In April of 2019 Brigham Young University valedictorian Matt Easton came out as a faithful gay Mormon during his valedictorian address, which was pre-approved by the LDS Church. Matt’s speech received very positive national media attention, including an appearance on the Ellen Show. Matt is currently attending U.C. Berkeley as a Political Science Ph.D. student.

Last week, Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland publicly “called out” Matt Easton, accusing him of “commandeering” the 2019 graduation ceremony. His exact words were:

“If a student commandeers a graduation podium intended to represent everyone getting diplomas in order to announce his personal sexual orientation, what might another speaker feel free to announce the next year until eventually anything goes? What might commencement come to mean — or not mean — if we push individual license over institutional dignity for very long? Do we simply end up with more divisiveness in our culture than we already have? And we already have too much everywhere.”

Please join us on August 29, 2021 at 1:30pm Utah time as Matt Easton shares with us his Mormon story, and responds to Elder Holland’s irresponsible attacks.

Show Notes:


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  1. Connie Pectol August 28, 2021 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your interviews and the heartfelt honesty with which people are sharing their personal and challenging experiences. I find answers and understanding from the conversations that have been part of my life for 50 years or more. Thank you for bringing so many good thoughts to light for so many of us.

  2. DWL August 29, 2021 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Jeffrey Holland, the problem is yours not Matt’s. It’s shameful how the LDS church acts in this situation and it’s understandable why people are leaving or choose not to participate.

    • Scott Sessions September 1, 2021 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      It’s no wonder the church is growing at a faster rate than they are leaving. This is wheat vs tares season. God makes the rules. It’s up to man to obey or not. God gave us that right. We will reap what we sow. Elder Holland’s talk was very appropriate and those who choose to read into it what they want also have that right. Matt’s looooooong interview here is worth watching. He is a good young man. The host (John) is very distracting…always trying to put words into his mouth, but Matt wasn’t having any of it. Kudos to Matt for telling his true story! The LGBTQ community deserve better treatment worldwide. No one person or no one group is ever better than another. We are a human family, and I am sorry to say there is a big family squabble going on. When we learn to love each other, we will all be happier.

  3. Tracy Grist August 30, 2021 at 8:17 am - Reply

    When Joh Larsen gave his passionate reaction to JR Holland’s talk (episode 1468, minutes 14-22) I listened to it 10 times and shared it with my friends! His reaction mirrored my heart and mind.
    Thank you John Larsen and John Delhin for giving that viewpoint a platform. Well done!

  4. Karalee Bechtol August 30, 2021 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I left the church over prop 8 in Califormia years ago. It was very painful for me at the time, as the church had always been good to me. I loved BYU and my mission, and was serving in the primary presidency when I left. But when they shut down church and sent sent us out to do political canvassing, I found myself lying as to why I couldn’t participate. I prayed so much during that time and the idea of unconditional love kept coming to me. We cannot experience unconditional love without there being conditions in place. The Mormon church and its rules provide very complicated conditions. I have seen those that step into an increase of love with those conditions…and those that step into an increase of hate. Matt, you are so obviously filled with unconditional love with the desire to just make things easier for others, to save a life (or many). You are fulfilling your purpose to the highest degree, and it is so beautiful to witness. Thank you all for this beautiful podcast.

  5. ATeam August 30, 2021 at 11:42 am - Reply

    At the end of the day… I think the LDS church’s ultimate Power, ultimate spade, resides in the fact that they have over 100+ BILLION dollars. The can crush anyone in court, settle anything out of court, shut people down, silence and suppress. They are a global powerhouse with their Uber wealth. No podcast, individual, or movement can touch what they can do through lawyers and money. And they know that. I think Holland’s talk was a passive-aggressive power play. A reminder to anyone that “we’re aware of all these movements and individuals, but we’re in charge. The buck stops here”.

  6. Louisa August 30, 2021 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    I taught at BYU for three years and did my best to help LGBTQ+ students feel safe within the community. I included the Queer lens within my lecture class and asked for preferred pronouns if the student felt comfortable. My goal was to allow every student to feel comfortable and respected enough to share their opinion and create a climate of Christlike love. I also taught at the University of Utah and Snow College. Feeling the difference between the three institutions was interesting! I was ultimately let go at BYU because of my faith struggles and part of me is happy to have left now in order to support other institutions who show greater love, support, and equal rights for their students. This situation for BYU faculty is definitely a moral conundrum that I feel some also equate to leaving or staying in the church. Do we stay in or leave to support those who suffer? Also, I feel that some faculty might just ignore this address, and continue to live as if nothing has happened. It’s sometimes easier to continue the status quo unless you are directly affected by it. (This theme is also reflected in CoVID response.)

