Stories of People Disciplined by LDS Church “Just” for Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

John Dehlin Disciplinary Councils 45 Comments

Many people are skeptical that someone could be disciplined in the 21st century LDS Church for “just” supporting same-sex marriage.  If you have experienced church discipline for supporting same-sex marriage, please post your story below.

Stories I’ve gathered so far:

My stake president (in Draper) told me a few months ago that church members cannot support same-sex marriage and remain in good standing in the church, regardless of whether they publicize their views on this matter or not. He went on to say that this is not just his opinion or personal interpretation of church policy, but rather, it comes as clear and specific direction from both Elder L. Whitney Clayton and the Office of the First Presidency. This understanding of policy is straightforward and has nothing to do with the podcasts or other complications found in John Dehlin‘s case. And Elder Clayton is also the file leader over John’s SP. My point in saying all this is not to say that there are not a variety of factors in John’s discipline. Clearly there are, as John himself points out. But it’s time people stopped pretending that the church accommodates personal conscience in ways that it doesn’t. (For example, stop believing that church spokesperson Ally Isom actually knew what she was talking about in her statements on Radio West.) Church PR has been feeding us all a very different story than the one stake presidents have apparently been receiving loud and clear in private. Anyone who thinks that supporting gay marriage and female priesthood isn’t enough to get you in trouble with your stake president (without any additional/complicating factors) is ignorant of how church policy is being interpreted and carried out by stake presidents in Utah today.

“I had my TR revoked in April for posting some criticism on my wall of Elder Oak’s priesthood session talk, which didn’t mention OW by name but obviously had to do with it and also some of the others. He said that if I disagreed with General Conference talks, I was not “sustaining” the Apostles and should not have a TR.”

“My husband and I were threatened w release of callings and taking TR for posting videos on MFM in the prop 8 period. We were very active members at the time and our videos were very respectful of the church (the worst thing the bishop could find in mine was I said I had to follow my conscience.”)  We tried using a press statement from Whitney Clayton where he told the media church members would not be disciplined for their opinions, but he told our bishop that what they meant by that was no one would be disciplined for their vote. We caved, and I believe for me this was the beginning of the end because of the resentment and regret I felt the next couple of years.”

“Denied a temple recommend because I publicly support marriage equality.”

“I met with a Logan SP to talk about MBB and Caitlin Ryan’s pamphlet. No evidence, but I believe that gave me a ‘black mark’ on my records and I have had little to no callings since then. True in Centerville ward also, but I have not been very active either in this ward.”

“This small list is heartbreaking. I just realized that since my testimony in July about walking with Mormons Building Bridges at Utah Pride and being at the Free Hugs Booth, my callings have been reduced to assistant in Cub Scouts, not even to a particular den. Fine with me!”

“After my ex (who is still in good church standing) left me for another woman 3 years ago my bishop told me he wanted me to go to LDS Family Services for counseling. Even though I was no longer a believer I agreed to go because I REALLY needed to talk with a professional about my abusive marriage and devastating divorce and I had no way to otherwise pay for therapy. After a few great sessions (they were proving to be extremely beneficial as I was processing a lot of shit and dealing with the ugly effects of PTSD) my therapist announced to me that my bishop was “requiring” her to address in our sessions my public support of the LGBT community, as well as the fact that I hadn’t been attending church. (Funny thing was it was also my LDS therapist who advised I do not set foot in church again as she could see it was extremely emotionally harmful to me.) She then said “Okay, I’ve addressed them. Now let’s quit wasting time and move on to the real problems.” I continued seeing her. I was having an extremely rough year and was grateful to have her support. Then one day I got a HUGE bill in the mail from LDS Family Services. I immediately called to see what was going on. Turned out my bishop was refusing to have the church pay for my therapy because his objectives for me were not being met as I was still publicly supporting marriage equality. My therapist said not to worry about the bill, she would just eat it herself if she had to, but that she would no longer be seeing me again.”

In 1987 my temple recommend was revoked because I would not recant my belief that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality. When they excommunicated our gay son 2 years later, I immediately resigned.”

“Among the variety of issues I presented to my bishop after he accused me of having skeletons in my closet (aka sins) was my belief that SSM/SSA was not a sin. After I spoke in detail for about 45 minutes, he said he didn’t know anything about the issues I was talking about but that he knew the church was true. He promptly took away my temple recommend citing my lack of belief in modern day revelation.”

TR withheld either for supporting marriage equality (not sustaining the prophet) or for attending an Affirmation conference (affiliating with a group whose teachings or practices…)―the reason seemed to change each time we met with the SP.  Later, heard through the grapevine (SP told my dad who told my wife who told me) that I was to be called to a church court (presumably for apostasy), so I proactively resigned from the church.”

“I have not participated in any advocacy for same-sex marriage, but the counselor in the stake presidency made a lot of comparisons to my situation and people in the stake who support same-sex marriage. In the Livermore, California stake, you can privately support same-sex marriage, but you can not hold a temple recommend and publicly advocate or campaign for same-sex marriage.”

“John, I appreciate all the work you have done. My husband and I resigned our membership because we were facing a discipline court. Our one and only issue they had with us was just that we believed and still do, in marriage equality. Therefore we were apostates because we were not sustaining the Brethren and Pres. Monson. We were not going to lie and say we believed otherwise. Our Bishop and his Councilor released us of all of our callings and said that we were under the influence of Satan. Sad we felt pushed out. But I can face myself in the mirror. God Bless You John! You have a lot of people saying prayers of gratitude on your behalf. I pray for you to have a peaceful calm heart.”

 (Please no comments on this post, other than to post your story.  Thanks.)

Comments 45

  1. I was never disciplined for supporting samesex marrige, but my stake president refused to let me go on a mission because I believed I was born gay.

  2. I had my temple recommend revoked by my bishop at BYU for not agreeing with Prop 8. He gave me a 40 minute lecture on how homosexuality was just like beastality and pedophilia. He told me he wouldn’t renew my recommend until I changed my mind and fully supported the church’s view.

  3. Because I supported Ordain Women I was no longer able to have a temple recommend and therefore in my stake I couldn’t hold a stake calling anymore so I was released from the EQ presidency as well. Both the bishop and stake president agreed on this form of discipline. They also said if I promoted those ideas at church I would have to be excommunicated. I stopped going so it never happened.

