Comments (10)
  1. Tyler Laws-Mahe (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 8:04 am

    I remember the difficulty of meeting investigators and members who opened up about being LGBTQ+. I had a strong testimony of the gospel and had felt God’s love deeply, but I also knew that joining the Church would foist more trials on them. The stigma that the Church produces against LGBTQ+ members also made me uncomfortable to come out, so I didn’t feel like I was allowed to share my personal experience to help them know they weren’t alone. It was a strange circumstance; two people hurting from the same struggle being unable to connect and support each other.

    I hope you’re capable of connecting to your investigators in the ways that I couldn’t and help them feel God’s love.

  2. larry dunning (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Bravo to this Mission President!! I’m sure his compassion came from his experience with his brother. Nevertheless, he showed you God’s grace, and that has blessed your life. Best of luck finding the right man. I admire your confidence in pursuing your path. Bravo to you, as well.

  3. Raffa (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Thank you for sharing that. I might share my story soon but for now I really enjoy reading others’ experiences. It’s hard, it’s painful and it shouldn’t be like that. Hope you fulfill your mission and meet you one day.

  4. Valerie Nicole Green (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I, an active transgender woman, had the missionaries in my home as part of their normal program for visiting ward members. When they got to the inevitable question of who I could invite to hear the Gospel, I had to tell them that most of my newer acquaintances are from the LGBTQIA community and that I did not feel that I could invite them into the current environment of the church. We then had a productive conversation about participation in the Church while LGBTQIA.

    It’s one thing for me to still be there with my decades of background and a still alive testimony. It’s quite another to have someone new hear the current messages from our leaders. I believe my ward members would welcome them, but the institution is a different story.

    A transgender friend is currently facing church discipline for, I’m told, dressing in the “wrong clothes” when told otherwise by their Bishop/Branch President. That strikes me as so bizarre given that in my ward, while restrictions were placed on my participation, I was never subjected to a Disciplinary Council. The Church is too quiet about their position on transgender members.

    I look forward to change sometime soon and try to remain patient. I was encouraged by this young man’s account of the discussion with his Mission President.

  5. Jon (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    It’s not a healthy environment to stay in no matter how much you would like it to be. Be comfortable with who god made you to be and love everyone as he teaches us to.

  6. Byron Barker (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Don’t waste the best years of your life and your youth in an unhappy, unauthentic situation, like Ed Smart. I grew up as a member of the Church and my partner served a mission. We’ve been together for 23 years.

    The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

  7. Micah (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I know you’re not in a place to hear this right now, but Mormonism will never not be a toxic place for LGBTQIA people. Ever. It is a gospel of exclusion. When your heart is ready, you’ll come to accept that truth. It will be deeply painful, as it was for all of us. But I can testify of the happiness and true peace waiting for you once you transition out of the church and accept yourself exactly as God made you. You are not a mistake, and your identity is not a trial. You are a perfect creation, meant to love manifest dynamism. So much joy is waiting for you.

  8. Cannon (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I feel strongly that this young man was lucky. Very lucky.

    That is not the case in most of the scenarios that we are seeing with this situation. I have counseled with many who have not had this type of loving experience. And some of those people are not here anymore due to this.

    Faith promoting stories are great and do give a small glimmer of hope. But it has taken so many years for this evolution to happen.

  9. Derek (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Did Chris the investigator join the Church? What happened?

  10. Loren Fay (reply)

    December 29, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    I love this elder’s story and the happy outcome… There are a few pockets of acceptance in the church membership, but not in the church as an organization. We need to keep planting seeds and help the pockets grow wider in our garden of Eden around the Tree of Life. We are an authentic part of “Man’s Search for Happiness.” That old film made for the 1965 NY World’s Fair about the plan of salvation could easily include LGBTQs with just a few changes, no big deal. (it is on You Tube, last time I checked.

    I knew there would be trouble when I came out about 1990… I eventually resigned in 1993, after hearing of the September Seven intellectuals being exed… a few friends tried to dissuade me from leaving, but I stated that if i ever got a boyfriend, they might change… my relatives eventually have gotten used to it and actually act fairly accepting of my situation, maybe because I am the genealogist and also keep in touch with them… I have done genealogy for 50 years and I share new finds via FB and WikiTree and sometimes on Family Search… My brother and I joined in 1963 after attending the Hill Cumorah Pageant, when I was 13. I did college at BYU and studied genealogy there and came back home to NY after finishing at BYU… here in NY I served in our FHC and also helped begin a very successful public genealogy society, which still is thriving today. So I had a very long LDS history before I realized my orientation at about age 40, and had 30 years in when I finally resigned.

    At the same time I was leaving the LDS, a new MCC church was opening in town, where we fully accepted everyone and had fun being our own church, I served on the board and went to district and general conferences along the way. My place there was nice, as I never seemed to care to be involved with dramas and I never feel I have to judge others, so I lasted about 15 years… I say because so many local churches are now welcoming, we no longer needed a gay church, so we let it go out of business. I have also tried Quakerism, Unity and Spiritualism in varying degrees… sometimes I feel spiritual clues for my research, that is my kind of Spiritualism now. I worked 40 years at the main hospital in town and am now on the verge of retirement in 2020!

    Our city of Albany, NY, is an educational center with about 20 colleges in the area and the oldest continuous LGBTQ Pride Center, which began soon after Stonewall and has continued ever since, though it has had good and bad years, it continues… With all of our student population, I feel that makes the difference. This display of diversity and acceptance comes also from our old Dutch colonial history. They seemed to welcome all people here! Each Spring we have a Tulip festival with Dutch customs, and the next month we have LGBTQ Pride in he same city park. Both have become very popular!

    All of this means that for me, life has been more easy and fun since leaving the LDS. I didnt have to deal with so much negativity and eventually, I learned to go out to dance and make friends in the community. At the same time, I basically kept the no drinking and no smoking rules and have become sort of a pillar or example for some who tell me that. Because of working in the hospital, I also learned about HIV when it began and decided it wasn’t worth the risk, so that helped me stay healthy, along with steadily working and weekly dance exercise at our local gay clubs. Life is good as I begin retirement year.

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