BYU’s Gay Mormon Panel a Huge Success, Overflow Crowds Turned Away

Students and visitors vainly vying for seats in the full auditorium. Photo courtesy Christopher C. Smith.


On Wednesday night at Brigham Young University, a panel of three self-identified homosexual students and one bisexual student talked openly regarding their struggles with their sexuality and how they have coped with their same-gender attraction along with their Mormon faith. All four students were attending BYU and had committed to living Church standards and the BYU Honor Code.

On university fliers for the event, the forum was advertised as, “Everything you wanted to know about being gay at BYU but were too afraid to ask.”

Held in an upstairs auditorium of the Martin Building (MARB), the university-sanctioned panel-discussion for gay, lesbian, and bisexual BYU students was met with perhaps more success than its organizers anticipated. The seating was full to capacity a half-hour before the event was scheduled to begin. More students, professors, and visitors found spots to sit on the floor or stand against the wall. The event was officially for BYU students only, and several visitors were turned away. BYU police were maintaining security at the forum.


Reactions after the event were overwhelmingly positive. When the panel was finished, those in attendance gave the speakers a standing ovation. One student who attended told me,

“These four students [in the panel] have some of the strongest testimonies and wonderful relationships with Christ. … I hope that those who are struggling with same-gender attraction may see these four strong individuals and realize that they don’t have to choose between being honest about themselves and who they are and in being a member of the Church.”

One non-Mormon visitor who was not able to find seating at the event said that though disappointed he couldn’t personally hear the panel, he thought it was “nice to see so much interest in the subject” at Mormon-dominated BYU.

A few minor reactions were less positive. According to some there were at least three attendees at the forum from a group called the “Standard of Liberty,” an organization composed of Latter-day Saints based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, who had been attacking the planned event earlier in the week. The Standard of Liberty had sent out an e-mail claiming the BYU forum on homosexuality would aid in destroying traditional values and would violate the BYU Honor Code. Stephen Graham, the group’s president, wrote,

“[The BYU forum] will be harmful, harmful to the souls of those giving the talks, harmful to those young minds listening who will be supported in covering both inward and outward sins and initiated further into homosexuality, and harmful to all those these people come in contact with.”

Others dismissed the “Standard of Liberty” group as being outside of mainstream Mormonism.

What Was Asked and Said during the Forum

No recording, video or audio, was allowed at the event, so there will be no official transcript, but much of the event was live-tweeted by Shirley Grover, a reporter from the Student Review, and from others in the audience. I was not in attendance; my narrative of the panel discussion below is based on the collective accounts and statements given by many of those who were present.

Overflow crowd of students and visitors standing outside of the auditorium. Photo courtesy of Christopher C. Smith.

The panel was opened by Dr. Renata Forste, head of BYU’s sociology department. After introductory remarks, the panelists were introduced: Brandon Bastian, a 2nd year law student; Bridey Jensen, a 23-year-old statistics major; Adam White, a 21-year-old theater arts major; and Nathan Paskett, major unknown; and they then respectively spoke about their unique stories.

Brandon Bastian tells of how he came out to his bishop when he was a senior in high school, not long after he had come to terms with his sexuality. At BYU, Brandon met a girl and ended up marrying her, noting that they connected on every possible level except physically. He told her about his sexuality and left it up to her. They now have a daughter. Brandon says the physical attraction did eventually come for him, but notes that he thinks his story is very atypical. Having a good foundation and genuine love for the person that was not based on physical intimacy was essential for their marriage working out, Brandon notes.

Bridey Jensen remembers being confused about her sexuality even as a young girl. She says always believed it would change and that once she hit high school she would have a sudden rush of hormones that attracted her to men. It never happened. She remembers loathing herself and believing that she had done something wrong. After coming to BYU, Bridey fell into a deep depression and eventually become suicidal. Feeling depressed and unaccepted, Bridey eventually returned home, but, she says, she felt a prompting to return to Provo, which she eventually did. Back at BYU she met Brandon Bastian, who sat with her on the panel Wednesday night, and who was a great support for her. You can listen to Bridey tell her story of being lesbian and Mormon elsewhere here on this video.

Adam White remembers having strong feminine tendencies as a child, and for much of his youth wondered when the day would come that he would suddenly be attracted to girls. He remembers his first kiss with a girl and having the immediate reaction of, “No.” Adam says he felt stuck in a lie. Adam eventually spoke with his bishop who encouraged him to attend a “sex addiction group.” After finally meeting other gay and lesbian Latter-day Saints at BYU, Adam says that when he finally came out openly about his sexuality, it was like all of the mental health problems he had been having washed away over night. Adam noted that he had not served a mission because his stake president instructed him that if he could not get his “gay issue” under control, he could be a threat to his companions.

Nathan Paskett remembers knowing he was bisexual ever since he hit puberty. Unlike the other three panelists, Nathan is sexually attracted to both men and women. Nathan says he was not extremely worried about this while he was younger because he understood that as long as he didn’t break any of the commandments, he would be okay. He felt uncomfortable, though, that in the Church it was such a taboo topic that he could not speak openly about what he was going through. Nathan eventually served an LDS mission to Hawaii. He remembers being very careful not to allow companions to be naked around him at the MTC and on his mission, and he remembers being angry at the Church for putting him in the situation of being around naked men where he would have inappropriate thoughts. After coming to BYU, Nathan began being open about his sexuality to girls he was taking on dates, and he notes that the reactions were surprisingly neutral. Nathan says his mother encouraged him not to talk about his bisexuality, but Nathan says he couldn’t imagine keeping a secret like that in a marriage.

Panelists noted that 6% of the U.S. population is homosexual. If the national ratio is the same at BYU, then that means the campus enrolls approximately 1,800 gay students. That means that in every BYU student ward there is an average of 15 gay Church members, and in a BYU class of 50 there are an average of three gay classmates.

Panelist Brandon Bastian stated that calling homosexuality “a choice” was offensive. They also discussed another issue that arises with gay Latter-day Saints: the idea that if they are good, and they keep all the commandments, God will heal them. A gay teenager might find himself asking God, If I graduate seminary, if I go to BYU, if I serve a mission, if I marry a good girl in the temple, if I keep all of the commandments as best I can, will you take these attractions away from me? The panelists noted that, in Mormonism, God does not heal every invalid or cancer patient. The panelists also stated that telling someone that they are homosexual because they lack faith or have broken a commandment is the ultimate self righteousness.

During the Q&A, someone asked how the panelists reconcile their “gay lifestyle” with the Church. Adam White retorted that there is no homogenous “gay lifestyle,” and that the 9th article faith speaks of “great mysteries” that we don’t yet understand. Brandon Bastian was asked about how his wife views his homosexuality. He responded that she is very supportive, but that she is currently on a medication that represses her libido, joking that now he is probably more attracted to her than she is to him. He admitted that their relationship is very unique but they are also very happy with one another. Nathan Paskett was asked if his mission president required him to confess his homosexuality to his companions. Quite the opposite, he said: The mission president actually told Nathan not to tell a certain elder because they were still “working through [that one elder’s] homophobia.” Conversely Brandon says his stake president had told him not to tell any of his companions.

Bridey Jensen was asked if she always imagines herself as being single. She said that when she imagines being in a happy relationship, she imagines it being with another woman, and she doesn’t know how she will reconcile that with the Church’s teachings. Adam stated that while he has a very firm testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he cannot imagine himself ever dating women. He openly stated he could see himself having a family with another man, but if so, he said, he would ensure that they still attended the LDS Church together.

The final question asked was,

“I am gay too, but I feel like I can never be happy in eternity or in a temple marriage. What can I do?”

Adam told the questioner that while he understands and has had similar doubts, one should trust in God and listen to his instruction through prayer. A heterosexual marriage, Adam says, might bring you happiness, but it might not. Bridey stated that she did not truly begin feeling happy again until she began building her relationship with God.

In the group’s final remark, Bridey stated that while she does not know everything, she does know that God is there and he has not left you alone.

After the panel ended the group received a standing ovation from the overflow crowd.


484 thoughts on “BYU’s Gay Mormon Panel a Huge Success, Overflow Crowds Turned Away”

  1. The only thing I would add to this is, choice or not, there are commandments. Getting married is a commandment. There a lots of things we have to do in life that do not seem fun or enjoyable to us now. Heavenly Father did not put us on this earth to seek entertainment or excitement. He has commanded us to do things that He knows, at the end of the day, will bring us joy. I applaud these students for recognize the difference between what they want to do and what they must do. It is a demonstration of faith to do things you don’t want to because God said so.

    1. Marriage is a commandment? That’s not biblical.
      1 Corinthians 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. Marriage is an option.

      1. It’s not that I don’t agree with you Amanda, however, you have taken that scripture out of context so it doesn’t really apply like you meant it to. At this point in time Paul was speaking to the Corinthian men who weren’t yet married and telling them to avoid marriage because the church needed missionaries and a family would prevent them from serving. Paul was NOT anti-marriage 🙂 Anyway, i’m not trying to offend anyone, just thought you should know.

          1. that commandment was given right after God married Adam and Eve. It’s pretty clear that id not not simply mean mate, It could only mean mate (you recently married people). We are, however, commanded to enter into the New and Everlasting Covenant (marriage). This does not have to happen in this life. The spirit world will solve lots of these problems. I don’t claim to understand the way homosexuality and the gospel work together, but I do know that we are commanded to be married and not just to freely mate.

            BTW I’m am very glad BYU is allowing this type of forum. I think it’s a step in the right direction. There is a lot of Homophobia and intolerance at BYU, though it often boils under the surface, and I think that opportunities like this forum are a good chance for people to be confronted with people different from themselves and to realize that Gay people are not weirdos or anything, they are just people.

          2. Your username is too funny. : )

            Here in this comment section, some of it is boiling on the surface. But that’s why dialogue is so good and important, even if sometimes people feel heated whether their comments are helpful or not to the discussion. I have read so many comments on this thread that have really given me great food for thought. I’ve been pondering a lot of insights and digesting people’s different takes, as well as some wonderful sage advice. Even though I was already happy with this BYU-sanctioned panel helping to break down those barriers, I’ve still gained far, far more by participating in this discussion that I ever thought I would.

          3. JJJS, the Lord stated that we do not marry in or after the resurrection. Sounds like now is the time to find an eternal mate, or should I say companion.

          1. You can’t ‘mate’ without being sealed (aka married) by God. I’m sure God wasn’t commanding them to commit adultery, Adam and Eve were married in the garden. It is a choice whether or not to get married, however it is a prerequisite to fufilling the multiply and replenish COMMANDMENT, so the real choice is “am I going to foow God’s commandments and all that entails or am I not.

      2. Adam and Eve were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Procreation is sacred and should only be done in marriage. One of the ten commandments says not to commit adultery.

      3. Well this is my choice, because I want these consequences clearly state D&C131:1-4 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage;) And if he doesn’t he cannot obtain it.

    2. While this is true, it is also true that some people do not get married in this life through no fault of their own – including because they are homosexual. It’s a very personal decision that needs to be made using the spirit as your guide and with the council of a bishop and stake president.

    3. I’m just gonna quote two other commenters here, because they answer your & Matt’s comments better than I can:

      Annelise said “This is answered in the third question the interviewer asks the Elders (
      Bishops and Stake Presidents can counsel homosexual members either in the direction of marriage or not based on their knowledge of the member, and ultimately it boils down to a personal choice.”

      Marianne said “–“For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful.

      Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.” Jeffery R. Holland, October 2007 Ensign

      So, although marriage is a commandment, some may not be able to marry in this life. This applies to everyone.”

      My only addition is that, as far as I understand, for years the main form of “therapy” for LDS homosexuals was to “cure” their homosexuality by encouraging them to marry in the temple. This backfired and is no longer encouraged, as you can see by the Holland quote above. Several of those temple marriages were broken up because of a variety of reasons, from 1) the SSA individual not telling the hetero person he was marrying about his SSA, 2) the SSA individual ending up feeling repressed and living a lie, 3) the lack of physical attraction in the marriage which caused many conflicts in other areas as well, 4) the individual deciding he/she couldn’t continue living that way and leaving/breaking up an entire family because the situation was so inauthentic to him/her, sometimes after 20 years of trying to live it anyway. The individual on the panel who did marry stated that it worked for him and his wife, and that they went into the marriage fully understanding his SSA. He also openly stated that his case is individual, and a very personal decision for them.

      1. If a marriage relationship is not going the direction in to one day becoming made eternal by the Holy Spirit of Promise, what good is that relationship? Sure we must work on our relationship, but if the other partner is not changing or the heaven tells you that they most likely will not… then what good is that relationship if it’s going to not exist after this life or if one of the partners is not going to live within the same kingdom after this life? Seems sometimes that which seems to be the wrong thing to do, could be the right one at times.

    4. Did you just hear yourself? We should get married even if it’s not enjoyable and we’re not here for entertainment? Last time I checked loving human connectedness didn’t have much to do with being entertained. I think that was the most downer and unproductive comment I’ve heard In a long time.

      1. Agreed, Amy! I haven’t thought much about this issue, but that comment depressed me as well! “Men are that they might have joy…” right?!

      2. I agree. Whether or not marriage is a commandment, you can’t simply marry because you have to. Your choice effects someone else. Image if you married someone and they didn’t tell you they were gay then asked you to take libido suppressants. Marriage requires a deep and lasting love that includes a physical relationship…

    5. I will not entertain your article too much, as it would be contrary to reason. I will say, that to even insinuate that being homosexual is either “fun” or “enjoyable” or even that we seek “excitement” out of it is truly hurtful and degrading. Now while I would not change anything about my homosexuality, it is certainly not something that is just there for the sake of fun or entertainment… actually it is a laughing matter to even suggest such outrages claims.

      1. Randy, out of sincere curiosity, what part of this article implied that the author was insinuating that homosexuals seek that lifestyle for the fun and excitement of it?

        I read the article and after reading your comment returned and skimmed to find such a claim but found none.

        I believe that the whole point of the panel and article was to create awareness about the realities of living with the homosexual tendencies and that they are in fact genetic and not simply a “choice” as is a misconception within our church. I do believe the author and the panel would agree with your point; but to disregard the whole article based on what seem to be assumptions, seems to be the true contradiction.

        1. He’s not referring to the article, rather the comment by Will. “Heavenly Father did not put us in this earth to seek entertainment or excitement.”

        2. Lindsey,

          Out of sheer curiosity, what part of this article stated that it is genetic? I skimmed it and didn’t find any evidence there either. I don’t believe it’s a choice to have these tendencies, any more than it would be a choice to be attracted to alcohol or pornography. The choice comes when a person decides whether or not they will live the revealed laws of God or not. Joshua 24:15 is a pretty good guide here.

          As a side note, we can productively compare the sad experiences of Ether and Moroni to the lonely lives that some people who struggled with this may lead. Ether 15:34 and Moroni 1:3 talk about what these great prophets felt was important. “Now the last words which are written by Ether are these: Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God. Amen.” It may be that some must walk alone, but the really eternally important thing is that they follow the will of the Lord as directed by the Spirit.


      2. Randy, if anything, being homosexual adds negative stigma that is frustrating to deal with regardless of how you understand it personally.

        I hope you can see from the flurry of responses to Will’s original comment that many disagree with his way of looking at it.

        If you skim through a lot of the other comments made about this article, there are many who “get it” and feel very differently, recognizing that for someone with SSA (same sex attraction), to marry the opposite sex simply out of a sense of duty to obey a commandment to marry could actually be much more harmful than good for a variety of reasons, stemming anywhere from the pressure and emotional turmoil of living an inauthentic life, to breaking up an entire family if the gay person decides he/she can’t keep up the attempt at “curing” or overcoming their SSA through heterosexual marriage. The individual can end up breaking a whole bunch of commandments because they feel so pressured at trying to do something that feels like living a lie.

        Many understand that those who choose to have romantic same-sex relationships are usually not doing so to 1) just have fun or 2) solely seek excitement, but because they feel like their relationship fulfills their desire to have what they see heterosexual couples having–a loving, monogamous relationship. Even though mormons believe differently about whether or not that relationship is considered sinning, it does not change how mormons should treat each other, loving each other for who we are regardless of how we choose to live our lives. I could spend a LOT more time focusing on beams in my own eye than focusing on what I perceive to be a mote in someone else’s eye…. (Matt 7:2, KJV)

        That’s why it really helps that LDS church leaders have clarified what an extremely personal decision this is for anyone who wants to live an active, faithful LDS life but are also gay:

        “For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all…perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful….”

      3. “I would not change anything about my homosexuality”. I think it’s fine to tone down on the aggresively judgemental homophobia, but I also think it’s exaggerated just as much to create special interest group in employment and other matters. Are the sexual attractions natural? If they are why couldn’t I change them from a desire of the holy spirit to resist this “natural man”. Does it really confirm that everything’s at peace with these feelings?

        Now it’s not my place to tell this person, but this is what I think anybody with these tendencies should ponder in accordance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      1. we are not here on earth to have joy – we exist to have joy, many people have very little joy in life, but all will be made equitable in the eternities.

    6. If marriage is a commandment, then there are a multitude of righteous women who are being disobedient because they’re not married. Be careful of the things you say, while this is a fairly harmless incorrect statement, you may hurt someone and drive them away from God and the church.

      1. let’s clarify — it’s not a commandment to get married. Being sealed in the temple is a requirement to receive all the blessings of the eternities — and a man can only be sealed to a woman and a woman can only be sealed to a man, and then you still have to live in accordance with the church and the gospel to make your calling and election made sure. We ALL have hangups somewhere along that road.

    7. Is it always possible for everyone to keep all of God’s commandments in this life? It is our place to do our best to fulfill the commandments to the best of our abilities and not to judge others who have different limitations. People have different challenges, but all that is unfair in this life will be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. If a homosexual person (or anyone else for that matter) is doing their best to keep the commandments who are we to say that, in God’s eyes, they are not doing so?

      1. I totally agree! What is it that was said in the talk during General Conference…. he quoted what was on a bumper sticker “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.” It’s so important to remember that. It’s also to remember that the only unforgiveable since is denying God. It is our duty to do our BEST to live a good life, and live by the commandments. But no one sin is greater than any other. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. Just because one person is homosexual and another person cusses , or smokes, or is envious, does that make one sin BIGGER than another? Not really. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We all make mistakes, commit sins. Some of us more often, it’s true. But that doesn’t make Heavenly Father love us any less. He hopes for us and we should have faith in that.

    8. Ummm, I am not LDS but I would like to know which of the 10 Commandments is the one ordering marriage? In my Bible, i only have 10 commandments in the old Testament and two in the New…none of which have anything to do with marriage. Marriage is not even a religious thing. It used to be you would just go live with whomever your parents told you to live with and you were married. Only the rich were allowed a religious ceremony, 99% of which were Catholic. It was not until the early 1900’s that the government even required a marriage license and that was only to steal womens inheritance’s from them legally. As far as I know, if God is 100% infallible and if 6% of the population is Gay and has been since the beginning of time, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that God in fact created Gay people and maybe it’s YOUR test, not theirs to see how YOU handle loving another human being, Christ like, with no conditions?

      1. Seanna, Will misspoke about marriage being a commandment. In the Mormon faith we believe that God wants us to have eternal joy like He does, and His joy comes from having children (us). Thus, in order for us to have eternal joy, He has given us the power to create life and have children. Since we are commanded to exercise this power only within the bonds of marriage, we believe marriage is essential for eternal happiness. In fact, perhaps one of the most wonderful doctrines of our church is that marriages and families can last forever even after death.

        Will’s comment made it seem that entertainment and excitement are the antithesis of obedience, when in fact the opposite is true. We know that by living the commandments we can be truly happy. Entertainment and excitement are wonderful parts of life, and we should enjoy those feelings when they come (as long as they come from good sources). The bottom line is we all have a beam or two in our eyes so we have no right to determine what God thinks of others. Thank you for your great insight and God bless.

      2. Good point, Seanna. I believe these comments about marriage being a “commandment” stem from a couple of things. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe, through revelation from modern prophets, that Adam and Eve were sealed (married) once they were placed in the Garden of Eden, before they were commanded (separate from the 10 commandments given to Moses) to multiply and replenish the earth. From that I can see people saying that if it’s a commandment to multiply and replenish, and we are taught to be chaste before marriage, that it’s also a commandment to marry.

        The 2nd line of thought is that the LDS church, again through modern revelation and scriptures (also including the canonized scripture Corinthians 12:2) that there are three different degrees, or glories, of heaven (we believe Paul was caught up in vision to the highest glory). The highest part of the highest degree is only available to couples married in our temples (i.e. by the correct authority through the priesthood, which “seals” those marriages on earth and in heaven). Not my words. God’s.

        So from that the conclusion can also be drawn about how critical marriage is to men and womens’ salvation.

        If someone wants to cite a scripture, canonized by the world and/or the LDS church where God specifically “commands” us specifically to marry, I’m curious if there is one. Especially since there are so many who cannot marry due to circumstances beyond their control, just as there are many parents who would love to bear/adopt children and cannot for varying reasons.

        I love your final point, and think it’s an extremely valid possibility, though it would be very arrogant to say God created gay people simply as a test for others; what about what God created for the gay people, then? But I definitely think there are a lot of things on this earth that help test us to see if we truly are trying to overcome our natural man instincts and be unconditionally Christlike.

    9. If marriage is a commandment then exactly how is the Lord judging those of us who are not and may never marry in this life – and not because we are gay – but remain faithful to our church and God our entire lives?. Let’s be clear that to not marry is not the same as killing someone or stealing. Also be careful when thinking like this as who are any of us to sit in the Lords seat and decide how one of our bros or sisters are righteous or not. One of Jesus’ best ideas was “judge not…” you know the rest.

      Kudos to BYU, the profs and the students – both those who spoke and those who listened. I’m ready to see all of us welcomed and loved as we should have always done per our dedication to loving and being like Jesus.

    10. To Will: One should always stay close to the Lord and receive direction. Men are that they might have joy and that goes for those that are gay and bi. I seriously doubt the Lord would want us in a situation that would make us unhappy and if that meant that there are those that cannot marry…well, that is between them and the Lord and no one has any right to judge them or mandate what they should or should not do.

    11. President Hinckley specifically stated that the Church’s position is to NOT counsel homosexuals that they have to get married in this life.

    12. “There a lots of things we have to do in life that do not seem fun or enjoyable to us now.”

      I’m not sure what horrible things in your life you have to do for God, but attending a three-hour church service, missing out on a get-together at a bar, or donating 10% of your money is much less horrifying than an entire life of sadness, guilt, and lack of fulfillment. Your perspective is way off.

    13. Will, I haven’t read all the comments here so perhaps this was addressed, but if gay marriage was finally legalized that problem would be solved now wouldn’t it? Then gay couples who want to live in a committed monogamous relationship can do so legally with all the benefits afforded their heterosexual counterparts. And they can, if they wish, then adopt the children that heterosexual ciuples have given up for adoption for whatever reason. That’s a choice that only loving couples can make.

    14. I am a single sister (LDS member) and have been taught that we will all have the opportunity to marry (on Earth or after our worldy death), not that it is a commandment.

    15. Getting married is mort a commandment. It is a a perquisite for the celestial kingdom but many will go through life unmarried while having heterosexual motivations and will be in exactly the same place as those with same sex attraction who choose to remain single.

    16. I really wish you could understand the pain we go through, and that you would read the church’s stances on same gender attraction before pointing out doctrine, it’s not all so cut and dry and God know that, and he understands what we all have to work through

    17. My god tells me to do very different things than does yours (or the 30,000 others humans have made up). But I love you anyway.

  2. Fantastic! I am so, SO grateful that BYU is openly sanctioning such panels. This will help many, many gay LDS members be able to erase the taboo that exists in our church, and be able to talk more openly about their sexual orientation rather than feel like there is something “wrong” with them that they are attracted to the same sex even though they are active members. Gay members of the church should not feel ashamed of their sexual orientation, and I feel such empathy for the inexplicable painfulness of their situation; they aren’t even able to hope for a relationship in this life if they also have a strong testimony and want to be temple-worthy members. They are asked the same chastity as all our YSA members, yet the hetero YSA are encouraged to date and form relationships, while the homo YSA cannot do so.

    1. Heartfelt and compassionate thoughts. Does make one wonder what kind of God would endow some with SGA and then command that, unlike heterosexuals, they would never gain the full joy of a full relationship (let alone eternal marriage). It is my understanding that gay people can legally marry in some states. Maybe God should consider that.

  3. ps. Will–I disagree with you. While we are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, I truly believe that God also knows our individual struggles and heartaches and situations. For many homosexuals, to marry might be extremely emotionally healthy and unfair both for the individual and their spouse. It may be much more harmful than good.

    Where I would modify one of your comments so I can fully agree with you is applauding the students in this panel for recognizing the difference between what they want to do and what they do– where my meaning is that they recognize they are attracted to the same or both sex/es, yet they choose chastity because of their understanding of the gospel. (i.e. they do not choose to date the same sex, as hard and painful as that is)

    1. I, too, am glad that students are being made aware that there are some with homosexual tendencies closer than they may think. I spend 3 1/2 years and BYU and never knew anyone to be openly homosexual. And while I oppose and detest homosexuality (the act, not the temptation), I realize that there are people who do carry it as a burden. And while they may feel ‘offended’, I do believe that the act is a choice. And we have been commanded NOT to act on those feelings. It is a trial that some have been given. But we know that no trial is too difficult to overcome.

      Kimberly-I must disagree with you, and side with Will. You are right that God knows our individual struggles and heartaches, but that does not change the fact that he expects us to obey His commandments. And the first commandment given to man is to multiply and replenish the earth. Elder Oaks spoke clearly this past general conference on sacrifice, and how ALL of us must make sacrifices for the gospel. If we make those sacrifices, we will be blessed. And while it may seem difficult now for those who must deal with this trial to cope, imagine how great the blessings will be if they are obedient. President Packer states that “children were meant to have two parents-a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this.” To deny children the blessing of this form of a family, is selfish on our part.

      To call marriage ‘more harmful than good’, in any case, for both homosexuals and heterosexuals, is to doubt the power of God. He may not take away the temptation, but he will provide the strength necessary to bear the burden.

      I commend Brian (from the article) for seeking out a temple marriage despite his trials. And I hope that all who feel the same can see that it is possible, while difficult, to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments.

      1. First off, Matt, the married member on the panel was named Brandon, there was no Brian. I attended the forum last night and was blown away by the overwhelming support these students received from their LDS audience. As a gay, former BYU student I was deeply heartened by the outpouring of empathy in that lecture hall.
        Had such an event been held a few years back before I graduated, or had a group like USGA (which the panel members oversee) existed on campus, my time at BYU would not have seemed so bleak. The crucial TRUTH that saints like Matt and Will don’t seem to grasp is this is the future; acceptance and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
        Thump your scriptures all you want our culture, Mormon culture, isn’t going backwards.
        Adam White, confessed last night that he was going to graduate and fall in love and form a family with another man some day and he received a resounding applause from a primarily BYU student audience.
        This is the future.

        1. I’m not sure I think that it is the future for GBL couples to form families but continue to attend church, at least if their motive is to be temple-worthy. But if a couple decided to do so, I would still love and welcome them because they are God’s children just as much as I am His child.

          But I do agree with you, Joseph, that this type of panel should foreshadow the future, where students are able to have the courage to openly admit that they have SSA, rather than feeling that by telling people, they will be judged and treated differently whether or not they act on their attractions. The fact is, they *shouldn’t* be treated differently by their peers whether or not they act on their attractions. I believe we are all God’s children and that he loves us equally, regardless of how visible our own temptations and sins are to others.

          I’m not only wishing for you that you had such support, I am wishing for another friend as well, the only friend that I am even aware of that was gay, and I didn’t even learn of that until years later, probably because he wasn’t willing to tell people back in 1995. I can’t imagine his or your pain that you were quietly bearing, especially if both of you believe the tenets of our church and want/wanted to be worthy members of said church.

          I hope your life is a little less bleak now.

          1. Chris, I believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints specifically teaches us to have intelligent faith, not blind faith. I can see why it can seem puzzling. We believe in seeking truth, but we also believe in seeking personal confirmation of things taught/revealed to us by our church leaders who act as mouthpieces of the Lord (like Matt said).

            Intelligent faith means I look at facts, I seek truth, I pray for guidance and understanding, and I also listen to those who I trust have a stewardship over the entire church. I believe that I can receive personal revelation for me, for my family; for anyone under my stewardship, like my children. But I don’t have the stewardship to receive revelation for my congregation, let alone the entire church with its some odd 14 million members. So I look to them for their stance on some controversial issues like this, and then I take it home and look at it, feel it, question it (question to understand, not to attack it), pray about it, and seek my own personal confirmation. Sometimes I hear our general authorities speak in our bi-annual general conference and occasionally things they say really don’t sit right with me. I have prayed about those things and actually specifically noticed recently that something a person said was not included in their written talk when it was published the following month in our church-wide magazine “The Ensign.” I felt validated that I had not felt right about a particular wording, and that I felt as though the wording was from that leader’s own opinion, not inspiration.

            Does that make any sense how I feel we can practice intelligent faith rather than being “sheeple”?

            I was just told on Monday that there was an experience where our second prophet of the church, a pretty dynamic fellow with quite the personality, where he stood up in church in the morning and blustered about how the local saints weren’t going to stand for the possibility of some protesters stirring up problems, and how they were going to march right in and protect themselves, etc and so forth. In the afternoon he addressed the congregation again, and started off by saying, “This morning you heard from Brother Brigham Young. Now let me speak the Lord’s words,” and then went on to pacify the saints and tell them the Lord wanted them to be calm and ride out the situation, and that all would be well.

            I want to find the documentation for this experience. It’s cool to me that he had the humility to admit that he had prayed about it inbetween church sessions, and realized that his morning advice was all his, and that the Lord had a different plan. It shows that even our prophets are fallible men who can be influenced by personal or cultural bias.

            But we still have the right, privilege, and obligation to practice intelligent faith on not simply rely on being told. On the other hand, I also believe God will bless us for sustaining our church leaders in what they teach. God has also promised us, through modern revelation, that He will never allow a current prophet or general authorities to lead us astray, and I trust that to mean that while time continues to help us and church leaders learn more about the gospel line upon line, we also will be led by the Lord’s mouthpiece when it really counts.

            That’s why I have such trust that things like the current topic will be sorted out when we reach heaven. God just has so much more infinite understanding than we do about the mysteries of heaven. : )

            Sorry so long! I thought this would be a short one simply explaining the diff. between intelligent and blind faith!

        2. Joseph, I apologize for getting the name wrong. I did not take the time scroll back up, rather, I was going off memory.
          As for your comment regarding my ‘misunderstanding’ of this so-called “TRUTH”, I couldn’t disagree more. You, nor I, nor anyone, save God only, knows what the future holds. I accept the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. I know the trials they face are difficult, and cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be in that position.
          What I do know, is that right now, the ‘ACT’ of homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenders are wrong in the eyes of God. This is what the modern-day prophets have taught, and those are the ones I choose to listen to. (If that falls into “Thumping my Scriptures”, then I’m sorry, I will continue to thump away) If, in some day in the future, the prophet of the Lord tells the church that those acts are no longer considered a sin, I will follow that counsel. But that has not happened. So to say that the future of ‘Mormon culture’ is the acceptance of those acts, I strongly disagree and would urge you to re-think your position. I do not follow the ‘culture’ of the church, I follow the teachings of the Savior through the scriptures and modern-day prophets.
          I hope I have made it clear that I wholeheartedly support any individual struggling with any of those trials. I know the Lord can help them through this short time, if they strive to be obedient to what He has taught.

          1. The thing that I truly do not understand about many religious people is their inability to think for themselves. When an issue is presented I research it and look at the facts. I use my ability to think critically and analyze the situation. I would never allow someone to think for me or accept their opinion as my own with out analyzing it. I am not a Mormon so I do not pretend to understand the inner working of this religion. I am a Christian who believes in critical thinking. It seems to me that prophets make mistakes and change their opinions to suit their times (as in the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood for African Americans). I don’t understand why you would need someone (the prophets) to tell you what is right or wrong. I really do not mean to attack you on this. I just find it truly puzzling.

          2. I don’t know whether gay people should HAVE to get married in a temple but I do know that marriages are supposed to have love and happiness. If the marriage is not going to be a happy, healthy one then it is in fact a bad idea.

            People can have there opinions as to what is right and wrong, but I would certainly hope that no heterosexual would have the nerve to pass judgment on somebody who is attracted to members of the same sex and hasn’t gotten married yet.

          3. This is in response to Chris’ comments below. It would not let me respond to his comment. But Chris, I appreciate your comment and do not feel you are attacking at all. As members of the church (Mormons) we believe that the Lord called prophets in ancient times, and will continue to do so until the end of this life. (See Amos 3:7). It is not so that they can tell us what to do, it is to let us know God’s will. God speaks to us all individually, this I know. However, when there are things that must be made know for the entire world, he calls a prophet to make it known. The Prophet is not the leader of the church, he is the mouthpiece of the Lord on the Earth. Imagine if the Israelites did not have Moses, there would have been utter chaos. I believe what the prophets say not because I don’t want to think for myself. On the contrary, I found out for myself that they were, in fact, a prophet of God, and so I choose to follow their counsel because I know it is of God.
            The counsel of a prophet is NEVER a mistake. The prophet is a man, and is therefore not perfect, but the Lord ALWAYS has a plan. And thus the revelation that is given to prophets is always part of the plan. We may not understand it, but we may not be meant to. There are some things we’re not meant to understand. And that is why we have faith.