  4. I was subject to informal discipline in June 2013, primarily over my support for SSM.
    Here in the UK, SSM was a hot political topic at the time, and I became increasingly frustrated at political posts from church members on Facebook which seemed to side automatically with the church. I felt strongly that the arguments against SSM were without basis, and publicly aired my views. I set a blog up (http://liberalbritishmormon.wordpress.com) to publicly express my views. A number of British members contacted me privately to thank me for saying what they were too scared to say.
    Around this time, I was due for a TR interview, and was given one after two long and difficult interviews where my feelings on this issue were discussed at length. As part of this, the Bishop asked me to be careful with my comments publicly as they could be considered critical of church leaders. Following this, I tried to tone my comments down, and I felt like I was more measured in my responses – but I did not stop my public support of SSM.
    Several weeks after this, the Bishop called me into his office one Sunday to inform me that he had received authorisation from the Stake President to release me as YM’s President and to revoke my TR. The reason he stated was “not following the counsel of Priesthood leaders, and for criticising church leadersip”. The decision had been made without consulting me at all, and when I pressed him, he was unable to tell me where my comments had crossed the line. What was clear from our discussion was that the root of all this was my public support of SSM, which the Bishop considered to be dangerous, and could potentially lead some of the YM to homosexuality. His arguments were so upsetting as they were completely misinformed and bigoted. Earlier that week I had linked to an article on the Affirmation website, which the Bishop said “could have gay porn on, which could turn one of the YM gay”. Both the Bishop and the Stake President put the ultimate decision down to one another, and neither could pinpoint where I had crossed the line. It became clear from the discussions after that several members of the ward (presumably parents of the YM I was in charge of), felt I could wrongfully influence their children towards homosexuality, so they had gathered evidence by printing my comments from various social media sites (out of context), and handed them to the Bishop, who was backed into a corner.
    My relationship with the church has never recovered. I was utterly appalled by The level of ignorance about homosexuality, the lack of constructive discussion and the decision to act based on unfairly gathered evidence. What it all came down to though, was that I was open and honest with an opinion which didn’t align with what the church was teaching.

  5. My wife and I attended the LA gay pride festival with affirmation. During the festival, my wife took a picture with two of her new friends, a lovely gay couple. In the picture my wife has a shirt on that said, “I’m Mormon and I support you”. When she posted this picture to Facebook, we were called into our bishops office, where we were asked about that picture and what it meant. It was really awkward since we weren’t expecting such an immediate response. The bishop realized this afterward, and so he scheduled another meeting, which only I attended. (My wife was already too furious about the whole affair). While he wanted to make sure he hadn’t been offensive to us, he did make it clear that at some point we “would have to make a choice” between “advocacy” for same sex marriage and our temple recommend, as he saw our advocacy as “supporting a group whose teachings conflict with the teachings of the church.” My wife and I haven’t attended church since that meeting.

  6. In 1987 my temple recommend was revoked because I would not recant my belief that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality. When they excommunicated our gay son 2 years later, I immediately resigned. Here’s my story:

    In 1987 I had been Mormon from birth (48 years), served a mission in England, temple marriage, raised 6 children, both sons served missions, I served in 4 different bishoprics for 12 years, served 5 years as bishop, served 2 years on high council, and was a set apart temple worker. Then my return missionary son came out to me on April 26, 1987. It was immediately obvious to me that Geoff knew who he was in relation to homosexuality and that virtually all of my understanding and beliefs about homosexuality were incorrect. Within 2 weeks I told my stake president about my transformed beliefs about homosexuality. He told me, “Your son is not gay, he just thinks he is. You need to get him to a psychiatrist who can convince him he is not gay.” I told him, “I know my son well enough to know if he says he’s gay, he IS gay.” He said, “What about ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness’?” I told him I no longer believed Kimball’s teachings about homosexuality or what the Bishops Handbook says. Eight months later, the stake president called me into his office and asked me, “Has your ideas about homosexuality changed in the last 8 months?” I said, “No.” He said, “I’ve been talking to the brethren and they agree that a man who believes homosexuality is normal and who has served as bishop and on the high council cannot be allowed to continue.” He then revoked my temple recommend and released me from the high council the following Sunday. He told me that he was taking this action against my priesthood privileges to send a message to everyone in the stake that, “…it’s not OK to be homosexual.” Over the next year, I appealed up through the chain of command, meeting personally with each: regional rep, area rep, an assistant to the General Authorities, and a member of the Twelve. None of these men were knowledgeable about homosexuality. My appeal was denied. The only recourse offered by my stake president was to “recant” my beliefs about homosexuality. This left me in limbo until two years later when the stake president excommunicated Geoff because he is homosexual. I immediately gave the stake president my letter of resignation in which I directed him to remove my name from the records of the church because, “My conscience does not allow me to remain a member of a church that treats gay and lesbian people the way the LDS church does.”

    Over the years since then, it has been sobering for me to realize my temple recommend would never have been revoked if I had told my son to get the idea of being a homosexual out of his mind and to get out of our home and not come back until he no longer believes he is homosexual. As it turns out the Mormon authorities persecute not only LGBT members but also any of their parents or other family members who love and support them in their sexual identity.

    Carl McGrath January, 18, 2015
    421 Donovan Ave
    Bellingham, WA 98225
    Phone: 706-769-3400

    1. Bishop McGrath— When I saw your post just now I knew right away I would be posting my first post on Mormon Stories. I’ve been listening to the podcast and occasionally perusing the blog for the past year and a half, but your post has finally motivated me to post.

      Not sure if you remember me, but I was a boy in your ward when you were bishop. I know you knew my family well, and especially my father, Belden. My simple youthful recollection of the above events is basically that Geoff came home from his mission, announced he was gay, and you left the church due to disagreements with church policy. While it sounds like that may have been it in a simplified nutshell (I was just a kid, and the whole thing was certainly over my head at the time), I appreciate the rest of the story. Your failed efforts to find understanding at all levels of church hierarchy makes it that much more tragic.

      As you may know, I have two gay brothers who have subsequently left the church, and I suppose the main reason I haven’t left over the issue is that I haven’t been cornered. Time, experience, and science have made it clear that any attempt to change sexual orientation, not to mention pathetic attempts to equate homosexuality with “other vices” such as alcoholism are terribly misguided, out-of-touch, harmful, and doomed to fail. I am sorry that you and your family, and unfortunately countless others, have been put through such unnecessary persecution and ostracism.

      Thank you for you post. Your words bring back fond memories of time in Seattle, including time spent with your family.

      Best wishes—

      Hyrum

  7. Iceberg, meet only the tip. These stories are heartbreaking and must represent a fraction of the whole. Have we forgotten our history? JS-H 1:22 I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; … yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution …

    I am – rather unusually – at a loss for words.

  8. During the first marriage equality battle in Hawai’i (Baer v. Miike, formerly Baer v. Lewin) I wrote a private letter to President Hinckley expressing my displeasure and disgust over the Church’s diminishing of gay people in their legal filings in the Hawai’i case. Two years later, having long since moved stakes, the SP from where I lived when writing the letter had my old bishop interview me for apostasy for supporting marriage equality. Out of curiosity, I agreed to meet with him. When the bishop did not find me to be an apostate, the SP pulled me in and shortly after words were heated as he “knew” I was an apostate for supporting marriage equality and that, “if you were in my stake I would see to it you were excommunicated immediately!” (I won’t even get into the obsessive voyeuristic questions he had about sex.)

