Dr. William Bradshaw: A Life of Science, Service, and Compassion. Ep. 209-213

In this episode, John Dehlin interviews one of his former professors and mentors, Dr. William Bradshaw, on a wide variety of topics. Dr. Bradshaw has just recently retired from a rich and fulfilling career as a molecular biology professor at BYU in which he influenced thousands of students to continually be open to the best thinking of the sciences while still nurturing a robust, mature faith and spiritual life. Many report Dr. Bradshaw’s classes and their various interactions with him as pivotal to their finding a way to value the wisdom generated in both their heads and their hearts.

In this far-ranging discussion, Dr. Bradshaw takes us through the arc of his life, including his mission, experiences at Harvard, the circumstances of his career choice, and the surprise call he and his wife Marge received to serve as very young mission presidents in Hong Kong, during which service they had to wrestle with opening and closing missionary work in Vietnam. Dr. Bradshaw relates stories from his career at BYU, talks about science and religion issues, and reveals the way he faces challenges to his faith from Mormon history and scriptural studies.

Many Mormon Stories podcast listeners will already be familiar with one aspect of Dr. Bradshaw’s life from Episode 191, which featured a recording of the most recent lecture he gave at BYU on the biological origins of homosexuality–a lecture he has arranged and given every year for the past several years. Dr. Bradshaw first became prompted to study the research on this subject when his son Brett came out about his homosexuality. Since that time, the Bradshaws have been active members in various LDS groups for families working to support their LGBT children. They are currently serving as the presidents of LDS Family Fellowship. Brett and his partner are married and living in California, where they are raising their daughter.

Part 1 – My Early Years, Harvard and the Hong Kong Mission
Part 2 – Opening Vietnam to LDS Missionary Work
Part 3 – Reflections on My Career as a BYU Professor
Part 4 – Homosexuality and the LDS Church
Part 5 – Reconciling Thought and Faith as a Believing Mormon

Part 1 – My Early Years, Harvard and the Hong Kong Mission:

Part 2 – Opening Vietnam to LDS Missionary Work:

Part 3 – Reflections on My Career as a BYU Professor:

Part 4 – Homosexuality and the LDS Church:

Part 5 – Reconciling Thought and Faith as a Believing Mormon:


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  1. I cheated. I went immediately to Part 4 and listened to Dr. Bradshaw’s comments on homosexuality. I am in awe of him. I can only imagine the love their son has for his parents and their activism. I pursue the same role, but are as a ‘stand alone’ parent and thus not nearly as effective in witnessing to my community and my ward. I thought also, that your comments and directional control were inspired John.
    May the Dr. Bradshaw’s multiple a thousand times over in the LDS church of tomorrow, before anymore darkness closes in.

  2. I’ve only listened to the first part so far, but can’t wait to comment. I mostly just want to say thank you, Dr. Bradshaw. Your voice is one I need to hear right now.

  3. “In spite of…” “I mutter on…” The doctor puts almost a nostalgia to his current path, a yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. He explains that recollections of the goodness of past associations, often with high level LDS, binds him with the church of an earlier time. I think, I hope, I understand. I want my grandchildren to feel the emotions I experienced in old Mormonism too,
    but I also want them to practice critical reasoning. In the end, I recognize that the best place for them, is to live in the immediate here and now. I can slip back to a simpler time, while they explore the galaxy. I (being old), can see the assemblage of brilliant or noted persons or things. “The Glory of God is intelligence” can ring in my ears, while a different forward drummer of the Cosmos can be heard in theirs.

  4. The twinkle in Dr. Bradsaw’s eye was gone by #5. Dr bradshaw’s contence seemed to change from #1 and #2 to #5? If one of the best minds in the church is left to mutter along. What am I to do with my un educated mind with regaurds to all the tough questions John asked? If someone as great as Dr. B is left to mutter a long and think foundly of the past. What are the un educated of this church left to do, but be depressed?

  5. I’ve admired Dr. Bradshaw since I took Bio 100 from him at BYU – even though I didn’t do so well in his class. His care for each student was apparent, which really says something when you’re one student among hundreds in a section. I very much appreciated his insistence that the gospel could be compatible with scientific truth and seeking. It’s influenced me ever since. Thank you so much for this interview!

  6. It was heartening to hear Dr. Bradshaw describe his gay son’s wedding ceremony and party celebration with such love and admiration. The irony was not lost on me, however. As a parent who was “not worthy” to attend my son’s temple wedding last year, I thought, “wow! isn’t Dr. Bradshaw lucky that the gays don’t have the same exclusive policy regarding their weddings that the Mormons do.”

