Comments (32)
  1. Carol Moody (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 9:47 am

    This story breaks my heart…this man needs to live his authentic self !!! His shame comes from a church that has marginalized, deemed, shunned their LGBTQI family …how very tragic !!! We hear words from the prophets, sing songs & read scriptures regarding “Love One Another” but they are mere words unless action takes place. My son came out at 17 the worst way possible by trying to take his life “he said I thought you couldn’t love me being gay” He had nothing but unconditional love from us & his brothers…but the church community, YM leaders, peers at school treated him like swine…dirty & vile in their eyes…..thank God we had a Bishop who stepped up & came to our sons rescue & ours. He is now 47, has a successful career & got married to his partner over two years ago !

  2. Scott Madsen (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 10:07 am

    It’s going to take people like you in your position to help the leaders hear the need to address this? Do your leaders know that you are gay? I understand the struggle it is real, and god be with you as you navigate this journey you are on!! Thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope that before your life is over that you can be your authentic self and help inspire others to do the same. Perhaps your calling is not as a stake president but one that can help others in the community understand and accept one another in love. You have taking a huge step in sharing your story. Thank you

    • Camille (reply)

      July 30, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Found it! Good note Scott. Might I just add the gospel can’t emphasize the importance of family enough. Family is the main purpose of the temples! It’s too bad the parents of this girl in the story are too caught up in their self image to realize the true importance of Gospel. Love and acceptance it key

  3. Valerie Nicole Green (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Well I am certainly saddened by the dilemma that you face personally as a Stake President who feels he must continue to hide himself from the world, what frightened me the most was the response, or perhaps lack of response, to the counsel you provided to that couple about loving and accepting their daughter.

    That poor young woman may be scarred for life. We can only pray that their self protection does not result in a loss of life, a result that occurs far too often.

    The story highlights one of the main reasons (besides my personal faith) I continue to be an active member of the church while being a fully socially transitioned transgender woman. I try to do that quietly, simply being visible, offering support to those who need it, and telling my story when and where I think it might help others.

    I pray that that couple and so many others like them can find their way to removing their own children and other family members from their own personal altars.

  4. Jenifer (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 11:03 am

    It’s time we all accept humans are sexual beings and we need to except that sexuality cannot be muted or changed. Love yourself, accept yourself. You are not flawed. The church is .

  5. Harper Scout (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Dear Brother,
    My heart is breaking for you. You are a good man, who deserves, like all good people, to be authentic in creation. There is no reason to NOT live your faith AND your authenticity. The only beings you have to be accountable to is you and God. That’s it. I am a wife, and wives know. Even if they don’t know how to articulate it, they KNOW. Every day you put it off is a day she could be fostering a new and exciting relationship with someone who could love her completely. My best friend denied his wife this for years, and now they are still best friends—they love each other so deeply—they raise their kids together like they always have—and both of them are married to people who can love them completely. It’s a beautiful expansion with FINALLY no limits. It is scary and raw and outside of everything you know. But it is real and honest and ….the ability to be able to really breathe deep again and enjoy the air going through your lungs—it’s EVERYTHING. To know you’re ALIVE, and that everything you’re feeling is more than ok. You will learn Christlike love, and where and who your true family is. And they will be precious to you. It is SO hard. But it is SO worth it. Dear Brother, because you are a good man—to Thine own self be true. This is EXACTLY what God put us here for.

    Much MUCH love to you.

  6. Crazy Woman Creek (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Be gentle on yourself. What a brave post.

  7. Loren Lunt (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Internalized homophobia is alive and well in the church – by avoiding labels (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, etc) our LGBTQ brothers and sisters see themselves as broken and unworthy. Natasha Helfer-Parker has some great stuff about this in her podcast, Mormon Mental Health. Our church – as spoken by Oaks and Bednar – would have us deny that people are gay because being gay is an act not an identity. Thank you, brother, for coming out to us and for admitting the harm caused as a result of shame. Be strong, but cut yourself a ton of slack – show yourself the same grace you showed the family with the lesbian daughter.