    More than two years after that (now four since I sent the private letter), I purchased an investment property which happened to be in that SP’s stake, though I still lived and attended church several stakes away. Without my knowledge or consent that SP quietly had my records transferred to his stake and immediately called a court with charges of apostasy and heresy. Again, this was more than four years since the letter, and two since having met with him. There were no interviews, no calls to my bishop or SP. He also refused to meet with me, stating that I was unworthy of an interview. My actual bishop and SP spoke with him then acknowledging that he wanted me excommunicated.

    Ultimately, they refused to get involved with a “fight over a membership record.” Their last words were, “You’re no longer in our stake, do not call us again.”

    Through calls to the media and even an intervention from a member of the Seventy (a GA I worked with on my mission), the court was placed on hold. Several weeks went by and the SP, apparently frustrated, called the court again for the following weekend. I contacted the press once more, and after several ugly conversations with the legal department in Salt Lake (who threatened me with immediate expulsion if I did not sign a form agreeing not to go to the press) I called their bluff and hung up on them. The court never happened.

    A short time later I had my records moved back to my own ward, then began the process of resignation. The abusive SP was furious that he was not allowed to throw me out in disgrace when he learned of my resignation. It galled him further that in the months afterward I moved into the investment property in his stake. I would not let any church do to me again what this one had. My resignation was not for lack of testimony but of self-preservation.

    PM me if you would like to read the unabridged version.

  9. Well, I wasn’t necessarily disciplined – only on the merits I didn’t let it go that way. Basically I was trying to come back to the church and with that comes getting your temple rec. back. So after months of “repentance” (I was only inactive is all, no other laws broken) it came to time to receive my golden ticket to the big show aka the temple. But in the interview my then bishop asked me if I support gay marriage, I responded that I didn’t have a problem with it based on the constitution of the United States, but as far as church goes they can have whatever rules they want in regards to same-sex marriage. He then told me that I can’t have a democratic agenda (i’m a libertarian not democrat) and that until I change my view I can’t have a recommend and that supporting their(the homosexuals) movement I was sinning. I didn’t know you had to be a republic to be a full active member. So after thoughts on the process, days later I just told him whatever he wanted to hear in order to get my recommend and leave the ward. I am now inactive, but my wife and I are alright with that. Wasn’t James E. Faust a democrat? Irony.

  10. There are two parts to my story, meaning, I lost my recommend twice because of supporting SSM among other things. I now have a current recommend again, by the way.

    My husband came out to me as gay after 13 years of marriage in July 2008.
    I wrote anonymous letters to three women in the ward about my changed opinion of homosexuals and gay marriage in August 2008 after a lesson in Relief Society on the Proclamation on the Family. Our Bishop eventually found out who wrote the letter and was very upset with both my husband and I at that time. (September or October 2008). He (husband) came out to the ward in testimony meeting in November 2008. He baptized our son in December 2008.

    We continued our activity in the church and our callings through the coming year, even though it became more and more difficult due to various reactions from our ward.

    At the end of August of 2009, my gay husband and I were unable to renew our recommends because of our public opinions of gay marriage that we posted on our blogs, and also because of socials we held at our home monthly for gay Mormons. And then furthermore because we attended the Affirmation conference in September, between appointments where we were appealing to our stake president. We also wrote a letter to our area authority, Elder Snow, and he wrote back saying to heed the guidance and decisions of our Stake President.

    We both gradually went inactive over the next few months. Our children continued to go, and I began attending again after the birth of our 5th child at the end of June. We separated and our marriage was over, Scott resigned from the church, and I went back, seeking a temple recommend from our then newish bishop. I went through a grueling interview with the stake president where I was encouraged to follow my church leaders. But I had a recommend. This was late 2010.

    In the fall of 2011, I attended a Relief Society lesson on the law of chastity. A quote was read from President Hinkley about homosexuality and marriage between a man and a woman. The teacher then responded to the quote with the comment “we have to follow the prophet on this issue.” I was furious, walked out and responded on Facebook what was in my head, that I had attended gay weddings that were just as spiritual as temple weddings, and I felt like God approves of them, and I don’t “give a sh*t what the effin prophet says.”

    The following week the bishop called me in. I figured he would be unhappy with the last sentence I posted, which I sorta felt bad about and realized it came across too strong. But he didn’t talk about that part. He spoke only of how I could not publicly post my approval and my belief of God’s approval of what is actually sin. I left his office very frustrated, letting him know that I could not be quiet about the gay marriage issue.

    Three weeks later, he frantically called and texted me on Stake Temple day, asking me not to use my recommend until we could meet again. I told him we had nothing else to talk about, I took my recommend to his house, and I stopped going to church again.

    The following November, 2012, when I knew my recommend–that was sitting in the bishop’s desk–was about to expire, I asked for another meeting with the bishop to see if I could borrow my recommend to use one more time. I had been attending church a bit more by then because my toddler begged to go to nursery.

    After our conversation and my continued inability to promise to be quiet about my support of same sex marriage, I left his office without my recommend and without any hope of ever having in again.

    In the fall of 2013, I was really struggling with what God would have me do with regards to the church and parenting my children. I was attending church with my youngest child, but the other four would not come with us. The thoughts of no recommend and children that weren’t active hung a constant cloud of sadness over me, especially on Sundays. My eight year old’s birthday came and went that summer, and he had no desire to be baptized. I unloaded my confusion and sadness on my home teacher, who is a neighbor and friend and also in the stake presidency. He was certain that I should not lose hope in ever having a recommend simply as a result of my support of marriage equality.

    He talked to the bishop and stake president and found out that the big issue–which I swear my bishop never said–was that I had said I didn’t care what the effin prophet says. I agreed to not post anything like that (criticism of church/church leaders) on Facebook or my blog any more, which I honestly hadn’t done since that incident.
    It took several months because of busy schedules, but finally at the beginning of July 2014, I met with my bishop and this counselor in the stake presidency. We discussed with a diagram where we each thought crossing the line would be for a temple recommend with regards to supporting same sex marriage. When we all agreed that it could be between publicly supporting SSM but not publicly bashing church leaders and the church, we went through the interview questions, they both signed it right then and there, and it was done. I was in shock. I was a card-carrying member. I still had issues and doubts and confusion, but the basic structure of my testimony was still there, and my leaders gave me a chance to be part of the continued battle of staying part of the church instead of giving up completely.

    Leadership roulette with regards to this issue is real, but also, hearts of leaders can change as we continue conversations, humbly, with regards to our support of marriage equality.

