An LDS Family Unites In Love For Their Gay Son, Brother, Nephew, Cousin

By Liisa Lowe Frei, Jordan Frei and the Frei Family

1480620_10153580972170451_424756265_nMy husband, Nick, and I have six children: four boys and two girls.  This is the story of our fourth child, Jordan.

Almost two years ago I was in my room reading when I had a knock on my bedroom door.  Jordan came in, and I could tell by his demeanor that he needed to talk to me about something important.  He had a tremble in his voice and a look on his face that said what he was about to tell me was big.  He sat down on my bed and proceeded to tell me he was gay.  It was a conversation that I will always treasure and that I had been anticipating for many years.

When Jordan was about four years old I was outside playing with him, when out of nowhere I heard a voice distinctly say, “Jordan is gay.”  The voice was so clear that I actually turned around to see where it had come from, saying out loud: “No, he’s not—and where did that come from?” Even in that moment, I never had the thought that I didn’t want a gay son.  But what I could not imagine was trying to raise a gay son in the Mormon community that I lived in.  As a convert to the Church, still adjusting to new cultures (an adjustment process that continues to this day), this thought terrified me.  I never told anyone about that day—not even my husband.  In fact, I tried to convince myself that the voice had come from me. You might expect that the voice in my mind had been triggered by some mannerism or stereotypical behavior from Jordan.   In reality, nothing was further from my mind than the sexual orientation of my four-year-old son.  So this was an entirely new thought for me.

Although I kept this experience to myself, it did motivate me to learn all I could about what being gay actually meant.  This provided me twenty years to study everything I could get my hands on: studies, articles, books, talks from church leaders and official church policy. This also led to me learning more about LGBT issues generally.  My running partner during this same twenty-year period (and still to this day) happens to work in the field of endocrinology. We have literally run thousands of miles together.  Over the course of these miles, she has taught me about the complexity of the human body.  She travels around the world working with medical experts in this field, and as a result I learned of the wide spectrum of variations from our typical conception of a clear division between male and female.  I learned this simply isn’t the reality for many people.  During this period, I also became aware there were many people in my own faith who did not fit the typical view of sexuality—and that far too often these people did not feel welcome and loved within our community.

Jordan grew up doing many of the same things that his two older brothers had done—he played sports, went on dates and served honorably as a missionary in California.  Consequently, I had no real evidence that he was gay.  Nevertheless, I felt I could not ignore the LGBT community, and over time I came to the critical realization that I had no doubt that being LGBT was not a choice.  From this realization sprang a personal determination that, irrespective of what my own son’s sexual orientation turned out to be, I would not add any more pain or suffering to this group of people who were already facing an incredibly hard journey.

After Jordan and I had our talk, he asked me not to say anything to anyone else for the time being.  He wasn’t sure what this meant for him, and he was not quite ready to make it public.  True to his selfless nature, Jordan was also very concerned about my husband, Nick, who was himself in the middle of a particularly trying period.  Nick had been diagnosed with colon cancer a few years earlier.  The following year a hundred-year storm caused a small dam to break and flood our family’s little convenience store and bakery, forcing the store to close for nearly eight months and exacerbating financial struggles related to both the recession and Nick’s medical bills.  At this time, Nick was working day and night in order to be able to open the store for business again.  Jordan did not want to add another burden to his father’s already full plate. I respected this request and, once again, kept this knowledge to myself.

About a year before Jordan talked to me, his oldest sister had been struggling to make peace with the Church’s stance on LGBT issues.  This was a serious issue for her, and she had met many times with her bishop in Texas to discuss her feelings.  Eventually, the bishop simply told her that the Church needed people like her to stay—because of her feelings on these issues, not despite them.  This resonated with her, and she determined to stay.   

Four months after my conversation with Jordan, I was in Texas visiting my daughter and she started to ask some very pointed questions about Jordan.  I danced around the issue the best I could until she asked me directly: “Is Jordan gay?” Unable to evade the issue any longer, I told her he was.  Now that she knew, I asked her to call Jordan and tell him that I had told her.  We were both worried how Jordan might respond to learning that another family member knew, but the phone call actually galvanized Jordan, giving him the courage to send an email later that night to the rest of his siblings, bringing them into the loop.  The next day Jordan allowed us to share this email with our family members and friends.  We felt like it was appropriate to let Jordan tell people in his own words, as it would help people better understand his heart.