          4. Matt, I’ve read all three of your comments and completely agree with everything you’ve said. Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking and wording it all so well.

          5. Chris: so whenever a religious person disagrees with you in a way you cannot understand, they are “not thinking for themselves”? You glibly mention the priesthood ban as an example of prophets “changing their opinions to suit the times,” and yet after “researching it and looking at the facts,” I have come to the conclusion that this is not at all what happened. In my opinion, the priesthood ban was a matter of policy meant to keep the church from splitting along racial lines, not a matter of doctrine. The law of chastity, however, is a matter of doctrine, and clearly states that sexuality relations should be limited to a man and a woman joined together in marriage. Completely different issues. And no, I do not need others to “think for me”–though from the way you parrot this accusation with flimsy, half-baked ideas to support your claims, it seems that you do.

          6. Chris! Just because many people come to the same conclusion doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking for themselves! There are 13 million LDS members worldwide. We don’t all agree on every little thing. But on the big things, most of the time, we do. Otherwise we would be members of other churches. We are all free to believe and practice any chosen religion in America. I chose this one. I was not born into it. I am a convert (7 years)and I believe it is the most correct church on Earth. Obviously, you don’t agree and that is your right. But I am absolutly not just just accepting anything anyone says otherwise I would have never left my first church (Methodist) and I would have joined The Jehovahs (they came to my door first, afterall), or I could have joined any of the number of religions I studied about in college. I am a member of The Church and I pray about, think about and research subjects that need more reflection.

      2. Matt, I have responded to this via Will’s original comment, and pasted the two other relevant comments, so we can keep all this discussion under the correct thread. I goofed when I replied generally instead of via Will’s comment.

      3. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

        1. YES! Thank you! Until we have perfected the practice of these 2 commandments, do we really have a right to get so caught up on anything else? The Mormon doctrine I have studied all my life teaches this, but the Mormon culture doesn’t all the time. We are an imperfect people, and it is panels & discussions like these that bring us closer to living more thoroughly the 2 greatest commandments.

      4. If I had fallen in love with and married a man who could never love me or want me or satisfy me entirely, then I would seriously want to die. It’s not something to commend. The entire situation is devastating.

        1. Totally agree. And now she has to suppress who she is by taking medication?! How is it fair (or even funny…he did laugh, after all) to impose that kind of punishment to your spouse just to fulfill/support your selfish desires? Sorry, not a fan.

          1. Ella,
            Absolutely nowhere did he state why she was taking medication. The way it was written did make it unclear, in my opinion, but basically what he said is that she is currently on medication that is causing problems with her libido. Many meds will do that. Hopefully she can find another medication that won’t have that effect on her, but sometimes there isn’t a way around it. I really don’t think anyone, or their doctor, would go on a medication just to decrease their libido! Although, I do know someone who asked. And it had nothing to do with homosexuality.

          2. Ella, read all the other responses as well; it has been clearly pointed out that the couple in question was not taking meds specifically to lower labido. She was taking an unrelated medication that caused a lower labido, so they as a couple were joking about it.

        2. Very wise, moderngirl. It is awful for any church to encourage gay men to marry heterosexual women – it usually turns out to be a tragedy for both, lovely persons though they both may be.

      5. I’m just gonna quote two other commenters here, because they answer Will & Matt’s comments better than I can:

        Annelise said “This is answered in the third question the interviewer asks the Elders (
        Bishops and Stake Presidents can counsel homosexual members either in the direction of marriage or not based on their knowledge of the member, and ultimately it boils down to a personal choice.”

        Marianne said “–’For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful.
        Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.’ Jeffery R. Holland, October 2007 Ensign
        So, although marriage is a commandment, some may not be able to marry in this life. This applies to everyone.”

        My only addition is that, as far as I understand, for years the main form of “therapy” for LDS homosexuals was to “cure” their homosexuality by encouraging them to marry in the temple. This backfired and is no longer encouraged, as you can see by the Holland quote above. Several of those temple marriages were broken up because of a variety of reasons, from 1) the SSA individual not telling the hetero person he was marrying about his SSA, 2) the SSA individual ending up feeling repressed and living a lie, 3) the lack of physical attraction in the marriage which caused many conflicts in other areas as well, 4) the individual deciding he/she couldn’t continue living that way and leaving/breaking up an entire family because the situation was so inauthentic to him/her, sometimes after 20 years of trying to live it anyway. In the cases that were not successful, they caused much more harm than good, and in some of them, the person ended up breaking a whole bunch of commandments from being unchaste within the marriage in a variety of ways, to being deceitful about such activities to keep up the facade, and so on and so forth.

        The individual on the panel who did marry stated that it worked for him and his wife, and that they went into the marriage fully understanding his SSA. He also openly stated that his case is individual, and a very personal decision for them.

        Another commenter here mentioned that president and prophet Gordon B Hinckley specifically said NOT to counsel homosexuals/members with SSA to marry. I’d love a link from them that backs that up.

        1. Thanks Kimberly. Very well-said, from you and so many others. I’m still looking for the quote from President Hinckley, unfortunately. It was in the late 90’s, I think, just after I was first at BYU. When/if I find it, I’ll post it. Glad others have already found other quotes saying basically the same thing. It was a big deal when he said it, but I’m wondering it it wasn’t in conference. Ugh.

  4. Last comment, I promise! It’s to the site manager–just a suggestion that you may also want to change the title to “BYU’s GBLT panel….” to also be more accurate, though perhaps you used the term “gay” simply to make your point that will draw readers to recognize that the panel included all but a transgender student. Or you cannot change the title now that it’s probably already tagged as it is via different sites/fb/etc.

    1. I would not have recognized this article as something I may have wanted to read if it were entitled with a mere acronym. I have really enjoyed reading your comments

      1. Yeah, I agree with you. Can you see how I processed that out loud as I made the comment? Should have just kept the comment to myself and let my brain catch up. *sheepish grin* I admit that the title caught my attention just the way it was meant to do so.

  5. My best friend is gay, and I am active LDS. It breaks my heart to see people treat him badly because of his sexual orientation, especially by people who state their beliefs as that of a Christian. If someone is truly a Christian he/she will treat others they way Christ would. Go BYU, I am proud of you for taking a step towards kindness and understanding.

  6. I am not a BYU student but I am a mormon and I am SO excited that this panel happened and I am grateful for this article! This is a subject that I think needs a lot more attention. I think it’s fabulous to bring it out of the shadows and talk about it. I have a lot of GLBT friends and I want them all to feel the happiness and freedom that these 4 students described. I want us all to be more understanding of the different challenges that we all have to face in this life and I think this type of panel is a GREAT start! Thank you!

  7. Why is this even an issue in 2012? “Taboo” “forbidden” “sinful” …such primitive and archaic terms, so laden with fear/guilt/sadness. It is quaint and pathetic to see all the handwringing over how a valid segment of our brothers & sisters are ever marginalized; both by the very loving God that created them and by His (statistically) “normal” children. Note: Saying it’s a personal choice to be gay is a cop out, and has already been soundly refuted.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by “…pathetic to see…handwringing over how a valid segment…are ever marginalized….” Are you saying the commenters here should or shouldn’t be excited about the BYU panel? I specifically used the word “taboo” in my original reply to point out that we shouldn’t feel fear/guilt/sadness over being open about this topic, yet many still do.

    2. Paul, I don’t mean to argue with you at all, so please don’t take it that way. I have heard people say before that the idea that it’s a choice has been “soundly refuted,” but I have never seen such a study that is widely accepted. Do you have access to such a study, and if so, can you provide a link to it, please?

      1. BYU biology professor emeritus Bill Bradshaw studied and addressed this topic at length while he was at BYU (and continues to do so). Here is one of his articles that presents a good synopsis:

        But probably more persuasive than studies are the actual experiences and testimonies of countless numbers of good, faithful LGBT young men and women who have been raised in the church, who tell us that it was not a choice for them any more than you chose to be a heterosexual.

        1. Well then. I have a question for all those who feel homosexuality is a choice. i challenge each of you to determine the exact moment in time as a child when you KNEW you were heterosexual. At what point in your childhood or adolescence did you wake up and say: There is no way I am Gay! I am absolutely straight! Because, for most people “knowing” they were heterosexual was a “given”. it was no more a “choice” than being Gay is a “choice” ! It was who you are and you knew that. Talk to those who have come out as Gay and they will tell you the same thing! And, if it is not a “choice” but behavior is…then, again, if God created 6% of the population to be Gay, through no choice of their own, then were they doomed from the beginning to live a lonely, sexless, unhappy life, with no partner or children..or worse, live a lie in a marriage than cannot be sustained? I’m pretty sure the God I know would not deliberately create a group of people to be miserable…that would make him a mean and spiteful God and then no religion would make sense because most Christian religions are based on the teachings of Christ…who did indeed command: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40). So, if it’s a choice then we ALL choose our sexuality long before religion teaches us what to choose (and how can that be?) or, God created us all and as an infinite being we with our finite minds cannot comprehend why. Thats where faith comes in, does it not?

          1. Seanna, we are not saying that homosexuality is a choice. We are saying that the choice comes in when one begins to act upon those feelings. Homosexuality is a trial that some people have been given. The scriptures teach us that trials are given to us because God loves us (Hebrews…not sure of the chapter). Trials only make us stronger. However, there is no trial in this life that we cannot bear, if we are obedient.
            What so many of us fail to understand is that this life is so short. These trials that we face are only temporary. Those with the trial of SSA will not have the trial after this life. If we can bear our trials in this life, and be obedient, they will be lifted from us after this life. God did not give us these trials so that we would be miserable. He gave them to us so that we can learn to be strong. If we truly love God, as you keep referencing, then we should do everything in our power to be obedient so that we can return to live with Him. Just as you stated, we need to have faith, and trust that God knows what He’s doing. You are right that our finite minds cannot comprehend the decisions of an infinite being (God).

    3. Paul:
      I agree — it IS quaint and pathetic. “Look at us! We love gays!”. Just try not to remember that a mere four years ago we destroyed a law allowing them to receive basic human rights and acceptance. We’ll see if this is truly their new way of thinking. It’s only a matter of time before they are tested again.

    4. I don’t usually post on forums like this, but Paul’s comment (and others in the world) “saying it’s a personal choice to be gay is a cop out, and has been soundly refuted,” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have no doubt that most of the LGBT community had no choice in their orientation, but I have known many people who have been actively pursued as “converts” to the gay lifestyle. If gay people know there’s no choice, why the push to “convert” others to the lifestyle? I have several friends this has happened to. Those of the LGBT community who do this ought to be ashamed of themselves, and they are the ones who give a bad name to those who are naturally attracted to the same sex.

    1. I agree; loving and having compassion are Christlike attributes, even though we believe that living a GBL lifestyle is a sin. We can show love and compassion ESPECIALLY for those we know that are gay, lesbian, or bisexual that are choosing not to live the lifestyle, and are choosing to follow the gospel. I truly cannot imagine how hard that must be.

      1. Let me clarify; we should also love and show compassion to those who are GBLT whether or not they are 1) LDS 2) living a GBLT lifestyle 3) etc. etc.

        Being judgmental or shunning people is the antithesis of what we believe. People need support and love, not judgment, no matter our personal differences.

  8. I hope this helps the membership of the church to become less ‘homophobic’ and to remember who their neighbors are as comments are made in church. It is relatively easy to put one’s foot in their mouth about things one knows NOTHING personally about!

    1. I’m confused by this comment; I don’t even know if the author is local to where the event is held, or if he is, if he had conflicting events the same night, or he could have gone and not been able to get in.

      That’s pretty strong to name-call. And even if you know the author personally and know that he didn’t have the courage to attend, I still don’t think that’s being a coward. You’re implying that either he is worried what people think of him by going to such an event, and/or that he is gay himself. Neither of those points make him a coward if he chose not to attend, and it is NEVER ok to namecall, regardless. The bottom line is that there is just so much we don’t know about people. Jumping to conclusions is often short-sighted and ends up hurting feelings rather than contributing to a discussion.

    2. I especially like how the author pointed out that “THE EVENT WAS FREAKIN’ PACKED!”

      Y’think, Anon, he might’ve tried to get in and was one of many turned away? C’mon now.

  9. It’s great to hear of a sign of relative tolerance from BYU, more power to them. However, one of the panelist’s wife “…is currently on a medication that represses her libido” as a way to cope with her husband being gay. That’s horrifying! Having to suppress your entire sexuality is exactly the thing that the gay rights movement is fighting against. Also, imagine if the genders were reversed: if the lesbian on the panel married a man, would that man be forced to chemically cut out his libido, forthe sake of their marriage? Somehow, I doubt that.

    1. It doesn’t say she is taking the medication as a way to cope. Many medications have the side effect of repressing libido.

    2. I know the couple in question, and it’s an unrelated medication. For depression, as memory serves — which is itself an often taboo topic in “Happy Valley”.

        1. Would I be misreable if I couldn’t have sex with women? NO. I do not so base my entire self-coception of my identity on my sexuality so that it would make me misreable if I couldn’t have sex. My penis is not who I am.

          If you are speaking to something deeper, the longing for companionship, that is a harder trial. But not having a mate, and being utterly alone are two different things. The challenge of life is to find joy, even in our darkest moments. And with God, all things are possible. Would I be misreable? Perhaps for a time. But as I built my relationship with God, then that misery would disappear. And just in case you think I am just blowing smoke, I have passed through extended periods of lonliness and despression and both were overcome as I built the one essential relationship that cannot be altered by anyone but me-that is my relationship with God. As I cam closer to Him, I found joy.

    3. Thank you for the clarification, J.

      Kurt- The whole point of the panel was on how GLBT and Mormonism can coincide without the person feeling guilty about the things they’re dealing with. It was not at all about how Mormonism is following the ideals of the gay rights movement. However, we oppose much of it for the very reason that we believe that acting on SSA is unrighteous.

      If the wife in question HAD decided to take a medication to decrease libido for the sake of her marriage, I believe that is totally her personal prerogative and as with everything else about this topic and the overarching theme and moral of the story, it is NOT OUR PLACE TO JUDGE. If someone makes a decision that is not immoral, illegal or against the teachings of the gospel, they should have full right to do so without the fear of their choice being called “horrifying!”

      But again, as J noted from personal interaction, it seems that the decrease in libido was a convenient consequence of an unrelated medication that had a side effect of helping their marriage 🙂

    4. It said, he joked that…… and that he is more attracted to her than she is to him now. Not that the meds were given to balance their attractions toward one another

  10. My youngest daughter is a Lesbian. She has chosen to live this life. She, however knows I love her. She know that no matter what, that won’t change. I have spent many hours praying and asking for answers from the Lord. I have come to realize that she was born this way, but as President Monson so beautifully explained that God is the Father and Creator of our spirits and our earthly fathers are the creator of our bodies. Her spirit is not gay. Just like my down syndromes niece is not down syndrome. When the spirit met the body the soul was created. It is there that choice comes into play. Do we choose to live by the guidance of our eternal spirit or that of our physical body. It is their that the soul finds it’s place here on earth and in eternity. The journey is not easy for any of us, and is definitely a struggle for those of this issue. I commend these young people who have chosen to follow their eternal creation instead of their natural man creation. It is not an easy choice. But it is a choice that they have made. A choice that I don’t know if I personally could make in the same situation. A companion-less life is a huge sacrifice. My prayers go out to them.

    1. “Her spirit is not gay. Just like my down syndromes niece is not down syndrome.”

      I can think of few more offensive statements than the one just offered.

      1. Logan sorry to offend. But as far as revelation goes. My nieces spirit, which was created by my Heavenly Father as stated in General Conference this past Sunday, is our true nature and it is the revelation as a mother that I have received about my daughters homosexuality. It has brought me peace, and my Lesbian daughter agrees 100% with the my personal revelation.

          1. I’m not really sure what you disagree with? Do you think the spirit of a homosexual person is homosexual, or what. You are just throwing daggers with no clarification. Or is the offense about putting a down syndrome child in the same category as a homosexual.

          2. There is NOTHING wrong with the spirit of a human being who is sexually attracted to the same gender. God made them that way. Her/his spirit is, we hope, inclined towards loving kindness in relation to all other humans.

        1. Sherry, thank you for this comment. I am glad to see that there are amazing mothers out there that have a close connection to the spirit, and have an open-enough mind to accept such revelation. I only wish we had more women like you in the church! 🙂

      2. We were put here to have weak bodies and to overcome and to return to our Father in Heaven. He did not create spirits with disease and disorder. No spirit has down syndrome, we were created in His image. When we die, our weaknesses will no longer be, our disease and illness no longer a part of us, as they were acquired when we received a body.

        1. Laurie: Homosexuality is not a disease. That’s as offensive as saying that being black is a curse from god or that being female is like having cancer. If your daughter has that view of her own homosexuality, then that is certainly her prerogative. But that is not classification used by most homosexuals in our culture.

          1. She wasn’t suggesting that homosexuality was a disease, and never indicated that she nor her daughter believed so. She was trying to include a lot of different things in this life. Her thoughts about homosexuality are very positive, even though she personally believes in heterosexual relationships as part of God’s Plan of Salvation.

            I have two parents who have clinically-diagnosed mental illnesses. It could be very easy for me to take offense and fly to their defense about a lot of terms that get thrown around even by very well-intended people. I know Laurie isn’t trying to offend you or be offensive to you. In fact, she’s trying to point out that she believes that there is a part of us, our spirit, or soul, that has no infirmities in its resurrected form. I don’t know how that will work out, or if God considers SSA (same sex attraction) to be an “infirmity” or not, nor do I know if SSA will exist after this life, though in an interview that is posted in our church’s newsroom, it appears that a church leader, Elder Wickmann, thinks that it will not exist in the afterlife:

            “…same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.”

          2. I don’t think homosexuality is a disease. The comparison to Down Syndrome was a bad one, although obviously unintentionally hurtful. However, I do wonder if different amounts of various hormones is what makes one person attracted to males and another person to females. I have no scientific evidence of this. It is just something I was wondering since the kids I grew up with started having attractions (one way or the other) at around puberty or a little before. I just thought it might be the hormones, which are connected within our Earthly bodies rather than our spirits. So then the spirit wouldn’t have hormonal urges. I don’t know how it will work in the afterlife. I certainly hope I still have urges and sexual feeling for my future husband! I don’t have it all figured out. I may never really understand why or what makes one person gay and another straight. *Just trying to think this through*

        1. Argh you guys are missing the point with the Down Syndrome comment. NEVER, NEVER , would we judge a down syndrome child for who they are. We should never judge a gay, lesbian,, transgender person for who they are. It is an appalling thought to look at a down syndrome child and condemn them for what they are. It is equally as appalling to look at anyone who is a homosexual in the same way. As I have said and will continue to say, I don’t know how the Lord is going to handle all of the drama, judgement, and hypocrisy that has occurred on this blog, but If the scriptures hold true, each of us will be judged as we are judging. For me and my house we chose to love and leave this issue in the hands of My Lord, cause He has got all of you beat in the wisdom category and I have a feeling he has it handled.

          1. Yeah, welcome to the internet. Its full of people who are this kinda dumb. I think most of us got what you were saying and thank you for the expression of love it was.

    2. I’m so happy that you fully love and have a good relationship with your daughter. That is the essence of what we believe, which is to love God with all our hearts, and then love each other. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Whether or not she chooses to act on her SSA, she is a child of God, she is your daughter, and she deserves her dignity. Tell her another commenter says hello and hopes she is doing well.

    3. While this is an interesting and perfectly acceptable personal explanation (sorry for calling it an explanation as opposed to a personal revelation), there is danger in applying it more widely. My brother-in-law has down’s syndrome and as a kid with his brother in primary, their teacher taught them the basic principles of the resurrection and returning to “perfection.” His younger brother was upset and said, “But I like him just how he is.” I understand that if we are going to live a religious life there are things that we need to just have faith that God will “work out.” However, it seems less genuine (and I’m speaking in general terms, not specific to you and your daughters relationship) to love and accept the person they were or will be as opposed to the person they are. Please don’t take any of that as attacking or directly disagreeing with your comments. Like I said, it is a perfectly acceptable personal explanation. More importantly, you were looking for a way to accept and love rather than judge and push away. It seems like fewer of us are willing to do that, and for that I commend you.

      1. Mistamiyagi, I love my daughter for who she is. She is not her sexuality. I love her because she is sweet, because she has a big heart, because she would give the shirt of her back for anyone. But I would love her if she was mean and nasty. My love is not predicated on whether she will be a lesbian for eternity. Nothing will take the love I have for her away. That said, I had to come to an understanding of my religious beliefs and our walk back to our Eternal Heavenly Father. I had to understand the “born” with theory. I need to have peace and not fear in my heart. Love has never left, but fear has. My Heavenly Father has this handled. I have great faith in that. “We know in part and we prophecy in part. ” There is so much we don’t know. But I believe “My Revelation” was revelation. It is not the only answer to this issue, and it will not calm all who struggle with this issue, but it was the answer that I needed. I am grateful to be able to have such answers available.

    4. I think this is a great personal explanation/revelation but there is danger in applying it more widely. My brother-in-law has Down’s Syndrome and while attending primary class with his younger brother, the teacher was teaching the basics of the resurrection and returning to “perfection”, his younger brother was upset and said, “But I like him how he is.”

      I understand that if we are going to live a religious life, there are things that we just have to have faith in that God will “make right.” However, and I’m not speaking directly to you and your daughter’s relationship, it seems less genuine to love the person they were or will be as opposed to the person they are.

      Again, don’t take that as attacking your relationship and how you have found balance with your daughter. In fact, I think it’s incredibly heartening to see a person look for ways to love and accept rather than judge and push away. The world, and in my opinion the LDS church, needs more people like you.

    5. Thank you SO so much Sherry! I hope someday if I have the strength to come out to my parents and bishop that they will be as supportive and reasonable as you are. I’m bisexual, and have decided to only date men, but it’s been a hard road. Only a handful of close friends know the truth, and I’m terrified to tell my own parents for fear of what they would say.

      1. Alicia, It is not an easy journey. I have not always been supportive. It has been a 3 year process. My child is pretty wild. She has walked away from everything I have taught her. But I love her. I think about how our Heavenly Father feels about all of us. We are all sinners. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t sin. Sin is sin. I have a feeling that there will be a big difference in how the Lord looks at someone who is “born” with homosexual, and transgender feeling and is not strong enough to resist and someone who has an affair, or sex outside of marriage,or someone who is self righteously judgmental. These are choices that are made from pure selfishness. I cannot fathom kissing or having a physical relationship with a woman. I know my daughter feels the same way about a man. I don’t know how the Lord is going to work it out. It is really none of my business or anyone elses.

        1. oops I pushed send to soon. I know members of the church who sin out of defiance, selfishness, etc. They hide their sin, they go to the temple. We have just got to get that there is so much more to the story than we know. That said, do I think that their will be homosexuality in the hereafter, in the celestial kingdom. Is it possible that there will be those who desire to hold onto that lifestyle and live in the terrestrial kingdom “Sherry’s opinion” Yes!!! I am just glad that it is a loving Savior that I will stand before. Because I lays a part in my judgement. Alicia, living the gospel is a joyous gift. But honestly most of us don’t live it the way we should. All we can do is strive to do our best. Can I promise their won’t be consequences for certain choices we choose to make. No! But a choice that is made from a place of born tendency and a choice made from evil, are two different choices. God will see them differently.

      2. Alicia, I would hope the same thing if I were lesbian or bi. It’s great to see that Sherry and her daughter have a good relationship. Yay! I hope you will have the same experience.

        If you ever need some added strength, I love to give advice…. (not–cough cough–that you could tell based on how much I’ve dominated these comment threads…) But I also make for a good listener, and feel very empathetic. I think being bi can be even harder than gay/lesbian, in its own way.

        Facebook me if you’d like. : ) Kimberly Cropper Wilson

  11. I don’t fully understand Adam’s comment, “He openly stated he could see himself having a family with another man, but if so, he said, he would ensure that they still attended the LDS Church together.” This seems to say that if he decided to break this large commandment, he’d try and counterbalance it by attending church.

    1. To Carl:
      Adam along with a growing number of straight Latter Day Saints, don’t see monogamous, committed, loving relationships between two same-sex individuals as sinful. This isn’t easy for old guard Mormons to digest, but, thankfully, there are many compassionate bishops who welcome gay couples to attend sacrament services, Sunday-school, and ward activities because they believe Christ’s admonition in 3rd Nephi (which Adam cited) that we must not turn away anyone.
      If not for official Church policy (which has radically changed multiple times through the years) these gay and lesbian couples would be fully fellow-shipped and given callings like everyone else.

      1. Joseph – are you saying that homosexual relations are not sinful? To believe that would not be in accordance with doctrine.

        I do agree that there is no reason to prevent gays/lesbians from attending any church event, and that they should absolutely not be treated as lesser human beings.

        1. *Slight Threadjack*

          Todd, with all due respect, I’m sure Joseph is fully aware of the church’s doctrine about homosexuality. Some of us Mormons stick with what we personally believe to be true over what the church holds as canonized doctrine. We are often called “cafeteria Mormons” because we pick and choose only the doctrines we like. Some people say that cafeteria Mormons don’t belong and should leave, but that is unkind certainly not Christlike. For me personally, I think finding Truth is more important than adhering to “party lines.” I feel perfectly fine rejecting doctrines I don’t believe in (because doctrines change!).

          That said, I am currently undecided about homosexuality. But I don’t automatically accept the church’s opinion as my opinion.

          . . . and I’m a Mormon 😉

          1. I appreciate your reply on this. A great example of this is the recent statements by the church in regards to African Americans and the priesthood.It turns out nobody knows how we went from blacks getting priesthood under Joseph, to blacks not getting priesthood and even being denied temple work after death. Church stated they don’t know where this came from as no specific revelation or writing of origin can be found. All we can say is “we fixed it”. I too am undecided about sexual motivation but do reserve the right to think for myself.

          2. Jenna, Here’s an idea. Read the Bible and use what is says to “decide” about homosexuality. You talk about truth. Where do you get your “truth”. Cafeteria christian. Lukewarm phony. Same thing.

          3. And I believe we are all allowed our own personal revelation. Even if it’s not our stewardship, we can pray about it and come to personal understandings about things. There was an apostle who was really struggling with a doctrine and praying about it, and received and answer about what would happen. I can’t remember if it was one of the Joseph F/Fielding Smiths, or what it was about (maybe blacks and priesthood?). Man, my memory is bad. But he quietly held on to that understanding and waited for the change to occur.

            That’s why it’s important not to be “blindly” faithful latter day saints, but “intelligently” faithful saints, seeking TRUTH and not being “sheeple” just because it’s easier to put full trust in church leaders rather than also seek our own confirmations and understandings of doctrines and principles, and especially things that don’t sit well with us personally. That’s the very reason Joseph Smith prayed; to seek truth about different religious tenets. To find answers and clear up his confusion about truth.

          4. I don’t know why it won’t let me reply under Laura’s name, but wow, where did that comment come from? So far I’ve thought your comments have showed that you and I both think very similarly, but this comment is unkind and includes name-calling, which is the antithesis of what the bible teaches us.

            I understood Jenna’s thoughts not to be blasphemous, but to point out that she seeks truth. That’s exactly what God teaches us to do. In fact, that’s how many people are converted to the LDS church; they are seeking truth and feel led to the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            When I lived in CA during 2008, I was told that a couple of members were criticized for what they felt was personal revelation in how they chose to vote on prop 8. I, in good conscience, and through much prayer, pondering, studying of the issues and the scriptures, felt I could support the definition of traditional marriage and simultaneously support gay rights (which were already identical on a state level for civil unions/domestic partnerships and marriages). While I acted on the personal revelation that I received to vote for prop 8, I know of a couple of people who felt very differently, and also felt they received revelation about their choice to vote against prop 8. I cannot invalidate their own revelation, the same revelation that brought one of those individuals to the gospel in the first place.

            That’s why I worry about my standing before God and am so grateful I’m not in charge of worrying about anyone else’s. : ) (Though that doesn’t keep me from worrying about my children’s, of course, and hoping that both my husband I will be in the same or similar standing) : )

          5. J-B. I’d love to learn where you learned this. I was recently talking to my husband about why gentiles where excluded from hearing the gospel for so long (until the dream the apostle had about dogs even being willing to eat the scraps from the table, am I remembering right?), and he and I weren’t able to find scripture that backed it up. It made us wonder if it was part of the people of Israel making laws that separated them and their religious ordinances until they thought that gentiles were “unclean.” This would be another example of where cultural traditions ended up becoming so ingrained that people started to believe they were doctrine.

            Anyone is welcome to correct me.

      2. I personally disagree with this “growing number of straight” LDS young adults. I can see where you’re coming from, and I am actually very pro gay rights (yet still pro traditional marriage as well*), but as an “active” LDS member, I support and sustain my church leaders as well in their teaching that gender is essential, and that the traditional family is the core of Heavenly Father’s plan. I don’t understand how the details will work out after this life, but do trust in the newsroom at about homosexuality being an earthly attraction that will not continue on after mortality. Choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle infers and teaches any of their children that gender is irrelevant, which I do not believe is true, and does not support the plan of salvation/happiness.

        I do, however, agree with and also believe that we should not turn anyone away from attending church.

        1. Oops. Forgot to explain the asterisk.

          *It is possible to be pro gay rights and simultaneously pro traditional marriage:

          I don’t think my beliefs about the sinfulness of living a homosexual life should determine whether a GBLT couple has probate rights, power of attorney, joint insurance, etc. I can, in good conscience, vote against hate crimes and true discrimination, and vote for equality among rights.

          However, I lived in SoCal at the time of the prop 8 vote, and the wording of the vote at that time was the most simply-worded I have EVER seen in a prop. It just said that the definition of marriage was between a man and a woman. At that time, ALL the rights (tax, probate, etc) were identical already at a state level for marriages and civil unions.

          It was only at a federal level or in a different state that their union wasn’t given equal rights, which is where I think the GBLT community should focus their lobbying efforts. I still believe that the term “marriage” is between a man and a woman, and I believe in protecting traditional marriage both as a core unit of society as well as part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.

          1. Wether you call it a Civil Union or Marriage, the concept is exactly the same, I might ad as well, when it comes to Marriage, I do not see why the church has ANY say WHATSOEVER, Marriage is a legal document between two persons and the Government… Where exactly does the church come in??? I know you have heard of the separation of Church and State?

          2. Kimberly, denying the word marriage while granting all other rights and benefits is still, frankly, a slap in the face. I believe in a more inclusive idea of marriage and think it is better for our society. Why should the government respect your idea over mine when there is no rational reason for this discrimination? There is a reason why Prop 8 is failing in the courts.

            I appreciate your support for LGBT rights, I really do. But you’re still being discriminatory.

          3. @Randy
            Marriage was traditionally a religious institution and a religious contract, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be a religion’s (or an individual’s) right to define marriage however it sees fit. As for the LDS religion, the marriage license is merely a legal formality. Most members would argue that the marriage is between the individuals and God and that the state has no part of the contract.

            For me personally, I believe the state should have never been so involved deciding who could enter into a marriage contract in the first place, it should have been left to religious organizations. If this was the case, each person would be allowed to practice marriage under the dictates of his own conscience.

            Certainly, Catholic’s do not believe LDS sacrament to be authoritative, so is that a slap to the Mormons? Others do not believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, is that also a slap in the face? Athiests deny the definition and belief in the existence of our God, is that discriminatory against religious peoples?

            To allow differences of definition to offend is the primary reason for so much contention and strife in this world.

          4. Actually, Randy, it’s the government’s job — not the church’s — to stay out of marriage. Marriage did not start out as a legal thing but a religious covenant.

          5. Well said Kimberly. I whole heartedly agree with your view, and how you’ve explained it. Please know that there are many others who are greatful for your willingness to speak up, share thoughts, and explain your reasoning.

            I too was in California at the time Prop. 8 was passed, and was supporting the prop because we already shared the same rights, just not the word ‘Marriage’. I am supportive of those with this struggle in their life, and am happy to hear that this panel happened and others are learning more, and becoming less homophobic.

          6. @ Lancetw @ Forky

            Well I can certainly see that both of you are ignorant in respect to the origins of Marriage.
            Marriage was a civil institution LONG BEFORE any of the major relions today even became a thought!… It wan’t even until 5AD the major reliogions even began to recognize this powerful tool within thier grasp and it wasn’t until the 12th century that the Roman Catholic Church formally defined marriage as a sacrament, sanctioned by God… So please become informed before you go spouting nonsense.
            SO I say again, Marriage, in respect to the civil instituion and the legal rights afforded, are a government issue and ALL religious institutions should stay out of the way. If the Church wishes to not recognize MY Marriage to another man then that is fine, I wish someday that they will but I cannot force that… but in respect to the civil institution, the law, the legal contract… religious instituitions cannot force their beliefs.

