In this 3-part series Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT (The Mormon Therapist &, interviews one of her earliest clients: a married, Mormon homosexual man, coming out to his wife. Names have been withheld to protect anonymity to the family.

Note: The purpose of this interview is not to encourage people to stay or leave the church, to stay or leave a marriage, nor to participate or not participate in reparative therapy. These are all delicate personal decisions and different circumstances will necessitate different solutions. The purpose of this interview is to share a story. It is also meant to increase empathy and to reach out to those who may find themselves in similar situations.

In this 3 part interview we discuss the following:
  • Part 1: Conversion to the LDS church and the therapy process – including coming out to wife and church leaders.
  • Part 2: The therapy process in conjunction with church discipline.
  • Part 3: Current status, advice for others, and hope for changes within our culture.

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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  1. campeche October 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I’m halfway through the interview and wanted to say this is one of the best Mormon Stories podcasts. Natasha does a fabulous job of interviewing this man. I’m looking forward to her future interviews. The converstation feels so natural, like listening in on a therapy session. This man is a breath of fresh air…. it’s nice to hear this story from the angle of a Latin American convert. Great job!!! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  2. JohnS October 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Great interview, I concur with the other comment, Natasha does a great job and the interview was flawless. I appreciated so much the courage and honest of this brother. These podcasts are truly treasures.

  3. Steve K October 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Why do gay people care what bigot fakes say about them anyway. You get no redos in life and eternity is built on nothing NOTHING but faith based on disproven bs…be true to yourself and live and enjoy life the way it feels right to you.

  4. Terry Anderson October 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    I recently relayed my love and support to my lesbian daughter, who is currently out of the church. She sent the following to me. Take it as you will…………….
    “I have met a few people who are in and not currently in the church who are gay. I had a very vivid dream about Pres Monson holding a conf where he announced that the brethren had been pleading with the Lord on behalf of GBLT’s and he said that it broke his heart, but it still wasn’t the right time for the church/world/Lord. I woke up immediately with a very strong feeling of truth.”

  5. Dan M. October 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    One of the best Mormons Stories podcasts yet. Incredible story. I couldn’t help but think as I was listening that the message coming from the Brethren is so one-sided. If only we could hear stories like this in General Conference, then maybe talks like Boyd K. Packer’s recent embarrassment would quickly fade away. I really think that if more Mormons could hear stories like this and get know gay members personally that things would change at a steady clip. I honestly don’t know how anyone could hear these stories and not feel like there is something dreadfully wrong with the establishment. Keep it up, please. It’s the only way that we’ll ever see any sort of change for the better.

  6. Odell Campbell October 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    To Terry Anderson:

    I think it is very good that your daughter as you. When I left the church as a result of historical issues, I used to have vivid dreams that Hinckley would announce during General Conference that being a Mormon no longer required a belief of the Restoration, the First Vision or the Book of Mormon. I think our desire for the things we are taught and held as true fuel such dreams.

  7. Josh October 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Here is a link to an interview with Elder Oaks on the matter of Homosexuality. He is asked many questions such as if Homosexuality is nature or nurture.

  8. Terry Anderson October 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    @ Odell. Assuming that what you said was true about your dream and not some sarcastic invention, then I see some merit in your suggestion on causality of dreams. I think my daughter’s dream has more chance of becoming a reality than yours, no offense intended. When I was on my mission, I heard a Haitian brother tell of his own brother’s dream of being ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood by SWK, back in early 1978, 6-months before the revelation removing the Priesthood ban. That was a teary testimony meeting.

  9. Bill October 13, 2010 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Natasha, you are certainly a very gifted and natural interviewer. Many times, silence is the most powerful part of a story. You are not afraid of silence and the results are palpable. Must be that counselor training! Great job! Marco, thanks for your honesty and courage!

  10. Paul October 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Nice try,
    But I don’t buy.

  11. BItherwack October 14, 2010 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Is interesting how Marco makes the argument that demanding celibacy should have parity. It’s true. Single members must be celibate, but the opportunity of marriage is not taken away. For any other member of the church to be told,”you are commanded not to marry,” would be ridiculous. But for some reason, it is supposed to make sense for homosexuals.

