CQwCg4AToday the LDS Church released a clarification to the new policies on same-gender marriage and children.  Michael Otterson (Managing Director of LDS Church Public Relations) also released a memo entitled “Understanding the Handbook.”

To analyze the clarification and memo, have have assembled a panel of brilliant humans: John Hamer, Debra Jensen, James Ord, and Daniel Parkinson.





Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. Stephanie November 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    So should we expect ANOTHER revision on this policy here in a few days?? Without trying to sound harsh or offend anyone’s opinion on the matter, I really don’t think they know what the hell they’re doing…

    • Sarah November 13, 2015 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      or.. maybe, they are super smart. t’s the old bait and switch.. After it all settles down and the TB Mormon is so frikiin” relieved it’s not WORSE, the TBM’s dig in even more. I can just hear it now, “Why are you upset still, they fixed it?” Nope, didn’t fix it enough for me.

    • Adam November 14, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      The Church of Jesus Who?

      • David Gilgen November 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

        The ‘Straight’ Church of JC of LDS.

  2. Nancy November 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you x a million Daniel Parkinson. The leaders of the church do have blood on their hands.

  3. Sarah November 13, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Have many older brothers did B. K. Packer have? I’m just curious, not trying to be snarky.

    • Harold Clayson July 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Boyd Packer was the 10th of 11 children. Don’t know the # of brothers and sisters.

  4. fgh November 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    ok….let me get this straight. JD talks about “oxymorons” here. So we have a minister of another church outraged about internal Mormon policy. Then we have director of OW as a panelist who, in her words, is a faithful, worthy Mormon women (but apparently could not stomach current LDS leadership….ok!). Then there was another guy who really barely spoke. John – I’m a fan and long-time listener but your podcasts are getting so predictable. Just a bunch of folks who agree with you now. I am looking for more…let’s shake it up a little and have some opposing POV’s in the discussion. No arguing, but thoughtful diverse perspectives.

    • Thomas November 14, 2015 at 5:13 am - Reply

      In John’s defense… We know that he keeps in touch with active “members”…So, why can’t apologists or active members discuss anything on John’s podcasts? Because they would face church court and/or losing their temple recommends for associating with known apostates.

    • alice November 14, 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      In fairness, fgh, the church has pretty much insured that no one representing the church will be associating with a terrible “apostate”. So, if you think it should be otherwise you might address your concerns to the church.

  5. Ed November 13, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    It doesn’t matter if any one or 11 of the Apostles disagreed with these changes to the handbook, these documents and proclamations are published in the name of the full twelve and the First Presidency. This is smoke blowing.

  6. Phonin' It In From Kolob November 14, 2015 at 1:23 am - Reply

    When I first heard about the “clarification,” I was happy that God had finally gotten right this week. Or at least right-er. Who knew the Handbook 1 additions would cause such a kerfuffle? Not God, it seems.

    James’ “defense” of the church bothered me. It amounted to, “Don’t get too ruffled, guys. LDS, Inc. isn’t necessarily being malicious, they’re just covering their corporate arse, making sure that their various ventures and entities aren’t unnecessarily exposed to litigation as a result of their ecclesiastical policies and practices.” This is an extension of the old line people have used for millennia when screwing somebody else over, “Hey, it’s not personal, it’s just business. You understand.” The assumption being that whatever is done in honor of the Almighty Dollar is OK and excusable as long as it was done for purely fiscal reasons without particular malice toward anyone. James seemed to be telling us not to worry, if Mormon LGBT families get run over by a bus, the driver may simply have been wearing a different hat that day. When he explained that the policy changes were simply legal maneuvering probably written by lawyers right out of tort law textbooks and thus completely understandable, the air seemed to just go out of the discussion. There was sort of a collective, “Oh.”

    I would suggest that the actions of a corporation run by robots in white shirts and power ties might act in ways that are perfectly legal and totally sound financially and yet still morally unconscionable. In fact, that might be worse than we originally thought.