    The irony of the situation being that here we have the gays (who according to the Mormon Church are undermining my marriage by their marriage) demonstrating Christlike love and acceptance by inviting Mormons to their wedding and yet Dr. Bradshaw’s gay son would not be able to witness a beloved family’s mormon temple wedding.

    My son had literal strangers worthy to witness his ceremony but the Mother who bore him, loved and nurtured him, paid for his schooling and wedding and honeymoon expenses was not allowed to witness such an event. Insult to injury was that my “unworthiness” came from a place of integrity. My husband and I had just found out the Church’s lies to us about JS’s polygamy, Book of Abraham, multiple First Vision accounts, etc. and could no longer be true and faithful to a Church who did not accord us the same honesty it required of us.

    I, like Brother Bradshaw, also know a lot of gays and disaffected members who live much more honest and Christlike lives than a lot of members of the Church – especially the dishonest and judgmental members of the Church hierarchy. Yet, these are two groups that are ostracized and judged so harshly and wrongly by “men of God.”

    Very sad and very distasteful to say the least and i seriously doubt Jesus approves. It’s just not Christlike to exclude any family member from any joyous and momentous family event. My son was very sad and yet had no choice to do anything but what the Church said to do. Get married in the temple even if it excludes your wonderful and loving parents – making it a bittersweet day for all instead of a joyous one.

    I commend Brother Bradshaw for his Christlike love and acceptance of his gay son, husband and daughter. I’m glad he was not excluded from his son’s joyous and loving event.

    Thanks for the great podcast, John, and also for being my Christlike friend in real life.

  7. Thank you for a wonderful podcast. Dr. Bradshaw’s example uplifts me in so many ways. Thank you John, you are appreciated more than you know.

  8. Thank you so much for this interview. I didn’t have Prof. Bradshaw when I was at BYU, but I did work with him from time to time during my job. He is a great man, and its a pleasure to listen to someone who still holds to his testimony of the Book of Mormon while wading through the other parts of the gospel. I also had a spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon at a young age, and I can’t quite let go of Mormonism because of it. Yet, I don’t know if that experience was because God used a man made text to reach me, or if Joseph Smith really translated gold plates.
    Thank you for all the work you do John. I am sure his family will love to add this to their family history collection as well.

  9. I really enjoyed this interview. Dr. Bradshaw has so many wonderful stories and insights. I echo the sentiments that by the end, he sounded kind of sad and it listening to the end of the interview a couple times, it makes me still feel sort of bleak about the future. Like these questions that John and others are raising don’t really have many satisfying answers; like those of us who wonder about these things and who struggle with our faith are going to continue to be left our to dry by the church.

    I still am happy to know of people like Bill Bradshaw, and that gives me a fraction of hope. However, it is kind of disappointing to feel like 40 or 50 years from now I am not going to have any more answers than I do today. It really makes me wonder how I might reevaluate why it is we do what we do as Mormons.

  10. An incredible interview! I know that there are no easy answers to the tough questions but I would have loved to have had 1 more hour with Dr. Bradshaw where he could take stabs at how he reconciles the tough questions. I appreciated his honesty and openness of his life experiences. I can only hope for a future of more openness and less fear-based thinking/preaching within the Church. There is so much good in the world to be explored.

  11. Very nice interview. I appreciate Dr Bradshaw’s honesty in response to John’s questions in #5. He stated that he “cant go there” (address head on all the paradoxes, false history, unjust doctrines), at least this is honest and I respect this view.
    I am reading Sidney Rigdon, Portrait of Religious Excess by Richard Van Wagoner, and having the “true” history laid out before me, I wish at times I was still blissfully ignorant of these facts but alas I have “gone there” and cant go back. There are days I say as Dr Bradshaw, “I just wont go there” but I cant shake the implications of what I have discovered. With each interview of an intellectual such as Dr Bradshaw I am so hoping they have an answer or explanation for all the discrepancies but I have learned after listening to some great minds on these podcasts that there isn’t an intellectually honest explanation. There are no argument that can be made to dispute the real history of the church. The only real way to reconcile these things is to just “not go there”.
    He states, “if I believe my Mormonism all people of the earth are equal in the sight of the beings that put us here…the nicest things that happen to me are when I share love with people who think like I do and people who don’t think like I do. I can respect this. Thanks for the interview.

  12. This interview is tied with that of Carol Lynn Pearson for my favorite Mormon Stories ever. Thank you John and Dr. Bradshaw!