  7. Rob B August 30, 2021 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    So much love and admiration for Matt. What a beautiful story. I shed more than a few tears in this one . Great coverage of this moment OSF!! All four of you were fantastic in this episode. Thank you so much for all you do. Wishing Matt the best!!

  8. Andrea Sims August 30, 2021 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Matt! What a genuine, courageous and amazing human you are. When I see and hear Holland give such a speech, I just keep thinking that he is such a sad, angry man who has sold his soul. And he sold it to a trillion dollar church that really isn’t happiness. How glad I am for people like you Matt that change the world and help hearts be courageous and other hearts expand.

  9. SR Reiley August 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Excellent! Some truth! Very courageous.

  10. Nancy August 31, 2021 at 12:06 am - Reply

    There’s is nothing more hateful as Mormon love. The LDS only want to be perceived as LGBTQ friendly not actually be friendly.

  11. Rentrah August 31, 2021 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Excellent . I am an active member, our family is holding on. Loved the tone, I thought everyone took the high road here. Heart wrenching, but necessary dialogue. Thank you.

  12. Valeria-Nina Figueroa August 31, 2021 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Elder didn’t do or say anything wrong.

  13. John August 31, 2021 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Cannot wait for the October 2021 Saturday afternoon General Conference speaker roster. Holland will no doubt be placed in the least watch session. Any idea what his subject will be?

  14. Mike September 1, 2021 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Matt is incredibly inspiring, well-spoken, and kind. I have a gay son who I have discussed so many things with and Matt gave me even more insight to his plight. Thank you for this interview one of my favorites of all time. Best of luck to Matt in his career and life, podcasts like this is why I will continue to donate. Thank you.

  15. Mars September 1, 2021 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Matt I will never forget the first time I kissed a man and discovered why people kiss, I am sure I would feel that again if I could kiss you! Thanks for your courage and good will. I am not paying tithing anymore, I can’t support the taliban in SLC. The church that I grew up in was a place of safety and joy, people are leaving because it is no longer any of that. I feel Jeffrey was internally conflicted (as so many members are) having to do the dirty work for nelson and oaks and possibly going against his heart and spirit. I hope he is a better man than his blubbering indicated.

    It is funny he mentioned the trowels and guns story, seems to me they were really defending polygamy and then used the story again in support of the priesthood ban. The church had to do a 180 on both issues. But even so many years later we still believe in polygamy and bigotry. We just don’t learn do we. They have painted themselves in corner with all the crap from that proclamation rag and now they can’t get any inspiration on how to fix it. It might be that Hugh Nibley was right when he said revelation will cease when the church puts more faith in the dollar than in the Lord (or something like that). Is it harder for a rich church to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel……?

    Jeffrey said we have to follow the Lord’s anointed, but I feel we all are the Lord’s anointed when we act like Him, too bad our church leaders can’t look inwardly to see how they have become everything that Jesus condemned the ancient Jewish leaders for being. And if the they do know Him as they claim, why don’t they act like Him? Why do they lie? Why do they support and encourage hate and discrimination? But then on the other hand how would we know how special we are if we don’t elevate ourselves at the expense of someone else? Was Jeffrey trying to elevate himself and brethren by taking that cheap shot at you?

  16. Amber Wright September 14, 2021 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I just want you to know that I appreciate your honesty in sharing your experience. Thank you for articulating so well what you have gone through and helping us all understand just a little bit. I’m sorry you have gone through that awful reverse moral licensing pit of intrusive thoughts followed by hyper-religiosity. I am grateful that Jesus Christ understands how you feel and can give you His love, even when you don’t always feel it from the rest of us! Thank you for radiating Christ’s love for the rest of us! I am an “orthodox” Church member and always will be. But I also love the LGBTQIA community and consider myself an ally. I also love President Holland and appreciate his wisdom.

  17. Another View September 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I dont care for the Mormon church very much, but Holland does have a point.
    What the kid did was almost like telling everyone to buy your latest album while speaking at a funeral.
    Everyone knows that “I am gay” announcements are a middle finger to the church, and I find it very disrespectful to them.

    I dont want anything to do with Mormons, but I also dont piss on them either.
    What did we expect the church stand to be other than what Holland said?

    They want control of the talking points at THEIR graduation just as we dont want Mormons to throw their nonsense in everyones face at OUR events.
    If you are going to be gay, be gay, but dont go into their territory and be disrespectful to them.

    Yes, yes I know they have done harm and people are pissed… but I still think you dont need to announce you are gay in a BYU speech.
    Why dont we all just go to a synagogue and eat ham sandwiches while we are at it?

    Where does disrespect stop?

  18. Cindy November 10, 2021 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Excellent. thoughts. I am an active member of the LDS Church; about as active as they come I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. True inclusiveness

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