    • daniel parkinson November 14, 2015 at 7:02 am - Reply

      You didn’t hear it in his tone, but James is very much against the church’s policy. He was just talking as if he was a church lawyer in that situation. If you listen closely, he is actually against the church on this, and he even stated that he is looking for people to press lawsuits against BYU on their discrimination. When the other panelists (myself included) were also coldly discussing his points, our collective ‘oh’ was in that same spirit. None of us are ok with the policy for any reason including blaming it on legal wrangling. However, to all of us, it seemed like some of the ‘same old, same old’.
      In the end, I don’t know if legal issues were a primary motivation, nor if the legal issues James mentioned are their primary concern. I don’t know how the apostles make these decisions. We are all only guessing why these men (who seem like they ought to be nice people) would do something so horrible, damaging and un-Christlike, and so it becomes easy to entertain any theory that might explain it.

      • Thomas November 15, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

        Whatever you were doing during the podcast was very, very distracting, rude and inattentive. It sounded like you were making dinner at the same time and really couldn’t be bothered by the conversation.

        • daniel parkinson November 16, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

          The sound problems in the audio were my fault, and I should know better since I do podcasts too…but I am a restless guy and can only talk while I pace. I did choose the wrong headset as well.

        • daniel parkinson November 16, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

          Yup…I was using the wrong headset, and I pace when I talk (I am a restless person). I should know better, since I have podcasted in the past. Sorry

  7. Mike November 14, 2015 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Is Ordain Women still interested in being a part of the church in light of recent revelations of what the church really is?

  8. Brenda November 14, 2015 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Most members do view Policy and organizational decision make process as a prophetic process in the LDS Church and I believe that this misconception is purposefully taught in the Church. I can count how many times I have sat in Church listening to the lessons about how every choice in picking a person for a calling is divinely influenced by god, and that the Church will never ask anything of you that god is not god will and that god will always provide a way for you to do what the LDS Church ask of you and that you will be eternal blessed for it.
    On another note As an LBGTQ person who was born and raised in the LDS Church and have been inactive for about 5 years. This new policy has motivated me to reflect and restructure how I see the church. The church’s conduct toward LGBTQ community and members is damaging and destructive but I have now reclassified it now as abusive. I grew up with a father who an active priesthood was holding abusive alcoholic. All the bishops of my wards growing up knew he was up to a certain extent. He regularly meet with the bishop once a month and attended the LDS Church 12 step program, and he never had to meet with a disciplinary council, he was allowed to baptized me and my four sisters, and he constantly held callings. Even after the State of Utah removed my youngest sister form the home and filled charges against him for abuse. His behavior towards me, my sister and my mother’s was always mixed. One day he would be telling us that he loved, supported and cared very deeply for us and later that night he would tell us that we were the most awful horrible people in his life. That we ruined his life and that we don’t deserve happiness for what we had done. This is how I feel the church treats LBGTQ people. God love you we are all his children. The worst threats to the church is feminist, intellectuals, and homosexuals. You welcome to come to church, but you must promise to deny yourself one of the most basic of human needs. The reason god created you was to get married in the temple become a wife to a man and give him children and be the mother of his children. If you do not do this you will not spend eternity with you family in the celestial kingdom. We are going to support a non-discrimination bill but we are going to exclude ourselves from having to obey it. We are making a donation to the pride center for homeless teens. We are not going to allow those homeless teens in our church as members , and we are going to excommunicate and label the adults apostates which is the most awful and worst thing in the eyes of the church that you can be and that they can do to you.
    To me as an LBGTQ person and technically a member of the LDS Church my Relationship with the Church and its effect on my life looks and feel a lot like the relationship I had with my father.

  9. W Zukon November 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    A few days ago my advice would have been “Leave! Get out of this church as fast as you can!” Daniel has convinced me otherwise. (As has Eric Reeves.) I will not fault any family that leaves in order to minimize harm to their children, but at the same time I now believe that those who feel strongly about this issue should stay and fight.

    Let’s look a decade or two into the future. TBM’s cannot stop having gay babies. These children will find no love in a church that has been distilled down to a more conservative version of the present day church. Teens will continue to be cast out like the Lost Boys of the FLDS. Those who manage to live the Mormon god’s plan until they can’t anymore will create even more marginalized children of mixed-orientation divorcées. Conditions that create suicidal ideation persist. It seems to me to be cycle from which there is no exit.