One of the reasons I have gone into such detail in this post is because for a long time I wrestled with many questions on my own and came to my own conclusions.  It wasn’t until I started to read others’ posts on blogs like this one that I realized there were so many others who had similar experiences or had come to an understanding similar to my own, albeit via different routes.  Traveling these different paths by reading others’ online posts provided me with a lot of support that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.

These stories also helped me realize how blessed I had been to hear that voice, which I now recognize as a prompting, tell me Jordan is gay many years before he would sit down to tell me himself.  This prompting allowed me to have time to research, ponder and process, rather than be blindsided by the information as happens to so many parents, frequently leading to initial reactions influenced by fear and misconceptions.  I’ve seen that such initial reactions are often hurtful, driving a wedge between parent and child that can be difficult to remove.  As a member of the Church, I also spent time worrying about how certain friends and acquaintances of ours holding leadership positions in the Church might react to this news. I cringed inwardly thinking about it, anticipating their reactions as another possible source of alienation and pain for my son.  Instead, we have been pleasantly surprised by the way members of the Church, regardless of title or position, have reached out to Jordan in order to express their love for him.

I share our experience with the hope that it might inspire others to consider how they would react to their own child approaching them in order to share similar news.  In particular, I’m motivated to share our family’s experience because I know that an average of one LGBT youth in Utah commits suicide every week.  This fact alone is enough to compel me to tell our story, even though it would be easier to just go about our lives and maintain our privacy.

I have included Jordan’s email below, along with the many responses he received from family members and friends (some LDS, some not), for the same purpose.  It is an unedited (and, as a result, occasionally difficult-to-follow) glimpse into our family’s journey. One small tip: the email includes a link to a video put out by the satirical news website, The Onion.  It isn’t necessary to watch the video, but there are a few references to it in the emails that can be confusing without knowing the reference.

Hey kids-

I’m going to spin my wheels for a bit here, since I’ve been putting this off for so long now that even considering writing this e-mail is scaring me. That I am even writing this at all right now is very surprising, and almost entirely due to a phone call that I got from Cass today. If you’re reading it that means I sent it and that’s another step altogether. I’ve been working through exactly what I need to say here and what might be better saved for later, and this is going to be a kind of long email when all is said and done. Unless I get tired of writing this and just hit the send button half way through, which is very possible. But before I do that, let me get this out of the way.

http://www.theonion.com/video/jodie-foster-inspires-teens-to-come-out-using-vagu,30915/

That’s right. I’m here. I love who I love and I’m not who you never thought I wasn’t going to be. And I’m gay, if that wasn’t clear from the above video. If Mom and Cass are to be believed, this probably isn’t that shocking for you all to find out. It’s still incredibly hard for me to say.

Not because I think any of you will love me any less or reject me in any way. As far as families go, I really do have the most amazing of them all. Not a single one of you has ever given me any reason to think that this would be an issue with you. I know this, and it means the world to me, but it also makes it hard to explain why it’s taken me so long to tell you all. Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s a hard conversation to start. When I told mom a few months ago, I walked up to her bedroom door about 15 times before I finally got the courage to open it, and that was after months and months of trying to figure out how to do it. When Cass called me today and started the conversation for me, I was so, so happy that I didn’t have to. So why is it so hard to do? It is the idea that something I love is ending.

I love the relationship that I have with you all. I love the way we interact. I love the way I see all of you and the way you see me. And even though I know you will all support me, our relationships will change. The way you think about me will change. There is no getting around it. There is, of course, the prospect of better, even more genuine relationships to come, but first the one we had has to die. That may be a bit way too dramatic, but that is how it feels and that is why this is so hard.

