I just wanted to let people know about this book.
About a year and a half ago, my brother-in-law, Brent, realized he is gay. He’s an active LDS guy, so for a long time he didn’t even consider that he might be gay. (He just wasn’t interested in girls because, you know, he was a “late bloomer,” and things like that.) He knew he should like girls, and he wanted to, but even though he prayed to be attracted to girls, went on a lot of dates, and had his hormone levels tested, etc, nothing changed. Meanwhile, he’s had all these experiences where he feels “brotherly love” towards other guys.
Once Brent realized what was going on, he did a lot of research on being Mormon and gay, and I don’t know what else. He helped start a gay club at BYU (although it is not officially recognized, they do have permission to meet). He also attended different conferences and firesides, etc, and he started hosting parties at his parents’ house every quarter, or so.
The thing is, it turns out, there is this whole group of great, faithful LDS people (mostly guys) that realize they’re gay. They pray to like girls, they fast to like girls, they go for counseling, sometimes they get married to try to cure themselves, or various different things, and none of it works. They believe that the church is true, and they love the gospel…but they don’t know what to do. A lot of times their families disown them. Some of the guys commit suicide. It’s really sad. I think most gay Mormons are extremely lonely.
Brent started a project of collecting people’s stories for a book. After a lot of work, it’s ready, and he has it available on Amazon. It’s called Gay Mormons?: Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same Gender Attraction. The book contains thirty-six stories, and at the beginning it includes information about the Church’s current position on homosexuality, plus several pages of resources at the end, including support groups, books, Church articles, etc. Brent set the price as low as they would let him, so he isn’t making any profit or royalties at all. The main purpose of the book is to lighten other people’s burdens--by letting people who are struggling know that they are not alone, and by encouraging everyone to be compassionate.
I helped Brent with proofreading the book, so I’ve read most of it. Although I am not usually very interested in issues of same-gender attraction, I’ve found the book to be pretty interesting. None of the stories are crude or antagonistic towards the LDS church, or anything like that. The book doesn’t have any sort of political or religious agenda, which is kind of nice. After reading Gay Mormons? I don’t know what causes people to be gay, or what God expects of gay people, and I don’t feel like I need to know. I do feel totally convinced that gay people don’t choose to be gay. I feel compassion towards people who struggle with same-gender attraction, and I think that as members of the Church, we have a serious obligation to love everyone, to include them, and to treat all people in a Christ-like manner.
I’m not very liberal. I don’t usually blog about this sort of thing, and I don’t anticipate future blog posts on this topic, but I thought I would mention Brent’s book just in case anyone is interested. It seems like it will be really relevant, timely, and helpful to a lot of people.