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  1. Thanks for this interview! I enjoyed hearing Tom clarify his position since I haven’t read the book. I felt it was better balanced with John’s commentary such as adding the research finding of the negative mental health of lifelong celibacy.

    I loved Tom’s example of the value of what philosophers call “radical responsibility” and psychologists call “intrinsic motivation.” That is when we take personal responsibility for making our own choices it is empowering rather than being a victim of external pressures.

    Thanks to both of you for your efforts to aid the cause of positive mental health for GLBTQ individuals and more healthy families and communities!

  2. I love Tom’s message. Yes, he speaks in a very nuanced language, but if every person would listen to understand him and the heart of his message, the LDS church (and most impotantly, our society) would become so much more loving, kind, and inclusive. Thank you Mormon Stories team and Tom for this interview. I believe that love will eventually and ultimately conquer this painful battle. God is love, and love will heal all hearts someday.

  3. Is it just me, or is it ironic that the Christlike gay man sounds more like an apostle of Jesus Christ than his brother who claims to be an apostle of Jesus Christ?

    Tom’s nuanced language accurately captures the truth about God which is we don’t know ANYTHING for CERTAIN. I’ll side with the individual that teaches and encourages the love for everyone over the cruel teachings and policies of a church that flip-flops only when socially convenient to avoid condemnation.

  4. PS, I awanted to add one more thought. They discussed an little about how one’s degree of bisexuality makes a difference in ability for in a heterosexual marriage. Perhaps too personal to address here but sex drive also varies. The ‘A’ in LGBTIA stands for Asexual. A lower sex drive might enable one gay/lesbian member to maintain lifelong celibacy, where it may not be a healthy option for others. Thanks again!

  5. I don’t doubt the sincerity or the integrity of Tom. He conveys a message of love, tolerance, and hope. Unfortunately, the Brethren have drawn a big red line regarding same sex marriage and labels those couples as apostates and withhold ordinances and blessings to their children. The Church recently did a Friend of the Court Brief to a Supreme Court Case in support of gay discrimination under the guise of religious freedom. In my experience, most LGBT members see these actions policies of the Church as hostile and unwelcoming. Hopefully one day Tom’s hopes and future vision may come to pass.

  6. it was clear to me that he WAS saying that doing your best means “good for you, you missed the mark but hey, you did the best you could!” Also he followed that up with saying that you really need to examine yourself…. your motives, etc. and talked about the spiritual almost as if it trumped the temporal, physical intimacy needs of humans– the implication in all his interviews being — there is the lower choice, the carnal homosexual route, and the higher spiritual celibate route. I think he sees himself as above others and very priestly, but doesn’t want to come across as too harsh too the non-priestly class of gays who are going for the “earthy” pleasures, as he did when he was young. I am very disturbed and worried about some of the messaging here. John, you did a brilliant job.
    I don’t square his idea of gay couples engaging in wards after the November policy.
    And the logic follows. Being married to a woman and being sexually unfulfilled is a bad, horrible path, but being single and celibate or “room mating with your partner” is a a good path because then you can be spiritually fulfilled. ??? Also he seems to be very consistent in saying that the only path to Jesus and/ or a spiritual life is within the Mormon church.??
    He is very adept at dodging, and obscuring the intent of questions and being obtuse. I’ve listened to 845 and 846.

    1. I am curious to understand how you got “Also he seems to be very consistent in saying that the only path to Jesus and/ or a spiritual life is within the Mormon church.??” when he constantly stated that people needed to make the best decisions for them personally and if that wasn’t with the church then so be it. He stated he and his partner tried other churches, they weren’t for him, that he found a lot of good in those other churches, but it didn’t mean that others couldn’t strengthen their relationship with Christ going to them. I never once heard him say the only way was the mormon way.
      I really do thank you for sharing your comments. I love seeing things from many sides because sometimes I see or hear one thing and don’t even think about it from another perspective, and I am being sincere about my question because I feel like I missed something even after listening to each part twice now.