  11. I was released from my calling as the Relief Society president in my home ward in Frisco, Texas for posting on my wall that I would no longer eat at Chick-fil-a. I had recently attended my daughter’s gay wedding in New York, so the Ward knew what my post refered to. My bishop and stake president threatened to take away my TR if in a month I still would not declare my daughter to be a sinner. I prayed about it and in good conscience could not do so. I know my daughter and I know her fight and am honored that she is in my family.
    Luckily, the bishop changed in that time and my new bishop supports me. I was given a new calling as a Ward mission leader.

    1. Steve & Barb Young operate under a different set of rules that mere mundanes are not allowed to utilize.

      Like Nick said, it also helps if you pay a lot of tithing.

  12. While actively serving in the bishopric as a counselor, I marched the first year with the Mormons Building Bridges at the Gay Pride parade in Salt Lake City. My face was seen in the photos printed in the news. I was called in to discuss my actions. I then declined to be in the bishopric any longer. TR was not revoked.

  13. My wife and I were called in and threatened with being released from our callings and possible removal of TR after we skipped Church to march with MBB at Pride.

    The threats were not followed through on after we failed to fall in line but it was a humiliating – devastating – meeting that eroded my confidence in local leadership.

    I quoted Elder Cook on the LDS Church website mormonsandgays.com talking about members being at the forefront of outreach and our Bishop told me that Outreach means making people feel welcome at Church, not actively reaching out a la MBB.

    Our SP later taught from the pulpit in a 5th Sunday lesson that supporting SSM was incompatible with a TR and Church membership.

  14. In 2008, after being featured (full front page) in the Logan Herald Journal, as a Mormon for gay marriage, that next Sunday a member of the High Council came to speak in our ward. He piously stated that his talk was going to be on the “Proclamation of the Family” and it was directed toward one person in this ward, then he turned and looked at me. So thrilling to be called out over the pulpit. I just held my head high projected the facial expression of someone looking at a moron and never went back.

  15. I used to frequent discussions on the neighborhood and ward Facebook pages, usually relating to all the benign and ultimately meaningless goings-ons typical for such things, but every now and then the conversations would turn to more divisive issues, gay marriage being one of them.

    I was regularly attacked, belittled and condemned by my neighbors and fellow ward members for standing up for homosexuals and their rights. This in and of itself may not be the direct responsibility of the LDS Church, but the following actions certainly were. I found out when I submitted my resignation from the church that these ward members had been asked to spy on me; several kept tabs not only on my group posts but private posts and would report them directly to the bishop and stake president. I was regularly talked about behind my back in ward councils.

    When I finally resigned from the church, the bishop made it very plain to me in no uncertain terms that these posts would force him to go to the stake president and start official discipline procedures. That I had publicly left Mormonism had no bearing on this, and he used this to attempt to intimidate me back into compliance.

    I refused to acquiesce, making it clear that if he were to continue I would officially and formally resign my membership that very day and begin consulting with attorneys to pursue defamation action. He did the typical “expression of sadness” but backed down.

    As an aside, it was an interesting experience to see just how Mormon leaders react when they realize all their house playing and contrived authority is rejected and refuted by someone refusing to acknowledge its authority over their own life and refusing to kowtow to it.

  16. I went to lds family services to try to talk about some of my doubts before I went to my bishop. I purposefully talked about all the things I love about the church first in an effort to show the therapist where my heart was (who incidentally was a bishop.) I listed off a few concerns about church history and then moved on to my issues with gay marriage. I told him I believed gay couples would some day be allowed to be sealed in the temple. This was too much for him. He appeared angry and said that if he didn’t have to be silent by law he would tell my bishop and that I was flirting with apostasy. I never went back to my therapist or told my bishop or any future bishop my doubts concerning this matter.

  17. When I heard the Mormons had participated in the CA action to take away civil protection from a minority, I had an immediate confirmation that it was wrong. The moral and legal “map” is laid out brightly in the teachings of Alma, King Mosiah and D&C 134. The Spirit’s simple statement was that the atonement becomes ineffective when there is no vision *because* the potential seeds must be planted on the same ground and conditions. And, I always suspected that the good and bad in relationships would be less about approved sex and more about how we treat each other, but the overwhelming teaching of that moment was that Jesus could do nothing with anyone as long as we were fighting the mechanisms that allow us to have vision to make choices and change whatever is going badly.

    I helped lead Mormons for Equality. In Utah, MFE was cannibalized by Mormons Building Bridges, but for the most part nation-wide the idea that we must all have equal standing before the law was victorious, under whatever banner.

    My battles with my bishop are already somewhat known, were obscured slightly because he could also pick-apart my support for Pants Day. I have been Mormon since birth so my life has been long-shaped by men using their unjust and unrighteous perception (and, because we have standing, greater) of power to abuse and intimidate women. My mother, a convert, entirely approves of that abuse which creates the church a more-powerful bully / best-friend-to-her and that has also shaped my feelings of having no protection or standing.

    My bishop collaborated with those in the ward who undertook to engage in stalking. My bishop did not realize the potential danger in this patriarchal steroidal fanaticism. I consider ourselves lucky that we are all healthy and whole today and that my bishop has been released, and that the new bishop realizes the depth of distrust and betrayal from one administration must transfer to the next and keeps his distance. I have not had or asked for a temple recommend since the day that I placed it on his desk when I was forced to answer his outburst that being able to SEE any inconsistencies or problems in the church meant that I was controlled by Satan. I put the recommend on the desk and said that if the bishop would not consider the words of the spirit or my own words we were not able to have any more conversation.

  18. I was told never to return to my local LDS Institute for supporting same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. I was never vocal about it in the institute, though I was on social media. The day it became legal for all to marry in my home state, I was on the way to meet a friend at the institute when I found out, so I told her when I arrived. The director called me into his office and said this wasn’t the place to talk about gay marriage because it’s so against the doctrine of the church and it’s wrong to support something the brethren don’t. I was told to either self-censor or leave, and I could not, in good faith, gag myself and not talk about important issues to the church and nation at large.

  19. I would like to share an experience I had with my Stake President on SSM. I was going in to ask him to marry my wife and I. My wife wasn’t an active member of the church and hadn’t been for years, but we both felt like he would be the best man to do it. I was talking to him about everything and had shared with him the issues my wife had with the Church. Especially her issues with SSM. He proceeded to tell me this “You know, I understand where she is coming from a little bit. I have a Gay niece and I have known she was Gay her entire life. I love her dearly and I know God made her how she is. She isn’t going to hell, and sometimes we just need to step back and try to understand.” He wasn’t condoning SSM per say, but he being a Stake President in Utah Valley whom was loved by all and who understood a bit more, said a lot to me. I believe in America, SSM should be legalized because it would infringe on people’s rights otherwise and if we truly didn’t want it, the founding fathers should have said something more about it (even though I assume it wasn’t a big enough thing to really consider). Personally I don’t care about any of it and on a religious level I don’t approve. So I am split between these 3 perspectives.

