Straight Mormons Speak Against Bullying at Vigil Following Gay Teen Suicide (Standard-Examiner Coverage)
Almost 200 people attended the event, hosted by Ogden OUTReach and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Jim Rollins, a straight father and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took to the stage to let everyone at the vigil, regardless of who they were, know that they are loved.
“Two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have thought to come to an event like this,” he said.
But Rollins now has friends who are gay and said he appreciates them as people. And as the proud father of three boys, he only wants his sons to succeed, without knowing anger or hatred.
Rollins said that he, too, had used derogatory terms in high school. Now he would not think of ever doing so.
“Vigil speakers urge end to bullying, suicides of gay teens”
Michael McFall for the Standard-Examiner, 2 May 2012
Gay Teen Who Committed Suicide ‘of LDS Background’
Jack Denton Reese, a gay teen of LDS background committed suicide on April 22 in Mountain Green, Utah. He was 17 years old.
“You’ll always be remembered,” wrote a close friend on the mortuary’s guest book. …
“I remember Jack when he was in our ward and when he would pass the sacrament,” reads another entry. “What a handsome and dedicated young man!”
“Gay Utah Teen Takes His Life”
Hugo Salinas for Affirmation, April 2012
Ogden Mormons Speak Against LGBT Bullying Following Suicide
OUTreach is hosting a community panel and discussion, A Community Stands up – Northern Utah Addresses LGBT Bullying and Suicide on May 1, 6:30 p.m., at the Ogden Amphitheater, 343 E. 25th St., Ogden. The purpose of the event is for the community to stand in solidarity with queer youth, to speak out and express grief and outrage at yet another loss of life in Northern Utah, and to witness for the need for immediate change in schools, churches and society.
Numerous community leaders, educators, parents and youth will speak out for acceptance and love for LGBT youth, including active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A candlelight vigil in memory of Jack Reese will be held at the conclusion of the event.
“After Teen’s Suicide, Ogden to Hold Community Meeting, Candlelight Vigil”
Q Salt Lake, 27 April 2012
Interview With ‘Confessions of a Mormon Boy’ Steven Fales
Actor/playwright Steven Fales first came to my attention with his groundbreaking solo play, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, which was a hit off-Broadway and in cities around the world. The play chronicles Fales’ heartbreaking journey from being a devoted, sixth-generation Mormon and father of two to coming out as gay and being excommunicated from his church. Along the way, he also details his painful divorce, a long-fought battle with drugs and alcohol, a stint in prostitution, and finally coming out the other side as an out and proud gay dad.
“Steven Fales: A Gay Mormon Boy Grows Up”
Kergan Edwards-Stout for The Huffington Post, 21 April 2012
(Source: The Huffington Post)
History of Joseph Fielding Smith—Gay 1940s LDS Presiding Patriarch—in The Journal of Mormon History
In October 1946, Joseph F. Smith II, LDS Church patriarch, was released from his calling in LDS General Conference. He had not served for several months, the official reason being that he was ill, confined to his home in Centerville, Utah. What wasn’t known publicly was that Smith had been forbidden to give patriarchal blessings since May 1. … As historian Gary James Bergera recounts in the winter 2012 issue of The Journal of Mormon History, Smith’s tenure stopped after this course of events: President George Albert Smith received communication from member Lorenzo Dow Browning, a Utah State Tax Commission appraiser and father of a Byram Dow Browning, 20. The father alleged an intimate relationship between Patriarch Smith and his son.
Unlike Richard Lyman, an apostle who earlier in the 1940s had been excommunicated for adultery, the obvious question remains, why wasn’t Joseph F. Smith II excommunicated. … Bergera offers several possible reasons, including that the relationship between Joseph F. Smith II and Browning was not overtly sexual, or that church leaders did not want a highly publicized excommunication so soon after the Lyman case. Another possibility from Bergera: “at this stage of evolving policy on matters involving sexual behavior in the Church, even if overt sexual conduct had occurred, Joseph F. Smith (II) may have felt that only heterosexual intercourse constituted adultery.”
“Same-Sex Relationship Sent LDS Church Patriarch into Exile”
Doug Gibson for the Standard-Examiner, 17 April 2012
Mormons Slowly Warming to Gay Rights
Though the church’s doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed, and the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage, many say the church is subtly but unmistakably growing friendlier toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including voicing support for some gay rights.