      God Bless 🙂

  7. I recently read Tom’s book and then listened to all of the podcast. In general I was favorably impressed with his approach and thoughts on a very difficult topic. I worried that he would solely be preaching celibacy for Mormons as the only way. I liked that he is not preaching his path as the only path and even suggests that if someone feels like their path of happiness is in a same sex marriage and even adopting kids then he is fine with that. He is especially good at calling for greater love and acceptance of gays in our wards and families. I get the sense that he would like to see greater changes in the church but is too faithful to speak up right now and is also content to wait patiently for hoped for changes. My one complaint is that he never really attempts to tackle a key concern for many (as stated by a friend of mine with a gay son): “Why does the promise of God’s greatest blessing depend on the union of a man and woman while at the same time He creates men and women with desires antithetical to that union. Desires that create pain and heartache, judgement and isolation?” Tom talks a lot about his relationship with Jesus Christ and of his desire to have the influence of the Spirit in his life and yet there is little mention of Heavenly Father. When asked about the Proclamation on the Family (with its focus on God’s Plan of Happiness), Tom responded by saying he preferred the proclamation on the Living Christ. How do LGBT folks fit into God’s plan? I have yet to find an answer.

  8. I have been gay all my life. I have hated myself and felt nothing but guilt and a desire to die as an overriding thought prevalent at nearly all times of my life. I am married. My wife was aware of my situation before our marriage. It is difficult and the desires for death mentioned previously have not been solved by the marriage, even as recently as two days ago when it seemed like to much for me. I would like to get to the point of being able to say my particular offering is acceptable and let the rest go. So far in 40 years I do not believe I have gotten to that point completely. Except that recently I have had inklings of thoughts that my particular shortcomings and failures to live up to the laws of chastity completely are truly my acceptable offering. I hope that I can hold to this and I think hearing conversations like this one between Tom and John have helped me come to this realization. Others may not understand it, bishops may misinterpret because their acceptable offering looks different, or has holes in different places hopefully I can maintain and grow this new found thought and blossom it into a conviction.

  9. I think we all want to be respectful of tom—‘his challenges and his struggles and his willingness to speak about being gay

    Please forgive me if I seem insensitive—just being honest

    he is a very intellectual person that uses a lot of words to avoid a straightforward answer

    He talks about being authentic when he told others he had a partner but then he talks about keeping his personal feelings
    personal —about many topics related to the church—

    It is clear that he is trying to create a new church in his mind which is very different from the actual real church that was created by Joseph smith and still exists today

    The reality is he gave up his true desire to have a gay partner so that he could be accepted in the church — that is really sad

    Does he also believe that that is what Jesus required of him in order to be accepted? If not then he gave up his partner for social acceptance in the church and not required of Jesus

    To me it is a tragedy that he has to live his life alone so that he can be accepted in the church which he loves

    A church that would excommunicate him for finding the joy in having a partner and yet he seems to ignore that. Important issue—is that really love?

    The church has a very clear stand that if A gay person is living with a partner they should be excommunicated— and excommunicated people are supposedly in eternal outer darkness

    So what will happen to Tom if he changes his mind and decides to have a partner

    Is it better to live your life alone?? For what purpose?

    All of the doctrine points to heterosexual marriage and children as the basis of all happiness here and in the Eternal worlds
    He must know the doctrines (revelation)of the church

    Sadly it seems he is pretending the church is something it is not and it he is also not permitted to live a life of love with a committed gay partner

    He is trying to live a life with a foot in both worlds without fully accepting either

    It is a very confusing and frustrating example to gay people who want to fully embrace the gay lifestyle

    Tom is a kind person but unwilling to be completely honest and authentic
    And may cause more confusion and more fear for gay people who feel guilty about leaving a church who rejects and judges them— which is the healthiest thing to do— leave and live an authentic gay lifestyle

  10. Tom is lovely and very thoughtful. He has such a tricky path to tread and many constituents are looking to him since he has placed himself out of obscurity, surely he must know this. He is doing a good work generally for LDS parents who may dismiss their LGBTQ kids, he is showing them how to love. He will hopefully shift the dial in the LDS church generally around LGBTQ issues. The church constituents have had a net positive experience with this. I wonder if he could address young LDS youth specifically in the future? The only thing that jarred for me is that Tom has come back after having an opportunity to explore his sexuality and he can return and defer to the church leadership once more. He had a net gain in terms of leadership roulette, that may have been enabled with him being the brother of an apostle. What would he suggest that young LGBTQ people do? Should they defer in the same way and not explore their sexuality? I’m sure Tom would not tell people what to do, but for some youth, they will look and think that he’s had his cake and eaten it, and now defers once more. It’s the only small issue that I have with Tom. He is obviously a great man and is still working through things as we all are. Whether he likes it, he is now a public figure for LGBTQ issues within Mormonism. I hope for equality within the church and full exclusion for all people, it would take away so much of the gymnastics. I support what he is trying to do.

