David Eccles Hardy lived as an orthodox Mormon for years, serving as an LDS Bishop and raising his family “in the covenant.” While serving as a Mormon bishop, David learned of his son’s homosexuality and the difficulty/pain his son experienced being raised in the LDS church as a gay youth.  This experience led David to re-evaluate his faith, and ultimately to resign as bishop. Soon thereafter, David launched a campaign to convince the Mormon church to eliminate several pamphlets for youth and adults that he felt sent damaging messages regarding sexuality.

In a 1999 letter to Boyd K. Packer, David outlined the heartache and damage these publications caused his son and countless others.

In our interview, David outlines his careers in music and law, his interactions with prominent LDS leaders, as well as his involvement in helping to secure Salt Lake City’s bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also treats us to how he would have born his testimony in French as an LDS missionary in France.

Packer’s “To Young Men Only” video
LDS Church Retires “To Young Men Only” pamphlet
David Hardy’s response to Newsweek’s “Gay Today” coverage
Deseret News coverage of the Hardy family’s “spiritual journey”
The Nation coverage the Hardy family’s journey
Evergreen International
Dean Byrd
September 1999 Ensign article on homosexuality
Matthew Shepard
Gay Panic Defense used in trial by the lawyers of the men who murdered Matthew Shepard
Deseret News coverage of Stuart Matis’ suicide
LDS 1981 Supplement on Homosexuality which for decades guided LDS Bishops’ approach to ministering to LGBTQ+ members
– Salt Lake Tribune coverage of Governor Herbert declaring July 28 “Love Loud Day”

Find donation and volunteer opportunities with Encircle, where David Eccles Hardy contributes much time and energy.

Part 1 – David’s experience in the LDS Church:

Part 2 – How Salt Lake City won its Olympic bid:

Part 3 – Tipping point in Mormon LGBT activism:

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

Download MP3

Part 3

Download MP3


  1. Nancy August 10, 2018 at 10:29 am - Reply

    David-except for the prominence (I was a church nobody) your journey was my journey. I too felt the loneliness and frustration with the way Mormon church leaders dealt with LGBTQ issues. It eventually collapsed my shelf like it did yours. Thank heavens for social media though . Thank to Mama Dragons and other support groups my ride was much less bumpier. My LGBTQ child is doing well but it’s on spite of Mormonism . I wish you peace. Thanks for standing up for our children.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you for this comment, Nancy. I think the “bumpiness of the ride” factor is relative. It’s bumpy and usually always a first time experience. Thank you for making the decisions you have made out of love for your child!


  2. Mark Williams August 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply


    Long time ago we would play a little guitar around the Sig house. Congratulations on your journey. I’m listening to your episodes with interest.

    All the best,


    • David Eccles Hardy August 11, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Mark! How great to hear from you! I’d love to reconnect (and maybe play some guitar together). You know that during my freshman year when I think you were on a mission – all I heard about at the Sigma Chi house was the guitar brilliance of Mark Williams! I hope you are better than good.


  3. Laura August 10, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    if your son is the Judd Hardy who teaches yoga, he is a caring, insightful, charismatic person and a fantastic yoga teacher. Kudos to you for supporting his journey so he could help all of us yogis with ours. Namaste

    • David Eccles Hardy August 11, 2018 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Yes, Laura – that’s my son! Knowing him you can understand why I made the decisions I made, and took the actions I took. What other choice could I have made? Thank you for this comment! Namaste

  4. Mary Lynn August 11, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Thanks for this! Did I miss David’s storythat related to Sam Young? He was going to tell it toward the end of part 3?
    Also, are there any plans for Encircle in the Maryland area (outside DC). I am a nonMorman (excatholic), straight woman with no lgbtq kids (that I know of) who feels passionately that people must be supported (is there a bigger word than supported?) to live and love full, healthy, whole authentic lives. 🌈

    • David Eccles Hardy August 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Mary Lynn – thank you for this comment. Right now the plans are to ensure that the first expansion of Encircle from its flagship house in Provo, Utah to Salt Lake City and a third Utah city (as yet unannounced, but the house has been purchased is smooth and exactly replicates the programs, services, and approach that is the miracle of the Provo house. Then we will begin further expansion both in Utah and outside where most needed to save lives and make sure LGBTQ kids know they are perfect and will thrive, and help families stay together and strong. One of our primary benefactors whose gift has allowed Encircle to acquire these first two expansion houses lives in Maryland, just outside DC, where I was born and raised, so it is certainly on our radar. Thank you for your passion! Please feel free to contact me at david@encircletogether.org.