I’ve suspected that I was gay for a long time now. In high school I questioned, but I managed to convince myself otherwise for a long time. On my mission, I didn’t think about it much, and at that point I was convinced that I would come home and marry a girl. After getting home from my mission, I began to realize fairly quickly that this wasn’t going to work out. It wasn’t until the night that Tanner and Brynne got married that I knew for sure. I remember, distinctly, sitting at the dinner and seeing the way they looked at each other.  For some reason as I watched them and saw how perfect they were for each other, it hit me. I knew that I would never find that with a girl. It hurt, but in a way it was a relief. The battle that I had been fighting in my mind was finally over, and even if it didn’t turn out the way that I wanted, at least there was peace.

After that, I tried to not deal with it. I’ve thrown myself towards medical school because it is something that I don’t have to give up. Having that goal to work towards helped keep me sane as I’ve struggled to come to terms with my sexuality and all of its ramifications. I also started talking to other guys. Some I tried dating, and as scary as that was and as much as I hated to lie to all of you, it was also great to at least be honest with myself. Some of these guys were cool, most of them weren’t. Some times I had a lot of fun and sometimes I felt super uncomfortable or like a giant goober or whatever. But I think that is how dating is supposed to work.

Berk often says that I am probably living life as a super hero or a secret vigilante. I just laugh it off, but he is right on one point. Until I am open and honest with all of you, I am living two lives. It worked for a while, and in all honesty, it was what I needed to do, but it is getting too hard. It is time to start merging myself so that I can be whole again.

So there it is. I’m here. I love who I love and I’m not who you never thought I wasn’t going to be. Just so all of you know, I’m dating someone now, and have been for a few months. His name is Moses. Dad, Berk, and Maddi have all met him as “my friend Moses.” I don’t really know what to say about it, other than that he is one of the most incredibly nice and caring people I have ever met. And I am happy when I spend time with him. I know you’ll understand how great that is. I don’t know exactly where our relationship is going or what the future holds. Basically, we are a normal couple. Again, I trust you can all understand how happy that makes me.

At this point in the email, things are getting wordy, and I know I haven’t hit a lot of points that I wanted to hit and said more about other points than I intended to say. I haven’t said anything about my feelings about the church, and based on my conversations with mom and Cass that is probably something you are all wondering. There are a lot of things to say about it, and honestly, the thought of typing it all makes me exhausted. So let me sum it up as briefly as I can. And let me start by sharing a not-so-brief quote from a talk that has helped me keep things in perspective. These are two quotes from a mother at the burial of her son.  He drowned in the pool on the day she gave birth to her daughter. She says –

“We trust our faith will never again be tried as it has on this occasion. The things we have faith in have come down to a short list, but that list is immovable. We do not have faith that God must do what we entreat him to do.”

And later

“I am content that God be God. I will not try to instruct him on his duties or on his obligations toward me or toward any of his children. I know he lives and loves us, that he is God. He’s not unmindful of us. We do not suffer out of his view. He does not inflict pain upon us, but he sustains us in our pain. I am his daughter; my son is also his son; we belong to him, and we are safe with him. I used to think we were safe from grief and pain here because of our faith. I know now that is not true, but we are safe in his love. We are protected in the most ultimate sense of all—we have a safe home forever. That is my witness.”

Apart from the obvious specificities of her situation, these sum up my attitude toward the gospel very well. My testimony has changed in a lot of ways, some of them major, but the gospel still has power in my life, and I still have a strong faith in God. I tried to pray for Him to change me and He didn’t and I know that is because He loves me. I don’t know what my future with the church is, but I do see a future with the church for myself. I might not ever be able to participate like I had pictured myself growing up, but it still means so much to me. The gospel still means so much to me. I don’t ever want any of you to think that I would be offended by your association with the church because of its stance on gay marriage or anything like that. I’m sure I’ll go through periods when it is harder for me to be there, and I’m sure I’ll stop going at some points, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about the church as a whole. It has been a huge, net positive in my life. I would be in such a worse place without the foundation that it gave me.