  13. What a wonderful series. Thank you for the time and effort. Dr. Bradshaw, to me, exemplifies the Good Samaritan. He is a wonderful example of one who loves the Lord with all his heart and loves his neighbor…

    He has inspired me to be a more thoughtful Christian and brought back some of the bittersweet lessons learned during my time at BYU (87-90).

    Thanks to both Dr. Bradshaw and John Dehlin for the gift of this podcast.

  14. What an example of how to live a decent life! People like Bill Bradshaw are why I choose to stay in the church in spite of all of the issues. Thanks a bunch to both of you!

  15. I’m confused…
    I hear President Packer speak about Homosexuality and then listen to this almost opposite take. I have only listened to a few podcasts but I get the feeling that this show is on the verge of anti-mormonism. I hope not to sound closed minded but I am just curious. Can anyone help to clear this up for me??

  16. @Taylor

    I don’t think that the podcast attempts to be pro or anti, it only tries to interview interesting people about their personal experiences in Mormonism. Dr. Bradshaw may say some things that at least appear to contradict what Elder Packer or others have said but I don’t think that makes it “anti-mormon”. It is just an honest expression of one’s thoughts and beliefs. With his professional experience, I think Dr. Bradshaw is uniquely able to speak to many of underlying scientific beliefs about homosexuality that influence our perception of it.

  17. Thanks T!
    I can say after listening to the whole Dr Bradshaw episode that without question he is a neat man with great experience. I just strongly disagree with his stance on homosexuality and that’s fine. Maybe it is the close-mindedness in me that wonders how you can have a testimony of the Church and have those views on homosexuality. What is to be said of the Proclamation? Anyway…very interesting stuff.

    1. I can have a testimony of the BOM and the Church without the belief that everything that comes out of a Church leaders is from God. The belief that God moves an apostle’s or Prophet’s lips and forces everything out of their mouth is against the concept of Agency. no LDS person believes everything that comes out of their leaders mouth…even the most ardent believers. How many modern LDS believe that Polygamy is required to reach the highest kingdom? How many LDS believe previous leaders when they said that black people are stupid and lazy from the preexistence? How about when a prophet told the saints that man would never go to the moon? How many LDS people today would accept the fact that Joseph Smith used a seer stone in a hat to translate the BOM? The BOM says not to trust in the arm of flesh. now, where does that leave us when it comes to accepting the Prophet and apostles as mouth pieces of God? Well, it comes to the idea of personal prayer and praying for confirmation about the truth of statements from Prophets. We are said to do it about the BOM (Moroni 10:3-4) and the Bible (James 1:5).

      Why do we feel a need to put our spiritual muscles on hold when it comes modern leaders? is president Monson better and less fallible than Moroni or Moses or Paul? This is not a church of blind faith. It is a church of light and men and women of the church need to learn to pray and rely on the spirit to guide them in all things. Even leaders make mistakes (remember the tile of the BOM where it says “If there are mistakes they are the mistakes of men?”

  18. @ Taylor

    There are lots of interesting interviews on the subject of homosexuality on this podcast. Listen the the interview with Carol Lynn Pearson for a viewpoint you (an many like you) have never considered. Definitely meant to combat close-mindedness. Remember, “The only enemy is the person whose story we have not heard!” Welcome aboard!

  19. @ Taylor

    It is interesting that you mention Elder Packer and the proclamation since both were edited last conference from the spoken to the print version. Elder Packer’s rhetorical question of “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” was removed and the proclamation was downgraded from being a “revelation”. I think it is likely that these changes came after the speaker was “tapped on the shoulder” by other general authorities. It may be very controversial to say but I think history shows that there is not always universal agreement among the Brethren on many controversial issues including homosexuality. You may want to listen to the second MS podcast about Greg Prince, part of which details how the change with blacks and the Priesthood came about. It opened my eyes to the process…

  20. I finished listening this evening. Thank you for a thorough, well thought out interview that explored many complex issues.
    Dr. Bradshaw exemplifies how a thoughtful, curious, faithful, studious, and loving individual can live gracefully in the vast expanse between black and white.
    I especially liked Dr. Bradshaw referring to deep spiritual experiences which he interprets as divine sanction of the Book of Mormon, missionary work, and priesthood blessings. Bradshaw contrasts his spiritual experiences with the frustration of being wronged by black and white thinkers who are unable/unwilling to see/exist in a world of nuance.
    I find myself agreeing with Dr. Bradshaw, when confronted with the most difficult of mormon theological problems, he pauses, sighs, and (I think cheerfully and wistfully) says: “I don’t know.”

    @Taylor: Just because it deals with Mormonism, a thing does not have to be classified as pro or anti Mormon. Sometimes it just is. Like us people.

