By that accounting there is an “amen” to the priesthood power of your bishop and his superiors. If this is so, it leaves them simply looking mean-spirited and self-focused like playground bullies.

    The Lord’s invitation for you to forgive these troublemakers is vital to you receiving forgiveness yourself. Consider that. Pray for the strength to plead for their forgiveness and their well-being, for so did our Lord. By your love you may yet bless the lives of these blind guides, these drunkards of Ephraim.

    1. A lot of those who. Come unto of church leaders are notice as a gay couple are who who make note it go to the press or internet.

      They don’t tract people down.

  10. As I listened to your story, I felt compassion. You are right! People need to be warned about what the bishops might do to them. It goes beyond an ambush visits at your home. There are so many other harmful things some bishops have done and will do in the future. Many of us have experience.
    There are many Mormons and ex-Mormons who want to love and accept you. I trust this experience will turn into something great for you and for other members. Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. My last day in lds church was the day i was released as bishop. I had requested my release due to my loss of faith in the organization for pretty much the same reasons as most . That was autumn 2015. As a bishop i was aware of number of people living lives contrary to the Church’s teachings. Mostly sexually related due to their authentic sexual identity no longer being unhealthily supressed. At no point was it ever an expectation that i mobilize the “power invested” in me to seek them out, confront them, challenge them and remove their names off the records of the church. That would have been ridiculous as none of these people were attending church.

    There were also heterosexual cohabiting couples who were not attending church, would we be expected to approach them too?

    Needless to say i find this obvious form of persecution utterly repugnant and i am ashamed of the fact i ever presided over such despicable ideology.

    1. I agree. If the Church wants to enforce its rules of membership fine. But that should go for all people, straight and gay. That is not what is happening. A particular group, the LGBTQ community is being targeted. Yet those who have committed crimes or have serious transgressions like abuse are often ignored.

  12. I listened to your story today. First, you are very brave, braver than you realize! You reached out to the spirit realm in which God resides and a clear and loving answer was given to you for comfort. How blessed you are with the knowing that God loves you very very much.

    In your moment of disarray, know that I also love and support you along with Our Loving Father in Heaven, as Jesus and as I have come to know, Divine Mother. You are not alone. Everything will be alright.

    Continue to hold love in your heart throughout this experience. Hold your special God given answer of ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do’ also in your heart. It will get you through this with greater ease.

    I send my love and support your way to you and your sweet family. May you be blessed. IF there is anything I can do further to help, please let me know.
    Much Love and Gratitude to you,
    Sheryl Kitchen
    American Fork, Utah

  13. I was moved by the sincerity that Elizabeth expressed and I wish her and her family all of the best as they confront this unfortunate event. The cruel ambush by the bishop has no redeeming feature. Sitting in wait for her – it was more of a stalking behavior than anything that could be described as kind – let alone Christian. It continues to shock me that the LDS leadership is consumed with issues of sexual identity. If they did any research at all they would be unable to continue in their despicable abuse of their LGBT church members and their families. How can they think that they are acting with Divine authority when they behave as they do with the LGBT community. They continue to demonstrate their homophobia, intolerance,and general unkindness toward humanity. The lay clergy is poorly prepared to deal with sensitive personal issues and the horrific judgement by this ‘bishop’ in this case testifies to the inherent problems with the LDS lay ministry. May Elizabeth and her family have the comfort of knowing that any God in heaven could not sanction what has happened to her.

  14. Hi Elizabeth,

    I regret that I don’t have another membership to give up in the Mormon Church to support you in not wanting to give up yours. It’s so ironic. It took me forever to get out, and required a Bishop I didn’t know standing on my front doorstep reminding me that I was giving up my temple marriage and all of my covenants. You get a Bishop in your driveway that you don’t know telling you that you can’t stay in. It would be comical if it wasn’t so heartbreaking. I send my support and love to you.

  15. Elizabeth, I just heard the podcast and I’m sorry you have to deal with something like this. I think is a very good idea to right a letter of support for your bishop but wouldn’t be more productive to write a letter to presidency and asked them to take a position in the matter? If this is what the church is going to start doing they need to come out and say it so people can be prepared accordingly and not taken by surprise or they need to slap down this bishop who is misbehaving. I’m so tired of the LDS church playing the blurry line at their convenience.

