Jeff Hall | This past Sunday we had Stake Conference with Elder Ronald A. Rasband from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (For those not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ, Stake Conference is a regional meeting where about 8-10 local congregations meet together; it’s held every 6 months or so)

The night before going, I felt prompted to write a letter to Elder Rasband expressing my thoughts and feelings about being an LGBTQ member of the church and want to share the text of that letter with you here. I wanted to be bold and direct but also respectful in tone as I wrote it. I don’t know if anything will come of it or if I will even get a response, but I hope it helps inspire change and some path forward for LGBTQ members of the church. I was able to hand deliver this letter to Elder Rasband while shaking his hand after the meeting. Here is the letter:

3 Nov 2019

Dear Elder Rasband,

My name is Jeff Hall and I am a gay, active member of the church. I’ll keep this brief as I know you are busy, but I want you to know that from my perspective, there are a lot of LGBTQ members of the church who are in real, agonizing, deep emotional and spiritual pain right now. It feels like there is no place for us in God’s plan, not here, and not in the next life. The decisions we are faced with are impossible.

We have unique gifts. We want to serve. We want spirituality in our lives. We want a relationship with God. We want to be a part of this community, this church, and the gospel. We want to bear each other’s burdens that they may be light.

We want to have an intimate relationship and real love in our lives. We want to have families and children. We aren’t necessarily after a “LGBT lifestyle” (whatever that means). This isn’t just about some carnal desire for sex. I just want a family and to be loved and to serve and love others. That’s all. I’m sorry, but the current church direction of “stay celibate and it will all get worked out in the next life” isn’t really working for us. There is no hope in that. There is no comfort in that. There is not comfort in the idea that we will suddenly be made “straight” in the next life. That is potentially why so many of us commit suicide, is because there is nothing here for us, so let’s just move on to the next life. It is taught that we are here on this earth that we may have joy. How are we to have joy?

I can’t help to think and feel there is more knowledge to be revealed regarding our Heavenly Parent’s LGBTQ children. That is the beauty of the gospel and the church is that we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. That is the only thing that really makes sense regarding this, is that there is more to be revealed.

I don’t know what that looks like, but I can’t help feeling that there is more out there for us. There has to be. We are not broken, we don’t need to be changed, fixed, or given conversion therapy. God made us this way for a purpose. Our gifts are unique and bless and teach others. But we need love and we need acceptance, and we need a way to participate in the gospel that is meaningful and fulfilling and brings joy. Our current options for participation are not meaningful and fulfilling and are frankly depressing and full of unimaginable anxiety and stress.

Now I would ask, are the messages that are currently spoken in general conference and taught by church leaders regarding God’s LGBTQ children supposed to be comforting or hopeful to anyone– straight or LGBTQ? Is that how Christ would really minister to His Father’s LGBTQ children were he here on the earth? I honestly do not believe he would. He would love us, heal our hearts, and want to be with us. He would wipe away our tears and teach us. He would provide space and a place for us. He would have a message of hope and a path for us.

I don’t know what the path looks like. I have my personal ideas and theories and some personal revelation regarding it, but I am not able to receive that revelation for the church like prophets and apostles like you can.

Something is seriously broken in our church regarding this issue and I would plead with you and the rest of the brethren to please consider that—to talk with and sincerely get to know more of God’s LGBTQ children and LGBTQ families, to council together with new perspectives, and to honestly petition the Lord to find out what he really has in store for us and how we can stay in the gospel while being true to the way our Heavenly Parents created us to be and the unique gifts they endowed us with.

My heart aches; we are in deep emotional and spiritual pain. LGBTQ people are emotionally, spiritually, and literally dying here. Is there any Balm of Gilead for us? Is there a seat at the table of Christ for us? Is there a place in Christ’s Church and Gospel for us? And most importantly, is there a place in our Heavenly Parent’s Kingdom for us?

Your brother in Christ,
Jeff Hall

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Comments (16)
  1. Gloria (reply)

    June 22, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    As I struggle being the grandmother of two LGBTQ granddaughters, I am heartbroken that they and many others are lost from the light of Christ because of choices you make, willingly. You were not born that way. God designates gender into the body you are given by Him. You are not given the power to alter what God has given you. You are a child of God. God is all! There is no exceptions to your assigned gender! Yes, God loves you! You are His. He has provided you Scriptures that show you the Truth and the Way to His light. Satan is so powerful in these Latter Days! He has the power to lead you away from the only Absolute
    you are given on this earth, God, the father and Jesus Christ His Son. Stop asking the world to accept you. Your behavior and choices have determined where you are today. God’s world is not a world of confusion. The boundaries created by God’s word are Absolute. You cannot pretend you are special. You are one of many who have chosen to disobey him and take the attitude of arrogance and narcissism. You think you have the power to deface and destroy the gender of your body. Please know I love my granddaughters, very much! I hug them, kiss them and embrace them totally, but I will never accept their behavior! I pray for them, I bear my testimony to them, I will always, always stand with my Father in Heaven. You are a beautiful daughter of God, You are a valiant man chosen to come to this earth at this time. You can find your way to Him and He is waiting for you with open arms! Follow the Light! I love you!