    It is not good for man to be alone.

  12. Aaron in Northern California October 18, 2010 at 6:27 am - Reply

    It’s a truly wonderful interview. Thank you One side question I have is: why is a JPG of Nicolosi’s “Healting Sexuality” posted on this page? It sorta looks like an endorsement of his book and beliefs — but that can’t possibly be true can it?

  13. Michael Closson October 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    My favorite part is at 1:05:00 of the second part of the interview.

    We mormons focus to much on the sex part of the gay issue. But the reality is that if gay people want to live the standards of the church then they need to live life without any intimacy. My wife is so much more than just the person I have sex with, she completes me. Faithful gay members of the church cannot have that.

  14. dadsprimalscream October 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I think it was a good start to your new series of things that affect real people’s lives. As someone who followed a similar path to Marcos’, as a youth I always felt so alone and disregarded by the fact that my church leaders felt so intensely concerned with facial hair, shirt color, ties and dating protocol but deeper life issues that really concerned me in my little world went largely ignored. Now that they ARE talking about it, I can’t imagine my younger self feeling any more hopeful or encouraged. Telling someone they can change when they can’t or that something so fundamental about them is wrong… well, it’s just cruel.

  15. Michael Closson from Toronto Stake October 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    @Paul Can you tell us why you don’t buy it?

  16. Natasha Helfer Parker October 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for all the positive response. I very much appreciate your comments!

  17. George Windes October 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    A great Podcast. I’m enthralled with how dead center Marcos’ was with his viewing of his life and situation. He obviously has found healing.
    I wish that all the General Authorities would listen carefully to his story. It is legend in the LDS Church.

  18. Carlos October 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Question in podcast: When did you decide to be heterosexual?

    Note that many men that say they are until they are locked up in max security and in there they have several homosexual affairs, but if they leave prison then they are heterosexuals again. How does one explain that? just lust I’d say -and excuses like if the dude is the ‘giver’ then he doesn’t consider himself gay…etc etc.

    Says to me also that there is an element of choice here. Even this gay man interviewed managed a 12 year? marriage and children. So he chose to be a heterosexual for the purposes of marriage and procreation but deep down he looked at men and played with dolls as a kid? maybe choosing to not play with dolls and knowing that only sex with a women would bring him kids helped in his ‘choice’ to become heterosexual for a while. All he needs to do is keep that up, keep choosing not to lust after a dude in shorts, keep thinking that anal sex with another man is not the way nor will it get him anywhere in life and in eternity (or it will get him to loose the power to have sex in eternity) and therefore he should make the same effort he made when he courted and married that now single woman probably looking after and raising his children.

    • Dhroc February 25, 2011 at 2:32 am - Reply

      Simple. The need for sexual gratification is strong. It really doesn’t matter to these men who or what they use to get it.
      There’s a couple of crass sayings about this but I’ll refrain.
      What you don’t realize is: there’s a deep emotional component to homosexuality. It isn’t just a physical attraction. It’s much more involved than that.

  19. Alan October 24, 2010 at 7:41 am - Reply

    I’m finally listening to this now. Right off the bat, I’m hearing some of the red flags that don’t even raise an eyebrow in the LDS community, but that are hallmarks of the poor boundaries endemic in the ‘ward family’ setting. I can appreciate that a person may choose to see someone for therapy in spite of the dual relationship that exists, in the interest of having someone who understands your culture. However, when the Bishop says “we have a therapist WHO IS WILLING TO SEE YOU” makes it clear that the Bishop has already discussed the matter with Ms. Parker (correct me if I’m wrong here). As I’m also in the mental health field, I remember our Bishop briefing me on various individuals’ situations from time to time. I’m sorry to say, in spite of feeling uncomfortable, I didn’t stop him nor did I state that I thought it was inappropriate.

    Another issue is that homosexuality was identified as the “presenting complaint,” even though homosexuality is no longer recognized as a psychiatric disorder in DSM. Had the presenting complaint been “dealing with being gay within a heterosexual marriage” or “coping with being gay within a homophobic culture,” that would be more appropriate.