  5. Melissa Comer August 11, 2018 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    David – I so appreciate your courage to listen to your heart and mind and not go along with the status quo. Our 11 year old son recently came out to us as bi. We were already struggling with our faith, for a variety of reasons along with the history of the church. We realize we can no longer be connected to a religion that preaches one thing and does another. No one should feel shame and guilt for being their true authentic self.
    Thank you for sharing. Your message has given me and my family peace and I am sure many more families to come.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 11, 2018 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, Melissa, for your comment. You and your family and your bi son are in my heart. I honor you for making the hard choice and acting on it – and you did it out of love. That is always a sure motivation – and the wrong decision never follows. Your son is lucky to have you as parents, and it works both ways – you are lucky to have your bi son. My very best to you!

  6. T Andrew August 11, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your testimony of truth. Perhaps those of us who have thought our way out of the teachings as they are commonly practiced will be a beacon and a comfort for many of the ones who follow. I am happy to see that love is receiving more emphasis within the walls. This slow march towards love is a small start that will hopefully gain momentum as folks see the positive outcomes of thinking for themselves. Our God is diffuse and harbored within every living soul. John Shelby Spong has many insightful things to say about how we in the west interpret our Christian tradition, and it will require humility and prayerful insight to see the universal truths that JS was just starting to touch upon.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 12, 2018 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      Tandrew – thank you for listening, and for this thoughtful (full of thought) comment

  7. Michelle Morris August 12, 2018 at 12:15 am - Reply

    I’ve listened to every single episode of Mormon Stories, some more than once, and this interview was/is my absolute favorite. Thank you.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 12, 2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Michelle – your comment means a lot to me. Over the intervening years since I started speaking out, I haven’t been used to getting a lot of positive feedback, so doing this podcast and seeing the response to it has been wonderful. Thank you for this.

  8. Bill Jones August 12, 2018 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I love the folk singer side of your story! I wasn’t born until 1964 but wore out our Chad Mitchell Trio, Pete Seeger, James Taylor and John Denver records. Even as a youngster I noticed a difference between the messages of their music and what was being taught at church. It bugged me a little. I didn’t leave the church until I was 50. Between leaving and going hard-core atheist, I hung out with the Unitarians for a bit, Their message was right in line with the music that was so important to me. I was thrilled to find out that Pete Seeger was a Unitarian! It made me feel that I was in the right place! Great interview!

    • David Eccles Hardy August 12, 2018 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Bill – I loved your comment! No doubt my wearing out the LP’s of Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and John Denver learning to play their songs influenced me. I guess it is hard to spend so much time thinking about the lyrics and messages conveyed by them and not incorporate them into one’s thinking. I hadn’t thought of that before. It makes me feel better about spending so much time as a teenager learning these songs as opposed to the other things I was “supposed to be doing” (i.e., my homework and reading the Book of Mormon). Thank you!

  9. Frank August 12, 2018 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    Really enjoyed this podcast. Need some help: can someone cite the quote or a paraphrase of the message BKP asked Jensen to pass on to David. I don’t want to go back and find it (lazy).


    • David Eccles Hardy August 13, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply


      Marlon Jensen called me and told me he had been tasked by BKP to respond to my letter. Marlon told me first that he was “putting on my Boyd K. Packer hat” and this wasn’t coming from him (Marlon). He then delivered the following three points: (1) BKP says “I’m right and you’re wrong” – (2) BKP says he’s used to getting attacked, and just like all the others, someday you will come to him asking his forgiveness – (3) BKP considers your letter HIGHLY confidential and you may NOT show it to any other person – and if it should make it’s way onto the Internet you will be excommunicated. After hanging up from that phone call, I hit the “enter” on my computer posting my letter to Affirmation.com.

      Thanks for listening to the podcast!