  20. I was the first counselor in a stake presidency. I participated in courts where men and women were put on probation and disfellowshipped because they would not admit that homosexuality is a choice. I also sat in on courts where men and women who had been involved in homosexual acts were disfellowshipped and excommunicated. many of the above worked hard to reobtain their membershipships. They were told that their sins were forgiven and that the Lord would remember them no more. however, permanent flags were placed on their membership records saying that they were either gay or supported gay activity that should not hold important church positions or teach children or young adults. in stake and Ward leadership committee meetings, members were told of the sins of the above. I also observed members having their name taken off the membership records. I was shocked to learn that their names are not actually taken off The records but but inactivated with flags on them. When I brought all of the above up to the stake president, I was immediately released and excommunicated for not sustaining the brethren.my family and I were treated as pariahs.
    Please do not post my name or email address is my family has suffered enough.

  21. My daughter was released as the Mia Maid president in our ward because of her leadership in her high schools GSA club, her support for same sex marriage, and her belief that women should be ordained.

    I have purposefully not put myself in the position to have a TR because I know of people in my ward who have not been able to renew their recommends because of their support of gay marriage.

  22. I was one of those women who was interrogated for a MONTH by my bishop because the ward members didn’t like my Facebook posts that talked about Ordain Women and Gay rights. Someone in my ward tattled on me. I was told that if I did not take down my Ordain Women profile I would lose my temple recommend. (It is now gone, even though I am worthy in every way.) Immediately following the information someone told the bishop, I deleted all but 2 of the members from my facebook page and blocked the ward facebook page where I have no doubt that they were spying on me. My experience is here: http://songsofaletheia.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-i-am-leaving-mormon-church-despite.html

    Even after blocking everyone from my ward, the bishop popped up on my Google circles and I knew right away that he was spying and reading my blogs. I deleted him there.

    Its like the freaking gestapo.

    What happened to free agency? We can’t let people have their own truth? Thats not ok? Seems incredibly hypocritical coming from a church that “preaches’ free agency and how God threw Satan out of heaven for trying to force us. We are trying to force our way? Who are we, God?? Or are we acting as Satan did, trying to force his way?

    I LOVE Kate Kelly. She is the most incredibly selfless person, who has done all of this at her own peril out of love for her sisters. I met her in Utah and she gave everyone her time and love despite everything going on around her. (I hitched a ride from another Ordain Women profile holder in Portland- I am from Washington State (GO SEAHAWKS! ;P) The truth about what happened at the Ordain Women action in April and what happened is there. (I talked to Kate about it personally online afterwords- There are SO many rumors about how she got in the gate when the truth is, a stranger walked through the gate and let her in…I saw the pictures.) There was no forced way in, by anyone, the whole action was absolutely beautiful.

    I am on the Mormon Podcast Facebook site where John himself if posting (a closed site) (Hi John!) and I am hearing the truth. It is the members who are spreading rumors.(some are just spreading rumors, some not- as some know the truth, like me, I am going to keep standing up for the truth.

    You can’t stop a train.

  23. I shared your podcast along with some comments on same sex marriage on my personal fb page. I was called the same day by my bishop and he took away my recommend. I kept following up with him afterward because I felt that was wrong and he said the stake would not allow him to give it back even though the stake never once reached out or spoke with me about my post or my thoughts. My guess is that even though it was on my personal fb page that because my husband and I have a large social media following for our business and have been on national media for our company that they thought I was of influence and were upset about my post. Very sad day for me.

  24. While a bishopric member, I had the threat of my recommend being revoked twice. I provided multiple links to fully active members and professors in good standing against whom the church had taken no stance, and eventually the bishop backed down. I have multiple years of graduate education under my belt, so defending myself was easier than for many others. This was extremely embarrassing to my wife who supported me and believed the same way. The gossip mill was unkind during these times.

    I was released and distanced from leadership. After suggesting to the youth that they need to think for themselves before believing just anything they hear, I was summarily excused from the following calling. The bishopric member called to replace me told me that if I strayed I should “expect sadness and darkness all the days of my life. It hasn’t happened yet I suppose.

  25. In my “exit” interview after requesting my name be removed from the membership list my Bishop asked why I was requesting to leave the church. We talked about many doctrinal issues, but the most compelling to me was the church’s stance on LGBT issues. At the time my bishop compared homosexuality to pedophilia which offended more than anything else we talked about and it solidified my decision to leave the church.

  26. In 2010, I wrote “Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective” while a student at BYU (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1490519181).

    BYU student ward Bishops can get a BYU student in their ward expelled with a single phone call. My Bishop told me he would hold a disciplinary council on me if I publicly supported same-sex marriage. I had to rewrite my book in order to appear neutral, so that I could continue to progress toward graduation.

  27. Alan Hansen is my son. I am posting this with his permission. I previously posted a summary version, but this is the text from the original article in the Salt Lake Tribune, March 2000. He was disciplined (I call it super secret double probation) for opposing Proposition 22, aka the Knight Initiative, in California. Proposition 22 was the precursor to Proposition 8. Proposition was declared unconstitutional under the California Constitution, which led to Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution.

    ***

    This was published March 5, 2000 in the Salt Lake Tribune. With the 2001 campaign in Texas and the recent one performed by the church in Nevada, it seems timely.

    TRACY, Calif.-It’s dinner time, and Alan and Yvette Hansen’s home is a quintessential picture of Mormon domesticity. Toddlers scoot from their seats and romp about, pushing a toy vacuum cleaner and toting around dolls.

    “My name is James!” shouts a 4-year-old who sneaks away from the dinner table while his mother tries to coax a sibling into taking medication for an ear infection. “My-name-is-Jaaames!!!”

    “James,” replies Yvette Hansen, 31, holding an eye dropper over her squirming daughter. “Use your inside voice, please.”

    Inside voices.
    That is an admonishment Alan and Yvette Hansen have been hearing themselves. The couple have been speaking out against California’s controversial “Proposition 22”-perhaps louder than they should, according to their leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The Mormon church and many of its roughly 740,000 members in California are on a crusade to pass Tuesday’s ballot initiative, which would ban recognition of gay marriages in the state. The Hansens, who describe themselves as good Mormons, have a problem with that.

    And now they have a problem with their church.

    “I obviously believe God doesn’t want me to vote ‘yes,’ he wants me to vote ‘no,’ ” says Alan Hansen, who opposes the initiative on grounds it could lead to discrimination against homosexuals and a loss of rights for children of gays.

    He also makes it clear he has a problem with his church’s support of the measure, and because of that, he says, church leaders have slapped him with an “informal probation.”

    It is not his opposition that is the problem, says Hansen’s ecclesiastical leader, Manteca Stake President Rex Brown.