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  22. @Taylor

    I would second the recommendation to listen to the Carol Lynn Pearson podcast. It was the first one I listened to I so far my favorite (I have almost listened to all of them now). I was always a bit divided in regards to homosexuality. On one hand I believed that we have living prophets but on the other I could not rationally condemn homosexuality without saying “because God says so”. After searching, pondering, and praying I became comfortable with the idea that although the Church is a good institution and that the leaders are often inspired, they are not immune to cultural prejudices. I believe that Homosexuality is one of those cultural prejudices that have bled into our doctrine. This is not the first time this has happened and it is not the last. The church is usually a bit slow at correcting these issues. For past examples of this I would recommend reading Lester E. Bush’s study of the priesthood ban (you can find it on google), study how the church has changed its treatment of homosexuality and explaining its origin, how the church has dropped the doctrine of plural marriage (compare some of the things John Taylor said to what Pres. Hinckley said to Larry King), study past teaching on birth control, womans place in society, slavery, Laminates/Native Americans relationship, ect. I do not bring these up to destroy testimony but to show that we should never just take what our leaders say at face value. We should study the issue for ourselves and seek personal inspiration to confirm what our leaders teach. The prophets do not have a perfect track record so we should not treat them as if they did. They are men and when it comes down to it we should ultimately not put all of our faith in the arm of the flesh. It is difficult to have absolute faith in something that has occasionally made mistakes. Holy heck this was a long comment. Sorry.

  23. I just finished listening to this Mormon Story. I couldn’t “not comment” if forced to. I feel spiritually enriched and uplifted in a way that I haven’t in a long time (probably since Carol Lynn Pearson;). In these 5 hours I have developed a great love, and admiration for Dr. Bradshaw. The only satisfying answer that one can give me in response to these difficult questions are the kind of answers that Dr. Bradshaw gave, i.e. “I don’t have the answer, its so personal, it feels right” and “I recognize that I could be wrong, having considered all the issues, but I’ll move forward with humility and faith in what feels so personally right and applicable in my life.” I love and admire that humble kind of faith. Dr. Bradshaw, your son sounds like a great man. It is obvious that you feel lucky and proud to have him and have learned from him. He is soooo lucky to have you. Thank you both for this great work. I LOVE MORMONSTORIES!!!

  24. I loved this podcast, thank you so much. This is the kinds of tvinga that gives me hope, and helps me eldige mormonism a little longer. I appreceiate dr bradshaw’s humility, and his attitude of posphoning judgement. We know so very little, the more I learn about things as they really are, the more I realize how little I know, and how little we as a human family know about the godly and spiritual.

    We need to put away our differences and just be loving, accepting, optimistic and stop judging. The less informed we are the easier it is to be judgmental towards others. Mormonstories has really helped me widen my world view, see other perspectives and let go of many predjudiced ideas. I shudder at the thought of how judgmental I was just a few years ago. With a widened world view comes the temptation to judge those we perceive with a more limited view (which we often recognize to be those who hold to our own previous view)… I just hope more people will get more informed in the church, even though the retoric from the pulpet often feels like an admonition to stick your head in the sand, and raise high fences against the perceived ‘enemy’.

  25. Great interview . . . can I just say that I so appreciated Dr. Bradshaw’s comments about women at the end of section 1. What he was saying seemed more nuanced and went much further than most people will. I am a stay at home mother and I can testify that there is very little honor to be had in changing poopy diapers and not much intellectual growth either. I also know that a HUGE portion of what the church is and accomplishes is due to the unsung work of women. They should be spoken of, honored, and given positions that name their work and give it the prestige it deserves. Thanks to Dr. Bradshaw for speaking up.

  26. I remember well Dr. Bradshaw’s honors class in ’93. We were debating the Iraq War, I was chosen to argue in favor of it and demolished my opponent and felt sick about it since I really opposed the war. That’s when I decided law school wasn’t an option for me, since I never again wanted to be in a position to argue something I didn’t believe in. Nice to see Dr. Bradshaw again.

  27. I am another student that was inspired by Bill Bradshaw. His pedagogy and calm promotion of evidence in pursuit of the truth about evolution and homosexuality has had a great impact on me.

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  29. We all need to be more informed as church members about these issues. It seems we never address or try to understand UNTIL it affects us personally. I’m a better church member since I have opened my eyes, ears and heart. Thank you John and William!

  30. May heaven’s blessings find you in abundance, Brother Bradshaw. I resonate to your son being a catalyst to accepting and loving our homosexual brothers and sisters. When my gay brother described how the attitudes and words of “red-necked church leaders” in his town convinced him that there wasn’t a place for him in the church anymore I was stunned. God’s organization for promoting the salvation of my brother convinced him that happiness lay somewhere else.

