Carol Lynn Pearson is the author of a 1986 memoir, Goodbye, I Love You, about the death of her gay husband from AIDS.
Her musical, My Turn on Earth, is among the most successful Mormon musicals of all time.
Carol Lynn is an advocate for women and LGBTQ+ Mormons. Her 2007 book, “No More Goodbyes,” tells the stories of gay Mormons (and those of other faiths), coping with family, religion, and, occasionally, suicide.
This series contains discussion of suicide and suicidal ideation. If you are affected by these issues, there is help available:
- For a complete list of resources
- Utah LGBTQ+ Crisis Hotline
833-372-3388 or text “CONNECT” to 741-741
- The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ Youth
866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678
- Trans Lifeline
Carol Lynn’s Books and Plays:
- Goodbye, I Love You: The True Story of a Wife, her Homosexual Husband, and a Love that Transcended Tragedy by Carol Lynn Pearson
- No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones by Carol Lynn Pearson
- Beginnings by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Search by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Growing Season by Carol Lynn Pearson
- A Widening View by Carol Lynn Pearson
- Daughters of Light by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Flight and the Nest by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Order is Love by Carol Lynn Pearson, a musical about early Mormons living the United Order
- My Turn on Earth by Carol Lynn Pearson
- Facing East by Carol Lynn Pearson
- Mother Wove the Morning, a one-woman play by Carol Lynn Pearson, portraying 16 historical women who could only conceive of God as female
- Beginnings and Beyond by Carol Lynn Pearson
- In Dog Years I’m Dead: Growing Old (Dis)gracefully by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Lord Is My Shepherd: Inspiration for Couples by Carol Lynn Pearson
- The Lesson: A Fable for Our Times by Carol Lynn Pearson
- Embracing Coincidence: Transforming Your Life Through Meaningful Coincidence by Carol Lynn Pearson
Carol Lynn’s Poems:
- “Power,” by Carol Lynn Pearson
- “Position,” by Carol Lynn Pearson
- “Millie’s Mother’s Red Dress,” by Carol Lynn Pearson
- “The Steward,” by Carol Lynn Pearson
- “A Motherless House,” a poem by Carol Lynn Pearson about the erasure of Mother in Heaven from LDS discussion
- “Pioneers,” a poem by Carol Lynn Pearson about her Mormon identity
References and Other Resources:
- The text of Rodney Turner’s March 6, 1966, fireside at BYU—-in which he said women are “the doormats that keep their husbands from approaching God with muddy feet”—-is not available on the Church’s website. Turner’s speech is referenced by a number of other sources, including:
“The Historical Relationship of Mormon Women and Priesthood,” by Linda King Newell, Dialogue, October 1985
And in Turner’s own book, which is still for sale at Deseret Books: Woman and the Priesthood by Rodney Turner
- “The Buried Life,” by Matthew Arnold, a 19th-century English poet whom some scholars believe was a gay man married to a woman
- “Ascent of the Dog,” by Rosie Mestel, Discover, September 30, 1994, describes the Belyaev experiment, in which foxes were bred to be domesticated, but when they lost their true nature, they also lost their beauty
- Archive of Woman’s Exponent, an early Relief Society publication from 1872–1914
- “One Hour to Madness and Joy,” a poem by Walt Whitman that inspired Gerald as he tried to find a way for his sexuality to work with his faith
- Milk, a 2009 biopic of San Francisco’s first out gay elected official
- La Cage aux Folles, the first Broadway musical to portray a loving, committed gay couple
Remade as the 1996 film, The Birdcage
- Tribute video to celebrate Carol Lynn receipt of Equality Utah’s 2019 Impact Award, includes clips from her book tour appearances on Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show
- “Memorial held for gay Mormon [Stuart Matis] who committed suicide in Los Altos,” by Diana Samuels, The Mercury News, February 25, 2010 [Article contains graphic and potentially triggering content]
- “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” a letter from the First Presidency that was read over the pulpit in every LDS ward on August 13, 2008, effectively telling members they must oppose legislative measures for marriage equality
- “Daughters of God,” Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference October 1991, in which he admonishes against praying to Mother in Heaven
Books and Other Resources:
- Pedestals and Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights by Martha Bradley-Evans
- “Philanthropist and WordPerfect Co-founder” Bruce Bastian on Mormon Stories
- Feminist Mormon Housewives
- Women in Love by DH Lawrence
- There is a Way Back by Gerald Pearson
- “Did Dallin H. Oaks Lie About Gay Electroshock Therapy at BYU?” on Mormon Stories
- “Thriving After Mormon Electroshock” Nate Winterton on Mormon Stories
- Dancing with Crazy, a memoir by Emily Pearson, Gerald and Carol Lynn’s daughter
- “Gay Marriage and Fatherhood” Brett Bradshaw on Mormon Stories
- “The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership,” by Lavina Fielding Anderson, Dialogue, 1993
- “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” a February 1, 1980, address by Hugh Nibley to the Women’s Conference at BYU
- Jesus Was a Feminist: What the Gospels Reveal About His Revolutionary Perspective by Leonard Swidler
- The Woman’s Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
As a gay Mormon, I find most of the emotional trauma related to the conflict of “religion vs sexuality” is from a lack of family acceptance and support of decisions I make that may not fall in line with Mormon teachings. As one out of ten kids in my family, many of my siblings and parents have let me know that “they will always love me, but will only support me as long as I live by the Church’s principles.”
