In this 3-part series, we interview Buckley Jeppson. Buckley, 57, says he’s been informed verbally by a senior church leader that his life is incompatible with the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that a disciplinary council will soon address the matter. Jeppson, of Washington, D.C., married Mike Kessler in Toronto on Aug. 27, 2004. It is believed that if Jeppson is excommunicated, it would be the first time a Mormon in a legal, same-sex marriage was punished by the church. Jeppson claims that over the past five months Nolan Archibald, his Stake President and CEO of Black and Decker, has encouraged him to resign his church membership, which would avoid disciplinary action.

To read the most current news articles about this story, click here.

For those interested (and as referenced in the podcast), an organization entitled “The Safe Space Coalition” has been formed to “ensure safety and respect for gay and lesbian Latter-day Saints,” and is attempting to garner support for Buckley and Mike. To read more about this effort, and what you can do to support Buckley and Mike (if you are inclined to do so), click here.

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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  1. […] It seems we are in the middle of a raging debate in the Bloggernacle. John Dehlin at has an interview with the first married, gay Mormon almost threatened with excommunication. […]

  2. cayblood March 17, 2006 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I was disappointed in your reference to Kinsey, whose studies were full of gross statistical errors and biased sample groups. Please see Jeff Lindsay’s roundup of many of the reported problems in Kinsey’s research:

  3. Watt Mahoun March 18, 2006 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    John, I think what you’re doing here is huge, HUGE!


    I just posted a topic over at Purim which links pack to this post, titled: “The Mouse that Roared: Jeppson v. The Mormon Church“.

  4. Watt Mahoun March 18, 2006 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Hmmm…link didn’t work. How about this:

  5. Christopher King March 20, 2006 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    John, great podcast. Buckley, congratulations on finding happiness with your husband and hat’s off for standing up for your beliefs. I think it’s about time we understand you better, learn to ignore your personal sexual preference, and love you for who you are.

    But let’s see if I get this right: it’s homosexuals’ turn to get equal rights in God’s true Church: Let’s make it as uncomfortable as possible for the Church to stand by their published proclamations against homosexuality, so that the brethren will progressively warm up to the idea of tolerating homosexual families and petition God, who will then say “I was just waiting for you to ask” and reverse His doctrine. Is that the plan? As I recall, Jesus wasn’t too shy about introducing revolutionary doctrines and defending them to the death. Today, he seems much more of a demagogue. Personally, I don’t know which way is up any more.

  6. Watt Mahoun March 20, 2006 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    I just finished listening to the podcast series.

    Thanks you John, and thank you Buckley…this was very enlightening for me in many ways. I’m sorry that you appear to be a test case for the subject of whether the church will recognize legal gay marriage, but I think you are fully qualified.

    I think you are qualified to represent the case that one can be homosexual, be legally married, be spiritual and thoughtful, and have a desire…even a conviction to reamin a true and faithful member of the church.

    There are many, many people that see no conflict with the gospel (despite the conflict with some church members) and will support and sustain you as any brother or sister in the gospel…I am one of them.

    PS. Thank you Hellmut for your efforts and that of The LDS Safe Space Coalition. This is huge.

  7. jordanandmeg March 22, 2006 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I think trying to revolutionize the church is the wrong attitude. I think Mr. Jeppson has every right to seek happiness the way he desires and worship the way he wants, but the church also has its right to maintain doctrines how it sees fit.
    God will judge Mr. Jeppson, and He may judge him differently than His church judges him. God will also judge the church, which is sure to make mistakes.
    But if this is God’s church, it’s not a democracy.

  8. ebb March 22, 2006 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    I have listened with growing interest the stories that have been played out here. I have pondered the struggles and searching attached to each of them. I have read some of the comments, which attach words like “huge” to the story line. I have not been able to put my arms around all of this until I came across a conference talk given many years ago (1977) by Elder Packer entitled “The Mediator”. As I reread the talk I was struck with why I felt unsettled about all of these stories. In the context of Elder Packer’s talk these subjects, as moving and critical as they are, are still the branches of the gospel and unless we unite them with the root we are cut off from understanding and comprehending them. And that root is the truth that Jesus Christ is our Mediator …. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Tim2:5). That single truth settles all. We are in His hands. As life presents each of us with our “special” challenges, we are reminded that these experiences are for our own good and Christ has suffered more. So what does that mean, for me it means I made not understand all the branches of the gospel but I have some understanding of the root. I may not understand why things are done they way that they are, or why things change, or don’t change. But I understand what my role is and what I must do. Joseph said it best in the concluding verse of the 123th section of the DC. “Therefore, dearly beloved …, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” What a great blessing it is for me to know this. What a great blessing it is for me to know that we have Prophets on the earth today to instruct us. Now I must continue in obedience and patience knowing that He is at the head.

