Evan Smith rose through the ranks of Mormon leadership ultimately becoming a Stake Presidency member. While serving as an LDS Bishop, Evan struggled with the Church’s positions on LGBTQ+ issues and later found out that his son Weston was gay. Even after coming out, Weston decided to serve an LDS Mission as an openly gay man, leading him to high levels of depression and heartbreaking experiences during and after coming back early from his mission.

Evan became an advocate for LGBTQ people in the Church. His position as a Stake Presidency Counselor led him to a few confrontations/discussions with General Authorities and a later meeting at Church Headquarters where they discussed Evan’s progressive beliefs on LGBTQ matters. Join John and Gerardo as they interview Evan and his son Weston about their fascinating Mormon Story.

Evan Smith’s Book: Gay Latter-day Saint Crossroads

Weston Smith’s Book: This Body of Water: Surviving Mormonism as a Queer Man


1666: Becoming a Progressive Mormon Bishop – Evan and Wes Smith Pt 1



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In Part 2 of 3, we start off where we left with Weston’s story growing up as a gay Mormon kid, discovering his sexuality, his suicidal ideation, and his decision to serve a mission as an “out” gay Mormon. Upon experiencing suicidality again on his mission Weston has a “spiritual experience” which leads to his resolve to leave the church and live a happy life. Meanwhile, Evan gets a call to become a 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency.


1667: Coming Out as the Gay Son of a Mormon Bishop, Serving a Mission – Evan and Weston Smith Pt.2



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Trigger Warning: Suicidal Ideation

In Part 2 of 3, we start off where we left with Weston’s story growing up as a gay Mormon kid, discovering his sexuality, suicidal ideation, decides to serve a mission as an “out” gay Mormon but upon suicidality in mission he gets a “spiritual” experience resolving to leave the church and live a happy life. Evan gets a call to become a 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency.




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Content Warning: Suicidal Ideation

In Part 3 of 3, Evan describes getting called as a Stake Counselor, his attempts to be an ally for LGBTQ individuals and his subsequent faith crisis. Evan has a few debates/confrontations with Area Seventy Elder McCune (higher than Stake Presidency in Mormon leadership) over his gay son. Evan emails Apostles and other leaders on how the Church can change to be more loving and accepting of LGBTQ members resulting in a meeting with General Authority Allen D. Haynie. Evan continues faith deconstruction when his wife begins her faith crisis, and they both come to see the issues with sexism in the Church, biblical scholarship opening up new issues ,and the family’s ultimate decision to leave the Church.


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Show Notes:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


  1. Timmy Tim October 8, 2022 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    The audio-only for part 3 doesn’t seem to be working.

    • John Dehlin October 10, 2022 at 5:49 am - Reply

      Timmy Tim – It should be fixed now. Sorry about that!

  2. bmn October 8, 2022 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    I knew your dad, sorry to hear about his passing.
    I served in leadership before getting married in 1997 when he was bishop of our singles ward. He was a nice guy and I got to know him really well. I heard from him back in 2007 after buying a house in one of his development/partnerships with a builder. Glad to hear your out of the manipulation machine they call a church.

  3. VFanRJ October 8, 2022 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed this three part story, especially the last section. I sincerely appreciate their courage the Smiths had to challenge the leadership as well as going public with their story. Thanks so much to JD and the Smiths.

    One point that I believe is worth emphasizing is that the Q15’s policy to allow local leaders handle LGBT members through their own lens is designed to minimize damage to the Church. By allowing the conservative demographic of its membership to marginalize LGBT members while at the same time allow the progressive areas to be more accepting to their LGBT members is all about maximizing membership, activation, and tithe paying.

  4. Bishop Bill October 9, 2022 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Parts 2&3 won’t load or download

    • John Dehlin October 10, 2022 at 5:48 am - Reply

      Bishop Bill – It should be fixed now. Sorry about that!

  5. Jerry L Ford January 6, 2023 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Evan and his family are sadly a fulfillment of ancient and modern prophecies that even the very elect will be deceived

    • Maven January 8, 2023 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      How so? Did you listen to what happened to their family? Would it have been better if his son died? What do you think about the General Authorities who say things will change for LGBTQ members privately to hurting families, but keep the harmful rhetoric for the public?

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