Many members in the homosexual community often think it’s as simple as “leaving the Church” to be happy as a gay Mormon, but I disagree that that is the root of the problem. Would you agree/disagree and why? What is your advice in dealing with a less than accepting family when it comes to homosexuality?
For me an obvious question would be Carol Lynn’s advice on being able to function in the church as a liberal thinker. I know she mentioned in her book “No More Goodbyes” that she had been contacted various times by General Authorities for different reasons. I would love to hear how she is able to be rather openly liberal and yet somehow not offend “the powers that be.”
If you are able to formulate the question in an appropriate way, I would also like to know what her vision for homosexuals in the church might be. Does she think the church is too stringent in expecting gays to remain celibate their whole life? Does she think there is a possibility for “practicing” gays in committed relationships to still remain active and faithful in the church?
I’m sure this is already on your list, but here it is anyway: Does she still believe in the church? How? Why?
In the instances where gay/lesbian/trans gender Mormons decide to leave the church to live their alternative life, what percentage of their family’s also end up leaving the church in support of gay son or daughter?
What is the single most thought, inspiration, truth or concept that you, at this time in your life, fully believe, practice or accept?
(That is if you had to pick one!)
I know Anne Rice (writer of the Vampire Chronicles) found it easy to adapt to returning to her childhood faith as a Roman Catholic while retaining her liberal views (such as women being allowed to be priests and active homosexuals being accepted in the Catholic Church). How does someone maintain liberal views while staying in a church as conservative as the LDS Church? Also, how does someone act as an activist for these liberal views without coming off as trying to undermine the General Authorities or the Church’s official teachings?
When your name – Carol Lynn Pearson – is mentioned, thoughts of your past deep personal losses / tragedies / grief come to mind. Which Gospel teachings or Gospel-inspired acts helped you to grow the most, in the midst of these experiences?
There have been a large number of homosexual men who have committed suicide in the month of July in SLC (three that I know of to date). All of these young men were reportedly raised in the LDS church and felt a large amount of pain and anguish due to the influence of the LDS church on their personal lives as well as friends, family and the community in general.
I know the LDS church will not change their fundamental views on homosexuality, at least not now, but there is an enormous need for them to address this situation and to take steps to change the number of young men and women who feel they have no other option than to end their own lives. How can we as LDS members or non, homosexuals or heterosexuals help the general authorities/ leaders of the LDS church understand how the church and its members influence the suicide rates among homosexual men and women and the urgent need for them to step in and change it?
Sister Pearson has certainly been increasingly ‘colourful’ in recent years concerning her opposition to the Church’s treatment of homosexuals. I have always been curious to know of her current Church standing. Is she active still? Has she been disfellowshipped or even excommunicated because of her public position? If not, then surely she has been subject to warnings and sanctions, and possibly even probation? How does she reconcile her testimony of the gospel and the scrutiny that must be forever looming over her head from church leaders?
Please ask the “Oprah” question: Sister Pearson, What do you know to be true?
Carol Lynn’s believes are very all-encompassing and ecumenical in nature. How does she reconcile her religiously-holistic approach to the Church’s claim of exclusive truth?