          7. I really do understand that it does feel like a slap in the face. But on the other hand I felt that if those against prop 8 had taken that energy and fought for rights at a federal level it could have been more effective in getting what they are trying to get. The platform that was against prop 8 was inequality of rights, and the “rights” were already in existence and were identical. It was across state lines and federally that their rights were not always recognized.

            I hear you about the word civil union vs. marriage, and that is why my suggestion for years has been to pull the word “marriage” completely out of govt, and issue only civil unions that afford the same bundle of rights across the board, since that bundle that was originally legally given was partly to support the growth of society. That would truly separate church and state.

            My issue with taking the word of marriage and altering the definition to include same sex partners is that it most respectfully doesn’t represent them. An example is that a man cannot bear a child. He can be a father, but he simply is not biologically wired to bear a child. That does not make him unworthy of the definition of mother. It is not meant to be a slap in the face or unequal by not giving him the title “mother” if he wants to be known under such title. He may even joke that he is the “mother” if he is a single father, but he is not, by definition, physically capable of being a biological mother.

            I would rather that homosexual unions had a word that specifically represented them. It could be so much fun to come up with a catchy name, too. (For instance, my dear friend lovingly calls her gay uncles her “gunkles”) ; )

            However, the problem with that is it’s just way too easy for there to be an unspoken caste system, both mentally and physically among Americans, which is what is already being clamored about with the difference of using the term “civil union” vs. “marriage.” Which is WHY I suggest taking the word marriage out of the legal process in recognizing unions. It would certainly help with common law couples as well. Then the religionists can have their separate religious ceremonies in the way they believe, and let others have their own ceremonies in whatever way they see fit as well.

            But it’s getting late and this is turning political, so I’ll turn the time back over to y’all. : )

          8. Randy,
            The first marriage “contract” was a covenant made between Adam, Eve, and God–so that was of course well before 5 AD and any man-made governments. Believing that statement will necessitate that you have faith in the revealed words of God that have been given to us through ancient and modern prophets. That religious covenant of marriage was made long before the creation of the Catholic Church. But as with many other doctrines, it was distorted and eventually lost, through the errors and even intentional changes made by mortal men. When Christ’s original Church and His original doctrine were restored in their fulness to the earth, this marriage covenant was also restored. So in the beginning, God invented marriage between man and woman, and yes, the governments of men have tried to make it a legal issue, but remember that our founding Fathers introduced the ideas of separation of Church and State to protect the Churches from the government, not necessarily the government from the Churches. That’s not to say that the government should be run by any one Church, but truly, the goals of our founding Fathers stemmed from the oppression they had felt in their freedom to worship according to the dictates of their conscience. That is why I would agree with the comment that marriage should be between the marrying parties and their God, and the government should be kept separate.

          9. Mormonandgay, I was actually thinking of doing so of my own accord, as well as trying to find you a link to a couple of the other blogs I have perused. In one particular blog, the husband did not even come to a full realization and acceptance of his SSA until long after he was married and had children. He spoke of how, for him, he became much, much closer to His Savior and understood himself better in finally recognizing and accepting that he is gay; it largely lifted a lot of depression for him. While it was very hard on their marriage, he relates how he stayed open with his wife, and she with him. He stayed open with his bishop as well. Some of his personal opinions cross a line in my opinion (having gay-night-outs where gay friends get together to watch movies [not porn] that they would consider a guy’s chick flick), but I also liked how he and his wife have found a niche that works for them, and apparently his coming out has ended up helping them in the bedroom. I did like one cute anecdote from him, though; when he and his wife go on dates, her full acceptance of his sexual orientation is clear–she and he will try to pick out the “hottest” guy coming into the restaurant. For them it is harmless; neither of them are lusting over hunks where they eat out. But they are being honest that he is attracted to men.

            Not your average story, but clearly one that stuck in my mind as an interesting personal experience for him.

        2. My friend, NO ONE *chooses* a “homosexual lifestyle.” You need to educate yourself. People are born with their attractions. I did not *choose* to be heterosexual.

          And it is NOT (NOT NOT NOT) ONE particular “lifestyle* (an odious and idiotic term). Gay people live in as many different ways as heteros do.

          1. Henry, I would encourage you to meet with and interview a variety of individuals with SSA. Many individuals, myself included, developed SSA after a forced sexual experience. When someone mentions “choosing a homosexual lifestyle,” they may be referring to individuals who have chosen to act on their SSA despite the fact that they were not born with those inclinations.

    2. I attended the forum. I believe he was implying that he was prepared to be excommunicated for having a family with a man, but even if he were excommunicated, he would still be as active as possible (which would include attending church) and would raise his children to be LDS. Does that make sense?

      1. Yeah, that makes sense. It still seems counterproductive to choose excommunication over worthy membership yet still try to be active in attending, but on the other hand, I would commend someone that *was* excommunicated to still attend church and want any formed family to attend as well. It shows some sort of desire to seek truth, and who knows the thoughts and intents of people’s hearts? God, not me. So if this guy chose to live with his partner but wanted any children to be raised in the church, while it might be very confusing to the children, perhaps the dialogue would be open enough in the family that the kids could understand that their parents were saying, “You can be a fully worthy member if you want, gay or not, and we support that even if we felt the burden of living celibate was too hard to bear.”

        Who knows.

        Regardless, I would still treat any such couple with dignity and respect, as well as any adopted children.

        1. Kimberly,
          I have heard of families in that situation. Children are smarter than we believe them to be, sometimes.

          1. I’m not knocking it. If it’s happening, and it’s working for families, that is so completely between them and the Lord.

            But I’m also not advocating that SSA members act on their desires to be in a same-sex relationship, period. I was trying to clarify that I am not part of the crowd that someone has mentioned that believes monogamous same-sex relationships aren’t sinful.

            I don’t know what the future holds for our church, and I will very prayerfully approach God about any “changes” made, but right now I will support and sustain my church leaders in expecting of its homosexual members the same thing we expect of our hetero members, which is to remain chaste as part of our worthiness in seeking to return to God.

  12. I am proud of BYU for sucking up their pride and allowing this panel to happen! Never thought I’d see this in my day!
    Just a few PC (politically correct) corrections for you. The word gay obviously refers to men who are attracted to men, so when talking about all the students on the panel, or a group of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. you should use LGBT or even better LGBTQ. Also, from what I understand, the term homosexual is outdated and almost considered offensive to some members of the LGBTQ community. So, it shouldn’t be used anymore. To add to that, if the prefix homo = same and hetero = different, then we certainly cannot lump bisexuals into either box, can we? Get my point? 🙂
    Otherwise, thanks for giving us the play-by-play! Glad to hear BYU is progressing!

  13. I wish I’d had the guts to do something like this when I was at BYU a few years ago, but administration was less supportive and more afraid of the issue then (just five years ago). Props to the students who did this. I’m sure it took a lot of courage, and while I don’t agree with everything they said, I deeply respect their courage, and applaud the openness of both the panelists and the attendees

    I found peace and happiness by leaving the church and building a life with an amazing partner who I love with all my heart. I hope the panelists and anyone else who is going dealing with complications of faith is able to do the same in their own way.

  14. I wish I could have gone! It sounds like there were a lot of beautiful things shared. One thing I was wondering about was the statistic that 6% of the population is homosexual. In a sexuality class I took through the school of health I learned that 2% were exclusively homosexual, while about 10% had participated in homosexual activities in their lifetime and claimed themselves as bisexual or primarily heterosexual (National Survey of Family Growth). Anyways, I just think it’s important that we don’t exaggerate the numbers to make ourselves less homophobic. I think we should become less homophobic because of our beliefs and because it is right.

    1. Marianne- I went to the panel last night. When they presented that statistic, they explained that there was a huge range of numbers used, depending on the source of the information. I didn’t feel like they were presenting 6% as a hard fact. I think they know that it’s difficult to have a firm statistic on what percentage of people are gay because of the sensitivity of the topic and different definitions. Nathan, one of the panelists, is bisexual, so maybe they used 6% because it included both homosexuals and bisexuals. I don’t think the intent of the number was to reduce homophobia, but to give students an idea of about how many BYU students are dealing with this.

    2. Marianne – During the meeting Brandon, the man who gave that statistic, clarified that the actual percentage of the population is quite different depending on the source that you choose to cite. He mentioned that choosing 6% was not a definitive number but an average of the differing opinions on the actual percentage.

    3. Marianne – When Brandon gave the statistic of 6% he specifically noted that this was not an exact number. He mentioned that the percentage would vary depending on the source you chose to cite. So when he said 6% he mentioned that this was an average of the different opinions concerning what the actual percentage is.

  15. The progressive nature of this meeting is rather unsettling. The commandments are clear on this issue, and there is no possible way that God will ever change his mind. Being gay is the antithesis of our existence on earth- it is the opposite of procreation and progression. If people are born this way (choice or not- I could care less) and truly have a testimony they will understand that being married in the temple to a member of the opposite sex is essential for exaltation. I do agree that there should be support groups for homosexual people in the church, but a Church-run school should not allow homosexual individuals to openly state things like, “he could see himself having a family with another man, but if so, he said, he would ensure that they still attended the LDS Church together.” Like it or not, this would be the same as two common law people with a family attending church (how many of us missionaries dealt with this headache?), except this is worse off because a simple marriage cannot fix the sinning element that underlines the entire relationship in the first place. Thus, regardless if a gay couple is married, they are still sinning (and lets not pretend like they wouldn’t engage in homosexual acts and show their “love” toward each other physically). Any hope or positive talk that parallels such logic in this area is simply absurd and should be avoided like the plague- especially at BYU. But here is some food for thought- If a person is born as a homosexual (lets assume this is the case, at least for some) and can never really shake the “condition” (like any physical or mental ailment) for the entirety of their life and dies, will they be fixed in the resurrection? Will they no longer be gay? According to the doctrine of the resurrection, the body will be restored to its perfect form and therefore (at least for me) it follows that the homosexual will indeed find themselves “playing for the right team” at last.

    1. That statement initially had me a little disturbed, as well, but then I realized something. This panelist knows that engaging in a sexual relationship with another man is wrong. However, he believes the teachings of the church. While he is not confident that he can go through life without succumbing to the desire he has to engage in a relationship with another man, he desires to raise any children he might have with church teachings. That said, those of us in the church do not shun anyone. Whether or not it is a headache for missionaries or members to teach unmarried partners, whether heterosexual or homosexual, it is not for us to decide that they should not bring their children to church. Believe me, there are adulterers, fornicators, addicts and worse attending church each and every week. Because it is such an obvious sin, homosexuals shouldn’t bring their families to church? No, I believe that Christ would have a problem with that attitude. Mark 2:15-17.

      1. You miss the point entirely. It is these “baby-steps” (meetings such as these and said statements and the support thereof) that lead to the liberalization of thought amongst members in society- in this case it is the church. Nowhere did I mention that they shouldn’t come to church nor do I feel you understand the meaning behind the headache comment- it is a headache because you love these people so much and they simply refuse to keep a commandment and get married so you can baptize them and therefore begin the path towards exaltation and everlasting happiness. That is what you want for them. That is what we are commanded to desire for all men, homosexuals included. But we cannot begin to say we understand comments like the one in question nor can we sympathize with such erroneous hope. Rationalization spreads like a disease, and I fear this is the tip of the iceberg. BYU should stop this kind of open discussion dead in its tracks, or at least have a general authority there to mediate and then dictate on the matter. We do not shun anyone, but at the same time we do not give false hope to an adulterer who says things like “in my happy future, I picture myself with numerous partners and children, and I’ll take them all to church and I’ll be happy because I’m an adulterer and can’t fix it.” Instead, we let them know that this is damnation to their soul because God has said it (not to mention it is the adversaries illusion of happiness- its FAKE!). The same reasoning applies to gays and because we love them, we should exhort them to do as the scriptures say and overcome the natural man. Rather than sympathize with logic like this the church should avoid it- especially at their own school. Certain elements of this meeting and comments here seem to support this liberalization of thought among members of the Church and THAT is an attitude which the savior would undoubtedly have a problem with.

        1. What a headache it is when you have such a wonderful panel to promote christlike love and understanding of others only to find that people with opinions like Dallin’s CHOOSE not to walk a mile in their brothers and sisters shoes.

          Alma 6:5 Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was LIBERAL unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.

        2. I couldn’t disagree with you more! If you think Christ would have an issue with an honest open discussion then you and I (and many more people) must believe in a very different Jesus! In your rant you constantly speak from the “WE” perspective as if you are in some position to speak for a group of people or even the church… that is a little vain don’t you think? This issue is far too complex to try and break it down as succinctly as you have attempted to do. You state that, “BYU should stop this kind of open discussion dead in its tracks”. Seriously…? You are afraid of allowing people to honestly speak about an impossible conundrum which is so overwhelming it leads many to suicide? You would rather keep them silent and keep the population ignorant of the reality of what they are suffering through? That is an idea that leads to bigotry, exlusion and hate! What is wrong with allowing people to share their story? Are you afraid their SSA might infect you??? The worst possible thing for anyone living with such a difficult challenge is the fact that they have no one to support them.. no one who will listen.

          You next mention that, “We don’t shun anyone”. Again, by “we” I assume you are referring to the church in general?? Well I can personally state that you are extremely naieve to make that comment. Mormons are some of the worst shunners amongst whom I have ever lived! I have been shunned in my life for not having children fast enough even though it was due to infertility… imagine how people treat openly homosexual people! Don’t pretend to say that they are lovingly accepted and welcomed in this society of saints! I am sure there are a few true followers of Christ who do accept and love them despite their lifestyle but they are a sad minority. So why do they shun those with SSA? I don’t believe it is because Mormons as a whole are mean people. Instead I believe it is because people fear what they don’t understand. I would bet that most everyone who attended this event left it changed in their heart. Whereas before they would likely have avoided people with SSA, now I assume they feel very comfortable engaging in friendship with them. This is because they are now able to see them for who they are… children of God just like everyone else.

          Perhaps one of the more offensive comments you made was in comparing SSA to adultery calling it an illusion of happiness and FAKE. You truly expose your ignorance of reality by these hurtful and judgemental comments! You also claim that honest open communication with the goal of helping people understand what it is like to have SSA is “liberalization of thought among members of the Church” and go on to state that this is something the Savior would have a problem with. All I can say again is “WOW”! So Jesus would condemn listening to and seeking to understand another human being but would rather judge them wholesale in ignorance? I again state that you and I believe in a very different Savior!

          I accept that my words will have no impact on you other than to anger, but I hope that others who are tempted to be influenced by your hate speech will be open to the truth that to truly love and accept another child of God we must first understand them. SSA is not contagious! You are born with it and therefore it is all the more critical that we actively embrace our brothers and sisters of SSA and not treat them like evil perverts!

          1. Parent in Training: very well said!!!

            Dallin in Canada: the General Authorities don’t have the time to mediate every panel at BYU that might need it. We’re supposed to think for ourselves. If we need mediating, they will do it eventually. What someone needs, when dealing with same sex attraction, is not to have people think they’re icky or scary, but to try and understand. We need to help each other with life’s struggles. What that means in each situation we are still disagreeing on here, probably for good reasons. But homophobia is alive and well. It’s stronger or weaker depending on what ward you’re in. But people dealing with SSA (Same Sex Attraction) don’t need to go to church and hear people say things that indicate that they think how “easy” SSA should be to overcome. There are huge variations in that from person to person. Yes, people at church are “shunned” for various reasons and various degrees. It’s not 17th century Salem, by a long shot, but if it didn’t exist we wouldn’t need to read our scriptures and pray and try to overcome our weaknesses and constantly be preached at about faith, repentance, and baptism. About pride and forgiveness! Don’t we all struggle with things? Bad tempers, bad spending habits, jealousy, etc. etc. Yes, people get shunned for the mother having to work or for not having kids because people don’t stop and think that maybe they’re struggling with infertility!! This really is all connected.

          2. It’s not only connected, its heart-breaking. Which is why we have to keep remembering that we are all making our mistakes right next to each other as we navigate mortality. I have to forgive the person who makes very hurtful comments to me about having more kids when I know that I may not be able to emotionally handle them even though I desperately want more. At the same time, my sister is bombarded with insensitive comments and questions while unbeknownst to the accusers she is in tears each month as infertility shots and medications are not being effective in helping her get pregnant. Even comments on the other end, like, “Well, you have one, so you should be happy,” while perhaps well-intended, still dig deep and hurt. Of course she’s happy with the one she has. But that doesn’t stop the hurt for having what is called secondary infertility. And then my SIL is pregnant with her first, but has streptococcus, which means there’s a 5% chance the baby can get it and die. So all our challenges, just among three women and the same subject, childbirth, vary wildly. What we need is kindness, compassion, comfort, and strength, not judgment and hurtful comments.

            And then there’s a good friend who lived a promiscuous life as a teenager. When she had a baby at a young age, for her it was the catalyst that made her want to come back to church and raise him in the gospel. How much easier would it have been for her if she knew that women were whispering behind her back in excited tones, “Oh my gosh! Sue is coming back! How wonderful! How can we help support her?” instead of openly and quietly whispering, “Oh. My. Gosh. Can you believe she’s even showing her face here after all she’s been doing?” I know the phrase sounds so trite, but it truly breaks my heart!

            The only silver lining of all this is that if we realize it’s the gospel that is true and perfect, not the people (even the prophets), then when hurtful things happen, we remember why we keep attending; because of our testimony and not our social life. And over time, as we forgive and are forgiven, the goal is that we grow. : )

          3. Wow ssa is in the same category as adultery because it’s outside marriage and Gods word puts it in with ALL sexual sin. All sexual son. Second I find your community’s annual gay pride parade offensive bd Asus it celebrates sin. God gave us sexual organs not to be lustful with but to replenish the earth. If God made you gay then he would not have given you sexual organs.

          4. I think it was Paul that mentioned he had a thorn in his side that he had to deal with all Of his mortal life. We do not know what that was. But he bore it, put his faith in God, was obedient and endured to the end. It is the only way I can make any sense of the feelings these good LDS members struggle with. I commend them for living this faith, putting off the natural man and trying to show others you can live your religion in spite of your struggles in the flesh. I agree judgment is the worst sin of all. I must work on this. I have struggled in understanding the feelings of those with SSA. At times looking down upon them and Feeling anger towards those who do. I am sorry. Its not the Lords way. That is the lesson here for me. Although I don’t have the same feelings of SSA, I do have my own thoughts and feelings that may be as equally strong. I know they to be against Gods will. I have no right to judge another. I have had many trials to endure through my life. I was physically, mentally and sexually abused, and abandoned by my parents. I battled alcoholism, and anger. That all before I found the gospel. But my trials didnt end there. Since then I suffered through back surgery on my mission, suffered a temple divorce, bankruptcy, inactvity of some of my children, the struggles of a second marriage, raising stepchildren and the death of my oldest son at age 19. The Lord has helped me through each and every one and blessed me richly. As Lehi and his family, the Lord has taken me to a better land. Through it all I have never given up I have tried my hardest to overcome and live up to my membership. I have with Gods help overcome much. But some temptations still persist in haunting me. As Nehpi I often feel to exclaim O wretched man that I am, yeah my heart sorroweth because of my flesh, my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. They are Sometimes daily. Stronger at times than others , and no its not child or pornography related. We all have crosses to bear and have to give up our will and do our very best to follow Heavenly Fathers plan, to Learn how to control our appetites, know the boundaries and learn to control our bodies and our minds. The Atonement gives us the power to do this. Daily scripture study, prayer and service helps to temper and keep our temptations in check. I know I must continue this routine to resist temptations, the natural man and ultimately win the good fight. I must read the talk by Elder Holland. To see that he made the comment that the feelings of SSA may never leave one in this life is enlightening. When i listen to the brethren And feel the spirit my true spirit comes forth. I can now feel some peace knowing that my trials are nothing to be ashamed of but rather that I should Glory in my God who helps me live my faith in spite of my weaknesses and that if I endure them well to the end I will receive a crown of glory. God bless all of you that are struggling with what ever your trial is. You are loved and God forgive me for not loving you better.

    2. I would be thrilled if a gay couple was attending church, just as much as I would be if a common law couple was attending. While I agree with another commenter above that it does appear that this young man’s particular statement (which was his own, and not representative of what a BYU leader might have taught or condoned if they were one of the panelists, plus it was not the whole of the gist of the event) is like obeying smaller laws while ignoring the hugest of all, either way, that’s not for me or anyone else to judge; I wouldn’t know the couple’s intents, and would still welcome them.

      As far as I understand, even if you are excommunicated you can come to church. You are not given certain callings (because in most callings we are being asked to specifically represent the church’s teachings in what we’re doing, which is different than simply attending and participating in discussion) and are asked not to take the sacrament, but we don’t exclude people from church based on whether or not they’re openly sinning. If we did that, I couldn’t go. I have struggles with many sins, and my sin of gossiping, judging, or getting angry at my children/spouse, should not keep me from coming to church. In fact, that’s why I’m going. I’m not whole, but sick–I need the master physician, Christ, to continue to step in with His grace and forgive my sins, and in return I keep trying to seek to be more like Him.

      To me, any act of coming to church is a step toward God, not away from God. When my brother started coming back to church briefly, smelling of smoke, head shaved, nose & eyebrow piercing holes showing clearly (sometimes he took them out while he was at church), wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip flops, I was simply THRILLED that he was coming. When he chose to be a home teacher, I was THRILLED at his willingness to serve. I hope the people in his ward were kind, not judgmental.

      That’s what I love about this gospel. If we choose to really follow our Savior, we are an inclusive gospel, not exclusive. That’s why when Jesus sat among visible sinners (as many of our sins are simply not as visible as others) even when he was outwardly chastised, he quietly taught us a lesson about loving and extending ourselves towards those who may be considered outcasts for varying reasons. Not shunning them. Shunning them or thinking that openly talking about their struggles is “absurd” is what Satan wants us to do, IMO. Satan wants us to somehow place ourselves and our own sins above those of others, telling ourselves, “Well, yeah, I go to church to learn more and to repent. But *I* don’t do xyz, so I *should* be there.” I’m glad the Savior keeps inviting all of us to Him, regardless of our struggles in this life. : )

      Btw, all that said, I don’t think I personally would openly live a gay lifestyle and yet bring my children to church so they could still learn the gospel. I would probably choose not to live the lifestyle at all, hard as that was. But on the other hand, I don’t know others’ motives. If someone just feels it’s too hard to bear, and enters into a same-sex relationship, yet still struggles with knowing they are then sinning, and are still trying to seek God out and even try to teach their adopted children not to follow their decision, but allow the kids to make their own decisions, it seems the best possible scenario for kids already in that situation would also be to allow them to attend church, and talk openly with them. Tricky stuff, I’ll tell you that! I will admit that would be very confusing to a child, and possibly confusing to a ward. The good news is though, that it’s not up to the ward to judge. I’m so, so glad it’s up to the Lord, because I just don’t have enough insight to judge people. I just don’t know their hearts, motives, desires, and internal battles.

    3. Dallin, you’re being pretty ignorant. Every comment derides homosexuals, saying that they have a “condition,” that their “love” isn’t real. Why the quotes? I’m a heterosexual BYU student, and I believe that the love I feel for women is completely real, and I hope to give all of that love to a wife down the road. If I were gay, I would be having a monstrous struggle because I would have attraction to men, but would not be allowed to give that love to a man, and wouldn’t be able to show him in the least. If a homosexual wants to keep the commandments, he can’t even kiss a boy he likes, because that would be engaging in homosexual activity. How hard would that be? I love kissing, it’s wonderful. Spending your whole life trying to not act on your romantic feelings would be an immense challenge. Those feelings are no less real than the ones you and I feel towards women.

      I understand that it’s hard to reconcile the eternal view and the secular view on homosexuality. However, it is completely wrong to try to force GLBT people to marry because it’s a commandment. Do you know how long eternity is? Do you know how many people die without getting married? Do you believe in temple work and work for the dead? My beautiful little sister died when she was 16. Is she going to be denied marriage because she died an inopportune time? I think not. Same goes for any faithful member of the church who tried, but was unable to. How many sweet sisters are out there who work in the temple and never found an eternal companion? People who don’t feel attraction to the opposite gender are essentially being asked to wait until the next round, and I see no problem with waiting. Marriage is eternal, and if we try our best in this life to find someone and it doesn’t work out, guess what, there’s another life after this one to keep things going. Marriage is a partnership based on love, and sex is an integral part of a successful marriage. As a man, I would never be able to marry a lesbian. Physical intimacy is an vital part of the framework, and if we couldn’t have that, I would strugge, and so would she. That wouldn’t make her even remotely less in my eyes, and actually I would have great respect for her faith in a very trying struggle. Telling her she needs to marry so that she can have blessings in eternity is a cruel thing. This isn’t like telling someone to overcome and addiction. You can’t quit being gay in the vast majority of cases. I had a mission companion who was gay and then was able to work through it and develop a strong attraction to women. He’s been married for over two years. So yes, it can happen, but it’s rare.

      I grow weary of some of the Mormon rhetoric on homosexuality. I think a growing part of our community is becoming more openminded. I don’t understand everything about it, or what God expects from them, but truly loving our GLBT brothers and sisters means understanding where they are coming from and not telling them how to live their lives. Let’s leave that to the leaders of the church. Did you even see what Elder Holland said in ’07? You know, the apostle?

    4. You my friend do not understand what “progressive” means as applied to politics. Progressiveism is the politics of the government controlling your life and ensuring you don’t hurt yourself by making your own choices. It is the belief that a group of “experts” can run your life better than you can. It is why progressives insist on expanding government until you everything is illegal and you can only do what they say, because after all any other way is a mistake. Liberty is about being able to exercise your rights freely without anyone trying to control them. Its best expression is found in the Bill of Rights in The Constitution. That said, you suggest that the school should have censored the student who said he could see himself being in a relationship with a man because he was essentially saying something “bad”. That is a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression, and because you don’t like what he said and thought it was wrong. THAT IS PROGRESSIVE to the core.

      Also, gay people in gay relationships are more than welcome at church. Church is for EVERYONE. It was designed specifically with the sinner in mind, you know all of us. Said gay couple could not enter the Temple because they were not, and could not in their relationship, obey the Law of Chastity. But they should be welcomed with open arms at church.

  16. When did BYU become such an overt and blatant breeding ground for propaganda? If I had been to a panel like this when I was an impressionable (read: malleable) and confused student, it would have shaken my religious foundation to its very core, and I probably would have completely given up on my attempts (eventually 100% successful) at overcoming unwanted attractions and thought patterns. The event sounds to me like it was slanted and biased. Why not show the other side? People who don’t want to live with these feelings, but knew they could, wanted to, and have overcome them? The organizers were actually approached to show a contrasting opinion, but they refused. Now THAT would have been an interesting and valuable conversation.

    1. Wow. Interesting thoughts. I hadn’t even though of that, maybe because it is the opposing side that is constantly, constantly being pushed, that often makes some individuals feel that they simply cannot go on within the church, or feel intense shame when they haven’t been able to overcome their attraction, not for the lack of trying.

      Thanks for sharing. I’m also very impressed with your experience, as it is statistically not the norm even within the LDS church, even when it was the main form of “therapy” toward same-sex-attracted individuals.

    2. I’m glad for you, DG, that you were eventually able to be 100% successful at this. Kudos and all that. I’m also glad that (as the panelists pointed out), folks like my sister can be 100% free of cancer. God worked a miracle for you that He doesn’t work (for whatever reason) for everyone. As the quote by Holland below attests, the statements of Wickham and Oaks in the press discourse, President Hinckley’s own comments in the past, and the statements of inspired leaders just this last weekend in Conference: God CAN heal/cure/remove/change any circumstance in life. This doesn’t mean, however, that He WILL, in this life.

  17. Also (in light of Will’s comment):

    “For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful.

    Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.” Jeffery R. Holland, October 2007 Ensign

    So, although marriage is a commandment, some may not be able to marry in this life. This applies to everyone.

    1. Thanks Marianne. As an individual with SSA, this quote has been exceptionally meaningful to me. And I know there are many other single members of the church who love this quote as well. Thank again for sharing!

  18. Hello, i am a Mormon and have been for 9 years. I was baptized at 23. I waited 1 year to be married in the temple with my wife and we have three beautiful children. My mother was destressed when I decided to join the church because of her beliefs it was a cult and she would loose her son for ever. I remain true to myself and my family by being honest and faithful. My testimony is very strong and immovable based upon the fact god is real and he knows me and my thoughts. I have one question though. Please take this in the right way in which it is given ( with love and kindness) the gay concentration you posted is hypathetical and miss leading. 6% of America
    Maybe gay I understand but if you assume that it is filtered throughout the population evenly I find that hard to believe and it is unsupported. Please pay attention to detail and present evidence to support claims before broadcasting miss conception. I’m happy to read your articals and forward it on to others but I do feel you might want to be careful in
    • what the prophet says on the whole matter
    • what is true based on hard reliable evidence
    • what it represents to others as a message of hope or a message of total loss of faith and a life time of repression
    Remember that god is loving and will hold you accountable for every action.
    I hope that you consider the church and it’s teachings before you hit send on you journalism articals in future.
    Thank you for the ability to here what’s going on at BYU.
    Joe Bloomfield.

    1. Hi Joe! I understand your concerns. But this article isn’t about homosexuality and Mormonism–it’s about what happened at a specific event on BYU’s campus. Thanks for reading and sharing!

      1. If it’s truly just about this event, then Joe is right that putting out a statistic without proof is misleading. 6% based on what? Your guestimation?

          1. I’ve heard 10% but don’t believe it. I think it’s more like 1% just from my own little unproffesional investigation. I was the organizer for our 20 year class reunion of 300 people. Three were gay or lesbian. Only one was a surprise to me. The other two, well, I think we all knew before they really did. But of course, I have to wonder who else is and just isn’t “out.” Or which classmates have some tendencies or thoughts that way, but not enough to consider themselves gay? But I really think 6% or 10% is a high figure put out there by those that want it to seem more common (for whatever reasons) than it actually is.

    2. Joe – When Brandon gave the statistic of 6% he explained that this is a contested number and that it is different depending upon which source you look to. He also said that he chose 6% because it seemed to be an average between what other sources were saying.

      He also mentioned that statistically it is not correct to apply the number to a population in the way he did. He said that he wanted to give an example of what is possible, and what it could mean, and while statistically it is not the best way it is an accurate representation of the possibilities. I’m sorry that this article did not include that part of explanation surrounding the statistic but you might want to try not to judge an individual so harshly based on an article that merely summarizes what he said.

  19. This is an excellent discussion and an awesome panel of Latter-day Saint people from BYU! If you study the life of Joseph Smith, Jr. the prophet you will understand that he was a man who strove to bring heaven down to earth. He also taught that “Our Heavenly Father is far more liberal in His views and boundless in his mercies and blessings than we are ready to believe or receive.” Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph also taught that the “truth will cut its own way.” Jesus also taught that by their fruits shall ye know them. That means by the fruits of people’s lives one can know whether something is good and of God.

    If same gender marriage brings happiness, security, joy, stability, etc. to the couples who love one another then one can know that it is a good thing. The pure fact that many same gender couples are choosing marriage proves that they too are coming of age and maturity to the point that they are ready for a deep and important commitment. British conservative leaders (and many American conservatives as well) have stated very clearly that they support same gender marriage not in spite of being conservative but BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSERVATIVE.

    Gay people live in a very exciting and wonderful time. It is a time when they have the opportunity to live in a much more healthy society that embraces them for who they are and is far less likely to be toxic in their actions toward them. The more equal that gay and lesbian people are treated (also the more equality reflected in civil law) the more healthy gay and lesbian people will be because they will not be shamed or judged by the whole of society as being less than or somehow broken or flawed. Also by extension the more healthy and happy our society will be as a whole.

  20. Mormons are some of the most judgemental, gossiping people I know, not all obviously but most. I thought it was just my area but I learned different as I had me other members coming from completely different areas. My mom is a converted single woman who was trying to do the best for our family. The mormon church is awesome, she believes it, we believe, so there we were. I was baptized when I was 8 same as everyone else, brothe and sister as well. We all attended the same classes as all the other kids in our age group. But as I got older I started noticing gossip. From a lot of the members. My mom wasn’t a good parent because she wasn’t married to a member. We wouldn’t have a strong testimony and wouldn’t have a good relationship with Christ because we didn’t have a high priesthood holder in the house as a father. We couldn’t experience the full mormon religion because of that(being extremely family based). That drove all of us away it never got any better. I quit going when I was 13, brother and sister as well. My mom still goes and people still talk and we think she is retarded for that. How could you want to surround yourself with such fake people. “Brother, sister” this and that but when the get around the other cookie cutter mormom families ita all a gossip session. This story is awesome! It really suprises me and gives me hope for the religion. Maybe this generation will be more accepting than the previous. Maybe the mormon religion will actually want to help people to choose the right to stregthen the brother and sisterhood, their testimonies, to see exactly how god works. Not just because it’s expected. I hope this is a new route members are taking. People come from many different place and backgrounds. Why is that soo terrible if all they’re trying to do is get on the strait and narrow?