    Stay. Fight.

  10. ps November 15, 2015 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I’m a non-Mormon who occasionally follows links to this podcast that get posted to Facebook by my friends. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of stuff here that seemed kinda archaic for the 2010s, but hey, every culture is different. Still, my jaw dropped when James talked about his son’s bishop telling his husband he would not being able to “guarantee his safety” at a church event. Seriously?!?! In 2015, a church leader in the USA is basically implying a lynching should a gay man and his young son show up to an event?

    I’m speechless.

    • Alan jones November 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Dear “ps” the bishop did not say lynching, I believe it was most likely thinking of the terrible way that children verbally harass one another. A Bishop can be in all places at all times, so he can not stop all cruel comments that might be made. Of course a bishop would stop any lynching of anyone for any reasons.
      I don’t know what I heard from the church but lets not get so carried away that we stretch the truth. The truth is bad enough.

  11. Trent November 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    The background noise in this podcast was REALLY distracting. Please tell your future panel members to push the mute button if they are going to be filling up water bottles or stuff like that. In addition, they should use some sort of headset rather then a speaker phone, which I am assuming they were using, because the audio kept going loud then quiet then loud.

    I kept missing important points and really am struggling to listen to this.

  12. Mary Child November 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Great discussion, thank you.

    What was the “more than 30 deaths this year” reference? Have there been 30+ suicides related to LGBTQ issues in the LDS community this year? Can anyone provide sources or more information on this please?

    • daniel parkinson November 18, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

      That number is estimated based on my conversations with the local experts, who deal with this constantly in Utah. We have not been allowed to gather hard data, so exact numbers are impossible to come up with. I just wanted to point out that if we add up all the deaths from suicide of LGBT Mormons that could be prevented, it would be way more than 30. If we include a few years, and the entire church (instead of just Utah) then the numbers are easily more than the 129 who died in Paris with that incident. I make that point to give perspective on the tragedy going on around us that we ignore.

  13. anonymous November 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    l’m glad that we are trying to bring up difficult issues in the church, we need to face and discuss more church history issues and understand the ideas and reasoning behind them, polygamy and other hard issues so we can all perhaps begin to understand why these things happened and how the revelations came about and discuss more, jon, you are doing a really great job helping all kinds of people everywhere, god bless you in all your endevours,

  14. Steve November 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    ‘qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde est en droit de vous rendre injuste’ – Voltaire

    • Ephima Morphew November 16, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Absolute truth –– Yes, those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.
      The plan of salvation is all part of the Mormon Moment which carries on and on to be sorted out in the end.
      Had Joseph Smith read a little about The Enlightenment Voltaire would have popped up as a salient thinker.

      • Phonin' It In From Kolob November 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

        “. . . those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.”

        Boy, ain’t that the truth. (Oh, yeah, I guess you said it was . . .)

  15. Cassandra Branch November 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Many interesting comments. However, “just leave the Church” may seem reasonable to commentators who aren’t active members, but many people — including youth — truly believe that the Gospel is The path to Eternal Life. I believe there are large numbers of faithful Gays & Lesbians who have been excluded themselves, but would like the blessings of the Church for their children. In other words, the new policy inflicts pain on larger numbers than suggested here.

    Another thought: Labeling gays & lesbians “apostates” moves them to Question 7 for Temple Recommends. If a faithful straight member has any contact with gays, lesbians, LGBT advocacy groups, or sympathy for LGBT people will now have to answer “Yes” — leading to possible exclusion from the temple.

  16. Jonathan M November 16, 2015 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Surely it’s time for the liberal Christians among the LDS Community, whether resigned or not, to look at what the CofC has to offer. At least those who still value their Restoration heritage. Not sure why John’s interview with Steven Veazey has not yet made it to Podcast status: I would have thought it would be very relevant to the issue at hand .A caveat: unfortunately I’m not a Christian, so I personally will not be joining.