Carol Lynn’s beliefs are very all-encompassing and ecumenical in nature. How does she reconcile her religiously-holistic approach to the Church’s claim of exclusive truth?
How does she STAND/tolerate the General Authorities???
My question is pretty much “twin” to that of Reynolds Cooper above. I would prefix my dialogue by saying though, how very much I love and admire Carol Lynn Pearson for the caregiving she’s offered to loving men & women, often shabbily treated by ecclesiastical leaders.
Carol Lynn has helped scores, if not hundreds of SSA folks, to embrace self-worth and love effulgent. She has saved lives.
Recently I bought Carol’s name up to my TBM ex-wife. I was shocked by her rejection and dismissal of any good works attributed to her.
She claimed to have known Carol and called her names, a personal attack. I could but wonder if Carol’s been subjected to such behavior by LDS women before? We are not talking small town Utah resident here, we are talking a enlightened California main-stream lady, even (slightly) liberal.
I chose my words carefully at that point (she was in my home, baby sitting our grandkids at the time). I talked about my observation over the last fifty years; the anti-black, anti-women, anti-Native American, anti-gay LDS stance. (our oldest son is openly gay). I asked how Christians can follow such a line of reasoning. The conversation quickly ended. Such anger seems so unhealthy to me. It may have more to do with my opposition to Proposition H8, we attend the same ward, so I may have embarrassed her.
What future does Ms. Pearson see for the relationship between the church and gay and lesbian members? What are her hopes/and best case scenarios where this relationship is concerned?
Has there been a change in the attitude of Californian members in the post-Prop 8 age?
I am a parent of several young children. How would you recommend LDS people raise their children in the church in a way that would prepare them to survive (or even be happy and flourish) if they later discover they are gay? There appears to be a delicate balance of maintaining both faith and realism.
I would like to hear more about the time in her life when she and Gerald were trying to figure out what to do about their marriage. In her book she seems to have been so very understanding and the divorce seemed to go so smoothly. Was that the way it was or was it more difficult for her than that?
I’m interested in hearing about Carol’s involvement in the theatre world and the creative process behind her plays.
How would you recommend gay Mormons reconcile or approach our relationships with our misunderstanding families (in California and otherwise) who, on the one hand love us as individuals, but on the other actively seek to discriminate against gays and our community via the legislature?
I’m curious about how she reconciles feminism and patriarchy in the church. I also am interested in a previously mentioned question about how to be liberal and stand for your own views without offending church leaders and conservative church members.
Short of a changing the behavioral stranded on sexuality how do you believe the church could be a more welcoming place for our homosexual members?
What does she think of someone like me, who experienced ssa as a teen but did not want to “be” gay? Does she believe that “sexual orientation” is an immutable (unchangeable) entity. How does she feel about evergreen, narth, and other organizations that support self-determination? Would she say I’m in denial, Invalidate my experience and marginalized others like me who have experienced change in attractions?
just thank her for the insiration she has been for me
for the last two decades
NOT to give up on my husband of 32 yars
who started being aserial adulteror 11 years ago and i ve no given up on him yet
if carol could do what she did for gerald then i could do no less for the father of my children
does she think i am mad
wow, why do you stay with him.?
Does she have anything encouraging to say about the future of gay Mormons stemming from personal interaction she may be had recently with general church leaders?
How did she feel about the church sending a representative to the SLC gay housing/work ordinance with a message of support? Encouraged or was it just a PR move in view of the post-prop 8 negative publicity?
Does she feel her play, Facing East, helped many hard-line LDS re-think their position on gays?
Thanks for interviewing Carol Lynn, she is a hero to many of us. Please tell her how much she inspires some us. You’ll do great!
Does she see a time when women will hold the priesthood?
Also does she know about the problems with the Book of Abraham? And how does this affect her view of a pre-existence and the connection there with both Saturdays Warrior, and My turn on Earth ?
Just a crass, commercial note: Much of Sister Pearson’s stuff is available through secondary sources, i.e. E-Bay, Deseret Book auctions etc. Please remember that the author does not receive any compensation through secondary sources. Please consider buying through the web site above, Amazon or any other primary source. This Gem of a woman still needs to make a living and we can help in that regard!
Thank you for doing this interview John and Sister Pearson. I had not intended to sit down and listening to the whole thing all at once but the story and experiences shared in this particular podcast were so compelling. As a Lesbian Mormon I wish I could get my family to listen to this interview. These are precisely the words of wisdom, love and inclusion that families need to hear.