  8. Rich (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Dear President,
    I am a therapist who works with members who are also LBGTQ. Please avail yourself of a knowledgeable therapist to help you. You are not alone. I’m sure you have many in your life who love you. Whatever you decide, follow your heart. I wish you peace.

  9. Connell O'Donovan (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Mormonism, at its very core doctrinally, is heterosexual. At the center is Divine Heterosexuality: Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother(s?) Either you and I do not (CANNOT) exist as intrinsically, essentially Gay, or Mormonism is ultimately false, because “Heavenly Father” would never create children who cannot be exalted into divine heterosexuality – could never create such a seriously flawed Plan of Salvation. So Mormon leaders have embraced “SSA” – we are NOT Gay men, we are straight men with “same-sex attraction” – heterosexual but broken, lost. But guess what? I’m GAY – not a broken heterosexual. Ergo…well, you fill in the rest. You are in an abusive relationship with a religious institution that does not want you to exist. I hope you find a way to get out of that abuse. The LGBTIQ community awaits with open arms to embrace and love you just as fabulously Gay as you are! We await you with all our anger, messiness, heart-ache, love, fears, insecurities, hope, desires, politics, fabulosity, magic, campiness, dry wit, and cutting-edge fashion . It’s called LIBERATION. Get ready to set your Self free, my Brother-Sister-Beautiful Being! We hope to see you at Queer Pride 2020, flying your Rainbow flag with dignity and joy! (Really, it’s OK! You can do this!)

  10. Nathan Kitchen (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Dear President,
    About 12 years ago Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to our Stake. Like you, at the time I was married to a woman, held high level callings, yet knew myself to be completely and intrinsically gay. Elder Scott stood and spoke from his heart, saying he felt his message was one someone needed to hear that day. He spoke of the damage and self-harm that is done when one lives a double life. He spoke of the peace that comes when two halves of ourself can meet and become one. He encouraged anyone who was living a double life to find the peace of the Savior and live life as one whole and complete person.
    At that point in life, no one except me knew I was gay, yet it created such a dichotomy within me that it was causing internal strife and much self-hate. Keeping the two apart for many years was taking a toll. It was starting to affect even the “non-gay” aspects of my life. It was frightening. I asked myself the same questions you have here in your post. I want to come out. How will I face the perceived loss? Who will accept me? Who will trust me? Who will not see as broken?
    I realized that God was speaking to me through Elder Scott, and it guided me as I came out and merged the two parts of me into one. It was a hard process and it will be a hard process for you. You have brought a long a lot of people with you as you have forged ahead in life using the best information you had at the time. No one will fault you for that. But I want to tell you that Elder Scott was right. Once I merged the two parts of me, and came out in all aspects of life, it was NOT the end but a peaceful beginning. It was a wholeness of self that I had not felt since I knew I was gay 40 years ago. It is quite possible that Elder Scott was not only speaking to me that day, but over the years his words and counsel speaks to you.
    You have made a very brave step in writing your thoughts here. In the past, you have obviously made the best decisions with the information you had at the time. And this letter indicates that you have new information and new realizations. Carrying a double life in isolation is a dangerous path to one’s mental and spiritual health. You have asked for help and I am here to offer it to you.
    I am the President of Affirmation. Affirmation offers safe and loving communities for LGBTQ individuals and their families. We stand at the intersection of LGBTQ people and the Church and offer unconditional support. I know that isolation is damaging, especially once someone understands themselves as you do now. I have experienced many of the same things you have. I offer you the safe and confidential space to contact me directly. You do not have to come out ever, nor under anyone else’s timeline. But I offer you an understanding ear in extremely confidential and protected space to talk.
    Sincerely and with Love,
    Nathan Kitchen

  11. Dave McGrath (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Up-thread you are called a “good man.” Sorry. You harmed people. You know what you have to do. Now go do it.

  12. Shasta (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Being gay is not a sin. It is no more a sin than being Jewish or Black or White. It is important that we are morally clean. I have recently learned that I belong to the LGBTQ group. There is letter that is missing that describes me. LGBTQA. I’m an Ace. I don’t know why these things are but they are.

  13. Shari Crall (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Dear President, you are finding your way, continuing on a journey you have already been on a long time. I honor you. I have faith much has been prepared. I support you. Carry on!

