Hi, my name is Lori Davis. My husband Brett and I are lifelong members of the LDS church who were married in the Salt Lake City temple almost 30 years ago. We have 4 boys. Our older 2 sons served missions. I have always believed that it takes a village to raise my children. Our ward family has been that village. That’s why my family’s experience has been so difficult.

Our story started when Zach was really young. He was the 3rd of the four boys and I noticed pretty quickly that he was not like his brothers. It seemed that if it was pink and sparkly he was interested in it. At first I thought it was just a phase, but he never grew out of it. I was unsure what this meant. Fast forward several years and it was clear that my sweet son was gay.

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Although this news was not troubling to me personally, it did not fit with my church and their teachings. Suddenly I felt a great deal of fear and uncertainty about the very things that I had been previously been so sure of.

I noticed pretty quickly there aren’t many opportunities for gay teens in the LDS church. Their choices are lifelong celibacy, a mixed orientation marriage (if I had a daughter, I would not want her to marry a gay boy), or leave the church. I think the hardest thing about these choices is that they leave no real hope for my son. I love my family more than anything on the earth and that love prompts me to want that for Zach; his very own family to love and cherish like I do mine. Sadly, the opportunity for him to have that does not exist in the church. I can’t help but feel that the whole “Families are Forever” thing comes with a huge asterisk: Unless you are gay. Unless you have a gay child. I worried for my son’s mental health.

As I desperately searched for some answers to this dilemma, I found support groups like PFLAG, Affirmation and Mama Dragons. This support literally saved my son’s life. I was able to learn from other families. The most valuable thing we can do for our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters is to love them, love them so much without conditions or terms. This love can literally save their lives. My son Zach is in his first year of college. He is not only happy, but thriving. I’m so thankful for the love and support that has made this possible.

Please reach out to the LGBTQIA community and their families. Love them, celebrate them and most importantly- meet them where they are and listen. Offer support on their terms. Go all in.

Want to read more stories like this one? CLICK HERE for more!

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.  

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