Ok, this is getting really long. The whole time I’ve been writing this, I’ve been struggling to know who to send this to. That was the genius of this email. I could write one thing and then knock all of your names off the list in one go. But even thinking about hitting send with all of your names in the address box is making me nervous.  I worry a lot. I worry what people I know will say about me. I worry about what people I don’t know will say about me. I worry about what will happen to Lincoln when people at school find out. I worry about what will happen when people I love, like the Copes and the Mitchells and the Hafens, will think when they find out. I worry what my best friends will think. I worry about what my facebook friends will think. I worry that for the rest of forever, this is what I will be remembered for when people bring up my name, not all of the other things I have worked so hard to accomplish. Some of these things worry me a lot, some of these things worry me a little, but they all worry me.

I’m going to send this now. Berk and Maddi, I know you live like three feet away from me, but this is easier. Berk, I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time, and have stood for many long moments outside of your door trying to do it. But I’m just going to do it like this. And as a favor from all of you, if you want to say anything or ask questions, please email them to me. I will be glad to talk to you in depth in person about this if you all want, but for now, for tonight at least, I’m emotionally drained just typing this out. The thought of having a conversation about it now is just exhausting.  That includes you, Maddi and Berk, sorry, haha. The end.

I love you all so much,

Jordan

P.S. Cass, seriously thanks so much for calling me today. Not to overstate the point, but that call changed everything

A day or two after sending that email, Jordan compiled some of the responses he received from family and sent them to all of us. This is the email that he wrote at the time

     You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
                                                                                – Desmond Tutu

 Hey everybody,

I just wanted to let you know that I am not at all surprised. I’ve received so much love from all of you over the last couple of days, but really, it’s exactly what I expected from all of you, because I’ve suspected for a long time now that my family truly is something incredible. What has surprised me is how this flood of love has made me feel. I knew it would make things better, but I had no idea how happy I would be. Yesterday morning, I woke up and was afraid to leave my room. I wasn’t sure if Berk or Maddi had read my email and I definitely didn’t want to bring it up. But then, from his room that shares a wall with mine, Berk yelled and asked if I was there. He rushed into my room and we had an awesome conversation. It was a conversation that I had imagined and dreamed of having for so long, but I wasn’t sure how I would make it happen. Maddi joined us later and we talked and laughed and I felt so close to them both.

I literally share a wall with both of these people, but even living literally zero feet away from them, I began to feel a distance. Now I feel like we are right there next to each other again. I mention this because that is how I feel with everyone. Out of necessity, I’ve let myself put distance between all of you, even when we were close. I don’t have to do that anymore, and I’m so excited for what that means. This was supposed to be an awesome metaphor, but I’m trying to type this and take notes in anatomy class and I keep losing my train of thought, so sorry. I love you all, more than you can know, and I’m glad to know that you all love me. I hope none of you mind, but I copied all of the responses that everybody has sent me over the last couple of days. I do this so that you, like I, can see what an incredible family we are. I know a lot of you mentioned that you worried about difficulties I will face in the future. I hope what you read below will assure you, as it did me, that things are going to be okay.

Love and Peace,

 Jordan

This is the first reply Jordan got from his email. It came from his sister-in-law Brynne minutes after she read his email. She told me as she watched her husband slowly compose his reply she could not stand the thought of Jordan waiting another minute for a response. 

Brother, just read your email and wanted to say we (but more like I since Tanner is writing you an email right now too) love you! Can’t wait to meet Moses and hopefully see you over spring break. Hope you’re doing okay tonight.
Brynne

From Cassidee, our oldest daughter

 Jordan,

I love you and I want you to be happy. When I called you yesterday, those were the basic points that I wanted you to know. I hope that I got them across, if not there they are. I’m proud of you for being brave enough to tell our family. I can’t imagine how hard that was.

Jordan, the hardest part of this for me is knowing how hard things may be for you. I know the world has come a long way in the past 10 years, but it has a ways to go still. My hope for you is that you keep the Spirit close to you always to draw on when times aren’t as easy as they SHOULD be. That you always feel the love that God has for you. To be honest, where you end up in the Church doesn’t concern me much. But use the good things from the Church always. God, and the Lord, are there to help you find peace and to stay in the light and have happiness.

