As part of our series on meetings with Mormon General Authorities, we interview Meg and Jake Abhau as they relay the story of their September 2013 meeting with Mormon Apostle Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

Meg and Jake appeared on episodes 508-510 of Mormon Stories discussing their experiences in early 2013 when their 13 year old son, Jon, came out to them as gay while they were living as committed, orthodox Mormons. During this period Meg and Jake met Tom Christofferson, brother of Mormon Apostle D. Todd Christofferson. At the time Meg and Jake met Tom he was an excommunicated gay Mormon man living in a committed relationship. After hearing the Abhau’s story, Tom graciously offered to arrange a meeting between them and his brother, Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

In this episode Meg and Jake recount in detail their 1+ hour with apostle D. Todd Christofferson, which included:

  • Elder D. Todd Christofferson acknowledging that the LDS Church may not be a safe place for our LGBT youth,
  • Elder Christofferson acknowledging to Meg and Jake that personal revelation trumps revelation from Mormon leadership (but that he would never be able to admit this publicly to church members), and
  • Meg informing Elder Christofferson that he and other LDS leadership had/have “blood on their hands” for the way that they have mishandled LGBT issues, contributing to a modern wave of LGBT youth suicides.

Meg and Jake also express their disappointment with Elder Christofferson’s role in speaking as the representative for the LDS church during the November 2015 policy decision denouncing same-sex couples as apostates, and disallowing their children from being baptised into the Mormon church. They also discuss their respective decisions to leave the Mormon church after decades of orthodox membership.


  1. Kimberly P April 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Have known, loved and admired Jake and Meg for many years. Thanks to you both for your courage and example!

  2. Lloyd April 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Thank for sharing this (and your courage in doing so). This flat blew my mind.

  3. Paul Douglas April 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I would like to thank Meg and Jake for their honesty. I think it says a great deal about them, that their son felt he could come out to them. How many Mormon boys and girls could feel safe in so doing?

    I feel that it will not be the suffering of gay youth that will cause the Church to change direction on this important issue. Rather, it will be the application of American political pressure, a threat to the Church’s tax status and crushingly negative PR, as was the case with Blacks in the priesthood and the abandonment of polygamy.

    After all, the only revelations we have received in the last 127 years have come about as a result of American political agitation.

    It may take a decade, it may take more, but in the words of Leonard Cohen, “Democracy is coming to the USA.”

  4. Duck April 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    When Meg was taking about how it didn’t feel she was really being listened to by E. Chirstofferson, it reminded me of something from years ago. I was just married. (which, btw, lasted about 2 seconds, I’m a gay woman.) The bishop called one night, I answered the phone. He identified himself and asked to speak to my husband. During their conversation, my husband held the phone, then said, “The bishop wants us to speak in church Sunday.” I was livid, livid that the bishop had to ask my husband, NOT me if we would talk. I told my husband, “You’ll have to tell the bishop if he wants me to speak on Church, he’s going to have to ask me himself.” My husband repeated that word for word, then had me the phone telling me the bishop wanted to talk to me. He asked, I told him I would be glad to speak. Sheesh.

    Jake and Meg, loved, loved, loved your podcast. You are amazing people. The LGBT community is so lucky to have you both for allies. Thank you for ALL that you do for us.

  5. T Austin April 25, 2017 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Wonderful couple. I wish them and their son the very best. Absolute get why they choose to be outside of the LDS faith. I’d do the same.

    Utterly depressed about the reaction by DTC. I think unless an external pressure forces the issue with the church, the status quo will remain. Sadly.

  6. Duck April 25, 2017 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    P.S. I listened intently to every weird of this podcast… But, did I miss something? Why, after these several years since the Abhaus spoke with E. Christofferson are they giving this interview now? I look forward to someone answering this, please… Thank you.

    • MDaaams April 27, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

      This is their second interview with John. See notes above to be directed to their first interview

    • Paulette E Paquette April 27, 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

      The initial interview with the Abhaus’s (as I understand it) dealt with gay people in the church in a laic sense. This interview is part of the “talking to a General Authority” series.

    • Jake Abhau June 16, 2017 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Hey Duck. Thanks for chiming in. To answer your question, the main reason we hadn’t spoken about this in public is out of respect to his brother, and our good friend, Tom.

      We left a lot out of this interview as it pertained to private personal family interactions. But when we heard that John was doing a podcast about interviews with GAs, we felt that the D Todd conversation needed to be shared. Specifically his words on personal revelation. Those words would save lives and relationships if shared publicly. It became apparent this would not change so we felt it appropriate that we speak out.

      We’ve been telling this in private circles for years. So it was nice to share it one final time.
      Hope that makes sense.

  7. Cody April 27, 2017 at 8:38 am - Reply

    I would like to know more about the homeless kids in Cache Valley that Meg mentioned.