  16. I don’t know if it is still this way, but several years ago I read that if the church loses track of you they still count you in their records as a member until you are 110, then they assume that you may have died. It’s possible that a few people die before they reach that age. So if you have been dead for fifty years they will leave you alone and count you as a member. If you are gay and minding your own business they will go to the trouble of finding you, and then excommunicating you. What do they do if they find out that a gay person died before they were properly excommunicated? Do they they have a reverse-baptism-for-the-dead ritual? Do they have reverse temple ceremonies where everyone walks backwards and mimes un-slitting their throat? It would be funner to watch if it weren’t hurting so many people.

    1. Wes. how dare you use your brain to actually THINK after “the thinking has been done?” Members are counseled to leave all of the THINKING to The Brethren for reasons you made obvious. Anyone independent enough to take the time use their intelligence to actually consider the real-world implications of Mormon Doctrine (as opposed to bow your head and say Yes) comes to the conclusion that the entire Plan of Eternal Progression is beyond ridiculous. And anyone who actually believes that truckload of BS is obviously drain bamaged, -or- thoroughly brainwashed by the Mind Control Cult aka LDS Church.

      I just listened to Liz’s podcast. It’s sad that the cultural/emotional tentacles of her Mormon heritage embedded so deeply into her psyche, but it’s understandable. Humans are social creatures, and the Church is a huge proportion of society experience for those of us raised in the Church.

      My advice to Liz is to accept the positive aspects of your Mormon heritage and realize that the loving components come from fellow members, not from The Brethren. Realize that the leaders of the Church would excommunicate Jesus Himself in a heartbeat if someone as loving and accepting as Jesus tried to be a member of the LDS Church today.

      The Brethren are neither loving nor accepting. Let’s not mince words: they are good old fashioned homophobic, misogynist bigots masquerading as Spiritual Dwarfs.

      Liz, do not give them the satisfaction of “hurting” you. They are ultimately hurting themselves, and parade around in public totally oblivious to how transparently, spiritually immature and undeveloped they appear. By their fruits ye shall know them. When so many honest, innocent human beings who follow The Brethren’s teachings decide to kill themselves as a direct and proximate result, what does that say about The Brethren? And Elder Oaks makes no apologies for any of the above. Amazing collections of Sick, Twisted People in Nice Suits. Good riddance to them, Liz! And mega cudos to you and your goodness and courage!

  17. I am a 64 year old man that has lost his faith in the LDS church. In all my years as a member of the LDS church, I have served in 2 different bishoprics as both a counselor and then 4 years as a bishop. Never do I recall or remember that we were told to seek out members and threaten them with discipline. If that is what the Q15 are requiring now then this LDS church has literally gone to hell. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have a very active and believing wife, who is the absolute love of my life, I would be gone from this organization in a New York City second.

    To Elizabeth I say keep your chin up. God loves ALL people… unconditionally. His gift of grace is for everyone. As mentioned above, I don’t believe in any organized church anymore. We don’t need a building to go to or an organization to have a church. Everyone who believes in Christ is the church. We as individuals are the church… not the organization. Therefore, even if they do excommunicate you – you are still in Christ’s church. A simple fact that so many do not understand. Best of luck to you.

  18. I knew the new policy would result in some leaders embarking on a “mission” to “weed” out the transgressors, no matter the church activity level of the transgressors. Church leaders in other areas are taking a different approach. Once again, leadership lottery prevails.

    I thought the main purpose of church discipline was primarily for the benefit of the transgressor–not to “protect” the church. Is adultery considered apostasy as well? Why excommunicate someone who is not active, not seeking to attain responsibilities/stature in the church? I could imagine a better approach for those leaders feeling the need to apply the policy (based on the belief excommunication is for the transgressor’s soul) such as reaching out to Elizabeth, getting to know her first and then perhaps, telling her they first and foremost love her, want her to feel welcome but that they have concern for her eternal well-being, and instead offer her the option of being excommunicated, but not requiring her to choose that.

    The way this bishop chose to approach this issue is so thoughtless, so callous–totally unbelievable. That the church produces this kind of leadership is not a good reflection on the church and in my opinion does not reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus stop those who were going to inflict the consequence (stoning) for the adulterous woman? What was the message in that story?

    Elizabeth, know that some of us sitting in the pews are appalled, deeply saddened, disappointed, angry etc. about how you are being treated. No doubt God loves you and only He has the perfect knowledge, and understanding to appropriately judge you.