Students at the church-owned Brigham Young University recently posted an “It Gets Better” video about the gay and lesbian community there, while a gay Mormon in San Francisco was selected last year for a church leadership position. … Church spokesman Michael Purdy would not comment on whether church members are changing their stance toward gay and lesbian issues …
But church officials pushed back against the perception that the Proposition 8 backlash has provoked a Mormon softening on gay and lesbian issues. “Many positive relationships have come from the Church’s experience in supporting traditional marriage in California,” Purdy, the church spokesman, said in an e-mail exchange with CNN.
The biggest obstacle toward building those bridges [with the gay community] is the threat of excommunication, said [Mitch Mayne, an openly gay Mormon who blogs about homosexuality and the church], who told CNN that in some wards just being gay can lead to expulsion from the church. According to church doctrine, a formal disciplinary council can be called at the request of church leader [for reasons including “homosexual relations”]. … Some wards are observing that guidance while others aren’t, Mayne said. “Here in the Bay Area … we are no longer seeking out LGBT members of the church and excommunicating them,” Mayne said. …
“Gay Rights Activists See Mormons Softening Attitudes Toward Their Community”
Dan Merica for CNN Belief Blog, 17 April 2012
Ex-Gay Documentary ‘The Cure’ Includes Gay Mormon
One ex-Mormon reflects fondly on the faith’s community and family values, before admitting to the severe depression that he has suffered during years of immersion in the ex-gay movement.
“Gay Christians’ Church Trauma”
Tim Kroenert for Eureka Street, 11 April 2012
AP: BYU Students Risk Expulsion/Excommunication for It Gets Better
The video recently posted to YouTube by 22 Brigham Young University students is the first of its kind with ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids gay sex and marriage. By posting the video, the students could face excommunication from the church and expulsion at BYU, where gay students are prohibited from touching or kissing.
Joshua Behn, a gay activist and former BYU student who recently left the church, said he had doubts about the student video when he first heard of it.
“I was afraid it was going to be, ‘oh, you can deny your sexuality,’” he said. “But watching, they don’t make judgments about that. They are saying, ‘there are other people out there. You are not alone.’”
Randall Thacker, 39, said he “was completely closeted, completely ashamed” about his attraction to men when he graduated from BYU in 1997. A church leader sent him to therapy to change his sexual orientation.
“To see the video gives me so much incredible hope for the future,” said Thacker, a gay activist in Washington, D.C. “It seems like a miracle.”
“Gay Mormon Students at BYU Come Out in Web Video”
Cristina Silva for the Associated Press, 7 April 2012
[Note: This article is incorrect in stating that the students could face excommunication/expulsion for the video. It has also been republished by hundreds of other sources.]
‘Angels In America’ at Stray Dog Theatre
‘Angels in America’
When: Parts One and Two are presented in repertory. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. There are no matinees.
“Part One: Millennium Approaches”: April 12-14, April 26-28, May 10-12
“Part Two: Perestroika”: April 19-21, May 3-5, May 17-19
“Stray Dog Takes on Both Parts of Kushner’s ‘Angels In America’”
Judith Newmark for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7 April 2012
SPLC Discusses LDS Conversion Therapy in Provo, Salt Lake City
Next week Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center is coming to town on a mission. It wants to bring down conversion therapy.
[SPLC’s civil-rights staff attorney, Sam] Wolfe talks from personal experience, although in his case his brush with gay conversion therapy ultimately proved more of a wake-up call than destructive. He attended BYU and, struggling to follow what he calls “the established path” of finding a female partner for marriage, out of desperation called a number he’d found in advertisement that said, ”If you suffer from same sex attraction …” He felt like “I needed to cure myself,” but the group he reached out to, Evergreen, ultimately proved an “eye-opening experience.”
Wolfe had always assumed once you married a woman, life would turn out well. Instead, he met Mormon men who had been married, fathered children, only for their marriages to fallen apart in tragic ways, their former spouses and children hating them. The men “felt very attentive to me,” at Evergreen, giving him lingering hugs and nestling up to him during prayer.
“Has Someone Tried to ‘Cure’ You of Being Gay?”
Stephen Dark for Salt Lake City Weekly, 6 April 2012