    Since then I’ve felt a need to affirm, if only to myself, a genuine, open-hearted respect and love for our homosexual brothers and sisters. Christ is the gold standard and only the pure love of Christ will endure. To the extent we embrace it we’ll find ourselves loving the whole human family if not all of their actions. Thanks for sharing your friend, Dr. Bradshaw, with us, John. A disciple of Christ.

    1. When I started teaching sections on the old and new testaments in my world literature course, I was not then much of a biblical scholar. I knew if I were to be taken seriously by my colleagues ana students, I had better become a better one, so I made a massive study of both testaments. Even though I had read the bible from cover to cover twice, i had never studied it well enough to teach it professionally. One important thing that I learned was the nature off god. From his own words in the old testament, i learned that he was
      a narcisisitic, murderous,jealous, vengeful, and unusually cruel being. He is the one who said that any man that lies down with another man is committing an abominable act and just be destroyed. Yes, that is a paraphrase of Jehovah’s words to his chosen people. They sound quite cruel and literal to me. // My study of the new testament taught me that Jesus Christ is no other than Jehovah of the old. Therefore, he is the same person who declares that any man who who lies down with another is committing an abominable act and is worthy of destruction. My admonition to those of you who believe that being cruel to homosexuals is not being Christ like May need to reconsider your position on the issue in it’s entirety. // By the way, my deeply-involved studies of the bible have lead me to similar studies of mormon sacred books, which in thier entirety have lead to me becoming a non belierver of any religion.

  31. Dr. Bradshaw is already beloved in our family mythology as one who kept me IN*: his humble honesty about his Mormon scientific experience and belief in me as a young scientist and his student was critical to my development as a thinker and believer at BYU. And unlike an earlier commenter, I’m not discouraged by his admission that he doesn’t have all the answers yet. I’m learning comfort within paradox and uncertainty. I’ve been often buoyed by my memory (and frequent repetition) of the last line in a lecture I heard Dr. Bradshaw deliver (memory paraphrases it): “It will be right there on the big bulletin board in a heavenly hallway, a small white card advertising a fireside: “Christ: How I did it”, and I’ll be right there in the front row, between Charles Darwin and Bruce R. McConkie. And we’ll all be amazed.” Patience, a willingness to be wrong, and a heart that yearns for and celebrates truth: all well modeled. I was so excited to see these interviews. Thanks, John (*the other major reconciler in my life was the colloquium you often mention with Drs. White, Lyon, and England. You were one of our TAs)

  32. Br. Bradshaw is a courageous and compassionate man. Any of us who have taken our Church experience seriously can relate to the challenges he has faced. Having heard his lecture on the biological influences behind homosexuality, I knew it wouldn’t be long before john steered the discussion towards this area. When I heard these lectures I was unaware that Bill had a gay son, so wasn’t sure of his motivation for the research. i think he shows wisdom in advising research into other explanations of the narrative. I’m disappointed to hear disaffected Mormons say they lost their faith when they read a book by a an apostate, without considering the accuracy of the research in the book. It’s amazing how many errors are glossed over. The church now has a body of intellectuals who can usually point out the errors or offer explanations to the evidence. I have mixed feelings on the topic of allowing same gender parents to raise children. I believe every child deserves a mother and father. it’s one thing to say Bill’s grand-daughter is being raised by a loving biological father and step father, but who will be the mother? What will happen when the girl matures and realizes that she has been deprived of a normal upbringing? This is a difficult one for me as I have a gay daughter raising my grand daughter after the break up of an abusive marriage to a man. Would i be saddened if she decided to have an engineered child to a lesbian partner? I think I would, but there are so many worse situations in which children are raised these days. I’d be interested in seeing how children who have grown up in this type of family have turned out. Maybe John could run a podcast interviewing such children. I’d be interested!

    1. Terry, Dr. Bradshaw is my uncle, and rest assured that his granddaughter Madeline is being raised by two wonderful, conscientious parents. I haven’t seen Brett, Jeff and Maddy in several years, but when I met her (she was somewhere between 8 and 10) I was very impressed with her. Homosexuality isn’t something you can be taught or tempted into. Maddy is growing into a fine young woman because she has two parents who wanted her, planned for her, are devoted to her, as are their extended family. And she does have various female role models in her life. To date, the research on children raised by same-sex couples is very positive as to how the children are turning out. Now, will she someday resent her parents for something? No doubt! What kid doesn’t? But Brett and Jeff are both very fine human beings and Maddy is in good hands. We should all be so lucky. As to “an engineered child,” Maddy is the product of the union of sperm and egg, like any other child. The process of her conception was no more technological than that of countless children of heterosexual unions where there were fertility issues. Get over it.