I loved especially the comment that we need to look within ourselves and realize that the answers we are all searching for are already there.
I have skipped around and watched a few of the episodes. This was worth the weight. I still struggle a little here and a little there as I find my place again, but one thing that Carol Lynn said that struck home was the idea that I need to be open with where I stand. Yes, I may disrupt things, but at the same time I am not trying to ruin the Church or say that I could run it better. Also, originally coming from a more mainstream Christian background, several social issues like homosexuality and feminism were as a much a problem in Christianity in general as with Mormonism. So, some of these social concerns aren’t unique to Mormonism, but are part of a larger problem within religious tradition. Also, it is empowering to realize that being different in the Church is a good thing because people like Carol Lynn are able to vocalize things that are a concern to many Mormons. Who knows? Maybe even I can be a voice for what many Mormons hold to, but are afraid to talk about.
Fascinating interview, John, very eye-opening. As for the idea of the anti-gay pill mentioned in video number two, it is now a reality. Take a look at this story:
That was an AMAZING podcast. May we all feel our pioneer blood beating as we wake up each dawn to find and create the promised land.
As I lay in stories (diet coke – cookies) to begin this odyssey of listening, may I share something. Recently I was approached by the high priest in my ward who was giving oversight of the YES on prop. 8 campaign. I was openly critical through those months leading up to the
vote. He indicated to me that I was right. He didn’t have the fortitude to say “NO” when asked to lead the campaign. He asked what led me to stand in such open opposition. I say that two gay brothers and a gay son were my principle factor. He looked me directly in the eyes and said, “Of course, I should have known. You had walked in their paths.” He apologized.
what a RESOURCE she is, as a collector of so many precious stories! this interview is SO valuable. thank you thank you, john dehlin.
October LDS Conference – 2010
The Conference Center – Salt Lake City, Utah
After the opening song and prayer, it is announced rather than having two separate sessions of conference, one special four & half hour session will be televised around the world. Thousands of Saints watching the conference are surprised to see the 15 highest ecclesiastical leaders leave the stand and remove to the first row of audience seats. A large screen descends from the high ceiling. Lights dim, silence fills the great hall.
A five part interview of Elder John Dehlin & Sister Carol Lynn Pearson begins to proceed forth to the institutional church and to all the world. It will change human hearts and expand human parameters. A revered high priestess begins speaking to her sisters and to all of God’s children. Thank you Blossom. Thank you John.
I love this comment. I wish this would happen, too.
I just wanted this interview to go on and on. I love Carol Lynn Pearson.
What a beautiful, beautiful person. I’m reminded of a verse from Matthew, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Carol Lynn Pearson shines so brightly……
Thank you John for bringing her light to us.
I have listened to the entire interview twice in the last few days. I felt like I was meeting a kindred spirit in Ms. Pearson. I aspire to have as much class and grace one day.
John, it would be incredible if you could periodically meet with her for Mormon Stories.
Evan C. you may want to visit the Family Acceptance Project at https://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications. Caitlin Ryan is the Director of the the Family Acceptance Project and has been involved in gay issues since the early 80’s when the AIDS epidemic first came out. She was surprised at how many gay’s were homeless since many had been kicked out of their homes. In research her group has completed they have found that the well being for LGBT children is directly tied to the acceptance or rejection of their families.
I wish there were more resources for gay folks who want to stay connected to the Church, but who also want to affirm the humanity and goodness of same-sex relationships. Carol Lynn is one of the few voices of encouragement to folks in that situation. The words about believing in yourself before you believe in anything else, and the sanctity of individual free choice and conscience were powerful. But there’s so much more that needs to be explored around this…
Leaving the Church isn’t the solution to gay Mormon suicide. In many ways, it’s the impossibility of taking the Mormon out of the gay Mormon that makes this such a problem. Running away from the Church doesn’t solve our problems. We have to face the theological and spiritual issues squarely and compassionately and honestly, but I don’t see much of that happening. LDS theology and homosexuality are still treated like oil and water… Carol Lynn offers a few good starting points, but there’s so much more that needs to be done.
Maybe this is work that can’t be done by anybody for anybody… Maybe its something each individual needs to wrestle with. At the least, we need a community that is more supportive of individual wrestling, if that is the case. I don’t know…
Thanks for doing this!