  19. A gay person on the church records is a potential litigant. if there are no gays in the church then who would have standing to sue? Trust me, that is the mindset. I only hope that the next US President pulls a Jimmy Carter and threatens 501c3 revocation. Then and only then would there be a revelation!

    1. What the church really needs now is some federal government persecution. They can rally the faithful around memories of oppression and point to it as proof of “chosen people” status. I hope the feds totally leave the church alone to become an insular, shrinking community of increasingly shrill and sanctimonious white people holed up in a relative American backwater.

  20. When my son was 2-3 years old, these horrible kids would come and knock on our door, ask to speak with him, and then tell him that they can’t play with him, that they don’t want to play with him, and that he’s not their friend. They had a special joy and satisfaction in their hearts being cruel to my son. I talked with their parents, and was shocked to find out this bullying was parent approved because they thought my 2 year old was a bad person and that they didn’t want their kids around our family (I asked but was never told why they didn’t like us–we are inactive Mormons, so I think that might be it). I tried to get to know them to show that we are good people by baking cookies, remembering birthdays, etc., but all it led to was them asking me for favors like babysitting or rides when they were in a jam, but their kids still wouldn’t play with my son, and they loved telling him that their mom said he was bad and that they hate him.
    Your bishop reminds me of these kids, he has permission from his parent (church) to ostracize and kick out someone, and that’s an exciting power trip. It’s so fun to be mean! Even better, to be cruel with an authority’s permission is so liberating because there is no sense of guilt in hurting another human. No guilt, just pride in doing what is “right”.
    I think you are making the right decision. Don’t resign, don’t go to the court, don’t put any time or effort into what they want. If they want to excommunicate you, let them do it, but with no inconvenience to you.
    If they really want to clean house, how hard is it to just cross someone’s name off a list and leave them alone. Or if they need to inform them, just send a polite letter stating that their name has been removed because of a church policy change and that they thank them for the time they spent with the church, but to me that even sounds ridiculous. It’s just like the bratty little kids knocking on our door, interrupting our family time, to tell my son that they don’t like him.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  21. Thomas Bollard Rivera

    Please respect Elizabeth’s faith journey, only God can understand her heart and this story of her Bishop hunting her down at her home and issuing to her the ultimatum of having to terminate her relationship with her spouse and child or face excommunication is not Christ like. No wonder that the Christian faith doesn’t recognize the Mormon/LDS as Christian – because too many of their leaders don’t act Christian. It would seem that a Minister of our Lord Jesus Christ would greet members of his/her congregation with a warm greeting and a loving heart – wanting to know what the church could do to be a blessing to this family and to offer a loving prayer full of Christ’s love, healing and grace.

  22. You’re awesome Elizabeth! You don’t come off as angry or bitter, just deeply hurt. The Mormon church doesn’t deserve to have you. I find it ironic that they counsel members to treat gay people with civility and then they do this sort of thing. Blessings to all of your family. I hope you will keep us updated.

  23. You’re awesome Elizabeth! You don’t come off as angry or bitter, just deeply hurt. The Mormon church doesn’t deserve to have you. I find it ironic that they counsel members to treat gay people with civility and then they do this sort of thing. Blessings to all of your family. I hope you will keep us updated.

  24. I’ve been living with my opposite sex partner for 15 years and never been approached by any of the brethren, except to let me know they’d love to see me at church – even though I’ve never been a believer, and ended my involvement in the church over 30 years ago. If I were gay, I guess I’d be getting kicked out officially now. This would be fine with me, except that it would make my elderly TBM parents very sad, which is the only reason I’ve not already removed myself from the records. My parents are both temple workers, and my dad has held higher-up leadership callings, so I feel sure someone would inform them of my excommunication, even if I chose not to throw it in their faces myself. My point is – it shows a lack of understanding to say “You’re not active in the church anymore and you don’t believe it anyway, so what do you care if they kick you out?” I am not the only person who has feelings about my membership (or lack thereof) in the Mormon church. For believing families with a gay family member it’s already hard enough, without knowing their loved one is likely to be singled out for persecution by local leaders who have never even met them. This is not the church I used to know. I didn’t believe in it before, but until recently I never felt ashamed of it. That is no longer true.