  9. Maturin March 27, 2006 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks to you both for this courageous podcast…and I’ve only listened to 2 of them at this point.

    I tell my friends that my faith in the church died “…a death by a thousand cuts…” As I listened to this podcast, one was temporarily re-opened that occurred 20 years ago when my brother; returned missionary and a member with faith and conviction far beyond mine in spite of my priesthood and years of church leadership, made a similar decision as Mr. Jeppson. At the time, while inside I was hurting and confused that God had ignored all of his efforts, prayers, and fasting; outside I was indignant and judgmental, refusing to recognize and accept his own personal joy as he fell in love and decided to commit to a life partner. I dismissed and scoffed at his feelings. I, too, argued with him to seek excommunication (that was the choice in those days) and almost called his bishop myself. Since then, I have repented and my brother has forgiven me, although he never held my actions against me. To this day, I can only hope to aspire to be the man that my little brother is today.

    My congratulations to Buckley and Mike. Looking forward to listening to Part 3. Keep them coming John.

  10. jdub March 28, 2006 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed this podcast very much, I thought it was informative and accomplished the purpose of the podcast (which I believe is to allow the individual to tell their own story). With that said, I did disagree with some of the things that were expressed or implied. I thought John asked, for the most part, the appropriate questions. Yet, I was surprised he didn’t ask some harder questions. For example, what are Buckley’s ideas about the proclamation to the world on the family. Certainly there is no parallel to that document in the history of the Blacks and the priesthood (which is used as a comparison). Further, I thought John’s inferences regarding the Holy Ghost and its role in Buckley’s life were interesting. Certainly being gay wouldn’t require the Holy Ghost to leave, but I think it is problematic to suggest that involvement in sexual activity (among those of the same sex) doesn’t impact the influence of the Holy Ghost. Lastly, I thought Buckley’s comments regarding his surprise at the church’s actions against him and his family was interesting. Certainly anyone growing up in a conservative Mormon home would not be surprised at the church’s actions. Well, I am glad the opportunity is provided to make comments. Also, I have enjoyed very much the Mormon Stories podcasts, so keep them coming!

  11. jordanandmeg March 29, 2006 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    I am truly happy for Mr. Jeppson. Really, life’s tough enough, and any happiness we can find on this confusing planet is a boon.
    I just think there’s more to happiness than “fulfilling personal joy.” Deeper joys, at least according to the gospel, come from sacrifice and losing oneself, not satisfying personal ‘needs.’
    The best analogy I can think of is my marriage. Sure, I was in love with this girl, and I was swept away in the joy of love. I was finally fulfilled (stress on the ‘I’). After THAT faded, I found some deeper joy from working through things and learning charity, sacrifice, and compromise . . . losing myself.
    That’s the principle I see the church holding onto.

  12. […] has an interview with the first married, gay Mormon almost threatened with excommunication. […]

  13. chrisac80 April 2, 2006 at 3:11 am - Reply

    Dear Jordanandmeg,
    > But if this is God’s church, it’s not a democracy.
    It may not be a democracy, but it also not a human despotism.

    If you have listened to the Podcast about Joseph Smith’s plural marriage,
    you know that Joseph married women who were actually married to other living husbands.

    Thus, he broke the law given by God in D&C 132,61:
    “And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.”

    We see that the first Presidency, the heads of the church do not always follow the will of God. Therefore, our aim is to follow God doesn’t imply blind faith in the fallible human beings of the first Presidency.

    Buckley Jeppson has mentioned that he has felt the Spirit, that he has felt the burning in the bosom, that he has a testimony of Jesus Christ.
    Therefore, his guidance by the Spirit is as valid as anyone else’s.