    “People certainly are free to say whatever they’d like to say in regards to Proposition 22,” Brown says. “The real issue is speaking out against the church.”

    Brown would not comment on Hansen’s status in the church, citing church policy on confidentiality.

    While a majority of California Mormons appear to support both Proposition 22 and their church’s unabashed support for it, the Hansens do not stand alone. Many are eager to whisper to the news media that all is not well among the rank and file. Resentment, they say, roils because the church’s fund-raising and aggressive campaigning for Proposition 22 are forcing them to choose between supporting their church leaders or their homosexual family members and friends.

    Just last week, a 32-year-old gay Mormon man put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger on the steps of a Mormon chapel in Northern California. He was profoundly opposed to Proposition 22, though his family insists the suicide was not politically motivated.

    Others disagree, but hardly any who are opposed to the church’s official position will allow their names to be used in newspaper stories. They say they fear repercussions and note that when documents were leaked last summer that outlined Mormon leadership’s fund-raising strategies for the campaign, leaders “were all but beating the bushes to get the squealer to come out.”

    The chill that has since spread across California’s Mormon landscape has created such a bitter climate that some say they no longer feel free even to privately express their opposition to a measure they believe is discriminatory.

    “The issue is so sensitive,” says one member of a Southern California ward. “It’s just pretty doggone touchy and people don’t want to betray themselves to somebody who might report them. In ways, it’s like what I imagined it was like living in Russia, where people acted as the eyes and ears of government.”

    So they bite their lips or speak in hushed tones, and most always insist their names not be used for publication.

    But not 30-year-old Alan Hansen. He is practically clanging cymbals. “This is the first time I’ve found myself left of center. I’m a pretty conservative guy,” says the marketing manager for an Internet start-up company in San Jose.

    The Hansens live in the little city of Tracy, located about 60 miles east of the San Francisco Bay Area. “[But] many think the church is not on the moral high ground here.”

    Hansen insists he is not attacking the church, he is simply criticizing its stance on Proposition 22.

    He and his wife say they are happily heterosexual, and he says this is the first time he has found himself crossways with his church, which spent more than $1 million in similar, successful ballot initiatives recently held in Alaska and Hawaii.

    While church headquarters in Utah reportedly has not given a dime to the California cause, local leaders have for nearly a year prodded members to write checks in support of the campaign. Their donations are not considered tithing, nor are they tax-deductible.

    It’s impossible to say how much of the estimated $8 million raised so far for the Yes on 22 campaign has come from Mormons because individual contributors do not list church affiliation on campaign finance forms. The Mormon church is joined in its campaign by other religious organizations, including the Catholic Church, which has given more than $300,000, and the California Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God and several Muslim and Protestant denominations.

    Anti-Gay or Pro-Family?
    The LDS battle is being waged with more than money. Each Sunday, letters of support are read to California wards, and members are entreated to canvass neighborhoods and put Yes on Proposition 22 signs in their yards. “The ecclesiastical pressure has been enormous,” says one former bishop, who continues to hold a high church leadership position in the Bay Area. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

    Even LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has weighed in. “We regard it as not only our right, but our duty to oppose those forces which we feel undermine the moral fiber of society,” Hinckley said last fall. “Such is currently the case in California, where Latter-day Saints are working as part of a coalition to safeguard traditional marriage from forces in our society which are attempting to redefine that sacred institution.”

    At the same time, Hinckley says the church will continue “to love and honor them [homosexuals] as sons and daughters of God.”

    The LDS Church rarely wades into stormy political waters. But, Hinckley and other leaders say, this is a moral issue, and it calls for political activism.

    Gay rights advocates question why the church picked Proposition 22 instead of loads of other legislation-child welfare or domestic abuse laws, for example-that could reinforce the fabric of families.

    “They [homosexuals] feel like this is in their face and is really anti-gay,” says Gary Watts, a Utah Mormon and father of two gay children. He is co-chair of Family Fellowship, a support group for Mormon parents of gays and lesbians. “Up until I became familiar with the issue about 11 years ago, I probably would be there with everybody else [supporting Proposition 22]. Unless you . . . know someone who is gay or lesbian, it’s very easy to demean them.”

    Gay marriage is not currently allowed in California or any other state. Proposition 22 simply ensures that California will not have to recognize gay marriages that might some day be sanctioned in other states. Advocates of the measure note that dozens of states as well as Congress have passed similar measures, and they argue nothing will change for gay couples.

    They say the initiative is merely a chance to reaffirm their position on marriage. Opponents say there is nothing positive about a ‘yes’ vote. They call the issue a “wedge” intended to nudge the state’s gay population to the fringe. They contend Proposition 22 could lead to a host of lost rights, including health benefits, hospital visitation privileges, and, most importantly for the Hansens, cause harm to children of homosexuals in areas like inheritances, custodial rights and medical benefits.

    It is a personal issue for the Hansens, who have been foster parents to five children. They are in the process of adopting 4-year-old Jessica so she will become legal sister to James and Nicholas, 2, their biological children. They worry Proposition 22 could push homosexual parents out of the the picture at a time when California needs all the parents it can get.

    “We need to protect anybody who is willing to take extraordinary steps to take care of kids,” says Alan Hansen. And, say the Hansens, sexuality is not a factor in determining who is a good parent.

    “As foster parents, we’ve seen plenty of married people in traditional families raising their kids badly. We’ve raised their kids for them,” adds Yvette Hansen. “I don’t care what [homosexuals] do in their bedroom. If it’s a sin, it’s between them and God.”

    “Is it more important,” presses Alan Hansen, “to call someone a sinner than it is to protect children?”

    Politicking at the Pulpit:
    The Hansens’ quiet convictions bubbled into the public recently after Alan Hansen wrote a letter to the local newspaper criticizing both the proposition and the Mormon church’s stumping at the pulpit.

    “When I attend church, I go there hoping to get close to God. I go to study the life of Jesus and to learn to live like him. I go to repent of my sins and rededicate myself to righteous living. I go to church to improve myself,” he wrote in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Tracy Press. “When my church tells me how to vote or where to spend my political dollars, it takes away from my opportunity to worship and consider God in my life.”

    While Hansen is not surprised those words ruffled church leadership, he contends they should be willing to tolerate his dissent. After all, he notes, the church has entered the political debate. And he is just debating those politics.

    “The church told members we don’t have to vote ‘yes,’ ” Hansen told a reporter for the Tracy Press. “Well, that means I can vote ‘no,’ and I can talk about my reasons.”

    Others are also starting to speak out.

    “I’m disappointed that we are supporting a proposition that is so divisive, that causes parents who have homosexual children to be really put in a situation of having to choose between the church and their family,” says Richard Rands, a Mormon who lives in the Bay Area.