  33. This interview left me baffled. Dr. William Bradshaw was presented with the situation of having a gay son that forced him to consider the teachings of the church in depth on the issue of homosexuality. His extensive research on the subject has allowed him to put what church leaders teach as truth aside on this issue, and still feel that he can participate as a fully active LDS.

    Dr. Bradshaw is clearly a very intelligent, thoughtful man with extensive life experience, yet it seems after this life lesson he failed to extend his investigations into the teachings of the church any further. He now knows that what Packer et al teach is God’s word on homosexuality is not. It not only conflicts with science but with human empathy, compassion and even common sense. Why then has Dr Bradshaw given church authorities a free pass on other difficult issues that may no affect him so directly? Why has he decided to allow these men to LIE, alter doctrine without any claimed revelation, pretend their new approach was there all along, and ignore facts, then attribute these actions to human imperfections? Men who speak with Christ would not act this way. These are not errors or human frailties at work, they are pro-active obfuscations and distortions of facts in order to manipulate the masses. They are planned and executed with eyes wide open. They are dishonest, and not the mark of a true church.

    I don’t know what Dr Bradshaw experienced at college that makes him able to accept all the contradictions, errors, plagiarisms, nonsense and irrelevancies of Mormon scripture, or the utter filth spoken by the “Lord’s anointed” in his name concerning women, non-whites and gays, but I assume it was what is considered a “warm fuzzy”. It must have been one heck of one for a man of such intellect to turn his back on this God-given gift and ignore TRUTH.

    I’m happy Dr Bradshaw found the truth regarding homosexuality, but that is just one step on the ladder out of the pit of suspended disbelief, fear of saying what is right, and the widening of knowledge. In a true church, ALL things will point to it being true. There will be no need to ignore abject nonsense and feel afraid to speak facts. In God’s church, rubbish is tossed aside, not ignored by those who should know better and taught by those who don’t. In God’s church, all knowledge could be discussed, not stifled. Is the glory of God intelligence or not?

  34. I loved this podcast. It was fascinating and enjoyable from beginning to end. There were some professors at BYU that really shaped my view of the world, and I never even heard of Dr. Bradshaw the entire time I was there. That’s too bad.

    I remember seeing that billboard in Salt Lake. “Somebody You Know And Love Is Gay” – Or something along those lines. At the time I remember thinking to myself something like: “Wow, the gay people are at it again. They’re determined to cram their worldview down our throats. They’re advertising. They’re recruiting. These are the last days! Here we come Sodom and Gomorrah.”

    I’m really grateful for the last several podcasts discussing homosexuality with actual people, and actual data about it. As a heterosexual guy (I don’t even understand what women see in men) I have a very hard time –as Dr. Bradshaw stated– having empathy for the absolute dilemma faced by gay and lesbian Mormons. But these podcasts really have helped. Thanks John.

    I remember a few years back eating lunch in the Wilkinson center, and overhearing a BYU student expressing dismay at the intolerance toward gays, and how gay marriage isn’t a threat to anybody etc… I totally interrupted and tried to explain all the ways it was an actual threat. The look on that kid’s face brings me feelings of regret now.

    I’ve been surrounded by such great people, who are smart, and hard working for all of my life. How is it that I completely echoed the ‘pro-family’ propaganda? How come it took me so long to get hold of basic information?

    This is my favorite podcast on Mormon Stories so far.

  35. I am a grown man, and this series literally brought me to tears. Thank you Dr. Bradshaw, for putting yourself out there for the rest of us that echo your sentiments. Thank you John, for allowing the rest of us along on your journey.

  36. Dr. Bradshaw is filled with compassion and kindness and a mature faith which recognizes a clear line between intelligent questioning and the kind of reading “from the lamp of one’s own conceit” which marks the intellectual’s road to apostasy. His “I don’t know” to loaded questions is so refreshing,(see 1 Ne 11:17)particularly compared to the answers posited by so many who seek to find fault with the church, claiming superior research and intellectual enlightenment. The interviews were well done, mostly listening to one from whom we may learn much. But the last of John’s questions seemed to me to be posed not from a genuine desire to tap Dr. Bradshaw’s experiences and insights as much as to invite Dr. Bradshaw to rise and stand on John’s soapbox and ratify the interviewer’s position. Dr. Bradshaw has a depth of faith and integrity which kept him from rising to the bait. Would that we could all recognize the strength that comes of real humility. Thank you, Pres. Bradshaw. Gaan jeung louh, heung gong chuhn douh bouh 1971-73

  37. This interview was wonderful. We need more LDS people like Dr. Bradshaw to find a voice in the public sphere: they are the hope for our future as a religion that values knowledge and integrity as well as faith (instead of merely paying lip service to the former two principles and redefining the latter to mean “believes whatever 15 old men say, regardless of personal experience”.