    • LatterGayStories (reply)

      June 25, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      I am sorry your circumstances and limited experience in this space has led you to these conclusions. I invite you to listen to and better understand the experiences of the LGBTQ community and perhaps you can find the same love so many others find for people who are different than them. Because you invoke God so often in this comment, I would also refer you to the LDS Church’s website on LGBTQ topics. Even the Church refutes much of what you have written here. But again, the LatterGayStories experience is designed as a vehicle to allow people to listen and learn. Thank you for commenting and thank you for reaching out.

  2. Robert (reply)

    December 31, 2019 at 3:30 am

    THX Jeff,
    this is written so beautifully and expresses what so many of us feel and experience.

  3. Scott Jones (reply)

    November 19, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I want you to know that there are some non-LGBTQ members like me writing similar letters to the General Authorities and General Relief Society Presidency — and having continuing discussions with Bishops and Stake Presidents. Your letter is another confirmation of my personal thoughts and feelings. Thank you… and I hope you don’t mind me sharing a couple of your thoughts in future letters and conversations.

  4. Shanna (reply)

    November 18, 2019 at 5:35 am

    This letter is wonderful! Thank you for staying strong and helping the rest of our LGBT friends.

  5. Liberty (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Jeff, thank you for writing this. You really put a lot of my thoughts into one succinct space. Thank you for your work fighting for this issue. Thank you for listening to the inspiration to get this into Elder Rasband’s hands.
    Love you.

  6. Denise Hedelund (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    As a mom of a LDS gay son, I thank for your courage. You asked all the questions that I, too, want answered. My heart aches for my son who loves the gospel, but also wants a family and children.

  7. Lauralee Solimeno (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    I wrote an op ed about kindness to the LGBTQ community and was put on a 6 month probation. I love you for trying. I hope your response is different. Please emotionally prepare for backlash brother.

  8. Holly (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Every word of this letter is agonizing in its truth, breathtaking in its humility, haunting in its simplicity, and overwhelming in its faith.

    With all of my heart and soul, I join you in begging our leaders to actively, diligently seek further light and knowledge regarding LGBTQI. I pray for our leaders to allow revelation to flow into their minds and hearts on how God’s Plan FULLY INCLUDES – not excludes – EVERYONE, including our LGBTQI family.

    I continue to pray to our Heavenly Parents to help me – as a “straight” LDS woman – to be the ally, friend, advocate and decent human They expect me to be. I believe that the true Church of Jesus Christ will only truly welcome, bless, honor, celebrate and support EVERY Child of God on their unique journey. No empty chairs. No exceptions.

    Bless you, dear brother. Thank you for writing that letter, and for sharing it with Elder Rasband and with us. Hold on tight. I promise, you aren’t in this alone. You have a multitude of Latter-day Saints on all sides of the spectrum standing with you, and I believe multitudes on the other side of the veil rooting for you, including our Heavenly Parents and our Savior. Being a pioneer is always relentless and exhausting, but it paves the way to ease a burden for future generations. You are doing that, and I hope I can, too.

  9. Ryan Roberts (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I like I’m at that crossroads now. I’m planning on starting therapy again with some thought in my head that perhaps marriage to a woman is a matter of personal growth with God. But at the same time I fear that therapy will help me come to peace with my sexuality but I’ll have to leave the church and do my best to stay close to Christ on my own.

  10. Me (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Original texts in the bible never condemned homosexuality that reference was later added to replace original text discussion that man was to not lay with “little boys”…(go read a bible in German from 70 years ago) if folks could correctly see this change they would realize every phrase was in reference to grown men not being with children….then the LDS church might notice a problem with their stance on it also, but the LDS is all lies anyways, so not holding my breath they will make changes. Heck if the prophet can roll into Africa on his comfortable plane and tell the starving communities they owe more in tithes God would then give them blessings (they need water and food and shelter)…then off goes the prophet and wife blinged out in suits, jewelry and a private jet….The church doesnt care about all the suicides it’s causing, it cares about its image and profits.

  11. Kristin (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Thank you that was so beautifully written. Our family too is blessed with a LBGTQ child and has mixed feelings about the messages we receive and the future we strive for in our family. If only all members could feel this open, loving, and inclusive for all those around and among us.

  12. Lisa Glad (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Wow, Jeff. This is SO powerful and SO TRUE. I truly hope that Elder Rasband takes this back to the leaders, that they can open their hearts to the pain and desperation in our LGBTQ+ members and families, AND open their hearts to the wonderful souls that are part of the church! We are all missing out on the beauty and strength that could be enjoyed by ALL, if full inclusion and love became available and stated from the highest pulpits. I send you MY love, from the heart of a mother of two queer daughters, who mourns with you.

  13. Jolene Wright (reply)

    November 16, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I read this letter with tears running down my face. It was perfect in every way! If this powerful letter doesn’t get a response, it might just be my breaking point. I will pray with all my heart that you get a loving and heartfelt reply. Even if there is no black and white answer right now, this deserves to be addressed with love and empathy by the leaders.

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