    1. “My mom still goes and people still talk and we think she is retarded for that.”

      Wow, that’s super enlightened and open-minded of you. This (the ‘it’s okay to be gay’ klatch at BYU) isn’t a question of people trying to get on the straight and narrow, it’s people struggling with their particular sins and trying to justify them to the point where they aren’t sins anymore.

      Where is the support group for people who struggle with pedophilia? Where is the support group for people who want to rob the BYU Bookstore every day? Why do “GLTBQWTFBBQ” folks get all the attention.

      To turn your first sentence around, not only are the gay crowd THE SINGLE most judgmental, gossipy group of people I have ever met, but they are the most attention-seeking, self-aggrandizing, dramatic people I have ever met as well. I guess I was my fault for going to the U of U and working for a hotel company. I guarantee I have met more gay folks than anyone at the BYU ever will, and they don’t deserve to be lauded one bit for their deviancy.

      1. The people on this panel aren’t trying to justify their sins. They are being courageous enough to admit to their SSA or bi-sexual attraction, and talk about how they can still be solid in the gospel while not acting on their attractions. They are not deviant.

        As for the many gay couples that have come to the hotel where you worked, you are inferring that they are checking into the hotel to be together physically. That means they are choosing to act on their attractions.

        1. Kimberly – kudos to you. I’ve read every comment on the page and I think you’ve hit closest to the mark. In society and in the church we have a spectrum of opinions such as those above ranging from “Gay=evil”, to “gay is okay, as long as you’re really committed,” to “gay is wrong, but everyone makes mistakes,” to “gay is wrong, you should work through it, AND God still totally loves you regardless.” I think this is where you and I fall. Like many aspects of the Gospel, our understanding of these people’s situation requires us to adopt a paradoxical intersection of two seemingly opposed principles: that God loves us completely and unconditionally, AND that sin renders us completely unable to access his presence. Another paradox this presents: being born with certain feelings AND having the choice of what to do about it. Another: loving a sinner AND hating the sin. Another: recognizing sin AND forgiving it in ourselves and others. Another: developing judgment ourselves AND leaving judgment to God. Our ability to see what God sees requires us to focus our spiritual lens using all of these. While the world looks at justice and mercy, or faith and works, or nature and nurture, and asks “which?”, I believe an eternal perspective will usually answer with “both”.

          1. Ooh. Those are some really good ones. My favorite: Developing judgment ourselves (the make-good-judgment-calls kind, not the judge-others-kind) AND leaving judgment to God.

            Here’s another paradox: Being a consistent sinner and yet not beating ourselves up for it; recognizing that regardless of how frustrating the natural man is, that hope lies in continually repenting, even if it takes us 80 years to overcome one particular bugger of a sin. (Like taking anger out on my family when I’m feeling moody, instead of using emotionally healthy interactions that will help build them up, not criticize them)

            I really like your insight that having SSA (same sex attraction) and being faithful LDS members is a paradoxical intersection of two seemingly opposed principles.

        2. Oh and one more thing – Neal A. Maxwell recognized the paralyzing effects of being “trapped in the prism of a single principle”: when we only recognize one true principle (in this case, God’s love OR the evil of sin) we trap ourselves in a two-dimensional mindset that keeps us from progressing, and keeps us from loving. Readers might notice that the most ugly and hateful comments on this page tend to be from people who seem to embrace only one principle in this issue, on both sides.

      2. Douglas Berry,
        I’ve known a lot of gay people who were kind, thoughtful, and fun to be around. You must have had extra-bad luck. And why would you equate being gay with having pedophilia or stealing? They’re not at all the same thing.
        “I guarantee I have met more gay folks than anyone at BYU ever will.”
        That’s quite the statement, and I don’t see how anyone could possibly prove that. I have a good friend who works as an event planner who has probably met thousands.

      3. Hmmm… Pedophilia and stealing are against the law… Being gay? That’s definitely not against the law. That would be like saying being white is against the law, or being a female is against the law. And there are support groups for people struggling with pedophilia and kleptomania. Not sure what point you were trying to make with those comparissons.

    2. this seems to be kind of counter saying that this religion as a whole is extremely judgmental, surrounded by fake people and a “retarded” mom for still going to church.. Although I can’t deny that you and your family were treated poorly by certain members, and I truly wish they hadn’t, you are judging an entire religion, angry at them, for doing what you are doing right now, unrighteous judgment.

    3. I’m so sorry about your mom’s and your family’s experience with judgmental, gossipy members. They should have held your mom and y’all up, not tear you down behind false charity. It’s definitely proof that religious members are just as imperfect as others and that we’re seeking the Savior because we’re sick, not already whole (Mark 2:16-17). I love what you’re saying at the end, and will re-word your question as a statement because it’s such sage advice:

      If someone is trying to get on the strait and narrow, the Christlike thing to do is to naturally accept them. We *should* want to strengthen each other because we do come from many different places and backgrounds.

      Btw, are you aware of a couple of the talks that have been given recently addressing the damaging practice of judging/gossiping? The most recent was just a few days ago, aptly titled “The merciful obtain mercy”: about minute 6:30-7:30 and then minute 12:30-13:15. In the talk he asks us to put down our stones. (referencing the woman caught in adultery, where Jesus’s only counsel to her was “Go, and sin no more,” rather than condemning her to death for her sins.) At minute 8 Uchtdorf even cites a bumper sticker that says “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

      A talk by our prophet, given a couple of years ago told a story of a woman who kept criticizing her neighbor’s inability to wash laundry, as it always looked dirty and dingy hanging on the line. Imagine her humility and embarrassment on the day that she commented on the neighbor finally learning good housekeeping skills, only to be told by her husband that the difference was that he had washed their windows! The story was told at about minute 2:30:

    4. I am so sorry you feel you were rejected by your ward. I am a single mother with no fathers of my children anywhere to be seen or heard of. One dad died, the other we fled from. I have never been married. But the church has been nothing but loving and welcoming to me and my children. I realize I didn’t do things the ideal way. I shouldn’t have gotten knocked-up by an illegal alien in highschool who didn’t wear his seatbelt. I shouldn’t have begun a physical relationship and got pregnant by a man I didn’t know well enough to determine he was a sociopath. Yes, my “picker” is broke, I know! Anyway, if the members of the church will love and accept a person with my wild past and baptize me, give me a temple recommend, give me my endowments, give me a calling, and make me feel like a true “sister, ” then they will love and accept just about anyone. Sometimes I like to reveal little tidbits of my past to my more innocent sisters just to watch the reaction. hehe. The person I am now is very far from the person I used to be. The church welcomes me and I feel safe and loved and accepted there. I hope someday you will find a good ward of people so you can feel the same.

      1. Oh my gosh. This brought tears to my eyes. After all the bad experiences we have dredged up amongst all these comments, it’s so touching that you have had the kind of experience we all should be having. Yay! That’s the way the gospel is meant to work! : )

        Hugs all around, and you go girl.

    5. Because people are imperfect. Do you think you are any better than the Mormons you are condemning? If you do then you’re just as self-righteous as you’re implying they are. This is why you develop a testimony, a relationship with God. The people of the church are imperfect are sinners. And as such they are going to sin and screw up. Unless you yourself have managed perfection now, you don’t have any right to denounce them for being just as imperfect as you.

      Your mother still goes because her membership in the church isn’t about the people she knows or the activities she attends. Its about her relationship with Jesus Christ and how the ordinances and blessings of the gospel outweigh everything else and bring us closer to God. And those blessings come only through the church, imperfect as its members are. God bless your mother for her testimony and faith. She knows what it is all really about.

  21. My heart is sad right now. This past conference President Uchtdorf made this point very clear. “Don’t judge me cause I sin differently than you!!!” “To those who judge others I offer this prophetic advice: STOP IT!!”
    Talking about Homosexuality is not propaganda.We need to open the door to conversations about this issue. Fear keeps us quiet. Yes their may be some minds who are immature and who can not handle this conversation. But their are more who’s lives will be saved. We have got to quit judging!!! How could anyone question BYU’s decision. They don’t make such decisions lightly.

    1. Also Sin is sin. Period. The Savior made that clear to those who were going to cast stones at the woman who had committed adultery.

  22. The panel was missing a married person in a gay relationship. My husband and I met at BYU. We have since left the church and are now living a happy healthy life together- much happier than we ever were as members of the church. There is beauty, joy, freedom, and peace outside of Mormonism. Leaving is a viable option, and no LGBT student at BYU should be pressured to believe otherwise.

    1. Ryan, many people who have had SSA, myself included, would disagree with this. I experienced life with SSA outside the Church and inside the Church. Inside the Church is unfathomably better in my situation. After learning to control my sexual appetite, I found that my SSA really helped me to become closer to the savior and that the sensitivity developed from the challenges of SSA helped me to be a more well-rounded individual. I’m more than happy to share more with you if you are interested.

  23. I want to send a big thank you out to those four individuals brave enough to sit on the panel. Bravo to you! And to BYU for hosting the forum!

  24. First of all marriage is not a commandment. Second jesus christ himself stated that the old testament law is no longer the law. Homosexuality is stated as an abomination in the old testament. in the new testament, there is nothing concerning the topic. The only thing slightly related talks of male prostitution which makes sense as you sell your body for sex. Not your body of course but your creator. Why would Jesus say that the old law is no longer valid unless that is true. Jesus only speaks the truth. also why would our church push this issue? Old edealisms? If the old law is still valid then why did Jesus lie? And why arent we sacrificing our young, and our animals?

    1. Jesus did not say that the OT was no longer valid. He referred to the Law of Moses no longer being required, as it was fulfilled in His Atonement.

      The NT does refer to homosexuality – Romans 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10, Jude 1:7 (teaching that those who participate in homosexuality – the sin of Sodom and Gomorrha – will suffer eternal fire).

      1. Eternal fire, or eternal “Telestial Kingdom”? It’s one thing to believe in one ridiculous book, but to believe in two that completely contradict each other is something else completely.

        1. If you take scripture out of context then I’m sure you can make different parts of the books contradict each other. If you study with an open mind and an open heart — and I know you haven’t based on your condescending comment — you will in fact find that the two books support each other.

      2. Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not [e]help the poor and needy.

      3. Gal. 3:23-28
        23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
        24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
        25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
        26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
        27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
        28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
        Verse 28 states that there is neither male nor female. We are all one in Jesus Christ.
        Why would that be put in the same chapter and in sequence with the explanation of the old law being no longer “required”? I’m not looking to argue, I’m just looking for answers to the contradictions of the bible.

        1. Jay,
          My understanding of that scripture is that it’s reminding us that God loves us all equally, no matter what religion, race, or gender we are. 🙂

        2. Also…perhaps it is also referring to why the gospel was now being taught to everyone, and not just the Jews?

      1. Genesis 1:28
        And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
        So why would you think that this applies to you still? Jesus Christ never said that it did. God was talking to Adam and Eve. Not the rest of us.

  25. I think it is great that an event like this could allow members of the church to have a better understanding, and therefore, show more compassion to those struggling with these feelings of same sex attraction. However, I absolutely do no think this means the church is becoming more progressive and the future of the church is changing (as many have stated/implied). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not change its’ values to go with the times…even if causes struggles for some of its’ members.
    While I did not attend the event, it sounds like the general idea that came from most of the panelists is that as they turned to our Savior, they were able to find more peace and happiness among this trial. Hopefully that is the message that is being taken from this, and nothing else!

    1. I agree that the church doesn’t change its core principles; doctrines of repentance and taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ as we seek eternal life.

      However, I do think our church leaders are still fallable, as they are also mortal human beings who are also imperfect, who can be biased based on cultural and personal opinions and beliefs. Yet God allows us to learn and grow as we seek Him and to understand His doctrine, so there are changes that do happen over the years. Whether God felt it was time to have those changes happen and used cultural events to facilitate them, or whether He has allowed prophets to learn slowly and line upon line.

      As I have said before, I understand that there was a common opinion among church leaders in the last many years that homosexuality was a choice (even just the attraction) and that it could be “cured.” As modern science showed how the brain is wired and many struggling GBL LDS members expressed how strongly they felt this was not a choice, the church has slowly changed its teachings to say that homosexuality itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. I think this is what people are referring to when they talk about the church “progressing,” just like the progression of polygamy being stopped, or the progression of allowing the priesthood to any and all worthy men.

      I love your last paragraph about how panelists turned to the Savior in their trials. Beautiful.

  26. I’m just here to say that someday this will change. The LDS institution WILL accept non-traditional forms of marriage, just as it accepted non-white males into the priesthood. You can either change or be left behind. Your choice.

    Just remember that every adaptation you make to stay relavant dilutes the relationship you have with your scripture. So disband or fade away. Either way, I win.

    1. Cute.

      But why do you think The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will change its stance on acceptability of living a homosexual lifestyle? Understanding the most core tenets of mormonism, I can’t see God revealing new or different doctrine on that one. God’s gospel is focused around the atonement and the family. Gender is both fundamental and relevant to the Plan of Salvation and our desire for eternal life.

      I can see how fallible church leaders could have included their personal, cultural beliefs into their speech in assuming that SSA was not nature but nurture. (i.e. that it was a choice, not a hard wiring). There’s just so much we didn’t know and still don’t know scientifically, plus there’s so much that isn’t cut and dried, like babies that are born with both genitalia; how do their parents choose which genitalia to keep? That’s why I believe we do the best we know how to do with what we know, and continue to have faith in God as we do so. He will bless us for our efforts. He knows our individual situations.

    1. Glad to hear there are success stories. Hope these links are helpful to those who desire to fully overcome SSA.

      1. @ Kimberly I truly wish you would just keep your thoughts to yourself. I have read every comment made by you thus far, you seem very… well lets just say frustrating . I will say that I nor anyone else cannot overcome thier homosexuality any better than you can overcome your hetrosexuality. I understand that you have your religious beliefs and its hard to see past that…. but please, try not to force your personal religious beliefs on us all.

        1. I’m very confused by this–I’m sorry that my comments are frustrating; if you have honestly read the hours and hours of comments I have made in the last two days (and a huge kudos to you if you have; I know I’m wordy), you would know that I have not said that anyone can or even should try to overcome their homosexuality, and in fact have stated over and over that it is very hard-wired and that we SHOULDN’T be telling people they can be “cured” or overcome their SSA (same sex attraction). I think to tell someone so can cause deep depression and even suicide. That’s why I’m so confused that you’re somehow misunderstanding my comments. I have gone to great lengths to be clear of my meanings.

          The only reasons I have made comments like the immediate one above are because I am seeking to be open to all the members of this commenting forum, not just those I completely agree with. The comment above is less than 1% of all the comments I have made expressing my beliefs, which are that SSA is usually not overcomeable. A couple have said that it is possible and at least one has even said that they personally overcame it, so it was a first-person example–if you read my comment under that thread, I pointed out that his experience is not the norm at all. I have been specific to say that I am happy to hear of *their* success *if* that is their desire. I am not going to invalidate their input just as I won’t invalidate yours. I personally do not think most gay people can overcome their SSA, and that it is truly unhealthy if they try. It can cause so much more unhealthiness than if they can be honest and acknowledge their SSA. I have not yet even checked the links above, but have filed them along with other links so I can research them all over time.

          You have implied that you are openly gay and content with where you are, and whether or not that means you are dating or have a partner, I don’t know, and it doesn’t affect me either way; I respect you and your opinions, and appreciate your input just as much as I respect the input of the person who believes one can overcome SSA. In fact, I think you’ve brought up some really good points about what you call a union; civil union, domestic partnership, marriage…. and I wrote a very detailed response that I haven’t seen show up yet.

          Your last statement is what confuses me the most. This comment forum is based on a panel that occurred at BYU, a private collage that is predominantly LDS, and the topic of the panel was the paradox of being gay and/or having same-gender attraction but also having a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since the current stance on SSA is that only acting on it is considered a sin, this is definitely a moral agony between wanting to live what one believes, and having feelings that conflict with those beliefs.

          How, then, when this is a highly religious, specific issue that’s being discussed (LBG mormons who are choosing not to act on their sexual orientation due to believing that is the right choice for them morally to accept their SSA but not act on it), am I pushing my religious beliefs on others? I am very open to your comments. Am I dominating the forum? Maybe. Just a little. ; ) But please understand that my intention is to help encourage open discussion among LDS members about SSA within our church to help eradicate misunderstandings and ill-placed judgments. I want people to *stop* telling SSA members that they just need to overcome their attraction and marry the opposite sex and get over it. People who do that have no understanding of just how molecular sexual orientation is. It would be like the also ignorant advice given to those in clinical depression that they just need to snap out of it, think positive, pull them up by their bootstraps. So now, on top of them already feeling depressed, we’re going to add to their burden by saying it’s their fault for being depressed, not the fault of circumstances or chemical imbalances or a combination of both. Ignorance breeds judgment and unkindness, when what people need are respect, acceptance, and kindness. It makes the world a better place. : )

  27. If a meeting like this leads others to the conclusion that their own attractions and desires can be dealt with and they can live a Christlike life, and encourages others to be patient and kind, great. If this meeting leads in other directions like saying “it’s ok to feel a desire to sin.” Then I have a problem with that.

    One of our goals as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to eliminate our desire to commit sin. (Mosiah 5:2) Until we have accomplished that lofty goal, we do all we can to repent of past mistakes and focus our attention on doing good.

    I think there is a fine line, that often gets blurry, between an attraction to the same sex, and a desire to engage in homosexual relations of any kind. Attractions can be induced by self or others, and sometimes they can inexplicably appear. Attractions in and of themselves are not sin, and if kept within proper bounds, they don’t have to stop someone from serving in God’s kingdom and eventually returning to live with Him. (Complications such as finding an eternal companion of the opposite sex still exist.) Desires to sin, on the other hand, are a problem that needs immediate and constant attention or they can drag us down.

    Finally, many people find homosexual activity to be repugnant. Since it is a sin, I think that makes sense. I don’t think Homosexual activity should be portrayed as normal or good. Some in society are trying to make that exact argument, including some of the postings above. We need to be careful the bandwagon of tolerance doesn’t end up on the high road to Hell. The challenge for those not dealing with this attraction is to remain tolerant, kind, and supportive of efforts to become more like Christ, but never to approve and encourage sin. Too many examples in the scriptures show what happens when a society loses it’s moral compass. Sodom and Gomorrah remains a blaring example.

    1. I think the point of this panel was “It’s not a sin to desire to sin.” There are so many SSA LDS members who have struggled deeply because they are worried that even the attraction itself makes them somehow sinful, broken, or that something is “wrong” with them, none of which are true. Our desires to sin do not have to define us, and do not have to keep us from living the gospel.

      1. Kimberly, I believe you may have missed the point of my comment. (please reread the third paragraph.) I tried to separate two separate points: 1- the desire to sin, and 2- same sex attraction. I believe same sex attraction is different from wishing you can commit sin. Same sex attraction may be something a person presently has little or no control over.

        Desiring sin is different. If anyone goes through life wishing they could commit a particular sin, but believing they are not allowed to do so, by society, religion, or anyone else, it will be hard for them to become who they were sent here to become. Their focus will be on something that can harm them instead of on how they can become more like Christ.

        So, it is my opinion, that we all need to work to get past the point where we desire sin, and instead have our natures changed that we desire to do good continually (Like the scripture I noted above). It isn’t easy, and I don’t claim to have accomplished this task myself. But, Christ said we must be perfect as he is, so until we get to that point, we have work to do.

        Please note that I leave no room at all for committing sin. Homosexual activity is clearly defined by the current Prophet, ( and many dead prophets) to be a sin. If someone has committed this sin, or is actively pursuing such a relationship, they have been commanded to repent and avoid this path. Adam’s reported comment appeared to cross this line suggesting that he might live with another SSA man, adopt children, (since they obviously could not have their own) and take those children to church.

        1. Ken, I can see what you’re trying to say, and I also leave no room for committing sin, which also applies to myself.

          Thank you for clarifying about attraction vs. desiring sin. My point was that the general idea and gist of the meeting was not about desiring sin but how to be righteous despite temptation *to* desire sin.

          While the one young man did cross that line, clearly that was his own opinion. I am personally bothered that he received a standing ovation for the comment, as it is in conflict with current church doctrine, doctrine that I support because I trust in the leaders that have issued the current stance.

          I truly hope that I can get past the point of desiring sin, in all its tempting forms, from eating unhealthy junk food in excess, to struggling with moderation in watching television and staying up late. You may not think these are “big” sins or even if they are sins, but I know which actions spiral me toward choices that keep me from progressing spiritually, so I include them in things I seek to overcome. (Plus I am not as courageous and these are the struggles I’m willing to publicly admit to) While I seek to have my nature changed, it hasn’t happened yet at a sustainable level. But that’s ok. I’ll keep trying.

  28. I’ve watched this conversation for a while on the sidelines and feel impressed to speak up. Growing up, I had strong desires for the opposite sex. In grade school, I was sexually abused by an older boy, and from that time forward I became confused about my sexual identity. From the guilt and shame came self-loathing and the need to hide my confusion. This only amplified the problem. Once I became honest with myself and my Church leaders over a decade later, I felt a massive burden removed. After what happened to me as a child, I know I’ll always be partially attracted to the same gender. Once you have repeated, sexual experiences with the same gender, you know it is a possibility, and you can never erase the association to sexual urges. I’ve heard it’s the exact same experience for those who have been addicted to porn. Once the thought is there, it’s always there, and from henceforth must be better controlled. I have feelings for the opposite gender as well, so my life isn’t as confusing as it may be for others. I know many people are willing to reach out and be helpful to those with SSA– Let me throw in my two cents on what would help me specifically:
    – Don’t label those with SSA as homosexuals, gay, bisexual, etc. The sexual feelings I may experience from time to time are not my identity.
    – Don’t rush to accept my current sexuality as unchangeable. While I may always have SSA feelings, I have personally been able to better control them over time. If I see someone of the same gender naked at the gym it may throw me off for a second, but I’ve been able to make sure sexual thoughts don’t fester in my mind. At the same time, my feelings for the opposite gender have blossomed. Who I am today isn’t who I’ll be tomorrow.
    – Don’t assume I can’t be a full fledged member of the Church and happy about it. I love the Church and the gospel. I used to think, when I thought there was no alternative to my sexual feelings, that I’d have to end up in a relationship to someone of the same gender, and I’d have to leave the Church. Once I pulled closer to the Church, I found help, healing, and answers to all of my challenges. I have deep, rewarding relationships with people of the same gender. I have awesome relationships with those of the opposite sex. And I found a way to address my sexual needs through self control. Some people die without ever experiencing physical intimacy, so the worst case scenario is shared by many wonderful single people.

    Be aware, it’s nice to have your care and compassion. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be so caring and compassionate that you lose sight of what would really help me. I was extremely hesitant to write this, and I would guess that there are many, many other individuals that have been confused for a part or all of their lives that feel the same.

    1. Thank you so much for weighing in; I’m glad you did. Even though I feel strongly about the LGBT community, and even more strongly about the unique moral agony of the LDS member with SSA or bisexual attraction, as a straight gal I haven’t had personal experience with any of the above.

      I’m so sorry about you were abused. It ALWAYS hurts me every single time I hear of sexual abuse in any form. I wish I could take those hurtful experiences away from people. It is heartbreaking to learn that my experience (somehow I escaped childhood & life so far without any sexual abuse) is the minority, even in the church. Sigh.

      I’d like to address the points you brought up that will specifically help you:
      “Don’t label those with SSA as homosexuals, gay, bisexual, etc. The sexual feelings I may experience from time to time are not my identity.”
      So true. Even for those who are completely gay/lesbian (as opposed to having varying “lesser” degrees of SSA for varying reasons), that is still not their identity. Just like “mom” is not my only identity, or “dancer,” or “piano player,” or even my less than stellar issues, from being easily irritated, to gossiping or judging. Gratefully, my identity is not “judger.” Even more gratefully, I can keep repenting and working on stopping myself when judgmental or gossipy thoughts arise, and I can work at not having that be a central part of my identity.

      Our identity is being children of a Heavenly Father who loves us with all His heart, who wants us to seek to better ourselves and return to Him.

      All that said, though, realize that if we start talking about anything from SSA, gay, lesbian, transgender, etc, trying to be inclusive of all the different forms of alternate sexual tendencies besides hetero ones, it gets really cumbersome to keep trying to pay homage to every one separately. Often, I will give a shout out to everyone at the beginning and then mention that from there on I will simply use the word “gay” as an umbrella term to stay more concise. It’s not meant to offend. If we really get technical, we have: SSA, gay, lesbian, transgender, transexual, questioning (like you did once you had been abused), intersexual, ally (that would be someone like me), and even asexual.

      “Don’t rush to accept my current sexuality as unchangeable.”
      Agreed. I think the point trying to be made here is not to throw a blanket statement in the opposite direction, saying that any type of SSA individuals CAN change their sexual orientations. That’s what becomes so painful. If those SSA individuals believe that, they will feel depressed and like failures if they are not able to “cure”/change their attraction.

      For me it’s always great to hear about success stories simply because it means less heartache when it comes to desiring to seek a celestial life in a literal way right here and now (rather than struggling and feeling lonely while waiting for the next life where I truly believe things like this will be sorted out, and that faithful saints will be given ways of reaching that highest level of celestial life, even if it means that after this life they will then be attracted to the opposite sex and be able to be fall in love and be sealed to the loved one)
      “Don’t assume I can’t be a full fledged member of the Church and happy about it.”
      You couldn’t have said it better. Amen. AMEN.
      “Be aware, it’s nice to have your care and compassion. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be so caring and compassionate that you lose sight of what would really help me.”
      Again, thank you for your input. It is helpful and enlightening.

    2. Robert, I am glad you weighed in on this conversation. Thank you for writing these things. I am sure it took a lot of courage to write what you wrote about your experiences.

      I hope you read what I have to say here. There is a great and helpful website that could really be of great value to you. The therapists name is Dr. Joe Kort and he is an excellent therapist. He explains that there is a difference between a person who is innately gay (inborn) and one who has been “homosexually imprinted” through abuse.

      “There are men who behave homosexually and are truly gay–romantically, affectinally, spiritually, sexually and psychologically.

      Homosexually imprinted men are straight men whose homosexual expression is about behavioral acting out from original trauma.” Joe Kort

      Here is the website with other links that could be helpful in understanding the tragedy of abuse and the healing process that often takes many years.

      Here is the Joe Kort website:

      1. Thank you Benjamin. Dr. Kort has some interesting views, but his opinions conflict with my personal research and experiences.

      2. You bet Robert. How does his research and experience conflict with your personal research and experience? Very interested.

  29. I am so glad to hear people talking about their experiences being gay/lesbian and LDS. I’ve been waiting for this sea-change (still on the horizon, but coming closer) ever since an early college anthropology class where I learned how many other cultures have recognized and incorporated the special and vitally important roles LBGT people can play in society. So I’m curious: Matthew 19:15 and Isaiah 56:3-5. Is there an application for those scriptures here (that doesn’t involve personal mutilation)?

      1. Historically, a castrated man. Expanding the definition through Matthew, it looks like it could mean anyone who (for whatever reason) cannot have a heterosexual relationship…

  30. Actually that is debatable as the lack of latter-day revelation on the subject in the scriptures means the Latter-day Saint’s have inherited the traditional Catholic and Protestant interpretation of these passages and we know that those traditions are not always true. Read those passages in the original Greek if you get a chance. You will realize also that there was no such word as “homosexual” in the ancient world or in the ancient texts. As for Sodom and Gomorah read the JST. If these bad men were homosexual then Lot would never have offered his daughters to them like we see in the KJV of the Old Testament passage. Also this passage in Genesis was about how these horrible men of Sodom attempted to dominate Lots guests through sexual abuse. It is a tragedy that these passages have been used to spiritually abuse God’s gay and lesbian sons and daughter for centuries.

    Look up the sins of Sodom and what the great prophet Ezekiel wrote in Ezekiel 16:49. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” You hardly ever hear this interpretation and understanding of Sodom in the Church. Instead many Church members have chosen a group of people (gay and lesbian people) large enough to Identify and small enough to castigate and pick on. This thing is unworthy of the Latter-day Saints. We are better than this.

    Too many Latter-day Saints have inherited the sectarian traditions (including the traditional interpretation of these passages) and carried them into the Church of Jesus Christ with them. Joseph said very clearly that the “creeds of the fathers are strongly riveted upon the hearts of the children.” It’s time we reasoned together instead of using fear and the Bible to judge God’s gay and lesbian sons and daughters. We need to move beyond this and stop using these scriptural passages that have been misinterpreted for centuries to castigate God’s gay and lesbian sons and daughters.

    1. I sorry I wasn’t clear with ref. to the Isaiah passage — rather than harp on an anti-gay theme (which I agree, does NOT exist in the passages people most often use, and your points are important for anyone who hasn’t studied the question), I meant to do exactly the opposite. I’m wondering if “eunuch” is a broad category like “widow”, which basically means any-single-woman-of-a-certain-age. If so, then these two scriptures are the only ones I’ve found that have a potentially legitimate application, and it’s actually a pretty powerful promise — to have a name BETTER than that of a son/daughter. I’m curious to know if this means that there is another important and significant divine role (besides son/daughter father/mother) that traditional Christian culture has ignored or suppressed, for all the unfortunate reasons you state. The lack of revelation on the subject doesn’t meant that there isn’t more for us to obtain- it means (if one takes the 1971 rev. on the priesthood as an example) that the number of people wanting/willing to know hasn’t reached critical mass yet. Perhaps.

  31. While having these types of thoughts can be natural, coming out and embracing them by saying that you are “lesbian” or “gay” is a form of action on those thoughts, and is contradictory to the commandments. You cannot live the standards of the church while believing that you are homosexual. We are taught that we are the same gender now on earth, as we were in the preexistence–so if you believe the fundamental principles of the gospel (lds), then you cannot follow both the belief of being homosexual and the belief of your preexistence gender. I recognize that people who choose to be “lesbian” and “gay” should not be excluded from the church, however they need to understand that they cannot retain the privileges of being a member if they choose a contradictory lifestyle. The fact is, the two cannot be mixed. The prophets of old and of today have been telling this to us. I’m disappointed with BYU for not setting the standard, and letting everybody know the truth of the church.

    1. By admitting SSA, a student is not “embracing” their SSA. It is not contradictory to commandments to be open and honest about your particular struggles that conflict with church doctrine and principles. It is not acting on them to acknowledge that they exist. It is acting on them to dwell on them, fantasize about them, or engage in dating with the same sex and/or in a physically and/or emotionally romantic level.

      You CAN live the standards of the church while believing you have SSA or are homosexual. Please read the newsroom’s article clarifying the Church’s position on same-gender attraction:

      It will help you understand that BYU follows very strictly the truths of the church. As far as I understand from both it and GC addresses, as well as from the Ensign, current church policy is that only by physically acting on SSA is someone sinning; they are not sinning by acknowledging their same gender attraction. Individuals with SSA can hold church callings and carry temple recommends as long as they are not living a gay lifestyle.

      But I think that’s what is so good about this panel; it’s helping to clear up such misunderstandings. I applaud you for trying to stand up for what you believe in. Please also understand the heart and soul of these many SSA LDS members who did not “choose” to be gay or lesbian, or bisexual, and have struggled with intense feelings of unworthiness just for having the attraction. That’s Satan who is trying to make them feel like there’s something wrong with them.

      I admit I’ve had sexual feelings toward a male who I was not married to. However, in those cases I have chosen to immediately remind myself that I am married and cut the thought off. The thought itself was not a sin. If I dwelt or acted on it, therein would lie the sin.

  32. It would be interesting to see if the church excommunicates these students for openly admitting their Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual preferences; or are they just stating they have these attractions, but don’t act on them? I don’t think anyone can really know if s/he is GLB without actually acting on this, therefore they will be forced to lie to their bishops when they are called in for the next interview (which will probably happen very soon because of this) God bless these students for their courage.

    1. They should not be excommunicated for openly admitting their sexual preferences because they are doing just that– stating that they have the attractions, but not acting on them.

      That’s the whole point of this forum–showing that one can have SSA and still be an active and worthy member of our church even though it’s a very physically/romantically emotionally lonely road (i.e. they can’t even be encouraged to date and marry the same sex, whereas hetero YSAs can).

      I think they absolutely know they are GLB without acting on it; I felt attraction to the opposite sex the moment I hit puberty, yet I didn’t act on it until I was sixteen and had my first kiss; I don’t think I even held hands before that point.

    2. The only members I have known to be excommunicated were those who actually committed adultery. I know three. They were married people who had sex with one (or more) people other than their husband or wife. One guy in my ward* has been excommunicated 3 times and still attends church.

      * for non-members, a ward is a geographical area designated for memebers to attend church together

  33. Thanks for sharing this write-up for those of us who could not attend. I would love to have been part of the panel as the wife of someone who is SSA (Same Sex Attracted). We have a wonderful relationship in all aspects of marriage. My husband would agree with Brandon that his physical attraction to me has increased over time, but is now strong and healthy. My husband is also one who is doing his best to “overcome” this trial through therapy; group work; strong, God-centered friends; and keeping a strong testimony of Christ’s Atonement. I am a BYU graduate and also wish that something like this would have taken place 8 years ago while I was there. I hope that they can continue to support those students who are committed to the Honor Code (and ultimately the Gospel) and offer encouragement for those who may be struggling and/or questioning.