  38. I would like to comment about the comments first.

    For a group that attempts to view things in a unique way, I felt that like a traditional cultural Mormon, the previous group of comments fell into a deep dogmatic funk, perhaps even more than is common amongst the traditionalists. This is a serious counter culture, determined to be unique, but so opposed to critical thought when it comes to metropolitan issues. The only opponent is conservative Mormon ideology. The stance of the rational mind is epistemological anarchy, yet nearly every statement is dogmatic. Dr. Bradshaw takes little time in either of the presentations on Mormon Stories to look at cultural theory, battle queer theory and nearly all of the social science’s analysis. The materialist/positivist approach to this question is a joke, as if there is a silver bullet to solve this question. If he does demonstrate that both homosexually and heterosexuality are natural, we are still in the same philosophical position. To me it seems that he is seeking after justification–if this is what you are looking for, you have found it. Every gay man or woman will tell you that this issue is not simply about the physical. The physical is only the tip of the iceberg. Admittedly, it is refreshing to here an active LDS man embrace the reality of same-sex attraction, but I think he missed the boat. Biology as ideology has nothing to do with humanity. There is a deeper more meaningful way to go about this and methodologies that require us to examine structure and biochemical interaction take us further away from the real issues. Reality is not found by pinning down nature and capturing her secrets. If you describe the basic fabrics and materials used to make a blanket, you have not understood warmth. Reality is found through a much more serious study of the divine, understanding self, teasing out causation structures within humanity, uncovering a space where reality is our values, relationships, ethics and spirituality. I am sure the biology of sexual attraction will matter more as soon as we have dissected social, religious and cultural realities. Furthermore, seeing homosexuality as a separate category from heterosexuality and discovering the physical differences between them simply makes gay men and women an even smaller minority. Empathy is good, but what he has done is a form a segregation.

    1. OK, if he missed the boat, what’s the boat? He didn’t say that homosexuality and heterosexuality were two distinct states, but that they’re both on a spectrum of human sexuality. Perhaps you missed that.

    2. given that the basis of your argument is correct and his explanation further separates the difference between homosexual v heterosexual attraction…isn’t he allowed the opportunity to make sense of something in the language that he speaks? I don’t think he is trying to say it is the ONLY way to explain the differences, it’s just what he needed to do to help him break from what he had previously thought. We should all be allowed to let our thoughts evolve without being attacked for being incorrect. 

      When we move from one school of thought to the other, we very rarely are transported there, it’s a gradual movement, a slow walk, maybe a run, regardless we don’t just appear at the new thought, we must travel there.

  39. I found the interviews with Dr.Bradshaw engaging and captivating – particularly when talking about the beautiful wedding his son experienced. Thanks for bringing such an wonderful Mormon to our attention.

  40. I enjoyed this very much. I think Dr. Bradshaw seems like and incredible soul. I understand somewhat his difficulty with John’s last question about Ocam’s razor and all the conflicts. I also understand how Dr. Bradshaw relies on his prior spiritual experiences. I find myself doing the same though I think I am more along the lines of knowing the Mormonism is not what it claims but still that there is powerful inspiration in it from some higher power if there is one. Even with all its foibles it works for me. I just wish we could be more open about many things. That is why I love and support Mormon Stories.

  41. I’m still surprised at how much I love Mormon Stories podcast!!! I am a non-Mormon, atheist Jew, and a member/leader of several secular-nontheist groups. I attribute my interest in the podcast to John’s interview style and the quality of his guests. I have been especially impressed with Dr. Bradshaw, even suggesting his discussion of homosexuality (Episode 191) to several of my GLBT activist friends and secular associates. While much of the MSP content is of particular interest to Mormons and ex-Mormons, the issues of religion, religious doctrine/dogma, culture, faith, “god”, “God”, rational inquiry, skepticism, intellectual honesty, family/society dynamics, etc., etc., etc., are of interest and concern to us all. Dr. Bradshaw demonstrates a wealth of maturity and intellectual curiosity. He is respectful of his own insight and experience, and strives to have a similar respect for the insight and experience of others. A great role model. This gives me GREAT confidence that we can move forward together in creating a more loving and just world as we necessarily agree to disagree on some of life’s most profound questions.