  20. Alan October 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Ok, time for me to backtrack a little here, but I think Ms. Parker makes it clear that she disclosed to Marcos the limits of her experience, and I’m much less critical of the whole thing. I came away quite impressed with the process. Ultimately, though, I’m afraid that there is simply no place in the LDS church for gays, and this will prove very costly to the mormon church, but especially to the many whose lives are disrupted by the church’s refusal to come out of the middle ages. Unfortunately, I simply cannot seriously recommend that a gay person attempt to find a satisfying life as a member of the LDS church.

  21. BItherwack October 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    I agree, Alan.
    If you look at it from a wider perspective, you could also say,
    I cannot recommend that a person who will ultimately marry and possibly have a gay child
    attempt to find a satisfying life as a member of the LDS church.
    It becomes truly difficult to in full conscience to invite anyone into the church.
    Can we know that that person won’t have gay children, a sibling, friend or coworker come out to him or her? No.
    Until the church can resolve this, I predict the missionary effort will lose steam.

  22. Heather October 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Oh, man, this was such a great episode. Hats off to Natasha, Marcos, and John. EVERY member of the church should listen to this. You just couldn’t listen to it without having your heart softened.

  23. Daniel October 30, 2010 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Let us consider these factors. I had a roommate for years who tried the LDS Reparative Therapy. Guess what folks? It worked, it seems then that homosexuality is a choice. When a person’s mind thinks something long enough, it becomes an addiction and no longer seems like a choice. I chose to be heterosexual, it’s a choice. I chose to be attracted to women but not to men, it’s a choice. I don’t think it is biological, we have complex brains and not walnut sized ones like other animals of nature. We are not driven by biology but choice.
    I would like to point something out. If homosexuals are biologically born to be attracted to the same sex, then we must use the same exact argument that pedophiles are born genetically to be attracted to children. We do not accept pedophilia, even if they were born attracted to children we expect them to not act on those urges. Neither does a homosexual need to act upon theirs. I would however put forth the idea that I have yet to meet a person who thinks pedophiles are borne attracted to children, yet biologically it must be so if homosexuals are born homosexuals

    • Tjbeck November 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Comparing this to pedophilia?  Seriously?  And how do you know it “worked”? Because he told you it worked? Could it possibly be that he’s afraid of the rejection that so many gay people feel from “Christian” communities? 

  24. Natasha Parker October 30, 2010 at 11:25 am - Reply

    I did want to mention that I believe the training on confidentiality has improved significantly in the last ten or 15 years in regards to church leadership. I want to clarify that when the bishop approached me about this case he only mentioned that the couple was in my ward – he did not tell me who they were. He wasn’t sure if I would be willing to see someone within the ward boundaries and he wanted to check with me before referring them. When I said yes, then the bishop informed the couple who in turn, contacted me. I have to say that in all my experience working with bishops and stake presidents this has always been the case. They
    have approached me with issues and questions, but never names. I know this may not always be the case but my experience has been that confidentiality is protected.

  25. Tyler November 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm - Reply


    The “nature vs. nurture” aspect of this debate is less important than most people realize. Whether sexuality is a choice is not as important as whether consenting adults should be able to build loving relationships with those they see fit.

    You emphatically point out that you were able to choose heterosexuality, but if sexuality can be chosen, doesn’t that mean someone could just as emphatically, for their own reasons, choose to be homosexual? And if they did, what use what it be to point out to them that they can choose to be straight, especially if they stick to their decision to be gay? Do you then FORCE them to be heterosexual, or simply alone?

    If you answer “yes” to this question by comparing homosexuality to pedophilia or bestiality, you’re ignoring the fact that children and animals CANNOT POSSIBLY make an informed, free, and conscious decision to be in a sexual relationship with anyone. Pedophilia and bestiality are abhorrent not because of who’s involved, but because they FORCE victims into sexual relationships they don’t want, can’t understand, or are bad for them physically and mentally.