  25. The church’s gay doctrine and inquisition, in terms of numbers, is huge. Much bigger than the church realizes.

    Do the math. With a membership in the multi-millions, there are millions of others out there caught in the “Mormon abuse trap,” Indeed, millions are suffering tremendous anxiety and guilt imposed by the church.

    Elizabeth, bless you. You are not alone. You are one of millions out there who have been able to tell the story of the anguish and suffering imposed by church doctrine. (Thanks to John’s podcast.)

    I am sure that most of those in the Mormon hierarchy, do not support this program.
    And if you look carefully at recent Mormon history as it deals with gays, you may get
    an idea of just which authorities are behind the Mormon gay doctrine.

    And Elizabeth, you CAN be a Mormon. They, for sure, don’t speak for God. You have just as much authority to call yourself “Mormon.” And indeed, you could call your own disciplinary counsel to bring your accusers to accountability for their lies, hypocracy and wrongdoing.

    Love you Elizabeth.
    Love you all.

  26. I wonder what would happen if “Elizabeth’s bishop” (I wouldn’t own him as “my bishop” if I were her) were to listen to this podcast, especially the part about the answer she got when she prayed about this, and then sincerely pray about it himself? And I wonder what would happen if a lot of other bishops and stake presidents were to pray about the policy change, and if the majority of them were to honestly feel that it was “not inspired”, and communicate that to the First Presidency? Would they be told that they were getting their answers from the Devil and not from God? Or would most of them not even be able to receive such an answer in the first place because they would believe that if it didn’t agree with established church policy, then it couldn’t be from God?

    What a mess. It reminds me of the time, right after I left the Mormon church, when my husband’s bishop advised us to get a divorce — not in so many words, but I don’t know what else he could have meant by telling me that I should “be single again” in front of my husband. I was lucky that my husband was able to write that advice off as “not inspired”, after praying about it himself, if I understand and remember correctly. That was over 10 years ago, and he is still 150% LDS, I’m Unitarian Universalist now, we’re still together, we still argue about religion fairly often, and sometimes I don’t know how we manage to get by.

    So I hope for Elizabeth, whatever happens as far as the Mormon church is concerned, that her marriage with her wife will remain strong and good after all this is over. Don’t let your religion interfere with your relationship with your family or with God…

    It really is ironic that a church that claims to be so pro-family would be trying so hard to split hers up.

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  27. Perhaps it may be difficult for some to grasp on to why you wish to retain your membership. I fully understand and realize the importance of family heritage. Being kicked out, ‘sort of speak’ , is like losing a deep cherished item tucked away in a jewelry box, rarely but occasionally worn. I hope that the Bishop will just leave you alone.

  28. Elizabeth
    Some people do not handle their perceived power very well. I can understand how shocking that experience must have been. Your Bishop uses the tactics of legal servers. I am heterosexual so I have no idea the depth and trials of your journey to find peace with your sexual identity. I can only empathize with anyone who does not “fit the very rigid mold” of the hard line in the Church. Thank you for sharing your very intimate spiritual experience of confirmation that you are loved. You shared your story with grace and dignity. I am glad that you have the tangible remembrance to carry you through this time.
    My very best to you and your family.

  29. What is the fetish for Membership Rolls. Surely God knows who is a member. And in the Mormon Cosmology is it n ot true that every person on the planet a son/daughter of God? How could siblings be this cruel to one another?

  30. One of the commenters mentions that some of the revelations to church leaders (including this one on gay marriage) may come from the devil.

    From the devil? Are you sure?

    Which reminds me.

    Joseph gets a revelation from the Lord that if Hyrum, Oliver and Josiah Stowell go to Canada, they will sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon for a goodly sum which will go to support Joseph and family. (They are careful not to let Martin Harris, who had mortgaged his farm to pay for the printing, know about this trip.)

    Well, they fail to sell the copyright. come back tired and upset, and want to know why. What happened?

    Joseph doesn’t know why. But he will “inquire of the Lord.” So Joseph puts the seer stone in the hat again. And the Lord gives them the answer.

    . . . “behold the following revelation came through the stone: ‘Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil.’

    Jeez, if you can’t trust the stone, (which by the way, was used to produce the B of M) what can you trust?

    Perhaps present day leaders, should pull the stone out of the church archives and “inquire of the Lord.” about the gay inquisition and other items members are asking about.

    But then, how will we know (and more important, how will the hierarchy which gives the orders, know) which revelations are from the devil?