    1. Kudos to both your husband and you. I really do hope that many students with SSA will feel that encouragement and be able to find more healthy ways to understand themselves and how they can fit in the church even with the plan of happiness centering around heterosexual temple weddings and families.

      So glad to hear yours in one of the success stories. I’m curious; was your husband open with you about his SSA from the beginning of the time when y’all got serious, and if not, how did you work through that when he told you? I know, personal. Answer if you feel comfortable.

  34. Honestly, great for them, but who cares. Gays and lesbians are everywhere like everyone else. Some are my good friends and colleagues, and are more charitable and friendly than most of my ward members. They would do anything for anyone at the drop of a hat. This is never going away. To each his own. Good people are good people. I just think we have bigger fish to fry in this country. I might add, this goes on and I got rejected at the testing center for a 5 O’clock shadow. This institution needs to get its realistic priorities in check. Just saying.

  35. Homosexuality is not a choice, most of the time. I am sure some people might be able to make themselves gay, but most of the time people don’t choose to be gay. But do people choose to be addicted to alcohol, smoking, or pornography. By definition, addiction is not a choice. They choose to start somewhere. I know no infant has tendencies to have sexual thoughts toward one sex or another. I do not know if homosexuality is genetic. But if homosexuality is genetic, which parent did they get it from? Is it a dominate or recessive gene? How does it fit into evolution? It doesn’t. Is it a mutation? That’s possible.
    I do believe there might be people who are more likely to be gay. But I also feel that people develop homosexuality, not by conscious decisions. I am not a psychologist, but I have seen and heard many things about the human brain and the power of it. Just do a quick search on the placebo, and the nocebo effect. Then do another search on feral children. The placebo effect, and the nocebo effect is quite interesting. With the placebo effect the sugar pill can cure a lot of things. With the nocebo effect, just by listing side effects of a certain drug, a sugar pill can give those same side effects. Feral children are children who were raised by wild animals, or had little interaction with humans while growing up. Feral children often can’t talk, and often can never learn how. Some examples of feral children that think they are a dog, or some other wild animal. They even end up acting like a dog. The have a stronger sense of smell. People that stutter, don’t choose to stutter, neither are they born as stutterers. They develop it. They stutter once or twice, and the think ” Oh I must be a stutterer”, and then the brain thinks they are a stutterer. The more they stutter the more it confirms to the brain they are a stutterer.
    Now the real question is, If we are more open, and if there is more education about homosexuals will this produce more homosexuals? I think communication is good and not bad, but we should try to find the source. Is it genetics, choice, or development? Can it be reversed? If caught early on can it be reversed? I do no know the answers to these questions, but I think it should be researched.

    1. The idea that a cause is biological or environmental is a rather old fashioned way of viewing behavioral aspects of personality. It is generally accepted in the psychological community (at least the BYU academic community and texts that I have experienced and read) that there is an interaction between the two that is so intertwined that the idea that we can separate them is almost…well…silly.

      People seem to always want to say something like “If it is biological that means I don’t have a choice” forgetting that physical cognitive disorders can absolutely be overcome. Our brains can “re-wire” so to speak. It’s known as neuroplasticity. People can lose certain behavioral abilities or even have altered personality traits but because of the remarkable neuroplasticity of the brain they can overcome these biological difficulties through will power at times.

      Others claim that “It is environmental so that means it is a choice.” How many of your developmental years can you truly claim that you chose your environment? You chose your conditions and how you would respond? I learned of a case where a child was brought up by an abusive family that forced her to live in a closet and for the first years of her life she rarely left the closet and never heard words spoken to her. She was extremely challenged developmentally as a result. Would you go to her and say “You have the choice to be what I have arbitrarily decided to define as normal.”

      My point is both that the idea that one scenario gives choice and the other does not is wrong and also that in both of the situations I attempted to describe there are biological and environmental factors interacting with free will with the given result. In the case where a person is able to recover abilities lost it is often dependent on so many factors such as what part of the brain was affected, what is their level of intrinsic motivation, what type of social support do they have, etc. And each of those factors depends on so many other factors that are both environmental at times and biological at times. And in the case of the girl who was challenged developmentally as a result of her treatment you have to take into account things like developmental critical and sensitive periods where if the proper stimuli is not received at a specific time then certain behaviors cannot be learned or will be severely impaired.

      Perhaps most important pertaining to the specific topic of LGBT is that of considering yourself. Whether you consider who you are to be a choice or not. And I don’t mean saying something as simple as “well I chose good friends so I’m a good person” I mean taking the time to truly analyze who you are. Members often have a tendency to see there good characteristics and attribute them to “choice.” But what about the things that you don’t like about yourself. We all have things about ourselves that we would like to change. If you get angry easily do you say to yourself “the reason I get angry easily is because at some point in my life I realized I like being angry and decided that is what I will do from now on” and you’ve been an angry person ever since. Personalities don’t work like that. Whomever you turned out to be is probably partially a result of how you were raised but why do you think people raised in extremely similar circumstances (like siblings) turn out so different? Because our environment interacts with our genetics and the result is something that no one can predict, no one can easily extract cause, and rarely is there any sort of conscious decision pertaining to what specific personality traits you have obtained. The specific study of this type of interaction is known as epigenetics. It is an area that I do not have extensive experience in but people who wish to understand the complexity of who we are and how our choices affect that then they should really look into this area of research.

    2. I agree that the issue should be researched. It probably will be. One of the problems is that it the kind of questions you’re asking won’t receive the kind of funding you need because of the mixed opinions about whether or not it homosexuality is a problem. It was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual in 1973 as a mental disorder.

    3. What’s truly, horrible and disgusting about some of these comments, is the ASSUMPTION that being gay is a BAD thing. To be treated as a dysfunction that renders a gay person all manner of incompetent or threatening.
      Especially in this incredibly varied and diverse world, of many kinds of normal and uncommon.
      There are still so many ignorant and arrogant comments, it takes my breath away. Gay people are NOT lab rats and shouldn’t have to be.
      Gay people shouldn’t have to DEFEND their existence at the expense of what’s true.
      They were here long before any religions organized themselves around conveniently scapegoating them because of their distinct difference, and by God, will remain.
      We haven’t got all day, let alone another millennium until you get it.
      In recent history, we’ve seen religious belief used to defend the abuses of women, blacks, indigenous people, gays and lesbians, Jews. In ancient history, geniuses and the left handed have been abused too.
      The Mormon religion was founded by a slave holder. And blacks were denied entry into it (and still higher offices) until recent decades.
      Have you learned nothing about the folly of religious bigotry and injustice?
      This is the 21st century people!
      A continued unfriendly, threatening and hostile environment to gay people, will simply keep the truth and honesty at bay.
      And it’s deadly, and there is no defense for it.
      The easiest answer, to any questions any of you harbor (and it seems too many people think themselves so certain they NEVER ask), is to create and support a non threatening and open environment for gay people to live in openly and truthfully.
      The rest WILL take care of itself.
      No individual or nation EVER suffered from equal rights, protections and justice. Especially when such has been expanded to include those previously denied it. It’s never morally just and good, to deny the humanity and potential of another human being you REFUSE to know, let alone understand.
      Let along making excuses to never do either.

      I see comments made all the time by heterosexual people, pontificating and lecturing on homosexuality as if THEY are the experts. And they get their information from equally clueless het people.
      If I wanted my child, or myself to learn about Jews, and living as one. I wouldn’t go to a non Jewish anti Semite to learn. Nor would I consult a man on the experience of childbearing.
      See my point?
      It’s wrong, and frankly dumb looking for a het person to argue with someone gay over the merits or experience of being gay. It’s not even natural to be so paranoid, and hostile to gay people. It’s a LEARNED behavior, from fearful and ignorant heterosexuals. And it’s done no one any good. Not ever.
      So, if ANYONE should defer to what gay people know and experience, it’s hets. Believe me, nothing bad ever happened from gays and straights becoming allies against greater harms.

      1. RD,
        I need to make a small correction to what you said: the founder of the LDS Church wasn’t a slave holder. In fact, Joseph Smith was poor and lived in upstate New York. Also, he wanted to free the slaves.

      2. Sorry you feel that way. But I grew up in a mormon home, and was taught the principles of the church. I have been taught that Gender is an eternal characteristic. I have been taught that families are essential to the society. These ideas and beliefs are deeply ingrained in me. So now my question what is good and what is evil? What is sin? If there is no God then there is no sin. If there is no sin, nothing is evil. So what is sin? What is evil? What is wrong? Who defines that?

  36. Those of you who are criticizing LGBT’s, good for you for having such a strong testimony in the church and sticking up for “commandments.” Have you thought about the fact of judging gays and their “temptations, choices, actions” whatever you want to call them, is our test??? How about you stop focusing on other people and they way they live their lives. Their choices, feelings, etc. are between them and the Savior. Such talk about “marriage is a commandment,” is ridiculous. The greatest commandment is “Love they neighbor.” My sister is gay. She has the most gorgeous partner and beautiful little girl. I love them more than anything in the world. She is who she is, she can’t change and why the heck would she want to when she is so beyond happy. When I question and doubt who she is, the same answer comes to me.. it will all work out in the end. Do I know exactly what that means? No. Will I ever in this life? Probably not. Maybe people should spend some time thinking about the choices they are making themselves and just hope and pray that others will love and follow the gospel as they do. Love em. It’s that simple. Leave the rest up to our loving Heavenly Father.

    1. Amen Brother! (Hulk Hogan style) To force or encourage someone to do something they don’t feel, on principal, like a straight marriage, is a recipe for disaster in the future. I don’t care what anyone says.

  37. “6% of the U.S. population is homosexual”. I don’t believe this is true. It is a statistic that cannot be validated.

    1. Hmmm well the stats are fairly universal across many species in the animal kingdom as well which has shown that approximately 5% are exclusively homosexual in orientation.

    2. Several comments here are saying that it was an average of different statistics (and yes, they’re hard to validate); even if it was between 1-3%, the point is recognizing that there are more LDS members with SSA than we realize.

  38. Let’s consider this: What if the general authorities were to say, in the next general conference, that Heavenly Father wanted everyone to become homosexual? What if they said that that we have had it all wrong, and that if we are not homosexual, then we will never achieve exaltation. Even more, what if they said that heterosexual thoughts are disgusting sins, and that if you even entertain the very thought of a heterosexual relationship, then you are on Satan’s side. If this were the case, I can promise you that the majority of heterosexual members would appreciate a safe place, where they could openly discuss the difficulties that they would surely be having, converting to homosexuality. Nobody can imagine how difficult it is for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered members of the church to come to some sort of peace. We all know that LDS culture is all about trials and difficulty, and that it is important to discuss these difficulties. I mean, you can walk into any fast and testimony meeting and listen to people openly talk about how their trials. Everybody needs a place to talk and be heard. That includes our homosexual brothers and sisters.

    Thank you, BYU, for allowing this discussion to take place. And thank you, Trevor, for letting everybody know about it.

  39. I marvel at the information presented, the bravery, and the kind response. I now hope even more that someday, maybe soon, homosexuality will no longer be seen as our rebellion against God and the Restoration of the Gospel, but something personal about us we choose to subordinate to our love of God, His Son, and the Restored Gospel. I love the Church and devote my life to it. I long only to build it up, and like so many others, feel some love, friendship, and inclusion. Largely I serve without these, at least from my peers, but I have found love in service, and I have friends who love the real me. God bless us all to be more and more Christlike.

    1. I’m so sorry you often end up serving without love, friendship, and inclusion. I really hope the couple of friends who know and love the real you are able to buoy you up. Kudos to you for seeing the gospel and still desiring to live it despite the imperfectness of its members. If you live close to Dallas, TX, our family would sure be glad to have you over. : )

  40. Its not hard to get overflow crowds in the MARB. Maybe next time something like this could be held in the Varsity, or the JSB.

  41. I applaud this type of discussion at BYU. Being GLBT and Mormon can’t be easy, and I have the greatest respect for these panelists who were willing to talk frankly about these topics in front of the entire school.

    However, I think what gets lost most of the time in this GLBT debate is that the Church doesn’t expect anything from its SSA members that it doesn’t also expect from every other member. That is, sex outside of marriage is wrong, and God has told us (through living prophets) that His definition of marriage is between one man and one woman. That’s the standard that God currently has for us.

    If the president of the church receives revelation to refine this commandment at some point in the future (several people have mentioned that this has happened in the past), then the members of the church will have to deal with that when it comes. For right now, however, abstinence before traditional marriage and fidelity after is what God expects from all His children.

    Many of my female friends (and some of male friends, for that matter) are single for one reason or another. Many have never been married. They’re expected to live by the same law of chastity as the rest of the church.

    Keeping the law of chastity is hard no matter who you are or what your sexual orientation happens to be. It’s simply difficult not express this part of yourself.

    Statistics being what they are currently, many women in the Church today don’t have any reasonable expectation of marriage in mortality. This means that some or even most of my single friends will have to continue without a sexual partner for the rest of their lives if they want to stay on the right side of the commandments.

    The point is, having sex is always a choice. It’s hard to control, but it can be done. God didn’t design us to be ruled by our libidos. Whether you’re SSA or just single you can no. Or you can say yes, but it’s your decision.

    God usually doesn’t automatically snap away the sexual desires GLBT people. He might choose to heal them in His own time and in His own way, or He might give them the strength needed to carry on with this burden for the rest of their lives. It’s the same for single people and, for that matter, married people who may be tempted with adulterous thoughts. God has set the standard, and He can help you live it, but things may not change for you or be exactly the way you expected them to be.

    It sounds like the members of this panel understood that principle and are trying to live the commandments by cultivating a personal relationship with Him who can heal all hurts, Jesus Christ. It’s what I’m striving to do as well.

  42. I think this panel was a good way to bring the issue to light. God loves all of His children. There are many Latter-day Saints who struggle with same-sex attraction.

    Same-sex attraction is not usually a choice but homosexual acts are a choice and this distinction is very important. The doctrine as taught by the church can be found in the short manual, “God Loveth His Children” (2007). These are two paragraphs in the manual.

    “Many people with same-gender attractions have strong testimonies of the gospel and, therefore, do not act on those attractions. Attractions alone do not make you unworthy. If you avoid immoral thoughts and actions, you have not transgressed even if you feel such an attraction. The First Presidency stated, ‘There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior’ (letter, Nov. 14, 1991).

    “The teachings of the gospel differ greatly from the ways and teachings of the world on many subjects, including moral behavior. These differences result from our understanding of the gift of eternal life that Heavenly Father has prepared for us and the conditions necessary to receive it. No one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God’s love or the extended arms of His Church, for we are all His beloved sons and daughters. As President Hinckley said: ‘Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters’ (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 99).”

    We shouldn’t condone same-sex relationships or the seeking thereof but we should love those individuals as Christ would love them. It is possible to love a person without condoning their behavior.

  43. Imagine people for a moment if Christ entered the room…

    With love and compassion he would tell those who have those feelings of being gay to control them, repent and sin no more and keep the commandments. The meeting would be over!

    This act is “An obomination before God” and after Christ would remind everyone in the meeting of that, perhaps thinking about what he did at the temple to the money changers might give you an idea of how he might feel regarding those who know better yet mock God in his own house.

    Honestly, I don’t know how this meeting was permitted on campus save it came directly from the Prophet, which then the Savior must want the world to know he loves all his children and they must repent and sin no more and follow him.

    1. How is it a mockery to discuss these things? It’s a panel discussion. No one is saying that these 4 individuals are making perfect choices. What if you had a son or daughter with SSA? How would you deal with that? I believe that if Christ were there, he would teach. This isn’t similar to the money changers at the temple. The money changers were making a profit, desecrating holy ground. These students were simply trying to have a discussion and an increased understanding. If Christ were there, I imagine He’d teach doctrine, and help us all to understand how SSA fits into the plan of salvation. I don’t believe in a hateful God.

      1. “If Christ were there, I imagine He’d teach doctrine, and help us all to understand how SSA fits into the plan of salvation.” HAHAHAHA! Yes, I would like to know how it fits in. Can you imagine something more ridiculous than that explanation?

    2. I really thought that you were going to finish the sentence “Imagine…if Christ entered the room . . .” with something like the following:
      “. . . . Perhaps He would sit among the panelists and also take questions. Just even His presence might help everyone in the room see each other with true charity, recognizing that they are all children of God, all with different temptations to overcome in their own lives.”

      I truly do not think Christ would tell the panelists to control their gay thoughts, repent, and sin no more. There was no evidence that any of the panelists were even currently sinning. Acknowledging how they have been able to feel SSA and yet still choose righteousness in not acting on it, but still be worthy members, will be so helpful to many BYU students who think they are somehow broken or sinful just for the SSA they feel, even though they do not act on it.

      Even *if* these particular panelists were currently sinning (which is mostly likely true of just about everyone in the audience, even though the audience might be sinning in different ways than acting on SSA), I keep coming back to Mark 2:16-17:

      “…[W]hen the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

      When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

      And if the Savior had said that in this panel, it would apply to everyone in the room, not just the panelists. We are all sinners. What is courageous about these four is that while many people will misunderstand and judge them for openly admitting SSA, they will help many closeted kids with SSA recognize that having the attraction isn’t the sin.

  44. Wow I’m shocked that this is actually happening. Since when is being a hOmosexual great? That falls under exhale sun and sexual sin is wrong. I’m a Latter Day Saint that lOves the person but hates the sin. Homosexuality is not natural and goes against the natural order of things. God says homosexuals will not Inherit the kingdom of God.

    1. Actually, homosexuality can be very naturally occurring. Check the church’s stance on this, it’s the behavior that is a sin, not the attraction — just like being tempted to drink alcohol when you are a recovering alcoholic is not a sin as long as you don’t drink.

      However we can remember that the natural man is an enemy to God.

      I do believe that homosexual behavior is wrong, but I am going to focus on correcting my own sins and try not to judge others for their sins that are different from mine… I suggest you do the same.

    2. Never ONCE does God say that homosexuals cannot receive the fullness of his glory. The scriptures say that any man or woman sealed in the temple who keeps their covenants will receive a fullness and that anyone who cannot do so in this life will have the opportunity in the next. Having attractions to people of the same sex is NOT a choice, but choosing not to act on them IS. You would place all homosexuals, as well as sister Sherry Dew and many other beautiful but unmarried souls into a lesser kingdom because you are self-righteous and lacking the true love of Christ, Charity. Homosexuality is not a sin, acting upon it is. LEARN your gospel before you try preaching it at others.

        1. @ Laura “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Perhaps you should read the bible yourself Laura.

          “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
          I could recite HUNDREDS of passages on the rights of Women according to the bible.
          So please, if you choose to follow the teachings of the Bible, don’t “pick and choose” then try throwing it in MY face. Because my relationship with God could’t be any better, and I’m a “practicing” fag…

          1. Randy, You are correct in what you say about women according to the Bible. Women preachers should be banned. Women should not cut their hair…God gave it to them as a covering. Women should wear a scarf during the church meeting and keep silent. I agree we cannot pick and choose. How are you going to deal with 1 Cor 6:9? Or the part that says men shall not lie with men as with womankind? I am not preaching. I have no authority to teach a man anything spiritual. I am agreeing with you first, then asking a couple of thought provoking questions. Every scripture is true and perfect. We must consider the whole Bible.

          1. Also where in the “BIBLE” does it say “FAG”, what bible do you read the New Age Homophbic Idiot Version. I’m not one to fight with idiots on these subjects but your language offends me and it should offend everyone! *spits in face*

  45. I think I’m more confused than a young gay person at this point .I’m wondering when we will stop compromising our scripture just to be politically correct. First we dump plural marriage, then blacks owning the priesthood out the door, now we’re holding homosexual panels on campus. Is this just to soften us up for what’s to come. Who has the authority. I sometimes quote from the most moving book.( the miracle of forgiveness) and suddenly I’m actually having a debate about some of the topics and views expressed by the late great spencer w. kimball. With members of the church. When will we stop bowing to public opinion. Just read james 1:2-4

    1. I hope this is satire. Are you saying you are disheartened that people other than Whites are allowed to have the priesthood in the church? Yikes.

      1. The year was 1852. Brigham is speaking to the joint session of the legeslature quote (the lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the priesthood nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of able had received the priesthood, until the redemption of the earth. However this is not the point. what the point is is that the prophet died for the new covenant for the truth not for members to abuse the authority of our church leaders to misrepresent revelation, where the church stands on very controversial issues. The lord puts these men in the role of leader not the members. If members disagree with doctrine thats fine but to get on a web page and state your differing views of the church openly makes us look like a church divided. like the other Christian churches who can’t agree. Which proves our church true. Members please quit giving fuel to those who are not LDS. One of us says we must accept people on a case by case. Not so we must Stand together regardless of popular points of view.

        1. Dear MIchael:
          Please go to this link, and note the “OFFICIAL STATEMENT” in all capitals at the top. It says,
          “Recently, the Church has also made the following statement on this subject:

          ‘The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.'”


          Or consider Elder Christofferson’s most recent address on “The Doctrine of Christ”:

          Anything stated by a current prophet supersedes what has been said in the past. I can find a reference for you on that later, if you like. President Benson (while an apostle) gave a talk on the subject.

          Here is a quote from Elder Christofferson:
          At the same time it should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.”

          1. Great I’m happy to have this dialogue. At this point we see that as soon as a liberal mindset enters the church (and that’s what’s clearly going on when we start to see that in order for the church to grow and prosper we must bend to the special interests of those who feel uninvited) but its those who remain in the church who clearly disagree with doctrine that want to change the church to fit the times. If we cannot point out in the public domain what our doctrine clearly states on the homosexual lifestyle then there will be groups within and from the outside that will bash the church for being barbaric and when the voice of opposition mounts we will have another revelation about how God somehow needs to update the software to meet the standards of the sinners lifestyle. You tell me when is enough enough when will we draw the line in the sand.we are Mormons. What’s wrong with us?We have the true gospel,a living prophet. What will the book of Mormon look like if we allow those who disagree set the agenda. This is not a business model in need of an update.stand strong,stand for truth. Or lets just take our tiny god and call it quits.

    2. I just want to understand, are you trying to say you think black should not have the priesthood, and that we should still be practicing polygamy?

    3. Well, I though the whole black thing was the Lamanite curse which was never permanent, at least that’s not the impression I got. That issue is also completely irrelevant to same-gender attraction. Being black is not a sin.

      As for plural marriage, it needed to be restored at least temporarily as that was a part of the original church. However since we believe in abiding by the law of the land as is stated in our articles of faith, we stopped doing that to respect the law and to maintain our standards. That does not mean that there will never be plural marriages again of course.

      Keep in mind that Prophets who received revelation directly from the Lord made these changes… have a little faith.

    4. I think that James 1:2-4 is perfect for the panel that went on at BYU. I don’t feel the church is compromising scripture by holding this panel. This panel was not set up to embrace homosexuality. Its point was most likely to help students with SSA realize that they can feel SSA, not act on it, and still be worthy members of the church.

      I don’t know that I am good at counting my temptations as “joy,” but I do know that working through them and striving to be righteous despite them does teach me diligence and patience. These panelists were saying the same thing; they were each describing how they have managed both their SSA and their strong testimonies of the gospel.

      1. I’m confused, onemoderngirl; are you directing your comments to Michael? And I’m not sure why you genuinely wish all mormons were like him if you feel his comments are ridiculous?

        I think he just misunderstands the issue. The scripture he references is a good scripture that actually supports the BYU event that just occurred.

    5. Thank you, Michael. YOU read the Bible. It’s really all we need. If we can read we have no excuse for all this… not knowing the truth.

  46. Personally, I think people are missing the big picture here. Let me take a minute to go over what I learned in seminary, Sunday School, and my mission. What is the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If we were to follow the teachings in Moses 1:39 it is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” How is that accomplished? We turn in Moses again to Moses 6:52 “And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be abaptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.” This is what we were taught as the Plan of Salvation. Is that not what we were taught in seminary as the purpose of why we’re here on this planet in this life, to gain salvation? Now that’s an even greater challenge wouldn’t you say? I’ll admit I didn’t read all the comments on this discussion. But, did anyone consider that premise? I’m sorry to say this, but I do not believe you can be LGBT and expect to obtain salvation. That’s why I don’t agree with the act of homosexuality. Like anybody who doesn’t agree with others who’s opinions are contradictory to their own, I have a tendency to judge others. That’s a challenge every human being has to overcome, and I’m working on it. Like Pres. Benson admonished “Hate sin, but love the sinner.” I think he mentioned that because Heavenly Father knows that is a hard principle to follow. Which would probably explain why he wanted the judging to be up to him and not us (D&C 64:11).

    I’m not using this post as a soapbox to discriminate against LGBT’s. Believe it or not, I understand the mental burden they face. They have the right to live the way they want to live just like any other human being. I know it takes a lot of courage to open yourself up to a secret/burden you find hard to bear. But, I will use this as a soapbox to preach to the Latter-Day-Saints who believe it is okay to be LGBT and a Latter-Day-Saint. I applaud you for showing your support to your friends and loved ones who struggle because of their orientation. But a word of caution against enabling LGBT behavior. If you believe the gospel to be true, if you have read the scriptures, prayed about them and asked Heavenly Father if they are true, then in my opinion it is your duty to follow them. Follow them for YOUR salvation.

    My testimony is I believe the teachings of the gospel to be true. That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. That Tomas S. Monson is his prophet on this Earth today. That is church is the true and only church whereby man can achieve salvation with God. It can only be done by adhering to the principles taught in His scriptures. I believe in the principle that families are the central unit of the Gospel and are eternal. I believe Satan exists and is doing everything he can to crush the family any way he can. One of which is the act homosexuality. I love my family more than anything in the universe. I couldn’t kick my child out of my home because he/she decided to be LGBT because deep down I know it would break my heart, just like it would have been for others who’ve posted before me. I could not do that to my own child. It’s taken me years to come to that conclusion. But, what would break my heart more than anything would be to die, find myself faithful in the eyes of God,…and my son/daughter isn’t there to share it with me because they were unfaithful. Not because of homosexuality, but because they would not repent of their sins and turn to the Lord. That’s what I fear the most. You don’t have to, but I will. This I say, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

    If any of what I’m saying seems flawed, I have two excuses: I’m tired, and I’m human.

    1. RL,
      Your comments, while I’m sure are well intentioned, are exceptionally insensitive, and at times, insulting. As a member of the church, I think that empathy for one who struggles, and yet still makes the attempt to live the gospel is much more important than being worried about whether someone else’s empathy is tantamount to “enabling LGBT behavior.” I’m glad you aren’t so rigid in your theology that you’d banish a child for having certain desires, even if not acted upon, but perhaps you could expand on that, and try to understand the person who does deal with such desires.

      you say, “I do not believe you can be LGBT and expect to obtain salvation.” please tell me what commandment I’m breaking by being gay. I don’t want to hear about the law of chastity. I understand it very well. It’s the reason I was disfellowshipped four years ago. When I had sex with another man, I broke a commandment. When I had the desire to, as a result of electrical impulses in my brain, I broke no commandment. Of course the next thing I expect to hear is that we can control our desires, that we’re to bridle our passions. This is true, passions can be bridled. (That’d be why I’m going to be returned to full fellowship by the end of the month) But to say that one is outside of the reach of salvation because they are homosexual is antithetical to the teachings of the Church, and of Christ himself.

      Your comments are pretty expletiving shaming. Shame does not invite people to come to Christ. It makes them feel that they are not worthy to do so. I sincerely no one reads your comments, and as a result decides the struggle isn’t worth is because they can’t expect salvation. Their damnation would, at least in part, be on your head.

      Sorry for the harshness of my reply, but we are talking about the souls of people that I feel a pretty strong connection with. Not only do they struggle with a strong desire to do something they know to be in violation of the teaching sof the church, they have a strong desire to hold to said teachings. Who is to be lauded, the person who is never tempted, or the one that is tempted beyond comprehension, and resists? I did not resist enough at one point. I tried to do so with only my own understanding and a misguided view that I could simply make a decision and that will power alone would be sufficient. I’ve since learned a lot, and am doing a lot better. I reach out to those that would take the same path I am taking, and offer a hand. You seem to offer little more than fear and condemnation. I hope that your being tired is the reason for this, though someone reading your words will not feel any less condemned because you were tired. While perhaps a valid reason, it does not change the impact your words would have.



      1. Wow, Legien, thanks for your candid comments and your courage. Kudos, truly. If we can be the ones offering a hand, and not the ones pushing people down, perhaps they will feel less condemned even just for feeling SSA. I truly, truly believe it is Satan that wants us to feel shame and wants us to believe we’re not worthy enough for the Savior’s Grace, that we’re “too far gone.” Those thoughts are not from God, the God that gives us every possible chance, over and over again, to keep repenting of sins, and even just find comfort in the frustrations of weaknesses that aren’t even sin. (And I’m not calling SSA a weakness; I’m just talking about human frailties in general here)

        And kudos to you in both going the route of not resisting, but also choosing resistance after that. I can’t imagine how hard it is, and am so excited not only that you desire re-instatement, but that you’re almost there. : ) Keep up the faith, my friend. I’m glad to have you as a fellow member.

        My very favorite line, perhaps one of the most profound on this entire thread of comments: “Shame does not invite people to come to Christ.”

        The next best line: “…[T]o say that one is outside of the reach of salvation because they are homosexual is antithetical to the teachings of the Church, and of Christ himself.”

        1. Kimberly,
          You seem to be pretty invested in this topic. I hope the circumstances that brought you to that were positive, and if not, I hope that you have found positive things in them.
          If you would care to read the story of someone who has struggled, but refuses to walk away, my blog offers such a story. It is by no means a definitive doctrinal dissertation, but it is extensive, and may offer insight not otherwise gained. I’d be honored if you’d read and comment as you saw fit.

          1. I’m embarrassed to tell you that as a straight YSA (young single adult), SSA (same sex attraction) didn’t even cross my mind. I’m sure that anyone who did have SSA didn’t tell me because they didn’t think I’d understand. My very first lesbian friend (that I knew of) came after 12 years of marriage. Most of my husband’s gay & lesbian friends came because he’s part of a very inclusive online community, and then, over time, we have gotten to meet some of those couples in person as well. I still only know of one SSA person (my lesbian friend who has since decided to date her own sex) who is a member. I don’t think that means that I only *know* one SSA person within the church. Which shows that most people still don’t feel safe enough to come out.

            What brought this topic home to me was living in Southern California in 2008. I listened to our church leaders not only ask us to support and encourage support of prop 8, but also contribute financially. That certainly got my attention. I listened to everything they had to say on the matter, and I really wanted to make an informed vote myself, so I started researching it and listening and speaking up in chat rooms. Once I came to a prayerful understanding of how I feel about SSA, I actually created a username of “progayrights” in trying to up front point out that I *was* pro gay rights. Then, I would talk to people about how I believe I can be pro gay rights and also pro traditional marriage. I think a similar paradox exists in being gay and mormon, plus I recognize and acknowledge the bind that puts an LDS SSA person in, not even being able to seek a relationship in this life if they want to also live the gospel they believe in.

            Ever since that I point I have become very invested in being a voice for LDS members who are/have SSA. That’s why events like this are so good for us as latter day saints, helping to open up understanding and lines of communication.

            I will definitely look into your blog. I think you have even greater perspective as someone who decided that resisting same sex attraction just wasn’t worth it, and then coming full circle to where you feel that your SSA exists but you feel your energy is better spent resisting it and seeking good standing in the church, and thus, in the eyes of God.

            Thanks for such kind words. Sorry for my wordiness. I wish I knew how to be more concise.

  47. Kudos to BYU’s administration for allowing this event to occur.

    I hear in many of these readers’ comments echos of emotions from my younger days when the Church finally confronted and eventually turned a corner regarding Blacks and the Priesthood. I suspect historians might note similar echos from times past when the Church moved beyond polygamy?

    I feel these posts show how sorely in need many of us may be for additional forums to hear open, patient and respectful dialogue about same-gender attraction and life.

    Perhaps the overwhelming interest and respectful attitude demonstrated by Wednesday’s attendees will encourage more events like this to be allowed at other Church-affiliated venues?

  48. I’m sure someone will disagree with me, but I would not be surprised if in my lifetime homosexual marriage was allowed. I know people wont agree with this, but it happened with blacks and the priesthood, it happened with polygamy, and if it happened again, I wouldn’t be surprised (actually, I probably would be, but I’d support it whole heartily). I can’t say that for sure, but if God sees it’s time for a change (which he does, at times) then right on.

    I’m straight and happily married to the greatest girl in the world. It’s been the best experience of my life and I hope that every Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual individual out there gets to experience this one day. More power to you all day long.

    I won’t pretend to understand what your going through. I won’t pretend to know how God handles situations like yours. I think people can twist scriptures to both condemn and support you, but in the end, I think God made you the way he did deliberately, and he loves you with all his heart. My wife and I do too.