  14. Zoey Shark (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    As you know, because you have contributed to it with others, there will be pain, heartache, and great loss if/when you come out. Do you not come out to protect your calling as Stake President as those parents are hiding their daughter to protect their own pride?

    When you finally decide to be your true self you will actually feel a great weight lifted from your shoulders.

    But I will warn you, you will find out who your true friends are…and it will surprise you. People you think are your friends in the church will turn their backs on you and pretend you don’t exist.

    People I thought I knew best, and I thought were open minded we’re the ones who turned the first when I came out. The one I was afraid of the most of coming out to, my mother surprised me the most. Her immediate response was “you are my daughter and I will always love you.”.

    You will also realize the church does not like LGBTQ members. You can have your own relationship with God in your own way, but not as a Mormon. You will be ostracized no matter how hard you try. I’m sure you know that bc as a Stake President you have participated in that with others.

  15. Karen Bowler (reply)

    July 28, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    🙁 Sending you Love and good vibes!!!!! <3

  16. Patti ottoson (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Does your wife know?i think you need to come out. If you stay worthy then I am sure you can stay in I. Your church calling. There is a girl in our ward she got up in Sunday school introduced herself , she is new in the ward and said plainly she is fat. She has spoke in church and always has very good comments in the 2 classes. I have a high respect for her for being opened and honest. Put yourself in your wife shoes, not fair that you don’t tell her. Good Luck. 😃

  17. Shari Watson (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 7:36 am

    What a nightmare you are living sir. This kind of thing needs to stop! No human should have to live imprisoned in their own life because of what is certainly getting to be the minority thinks of them.
    You need to use your unique position as a stake president to do some good for the cause here.
    I feel for you I really do and I can imagine it will be monumentally hard to even make a small step forward in living your truth, but you cannot continue to hurt others in your position when you know the truth!
    You can do hard things. Think of all the hard things you’ve asked others to do that go against their nature and start there. Good luck and God speed.

  18. Christopher Jensen (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 9:07 am

    I have a few questions. 1) Why now? After years of hiding and self shaming and running away, why are you feeling this tremendous pressure to “come out” now? 2) So you’re gay. And….??? Why does it matter and why does your quality or normalcy of life have to change? You’re attracted to other men. That’s ok. Why not just accept your attractions and feelings and move on and perhaps use it to be a force for good? One can be “gay” and still be an active member in the Lord’s church. There are no other options if you have faith in and desire to keep your temple covenants. Just live your life, with your same sex attractions, within the bounds the Lord has set. 3) Why give in to the world’s self affirming need to slap a label on yourself? Especially at this point. To what end? Do you have an unfulfilled need for acceptance or validation? Are you desiring the affirming slap on the back from other LDS LGBT who will applaud you for achieving your “authentic self” all the while losing all of the other qualities and labels you define yourself with? It seems people become obsessed w/ the ‘gay’ label and then that’s all there is interesting about them when indeed there is so much more. 4) All good things cometh from God. There are no shades of gray. Either these promptings to ‘come out’ are God’s desire for you to do something good with it. Show and teach and help others who are in your same shoes. Or it’s Satan’s desire for you to join the ranks of 1,000s of others who have lost their way. Just my 2¢. Be careful who you let in to your circle of trust. There are LOTS of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  19. Louise Roberts (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 10:34 am

    If your true calling from God was to be in this immensely powerful position as that of a Stake President then have faith he (God) makes no mistakes. Your message in silence helps no one. Your message outwardly WILL have impact and if those you lead believe the same as most that your position was a direct calling from God then your message has value.

    If anything trust in God. You have thus far and look where you have been brought. Now it’s up to you to use it 💕

  20. Trey adams (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    My personal recommendation – coming from my own personal coming-out experience – is to seek out a friend, a confidant from the gay community to talk to, to confide in, to bear your heart to. I owe a great debt (perhaps my life) to the two kind and understanding men who talked to me and who allowed me to talk. Their concern was genuine. You are driven to unburden yourself. If you don’t, it could affect your emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. At least it was deeply affecting mine. I am unbelievably happy and, more importantly, at peace. You should find your path; you can still maintain your position while finding yourself.
    As another said, there are many so willing to help. Blessings.