  26. Dean November 11, 2010 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Just because someone went through therapy and got married is PROOF they were changed? How innocent and silly that conclusion is. The people interviewed show that simply is NOT true. They did NOT become heterosexual for a time, they only did heterosexual acts, but nothing about them changed. The prison comparision is silly as well, for at no time do those prisoners “become gay.” All they do is get sexual release from what is available. There are still as straight as they always were. Obviously, to most of those people who think like this “THE SEX ACT” is what defines sexual orientation. While to gay people at least (and most heterosexuals when thinking about being heterosexual) the sex act is only a part of a very expansive whole. So you saw a roommate get married after therapy? Did you see 10 years down the road if he has been cheating on his wife with other men in public bathrooms? Are they still married even? So he had children, what does that prove other than he was not sterile? And if he were doing all that, do you really think he would tell you? So, how do you really KNOW he was changed? YOU DON’T! All you know is he did what the church told him to do, as have thousands of other men. Just look at how many broken families have come about because gay people married straight people. Just see how many unhappy and nearly destroyed spouses have resulted in that stupid belief that gays can change and the proof is “we have conned a few into getting married with the promise it will change them.” If you were one of those spouses, believe me, you would really see this issue differently. The church has successfully changed NO ONE. They have only caused people to live a dishonest life, a lie not only to the world but to the very person they vowed eternal love and marriage with, and to put up a pretence of being what they are not. They have not fixed anything. All they did was push it aside and make it someone else’s problem, but didn’t even include the other person and ask them if they wanted to become part of the problem. These stories testify of the falsehoods being presented. And even when you read statements by the supposedly “cured” in the church there is always “well, I am not having sex, and I still have to remind myself what the church wants me to do.” That is an outright statement that they have not changed! Had they changed, there would be no reminder to live as they think they should, for they would not be attracted to people of the same sex.

  27. Joe November 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    A few weeks ago, ABC 4 (in Salt Lake) did a story about a woman who living this Mormon lie. She is a closet lesbian (her husband knows) who is trying to live up to the Churches standards. But a year or so ago, she admitted to an affair with another woman. Despite the affair, she sounded like a really good person. HOWEVER, regardless of her desire to do what she thinks is right (living the LDS standard), she is still attracted to women. For her, living a heterosexual lifestyle is an epic challenge.

    Daniel: All biological evidence suggests that sexual orientation is not a choice. For homosexuals, their brains appear to develop in a manner that contradict their sexual organs. And when these things are in conflict, the brain rules. As Dean eloquently states, “[Homosexuals] only [do] heterosexual acts, but nothing about them change[s].” In other words, heterosexual acts (among gay individuals) doesn’t change the physiological makeup of their brain. It doesn’t change their person.

    You can try to paint a zebra black. Once painted, you can call it a horse. But a the end of the day, it is still a zebra… and you can’t change its stripes.

  28. Rilke November 18, 2010 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Speaking as a gay man I can with complete honesty say I never chose to be homosexual. I never played with dolls or did feminine things as a child or teenager. I appeared to fit in perfectly with my heterosexual friends.

    I’ve know plenty of gay men in and out of the Church who were or are married to women. They have always been gay and I believe always will be. Most married because they were in denial (some still are) and wanted to do what the Church and society expected of them. Some thought they would change; they didn’t.

    Some men who claim to have changed may be bisexual. Everyone falls somewhere on the sliding scale: some are predominately heterosexual, others predominately homosexual and a few right about in the middle.

    I don’t buy for second that anyone’s sexual orientation can be changed. Anyone can appear to live a heterosexual lifestyle. There are plenty of gays both single and married that do it everyday.

    Why would anyone choose to be homosexual considering the obvious disadvantages involved? I think the Church is finally realizing that being gay isn’t a choice. The idea that being gay is a choice is often perpetuated by bigots and out of ignorance.

    It’s about more than sex. It’s about deep emotional attraction and attachment. That little but very important emotional component is missing in mixed orientation marriages.

  29. artrat November 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I’m listening to this interview and feel it is very informative to the subject.
    I grew up Presbyterian, hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and excepting him as Lord and Savior. Knowing I was gay , still tryed to go the straight role of being married, having children. Fighting the gay side of me for 31 years of our marrage. I did fail to keep my vows to my wife, and sought gratification from sex with a man. My sexual identity came
    out after about 6 years of marrage. We stayed together and went to counciling every 3 weeks
    till my wife gave up on me and thought she was not Loved and that I was still cheating
    on her. At that time I was not cheating and probably would have continued to fight my need
    to be with man sexualy. She announced divorce anyway , and after divorced I still tryed to date a woman, but soon realized it was all for no good as I was tired of living a lie and decided to begin dateing men. I now live with a great man and I now can say I’m HAPPY and I feellike
    God still LOVES ME!!

