Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gay Mormons?

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.


Shelli said...

Emily, thanks for posting this. Unlike you, I have been following this issue for a while now. Like you, I have no answers but have definitely come to the conclusion that it is not a choice.

I truly applaud and my heart goes out to Brent and other members of the church who struggle with same gender attraction. I think it must be the absolute hardest test of faith and commitment to the gospel on this earth and I really respect those that are able to put the Lord first and to stay faithful.

Emily said...

Shelli - Hey, thanks for the comment.

Ashley & The Dogs said...

I looked at this book on Amazon and read the beginning (the free preview). It looks like it's a really interesting book and I totally applaud anyone that is willing to stand up and let others know that they are not alone. Very courageous.

Stephanie said...

Hey Em- I'm proud of you for writing this post. If you're interested you should check out the documentry made about Prop 8. Its called "Prop 8: the mormon proposition" (if you haven't already)... I'm pretty sure NetFlix has it. Its really interesting and talks about members who do have gay family members and how they treated them or were torn on how to feel since the church is so against it.

<3 steph

UtahSouth said...

Great blog...thanks for sharing..

R L Pete Housman said...

I am not LDS and in fact I have often been both a harsh critic of the faith and a fan of the faithful. I have also spent many hours counseling your Gay and lesbian children. Thank you for posting this. I believe that a deeper conversation will need to occur. I also believe that the God who led you from Nauvoo to Salt Lake and guide the faith to come to terms with ethnic and racial diversity will also lead you for Love's sake to embrace your Gay Sons your Lesbian Daughters and your Transgender children as beautiful gifts. I will pray for that day to be sooner rather than later For I also know for certain that He will continue to send you such children because He finds them to be perfect as they are..... R L Pete Housman

zookeeper08 said...

Great review of what sounds like a wonderful resource. Thanks!

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