    The Bible condemns homosexual acts in the law of Moses which is not generally followed by Christians anymore (we neighter burn animals to redeem our sins, nor do we throw things away on which a women sat during her period, nor do we hesitate to wear dresses made up of different fibers, nor do we…)

    Jesus does not condemn homosexuality, on the contrary, he talks about people not being suitable for marriage from birth on (Mt 19,12, eunuch : eunae = “marriage bed”, ouch = “not” => not suitable for marriage).

    The second part which mentions homosexuality is Pauls talks in Romans.
    Ok, if you buy the story that homosexuality is due to the confusion of God with his creatures, so all homosexuals have comitted the sin of worshipping creatures, whereas all heterosexuals did not, then I can’t argue with you.
    Else, I would suggest that Paul had some kind of naive knowledge about human psychology, combined with the old testament of “an eye for an eye” attitude that God would liken the punishment to the sin, which is kind of outdated as well.

    It’s actually not so much the bible which condems homosexuality but the conservative interpretation of the scripture which was written in a completely different time, with a different worldview, in other social concepts.

    Neighter does Buckley and Mike’s marriage resemble the rapes performed in Sodom, nor are they child molesters. All they want to do is expand the virtues of a marriage to their case, even if they cannot have children together.

    To sum it up:
    If the Church hieararchy is despotic and does not express the will of God,
    it is legitimate to proclaim God’s will democratically.
    That’s why America is pushing the democratic ideals on other countries and
    even puts its soldiers in danger, because democracy has a far less danger of being corrupted than a (highly paid) hierarchy of despots.

  14. jordanandmeg April 3, 2006 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    I agree with you that the leaders of the church are imperfect.
    And I agree with you that there’s no need for blind faith.
    So would church leaders.

    Here’s a great Brigham Young quote: I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 150).

    The church is ran by men who are doing their best and who will undoubtedly make mistakes.
    If this isn’t God’s church, well then . . . . hell, let’s go get a drink.
    But if it is, then we’ve agreed that while it’s led by men, it is cradled by Him to make sure it doens’t fall apart (by our own undoing). This being the case, it’s not a democracy. It’s a church that one can participate in if one wants to.

    I believe this is God’s church. I would never think it perfect, but I believe things’ll work out in the end. God will fix any mistakes His leaders make.

    As for homosexuality. No clue how this will play out or how God will judge it. I am just going to do my best to hold onto the church and love everybody to death.

  15. GunnerClark April 3, 2006 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    On many other blogs and forums I have seen a lot of outright anger and hatred(I do not use that word lightly) against him. They have the view that he is a “gay” activist who is being brought to the court due to his vile activities.

    The interview was well done and he came across as anything but an activist. He came across as a man who simply wants to be a member and love the special person in hsi life.

    Thanks for this one.

  16. Mike Kessler April 5, 2006 at 8:51 am - Reply
  17. […] On a somewhat-related note, there’s been a bit of press, lately, about a DC-area Mormon man who’s probably going to be excommunicated from the LDS church because of his sexuality, and the fact that he obtained a marriage license in Canada to another man. It’s so hopelessly depressing that the LDS religion tolerates and encourages this kind of bigotry and hatred. I originally read about the whole thing in an Advocate article, then listened to a rather long, but insightful, interview with Mr. Jeppson on a Mormon-themed podcast, and there’s also a campaign underway to try and protest this whole proceeding, so that this man can move on with his life and worship in peace. It’s crazy stuff, and I’ll certainly try to keep an eye on the whole thing, especially as, in the strangest of coincidences, my family actually used to know this man, back when we lived in the DC area, before he had come out about his sexuality. It’s a small world, I guess. This entry was posted on Thursday, April 6th, 2006 at 11:40 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Leave a Reply […]

  18. Buckley Jeppson April 8, 2006 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    It has been humbling to read all the comments generated by the podcast interview with me on Mormon Stories. Mormon Stories’ reach is very wide. Your tireless work is much appreciated.

    I have learned a great deal and have received some amazingly insightful questions and expressions of support from around the world. This entire experience has been a positive one, overall. At least the conversation continues and that’s about as much as we can ask for. Thank you, John, for the invitation and for all the rest you do to strengthen our community.