  17. Kelly November 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Great discussion! I really enjoyed all the panelists. Daniel’s comment about the community not being enraged until the policy affected straight children was very poignant. All of this “we love you and your children, BUT…” Is like Margaret Toscono’s perfect metaphor or being “raped by the Care Bears”. I’m so glad I left the church and do nOt have to do any mental gymnastics anymore to make it work. Good riddance! You should do a mormon story on Daniel Parkinson. We stood with each other at the ordain women movement, and i thought he was such an amazing man. I would love to hear his life story as well as the other panelists you have not yet interviewed. A really bright group.

  18. Coriantumr November 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Finally!! I sustain James for the next vacancy of the Twelve!!!. Besides being upset, stomach aching and “well I’n not in anymore..I don’t care but for certain people I do care” the only guy makin’ sense was James. He clearly explained that there is risk in being all accepting as well as being all rejecting. He himself said if you’re out of the Church in HIS situation………you’re better off and so is your family. He said clearly that THERE IS NO CHANGE but only a risk assessment exercise and policy implementation [ultimately bungled by the Snowdens of this world]………. There is really no surprises here…….. James, like any lawyer is quite careful in what he states and covers his 6. I will recommend that folks go listen to James in Gina Colvert’s podcast. For some time I was wondering about the upheaval and rather acrid back and forth on LGBT issues. John stated in that podcast that the population in Utah has certain significant margin over other rest of US population in LGBT teens. He did state that in light of that situation the Church was doing due diligence. He compared that due diligence in the same light of the steps taken to defuse the Polygamy issue as far as Church liability. That makes more sense to me that all the “I don’t feel quite good with this”. According to Gina, John has co-authored the largest appraisal in LGBT mental issues in Utah. Does that statistic sound kosher John?……….never heard you mention that, so far.

    • Coriantumr November 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Clarification: James stated that Utah has a significant deviation in teen LGBT issues. John Delin has co-authored the largest study in LGBT mental health issues in Utah. The question is: Is James statement accurate in John’s experience John?

  19. Don Carlos November 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    What happened at BYU in ’78?

    • daniel parkinson November 18, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply

      I am not sure what you are refering to exactly, but 1978 was the year the church changed its policy on Priesthood ban for blacks. At the time at BYU they were doing electro-aversion therapy to try to cure homosexuality which was very damaging to the participants.

  20. Doubt no more November 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Loved what Daniel said in the middle of episode 586, hence I would like to share a part of an e-mail I got from a TBM in-law when the news broke, a week ago:
    “Homosexuality is not an OK way to live. And it has consequences. Little ones like having your kids jump through hoops to make sure the ‘lifestyle’ didn’t screw them up permanently. Bigger consequences like an epidemic to call your own or a hailstorm of fire and brimstone just over your little city. (No doubt the media thought these were harsh punishments.) But God calls people home all the time for all sorts of reasons. (And apparently it is really hard to leave behind a life of being gay, because He cuts short the life of many a gay – not that he hates them !! No! He always loves them, but he sees that they are wasting this life-test and are just bringing more condemnation on themselves. The kinder thing is to bring them home.)”

    Part of my response was then:
    “I was born with a heterosexual biochemical setup; I did not choose to be born that way. My sexuality is not my “lifestyle”; my preference for brunettes is not my “lifestyle”. Regardless of our sexual orientations, humans are social creatures who need to live in loving relationships to feel complete. If homosexuality was the norm I would break the norm to be with a woman rather than to suffer in solitude. People get “screwed up” in all kinds of family constellations, but they are more likely to need psychotherapy if we use bigotry and condemnation – to mold them into our image – then if we love them for who they are. By doing so, we can even prevent drug-abuse and suicide.”

    • DJ December 2, 2015 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Wow, so sorry you have to deal with that kind of attitude from family. It has been said that perhaps a believer never does more disservice to religion than to support the truth with bad arguments. The listener spots the obvious errors, becomes impatient, often “throws out the baby with the bath,” and turns away, even from true religion.