There is nothing good about gay sex. This is Satan’s great lie.
Wow. I am surprised at my reaction to this series. I am one of those who have never empathized with the plight of gays, LDS or otherwise. While I am an active non-believing Mormon, my political ideals have not wandered the same path as my religious orthodoxy. So, I often find myself rolling my eyes everytime these issues comes up yet again among us heterodox Mormons. I have never been able to understand why some people care so much.
Still, I am TRULY moved by this interview! I was brought to tears several times listening to Sister Pearson’s anguish and her love for her gay husband. It breaks my heart that there might be so many more people like him among us who suffer in silence in the LDS culture. I do believe this will cause a major change in my mindset. Thanks Sister Pearson and John!
Thank you John and Carol Lynn. I have been waiting for this interview since the inception of Mormon Stories. It was worth waiting for, believe me. Since the 70s when I was at BYU I have admired Carol Lynn Pearson and looked up to her as an role model and inspiration.
This interview was profoundly moving. I do have a criticism. I found myself very frustrated at the comments about how only a gay husband would support you in your artistic endeavors. I am a wannabe poet, writer, musician, etc. and have always striven to encourage creativity in everyone I can.
I have looked forward to this interview since the moment I heard of its coming. It was all that I dreamed of and more! Thank you, Thank you to you both!! I shed tears in many of the moments that I felt I was sharing with both of you. As I listened to Carol’s life story and learned about all those that she has helped, particularly her husband, I am struck by her incredibly Christlike character. What an awesome example she is!! Also, my pen was busy nearly the entire interview writing down so many of the poetry references that she listed and recited here…beautiful stuff. I will refer to them often. Gazelem about sums it up a few comments above…how powerful this interview is. I have always felt a great love and compassion for gays since the time I understood the concept as a 12 or 13 year old girl, but continually smothered those feelings because of my faith. I am grateful to people like Carol Lynn who work so tirelessly to give so many of us a place to accept that part of ourselves so that we can help strengthen this movement of acceptance in our culture. I have renewed vigor to be more open about my position in my ward and social circles. Thank you, thank you!!
“I don’t hate the Church, the Church hates me.”
That quote knocked my socks off. There are many gay members who try to make the church work for them. I don’t get it; I don’t know why they are so interested in a church that hates them, but they are. Why doesn’t the LDS Church get it? Why don’t they understand that there are gay members who want to be active, believing members?
Oh, one more favorite quote (sorry if I don’t get it verbatim): “The most conservative thing the gay community has tried to do has been the one that caused them the most trouble.”
What a profound and remarkable woman! Thank you, John, for doing this interview. It has deeply touched me.
I didn’t know much about Sis. Pearson before this interview. I feel that my outlook has been greatly enriched by learning about her here. John, I was right with you in your closing questions (three strikes, etc.) and I was also glad to hear Sis. Pearson’s responses. Deciding how to approach one’s mormonism after an awakening to a full knowledge of it is such a difficult and personal thing. In my opinion, the Church in general has a long, long way to go before its membership can embrace those in “the borderlands.” Having people like Sis. Pearson in our midst, now more and more visible because of the internet, can only help that progress along.
The pioneer poem was a wonderful way to wrap up the interview. I’m looking forward to experiencing more of Sis. Pearson’s works. Thank you to both of you!
[…] I listened to John Dehlin’s interview of Carol Lynn Pearson at Mormon Stories, I realized both of them fall in this category as well. Carol Lynn Pearson, a […]
Homerun John!!!! I was visiting my very orthodox mother in Utah last week. As we drove back and forth to BYU Education Week, we listened to this interview each day. She commented at how she felt touched by Carol’s story. One interview is not going to change her, but there was “constructive conversation” about this one particular issue. Hopefully, this will reach many, many others.
[…] on Mormon Stories in a multi-hour interview about her life, advocacy, and work. You can find the whole thing here, but one part that really stood out – and really makes me want to swamp an LDS publisher site to […]
Thank you John and Carol Lynn for this fabulous interview. For those who have written that they wish they could benefit more often from Carol Lynn’s inspiration, I’d encourage you to visit her website (www.clpearson.com) and sign up for her free monthly newsletter. It’s like having Carol Lynn as your virtual visiting teacher — a monthly message filled with wisdom, ending with a poem. Again, heartfelt appreciation to both John and Carol Lynn for sharing your time and gifts with us.