  21. Kai Cross (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Realizing that Mormonism was wrong about being gay was the catalyst to discovering that all religion is essentially mythology. The “proof” all religions use is emotional (spiritual feelings). It’s not based in evidence. Realizing that it was ALL false set me free. I believe in love and acceptance and kindness and living ethically. I’m so much happier now that I’m free from Mormonism!

  22. Emily Vandyke (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    When you asked for help all I could think about are all the people it also takes to fall from the collective effort to create a human bridge across the divide. Because that’s what this is. It’s a human bridge. There is no doctrine there to help. There is no scaffolding because there is no blueprint for this. So you decide. Will your coming out add 6′ of solidarity to the length of the bridge? Will you have enough support to sustain your position, can you bear the weight of the traffic already rushing onto the unfinished bridge? Each person decides how much, when and what they have to give because right now all we have are sky hooks.

  23. J (reply)

    July 29, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Sincere question and comments with the caveat that my biggest fear is that they’ll hurt or offend someone. Please know it is not my intent but I realize I too suffer from blind spots although I’m trying to understand them.

    So my question – it seems most believe the only options are to stay closeted and stay in the church or to come out and leave the church? Is that accurate?

    I can tell you that, as a straight man, and having had more than one discussion with straight friends, that those who are gay and “active”, attend the temple, etc are an absolute inspiration to me and to us. I can only imagine how hard it is for you and I pray you’ll know how special you are and that there’s many who look up to you. I want to be careful in saying that as I don’t want those who have come out and left to feel I’m judging them, that they don’t deserve support, aren’t special, and aren’t an inspiration to others. However, I worry many in the LGBTQ community who stay are unaware of the admiration, love, and compassion of the members in their Ward/Stake. I strongly believe that no one should feel that they’ll only be supported by members if they suffer in silence or that they’ll only be supported by the LGBTQ community if they come out and leave.

    President, my concern for you is not at all that you’re gay. My concern for you is that you seem to feel your only option is to hide from everyone and you’re suffering. It breaks my heart and that’s obviously not good for your mental health and I don’t believe that’s the way the Lord intended things. It’s only my opinion, but I don’t believe that it’s required to come out to all. Maybe for some that’s best. For others, perhaps not. Brene Brown has said that not all deserve (or can appropriately handle) our vulnerability and I think there’s wisdom in that. I am so sorry for the pain you feel. Please trust the Savior. He loves you as you are right now. Please talk to a leader or counselor or trusted friend.

    May God bless you on your journey. I have no doubt you’ve done your best and I pray you’ll find the peace you seek as you continue to do your best. I know members of your flock are this very day praying for your strength and I pray the same as well as for your peace.

  24. Katz (reply)

    July 30, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Please read the CES Letter. Please. Don’t wait for the leaders of the church to see the light. That is not going to happen. Ever.

  25. Miles Hunsaker (reply)

    July 30, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Hello Dear One of Us! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life and where you’re at. I understand my friend!!! I was 50 when I started coming out to myself and I faced the same crossroads six years ago that you seem to be facing. Know that you have a community of people who can hold that sacred space of coming out with you and know how to do so in a way that protects your situation. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need a listening ear and an understanding heart. You have so much support waiting to walk beside you.

    Warmest regards,
    Miles Hunsaker

  26. Scott Purves (reply)

    July 30, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    As the parent of a young woman who almost ended her beautiful life because she feared that her dad, me, would throw her away – please come clean. So many of us have hurt people we love because we followed the brethren. You’re a victim too. But if you are still “worthy” by church standards, then you are in a position of tremendous power. Come out, dear friend. Ask forgiveness from those you’ve harmed. It is really, really hard. But, you will save lives and get your integrity back. Sending love your way, absolutely nothing easy about this.

  27. Jim (reply)

    July 31, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    As a stake President, you have direct access to the general authorities. As such, sign your name to this letter and send it to President Nelson. I suspect you will be inspired by his response.

  28. Nobody you know (reply)

    August 6, 2019 at 7:22 am

    God made you as you are. He loves you as you are. You are enough.

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