  21. Ladeda November 17, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I am interested in James’ suggestion that the motivation behind all this is for legal reasons was to keep the Church from being sued by homosexual parents for creating conflict between them and their children. If this was their reason, haven’t they just eliminated any benefits they get from this policy by their new “clarification”? If the policy, as newly clarified, was what was intended all along, what legal benefits did this policy ever provide for them? It seems they are no “better-off” now than they were before the whole change.

  22. Bruce November 17, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

    What took so long to resign? The church’s stance really hasn’t changed as a whole, just altered slightly.

    • Aleana November 20, 2015 at 1:23 am - Reply

      Addressing “what took so long…..” This year I ended a 13 year marriage due to spousal abuse on her part towards the children and I. When it is done very slowly you never really noticed it until someone who was an outsider said LEAVE. When I was gone and took time away from her I saw what so many were scared to tell me. I was horrified that I would stand for that for so long. What is sad is the our bishop did nothing as well and he saw it as well.

  23. Tim November 17, 2015 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Thank the participants of the podcast. I as a heterosexual active LDS temple married member have major concerns with the new church policy, its revision, and the two public affairs explanations. The policies seem inconsistent with standard church doctrine and precedents. Requiring a religious test involving a person’s support for the concept of same sex marriage and a test of a person’s willingness to affirm their disavowal of the relationship commitment their parent has chosen and a test involving where a person is residing for 18 year olds wishing to be baptized because of the actions of their parents and not requiring any of these three tests for other perspective members wishing to joint the Church is illogical, unfair, and inconsistent. In addition, each of these tests not only have nothing to do with the intentions of the perspective member to abide by the teachings or commandments affirmed by the Church which may be a valid basis for the assessment for baptism. The tests seem to violate the principle of agency and personal responsibility rather than being held accountable for the actions of another. The tests/conditions seem to divide families and promote conflict rather than prevent. The ban and subsequent tests are unnecessary as the Church already has a provision requiring parental consent for baptism. The language used by public affairs was blaming and did not acknowledge the problems with the policy or how it was disseminated. The point made that promiscuous same sex encounters do not require mandatory disciplinary action or qualify as apostasy but same sex marriage does. One could argue that participation in a same sex marriage states ones intention to continue same sex sexual “transgressions” so therefore shows intent but it still seems odd that commitment to a monogamous committed legal marriage draws the label of apostasy whereas promiscuous behavior and other serious crimes do not. I was very moved by the last speaker’s encouragement of active members considering withdrawing from the Church on a matter of principle, to consider staying involved to retain a needed tolerant voice advocating for LGBT teens. I respected his statement of support for those who resign and those who stay. It seemed balanced, understanding, respectful, and compassionate. It may make a difference in my response to these events. I was very grateful to hear the perspective that legal issues may have been a component of the creation of the new policies. That potential perspective is the first explanation that I could understand that might have prompted such policy.

    I must add that it is easy for us when outraged by what we see as injustice and harm to lose our balance, understanding, respect and compassion. We are convinced by our moral stance that others with differencing perspectives or beliefs or evaluations are wrong, evil, unenlightened, or immoral. When atheists or individuals who reject organized religion criticize those who profess religious faith focusing on one particular form of belief, the basis of their objections often are leveled at all forms of belief but not stated in that way. Lets be careful to apply our conclusions to how we choose to live and believe or not believe rather than tear at another’s beliefs or integrity. I was concerned that a church leader of another faith seemed to find amusement in condemning an LDS church leader. It is fine to state our opinion that a particular policy may cause division and grief in the lives of those effected, yet we should watch when our opinions become expressed in ways that hurt, belittle, and offend. John, I agree with some of the perspectives presented above that diversity of opinion and perspective is helpful. The voices of active committed members of the LDS Church are needed here, else this site does not “Celebrate” Mormon experiences it merely finds fault with it and becomes less valuable and respectful of individuals and their experiences.

  24. Tumba November 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I work in public education.. I am the Dean of Students at a very large high school. The school has over 2000 students. The institution of public education, the demanding expectations that it brings and the requirement it demands that is students fall in line with the status quo causes many suicides every year. How many of you have blood on your hands because you support and pay taxes to an educational system does that does not fit the needs of every student and ultimately causes the death by suicide of thousands of kids a year?