What an amazing podcast, John and Carol Lynn!
One part in particular stuck with me. I appreciated Carol’s sharing of the two perspectives of parents dealing with their children’s coming out. One, a stake president, felt he needed to resign his position when his young son came out as being gay. Another couple, upon learning of their child’s homosexuality, boarded the next cross-country flight to be with their child, hold him, soothe him and reassure him of their love.
As I told this anecdote to my wife this morning (she hadn’t listened to the podcast yet), our 5-year-old son cuddling with us in bed, I was surprised to find tears streaming down my face as I considered the possibility of ever NOT loving my child with my whole heart, regardless of his eventual sexual orientation. I couldn’t do it. I love him too much and I hope we can all be more like that second couple, willing to support and comfort our friends and neighbors, regardless of sexual orientation.
So again, thank you John and Carol Lynn!
Excellent podcast. I was deeply moved and found myself tearing up a number of times (kind of hard to explain at work… oh well)
This is an absolute must-hear for all LDS. If only I could get my TBM family to listen to it— I think it would help them to see the issues surrounding homosexuality and religion a more compassionate way.
Thanks to John and Carol Lynn for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it.
Wish there were more members like Carol Lynn (and John) where I live. Then maybe I could stomach going back to Church.
There were a lot of interesting things stated here. As a non-mormon it helped me understand the framework of Mormon thinking. Her poem Pioneers sums up her die hard loyalty. As the orgaizational structure of the church, so seems she has a parallel organized structure in her life. Church first (deeply, deeply rooted), Family (including the LOVE of her life) and others. I was writhing in pain for her as she talked about her husbands death. I wondered if any of his loves from the homosexual community came around for his death (not his funeral but his death–because Ironically the woman that loved him most kept vigil at his bedside–). I felt sad in a way that her life circumstances never allowed her to come into a sort of fullness of femininity. (and my definition of that is NOT the mormon one). The discussion on Heavenly Mother was interesting but in a different way for me–because it revealed the desperate longing of women to be validated to their core. Her understanding of what God is saddens me. Imagine if you will that GOD is Bigger than this Heavenly Father. That he is a He–but that He defies the limited scope of humanity. What if he is a He but at the same time His nature encapsulated the fullness of femininity and Masculinity. What if he created man and created woman as distinct and separate beings. What if each creation reflects his essence and nature which in turn give glory back to Him. What if having a relationship with him meant finding the fullness and meaning of who we are, and who He is. The poem pioneers sounded like she was still searching for something that makes sense of all of her circumstances. I loved this interview. It made me cry.
This is kind of like the priesthood ban thing. It will take a prophet sympathetic to LBGT’s before the right question will be asked to get the right answer. Trouble is, I will never be the prophet. Maybe they need to be educated a little so that the change process can speed up/be started.
Absolutely phenomenal interview. Thank You Carol Lynn!
One question that was not addressed is, “What can a heterosexual do to promote progressive thought about gay issues?”
I do my best to be vocal, but I wish I could do more.
Regarding Clayton’s question above–in addition to being vocal with the membership, speak to, or write to, your local leaders as well. And the general authorities. Write letters expressing sadness; say you are hoping and praying for better light on all this. Direct your stake and ward leaders to my website, http://www.clpearson.com; on the front page is a link to a long document I’ve created about the good work we have been doing here in the Oakland Stake. Every conversation generated leads to something good.
Carol Lynn Pearson is a national treasure. John, thanks so much for this interview. It should be submitted to the Library of Congress.
[…] posting Part I here, please visit MormonStories.org to see the rest of the […]
I admire her, and am glad she speaks for those who don’t have much of a voice in our mainstream “perfection-centric” church. As a parent of young kids, all I will hope to get through to them is: my hope that homosexuals not marry heterosexuals in hopes of changing, and the importance of having space in your heart to serve and love others without judging them. If one of my kids turns out to be gay, I will defend them and love them to the end. I would teach them to save their sexuality for marriage, that they should aim for a monogamous loving relationship with someone they admire and love deeply. I would invite them to our church events, baptisms, Christmas, dinners, everything – and be sure to listen to what they need emotionally. It will be brutal for them in some cases dealing with small-minded, scared people at church or in the community at large. Home will be a haven for them. :) I’d do the same for anyone else’s kids if they need a kind shoulder to lean on.