  10. Tom Hamblin August 13, 2018 at 3:51 am - Reply

    David, your interview with John demonstrates an incredibly insightful journey of love and courage. You did so much on your own. You were one of the few advocates crying alone in the desert, so to speak.

    Thank you for your early advocacy in the Mormon LGBTQ+ arena! Beyond grateful to you.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 13, 2018 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Tom – thank you so much for your comment! It is wonderful to hear that my story and experience resonated with you.


  11. ThomasP August 13, 2018 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Strange how lives can move on parallel tracks. As I shared on Facebook, I served in LeMans on my mission, knew the member you baptized, and had dinner in his house. I also have a History degree from the U of Utah, and then went on to law school. One of my children came out to me when she was in high school, and I have done by best to be a supportive parent for her. By the way – I also have a son named Judd.

    I am inspired by your choice to turn toward activism in the way that you have, by making options available to young people like our respective children that increase the chances they can live happy and fulfilled lives. Strong kudos, sir.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      Thomas – je te remercie tellement! What a small world. To think of you having dinner in the Boltukhine’s house in the old Roman tower in the wall in Ancien Ville really warms my heart. You may remember Géorg’s backstory – he was born while his mother (from western Russia or Ukraine) was interned in a German concentration camp during WWII, where her baby was going to be used for medical experiments until one of the nurses secreted the newborn baby (Géorg) out, and he grew up in southern France. He is still active in the church (as of a couple of years ago), and it was actually hard for me to tell him I had left the church because I knew what his reaction would be.

      Amazing the parallel things in our lives. Thank you for reaching out and for your kind words of support. I hope you and your family are better than well.


  12. Heather August 13, 2018 at 11:24 am - Reply

    You are the kind of person and parent that makes the world a better place for all of us. Thank you for telling your story, I really enjoyed your interview.

  13. Dan Boyle August 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    David, thank you so much for all you have done. I have kept a copy of your BKP letter with me for years. It is a powerful letter. I really admire you and your journey. We have never met but we have a lot in common: UofU, Gepettos (I grew up in Holliday and can not count how many times I have had dinner at Gepettos) , Paris Mission and fighting for a gay child. I wonder if you arranged for the house we used for branch meetings in La Rochelle ? Anyway, thanks again and I hope to meet you in person some day!

    • David Eccles Hardy August 13, 2018 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Dan – it’s amazing for me to think of you keeping a copy of my letter – to understand that it made some positive impact. Gepettos’ pizza was actually pretty damn good! And I liked John Sinclair (the owner) – he gave me my “break” in Salt Lake. That we have so much in common is cool. Yes – La Rochelle was a city I found a house for the church to buy as a meetinghouse – it was probably the same one! I hope you gay child is having a wonderful life, and I’m glad to know that you have had the love and courage to fight for your child. I would love to meet you.


  14. JASH August 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Your story is a touching one – thank you for sharing such a long and personal experience. Your unconditional love of your son was at the core of all of your actions in support of him. Know that your example helps many and gives ex- Mormons encouragement and hope. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of family judgement and shunning can take heart after listening to your journey. Keep up your wonderful work for there are many who need your shining example.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 13, 2018 at 11:09 pm - Reply


      I appreciate you comment so much. Since I’ve returned to Utah I’ve been amazed to meet and come to know so many parents who have made the same decision to love and supporting their LGBT kids. I don’t know about shining example – it’s a pretty human example, but the people I’ve come to respect most as I’ve studied history are those who were less-than-perfect but did the right thing as they saw it and knew it in their hearts. “Profiles In Courage” by John F. Kennedy made an impact on me when I read it in high school.

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me.


  15. Michelle August 13, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    If the LDS Church were filled with people as truthful, heartfelt and morally courageous as David Eccles Hardy, I’d still be in it.

  16. Emeline Goodwin August 14, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

    David, Thank you for sharing your story and helping so many kids that need someone to just try and understand them.. I’m so impressed by you.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 14, 2018 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you Emeline – there are so many now who are standing up for these kids!