  25. Wondering Wanderer November 23, 2015 at 1:47 am - Reply

    The church’s current message to LDS homosexuals seems to be, “If you can’t be celibate, please go away, and if you have children, take them with you until they turn 18, so they will not be confused by hearing one thing at home and another at church. Beware that if they attend, they will feel isolated and stigmatized when they are not eligible for baptism at 8 like everyone else is, and the boys cannot advance through the priesthood from age 12 to 18 as other boys do. Keep in mind that if they want to return and be a member of the church at age 18, they will have to move out from under your roof and denounce what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom.”

    I find it extremely troubling that the general church membership would not have known about this new policy if it had not been leaked to the media. If you are signed on with the church, I think it should be your right to know the fine print in the contract.

    There are many gay men in the church who spent most of their lives trying to do what they were taught was right, trying very hard to not be gay, including going through psychologically harmful sexual reorientation programs that were recommended by the church. Often these men did everything asked and expected of them, hoping that in doing so, God would reward them by transforming them into what their families and the church wanted them to be. Many served missions, married faithful LDS girls in the temple, and accepted callings. Most of them eventually came to a state of despair, some suicidal, from the strain of years and years of trying to be what they weren’t. By the time they finally gave up the charade, they often already had children, so their coming out was not only a marital crisis, and a faith crisis, but also a family crisis. I find it extremely troubling that the church is now rubbing salt into the wounds of these families who have already suffered much because of the mess that the church itself through its teachings and culture was instrumental in creating.

    In his media interview, Apostle Todd Christofferson made the statement that no mind control is involved here. That seemed to come from out of the blue. Whatever the reason he said that, I have to differ. As in most religions, the imposition of a lot of fear, guilt, and family and peer pressure goes a long way toward gaining an individual’s compliance. The decision to stay in the church or to go is heart wrenching for an active, believing homosexual member. He needs to be free from the church in order to find a support group where he can truly feel equal, accepted, whole, good about himself, and can be who he really is. Yet in doing so, he has too much to lose. The church has dominated his life and become a huge part of his identity. It has been completely entwined in his family life, served as his spiritual pinnings, social network, and community of support. Yet remaining as an adult requires him to live an unmarried, celibate existence which is the exact opposite of what he has been taught all his life about marriage and family as the central goal and purpose of Mormon life and afterlife.

    I understand that the church leaders must cling to the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality as a serious sin akin to rape and murder, because the church teaches the scriptures as the literal and unchanging word of God. I understand the obligation leaders must feel to protect and defend the faith, to keep its teachings intact as much as possible, to not change anything too much or too often for fear of losing credibility with the faithful and undermining their own authority. My wish is that they would keep in mind that the Bible was written 1,816 or more years ago when people thought the Earth was flat and men generally explained the world and human existence by way of superstition, myths, tall tales, allegories. Clinging today to ancient judgments on homosexuality only serves to promote, perpetuate, and justify the shunning, condemning, and loathing of homosexuals by religious conservatives and society. I had hoped that a latter-day church with modern prophets could be bold and brave enough to bring religion into the 21st century, to find a way to be supportive and inclusive of all children, all kinds of families, and the many faces of love. I would think that a church that bears Christ’s name and speaks for him would put foremost above all scripture, prophets, revelations, policies, traditions, and attitudes the unconditional love of Christ and the Golden Rule.

  26. Tristan December 3, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    After hearing about this policy change, I decided to pull my head out of the sand and start researching and learning. What I have learned is that my father raised me in a Church that ultimately will never accept me, just tolerate me. I returned to Church after being inactive and openly gay 5 years ago. From that point till last year, I progressed spiritually and loved being a part of the Church. I was even given the calling of Elders Quorum Teacher. Thats the first calling I had had since 1997, when I was a missionary. I loved my ward and the support of my bishop. I was celibate and trying my hardest to be the good member Heavenly Father wanted me to be. Then, my bishop was released and my own personal hell began with the new Bishop.