  42. Thank you John for this wonderful interview. I enjoyed every minute of it. Dr. Bradshaw’s faith, love and compassion come out beautifully in this interview. He is a wonderful man. I sometimes struggle with all of the things that I see in the church that are very frustrating to me. I loved Dr. Bradshaw’s explanation of faith. I too, am finding that it is the only option as there is so much that I do not know. I often have a hard time getting up in testimony meeting because I don’t feel that I can honestly say that I “know” most of the things that others profess to “know”. It seems that the more I learn, the less I “know”. Faith is definitely a gift from God, and I seek that gift.

    1. so is murder, yet God blessed Nephi with the impression that it was the right thing to do. Sometimes we are faced with making decisions in the face of what we can not understand.

  43. Thank you so much for this in-depth interview with my Uncle Bill. How I wish I’d taken classes from him when I was at BYU. His gentle, humble spirit is so heart-warming. In my mind, he is the model of a truly Christ-like person.

  44. This guy needs to go around and give fireside talks to people in the church. This is good stuff about homosexuality that all members church need to hear!

  45. I just felt so much for this man at the end, because despite his optimistic outlook, there was evident pain from all that he’s been through and from which he continues to struggle.

    I also find it interesting that he is quick to state statistics defending homosexuality, yet when faced with evidence surrounding actions of leaders and the Standard Works, he excuses himself by saying he’s not smart enough to comprehend the answer.

    It’s a true testimony of the impact of familial and emotional ties binding one to something.

  46. I just felt so much for this man at the end, because despite his optimistic outlook, there was evident pain from all that he’s been through and from which he continues to struggle.

    I also find it interesting that he is quick to state statistics defending homosexuality, yet when faced with evidence surrounding actions of leaders and the Standard Works, he excuses himself by saying he’s not smart enough to comprehend the answer.

    It’s a true testimony of the impact of familial and emotional ties binding one to something.

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  50. Dr. Bradshaw’s candor, reflections, and insights were very appealing. His willingness to state that he is not interested in seeking answers to certain questions was very frank and refreshing, and I appreciate his openness. His views on sexual ethics was a bit troubling. If a person is ethical in other parts of their lives, does this transform their immoral acts into ethical behavior? President Kennedy was an excellent president but does this mean we should celebrate his adultery? Also, I would disagree with Dr. Bradshaw that the desires of adults outweigh the needs of children.

    I would also like to add that the younger generation not supporting marriage, i.e., anti-prop. 8, does not speak well for the merits of same-sex marriage since this is the generation with the least experience with marriage, nor did they hear the arguments for no-fault divorce (such as, children of divorced parents are as happy, or happier, then children of married parents) and so do not realize that those faulty arguments are being regurgitated today in support of same-sex marriage.

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  52. In my world lit class, which included sections on the old and new testiment, I felt woefully unprepared to teach those sections, so I did a massive amount of study about the bible, trying to find the most respectable scholars I could. Even though a true believing mormon, I tried to find religion-neutral scholars because as an employee of the state, I could teach the religious literature of any group,past or present, as long as I could remain neutral and not advocate for a particular religion, including my own, in class. // Although, in my personal studies, I had read all the sacred literature of the church, including the bible twice, it wasn’t until my study got intense That I started to pay closer attention to what I read about the god off the Old Teastament. ( permit me an aside near ) Whenever I began a class on religious literature,.I told my students that we were only going to read and interpeate the actual words on the page and not depend on any particular religion’s interpretations. // If bible passages say god is jealous or envious or mysogynistic or vengeful, then that is what the passages mean. If god in his anger kills many thousands of people, his own as well as foreigners, we can be lead to believe he’s a psychopathic murderer, so when that god declares that any men who “lie down together,” i. e., To have sex, which he declares abominable and worthy of death, we either believe he means what he says or that he is homophobic. This horrible god’s name is jehovah. The truth is that the old testament portrays Jehovah as a terrible being. As child in Sunday school and primary, the things I learned there often confused and scared me. I much preferred the loving, forgiving kinder stories about Christ from the new testament, until as an adult when I was taught that christ was the jehovah of the old testament. In time, when I finally understood what that message meant and it’s ramifications, not only could I no longer trust the words of jehovah, but also I could no longer believe the words of christ. Finally, I could no longer believe any institution advocating belief in any god. // Now when I hear of people using religion to justify their hate and prejudice, I feel the people are dangerous to the society they share with all other human beings. I especially feel this way about the general authorities of the LDS church and those of us poor souls who once did or still continue believe them.

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