  30. Bufflehead April 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    I was raised Mormon, and from the very beginning I knew without a doubt that I was gay. I had intense romantic feelings for girls and NEVER ONCE for a boy (or later for men), though I had great fun with them and have always had wonderful male friends. I knew I was different, and the way I explained it was that I was a girl who wanted to marry a lady when I grew up. All the ugly, negative, ignorant things I heard in church as a child about people like me led me early on to the conclusion that the church was wrong about this and probably wrong about other things as well. Looking around in sacrament meeting I felt embarrassed for the women in the church, including my mother, and wondered why they would put up with the demeaning treatment they received. I left the church the moment my parents couldn’t make me attend anymore.
    It’s funny to listen to all the hand wringing about whether gay people are born that way or caused by dysfunctional parenting, and about whether being gay is a choice or not. My experience tells me that some people are naturally gay, but for others who are more flexible in their orientation, it can be a choice. A perfectly legitimate choice.

  31. LDS-member-divorced July 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I agree it doesn’t matter if it is “nurture” or “nature”.  That everyone has choices. They aren’t easy.

    By the way, gay members in good standing are not the only ones who are living a celibate life in the church!  Many married couples are also celibate. I know, I was one for many years.

  32. Devin November 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Very well done. This moved me to the brink of tears several times.

  33. JeremiahA December 5, 2011 at 11:07 am - Reply

    The openness and willingness to share these experiences made these podcasts very engrossing. Ms. Parker’s willingness to admit her ignorance of “reparative therapy,” as evidenced in her statement that much of the psychology field feels that such therapy is unethical practice, was very intellectually honest.

    Is homosexuality a choice? In one aspect it is, as is heterosexuality. A married man may be attracted to another woman at work, and he has the choice to pursue her or let it lie. In other words, there is much personal choice involved in regards to sex and whether one nurtures a particular sexual proclivity.

    In life, spirituality is important, but being spiritually correct is vital, i.e. what you believe and to what you apply your faith. The theology presented in these podcasts seemed to not be based on any authority. Yes, God loves everyone but this is not a justification to act unethically. Yes, we all go to Heaven…not through our own kind and good acts, which we are already obliged to perform, but rather if we partake in the pardon offered by Jesus of Nazareth.

    What these podcasts demonstrate is the limits of credulity we will engage in to justify our own choices in life, and also point to the often present inability for people to distinguish between the respect everyone deserves as human beings and the respect due to their behavior and choices.

  34. Sunflowereed March 20, 2012 at 2:35 am - Reply

    The church is GOD’S church, not MAN’s. The church will not change or accept people who choose to practice homosexuality over Him. That would be Man’s pleasure. Put off the natural man. Some people choose to practice it and God loves him either way and wants the best for him. God will not stop anyone from making their own decisions but if they choose that then they also choose not to have the blessings that come with a holy bond between man and woman. Maybe some people are born that way and have natural tendencies, but they also are born to overcome challenges. He will not tempt you above that which ye are able. It is something not all of us can handle. He works in mysterious ways and why he would allow people to have such a challenge, no one can truly answer. Some people may leave the church because they are not accepted for their choices and because they still want the blessings. People are people and should be accepted as people whether or not they make choices you agree with or not. It is their life, and it is their choice but when you deal with God, he is not a worldly man.

  35. Rachel May 2, 2012 at 2:19 am - Reply

    My husband and I just listened to this podcast and wanted to thank “Marcos” and Natasha for such a wonderful, heartfelt interview. We felt so touched by your story!

    Hermano Marcos, si algun dia leas esto, quisimos decirte que te apoyamos en todo y que eres una persona sumamente especial. Te esperamos todo lo mejor en tu vida futura y aunque no nos hemos conocido personalmente, sentimos mucho amor hacia ti! Es evidente que eres un papa excelente y una persona demasiado humana, con mucha integritdad. Gracias por compartir tu historia, nos conmovio. Cuidate mucho. 

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