  17. beth August 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Hi David, thank you for a beautiful interview with such integrity love honesty, sincerity and kindness all around, you have such a caring heart, thanks jon and both of you for continuing to reach out to us all

  18. Robert J. Morris August 16, 2018 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this great set of resources, especially for posting the video of “To Young Men Only.” I am wondering if you can obtain and post the audio or video recording of Packer’s 1978 BYU speech, “To the One.” I heard it live broadcast on BYU FM when he delivered it, and I remember it somewhat differently from the printed version. I think it’s important because it was his first foray into this subject and set the stage for all his later attacks. It seems they have buried all records of it in a deep cave.


  19. David Eccles Hardy August 17, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Robert – thanks for your comment. I just read over your attachment of “To The One” for the first time in a lot of years. It really brought up a lot for me. Unbelievable. And this is the foundation that still guides and informs the policies of the Church. Nelson and Oakes are the extension of this. Page 5 “When we understand fundamental moral law better than we do, we will be able to correct this condition routinely. ” Page 10 – “…the cause, when found, will turn out to be a typical form of selfishness…” This thinking was – and remains – the foundation of the Church’s current policies and doctrine. The “kinder, gentler” words of the past few years are just window dressing to not appear so completely out of touch with reality. It is also the foundation for countless suicide attempts and suicides among LGBT youth in the Church. Shame on The Brethren. I know personally that Nelson and Oakes are “concerned” that the Church is being labeled as “The Bully” causing Mormon LGBT youth suicides. OK. They are. They need to own it. If they won’t, the thinking, feeling members need to find their voice. Do what is right let the consequence follow.

    Thank you Robert – if I find the video I will post it here.


  20. James Cartwright August 18, 2018 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I listened after Robert (the previous post) sent me the link. I cried as I listened to your account of your support for your son Judd. Your current work is so valuable to help numerous teenagers who lack parental support. Thanks also for mentioning the early pioneers among Mormon parents, particularly Gary and Millie Watts and Family Fellowship.

    • David Eccles Hardy August 20, 2018 at 6:56 am - Reply

      James – thank you for this comment! Gary and Millie Watts helped me immensely in this journey – I love them.


  21. Dana Miller August 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    David: I spent the afternoon getting to know you after years of “knowing you” in an entirely different realm. How I wish I’d known the battle you were fighting! I left the LDS church 20 years ago (next month!) after being “born again”. Since then, two of our daughters have married awesome women. This, of course, has taken us on a whirlwind journey as we try to fully understand, appreciate and love them. I was so touched by your openness and honesty. Thank you for your integrity and strength.

    • David Hardy August 31, 2018 at 6:38 am - Reply

      Dana – your comment means a lot to me. For over 25 years you have been one of my heroes in the ultra world. I remember one sunny August day long ago on the annual Wasatch Striders training run in the Uintas you fell in and ran with me for a while and we talked for the first time – mostly me pumping you with questions about eating & hydrating on the Wasatch. It was just before this all started. Little did I know the journey that was about to unfold. I wish I had known the trajectory of both our lives then so I could have cultivated a broader friendship with you. Thank you for sharing yours now and enabling that deeper kinship. See you in a week at the Wasatch!

  22. cl_rand September 3, 2018 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I know I’m way behind on this episode but I wanted to tell Mr. Hardy thanks for taking proactive measures in attempting to get church authorities to “choose the right”. Many of us share a lot of the same emotional confusion, fears, isolation and outrage over the course of our faith journeys but few of us have the resources, ambition or capability to make the colossus blink. You are among the few David and I thank you for it.

    As I listened I thought there must be a market for a book with a working title of Profiles In Mormon Courage. The success of Mormon Stories podcast is a testament to that market. If a top 10 list were to be compiled of who should be included Leonard J. Arrington, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Michael Quinn, and Carol Lynn Pearson come to my mind most immediately but a very good case could be made for David Eccles Hardy. For the book Profiles In Mormon Shame the list of candidates would be extensive and littered with prominent Mormon “leaders” but Boyd K. Packer could easily top that list. I’m willing to make one prediction about the afterlife. If there is such a thing Mr. Packer will be tasked with looking you up David and asking you to forgive him. Best wishes!

    • David Hrdy September 17, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      CL_RAND – thank you for your kind comment. I agree that Mormon Stories makes a significant difference in a lot of lives. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this and commenting.

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