I guess the point is; let’s not be the kind of people we don’t want to see in this world. Life is tough enough already, and it’s tougher if you’re stupid. Not following Christ’s true example is stupid. Let’s do the right thing, fellow Saints.
It took me a while to get around to listening to this, but wow, well worth the wait. This is easily in the top three podcasts you have ever done John, and is maybe the best. I could listen to Sister Pearson for hours. I couldn’t help be be struck by the idea that a woman so kind, with such a large personal ministry, with so many insights and so intelligent and accomplished could never even be a ward clerk in our church. This is a woman on par in every respect with any general authority alive today. We miss out on so much.
Hearing her makes me want to hear more from ERA era feminists. I would so much love to hear you interview Sonia Johnson. Have you ever considered that? I would think that Sister Pearson coming on will open a lot of doors in that group.
Thank you so much for this series. I made it through 4 and 5, as I needed a better understanding on Carol Lynn’s feminism and stance on Homosexual acceptance.
The reason for her tolerance in the Mormon Church. I am sorry, her outspoken stance is accepted because she is a Mormon institution and does not openly attack doctrines and live an apostate lifestyle. That is to say, she has not countermanded church doctrine (only recent political stances) and she continues to come to church. Believe me, there are groups of mindless followers who would make an exodus of the church, should she leave. (someone used the title “self-appointed high priests”) What did she say about Gerald following the beat of the seargent of Castro Street?
I could not understand her tolerance of gays, after all the pain Gerald had caused her. Now I understand that she places the burden of her family life at the feet of the church–who did not accept his homosexuality.
She does broach the issue raised by Bob, that of influence. Kinsey published a report in the 1990’s finding that as much as 30 percent of males had dallied with homosexual encounters, but most chose heterosexual lifestyles. I also reflect on the effeminate elders in my mission, who returned home got married to women, had children and stayed married. (Much better than my record)
Although I fully appreciate John Gustav Wrathal’s angst and testimony, there are many that chose to live apposed to God’s laws, Like my friend T Southey, whose rampant sexuality has tainted his phenomenal artistic gift and lost their conviction of the truth.
I remember the last living Prophet counseling us to love and accept those with gay tendencies. I appreciate those who have the courage to live with the pain and not go into rebellion and cast out that knowledge of the truth.
I also completely agree with you Barb. I am glad you said it as a women. there is something strange in her search for Mother God. My Mother never knew her own Father and was mistreated by her husband. Yet she loved men! I know there is a God, because of her deep relationship she cultivated her whole life with her Heavenly Father and the way she almost single-handedly raised 5 boys. Three of us are deeply connected to the church because of a Godly mother. Leave the mysteries of Godhead alone and “Presume not God to scan, the proper study of man is man.” Pope
Human being are, as my mother taught me, extemely intricate and the beings, in this life, God has given us to love.
Very eloquent and very talented lady. Enlightened. Very good interview. While this whole issue is a Mormon story and position let’s not forget that most traditional religions in the world hold a similar position on homosexuality as the LDS Church does. I think the simple solution to these issues is for people to find a religion where they belong, feel accepted or where homosexuality or heterosexual pre-marital sex is acceptable instead of banging heads against the wall and trying to twists arms. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. All these churches, Mormonism included, are all about following the rules. Their rules, often interpreted as or believed to be God’s rules. As tribes, we should hang out with own tribesmen. Each tribe has its own set of rules. Churches are no different. Stick with your own tribe and all will be well.
Minute 2:20 in Part 3 broke my heart. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we sure do fall down on the job of Christlike compassion and love and care-taking of our fellow (wo)men.
[…] a Mormon Stories interview, Carol Lynn Pearson said something that really struck me. She said she was out of all her […]
Just barely got around to listening to this. Carol rocks! I loved her spunky and honest personality. I do think it is interesting that someone who is “out of all their closets” and is very vocal about Feminism and Homosexuality hasn’t been censured yet by the Church. I’m guessing it may be due to her celebrity status…lucky! Great interview.
I’ve been listening through these Carol Lynn Pearson podcasts during the past couple of days. I consider myself an orthodox active Mormon – but I have felt there are a lot of insights here and have enjoyed listening in.