    Let me know if anyone is interested. and I will write up a seer stone manual.

    Love you all.

    1. Tropical, I am VERY interested. Please write the Seer Stone Manual per your offer.

      And when you offer the manual for sale, you can include a FREE SEER STONE with every purchase. You can buy Seer Stones dirt cheap from your local Sand & Gravel supplier by the cubic yard. Just order large size river rock. There will be hundreds of nice looking SEER STONES in the mix.

  31. Thanks for your request, Gary. Will write the Seer Stone Manual. You should
    definitely have one sitting on your desk to answer questions and make decisions.

    I think Brigham Young said that eventually every one would have one. Many in leadership positions could use it. So there’s gotta be a market.

    Any advice or comments to include in the manual will be much appreciated.

    Love you all.

  32. Dearest Elizabeth. Human language is insufficient to describe how heartbroken I was to hear of your experience. And, then, to hear you continue and describe “the blanket” that wrapped around you–after such anguish of spirit, gave me chills. I testify that you are in good company, Elizabeth. Alma, Nephi, the brother of Jared, even our Lord, Jesus Christ had similar dark nights of the soul wherein blankets of peace, and ministration of angels, came after much pleading. THANK YOU for sharing your experience. I am not gay. But, I know that my gay brothers and sisters are as enveloped in the Lord’s loving embrace as I am. Knowing that I will find beautiful souls like you beside me in heaven brings me So. Much. Joy! Thank you for showing me how to draw closer to God, by coming to Him with those parts of myself that are complicated, not easily understood, brutal and beautiful. Much Love. Suzanne

  33. As a Canadian, I was frustrated with how Amerocentric the Nov. policy was since we have had legalized same-sex marriage for a decade without any problem. Our country is not unique on that front as marriage equality has also been legislated in a number of countries where church members reside. It wasn’t, however, until the U.S. law changed that the policy was implemented. I am not surprised, then, that the fallout of the policy change such as calling in long inactive members in same-sex relationships for disciplinary action seems to be happening in the particularly litigious United States. I am curious though, is anyone familiar with any instances of this happening outside of the U.S.?

    1. David Macfarlane

      I’d be interested in more about why you are both frustrated. Did this not seem like a uniquely American religion when you joined? Has something changed since you became members? Thanks.

      1. Although founded and headquartered in the U.S., the church, in my experience, has been no more “uniquely American” than the Catholic Church is uniquely Italian or the Anglican Church is uniquely English. I hadn’t felt American imperialism in the Church before, but the fact that the recent rhetoric and policy only occurred when SSM was legalized in the U.S., meanwhile a considerable amount of church members and leaders had found a way to peacefully coexist with SSM laws for years, has been frustrating. Despite not seeing the church as American, this did seem like church leaders had a myopic focus on the U.S. in their approach to this issue. I am also further speculating that the inquisition of members in same-sex relationships (i.e., what happened to Elizabeth) is a distinctly American reaction to this issue until I hear of verified instances of it happening elsewhere.

        1. David Macfarlane

          Well, the Anglican church does seem uniquely English to me, so maybe it’s my bias. And the Catholic Church was established long before there was an actual Italian nation, so … In a modern context, maybe Mormonism didn’t seem so American before recent events, but the creation myth underlying the church’s founding–what with Native Americans being so important–fit here and probably no place else. You bring up such a good point that I’d like to read more about. Why is the church, supposedly now an international organization, intent on purging gays from the ranks even in nations where the coexistence of different sexual orientations has not been an issue? I’d like the brethren to respond to that.

          1. If you’re mentioning the ethos surrounding the creation of the churches then I would agree that Anglicans are particularly English, the Catholics are particularly Roman and the LDS have a distinct American flavour. I was more referring to contemporary administration of the churches. In other words, the Catholic Church does not hinge on what happens in Italian politics neither does the Anglican Church seem dominated by English politics. Rather, each country infuses its own culture into religious practice (e.g., I would say that Latin American Catholics are a unique subgroup of Roman Catholics). Largely, I would have said the same for the LDS. In Canada, for example, instead of America being the Promised Land, it is “North” America that is the choice land. This is a digression of the point I was trying to make though. Simply put, I think the church made an exception fallacy by assuming that American laws and politics serve as a microcosm of what is happening in the world. Similarly, critics of the church are victim to the same fallacy when assuming that this type of witch hunting of same-sex couples is representative of the whole church. I threw the question out there, because I have yet to see how this expands beyond being an American problem. I listen to podcast such as this and then just this weekend I attended an event where there was my stake president sharing a dinner table in full communion with a gay couple.