  8. Nancy April 27, 2017 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Meg I just wanted you to know that Mama Dragons came into my life just in the nick of time. Thanks for the talons.

  9. Jason April 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    It seems that the many members would feel the same if their child were gay, but won’t even go there mentally because they don’t have a gay child. How do we get people to see things from this perspective?

  10. RW April 28, 2017 at 9:12 am - Reply

    A dragon is a creature weighted with archetypal significance. In the struggle between chaos and order, the dragon represents chaos. Dragons emerge to tear down city walls. Archetypal heroes are often those who leave the safety of the city walls to confront and fight the dragon.

    A mother dragon is especially threatening to the occupants of the walled city. Such a creature brings into existence any number of destructive threats to the culture. Her children will kill you and eat your children. The emergence of such a creature is rationally met by retreat to the safety to be found within the city walls.

    The tyrannical king is an opposite archetype, representing the imbalance of having too much order in the world. Too many boundaries. Too many walls. The evil tyrant oppresses and enslaves his people. Sometimes the archetypal hero is he who emerges from chaos to oppose the tyrannical king and free the people.

    If the church is the tyrannical king, and you are the hero opposing him, it is worth remembering that the hero in these stories is usually not the one breathing fire. When those inside the walled city learn a mother dragon is near, they tend to reinforce the walls. Not depose the king.

    • Jay April 28, 2017 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      ” it is worth remembering that the hero in these stories is usually not the one breathing fire”


      But the hero might feel like they are breathing fire ——-

  11. Clay Dixon April 29, 2017 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I wish that you could have asked him, “How can my son enjoy the same open Gay life in the Church as your Brother?”

    • Jake Abhau June 16, 2017 at 7:44 am - Reply

      He didn’t. He was excommunicated.

  12. Joy April 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Wow! Meg, I applaud your passion and courage! Way to go asking for action! And stating the leader’s’responsibility and accountability . Your fierce desire to help and protect is so inspiring! Kudos to both you and your husband.

  13. Emma May 2, 2017 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    First of all I don’t believe in the church anymore and I think the doctrine is despicable…..

    I am so tired of the leaders not being honest about where the church stands
    If the church is going to excommunicate people for being gay and living with a partner that means gays are considered worse than nonmembers!!! basically they’ll be in hell–isn’t that what excommunication means cut off from God???

    For a general authority to give you the impression that gay people might be in the celestial kingdom is not honest on his part
    And of course he’s going to say the church is not a good place for gay people ……..because the leaders don’t want gay people in the church!!!
    he is probably justifying it in his mind thinking that they are a bad influence and not worthy of church anyway–but of course he wouldn’t say that

    He is trying to be politically correct —and aware there’s a possibility that his interview could become public

    It really bothered me when he said that people should listen to personal revelation over doctrine or leaders –because that is not what the church teaches. He is giving you a bunch of BS to placate you and seem like a good guy

    He is not accepting any responsibility for the pain and rejection that the church causes gay people every day I loved how you said he had their blood on his hands !!! so true–and if anyone is accountable to God for evil behavior— it will be him and the other leaders making this policy into doctrine

    Isn’t he Todd–the very man who spoke up for the church defending this policy and explaining it when it came out

    This is not loving like Christ –these leaders are not like Christ at all

    Telling us to put personal revelation before doctrine and leaders guidelines —-is not what we are taught–basically if we have personal revelation that contradicts the leaders then we are being lead by an evil spirit

    Joseph Smith even got to a point where he didn’t like other leaders coming up with revelation–that might contradict his
    He basically put a stop to that

    If people were given the right to personal revelation –(even if it is for them and not the church as a whole). then they would be able to speak their mind and be respected for it —which of course they can’t and they are excommunicated if they do

    This general authority did not want to give you the bare bones bottom line that the church takes on gays–basically they are in very serious sin and will probably be in hell

    I’m 67 and I’ve been through BYU and many years of church doctrine
    He’s not being totally honest–because the true interpretation of our doctrine is so severe that there would probably be a major uprising in the church–if not the general society here in our country

    My real question is this? How can he personally live with this internal discord of loving his brother and yet supporting such cruel and rejecting doctrine and actions by the church
    He must have such internal strife because he refuses to love as Christ does . I feel sorry for him ignoring his deeper feelings of what’ is loving and good to do

    Please do a podcast on Tom –his brothers life and experiences

    Thank you for having the courage to think for yourself and to truly love your son as Christ would

  14. Me May 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    You make such good points about the internal conflict DTC must have. I have this same exact conflict. I want out of the church, but fear the consequences on my spouse and family. I want out so bad. I’m tired of thinking the entire LDS faith is a sham yet don’t know how to escape without an explosion in my family. I cling to believing that there are wonderful good and wholesome people who belong to this faith. I cling to all religions are wrong so why not let this one slide.

