My name is Carol Hall Moody, I’ve been a member of the LDS Church all my life & married my sweetheart John C. Moody in the LA Temple…we have been married for almost 48 years in January. We were blessed to have 4 sons, Robert, Rick, Ron & Roger….our children are married, Robert’s husband is Glen, Rick is married to Laura, Ron died in 1997, at 21 years old from suicide & Roger is married to Hilary. We have two wonderful grandchildren Zander & Olivia from our youngest son & his wife.
After moving from Sugarhouse to a new home in Sandy….our oldest son Robert who was 12 at the time was met with a lot of bullying & later taunting & name calling (fagot, gay boy, freak) & other names that I won’t repeat. This continued on & later after Young Men’s a group of boys would take him in the bathroom & beat him up. When I’d see him that night I asked Rob what had happened that he had marks on his face, he always responded that he was clumsy & fell!
It wasn’t until his brother Rick went to YM/Scouts that he told me that the boys were either hitting Robert or swirling his head in the toilet…..we talked to the leaders but nothing was done to correct the situation…the leaders just claimed “well, boys will be boys” This behavior also occurred at middle school.
Robert dated off & on some girls in high school…he was slender in build & loved drama & art…& became an Eagle scout ! At 17 years old he came out in a very sobering way…I was at work close by to our home when my best friend & her husband appeared in the infant class & with the look on their faces I knew something was dreadfully wrong, Mary said “Carol, you need to come with us…Robert is at Alta View Hospital, they think he will be ok ? And when they got me in the car on the way there they said “Robert tried to take his life with carbon monoxide poisoning”…
I was in shock…but thankful that his life was spared. When Robert saw me in the emergency room..he said, “mom, I’m gay and I thought if you guys knew that, you couldn’t love me anymore, so it would be better if I wasn’t here.” John arrived soon after….& then our Bishop came to support Robert & us. The Dr’s advised that Robert needed to go to Uni up near The University Hospital, so he spent 2 weeks there & then came home and continued on with counseling. Changed schools & was on Peer Leadership to help others that were having depression & other issues. I talked to Robert for days that turned into months that he was loved unconditionally by us & his brothers & that I saw he had a lot of talents that he needed to share with the world ! ( A side bar I found out what happened that day that saved Rob’s life…his good friend Clinton was supposed to meet Robert at Alta at lunch, when Rob didn’t come Clinton said “he had the impression that something was terribly wrong & immediately went to our home. As he walked by the garage on the way to the front door he heard a car running in the garage…& was able to slide a board under the door & open it, he drug Rob out & called 911 ! (the E. R. Dr. told us that the carbon monoxide level was so high that Robert would probably have damaged brain function…but he was perfectly fine) A miracle to say the least!
Our fears for Robert & our family were confirmed by rejection by various ward members, & we lost friends…it was like gayness is catching, so sad, some neighbors told their children, you can go over to Moody’s but if their gay brother is there then you need to come back home ! Wow….way to love thy neighbor!
He was ignored by “so called friends” when we were out in the yard or out shopping ! (at Robert’s 10 year class reunion several men came up to him & asked for his forgiveness for how they treated him in high school, when the main bully of the neighborhood Mom passed away, Robert expressed that we need to go to the viewing to show our support. We were impressed that he had let go of the hatred & was showing forth love to this man & his family. To be very honest I hadn’t come out of the “closet” that we had a gay son….after our son Ron passed away we sold our home & moved to a new home to accommodate my Dad who had asked to live with us. My Mom had passed away a year before & it was difficult for my Dad to be alone & taking care of a large home & yard, he was 88 years old. So I kept quiet about Rob after hearing cruel remarks about gay children. Twelve years after my Dad passed away we decided to sell our home & build a retirement home in South Jordan, we lived there for two years.
When we move there I decided to be open with the RS President about Robert being gay, I suggested that we go out to lunch…as we sat down she asked me to tell me about my family, I proceeded to tell her that Robert is gay, to which she responded “oh, you have one of those” I was so hurt. During a VT visit the sister started making hurtful remarks about gay people saying they were vile & my companion joined her in a 1/2 hour discussion about these bad LGBTQ people who wanted to join their ranks because “gayness is a choice”. Then during the reading of the policy change the Bishop said some real cruel remarks, a young sister read from the LDS.org that the church doesn’t know if they are born that way or not, the Bishop cut her off & said it’s a choice… the spirit left as it turned into a shouting match. When the Bishop was told by the RS President that we have a gay son, he would never come & shake our hands anymore & avoided any contact with my husband & myself.
We felt so alone & not wanted…& shortly after I quit going to RS. We only lived there for two years & moved back to Sandy…our ward is so much better now & we’ve been open that we have a gay son. I am still on guard though & still ready to walk out if I don’t feel safe. I was so disheartened by Elder Oak’s talk…where is the love for the LGBTQ ? Until they are addressed at General conference that we accept you & love you just they way you are…I’m afraid of losing more of our beloved family & friends !
Robert resigned his membership in the church after the policy change & he had our blessing…the church members reaction to Robert being gay & also our son Ron’s suicide has impacted our youngest son Roger to not have anything with the church anymore. He was told shortly after Ron’s death by a YM leader “well, you should be crying Roger, because you’ll never see Ron again because he killed himself & he’ll be in hell” People words can be so harsh & cruel & impact someone for the rest of their lives…
Robert dated Glen for over a year & they were married October 8th, 2017, it was wonderful to see this special event in our family…his siblings & their spouses were very supportive but as far as any extended family only one cousin came for the wedding. from our side.
I would ask members & all people to show forth unconditional love…we are all created in God’s image & He loves all of us, please don’t compare being gay to a disability or disease because it isn’t. There is much more to any individual than labeling them as #1 Gay…Robert is our son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, a husband, a Uncle, a Instructor, a hairstylist, an actor (who was the Dad in the Encircle video last Christmas), an interior decorator, a suicide survivor & gay. As a side note, the young friend of Robert’s that saved his life came out as gay years after he came home from serving a mission….the love I have for him has never changed only deepened. He is a wonderful man who is so talented in landscape & as a chef…sadly his family has no use for him & have rejected him because he is gay… I heard this on the series “God Friended Me”…a pastor said “Faith should unite…not divide us”, our church focuses on the family!
So don’t push us to divide our love with our families….keep us united in love!
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This In My Own Words story is a contribution from Let’s Love Better, a Facebook group dedicated to helping people learn to better share love, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding. When we know better, we do better.