  19. Benjamin Scott Clark January 28, 2007 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Wow, this dialogue is just awesome!!! I am proud of Buckley and Mike for their marriage and for their willingness to speak out about this. There are several in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been clearly and concisely led by the Holy Spirit to do exactly as Buckley has done. There are others who are on that road. I have a dear friend who is extremely faithful who received the word of the Lord (heard His voice clearly) in the Los Angeles Temple that God would direct him to the man whom he was seeking. Gods will is God’s will and He is just and fair and “far more liberal in His views and boundless in His mercies than we are ready to believe or receive” as Joseph Smith said. God is not a dogmatic being and the grace of His Son (our eldest Brother) is made manifest through the wonderful and spiritual gay men and women in the Church. Our God is an awesome God and He sometimes shocks us (the Church) out of our complacency and gives us the best possible tests to love one another as His Son showed us. His gay children are like angels of that message. The contrast between a dogmatic worldview and reality are ever deepening.

  20. kittywaymo April 19, 2007 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    hello! I was impressed by the expressions of love and kindness in the previous comments etc. My prayers are with Brother Buckley Jeppson and his family.

    There are covenants, commandments, guidelines etc. that we all promised at baptism, in the temple etc. of our own free will and choice. I do believe through all of our lives we need to love one another, regardless of life’s circumstances and situations, and be much more kind as has been demonstrated.

    I agree with the brother who said Jesus the The Mediator. He is also the Healer of the Brokenhearted. I have a knowledge, a real spiritual knowledge, of the legitimate claim that this is the Lord’s Gospel and it is led through the Priesthood, namely Prophets of God. Having converted from an Orthodox Jewish background at the age of 12 and as a former journalist, I love information, research and mostly Church History. Consistently, we are a “line upon line, precept upon precept,” church. However the basic commandments remain intact. My husband,. a descendant of Hyrum Smith, has beautiful journals of the testimonies of the founders and families of this Gospel. I testify that it is real, and “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder”. The Proclamation of the Family is an inspired document, not meant to hurt or shun the homosexual community. God gives us commandments, and they are ofttimes difficult, requiring a sacrifice(s). All of us have and do sacrifice for the Lord. Usually its our uttermost desires, ofttimes, self-centered, yet there is a purification of the soul that seems to take place when one accomplishes such an arduous road as giving up the “sins of the flesh” if you will. I have family and close friends who are homosexual and some have stayed in the Church, some were never members and some have left. It is a trial I would not wish them or myself to endure~that is why we all need to love and support Brother Jeppson and all our homosexual brothers and sisters, even while not agreeing with their interpretation of what’s right/wrong. Although I obviously belief in the “letter of the law” concerning homosexuality as a sin of morality, and that the Prophet did “ask God” and I believe received the Proclamation of the Family as a result/code for us, I do not believe in ostracizing other folks for their choices in life.
    The Lord said “the World will pass away, but my Word will last forever.” I believe we are comparing apples and oranges with the blacks/priestood versus gaylifestyle/membership. Never in the history of the early christian Church nor the Restored Gospel has man being with man been accepted as moral. The whole posterity/plan of salvation would be frustrated if God created man to lie with man (as part of his plan I clarify) I do believe as does my sister a PHd from Columbia University who works with sexual abuse victims in NY, that many of these unfortunate, tender souls, have been victims of environment, sexual abuse etc. and that their attractions are as real as mine are to good-looking male doctors. They cannot be discounted, “therapied” away or stuffed down inside. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the Balm in Gilead. It is the only Way, there is none else. His Gospel Plan is the only Way as well, a narrow way indeed, difficult and full of sacrifice, yet great joy, peace and the Holy Ghost are our rewards, in this life and the next.

    Love and best wishes to everyone,


  21. Crave October 4, 2020 at 11:36 am - Reply

    An absolutely beautiful and thoughtful podcast on such an ever increasingly important and vital topic! “I cant convince anybody that I have a legitimate family, and they can’t convince me that I don’t”. Powerful. I felt his humble sincerity all the way through. I love hearing real stories from real peoples experiences. Lives effected by so many vast issues in the gospel and in life.

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