When I was a kid, “My Turn On Earth” was a big hit in my ward (Westchester, NY) and from time to time throughout my life I have found myself returning to the song “Angel Lullaby” – which I just love. I sing three songs to my little 21 month old daughter every night, before she goes to bed. That song is one of them and she loves it too.
I am now curious about the Beginnings poem book – I did not know about the influence/impact of that book in Mormon circles and that it sold so many copies. I’m a little curious how I made it through BYU as an English major and didn’t hear about it. At one point, though I didn’t take the course, I read through all the books in a Eugene England syllabus of Mormon Literature. Maybe I missed something there somehow or maybe it was only intended as a list of Mormon fiction books and not poetry. Anyway, I’m keeping my eye open for the poetry book and I’ll read it at some point.
Great to hear from you, Daniel. Thanks for taking the time to write.
[…] LGBTQ supporters of other faiths or no faith will be equally welcomed. Speakers will include Carol Lynn Pearson, Bill Bradshaw, Jim Dabakis, Jimmy Creech, and John […]
[…] I felt like posting this interview for those who haven’t seen it yet- just as a refresher. John Dehlin from Mormon Stories has a 5-part interview and it is worth listening to in its entirety. Have you heard it? Listen to […]
My first thought on listening to this interview was a reminder of how we go to extremes to justify our own desires. Such as, “It’s natural. Many species engage in such behavior.” However, this is the is/ought fallacy. It does not follow that because some desire or instinct exists then we should engage in, or embrace, such behavior. As someone once said, “The difference between ‘doing what comes naturally’ and principled self-restraint is called ‘civilization.'” Ethics are not about doing what is right for you. Ethics are about doing what is right.
I would also disagree with the attempt to connect one’s contribution to society with one’s own sexuality. We do not celebrate adultery simply because John F. Kennedy was a good president, and we do not celebrate fidelity because Jimmy Carter was a poor president. These behaviors are not inconsequential, but they are unrelated to these two presidents’ contributions to American life.
I believe Ms. Pearson sufficiently demonstrated that the Mormon church has been limited in how they have addressed the problems of homosexuality. There is no single cause for same-sex attraction and so each person seeking help will be following their own unique path to freedom. I hope the Mormon church will use more resources so that help and counseling are more readily available for those with homosexuality, thus alleviating any negative behaviors in their lives.
Two items, I feel, marred Ms. Pearson’s credibility. One was her attempt to equate homosexuality with ethnic origin and one’s sex, male or female. The latter are always morally benign. Sexual behavior is not. Also, she seems to state that we should celebrate families that inherently deny a child a father or a mother in a home. This is never in the best interest of the child.
Lastly, I hoped to hear what Ms. Pearson’s thoughts were on the link of feminism in the 70’s with Marxism, though maybe Utah feminists openly decried against this leftist link.
After listening to the second episode, I sent this email to Carol to thank her:
Your poetry has awed me since I joined the church in 1976 and memorized Short Roots.
I was the Bishop our stake president first called when Stuart Matis shot himself on the steps of our chapel.
I’d tell you how much your books have meant to us, but it would be as a drop in the sea of accolades you receive. But I dunno if you’ve heard much about your Mormon Stories talk on No More Us Versus Them. That talk moved me and my family more than any talk I can remember in my 35 years in the church.
I just watched the second hour of John Dehlin’s interview with you. If I could write poetry like yours, I’d write a poem about the love and understanding you’ve brought to so many people. Thank God John pinned you down for those 5 hours and asked such wonderful questions.
[…] Washington DC “Circling the Wagons” conference for LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families, friends and allies – April 20th-22nd, 2012 February 13, 2012By Anne Peffer“Building Bridges of Understanding” With Mitch Mayne and Carol Lynn Pearson! […]
I have a new hero. Thank you.
WOW, I read the book Goodbye I Love You this week then listened to this podcast yesterday. I as so moved so many times. It brought emotions from me that had laid dormant to long. Thank you John for this podcast and thank you Carol Lynn Pearson for sharing your stories, talents and thoughts with us. All the feminist talk and discussions was like listening to a little subconscious me hiding inside I had been unaware was speaking. It gave words to feelings I was not paying attention to. :) (BTW A Stranger For Christmas is my favorite Christmas book. I have read it so many times) Now I want more of herself so thanks for the links.
The is a WONDERFUL interview. I really needed it.
God Bless You Carol Lynne