    Everything we have learned about Christ like love is in complete contradiction to how the church treats LGBT individuals. It’s abhorrent to prevent children to be baptized who happen to be raised in a LGBT home. It’s draconian to ask a person to disavow their parents in order to join the church. The policy is repugnant. This level of blantant unprovoked discrimination is completely contradictory to every good thing we aspire to be as a people.

    I want to disassociate myself from such bigotry yet I fear the retribution. I fear the unknown. I rationalize that it can’t be all bad. I’m so disappointed with myself.

  15. robert.bridgstock May 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Is it not strange, that in the self-same church, there are those (like Meg and Jake) who choose love over prejudice and others who sustain forms of ant-love. Lovely couple. Thank you.

  16. Old Dog May 5, 2017 at 2:54 am - Reply

    The church is losing so many fine, open, honest, intelligent, loving people like Jake and Meg. Obviously, it must be doing something wrong!
    Meg, you go girl! I love your Mama Dragon-ism! If only the church leadership exercised your kind of passionate caring and common sense.

  17. Randy May 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I’m not a defender of the church nor active anymore so please don’t think I’m taking the church’s side. I’m just expressing my own feelings about this. I cringe when I see two men kissing. It’s not a choice, I was born that way. I can’t change that any more than a gay person can change their attraction to same sex people. I accept that people with those attractions are born that way but do you (as a supporter of same sex attracted people) accept that many people are born with an aversion to that kind of behavior? What am I supposed to do with my aversion? Just shut up and try to be supportive? It seems hypocritical of same sex supporters to expect people like me who have an aversion to that behavior to expect me to do what you are unwilling to do… be silent, show support and give you a hug. You would no sooner give me a hug of support in my aversion to you than I would give you a hug in support of your child dancing with a same sex kid at the church dance. I’m open to suggestions and am willing to try to change my perspective but I can’t deny the way it makes me feel.

    • Jake Abhau June 16, 2017 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Thank you for being so honest, Randy. This is a topic that is not publicly discussed among those who support the LGBT community because it can neutralize an allied support.

      But I realize that it’s a real issue that needs to be addressed.

      This isn’t the forum to address your aversion but I do have many thoughts. Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook if you like.

      Thank you for sharing.

  18. Charmaine June 9, 2017 at 7:32 am - Reply

    “Personal inspiration trumps doctrine” would not only save lives, but also marriages, prevent and heal abuse, violence,

  19. Ron June 16, 2017 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Like Amy and Jake Malouf’s podcasts (#s 657, 664), I loooove how refreshingly honest, articulate, and heartfelt you are. How anyone can listen to podcasts like yours, and not know what deep down good and yes, true, people you are, is beyond me. How sound, insightful, and even inspired you both are, not to mention your son as well. So thank you so so much for your sharing, especially the most difficult yet revealing points (speaking of personal revelation) and experiences with us. Thank you deeply, Mr. Dehlin, for this your work. Though I am not a man of means, your interviews move me to want to donate, even though it may be meager.

    Meg and Jake, in regards to the Church needing to be more honest–if only they’d teach the same things they say in private, also to (benefit) the membership at large, you asked towards the end of your podcast, “Why wouldn’t we [the Church] want to… a life,…..why wouldn’t we do this?! It’s crazy!” John (who expressed “… comes across more as a bureaucrat or a politician than it does disciple of Christ”), and you both, answered this eloquently throughout the interview.

    The thought that came to me was– it’s because the Church thinks more about saving its own image than the (spiritual and physical) lives of its members! (How sad is that?)

    Why? For control. And whose plan were we taught by this very Church was one of such (deception)–as TV’s “Saturday Night Live” “Church Lady” character used to say, “Could it be…Satan?!!” We’d all laugh, but hey… Now the members are good-willed and downright devoted, but it’s the ones on the top (perhaps some, maybe not all), who know better, but won’t tell us, who make it a cult.

    Which is why I am getting braver these days in telling a few of my devoted Mormon friends (only those who bring up the discussion though, as I do not want to cause conflict unnecessarily, though maybe I should)…that this is not God’s true Church; it is a man-made Church, like any other. The only thing maybe making it worse is that it pro-claims to be the one and only true Church upon the face of the Earth. And that can screw us up, especially when our spirits (yeah, even the Spirit with the capital “S”) is guiding us otherwise, to epiphanies different than the Church’s, to our own revelations and realizations that ring more true.

    I love a quote I read last night on Reddit/exmormon: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” Another John wrote that, Steinbeck. As “BaronVonCrunch” posted, “You are free now.”

    Anyway, your session not only fired you up, but lit my passion as well. So thank you with all my heart. And best to you and your son…
    and life.

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