    “This is such a divisive issue for families, which is very ironic because families are at the core of the church’s concern here,” says Rands’ wife, Janet.

    Other local church leaders acknowledge the issue is at the root of some discord, but they say support for the measure and the church’s position on it have been overwhelming.

    “When the prophet [Hinckley] speaks, we listen,” says Brent Newbold, a Mormon bishop and owner of a dry cleaning store in the Sacramento area. “It’s caused people to make a decision — [to state] where they stand.”

    And, says Newbold, nine out of 10 in his ward stand by their church. At least one woman in his ward, however, quit attending because of the church’s position. “I don’t call her in and give her a hard time,” says Newbold. “Hopefully, she’ll come back.”

    But a steady trickle of Californians may be leaving the church permanently because of the issue. Kathy Worthington, a Utah gay-rights activist who is coordinating a drop-out campaign, claims she has been in contact with more than 300 people who want to stop being Mormon.

    A former Mormon herself, Worthington says she has copies of more than 100 notarized letters sent to church headquarters by people who are trying to sever their ties with their religion because of Proposition 22.

    “This [issue] seems to be the last straw for a lot of people,” she says.

    Church spokesman Michael Purdy said he could not provide information regarding Worthington’s assertion.

    But Janet Rands has seen enough to know that some harm already has been done. “I don’t think anyone sat down with the intention of driving people away, but I do see that,” says Rands, a psychologist. “The sad thing is, this affects their kids, a generation who won’t be learning their Bible songs, who won’t be reading the Book of Mormon.”

    That could include the Hansen children.

    Alan Hansen, a lifelong Mormon who served a mission in Japan and was born while his parents attended church-owned Brigham Young University, says he has been stripped of his teaching position in the church for being so outspoken on the issue and could face harsher penalties.

    “The bishop has said I need to make a public apology for my comments,” he says. “I haven’t said anything that is not the truth, and a person should not be punished for telling the truth.”

    His wife frets he may be on the road to excommunication, but he’s not so scared that he will stop lobbying for an issue he holds sacred.

    “I was asked-if it came down to [my position on] Proposition 22 v. my church membership, which would I choose,” he says. “I’d choose both. If I couldn’t choose, it would be out of my hands. It wouldn’t be my choice.”

  28. I will have it be known hither and yon: “Alan and Yvette Hansen’s home is a quintessential picture of Mormon domesticity,” as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. I dare say no one else here can make that claim. 🙂

    I’ll write a little about our meeting with the Stake President.

    When we met with the SP, his 1st councilor was with him, and the meeting actually started out very badly. The councilor asked, “How can you support these people? I just read today about a gay man giving AIDS to a 9 year old boy.” I was quick to respond that if he said anything like that again, we would immediately end the meeting and leave. He agreed not to talk anymore. I was livid. Any grown person should know the difference between “gay” and “pedophile.” On reflection, I realized that the councilor spoke that way because a deep fear had been instilled in him by years of dogmatic religious indoctrination. The echo of his words today speaks volumes about the elective ignorance surrounding these issues in the church.

    The meeting continued, tempers cooled, and the Stake President told us of a conference call he had participated in a day or two prior to our meeting. The call included 3 apostles, and the purpose of the call was to instruct the local leaders in the importance of proposition 22 and the church’s strategy of getting it passed. It was to be an all out, no holds barred effort, and every member was to tow the line.

    Our SP went on to explain that President Hinckley had held a meeting with the first presidency and the Quorum of the 12 where they discussed the proposition 22 effort. In that high level meeting, President Hinckley conveyed to the rest of the leadership a dream he had had, and it was portrayed to us that the dream was a heavenly revelation. President Hinckley had interpreted the revelation in his dream to mean that proposition 22 was the single most important spearhead issue against gay marriage that our world would ever know. He saw in his dream 2 possible outcomes, one was that if proposition 22 passed, the nation would follow California’s lead and make same sex marriage illegal everywhere in the country, and the rest of the world would follow. The other outcome he saw was that if proposition 22 failed, then the nation would follow suit, and same-sex marriage would be legal throughout the united states, and the rest of the world would follow.

    It was clear to me at that time that the Stake President would use any and every means at his disposal to do what he perceived as the will of the Lord, as it had been conveyed to him through his Prophet, Seer, Revelator and other official channels. With that perspective, it is possible to see why a local church leader would elect discipline, and why general authorities would support local leaders in doing so.

    However, hind-sight being 20/20, we can see the flaws (saw them at the time too). The content of President Hinckley’s dream was never communicated to the general church membership, so by the time the information got to me, it was a game of telephone and I was quite unsure of the message. Also, to the extent it was correctly communicated to me, the “revelation” turned out to be incorrect, as proposition 22 passed and same-sex marriage still became legal in California, around most of the country and in much of the world. I had no reason at the time to believe there had been a “real” revelation on the matter anyway. The SP had just lost everything about his mantle, and I remember looking at this guy about twice my age and thinking he is not telling the truth. He certainly didn’t seem authoritative in any way at that moment.

    I’m telling this piece of the story here (there is more) to make clear the type of pressure put on faithful church leaders. It is absolutely immense. The act of not using church discipline can be considered an act of apostasy for a local leader. They typically aren’t disciplined in the traditional sense, but they are released and replaced with leadership that tows the line, and that uses discipline as leverage to keep control of the church, its message and its members.

    I disagree with the use of church discipline to force members to take sides on political issues. I believe the following about the use of church authority: when we undertake…to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” I believe the Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of Truth. By saying “Amen” to the authority of my SP and his 1st councilor, I was able to find a fact-based reality that has proved to be far more satisfying to me than the fearful world my SP and his 1st councilor lived in.

    To those of like mind, Je Suis.

  29. Four years ago my bishop requested that I meet with him. When he scheduled the meeting, he hinted that he had a new calling for me. We started the meeting with the usual chit chat about work and family and that led to a discussion about my college-age daughter. He was aware that she is a lesbian and he acknowledge that sexual orientation wasn’t a choice. However, he said it was up to the parents to encourage a child with “same sex attraction” to lead a celibate life. I told the bishop that we were leaving any relationship decisions up to our daughter and that I hoped she would find companionship like my wife and I shared. That led to a discussion about my support of marriage equality. The Bishop stated that I could not participate fully in the Church unless I repented and sustained the prophet. I understood that statement to mean he would not renew my recently expired temple recommend. I didn’t push for clarification because he was visibly angry and I just wanted the meeting to end. When I got home, I received a phone call from the executive secretary telling me that I was being released from my current calling in Scouting. Six months later the bishopric was reorganized and shortly thereafter I was given a calling in the young men’s program. I’ve concluded that church discipline for supporting marriage equality is simply a game of leadership roulette.

