My name is Glenda Crump, I live in Frisco Texas. I am the mother of 9 children (5 birth, 4 step). I have 11 amazing grandchildren, one who is just a week old. I Love to read, cook, travel (anywhere there is a beach), spend time with family and friends especially my grandchildren.
The oldest of my 9 children is my daughter Candice who is 38. Thinking back to her childhood I can see that there were signs I should have picked up on. Like the many Christmas mornings that she discarded the dolls and frilly things and opted for her brothers’ gifts. She never felt comfortable in lacy pink things stating they were itchy when questioned. It should have been a clue when she idolized the female heroines in TV shows and movies and plastered pictures of them on her bedroom walls instead of male teen idols. Certainly, it should have been a red flag the day she told me she wanted to die young and when I asked her why she simply stated that no one cries over old people in an obituary, but everyone is sad when someone young dies. I guess I should have picked up on those clues but she didn’t even know she was gay yet how could we have known?
In High school she just thought she was a good little Mormon girl when all her friends were having temptations with boys and getting into trouble and she was not even tempted. She must have started to realize the truth around the age of 18 but kept it from us fearing we would reject her. She chose to serve a mission partly to delay the whole marriage issue and partly to ask her Heavenly Father that if she would serve Him for those 18 months if He would take away those feelings. She served valiantly but of course those feelings never changed. After her mission my husband and I and 3 of her 8 siblings moved to Texas for work, and she went back to Utah State to continue her education….and she struggled. I was too far away to know the depths of her struggle or the pain and anguish she endured as she tried to navigate an unknown path completely alone. I knew she had depression and anxiety, I knew she had been to see doctors and a therapist, I knew she was on medication, I just didn’t know why she was suffering. My heart aches every time I think of how she must have felt alone and scared, knowing her future would never hold for her all that she had been promised, knowing her new path would take her away from the church she had grown up in, served in and Loved, thinking her secret would destroy her family.
I remember when she was having a hard time with a relationship she was having, and I guess I just knew. We were talking on the phone; she was once again sad, and I asked her if this difficult relationship was a girl. Then she just sobbed into the phone and my world crashed around me. I wanted to grab her through the phone and hold her and tell her we would figure it out together. At the time I thought it was something she could “overcome”. I remember getting on my knees many times and begging Heavenly Father to change her, to send her someone that she could Love, have a Temple Marriage and a family with. I lined her up with a friend’s brother-in-law, he liked her of course… and I had hope. Then one day she said, “Mom I will marry him if that is what YOU want.” But I wanted her to marry someone she loved who could make her happy. I realized the big wedding she always dreamed of and planned for was gone, her Temple marriage was gone. My heart hurt for her. I knew she wanted that too and now she faced an unknown path.
She resolved to find joy in her sister’s happiness and help plan her sister’s wedding instead of her own. I did not know how to help her; I didn’t know where to turn. When I went to my Bishop for help, he had no words of counsel, except to compare my innocent daughter to a pedophile… I felt all alone. I didn’t know anyone who was gay, and I was embarrassed that people would find out. My prayers changed then. Instead of asking Him to change her I began to pray for understanding, for a knowledge of how to help her, and for comfort for all of us. I prayed He would comfort and strengthen her and keep her safe. How do I combine my Love for my daughter with my Love for a Gospel that is a part of who I am? I wanted to be True to the teachings that have guided my entire life, I wanted to follow the Prophet who I Loved, but I needed to Love my daughter. How do you do both in a religion that basically condemns her? I was confused, lost, scared and alone. I feared for her future, I mourned for the loss of my grandkids that I thought she could never give me.
I remember shopping one day and I got a text message from her that read “Mom, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t want to hurt you anymore, I don’t want to hurt anymore.” and she named a long list of pills she had taken. I tried to call her, but she wouldn’t answer the phone. I panicked …. I was over a thousand miles away from her. Her brothers and sisters and dad were an hour and a half away. I contacted the only person I knew who lived in Logan and she went and got her and took her to the hospital. I went to Utah and spent some time with her, trying to help her figure it all out. But I didn’t even know how, there were no resources, no leadership help, no one who would understand and guide us. Every day was terrifying and after that, I hated to hear my phone ring. I never knew if I would one day loose her, the fear was crushing. They were some of the darkest days I have ever experienced.
I prayed more than ever, and I read every book and pamphlet about the topic I could get my hands on. I watched pod casts and videos, and Ted talks and then I heard about the Mama Dragons and the Mama Bears. I can’t describe how much these group of Compassionate, Caring, Loving women changed my life. I found solace when I thought there was none. I found women who had the same love for the Gospel AND for their gay children as I did. I found support, comfort, understanding, guidance, and most of all Unconditional Love…Pure Christ like Love and it saved me. We share stories, we laugh together, we mourn in each other’s struggles, and we Celebrate success’s together. We get together for lunches, Pride parades etc. Meeting these women in person is wonderful, it is such a comfort to hear their stories and to share my own. I finally felt understood, validated and safe. They give me a strength that I didn’t know I even had. Knowing there are thousands of Christian moms who love their child AND the Savior makes you feel a comfort and strength. I finally felt empowered to share what I know so that I can help other families and save the lives of other kids who are struggling with their new path of the unknown.
I now have the courage to share what I know with the leaders in my faith so that they can help youth who come to them for guidance. I am so grateful that I can share our story to help bring understanding and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. My daughter still went through difficult times, but I was better equipped to help her, and I was not ashamed to fully accept who she is and to LOVE her, truly LOVE her the way she needed to be loved. I see my daughter in a more perfect light the way God sees her, the way He created her. I was able to help my daughter see that she had an incredible wonderful life ahead of her and that she had support and acceptance from her whole family. It helped her to know she was accepted and loved but she still had some difficult days.
She got married to a woman, and she had that Big Beautiful wedding in a Gorgeous white dress. They have a darling 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old little boy that we all adore. They have since divorced; my daughter’s heart was broken at the loss of her family, but she stayed strong through All (OK Most) of it. She is now a single mom who is completely devoted to her children. She is a High school teacher, a writer, an artist, and she has an Etsy shop. My Heart is full every day for how my life has been blessed by her and her 2 children.
I am currently still very active in the church; I am one of the lucky ones who has a supportive ward Family. However sometimes I have to accept what my heart tells me is right and discard what doesn’t set well with my moral compass, sometimes I have to speak up, sometimes I have to walk out, sometimes I just have to take a day off. I Love the Gospel, it has given me comfort and Peace in difficult times. I raised 9 Incredible children in the Gospel who are all Kind, Giving, Helpful, Intelligent, Hard Working, Serving, Spiritual, Family Orientated Amazing parents and I know most of those qualities came from the Gospel they were taught. I have a Temple Marriage that Blesses me and my family. I have been Blessed by paying Tithing, and I have seen Miracles with several incidents in my family. I have been Blessed in some of my darkest times and I have felt the Saviors hands lift me up. I want to stay strong in the Gospel for my family, However I also want my family to have the opportunity to have ALL the Gospel has to offer IF that is what THEY want.
I raised my daughter who was absolutely born gay to desire a family. I raised her to want what every other person in the church is offered, Unless you are LGBTQ. The church has come so far from previous days especially with the reversal of the Exclusion Policy, but we still have so far to go! I hope I am alive to see it!
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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.