    For what it’s worth, my children will be taught to love everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. We don’t judge in our house. If any gay people want to swing by for a jam session (it will have to be the blues. On this I will not budge) come on over.

  49. I just need to get my two cents in here.

    I do not struggle with SSA (can we please stop abbreviating it like it’s a mental illness?) but I am gay; and it is a struggle only against those who are trying to change who I am. I have an incredibly strong testimony about myself, my God, and my relationship to my God. I am also an ex-Latter Day Saint with no hatred to the church, any of its members, or any other church whatsoever.

    I will also be the first person to say that no church should ever be persuaded or forced to accept homosexuality; likewise, I honestly don’t believe that BYU as an organization should ever be forced to accept homosexuality. It is a private institution after all (at least to my understanding). All that said, one’s relationship with their God is a very personal thing.

    Who are any of you to say that a lesbian woman, who has somehow managed to enjoy a happy life with her female partner and her faith doesn’t have as good of a relationship with God than you?

    Some people can change, some can’t. Those who can’t should not be punished but should be taught how to peacefully live with their identity, and their God, or lack thereof, and in my opinion, all people should be taught this; not that they cannot be with their deity because of how they were born.

    Had I stayed in the faith I have no doubt that I would have been pressured to change myself; to marry a woman, to bear children, and learn to somehow be happy with it. Might I have become happier? I don’t know nor does it matter – in the end, married, with kids, or as I am now, I would still be gay.

    My choice was not to be gay, my choice was to find my own way to live happily with it. My choice was to leave the faith. My choice was to hold no hatred to any of those who called me unclean.

    (This got a lot longer than it needed to, and it’s 12:26 already so I’m probably making no sense. Either way, I said it.)

    1. I appreciate your opinion, but to provide counterbalance, I struggle with SSA but am not gay. SSA is part of my life, but not part of my identity. I know these are just definitions, but I think it is important to understand the loaded value they have to people. Someone struggling with a pornography addiction wouldn’t want to be considered a “porn addict,” even if it was a part of their life until their dying day. Our challenges are an awesome part of mortality that help us become who we are meant to be, but our challenges do not define us.

      If I become married, have kids, and still struggle with SSA, I would not be gay. I’d be a happy married man who struggles with SSA.

      Once again, I appreciate your opinion, but would like to provide another voice for the SSA community.

    2. SSA is just quicker than saying same gender attraction or same sex attraction. If I said “gay,” someone would be offended I didn’t include those who have mild tendencies but don’t feel they are fully gay. Someone else would feel offended/irritated that I wasn’t including lesbians or bisexuals. No one is suggesting that it is a mental illness. And I’m saying that as someone who has two parents with a clinically diagnosed mental illness, so I could take offense with you acting as though a mental illness is an undesired disease in and of itself. Mental illness is undesired, yes, but manageable. Same Sex Attraction may be undesired by some, but is also manageable if they desire to manage it. Saying SSA is just to help with brevity.

      I can only speak for myself, but I haven’t noticed anyone in the comments section of this post say that a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person have a lesser relationship with God due to their sexual orientation or membership/non-membership in our church. I have a lesbian friend who chose to leave the church and live with her girlfriend, and she expressed to me a continued strong relationship with God, which I don’t invalidate. These panelists all pointed out that they have come closer to their Savior through trying to simultaneously understand their SSA and their testimonies of our church, whose current “official statement” is essentially that acting on SSA is a sin. Nothing in current church teachings suggest (or ever have suggested) that SSA individuals are any less than anyone else, let alone less-deserving of inspiration and spiritual guidance. God loves us all so much, and guides as much as we want Him to.

      Thank you for the maturity not to hold hatred toward those who have judged you, though I sure wish they hadn’t. God bless you in your own situation. I’m glad you are happy. I really think God loves us and meets us where we are, and while you can probably tell from my other comments that I don’t condone acting on SSA, that’s my own personal believe and doesn’t change how I feel about you. If you’re ever in the Dallas area, we’d love to have you and any loved one over. : )

    3. “I do not struggle with SSA (can we please stop abbreviating it like it’s a mental illness?) but I am gay;”

      Right? I had to ask what it meant. And I’m in a very liberal lifestyle and community with many gay and bisexual people. So it’s clearly a term coming from the conservative/religious side.

      The term is gay, people. The other term is homosexual. It’s okay to type it out. You won’t be struck by lightning.

      1. Another term is faggot. The word gay has nothing to do with lesbians,fags,dykes. And don’t be so sure about not being struck by lightening.

      2. Haha–didn’t think I’d be struck by lightning. And yes, it’s specifically an LDS term as far as I know. Meaning same gender or same sex attraction, introduced by our church leaders perhaps to separate the difference between having same gender inclinations and choosing to identify oneself as fully gay including choosing to have romantic relationships with the same sex.

        Many of us say SSA for brevity, not concern of speaking of a term-which-must-not-be-named. ; ) I do the same thing when I say “gay” as a blanket word to mean anything from lesbian, bisexual, transexual, transgender, etc. Brevity.

  50. I don’t know how God handles gay and lesbian people. I don’t know what you are going through, and I won’t pretend to. I have no idea. However, if I have gleaned anything from my scriptures it’s that God loves you, and my wife and I do, too.

    I sincerely hope that one day you can get married in the temple or at least know the joy I feel from being married to my wife. I hope I live to see that day. It will be a good one. You have our support all day long.

    If any gay people want to come over and have a Jam session (it will be the blues, so plan accordingly) come on over. I am deeply saddened that you don’t feel loved at BYU. If there is anything at all that I can do, I will. While some of my more conservative peers will disagree with me here, I don’t think you need to change. God made you the way he did, and I’m not one to question that. You are all my brothers and sisters and are all children of God the father. Remember that. Be proud of who you are.

    While many scriptures have been quoted in this posting, one thing I want everyone to remember is that God loves everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. My children will be taught the same. We do not judge in our home.

    Good luck to anyone struggling to feel accepted and know that there are at least two people at BYU who love you, though I suspect there are actually many more.

    p.s. Elton John is awesome. And gay. so you can be both awesome and gay. just a thought.

    1. I agree with you that God made them that way. But how dare you call God a liar. God does not love everyone. Esau was hated by God.

  51. I am glad that I found this article. I am LDS and struggle with feelings of same-gender attraction. I choose not to act on those feelings. It is wonderful to hear the story of others. It gives me strength and hope. I hope many others are able to share their stories in the future. I actually write a blog about my life and struggles to find peace. I will post the link to my about page below.

    1. Have you had this blog up for years? I may have read it before! I remember reading one in particular a few years ago whose blog title had the words “RM” and “Gay” in the title. I just have to tell you kudos. You have such a moral dilemma, and I can’t imagine how hard it is for you to want to actively be a part of the plan of salvation right now (i.e. be able to be in a romantic relationship in this lifetime) and also feel the pull of same-gender attraction, and not be able to even hope for a relationship or be encouraged to date like hetero YSAs. I know I don’t even know you, but my heart sincerely goes out to you, and I have prayed so much for you and others like you in your heartache as well as your strength.

      God bless you.

      1. Thank you Kimberly. I actually just started the blog in October of last year. It has been such a strength to me. In times of frustration and depression I can re-read my words and they remind me what is good about life.

        Im just so glad that others are doing it! Too many members of the church are scared to talk about the “gay” issue and dont realize that there are those of us who struggle with this who want to life righteous and temple worthy lives. But we need help in feeling loved and welcomed. This forum really makes me happy and I hope more of them happen in the future.

        1. You also need strength and support on lonely days. I just can’t applaud you enough. Like I’ve said, I think you’re in a tough position. I believe you are a pioneer for being open about your attractions vs. your actions and beliefs. Good luck.

          I still think I’ve come across your blog already, but obviously it must have been within the last year.

  52. I have some gay friends who attend BYU and are faithful members of the church too with strong testimonies. They are good people. We in the church don’t understand sometimes that there can be gays in the church, we even were allowed to baptize a gay man on our mission. Sinning wasn’t being gay, it was pre-marital sex which is the tricky part. But even hetero sexual members of the church often have pre-marital sex. So, pick your poisen. My friends gay or straight are great people with good hearts. I’m straight, but who am I to judge. good for their courage to speak about it.

    1. We also had a lesbian baptism in our ward that I am aware of. This gal had actually been in a psychiatric hospital for major struggles with depression and being suicidal. She very much struggled with her same sex attraction even though she was not specifically religious. She didn’t understand her attraction and felt ridiculed, judged, and teased for it. Then it hurt even more that people would accuse her of choosing what caused her so much heartache, and that they would ignorantly accuse her of just not trying hard enough to change it, or choose not to be lesbian.

      When she learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she was very concerned that she would/should not be included, but was reassured on all sides, and went ahead with her baptism. Sadly, some of the members still didn’t understand and she wasn’t treated the way I wish she had been. But other members really “got” it and extended their hearts and homes to her.

      This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about gay/SSA people being able to have a safe place to have their voices heard as well as being able to talk/listen to others and realize they’re not alone in their worries and struggles. Especially mormons with SSA

  53. I forgot to say, anyone at all is welcome to read my blog. I only ask that comments be kept kind and respectful. I welcome discussion, but will not tolerate anger and harsh speaking.

  54. Thank you, thank you to the panelists for telling us of your lives. You have told us of the struggles and the hope that you have had. I know more about you, and in turn will learn more about others. I’ve wanted to ask some of my LGBT friends why they feel the way that they do, but I thought that they would be offended. May your voices continue to shed light, give hope, and understanding!

      1. I’ve glanced at this, and am very interested in reading more. Thanks for feeling safe enough to share your blog with us.

  55. This is an important issue, and the students’ feelings are valid, so I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of the issue and the need to have a forum for open dialogue. However, just because one college kid says that its not a choice doesn’t mean that its natural. In a recent study, nearly 50% of gay men admitted to having experienced some type of sexual abuse as a child. Technically, that means it’s not a choice, but it also means that it’s not natural. This is a complicated issue, and it’s no coincidence that as society has become more and more sexualized, the incidence of homosexuality has increased, (although 6% is an extremely high estimate by any measure).
    While some people may be born with LGBT tendencies, many more are pushed that way through abuse and early childhood exposure to sexual images and ideas. To lump all gays into one category is a mistake, and for many people, this is treatable. I worry that Mormons are so anxious to be accepted by the broader society we live in that we want to swallow anything to get there, and nowhere are Mormons so self-conscious of being Mormon as at BYU. The crowds and standing ovation, I fear, was as much for the spectators’ own sense of self-worth and identity as it was for the participants. Too many students are so anxious to not be viewed as a “sheep”, that they react by taking the opposite side on all issues. Perhaps my point is this: don’t expect the church to begin accepting homosexual marriage – ever. This is something we need to do better with, and the church has a long way to go, but that doesn’t change the underlying doctrines of the gospel.

    1. Equally, we cannot lump all sexually-abused people with the causation of gay tendencies; I have more straight friends who were sexually abused growing up than those I know who are gay/have SSA.

      It’s not that we mormons want to swallow acceptance of homosexuality in order to be more broadly accepted ourselves. It’s that many, many, MANY LDS members who have struggled with SSA while wanting to live the gospel have done so silently, feeling guilty, unworthy, and “dirty” simply for having SSA thoughts even if they haven’t acted on them. Some have tried to overcome it by marrying and then end up leaving their spouse and children when they feel they can’t live such an inauthentic life. Or end up acting on it because they already feel like they’re a lost cause, rather than seeking to come closer to their Savior in the midst of their struggle between feeling SSA and wanting to be temple-worthy, and worrying that just the attraction itself will keep them from callings and a temple recommend.

      And, for what it’s worth, I would not have given a standing ovation to the student who spoke of having a monogamous same-sex relationship but attending church with the family he wanted to form. If a gay/lesbian couple attended church, I would love and include them because that is what Christ would do, but I also wouldn’t suggest that students act on their SSA as though acting on it is not a sin.

      But I would have given a standing ovation to the panelists in general for having the courage to publicly admit their SSA and how they can have the attraction but still choose to live chaste lives as LDS members. That takes guts.

    2. “just because one college kid says that its not a choice doesn’t mean that its natural.”

      I guess that would be true if ONE COLLEGE KID said that. But most gay people also say that. I’m not going to post stats or search for studies, because I don’t believe your study and am annoyed that you aren’t citing your source. But if you don’t know that most gay people say that it wasn’t a choice that they made, then you should pay closer attention to the issue.

  56. I recently spoke a non-LDS acquaintance about homosexuality in the church, and he quickly became very accusatory, stating that the church, “doesn’t want them,” referring to those who have homosexual tendencies. I was very frustrated with that attitude, and I feel like this event is one example proving how wrong my new friend was.

    The church, its members (those who get the point of it all), and God, most definitely want everyone, no matter what they struggle with. I am grateful that people were able to share their varying experiences in the balancing act between faith and sexual attraction.

    No, all points of view on the matter weren’t represented in that event, and that’s ok.

    No, those who did speak didn’t necessarily say only things that would promote official church doctrine, and that’s ok too.

    They shared their personal feelings and they were open about how they are individually dealing with things.

    Yes, the act of homosexuality is a sin. Each of the panelists understood that. Does it need to be mentioned in the new testament for that to be the case? Prophets have declared it to be so. As a matter of fact, sexuality period, outside of marriage between a man and woman is a sin. A same-sex attraction only is not a sin any more than being single and having heterosexual attractions is a sin.

    Can some members of this church be unwittingly or even intentionally judgmental? Absolutely. Even some local leaders. So can everyone else in the world. But hopefully people don’t get sucked into the same trap and “judge the judgers” so to speak. Have compassion on their imperfections, which may be manifested in how they treat people.

    Can some homosexuals be overly sensitive and overly eager to cry bigotry? Absolutely. But I don’t think that’s the majority.

    We can all afford to spend a little more energy trying to understand other opinions and a little less trying to be right. Jesus never engaged in arguments to prove his point. When individuals approached him with questions/arguments, whether their intent was pure or malicious, he responded with love, teaching, and invitations. Not with spite or contempt. Props to Kimberly and a few others for following that example.

    1. Wow, Thomas. SO well said! And I was getting ready to reply with that comment loooong before I read your last sentence and was surprised to see my own name.

      I feel like your comment really sums up so much that has been addressed in this comment thread. I feel like you really “get” it, and hope that more openness like these panels will actually help us as a church to further understand each other and how the gospel of Jesus Christ really works.

      I think it’s easy to fall into a worry that if we love a sinner, we will be judged as supporting or loving the sin as well. However, we are sinners, too. Just like one of the GC talks last weekend stated, we just sin differently than each other. Am I good at being 100% Christlike? No, I’m not. I wish I were better and it always came easy to me, but sometimes I have to pause and not act on my first reaction to things, and try to have my physical/vocal reaction be a more righteous one.

      I actually think this applies to so many more things that SSA. Divorced LDS members often feel very ostracized and judged, as though their sins are the cause of their divorces, which is not necessarily the case in SO many cases. Yet we as members are afraid to talk openly to them and with each other about it because we’re afraid we’ll get judged, too, or divorce might happen to us. Who knows what all goes through our minds.

      Divorced members, older single adults, single parents, members with single-gender attraction, members who are currently struggling with more visible sins like word-of-wisdom issues of alcohol, smoking, etc, are the ones who need more love, strength, acceptance, and support. Not whispered judging behind closed doors. And definitely not open judging. I’ll say this again and again–we are all mortal, imperfect beings making our mistakes right alongside each other. The church is true even though we are so imperfect, and truly living what we believe means being Christlike, especially to the fringes of the church that aren’t part of the ideal that we teach to. Heck, I’m not living to the ideal that I’m taught, and I’m sealed with four rambunctious boys (5 if you count my husband!), which would be considered following the plan of salvation. But God sanctions any of my efforts, and allows Grace to work its magic when I’m most often not at my best.

      Btw, I just wanted to cry when you related someone saying of SSA members that the church doesn’t want ’em. I wanted to cry out, “Oh yes, YES we DO! Oh how we do!” Christ teaches us that we are an inclusive church, not exclusive. Yes, there are conditions that God gives us for worthiness in holding callings, attending the temple, and attaining eternal salvation. But He also gives us as much guidance as we willing to accept in being able to meet those conditions.

      Here is my favorite advice that you shared:
      –“I am grateful that people were able to share their varying experiences in the balancing act between faith and sexual attraction.”
      –“Yes, the act of homosexuality is a sin. Each of the panelists understood that. Does it need to be mentioned in the new testament for that to be the case? Prophets have declared it to be so. As a matter of fact, sexuality period, outside of marriage between a man and woman is a sin. A same-sex attraction only is not a sin any more than being single and having heterosexual attractions is a sin.” (And I would add that the attraction to the same gender is not a sin in itself)
      –“…don’t get sucked into the same trap and “judge the judgers” so to speak. Have compassion on their imperfections, which may be manifested in how they treat people.”

      1. Thanks, Kimberly. Yes, that comment made to me about the church “not wanting” people was one of the most frustrating things to handle. But I have found that people who choose to be cynical are very good at phrasing things in ways that cut. The cynic’s purpose is to destroy, which causes almost as much damage as the one who judges others, yet they claim to be in opposition to each other. It’s like a nuclear war. Both sides have powerfully destructive weapons, and after each has dealt its blows, “victory” is determined by the one who lost the least. Sadly, the innocent bystanders usually are the ones who suffer the greatest loss.

        Christ’s purpose is to build. He can build up sinners and saints alike because he loves them all. When we judge(using words like “fag” and “queer”), as well as when we choose to be cynical critics(attacking organizations for having standards and rephrasing those standards to sound as hateful and wrong as possible), we strike equally damaging blows to ourselves and those at whom our efforts are directed. We also indirectly affect many more because of our influence. Just look at the long line of comments for examples of this.

        I am a young single adult and am not attracted to my same gender. I do, however, have my own struggles to follow the commandments that I know to be true. I have so much respect for individuals who are brave enough to not only face their challenges with a commitment to continue living the gospel, but who are willing to be an example and a strength to those who aren’t sure yet if they can.

  57. BYU is coming along nicely since I graduated in 2007. This forum would have NEVER happened when I was there; the groundwork was still being laid. A big thank you to BYU for allowing this, and for the four panelists who had the courage to be themselves. What a faith-promoting experience.

  58. Great read… Awesome to see the interest.
    Just a note for ALL the commenters that are analyzing the crap out of this… Just let our heavenly father worry about them and follow their example and build a personal relationship with him yourself. That to me was a very clear message.

  59. I was invited to share more fully the following revelation I received as a mom of a lesbian daughter. It was a conversation I had with my father. Be clear it is only one explanation to this issue. One that has brought me peace. But before I share it I would like to remind, again, all who are active members of this church to heed the council of President Uchtdorf this past weekend.
    “Don’t judge me cause I sin differently than you!!!” “To those who judge others I offer this prophetic advice: STOP IT!!”
    I sin everyday. God has made it clear, the Savior is the only one who will be judging me. He is the only one who knows my heart, my suffering, my pain. Here is my conversation with God. Mock, disagree, be angry, but it has brought peace between my daughter and has allowed me to let go of the whip of condemnation.
    My personal conversation with God about Homosexuality:It is interesting cause this is an issue that I have struggled with. The Born issue. But Heavenly Father gave me an answer. President Monson confirmed it this past Sunday in his General Conference. Okay here goes. God created our Spirits. He created Adam and Eve, who sinned and were removed from the Garden of Eden. Man then became the creator of our bodies. Subject to death due to sin. That death encompassed so much more than the spiritual death that many speak of. It also speaks of the physical death. Sin we forget is anything that is in conflict with God’s will. We often think it is just the “Big 10”. Man began a journey of choices that have left our physical bodies subject to all sorts of glitches and struggles. The following conversation occured between me and the Lord over this issue. “Sherry your niece Natasha, (who is down syndrome) was she born with down syndrome or was it a choice” “Oh my gosh she was born that way. No question.” “Okay so answer this, when she dies do you believe she will still have down syndrome?” “Absolutely not. She will be perfect.” “Okay so you know I created her spirit. It is that spirit that is eternal, that is perfect. That is my creation. The true identity of every living ‘body’ on the earth.” he continued. “I created Adam and Eve’s body, but after that it became mans doing. I did not create down syndrome, or anything that was not perfect. Man and their unhealthy choices created all those things.” “So let me be clear on this. What you are saying is that man, is the creator of the bodies?” ‘Yes I gave them that power when they left the Garden of Eden. They chose to live in a way that has created all sorts of glitches in DNA, cause all sorts of cause and effect.” “So Homosexuality is a cause and effect?” “Yes most definately. Just as most physical issues of the body are, blindness, deafness, lost limbs, disease.” “So yes Charity was born gay. but she was not created Gay. And despite what the political correctness of your society states, she will not be Gay in the the eternities. As far as judgement goes. Oh Daughter. You all need to not worry so much about other’s and their glass houses and pay attention to your own. Believe me I have got it handled. Just Love!!!!”

    1. Your response is interesting and except for the part of “man’s unhealthy decisions” I agree with it. Nobody can help if somebody is born gay or with autism or with down’s, and while I don’t believe you are saying that people who are gay or have down’s are a result of a bad choice, it sounds a tiny bit like that. I’m sure that’s not what you’re saying based on your other comments. 🙂

      1. I also appreciate your insight, and also agree with forky that “Man and their unhealthy choices created all those things” doesn’t sit right with me at all. I don’t pretend to understand a lot of things that occur genetically, from physical to mental challenges, but it doesn’t sit right that they would be due to “unhealthy” behaviors among humans over generations. It sits better with me that the imperfections of mortal bodies in an imperfect world mean imperfectness in bearing children, where dna glitches do occur. But whether or not I consider SSA a dna glitch? That’s another one that doesn’t sit right with me.

        I still thank you for your comments, and am not trying to invalidate what you feel is personal inspiration. It simply doesn’t sit right with me, which I believe is my own light of Christ. And what really matters is that you and your daughter have a good relationship, and both understand each other even if you may not agree. Condemning would only distance her further, not bring y’all closer together. And if her only religion was through you, it would also distance her more from God if she felt that your actions reflected poorly on how a righteous God would “judge” her.

        Forky, I don’t think Sherry was implying that the immediate unhealthy choices of someone caused their child to have downs or a mental illness or diabetes or SSA. I don’t deny that inbreeding over time, as well as adultery and incest might be underlying causes of dna getting less and less pure in being able to produce physical/mental issue-free children. But we just don’t know, and there could be so many reasons for the different things that happen on this earth.

        1. I am big busted because someone in my DNA link was big busted. I am the one in my family that is blessed this way. I have blue eye’s my other syblings have brown. I am 5’9 all my other sister’s are 5’6″. Does my spirit have blue eyes, big breast, and is she tall. Our physical bodies take on the attributes of our ancestors. The good, the bad, the ugly. Before someone attacks that statement, my sister had bad acne, not fun. I could go on. I am fat, it sucks and it is in my gene’s. My boyfriend and I spent a lot of time together. He could not understand DNA glitches are funny. How can four kids born from the same parents vary so much. When Adam and Eve left the perfection of the Garden of Eden they were subject to the change of Man. The imperfection of Man. God is the same yesterday and forever. We know it part and we prophecy in part, as I have said before. All the inconsistencies are our fault. All the imperfections are our fault. It has to be this way. This is what causes growth. Sometimes I think homosexuality is allowed just to convict the self-righteous soul. Our Soul is the combining of our spirit to our body. Our soul develops everyday. It began the moment we were conceived, I believe, and continues to develop as our body and spirit leads us. Hopefully at our death our soul has been led more by the perfection of our spirit. The bodies appetites, needs, and desires are real. I could never have an appetite for women. It makes me physically ill to even think about. My daughter feels the same way about men. Like I said I don’t know how Heavenly Father is going to work it out, but I know he will. Again my job is to love. My client is here and I have to go. I shall return!!! ;o)

          1. In my statement “He could not understand DNA glitches are funny.” Somehow my fingers did not write what my brain was thinking. I meant to say my boyfriend could not understand how I could be fat and he could be skinny. I eat like a bird and he eats non stop. I love healthy food, he eats nothing but junk. DNA glitches are funny!! I call them glitches because I don’t understand the method behind their madness.
            Laura I have not read all of your comments. But the few I have read shows that their are some really strong beliefs within you about this issue. I am a return missionary. I understand the gospel very well. I am considered among my male LDS scholars as a female scholar. I don’t understand the gospel you are speaking of. Their are so many things I would love to share with you that are so clear in the scriptures but this is not the place. I hope you find a place in your heart to be more at peace with this issue.

    2. Why can’t a LGBT person be perfect, too? I hate this erasure of a truth about your daughter you think will happen in the after life. Being a lesbian is nothing to be ashamed of. Why should she, or you, want her to be “straight” in the afterlife? Can’t spirits feel love to others? Why can’t your daughter be gay in the eternities? What’s the problem with that? Just as a person with the wrong gender assigned to them at birth I hope would be free to live as the true gender they are and feel in the afterlife, I think a gay person should be free to be gay in the afterlife. Of course your niece with downs syndrome would be free of that ailment in the after life. But being gay isn’t a physical ailment. It’s part of their soul.

  60. I am a gay man and I am sick to the core of people who “love” me but hate my sin. Has it occurred to any of them that I might hate THEIR sin? We are all sinners and we are have been commanded by Jesus Christ to love all, not to sit in judgement of them. My inclinations are natural to ME, while others’ inclinations are unnatural to me, but not to them. My choices are exactly that, MY choices, and they will rest between me and the Lord. I certainly do not need people I have never met and whom I do not know from Adam, doing their best to curb my liberty to make my choices and live my life, because I do not curb their liberty to live theirs. Let me live my life and live your own. Be mindful of your own sins and your own shortcomings, and leave me to deal with mine. Trying to take away MY free agency, is Satan’s way. So…choose ye this day whom you will follow. Jesus condemned the pharisee who prayed and thanked God that he was not like the publican. Some people need to really study and practise the scriptures a bit better, and I dare say that includes myself.
    BTW the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, as explained by Jesus himself, was INHOSPITALITY, not homosexuality. Seems that many of those who have left their comments on this forum are more guilty of this sin, than those “disgusting” gays.
    Full marks to BYU for finally opening up, perhaps an apology to those gays who were abominably treated by this institution would not come amiss. Here’s hoping…

    1. Paul, the only way to truly love someone is to warn them of their sin and the wrath to come. What you do in reaction to that warning is between you and God. By the way, No place in the Bible does it say ” Love the sinner, hate the sin”. I think Ghandi coined that one.

    2. Paul, I am so sorry for the over-use of saying “love the sinner, hate the sin.” You are absolutely right that it goes both ways. We ARE all sinners, and the above statement not only feels judgmental, it feels patronizing because it infers that the speaker *isn’t* judging but feels like they really *are.* Which is the hypocrisy that Christ warns us against. I think our church leaders have tried to use the phrase to show love and charity, but members have picked it up and used it like ammunition.

      I used to think that such a phrase was actually tolerant (in the good way, not the fine-I-will-tolerate-you way) and kind-hearted, but it was explained to me over time that it feels very holier-than-thou. Since then I try very hard not to say that or to say in a personal conversation, “I love you but do not condone your actions.” Maybe I would feel authority to do so with my own child over a variety of different situations, but I have no authority to comment on what I condone on anyone else. Gratefully, it’s not my job to judge. Phew! ‘Cuz I would probably do a terrible job at it!

      Besides, I figure that most people know I’m mormon if we’re having this type of discussion, so they already know that our church doesn’t condone the action of living a homosexual lifestyle. But that, to me, is irrelevant when it comes to my relationship with my friends. I can fully love and accept them without them misunderstanding and assuming I accept living a homosexual lifestyle.

      There is no need for me to even bring that up. We recently visited my husband’s friends, a gay couple that he knew both online and in person, neither of whom I had met in real life yet. I guess my hubby was nervous that I or our kids might be uncomfortable around them, and I actually felt surprised and flustered that he had mentioned his concerns to them, because I felt the opposite. Before we got there, I hesitated about whether to even say anything to my kids, but ultimately decided that rather than have them make inappropriate comments by accident (anyone who knows kids knows how unpredictable they can be vocally). It was a great teaching experience to explain that we were going to go meet some friends, and that even though they are gay, they are great people, and God loves them just the same.

      And the visit was great, with no uncomfortable feelings, comments or tensions. I enjoyed meeting them and putting faces to the names.

      I respect that your inclinations are natural to you, and that your choices are between you and the Lord.

  61. Love Bridey’s final comment. Reminds me of Nephi’s “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things”.

    1. The choice vs. non-choice issue is a false dichotomy. The idea that it can only be one or the other is preposterous, and yet we seem to have accepted it as a premise. Perhaps we could acknowledge that there is more complexity to human sexuality than “I choose this” or “I was born this way.” A reductionist, yet apt analogy, I wasn’t born liking turkish and middle eastern food. I do now. Over a lifetime of experience, of which I was not acutely aware, my tastes developed into what they are today. Did I make a conscious choice to like it? No. Do I have a choice about the matter going forward, likely.

  62. For me the question is not why the church (LDS or any other) should accept any definition of marriage they don’t agree with, but why should the local, state and federal governments be involved in this discussion at all? The states issue marriage licenses, they are legal contracts between 2 CONCENTING ADULTS stating that they choose to enter into a fully legal business partnership. By doing so they are immediately entitled to a large number of legal benefits (I have not personally counted them but I understand there are more than 1000 of them) There is no requirement that the 2 parties have any association with any religious belief. There is no requirement that they must produce offspring. If the LDS or any other religion does not wish to acknowledge a same sex marriage that is just fine. They can already refuse to officiate a marriage ceremony of 2 people that do not share their fath ( if 2 Athiests asked to be married in a Temple or Synagogue and would not convert first I am sure they would not be accommodated).

    If religion wishes to have sole dominion over the term Marriage then I propose the government only issue Domestic Parternership or Civil Union licenses to all parties looking to establish a legal bond between 2 Consenting Adults. Either that or stop issuing licenses all together and force every one of these “couples”, straight or not, to go through the legal system one item at a time to establish the legal commitments that signing the marriage license now offers (just like most committed same sex couples have to do now to protect their shared assets). Get rid of the tax benefits for married couples, why should people that are not allowed to “marry” the person they love be forced to subsidize the people that are allowed to marry the person they love.

    If it is about the children, again there is no requirement that a married couple produce any offspring. If that is a primary reason for marriage then there should be some kind of time limit on the license, ” if after 3 years from the issue date of this license no children have been produced this contract will be null and void”. Many couples get married without any plans to have children either by choice or knowing they are unable. This is not a prerequisite to getting married!

    I can choose to follow the teachings of one religion, OR NOT. You can choose to love your fellow man, OR NOT. You can choose to marry the person you love and promise to spend the rest of your life together and share everything, OOPS NOT EVERYONE. I did not get to vote on who you fell in love with, and I am not asking you if I can love who I want. BUT WHY IS IT OK FOR YOU TO SAY NO AND NOT ME?

    1. I’ve been saying this for a long time; take “marriage” out of govt. Make all legal documents civil unions, and allow religionists to marry their way, and non-religionists theirs. This would allow equal rights. The way I see it, the attempt to change the definition of marriage itself to “solve” the issues of complete state and federal gay rights is similar to a boy wanting to have a baby. He simply doesn’t fit the definition, regardless of what he thinks or says. That boy is perfectly capable of becoming a biological father, but his body is not designed to be a biological mother. Is this because he does not deserve to be a mother? Does this mean he isn’t equal enough to a biological mother?

      In a similar manner, I feel that the attempt to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples simply is not the definition of what marriage is, which is why I suggest making the legality of unions the same across the board.

      1. There are many who share your school of thought Kimberly. However, the definition of marriage has not always been what it is today. It has varied drastically over the centuries. Marriage is simply a word. To be legally married you need a civil document. If you want more than that you have a ceremony in a church. No one is asking churches to be forced to perform a ceremony against their own doctorine. All Gay marriage advocates want is to have the same legal document stating that they have the same legal rights as heterosexuals. If straight people want to change the law so that every marriage licence is a civil union license, let them legislate for that. I doubt they will though, beaue then they will still have to share something with gay people. And I think that’s what they are trying to avoid.

        1. I find it very interesting how many people pick and choose the parts of the Bible (Quran, Torah, or approriate scripture of their chosen religion) that support their narrow view of the world around them and totally ignore the parts they don’t care for. I remember being taught “Love thy neighbor” but don’t remember their being any provisos. I do remember something about some rather severe penalties for someone that works on the Sabbath. Planting different crops in the same field, and even eating shellfish. There are a lot of things that are allowed in the Bible that are illegal in modern society ( owning slaves, stoning your wife to death if she commits adultery, among many other less than currently socially acceptable things). I wonder if one of the primary reasons religion in general does not like homosexuality is they see it as a loss of future Congregates and the tithes they would bring to the church? Why are large families so highly encouraged in the LDS church? The world does not need more people, “Go forth and multiply” made sense when it was just Adam and Eve. There are over 6.5 billion people on the planet now, we really don’t need families like the Duggars (19 kids and still trying).