          2. David Macfarlane

            An American problem … in my experience, Americans are particularly adept at creating problems that aren’t really forcing the matter. This appears to be one. Would that there were some way for the church to become truly international. Then, perhaps, we could have full communion with each other.

        2. But you’re not from Quebec I gather Danny? The Church bears the exceptionalism of Americana combined with [that is a unique Mormon trait] a hint of compassion for those long lost Indian brethren lost out there.

          1. That is correct, I am not from Québec. Perhaps you are used to people making hasty generalizations on internet comment boards rather than the distinct idiographic approach that I was taking. I was quite explicit that it in “my experience” the church did not feel exceptionally American. You are welcome to your own interpretation of your own perceptions and experiences.

      2. The church’s political stances are NOT taught in any missionary discussions, but if agreeing to church’s political stances are necessary for salvation it ought to be.

  34. Agree the church has the right to set membership qualification rules, but really why pursue someone who has not been to church in years. Why not just leave her alone.

  35. Didn’t Bednar just say that “There are NO homosexual members of the LDS church”?!
    If so, why excommunicate NO ONE?!
    Did Bednar choose (from a platter of options) a heterosexual lifestyle OR did he just say that God is in-error when it comes to biology OR did he say that the Church is a fraud… I did not get what he tried to say… Anyone?

    1. David Macfarlane

      Interesting approach. Based on many of the comments below the video, looks like the faithful are eating it up. He’s not really answering the question. (Mouths of former Mormons fall open everywhere.) He’s arguing that sexuality does not define us, but being sons and daughters of God does. Fair enough, unless you start asking why some sons and daughters are more equal than others, i.e., get to have a sex life. Or why God sent some people to earth with this unfathomable challenge of SSA they must overcome through celibacy. (For a case study on the impact of lifetime celibacy, see the Catholic clergy.) And his analogies are just crap, let’s be honest.

      Bednar just comes across as so icy and unlikable. Certainly, that doesn’t help him when he has to act as church pit bull.

    2. Bednar was trying to be clever with wordsmithing and trivialize the label “homosexual” as an inaccurate adjective to describe a member of the Church. “There are no homosexual members of the Church.” Of course, his verbal stunt has already backfired on him and will be correctly interpreted as continuing marginalization of Mormon homosexuals.

      The Church is run by an old boys club populated with good old fashioned homophobic, misogynist bigots. When they open their Sacrament Holes to speak, they reveal yet another layer of uncivilized core values for all to see.

  36. This is Elizabeth the lady from the interview with an update. I received my letter to attend a disciplinary hearing on March 17. @ 8 pm.

    1. Dear Elizabeth. I’m so truly and deeply sorry this has happened. Part of being at peace with God (and, part of the REAL definition of Zion), involves being at peace with all those who are also enveloped in our Heavenly Father’s embrace. They can not leave you out–or take you “out”–without, in reality, taking THEMSELVES out of this embrace. As you said in your video, they “know not what they do.” It is my prayer that those who have done this, will some day return to the true & deep & love of their Heavenly Father. He who made you! Perfect. Holy. And Divine. :)

  37. John, this is a good work you are doing. Thanks for your courage, and props to Elizabeth for being true to herself and speaking out.

    I would love for you to do an entire podcast about the nuances of why people don’t want to resign their membership in the church, even after believing the church is a largely a fraud.

    Is it a form of protest to not resign? What is the thinking?

    I left the church a few years ago, and simply have not gotten around to resigning myself–although I intend to (it’s currently on my to-do list!) I have no reservations in resigning except for the fact that I don’t desire any kind of contact from a church representative, and I don’t want some suit showing up at my door during dinner time.

    But, is it a more productive protest to not resign, and expend the Mormon church’s resources and collectively make a statement with poor attendance records? Would this better demonstrate how out of touch the church is with it’s “members?” Or do we better serve our purpose by not letting the Mormon church count us among it’s membership toll–in an effort to prove it’s worth?

    The notion of “membership” is an odd one to begin with–a “holy” country club of sorts? It’s certainly a pay-as-you-go kind of club.

    I would be curious to know your perspective as one who hears many of these stories.


Scroll to Top