  11. Seems to me, Emmasays, that you are judging Tom and his personal needs/choices, while he was very carefully not judging yours or anyone else’s. He simply told his story and made it abundantly clear that he was in no way saying his choices would be best for or superior to others’. In fact, he said he knew of many gay couples whose choice to have a family and children was a good and healthy choice for them.

    I believe his reason for writing the book was to encourage wards and families to treat gay ward members and loved ones with the same respect that was shown him by his ward and family. He wanted to show one uplifting example of how it can be done, and the fact that it *was* successfully done is the hope he offers. He doesn’t advocate that gay people need to suck it up and stay in the Church if it is a negative experience for them; instead, he is saying that church members should be doing everything possible to make sure they are not part of the problem. He is also clearly hoping the Church receives more “light and knowledge” on this subject, and while he doesn’t claim to know it will, he feels some optimism in that direction.

    I was most impressed by him, frankly, and maybe your approach is a bit too black-and-white as regards Tom. Realizing there is and always will be a measure of ambiguity in life is not the same as “trying to live a life with a foot in both worlds without fully accepting either.” This good man is just traveling the same winding path we all do, in one way or another, exercising his agency as he sees fit according to what honestly feels right to him. That’s all any of us can do, and I wish him well.

  12. I think you didn’t get my message that I thought Tom was a good and kind person but confused and confusing

    My thoughts about htom we’re not to be critical or negative but to just make observations about his predicament and that of all gay people in the church

  13. I think you didn’t get my message that I thought Tom was a good and kind person but confused and confusing

    My thoughts about htom we’re not to be critical or negative but to just make observations about his predicament and that of all gay people in the church

  14. I think you didn’t get my message that I thought Tom was a good and kind person but confused and confusing

    My thoughts about tom we’re not to be critical or negative but to just make observations about his predicament and that of other gay people in the church

  15. I think you didn’t get my message that I thought Tom was a good and kind person but confused and confusing

    My thoughts about tom we’re not to be critical or negative but to just make observations about his predicament and that of other gay people in the church

  16. Stockholm Syndrome!! Just because Tom got away from his captors physically doesn’t mean that he got away psychologically. The only way that this makes sense is if Tom says that he’s not Gay, maybe never was gay, and that he has repented and is feeling heterosexual, and that the church was right!! That Tom love’s Mormons is great, that Tom love’s God is great! But you can’t endorse an institution that causes a great deal of harm to people and then write a book about how you’ve gone back to your abusers and it’s great!! I have to take issue with John Dehlin saying that it was one of his favorite episodes! John, I’ve heard this kind of reaction from you a couple of times where you get around TBM’s talking their crazy talk; like Tom and like Dan Witherspoon, and you get all gushy and frankly it’s completely revolting! Tom is a victim of abuse who is looking for a way to reconcile the trauma in his life. Through his story, I can see that I’m also a victim of that same abuse, and so will thank him! But we can’t give Tom a pass on his choice to return to his abuser’s and publish a book about how it’s all ok now! It’s not, he’s still Gay, and the LDS church is still very much not! Has Mormon Stories become so liberal that it can allow the abused to persist in their abuse uncounseled and unchallenged?? And the host is going to say to them how much he favored the talk??? Are you kidding me??

  17. Tom or John, I have been reading recently about the high rates of anxiety and depression among gay men. The latest I have read is that this seems to exist even if the person had a very supportive family, was never bullied, and came of age after gay marriage became legal. Do either of you have any comments on this? I have been trying to help a gay man but he is so hyper-sensitive I am getting nowhere. He really is suffering terrible problems with anxiety and sometimes with paranoia. Should I just leave him alone until he finally seeks help on his own?

  18. John, you mention that gay men who manage to both acknowledge their sexual orientation but continue as faithful Mormons have the best outcome. Could you give us more information on this, the studies and details. Would also love to see an interview with someone who is doing this.

  19. I believe we are ignoring a large and growing mental health crisis among LGBTQ people, both in the Church and outside. I do not feel that our efforts to de-stigmatize homosexuality has been particularly helpful in this regard, except to point out that the underlying problems with mental health still exist even in places where coming out is supported and prejudice has been lessened.
    Please comment John.

  20. Thank you Tom for sharing your wonderful story with us. It is refreshing to hear someone who places their relationship with Jesus Christ ahead of their sexual orientation without feeling it necessary to deny their orientation or attempt to change it.

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