    1. I feel for parents with children who have chosen to not have the blessings of a marriage and children. I don’t believe there is a gay or lesbian gene, and studies of identical twins shows that there simply isn’t one. People can choose a path that to them is the one of least resistance, and from my gay constitutional law professor in law school to others I have known, they have the correct equipment, but have chosen the gay or lesbian lifestyle. They are violating the first commandment to multiply and replenish the earth and the blessing of experiencing the joys and sorrows of parenthood and the trial of getting alone with the opposite sex. Satan wants to frustrate Heavenly Father’s plan and deceiving people so that they miss out on these blessings and challenges is a way to prevent our brothers and sisters who have not been born to not come to your daughter as her child. It is all so sad. Enabling your child by sanctioning her choices goes along with Satan’s plan. She has the equipment, a brain, a spirit, and the light of Christ, and if she lives the commandments, she can gain the spirit and know what is right and she can change her life. Satan tries to deceive on all levels. You believe in the gay and lesbian lifestyle because you love your daughter and you have bought into the false science that they don’t make the choice, it is part of them. This is their path of least resistance just like it may be for the old bachelor. Also, once a person gets into that lifestyle, then they have a certain amount of shame that holds them into it. And it is like a club or the mafia, once you are a member, it is hard to exit or overcome your choice to be a member. A sincere desire to obey the commandments and find joy in making the right choices results in blessings. May the Lord guide you to figure this thing out and help your daughter. This is your test also.

      1. I respectfully suggest you make this a part of a time capsule and open it up every five years and see if you would make any changes to what you have written, and if so rewrite it but keep it another five years and do the same. When/if you throw it away because of changes you have made, then imagine all the people you hurt with your opinion, as well as all the people you could have helped.

      2. Dallas, too bad it can’t be as you say.

        Do you remember the Church’s Evergreen program which failed and was discarded. This was a program which considered being gay just a choice, and which tried, through conditioning and learning, to make gay people straight. It was a total failure, creating only severe stress and anxiety.

        A ex BYU psych professor, who has left BYU, told me he was constantly having to go out and rescue a gay return missionary who was wanting to commit suicide.

        For the record: Just like heterosexuality, homosexuality is not a choice, but is a biologically predetermined characteristic. Moreover no amount of learning and conditioning will ever change that orientation.

        So Dallas, what would you propose we do about the gay Mormon suicides. Just tell them all they need to do is change their preference? (Incidentally, the suicide rate among Mormon teens is among the highest in the nation.)

      3. Dallas, you said that “you feel for parents with children who have chosen to not have the blessings of a marriage and children.” If those feelings are sorrow or pity, then considered the very real possibility that you’re an idiot. My daughter is intelligent, kind and thoughtful. I’m proud to be her father. The only pain that her sexual orientation has caused me is concern that the judgements of small-minded people, who are certain of Heavenly Father’s plan for her, would cause her harm.

  30. John, this church action is not about your support of same sex marriage. That is just the excuse. They want to silence you or be able to point out that you were excommunicated as a way of discrediting your podcast and scarring away and bias Mormons who might otherwise want to see what it is that you have on your site.

  31. I was in the bishopric when the Church undertook Proposition 8. My wife and I have friends in California who are gay, and we did not feel comfortable that our tithing money was being used to persecute them. We met with the bishop and the other councilor and let them know the situation, and that obviously without paying tithing I couldn’t serve any longer with them. They actually understood our position and chose another councilor. The bishop did not tell the Stake President why he was making the change and when the councilor in the stake presidency came to install the new councilor, he did an “exit interview” with me. It became apparent to me that he was essentially interviewing me to see if I would be on the high council. At this point, I had to make clear my feelings about what the Church was doing. This then resulted in a meeting with the stake president, of course. My wife attended. We discussed the issue and his feeling was that our position was out of harmony with the brethren, which was a form of apostasy. He said he would not excommunicate us unless Salt Lake told him to, but we could not have any callings or speak unless our opinions changed. We also should not talk to anyone else in the stake about our opinions. He also said that in his opinion, the day would come when the Church would be have to be “purged.” Later, he relented a little on the callings to let the bishop install me as the genealogy consultant, since I knew so much more about it than anyone else in the ward and to let my wife be some kind of humanitarian consultant in the Relief Society. (Our home teacher who was on the high council was a bit miffed at what had happened and called my wife the most Christian person in the ward.)

  32. My Husband and I were fellowshipping some new converts into full activity and even served as their temple escorts as they received their endowments and were sealed. The Sister happened to be a patient of mine in my private medical practice and was in treatment for a chronic, painful, disease. As we sat in Sacrament meeting as a family this family entered the chapel just before the meeting. Being friends, they sat next to us on the pew and we two women sat together. Being the day after our temple escort, the elderly Sister took my hand during the meeting. This was to show her close felt affection for sharing their special new temple blessings, and also as assurance to me her health was holding up.
    The following Tuesday the couple were called into the Bishop’s office where my Elderly friend and patient were asked if she was Homosexual and told by the Bishop that she had been seen holding my hand. Sister X told him she had held his wife’s hand and even hugged his wife, was his wife Homosexual? The Bishop was offended. He informed the newly endowed and sealed couple their newly minted TRs were revoked and a church disciplinary action would be forthcoming. Both members of this marriage told the Bishop (in not-so-nice words) to shove it and the church. As is easily predicted here, they did not attend the “council” and were both excommunicated.
    My spouse and I were also questioned about this incident, asking if I were a homosexual. I was asked if I supported the LGBT community in their efforts to have a signed petition asking to have a meeting place on the campus. This was where I was taking one continuing education class. I told the Bishop I was disgusted this was even an issue and as an inspired leader of the Church he really ought to know better. I added that I was a life-long member from Pioneer stock. Since taking my own endowments for marriage we had always been worthy recommend holders. Our four sons and one daughter were preparing for their missions shortly… what was he really saying? He simply revoked our recommends.
    We had been in anguish since my patient, friend, and fellow ward members had told my Husband and I of their experience the week before. But, in retrospect it gave me the courage to look the people on the University Campus in their eyes, exercise my conscience, and sign their petition! That very evening before bed, I wrote our resignation letter(s) and hand delivered them the next morning to the Bishop and Stk. Pres. Plus, the US Post Office with the address to the SLC Records Dept. of the church.
    Many months of anticipation came and went without word. Finally, a short letter informing us for the first time that a disciplinary council had been held and “to preserve the integrity” of the Church, we had been excommunicated.
    It was a long collection of months and we took that opportunity as a family of seven to study outside sources, pray, and ponder about the religion we had been born into and sacrificed our lives for. By the time the letter releasing us from church membership came, the supposed insult had become in reality a relief and a new family joke that the church is delusional enough to allege it has “integrity” to “protect” from us. What a joke. We have been told we ought to appeal. No way… they did us a very big, very good, favor. We are free!

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