          If religion gets to call the shots and decide who can get married, and the only way to get the same LEGAL benifits is to be married, this does not even come close to the “Sepration of Church and State”.

    1. Multiple. : )

      Here are a few:

      I still remember how grateful I was when Elder Holland addressed same gender attraction in this article:

      Please let me know if you read or appreciated any of them. I myself have taken several links from this comment section so I can slowly learn about and digest each one.

  63. I just emailed the Standard of Liberty guys:
    Hi Steve and Janice Graham, I just wanted to leave a couple of comments for you,

    I really respect what you’re doing, you’re taking a stand on an issue with only the desire of helping others, an issue that is pretty volatile nowadays which I’m sure leads to a lot of flak coming your way. This doesn’t mean that I agree with you, but I respect you and what you’re doing. I would like to comment on your surprising answers to three questions in your FAQ:

    Q. Do you believe churches should accept open“gays” in full fellowship?

    A: No. For their own good such individuals should be tough-loved, invited to repent, offered resources and therapy, and disciplined appropriately, just as others who stray from God’s laws. Of course, everyone should be encouraged to attend church and welcomed at meetings.

    Q: Should even those privately struggling with SSA, who have not “acted out,” be chastened, offered help and correction, and held accountable by the church?

    A: Yes. The church should be concerned with the person’s soul. People with this problem have become involved in perverse and sinful lust to the detriment of their eternal salvation.

    Q: Why do you put “acting out” in quotes?

    A: Some mistakenly think homosexual behavior entails only sodomy. But same sex sexual attraction often involves a gamut of acting out, including preoccupation with sex, masturbation, fantasizing or lust, pornography, and sinful associations such as gay clubs, internet chat rooms, telephone sex, cross dressing, flirting, dating, and cruising. All these are mental and physical choices and acts.

    Now, just as you stated that you are not the moral police on this issue, I in no way feel it’s my duty to change your mind, and frankly, that’s not appropriate or even possible. I just wanted to state that your answers to these three questions are entirely not in line with the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our Brothers and Sisters with same sex attractions in the church are entitled to full fellowship in the church and this has been explicitly declared multiple times by those we know to be Apostles and Prophets of God.

    “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign , Nov. 1998, 71)

    “As for why you feel as you do, I can’t answer that question. A number of factors may be involved, and they can be as different as people are different. Some things, including the cause of your feelings, we may never know in this life. But knowing why you feel as you do isn’t as important as knowing you have not transgressed. If your life is in harmony with the commandments, then you are worthy to serve in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with the members, attend the temple, and receive all the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.” Elder Holland
    full article:

    It’s very obvious to see that those who have the responsibility to speak the words of the Lord state that members with same sex attraction will receive the same blessings of the gospel as all others, including the ability to serve in the priesthood (men need the priesthood in order to attend the temple.) It is also impossible for one with same sex attractions to, as you stated, be “disciplined appropriately and invited to repent” when they haven’t acted upon their same sex attraction. People with this problem that have not acted on it have not become involved in perverse and sinful lust to the detriment of their eternal salvation, they have only been tempted and Our loving Heavenly Father gives us trials so we can grow our faith in Him. Sometimes these trials are temptations. I like the way Elder Oaks puts it:

    “Just as some people have different feelings than others, some people seem to be unusually susceptible to particular actions, reactions, or addictions. Perhaps such susceptibilities are inborn or acquired without personal choice or fault, like the unnamed ailment the Apostle Paul called “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7). One person may have feelings that draw him toward gambling, but unlike those who only dabble, he becomes a compulsive gambler. Another person may have a taste for tobacco and a susceptibility to its addiction. Still another may have an unusual attraction to alcohol and the vulnerability to be readily propelled into alcoholism. Other examples may include a hot temper, a contentious manner, a covetous attitude, and so on. In each case (and in other examples that could be given) the feelings or other characteristics that increase susceptibility to certain behavior may have some relationship to inheritance. But the relationship is probably very complex. The inherited element may be nothing more than an increased likelihood that an individual will acquire certain feelings if he or she encounters particular influences during the developmental years. But regardless of our different susceptibilities or vulnerabilities, which represent only variations on our mortal freedom (in mortality we are only “free according to the flesh” [2 Ne. 2:27]), we remain responsible for the exercise of our agency in the thoughts we entertain and the behavior we choose.” Elder Oaks

    full article:

    Sure, if someone is actively creating and entertaining sexual ideas in their mind, they need to repent regardless if it’s homosexual or heterosexual in nature. However if we need to repent whenever we feel tempted, whenever an idea to sin pops into our minds, that would mean Heavenly Father is forcing sin upon us, and that wouldn’t be much of a loving God. More of brutal sadist. I cannot change your mind on these issues, but I just wanted to help make it a little clearer that your ideas are not backed by God, and if you believe that, it is a delusion and a grotesque manipulation of the word of God. I come from the great state of New Hampshire and I’m proud to say that we seem to just get the whole idea of liberty a bit more then most other people, but I don’t believe that my opinions are either “The Truth” for all or should be forced on others. I’ll admit, my entire argument is just one giant appeal to authority, but if Hinkley, Holland, and Oaks really are prophets, seers, and revelators, the only men on this planet that have the authority to speak the will of God and you sustained them as such last week for General Conference, then you have to admit, I have some pretty good sources backing my reasoning. As such, I would like to invite you to stand up to that commitment you made to honor the Brethren and either adjust your opinions or take down all usage of scripture and quotes of prophets and apostles on your website, because attempting to fabricate the idea that God supports your ideas is completely incorrect. I thank you for your time and patience in reading my comments. I wish you all the best.

    1. And what I received for a reply:
      Thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts. As you know, our website is full of explanations of our position that homosexuality, in thought, desire and deed, is outside of God’s plan for us, and should and can be overcome. See our SoL Voice articles. But here are a few thoughts:

      Sin does not occur only when we do something with our body, such as inappropriately acting out sexually. Sin can also be in the heart, as when Jesus said to look upon a woman to lust after her is to commit adultery in your heart (Matt 5:28). It may not be something that will affect your membership in the church, but it is sin nonetheless, and repentance is called for. To claim a gay orientation, to accept homosexual sexual attraction, to dwell on those thoughts, desires and fantasies without fighting against them is to sin in the heart. Those things are not conducive to having the Spirit with you, and moving you toward God. We are under obligation to struggle against our weaknesses, not give in to them. To do so is sin. To accept homosexual sexual attraction and advocate for it as an acceptable way of life is acting out. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

      God bless,


      1. My comments to SoL– We don’t know the hearts of these panelists, or of students with SSA. Acknowledging, or “claiming” a gay orientation does not mean dwelling on those attractions/thoughts, nor does it mean the individual is not fighting against them. In fact, these four panelists were specifically publicly announcing that even though they do have SSA, they are working through and fighting against those thoughts by choosing chastity and faithful, worthy activity in the church. So no repentance can be called for, nor are these students living in a way that is not conducive to the Spirit anymore than your and my temptations can get in the way of feeling the Spirit as work to overcome them.

        This panel was not advocating accepting homosexual relationships as an acceptable way of life. In fact, just the opposite. They were advocating that one can feel SSA and still live righteous lives by not acting on it. And I truly can’t imagine how hard and sometimes lonely that must be.

        I can see why SoL feels like they are doing the right thing, yet their actions are in conflict with where the church currently stands on this issue.

  64. Not sure how I feel about this article.

    First, why label one’s self by their sexual inclinations? Isn’t their more to life?

    Next, though I do appreciate the courage to be open, I fear there will be undo weight given to the opinions of these individuals which are in some cases in contradiction to doctrine and exhibit a misunderstanding of the purposes of some doctrines. I know that every person on this planet has “natural man” inclinations for one thing or another. There is a major difference though between (a) loving and supporting someone regardless of their inclinations or struggles and (b) encouraging, condoning, and/or supporting someone in a lifestyle that is in an eternal perspective damning.

    The implication made that one “could see himself having a family with another man, but if so, he said, he would ensure that they still attended the LDS Church together” seems to be a gross misunderstanding. Well, only if the implication is that they anticipate remaining in good standing, and feel that the chosen lifestyle is condoned of God and will lead to lasting happiness. It might as well be said about any sinful behavior.

    The implication that “God will yet reveal” that it is encouraged for two members of the same sex to marry if that is their natural disposition makes is preposterous, and more like wishful thinking that a sinful lifestyle will be condoned if popular enough. To the contrary, we know that “wickedness never was happiness.” Finding happiness though living righteously despite our temptations though is very possible.

    Take pornography for example, one could make all the same arguments for that, some appropriate, and some not. If one has inclinations to think about, and possibly indulge in viewing pornography, that’s something that should be disclosed to your spouse or prospective spouse. But to say, as in the example above, that I “could see myself having a family while still viewing pornography, but if so, I would ensure that my family still attended the LDS Church together.” Same may be said of other sins, like losing one’s temper, engaging in white collar crime, vandalism or theft, etc. These are in no way equal, some being more inherently ‘bad’ than others and some creating victims, but none are truly healthy lifestyles.

    Would it seem reasonable to confess to the world, “I am a ____ ” regarding any of the previous sins, and then expect everyone to accept it as a summary of who they are and turn a blind eye to their indulgence in said behavior? No. Honestly, they would treat these other behaviors as what they are, personal matters you share with those close to you or that may be affected by them in order to notify them and ask for sensitive consideration of their weakness. So it should be in this case as well.

    No, having inclinations towards homosexuality is not a choice, but neither are inclinations with fetishes, attraction towards those other than one’s own spouse, children, etc. How one acts though, how they frame it, the amount of time they spend dwelling on it and the environment of support or cultivation they put themselves into will contribute to the inclination’s intensity.

    1. I don’t think these students were labeling themselves by their sexual preferences/inclinations. I think they were simply acknowledging that this is part of who they are.

      While they chose to focus on this topic for the purposes of this panel, I doubt any of them will claim their sexual orientation as their main identity on a normal basis. I could identify myself based on several different “slices” of who I am. I tend to identify myself as a mormon mom, but that’s more or less than I am; it’s a part of who I am. If you were to ask me how I truly identify myself, I would respond that I am a child of God.

  65. I would like to kindly disagree with the notion being proposed in this article. First and foremost God does not and has never made a mistake. He does not create anyone male and then you then ‘discover’ you are female ‘inside’ or vice versa. Your identity of being a man or a woman is not a discovery when one hits teenagehood or at whatever stage of your development it is given by God when one is conceived in the womb and manifested at birth. Rationalizing gender bases on one’s feelings is both grossly wrong and immoral. Feelings change every single day and month and year. If i begin to feel like I am dog does that mean I should move on all four and bark? People need to understand that the reality is that homosexuality is only become popular and accepted not because it’s true and a human right but it has been made as an option that people are deceived to fall into when they can’t get answers to whatever internal struggle they have. I know a lot of LGBT will scream at me for this but frankly put God/Christ totally abhors homosexuality..I don’t care how you butter cream it, or how you bend the bible to suit your detestable behaviour but it is WRONG. Whether you read the New Testament(1 Timothy 1:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) or the Old Testament( Leviticus 18:22, Genesis 13:13, Leviticus 20:13 etc), homosexuality is against God’s plan or desire for mankind. So my view is simple, either feel free to practice homosexuality and leave God and Christ out of it or take God’s word as is and repent. You can practice your sinful ways if you so feel you are in good books with the devil but don’t you dare call yourself a Christian. That’s my opinion and I have the bible to back me up.

    1. The bible backs you up? Really? The bible says that those who sin aren’t christian? Where? Show me the verse that says if you commit sins A, B, C, or R, you can’t believe in Christ. From what I read, no one said that the church should change to accept homosexual behavior.
      Perhaps looking into what it means to be a Christian. I would suggest by looking into the bumper sticker that president Uchtdorf quoted. “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

    2. Tinashe, I can see you feel very strongly about what you are trying to present.

      The hard thing is that there’s just so much we don’t know. God’s wisdom is so much more infinite than ours. It may be that He doesn’t make imperfect things, but allows imperfections as they naturally occur in this mortal life. I don’t believe he makes mistakes, either. However, there are tricky situations that I don’t understand. What does a parent do when their baby is born with both genetalia? While rare, this does occur. That would be a very, very prayerful decision on my part as a parent. Which sex should we allow that child to “keep,” and what if we picked the wrong one to what their soul is? I just don’t think the answers are cut and dry. I don’t pretend to understand those who say they feel like they’re a girl in a boys’ body, but I do understand that for some of those who do, it is such a compelling, authentic part of who they are that they go against intense judgment, ridicule, and persecution, spending a great deal of money and possibly cutting off any chance of a romantic or even simply emotional relationship with anyone, to identify with themself physically as they feel mentally.

      I don’t disagree that there are fringes where people are drawn one way or another, or are more confused if they feel more feminine or masculine than their particular biology because of the openness of homosexuality now. Yet on the other hand, that same openness has helped multitudes upon multitudes of closet homosexuals and/or SSA people to stop thinking something is wrong with them, because why would God make them so they are biologically attracted to the same sex when they believe fervently in a heterosexual lifestyle as part of gaining eternal salvation? Some of those individuals have committed suicide because the moral agony is so intense for them. Surely they are not one of the ones who was convinced to choose to be gay because of cultural acceptance or persuasion. If anything, they are loathing the treatment and judgment they receive when they do reveal to anyone feelings that have persisted for much more than can be called daily moods or ups and downs. What a relief it would be for them to realize that there are others who acknowledge similar same sex attraction and yet still feel that if they don’t act on it, God will bless them for seeking to be obedient to Him in full chastity.

      What I understand about Christ is that His Grace makes up for our sin, and that no unclean thing (read: any unrepented sin) can enter the kingdom of God. Christ still loves the homosexual just as much as the heterosexual. He does not condone acting on homosexual attraction, but he also does not condemn the person with SSA for having hard-wired biology attracting them to the same sex. I continue to repent of my own sins, and seek to avoid temptations that so EASILY beset me on a number of levels, but I also find strength in being able to become more Christlike DESPITE my sins and “divers” temptations. I’m grateful to see young LDS members with SSA publicly declare that their SSA does not define them and that despite their attraction they still seek to be worthy members of God’s kingdom, fighting against that temptation and choosing to live chaste lives.

  66. This meeting is just another appropriate step in reconciling an issue that only recently could be addressed, due in part to society’s historical bias against homosexuality, and in part to the lack of understanding as to the roots of sexual orientation. We still have a long way to go before we find a paradigm that members of the LDS Church can live with in regards to same sex attraction (SSA). While the LGBT community might not appreciate or accept the SSA designation, it is helps (at least me) to identify someone’s sexual orientation versus their sexual activities. So, in that context, one can be a fully active, temple-attending SSA Latter-day Saint (and/or BYU student), whereas a gay (or LBT) person who practices homosexual sexual relations should not. (Initially I used “cannot” but let’s be honest about the fact that many LDS members’ behavior would preclude them from temple attendance and even church membership if the truth were known).

    In the ongoing disagreement over the determinants of sexual orientation and the degree of choice involved, I believe it to be helpful to admit that we don’t know all the factors involved and that as far as LDS members are concerned the “choice” should be the same one we all face, and that is to abide by the revealed commandments and church/BYU policies or not. Should we be able to find this common ground–acknowledging that we are all less than perfect–then we can move forward to some positives that have been heretofore discounted. I would be interested to know if there are credible studies regarding any correlations with SSA men (or women) in regards to personality traits, etc. Certainly, just as there is no one pattern for any of us–gay or straight–there isn’t going to be a single trait or attribute that defines someone’s sexual orientation. Rather, are there traits or attributes that are more prevalent in SSA men than straight men?

    Where I am heading with this is the question of whether or not our SSA brothers and sisters might in fact have much to teach us about compassion, brotherly love, charity, or a host of other praiseworthy things that straight members of the LDS Church might have in short(er) supply? When might we get to a point where we start looking for the positives instead of the perceived negatives?

    I have read accounts about the hopelessness of being a gay Mormon, including some people who express a desire to ultimately marry their same-sex spouse in the temple and experience the same blessings that straight couples can. For one raised in an LDS family, having been taught about eternal marriage since their youth, this is certainly an understandable hope, even though to me it seems to be unrealistic. Perhaps a new paradigm that values SSA members for their gifts would provide a hopeful path for this life, where they likely will not tread the usual marital path.

    Again, this meeting and others like it will help usher in new opportunities for all of us, but particularly for straight Mormons to change the way they view their brothers and sisters.

  67. God, Jesus, Peter Pan, & Meroni are all Good characters in mediocre fairytales! Please get better educations and cure the gays from this medical affliction they have at a DNA cellular level.

    1. You know God is alive. It is etched on your heart, whether you like it or not. And God has already sent a cure for “gays”. It’s aids.

      1. Oh Laura, please don’t say that. Aids does not “cure” gays. I wouldn’t even venture to say it’s a consequence of living a promiscuous gay lifestyle, any more than I would say that STDs are necessarily a consequence for living a promiscuous heterosexual lifestyle, either. I used to think it stood to reason, but over time I’ve realized that I just don’t know, and it’s not up to me to wonder or judge. : )

      2. Larua…..uou are one harsh woman. I pity your judgement day when you stand before your maker and he asks “where is your charity?”

    2. Craig, I respectfully disagree with you. Even if your comment is simply meant for trolling and I’m “feeding” the troll, I believe very strongly that God, Jesus, Peter, and Moroni are all very, very real rather than made-up stories. And I’m grateful for the words of wisdom given to me through them that help me want to be a better person, and be more like the Christ that I love so dearly.

      As for education, I do think the more we are educated, the more we understand that in the nature vs. nurture debate on the cause of homosexuality, science continues to show that homosexuality is often very hard-wired, just as you are suggesting. Open forums like this help us to learn and grow if we are seeking to understand better rather than seek to tear down.

    1. Jim,
      Because sometime, you may find out that someone close to you is gay. If you don’t want to know, why did you read this article?

  68. So, reading about some of their experiences, it seems like the panelists ‘chose’ to be gay. Because they did not have strong tendencies toward the opposite sex, they questioned their sexuality and then eventually decided they were gay. Having feminine tendencies, does that make you gay? Sounds like the world told them they were gay for not being head over heals for the opposite sex and they believed the world. Call me a cynic if you will. I don’t doubt that there are those who struggle with gay tendencies, but some of the accounts seem a bit off to me.

    1. I agree with a lot of your comments and I feel like the majority of the gay people I know became gay because that is what the world says if you have certain tenancies. I actually have a former male best friend, that later confessed to having a major crush on me, that ended up being gay, because everyone teased him about it all the time. He liked fashion and shopping. He was not flamboyant, but was not a manly man. We grew apart and he started hanging with the wrong crowd and eventually told people he was gay. We are friends again and I don’t believe that he is gay. I think anyone can be attracted to anything, by choice. All you have to do is fixate on something long enough. That is why there are people attracted to inanimate objects or animals, as well. I know people are offended by that, but there are many things in this life that people struggle with that they feel they have no control over. We are sent her to be tested and that may be a part of their test.

      1. Lisa, just realize that while your friend may be “fringe” gay in that he fixated on comments based on his more feminine characteristics, there are many, and more likely, most gays, who aren’t. There are many, where is it so hard-wired down to their DNA and a molecular level that they could not change themselves to being heterosexual any more than you could fixate yourself into being homosexual, to coin a phrase used by Randy in this comment section. I actually just saw some brain scans this week showing the brain of a heterosexual male, then female, and then a self-proclaimed homosexual male, then female. It was fascinating to see that the regions that lit up in the brain of the hetero female were nearly identical to that of the homosexual male, and the same for the heterosexual male and homosexual female. And then there was an experience where a young adult had a stroke and it actually re-wired his brain. He wasn’t gay, and after the stroke his sexual orientation completely changed, with no persuasion or fixation on his part.

    2. Since I wasn’t there and don’t know the panelists, I can’t make any generalizations about the individual panelists in this panel.

  69. Do ANY of you read the Bible? God, very clearly,says that to be gay is an abomination!! 1Corin. 6:9 says such people will have no share in his kingdom!! If the LDS embrace same sex couples, God will curse them. I didn’t say that; God did! AND FURTHERMORE…. Ecc 12:13-14 says FEAR GOD, and KEEP His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing,whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Where is the fear?

    1. These were letters written to the Galatians warning them to clean up the temples and get all the female prostitutes, and “effeminate” (meaning lazy, vain, lukewarm people) and the male prostitutes and idols out of the Temples. this is not a condemnation of sex, or sexuality it is a condemnation of “debauchery” and “lust”. There is no place int he bible that you can show me where it says that God hates a Gay couple who love and cherish each other, treat people decently and are loving kind people. These are simply letters from one guy to another warning him that the Temples were unclean and fouled by the promiscuity. And,as long as we do not allow Gay people to marry, then by the strictest sense of the word they are living in “sin” just like an unmarried heterosexual couple!

      1. Just to clarify; God would love a gay couple even if they weren’t kind people. He loves us regardless of anything we do that is contrary to goodness.

          1. And this is just the sort of thing that should be called out as rubbish. 3000 years ago Socrates asked “should a just man do evil to anyone” and his students eventually concluded “No, certainly not!” I can’t think of anything more evil than hating somebody for what they are. If a just man should not do that, should a just God?

          2. I don’t know why the scriptures say God hated Esau, but I actually believe God loved Esau. God even helped things work out between Esau & Jacob later on. Who knows if the scripture means that God hated what Esau represented, or that Esau didn’t recognize or appreciate the incredible gifts being offered to him if he married within his religion and accepted his birthright.

  70. As I skimmed back through, I noticed that some of you do quote scripture…meaning Bible. That’s all we need. It’s God’s perfect word.

    1. And it sure is full of some wonderful teachings, isn’t it? I love the Bible, but my favorite of the Old and New Testament is the New Testament. Oh how I love the New Testament, especially reading about and understanding the Savior. I love so many of the things He quietly taught, like the situation where it would have been so easy for him to say, “Ok, yeah, this one is obvious–this lady was caught in adultery. Clearly she is a sinner.” Yet He, the very one that had the authority to condemn her, didn’t do it. That very act touched me so deeply that it changed my life. Up until then I still thought that I was being righteous when I pitted my seemingly better self against more “obvious” sinners. Oh boy did I need to repent! That’s when I realized how self-righteous I had been perceiving things. Now I focus on my own sins and recognize that even when Christ, the very person I want to emulate, had the chance to tell the adulterous woman, “Repent, sinner,” he didn’t even use those words, but instead counseled, “Go thy way, and sin no more.” So very profound; the epitome of unconditional love. She already knew she was caught in sin; she already knew she needed repentance to rectify her spiritual standing. And I think He knew that she knew, and that was enough. That’s what I love about the beauty of our individual personal relationships with Christ.

      You may or may not already be aware that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also believe that of other people living on different parts of the earth throughout history, that God also sent them prophets, and records were also kept there. That’s why we believe the Book of Mormon to also be the word of God. We don’t think it supplants the Bible. In fact, we believe it not only supports the Bible, but helps prove the truths of the Bible.

      1. Hey Kimberley thank you for your comment on the woman who committed adultery. You are very correct in saying Jesus wasn’t ruthless with her and was really gentle. But in our getting warm with that part of the story let’s also realized the end of the incident,”..sin no more”. Jesus still told the woman to stop her sinful behaviour. Same applies to our LGBT brothers and sisters, yes we should not judge them, yes they can be loving and great people etc but God still requires them to ‘sin no more’ period. Yes some of us who are against LGBT views and behavious may look like we are judging and being segregatory etc but we are just saying what God says sin no more. True we are not saved by our works but we will still face judgement for our actions. You and I will have to answer fo seeing our LGBT brothers and sisters fall and we shall give an account for our passivity as well. Yes we all sin and no sin is better than any other. If i am found committing adultery or stealing, I will be held account for that crime/sin even people love me. I still will have to stop doing that even though I may be genetically predisposed or it’s a psychiatric issue, I still have to stop..So yes we will still love the LGBT community enough to tell them that they are out of line with God’s word and should repent and sin no more in the most gracious words possible…

        1. I agree with you. Go and sin no more. Feeling gay is one thing. Are these folks virgins as they are required to be? Virgins until they marry someone of the opposite sex? No problem. A man that is married to a women and has fantasies about anal sex with his wife is no less guilty. Sodomy is sodomy. Acting on those sinful thoughts is sin!!

        2. Yes, Tinashe, I love the last part of what he says to the woman: sin no more. He isn’t harsh, but he also gives firm counsel. That’s what I love about the Savior.

          I don’t feel passive at all about my GL (gay and lesbian) friends (I don’t know anyone bi that has shared that with me or that I’ve been told of) or anyone LGBT. Just in this forum I have expressed my beliefs very strongly that I support what our church leaders’ current stance on the issue is.

          Perhaps where I differ is that where it is the Savior’s right to tell the woman, “sin no more,” it isn’t my right (He has the authority, but I don’t) I will be held accountable for being an example of the gospel, for being Christlike and showing unconditional love and for sharing the gospel when I feel the Holy Ghost impress upon me what to say, when. But I feel that walking around telling GBLT people, inside or outside of our church that they need to “sin no more” is condescending, judgmental, and patronizing. But if I love them unconditionally, and they know where I stand without me ever even telling them, what are the chances that I can be an influence toward good in their lives? And on the flip side, they may have strengths that are an inspiring influence for me. Just a small example of my last statement–my bff is not a member of any church, and feels very indifferently toward religion. But she comments that she feels like I am kind-hearted to others and that it makes her want to be more so. I also have commented to her that her strengths of being well-organized and routine-oriented as well as very plugged in to her kids have been very inspiring to me (I’m a very scattered, spontaneous person, which I can use to my advantage sometimes but also makes consistency a struggle for me).

          Now, if any of my children are gay, then I will have the stewardship to prayerfully decide how to approach them, and I would love them regardless, but would also tell them what I believe to be sin and encourage them to acknowledge their attraction but not act on it, hard as that is.

      2. The Bible says there is no marriage in heaven. It also says no one can come to the Father unless Christ draws them. Also God hated Esau. The LDS teach many things that contradict the Bible. I have studied it in depth {LDS} and it is a flawed denomination. Why not good old fashioned christianity? Bible. That’s all you need.

        1. The LDS church believes the Bible to be the word of God as long as it is translated correctly.

          We love the Bible, and we love that the Book of Mormon supports the Bible and gives yet another testimony, or witness, of the divinity of our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s exciting to be able to say, “Hey! There were people half-way around the world who also had prophets that prophesied of a Savior and taught people about God! How cool is that?!”

          But we also realize that the Bible was written by many, many different prophets, as well as apologists and other people, and was not handed down directly from prophet to prophet. Often, a wealthy community leader would be the one who had a copy of the Bible.

          Then there’s the fact that the Bible was translated between different languages, and that there were different copies of parts of the bible floating around in different areas. If someone made multiple copies of a part of the Bible, and those particular copies had a lot of simple mistakes in them (with no mal-intent), they became more distributed, so the more erroneous copies were having copies being made off of them.

          Top that off with the fact that for great lengths of time, the common people could not read but only have excerpts of the Bible read to them. The people who were transcribing the Bible couldn’t even read. They were considered “literate” because they could sign their name or because they could copy down symbols, not because they could actually read.

          Add to that a variety of issues, from the fact that in hebrew (or was it greek?) that all the letters were in full caps with no punctuation, which often made exact meaning very unclear. If you think of something as simple as “Let’s eat, Grandma,” vs “Lets eat Grandma,” for instance, the punctuation itself wildly changes the sentence’s meaning. I can go on and on. There were even apologists (people who defended the Bible) who changed words in the bible to fit the Jesus they believe in. Some would change words to make him less harsh. This doesn’t include the thousands of simple errors as well as many purposeful changes to take things out or change meanings that occurred by people with mal-intent.

          But all that said, please, PLEASE realize, we still believe in the Bible and LOVE it whole-heartedly, even knowing that mixed in with the word of God is the imperfection of man. We also believe that the same church that existed in Adam, Moses, Isaiah, and even Jesus’s time, has come back today. We believe that God still gives us prophets today that are mouthpieces, just as he gave prophets to our ancestors. Those prophets can help us understand and navigate the Bible, for which I am so grateful. That doesn’t leave it up to me to try to interpret it all by myself, or rely on things like the Nicene creed, where tenets of the Christian church were decided on by several men, not through a mouthpiece of God.

  71. There are 1,500 known species of animal on the planet that exhibit homosexual behavior — apes, lions, dolphins and more. Another study has shown that 7-10% of all humans on the earth are homosexual. Why, if there were a god, would this “god” create a planet with very obvious contradictions to the written books that all these religions base the story of their existence upon? Seems pretty ridiculous. Try applying some of that logic that got you through university. Religion is dead and there is no god. Your end times have arrived, it’s called the death of religion.

    1. Clearly you have a lot of faith Ceeleeb. In case you didn’t know you believing there is no God is a belief in itself with it’s own set of justifications. Rationale and logic is our way of understanding what God made and does and it will always fall short of explaining all. One thing I am happy about is that a time will come without a doubt where your reason and logic will run dry and you will know who to turn Jesus. Mark my words my dear…

  72. Reading your article, Trevor, and most of the comments has really helped me get a better grasp on this issue. Thank you, everybody.

  73. Interesting. Very interesting. 4 out of 1800. Small start, but yes, brave. Brave for the students, and brave for BYU. Its a touchy subject as we’ve seen above. I would say many LDS readers would hope LDS individuals of the GLBT community would follow Brandon’s example and get married and have a family. Its easier to accept and they feel like someone’s won a battle in that case. Obviously, that solution isn’t for everyone. I don’t know the struggle it would be to hide a same-sex attraction from everyone around you. Years and years of pretending and hiding would wear a person down. I’m glad that there are some that are finding ways to express their feelings in a manner that they can still live the gospel. I assume if more same-sex attraction individuals expressed their feelings it would be easier for others to understand and accept their situations. I still believe that it will never be right for two men or two women to have sexual relations and that wickedness never brings happiness, but this panel does bring up a good point that I think will become more important in the years to come which is; How much of a relationship can two people of the same gender with same-sex attraction have and still be within the bounds of the gospel? Even in heterosexual relationships there are bounds placed by God before marriage. Where do those limits lie in a GLBT relationship and what is the LDS community ready to accept at this point?

    1. “How much of a relationship can two people of the same gender with same-sex attraction have and still be within the bounds of the gospel?”

      You bring up a very, very good point. Good food for thought.

  74. I have come to understand that gay/lesbian is a trial. That the trial is being attracted to the same gender… that person then must chose how to deal with the trial like any other trial. If so, do they have other panels like people who are attracted to little children, and people with eating disorders, and people who are attracted to drugs, alcohol, people who are sex addicts, all of these are trials in my mind. So is the gay and lesbian trial harder than everyone else’s trials? I think that we all have trials that are equally as hard to endure in their own rights. God told us that he will never give use something more than we can bear. But is it necessary to publicize our trials? Frankly, as a Californian, I am tired of being bombarded by the same sex iniative. Why does it need to be this big show? We all have trials… Why can’t we just deal with them privately with the lord, our families and close friends? Why do my little children have to be taught about gays and lesbians in kindergarten and upward? I guess, I just don’t get why this panel needed to take place…

    1. Mari,
      Personally, I think the issues in CA and the issues at BYU are two different things. Many people (including members) in CA are already familiar with people who are openly gay. I was surprised when I came to Utah last year to finish my degree (I’m older than most students) to find that people here still make comments that show they know very little about people who are gay. No one here is trying to read books about the prince marrying a prince to kindergartners. Some of these issues can’t be dealt with privately, in my opinion. When people are openly making assumptions about gays in church that are incorrect and sometimes downright mean, they need to be corrected. It would be better if we could all always be courteous and kind about this, but as is seen here, it’s not that simple, unfortunately. If we are truly to become both as just *and* as merciful as the Lord is, we need to be able to see each other as He does.

    2. Mari,
      With all due respect, it is easy for you to say…however, try living with something so magnanimous and then we’ll see what you have to say. Jesus said, “love one another as I have loved you. Being judgmental is in direct conflict with the Saviors message and a prime example why I haven’t been to church in years. Sadly LDS people seem to miss this very valuable lesson.

      1. Gratefully, there are a lot of people who “get” this message as well. When we understand that of the two greatest commandments we Christians are given, the 2nd is to love each other, only after loving God with all our heart, then we don’t push people away from the church as happened to you. I’m so sorry for your experiences, and hope you have some good ones with people who are really living what they believe. They are out there. : )

  75. I agree with the judgement comments. I was single for a long time, yet church members treated me differently and it hurts. I would never do that to someone. Regardless of what someone is going through (even if you dont agree with how they are living) does not mean you have to be mean to them and exclude them. I hate people who are mean and who gossip. We should treat everyone with love

    1. Lacie,
      Seriously, right? I’m very wordy but also ADD, and when I feel passionately about a subject, I get really actively involved. In the ADD world it’s called “hyperfocusing.” You probably wouldn’t believe that in between my participation in this forum, I’ve also been planting gardens, feeding and taking care of kids, running errands, playing games with said kids and helping with homework, and today, catching up on yardwork and such. Oh, and I live in northern Dallas, where tornados caused major damage all around us last Tuesday. It’s been a crazy week.