    I stopped going and didnt meet with the bishop for 3 months. I absolutely dreaded meeting him, even though I knew and respected him as one of our former sunday school teachers. There was a 50/50 chance he was either going to help me like the last bishop, or push me out like other bishops had done. It was to be the latter. While trying to tell him about my struggles with homosexuality and trying to do what was right, he would roll his eyes and then shift the conversation to some 7 point exercise about faith. He wasn’t listening to me. He didn’t care. The whole thing just disgusted him and he wanted me out of his office as quickly as possible. I tried this a couple more times before I stopped altogether.

    When I lost my home, the bishop said he would pray for me, as he left me in my car to sleep for the night. After a couple weeks I found a place and moved to the southern part of the valley. Then i started getting incessant text messages from the Elder’s Quorum for my new address, they wanted my records moved immediately. Still not sure why. I got 7 text messages in one week.

    My dilemma is this: If the Church is true, what is in store for me? If this has been one big lie, where do I go now? I’ve been a member since I was 16, I’m now 40. I don’t know anything else. It is important for me to have and continue my relationship with Heavenly Father. To simply stop praying and pretend he is not there was repercussions that I am unwilling to explore.

    As I told one of my sisters, your acceptance and spiritual welfare is determined by the bishop that is over you. I had a great bishop for 5 years. Within one year, I lost everything, including my testimony and my 100% certainty in what I believed in.

    • Adam December 7, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Hi Tristan,

      You’re story really touched me. I think we are about the same age. I hope you’re in better circumstances since losing your house. I left the church about 8 years ago. My life is SOOOO much happier since leaving. I know the church trains us to hinge our sense of value on the acceptance of the ward and leadership. For me once I realized how much power I gave over to other people and came to understand that I don’t owe my life– or any debt– to this community of people (Though well intending they may be) i found it easier to let go. I found a deep peace in deciding my own value. I identify a great deal with your feelings about Heavenly Father. My concept of Heavenly rathe and Christ was of a deeply sacred, best friend that was always there for me. The more I came to understand the nature of compassion and wisdom, I knew that if there is a benevolent god He or She would have infinitely more wisdom and love than I could imagine. The character of the god the church portrays is tribal, jealous, and lacking in foresight. Were the church led by a god of such profound love and wisdom, it would be leading the world in an explosion of love and kindness. As you go through this phase, pray to the God you feel in your heart– The one you know that loves and accepts you and is in your corner. Don’t let ANYONE tell you God has conditions on His love for you. The world needs you. The fact that you are gay and raised LDS means you have a vital and unique perspective of the world that will help the rest of us understand the nature of the dramatic change our culture is going through. We need brave people like you that can articulate your heart, your bravery, and insight. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I hope you find peace soon. I really do wish you well, brother.

  27. Tim December 9, 2015 at 7:12 am - Reply

    I am touched by the stories and concerns brought forth here. An update for me as an active, heterosexual, cis-gendered, married member of the LDS Church, this last Sunday in the first fast and testimony meeting since the policy change, I felt compelled by my conscience to stand and share a prepared statement of belief, hope and concern with my ward family. I recounted my history with the church and feelings of faith and inspirations in many of teachings of the restoration, then I shared my concerns with and dissent from the recent policy changes that I felt were unfair and hurtful to LGBTQ individuals and couples and to children with a parent who is LGBTQ. I stated that in my opinion these policies were inconsistent with the second article of faith and other canonized teachings of the Church and Jesus Christ. I stated that my conscience required me to speak out at this time and that I wanted my future posterity to know that I did have the courage to speak for the fair treatment of LGBTQ individuals and children by the Church. I expressed my hope in the promised further revelation on the subject of the laws governing the eternal nature of relationships given in D&C 132:66. I gave a written copy of my statement to the second counselor in the stake presidency who was on the stand and concluded by stating that if the Church could tolerate a person such as myself to speak according to his conscience then I would remain involved at present and hope to be a support to members of the Church who are LGBTQ. My baptismal covenants ask me to morn with those who morn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort and to promote Christ like behavior, Perhaps that can be my focus.

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