      So how am I managing a very busy household of four busy boys and also chiming in constantly online this last couple days?

      I’ll tell you the secret. I’m sacrificing sleep. *chuckle*

      Happy Easter, everyone. : )

  76. I’m so glad I’m out of that church!
    You call this progress? What is being celebrated here?
    Comparing homosexuality to cancer not being cured?!
    Having to be on medication to live with your husband?!
    Celebrating the notion that we will be “cured” in the afterlife?
    Does no one see that this kind of rhetoric continues to reinforce the notion that there is something innately “wrong” with homosexuals? That it must be “tolerated” and eventually “worked out.”
    I’m not here on earth as a gay man to test the faith of others through my existence. I’m not here on earth to serve as your ever faithful, single and sexless ward clerk. And I did not spend years struggling to love, love, love who I am, who God created me to be as a gay man, just to have that all taken away from me in the afterlife. I don’t need “curing” in this life or the next.
    I think when the truth about why we’re here is finally revealed, there’s gonna be some egg on a lot of very pious faces.

  77. To the writer of this article:
    What these brave and caring private speakers did was intended and carried out with very specific intentions. The fact that people, who are not students were turned away, is very important to respect. It is there truth and their life and their safety, that is not being respected in this article. Please remove their personal and identifying information, from your extremely public article. It is important to do no harm, so please remove their identifying information such as their, names, ages, name of their school, major because it makes “Targeting” them, their school and the buildings of their study easy to target. When writing publicly, it is very important to understand impact on those you write about. Also the fact that this is still a sensitive subject and their are people and groups that may be on the pro and others on the con side of this subject. Please remove their identifying information and pray that no harm comes to them, because of your turning a private matter into a world-wide post. I pray you remove their personal and identifying information from this article. By the way, I am in California and it was the intention and purpose of the speakers to remain an isolated meeting.

  78. Bravo to these strong individuals! I too have struggled with these same feelings. So much that I haven’t attended church in a long time. It’s a difficult and unique issue that each person who struggles with their own sexuality goes through. Only a handful of people know about my struggles…this article gave me hope…hope that I can have a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father.

    1. I’m so glad this gives you hope. Don’t give up! There is an talk that really touched me, and helped me understand the Atonement more than I’ve ever understood before. It was given by Brad Wilcox last summer:!page=1&season=2002 So, so good. : )

      I think the mormonandgay blog that was linked to here looks like a great place for you to go to in order to also seek more hope:

      Plus, legion posted his blog as well. Also looks helpful:

      I wish you the very best. And, of course, I can’t help but encourage you to head back to church. What impressed me is how each of the panelists found hope and peace when they turned toward the Savior in the midst of their personal turmoil over being gay and mormon. I hope and pray that if/when you return, you will be received with open arms, and that those with whom you share about your feelings will be sensitive and loving.

      If you need someone to talk to, of course I’m glad to do so. You can fb me (Kimberly Cropper Wilson) or email me at

    2. ps. I did not mean to mention the Atonement as if to say that I think you have something you need to repent of. I just realized that it may look that way. I was thinking more along the lines of how much the talk helped me understand how my personal relationship with my Savior works, and that it’s not the bicycle principle (save money for the bike, and then “dad” pays the rest) or a gap principle (try and get as far up the mountain as I can and then the Savior makes up the difference). It’s more like a piano lessons principle, where the Savior already paid for our “lessons,” and wants us to learn heaven, not earn it. He doesn’t want us to pay him back, and he doesn’t wait until we do our part before he makes up the difference–he makes ALL the difference. Right at the beginning.

      This helped me understand me as a person and as a daughter of God, but also a mortal human being with plenty of frailties, insecurities, weaknesses, and imperfections before ever getting to my downright sins.

      Such a good talk.

  79. Seriously so awesome that this happened. It has always been akward at BYU. People that are gay don’t know what to do, because straight students confuse the churches policies towards homosexuality and become somewhat homophobic. No one can control the feelings that they have, but they can control what feelings they act on, and control feelings in accordance with the honor code. It is just like how we have to control our urges for heterosexuality before we are married, or how some people have a hard time with substance abuse and need to control their urges. Even though they have those urges, it doesn’t make them evil as long as they are not acting on them. I love how we are making steps to clear this up at BYU, because I had tons of gay friends in high school and it is sad to me to think that they might turn away from the church because we think they are evil for having those feelings. Im glad to know that now they might having a chance knowing that if they control those urges they are able to be saved! Seriously so awesome for these students to be brave enough to do this, and for them to have such strong testimonies and stay so close to the church, as it must have been so hard for them to!

    1. “People that are gay don’t know what to do, because straight students confuse the churches policies towards homosexuality and become somewhat homophobic.”

      So beautifully said! Thanks for weighing in.

    2. “It is just like how we have to control our urges for heterosexuality before we are married…”

      Um… you actually have the right to get married at some point. Gay Mormons don’t. Big difference. Unlike you, they’re expected to remain celibate their entire lives. I don’t think that’s anything to celebrate. Especially if you happen to be gay.

      “Even though they have those urges, it doesn’t make them evil as long as they are not acting on them.”

      Sexual orientation is not an urge. It’s a core part of your identity as a human. So when people compare sexual orientation to alcoholism or gambling, that’s a false analogy. I think you really have to question a God that would create gay people, then demand that they not actually lives their lives as a gay person. Because living your life as a gay person means falling in love with someone of the same sex, and having a life-long committed (physical) relationship with them, just like a straight person would have. Anything less than that is short-changing your life. If you were told to never fall in love with a woman, never have any physical relationship with a woman, spend your entire life alone… all to please your God. I seriously doubt that you’d be jumping for joy. Especially if gay people weren’t asked to do that.

  80. Meaning no disrespect to the students who took part in the event, I must say that this looks to me like the Jewish kid who was incensed that he couldn’t join the SS! Or the black kid that complained he was kicked out of the KKK! Why would any GLBT kid even WANT to belong to a group that is founded on the belief that gays are evil and purposely so? Do they really buy the religious hokum? If so the anti-gay bias is part of it. Do they think they can change the basic underpinnings of the entire church dogma? Do they want to retain the relationships they made before their peers found out they were gay? Well it can’t be done. The friends and relatives that dropped them when they came out are never going to change their minds. If Monson himself were to have a “revelation” that gays were now accepted their folks might become civil but they would still disapprove of them. Sometimes it’s best to part ways, even if it hurts. Life is unfair. When you base a big part of your life on a myth, don’t be surprised if the whole thing falls down one day.

    1. The LDS church does not believe that gays, or anyone with any sort of SSA (same sex attraction), or bisexual attraction, are evil.

    2. Mormonism is just as much culture as it is religion. It is a culture in which I grew up in and miss in many regards; in that I miss the music and the people and the fun. Being LDS was not something I chose so much as it was something I was born into and raised in.

      Homosexuality is tribal – something with which I developed without any of my own doing. It is something I realized through physiological changes in my own body, and is so a part of me to try to remove it would be to remove each of my internal organs and then question why I wouldn’t survive. And yet it is something I battled against for several years.

      The several points at which young people coming to terms with their sexual feelings are rough, especially considering that such tumultuous teen years are often inwardly and sometimes outwardly harsh. Sometimes harsh enough to inflict deep and even lasting wounds. To deal with such trauma in a hidden world of secrecy, lies, denial, and solitude does nothing to relieve the pain or ease the pressure; rather quite the reverse.

      With this forum/panel at BYU, future LDS persons *finally* have the opportunity to appropriately exist in a much needed openness while still remaining true to their convictions and faith. I hope there will be many that will greatly benefit from this middle path.

  81. (Rev.), John T Farrell, Ph.D.

    “Crucial to the historical-critical approach is the question of translation, since not only is any version of the Bible we read today a translation, the original texts in the original language have been lost. It is the historical critical method, among other things, that allows scholars to assess the biblical advocacy of slavery, the Bible’s relegation of women to subordinate status, and its injunctions against homosexuality in their historical and literary contexts and question their relevance or their compatibility with the Christian message of love, salvation, and hope (…) Using the examples of the Bible’s positions on slavery and women, I argue by analogy—as do many others, gay and straight—that the Scriptural injunctions applying to homosexuality are perhaps in need of the same type of thoroughgoing review that was applied to the issue of slavery and the status of women.”

  82. Holy cow. Must we Mormons argue so much about scripture? I would like to introduce myself and some facts 1. I am Lesbian. 2. I graduated from BYU 3. I am a minority. 4. I served a Mission for the Church 5. I sure wish this panel happened while I was there, but it was bad enough being a Minority. Now I believe: Being Gay is a gift from God. It is a gift of creativity, sensitivity, light and beauty.

    I bawled when I saw the videos and so much came up for me that I thought was already healed over the past 8 years. My heart goes out to all the brave Mormons who are speaking their truth. I’m so very very proud of you! Back when I went to BYU, “Gay” just didn’t exist, so I didn’t really know what I was. I just knew I had feelings for women that I didn’t understand or entertain, fell in love with Gay guys, (closest thing you can get to a girl!) and, like many of the people in the forum, I got way involved in my callings, even served a Mission. Before my Mission I told my bishop of my challenge and he asked me if I ever entertained the attraction I had to women. I had not. He said not to worry about it and sent me off. After my mission, and falling in love with a woman, I told my Bishop of my “challenge” and spent several months in Mormon therapy to de-Gay-ize me. At least I did not get the shock treatment. It was hard enough just feeling like a totally alone outcast who God was upset with. And of course I was put on probation! WOW! They really don’t know what to do with the Gay women in the church, and are much harder on the poor men. Many of whom I knew at BYU and finally came out years later – if they didn’t end their lives. I was heartbroken, torn and blind sighted by the whole experience. Back at BYU, we just didn’t believe in “Gay” and knew for sure that wasn’t my issue. I found out after defending the church I joined as a teenager for 15 years, (no, they’re not racist! The church is TRUE!) researching every piece of Mormon Doctrine I could find, praying, fasting and meeting with church officials like Sherry Dew, that it was NOT true. I’m not going to go on a rant about why because I want this comment to be read. I just encourage Mormons to do their homework, as they preach. There’s scientific proof that it is false because of DNA evidence of Native Americans, and seriously – don’t you see a little glitch of a problem if you have a so-called “Only true church on the face of the earth” that suddenly says, “Oops. A few things need to be changed here” Do you really think Jesus made mistakes when they apparently set up the church? DOH! Nope. Because men made the Mormon church as they do all religions. I learned on my Mission from a wise man, that all religions are man-made and are man’s way of trying to find God. I’m so glad I served a mission.Like many other organized religions, the church is a business corporation that makes money. The church will continue to change because they are losing a lot of people and popularity. This is not good for a business! Outside Utah people think very little of “homophobic racist Mormons”. Of course there are many good people in the church and I still defend it from time to time. My point: it’s hard enough being Gay. Had I known the church was not true, I would have not had to be robbed of so many years of being who I truly was and feeling so alone and now as a result, I’m lacking in dating experience to say the least. The guilt, the pain, the sadness – all leads to depression and illness. I left the church because it was not in alignment with my truth. It made me a stronger person and I met some wonderful people, but my message to the Gays: Being gay is a gift of creativity and light from God – and a good hint to GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN and discover who you really are! I’ve never felt closer to God and Spirit than I am now, after leaving the church. Truth is light, peace, and joy. Do Gay people really receive this in the Mormon church? REALLY? I used to think I was happy. Truth: If you have to say you’re happy, you’re not really happy. It’s a lie you’re telling yourself. Truth: All organized Religions are man-made. God is within and honestly, since I left, I’ve never felt as much joy in my soul and make a great living in my occupation which was thwarted as a Mormon. If Mormons aren’t insecure, they will not delete my post. We will see what happens. I really want to hear what people have to say about this.

    1. Exactly, Kimberly. The LDS Church has never said they hated gays. In fact they have said they love gays not to be mean to them. Unfortunately there are people in every religion that are mean and judgemental as I said above they judged me for being single. They have even signed the SLC town ordinance for gay rights and has even donated money to help build a home for gays who have been disowned by their parents (which the church has told people not to do). It’s the sin of having sex before marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals that they say not to do. Because the LDS Church beleives in children having a mother and a father is important for a child and also based on their beleif about the preexistance so therefore opposes sam sex marriage doesnt mean they hate gays. Also many gay people say churches dont have to recognize their marriages, but churches back east are being sued because they are not recognizing those marriages. It doesnt seem possible since many could careless if someone recognizes their marriage or not, but it’s true. Look it up. So if it’s legalized they could get sued for not willing to perform and recognizing gay marriages. It has nothing to do with hating gays. I wouldnt think any gay person would complain about this panel as its telling people to reach out to them in love. You may not agree with their doctrine, but there are gay people that do agree with the doctrine so they are living the gospel and they are happy. Just because I am religious doesnt mean I am not happy as I wouldnt tell someone of another religion or someone who is not religous that they are not happy and that they believe in myths. You cant assume if someone is happy or not unless if they tell you. Thats what this forum was all about. Many gay people have been mistreated and didnt think they couldnt be religious if they were gay and this forum was to prove that theory wrong and to tell people not to be mean to gays. Nobody should be mean to anybody.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Mormon church spend millions of dollars trying to prevent NON-MORMON gay people from getting married in California? How is non-religious (SECULAR) marriage ANY of their business? (Answer: It’s not.) As a gay man that was able to marry his partner in California before Prop. 8 passed, I’d say that’s pretty hateful. Just because someone couches their beliefs in religious doctrine doesn’t mean the end result isn’t hate.

        By the way, unless you can provide proof that churches are being sued for not performing same-sex marriages, I’m labeling that claim as 100% false. The First Amendment protects churches from marrying ANYONE that they don’t approve of. That means that Jewish people cannot sue the Mormon church for not marrying them. The same thing applies to gay people, or Muslims, or Hindus. Churches can NEVER be forced to marry anyone they don’t want to. So I don’t know where you’re getting that information from, but it simply isn’t true.

        “Because the LDS Church beleives in children having a mother and a father is important for a child…” —- If the LDS Church truly believed that they would be trying to ban divorce, not same-sex marriage. Divorce leaves children without a mother and a father. They would also disapprove of straight couples giving their children up for adoption. That also leaves children without their biological parents. Same-sex marriage doesn’t. In fact, same-sex couples adopt children that have been discarded by straight couples. Those children didn’t have ANY parents, let alone a mother and a father. So which would you prefer for a child, ZERO parents or two parents that happen to be gay? There is NO third choice in that scenario. Some orphaned children will never be adopted by an opposite-sex couple.

      2. As far as gay’s suing to marry – when’s the last time LDS let a non LDS person into the temples for sealings? Or when’s the last time an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi was forced to marry at an interfaith wedding? When’s the last time Wiccans were allowed to have a Hand Fasting at a Catholic cathedral? Religions are protected (for the most part i.e. under aged weddings etc.) in their marriage practices.

    2. Like what? Like how God gives you homosexuality as a gift is totally illogical and goes against the natural order that God put in place? I am a Latter Day Saint who had a gay mother. Do I hate her for being gay? No. Do I approve of it? Nope. Homosexuality is in the same category if sexual sun and remember God says he will give you up to the unnatural order of things Shen you turn away from fit the Church we are actually growing and are over 14 million members worldwide. Oh and I’m only half white. Does that shock you? Perhaps you need to put away your anger and get on your knees and pray put aside your bitterness and just pray and seek his council. I love you Happy Easter.

    3. Just a minor point to the gist of your comment, but I’m pretty sure that, as you pointed out, that the native americans are not seen by the church as the descendents of the lamanites. During the restoration when infant church leaders were reading of the lamanites in the Book of Mormon, they drew the conclusion that native amercians were lamanite descendants, which is why they organized a couple missions to go preach to them (wanting to fulfill the reason they were spared from complete eradication because of Ether’s prayers for them). There are a couple of people who look at possible origins of the lamanites; one is the FARM group and another is a group of church “apologists” (apologists is just a term that means someone who speak in defense of something) called FAIR: I believe that they have looked into the Mayan culture. But perhaps I’m mixing that up–perhaps it was Mayans that they think were the Nephites, since the Mayan culture completely disappeared.

      Anyway, I’m glad that you are happy where you are, and I wish you the best of luck. I am so sorry for the grief and struggle, loneliness and depression you experienced. I wish you could have been part of a panel back then. That’s why I am so hopeful that this panel helps LDS members to be more understanding of SSA (same sex attraction) even though our beliefs are that acting on the SSA is a sin. And you may be glad to hear, for the sake of many SSA individuals, that therapy is no longer geared toward “curing” you or them of their SSA. That must have been so heartbreaking and frustrating for you, to feel like something was wrong with you.

      Here is an interesting article that addresses the topic of changes within the church over the years. You may think it’s just a cop-out, but let me know if you think there’s anything to it:

    4. I am sorry that has been your experience. As a convert with many many truths to learn about myself which are not looked upon favorably , I have had the opposite experience. I have had a deep abiding love come into my life since I found the gospel. I have come to know in the most personal and strongest way that This Church is the only religion who has the authority and saving ordinances and I love it and it’s Leaders. It is made up of imperfect people who are doing alot of good.

  83. I am Mormon and I have gender issues that include same-sex attraction at times. I was born with an intersex condition that has made life interesting for me. I am glad that BYU had this panel about same-sex attraction and being gay, bisexual, or whatever. It’s been a long time since I attended BYU, but I would like to say is that God compensates everyone for their hardships based on their willingness to develop a relationship with him and to follow His will. I know God has a plan for every person to be happy. For those of us who may not be able to marry or have children because of how we were born, God will guide us to be happy. He will comfort us when we are lonely. He will wipe away tears. I feel I have a relationship with God that few people can understand. I dislike it when people tell me that I have to find sexual fulfillment to be happy. It’s not true. There is more to happiness than sex and more to happiness than our bodies. God has individual paths of happiness for each of us to follow. Whether or not people that have same-sex attraction are able to marry or have companionship is not relevant because God has a plan for them to be happy. If that includes marriage and children then that will happen. If this life doesn’t include marriage and children in this life, then He will provide compensation so that they can have joy in this life. God has put his arms around me so many times when I was lonely and has taken away that loneliness and replaced it with joy. Unfortunately, so many people either don’t understand that or forget that God is really that powerful.

    1. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I really do think that God will help compensate for whatever things *can* prevent us from joy in this life. I include the word “can” because it’s when we draw close to our Savior that those things don’t have to keep us from joy in this life.

  84. Response to OhmNancy

    I have researched and considered just about all the ‘stuff’, from accusations against Joseph Smith, DNA, horses in the Americas, ‘changes’ in the Book of Mormon, polygamy, Adam-God theory, Hoffman forgeries, etc. I haven’t started on the “Mitt Romney is Porter Rockwell reincarnated theory” yet (only kidding, but thought I could maybe start one of my own). So far, I haven’t found any evidence to disprove the Book of Mormon or that divine revelation works today in the Church. But I HAVE found divine inspiration testifying of its truthfulness. I am speaking of over 30 years of adult membership in the Church.

    I am not gay, but many of those I know who are gay are particularly creative. That is an astute observation of yours, with which I agree. I hate to draw any conclusions from this, as it could be seen as creating a division between people based on sexuality, but I wonder if their attentions have been drawn to developing their talents more than most, because of any worries or concerns in childhood ? Just a thought. As for talents being a God-given gift, yes, of course I agree with you.

    If you are saying that being gay is a God-given gift, then I have never thought of it that way before. I have never thought being born ‘straight’ was a gift from God. I don’t think a person’s sexual orientation defines that person. So I would see you as a talented and creative individual and as a unique and special person whether you were gay or straight.

    I don’t agree that all organised religions are man-made and are man’s way of trying to find God. Of course man has tried to understand and communicate with God throughout history. Some organisations are man-made, for sure. In fact, some admit they are man-made ! (e.g. groups who broke away from Catholicism because they felt it had strayed from Christ’s teachings, but who felt that they – the breakaway group – still lacked divine authority to be Christ’s church). But that doesn’t mean that ALL are man-made. God does inspire and direct people. In fact, your very own religious understanding has been shaped by others, and by your own reasoning, prayer, observation, and contemplation. If you have found God then I rejoice for you. So have I, and I rejoice in that, too.

    1. Wow. Thank you, thank you for your insights.

      I also believe that not all religions are man-made, and actually believe that God helps inspire anyone who is seeking Him, and the members of churches that are doing so. I believe that religion is a way to organize God’s theocracy here on earth, if that makes any sense. It gives organization to seeking to understand and communicate with God, and to be more like him, and want to return and live with him again.

      I also believe that Christ’s church (i.e. including the power that binds, which we call the priesthood) has been re-instated here on earth around the 1830s (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), where the new political movement of having freedom of religion allowed it to do so. I second the belief that God does inspire and direct people, and does so even amidst us being imperfect and fallible.

  85. My 17 year old son came out to me 5 months ago. He began by telling me that I would hate him for what he was about to tell me. I didn’t and I don’t. If anything, I love him more. I cried when he told me — not because he is gay, but because he has spent the last 7 years dealing with this by himself. I wish he would have trusted my wife and me with this much earlier in his life so we could have supported him. I have read everything I can get my hands on regarding SSA and I still can’t come to any reconciliation with the subject and my testimony. Neither can my son. I am not really sure of much when it comes to this subject but I am fairly sure on a few things:

    1. I will always love and support my son. I don’t know why he is gay, nor do think it is a choice in any way, shape or form. I hope it is environmental such that I can be responsible, not him, for any reproach that may come from God with this regard.
    2. Those among us who think they understand the gospel and the atonement while condemning those who deal with SSA are going to be in a lot of trouble when they stand before the judgment bar of our maker.
    3. LDS parents who abandon their children at the very point that they need their parents the most are going to be in for a shock when they meet Christ. Abandoning a child when he or she comes out to a parent is a complete betrayal by the parent and shows that the parent has no understanding of the atonement or the teachings of Christ. I suspect that there will be a special place set aside in the lowest spot eternity has to offer for such parents.
    4. There are many people in the church that have no experience with the subject of SSA that freely put forth opinions and counseling to those dealing with its challenges. I wish those kibitzers would sit quietly, watch and learn. Those with SSA and those that love them don’t need more uninformed opinions or scripture recitations.
    5. If we, as latter-day saints are so loving and accepting, why are there so few gays, if any, in our priesthood meetings? Why are there virtually no lesbians in Relief Society meetings?

    That said, I fully realize that I am but an observer to the situation, while my son lives with the fears, insecurities and unsurety of his situation every moment of every day.

    I was so pleased to see that BYU had this panel. This would have been unthinkable when I was a student there. I would have been in attendance if non-students had been allowed. Next time, hold it in the Marriott Center.

    1. Reload, I too have a child who struggles with these issues. I love everything you have said. My daughter and I are struggling right now, but not because of her sexuality. She is being a pill and doing the other normal adult/teen rebellion. I just had to kick her out. It is pretty funny because she is totally cool about it. She knows it’s because I can’t financially support her addictions and choices. I find the behaviors of no job, no school, drinking, smoking, marijuana, etc way more disturbing then her natural born tendencies of SSA. It is breaking my heart to have an almost 20 year old not take their life seriously and work at moving forward and responsibly. I am sure most will think her behavior is cause and affect because of her sexuality, I believe she will find her way back to the Lord. I will continue to love her, and pray that she see’s her other choices are the ones leading her down a lonely path. But I have let her go so she can find herself, and when I see her, all I have for her is hugs and kisses!

    2. Reload, if you desire I can try to connect you with my folks. My dad just got released from being a Bishop (my folks are moving) and he and my mom love me and I’m definately batting for the “other” team. My dad has been one of the most supportive people with my sexuality both he and my mom have come to an understanding in regards to me being gay and living a gay lifestyle yet they both are temple recommend holders and very active.

      I also want to say I am SO proud of you for being there for your son. I remember coming out to my parents. I wrote in my journal (crying as I did it) and explained that I was evil and needed help. I left my journal for my mom to see the next morning. She picked me up after school – tears streaming down her face, utter concern and fear in her eyes. I asked if she found the journal and she said yes. That ride home was perhaps the *longest* in world history. I sat wondering if I was going to have a place to sleep that night. We had a family meeting with just the three of us, Mom, Dad and I and my partents told me they LOVED me.

      They…loved…me. No matter who I was, they loved me.

      You cannot imagine the relief I felt, I had spent 4 years in agony (bless your son for 7 years of it!) imagining that I would be ejected from our family for being homosexual.

      I have had other friends who’s stories have been very very very rough. Some are thrown out, some are ignored, some are sent to camps to change them, some are nearly killed.

      Most of us have considered suicide to be a very realistic alternative. Some try. Some even succeed.

      LOVE your children. LOVE your siblings. LOVE your parents. LOVE your best friends. LOVE your neighbor.

      1. This brought tears to my eyes. How grateful I am to your loving parents. I think I held my breath when you wrote about putting your journal out, and the ride home with your parents. I didn’t realize it until you wrote of them expressing their love for you, and *then* I exhaled.

    3. Glad to hear you are so genuine with your son, and that your first reaction was that you wished you could have been there as a support system for your son the last 7 years. I think that’s really what we need to be with each other; unconditionally loving, and “real.”

      As for not seeing gay or lesbian people in your priesthood meetings, that’s most likely because they either haven’t told you that they are, or haven’t told anyone. And if they’ve told someone, like the bishop, then that’s between them and him & the Lord, perhaps because they’re worried about unfair or uneducated judgment from people in the ward. Remember that if you aren’t acting on your SSA, you are fully worthy to hold callings, go to the temple, etc.

      Good luck to both you and your son; he has a great ally in knowing his dad will help him navigate from here out.

    4. Reload,
      Thank you for your compassion, for your perspective, and for your humanity. I don’t know if my story would help you and your family with your struggles, but I want to offer it in case it does. My story can be read on my blog,
      Again, thank you.

  86. I agree. Not all religions were man made. There are many wonderful people trying to find God. There are people now who do try to get gain (money or otherwise). And there are people of all relgions who are judgemental so they are hypocrites if they are not showing people love which their religion prefesses. If I didnt strongly beleive in the LDS church, I wouldnt be active because of how people have treated me. I have seen hateful comments from both sides of this issue. We can show love to one another even if we dont always agree with another person. You can be pro traditional marriage and pro gay rights and still be a loving person. Even though many people who are for gay marriage disagree with this, they can still be for their beleifs but respect other peoples religious beliefs and be kind to them. Thats the only way you are going to get anywhere. As for the spending money, it was the LDS people (not the leaders) that spent milllions of dollars on Prop 8 just like people spennt millions of dollars against Prop 8. The leaders spent money for travel expenses and such.

  87. I totally agree about the churches 1 Amendment right not to marry people we dont want to, but unfortunately many lawyers, judges, and politicians could care less about the Constitiution. They only care about winning and getting money. It is nobodys business what someone does with their life, but when people try and change a law, many people felt it their duty to stand up for their reliigious beleifs. Since the breaking up of the traditional family because of divorce and children that have been born out of wedlock, society has gone downhill. There have now been gay divorces as well and those poor children are suffering from it. The LDS church has talked about divorce until they are blue in the face. We belive that their are children waiting in heaven to be born to a mother and a father. Unfortuantely people abuse that privilage.

  88. Sorry-I couldnt finish my comment-Divorce is already legal-If it wasnt and they wanted to legalize it, I am sure the LDS church would have a say about it. We are not supposed to pass jusdement on divorced people either because we dont know their situation. But I just wanted to say that they speak about divorce all the time when many people dont think they do. I do agree with the statement about children being discarded by their parents. Its very sad and some parents discard their chidlren for being gay which the LDS church has told them not to do. If there was a law being passed to make it easier to abandon children, the LDS church would have a say about that too. They have already stated a million times to love and take care of your children, but unfortuately many people dont. I dont think churches should be required to adopt children to who they dont want to as protected by the 1st Amendment, but I do agree that a loving couple or a single person should be allowed to adopt a foster child. The only problems I see with that is that heterosexual cohabitating couples arent allowed to adopt either so they should be allowed to adopt too. Also I am afraid of it leading to any couple who are lving together (they could have just met each other) adopt kids. So if they allow any couple who are living together adopt, that would be a problem too. So there needs to be rules and regulations just like they dont let all married people adopt because not all married people make good parents. There are requirements that have to be met to unsure that the child is living in a stable and loving home. But I agree, it’s better for a child who has no love and no parents to be with a loving parent or parents reagrdless if they are straight or gay.

  89. I attended the panel. I found it a good step forward for dialogue on the subject. I do wish it had offered a wider range of perspective from singles experiencing same sex attraction. So, I decided I could at least throw in my own two cents as another “gay” Mormon and share my thoughts also. My story can be found on my blog:

    (the post linked to here includes my more complete commentary on the panel discussion)

    My best,


    1. Thank you for this. I must say, however, that anyone who is Same Gender Loving must be courageous whether they remain active in the Church and decide to live a celibate life; decide to remain as closely connected to the Church as possible and to date those they are naturally attracted to spiritually, mentally, physically, etc. (just like our heterosexual brothers and sisters do); or those who decide to leave the Church (because they cannot handle the toxic conflict leading to depression and suicidal feelings) and find happiness as much as they can with their loving companion outside of the Church. All of these choices take tremendous courage and strength and they are all about being true to oneself and to ones own conscience. Contrary to popular LDS cultural belief there are a tremendous number of us who are very happy and live joyous lives in same gender loving marriage relationships including relationships that are Christ centered and based on moral principles. It may be a culture shock but it is true.

      There are statistics out there that show that the vast majority of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints end up either going inactive or leaving the Church altogether. These sad statistics are not statistics of success for the Church. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that when people do not feel they belong in the Church because of who they are (or they are told they need to be someone they are not in order to be righteous) they tend not to want to put themselves through the torture of being in that kind of environment.

      I also know what a tremendous influence being accepted by my LDS family and friends had on me several years ago and how fulfilling their expectations of me (to date a woman, eventually get married to a woman, etc.) gave a huge boost to my ego (including sense of security) during the years I was a struggler trying to “overcome” being attracted to my same gender. The bottom line for me was the journey I took in finally being able to differentiate between the voices of my well meaning family, church leaders and friends and the quiet voice of God. That was when I finally found what I was truly looking for. I also realized (Dr. Hugh Nibley said this himself) that Joseph Smith, Jr. had a mind as broad as eternity. That means the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the capacity to be far more inclusive of all of God’s children including His same gender loving children.

      We are a tremendous test for the Latter-day Saints and several Saints have passed the test with flying colors and have learned how to love to an incredibly high degree. I’m deeply proud of those Saints who are filled with the love of Christ to this degree. They are a testament to the truth of the Savior’s love and influence in their lives. They do and will make a major difference.

      I believe when the Latter-day Saints (all the wards and stakes) finally understand that we are real people who are innately same gender loving as opposed to being individuals who “struggle” with SSA (as though it is a problematic disease) then massive healing and healthy understanding will occur. When we judge and put up self righteous walls then we only create division and fear and all of these things are the opposite of love.

      1. SGL–I believe you have coined a new term; Same gender loving. : ) Similar to SSA, imo, but I can see why you don’t like it when the term “struggling” is used with SSA. I always worry about how to put things. If I say so-and-so *is* SSA, but they only feel like they have *some* SSA and think that calling them SSA is too strong? The reason why I have used the term “struggling with their SSA” is that if there is an LDS member who has/is SSA and/or is SGL, who simultaneously believes that acting on homosexuality is a sin, for them their SSA is a struggle, because while the attraction itself is not a sin, acting on it brings them further away from their goals of being temple-worthy members. So there is an inner moral conflict between their sexual attraction and their beliefs. It’s not because it’s a disease to have/be SSA/SGL.

        I definitely get that there are many religious LGBT people; a friend of mine who ultimately felt she couldn’t live the gospel and deny her SSA, felt at peace with God and her live, and felt that He continued to guide her in her choices. I respect her and her own personal revelation. I believe God gets as close to us as we will let Him, regardless of our circumstances in life.

        I’m so glad your LDS family and bishop were loving and kind to you. I hope that as a church we become moreso, because I truly believe that it what the Savior would do, and that is what He teaches us.

        I do think there is so much we don’t know. I don’t know how it will all work out in the end, but I believe that it will.

  90. I truly believe that the whole point of this seminar was to educate. These individuals offer themselves up in such a brave and honest way that I am nothing but impressed. They told everyone about their personal situations and struggles, how they are dealing with it, and what they hope the future holds. Its not our place to judge if they are going about it in, what we personally think, the ‘right way’. This is their life, and they were generous enough to let us see into it for a few minutes to help us understand who they are, what they deal with on a daily basis, and how strong they are because of it.

  91. Love the article! The only thing that bothered me was Adam’s statement about if he did live with a man and have a family they would still go to the LDS church. That is like me saying I will live with my boyfriend and have a family and still go to the LDS church but what for I won’t be able to have access to all the same blessings. It isn’t okay to live with someone your attracted to because it will bring about temptation to do things that aren’t okay outside of marriage.
    Other than that I love that they did this and I wish I could have gone!

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