I am excited for you and this new path that you get to be on. I KNOW that this is for the best, and I’m so glad that you can be completely you. I’m here for you if things are ever hard, I promise I will always be your biggest advocate. Let me know if you ever need anything. I love you!

 Your big sis, Cassidee

From Berk, our 2nd child and oldest son. Jordan was living with Berk and his sister Maddi in Salt Lake City when he sent the email.

Jordan! Dear brother! I just woke up and your email was the first thing I read. Are you here?? I love you brother. That was super brave and will likely go down as the best coming out story ever! You’re not who I never thought you were going to be- genius. Are you 15 feet away in your room? Can we talk??   Berk

An email from Tyler, my daughter’s husband

Jordan…So I’ve been letting Cass do all the communicating but wanted to send you an email myself. First of all, I’m glad you’ve got that part out of the way. I feel like Cass had been preparing us for a long time for this, although we didn’t know why. So when we found out, it didn’t feel like the end of the world, or really anything devastating. You have a great family, who no doubt will help and love you no matter what.  Just want to let you know that although I have darker hair and eyes, and skin I guess too, that I’m also part of your family.  Even though the future looks a little different than we thought, it’s still a good one. Sure things have changed some, but most things are the same in my mind: you’ll still get mad at me if we play monopoly with Lincoln because I’ll talk him into giving me properties for three free stays (but make him pay dearly on the fourth), I’ll still probably slide tackle you in soccer even though its not a competitive game, you’ll still go rock climbing with Max since he’s pretty talented at it (his words, not mine), and I’ll still probably make you carry Tessa on your shoulders all around Disneyland sometime since I had to carry you all around it.  I really don’t want things to change, J’s big day. I really admire you, and know you’ll do great things. I have no doubt of it.  I just want you to stay who you are, stay close to us, and stay close to our Heavenly Father. He is real. His understanding is far beyond ours.  Even how all this unfolded has strengthened my faith in Him. Be good, be Jordan. You always have our family cheering for you. From Tyler-

Below is one of my favorite responses from our youngest son Lincoln he was a junior in high school and Jordan was very concerned about him being “the kid with the gay brother”.

Jordan,

You’re awesome. This really doesn’t change who you are. Lets play Starcraft sometime.

 Love (unconditionally) Lincoln

From Tanner, his older brother

My Brother,

Thank you so much for trusting us enough to send this email. You know that we love you, and I hope that at long last you can now begin to stop worrying. (I was trying to come up with a phrase as difficult to follow as “not who you never thought I wasn’t going to be,” but I totally failed.) To the extent it is true that from this time onward our relationship with you will be a new one, let’s be sure that it is defined by new strength, not distance.

 Thank you for being so thoughtful with your email. You’ve handled a difficult situation very well. I respect and admire you for that. We love you and can’t wait to see you soon. Your brother, Tanner

 Confession: we didn’t watch the onion video until after reading your email and writing you back. It really was perfect, thanks for the laughs. Feel free to laugh at us trying to make sense of “I’m not who you never thought I wasn’t going to be” not having seen that video. We deserve it. 🙂          Love, Tanner

Here is the message I sent to him that morning.

Jordan,

 I woke up this morning to your text and then opened your email.  I first want you to know how much I love you as the person you truly are.  This person is the sum of all your parts not just your sexuality.  I have thought about the challenge you have faced and will continue to face and of course I want to protect you from any pain you have encountered. But that is just how a mom thinks and when in reality it is just part of your journey and you will learn so much from all of it and that is why it is your journey to have, with me here to support you.  I have talked to dad and read your email to him and he will email you.  Just know he loves you as always.  I will talk to Lincoln later today and I am sure he too will email you.  It was a brave thing you did last night and now just take a deep breath and feel the love of your family and your Heavenly Father… he really is there for you and the way this has come about is an indication that He loves you. Love Mom

Here is the email that my husband sent him.

Jordan, mom read me your email this morning and I felt like I needed to respond sooner than later.  A father has certain dreams for his children and those dreams are mostly made up from things that he has done in this life that has brought him happiness and joy.  Those dreams come from the way he has found but does not mean it is the only way.  Before this morning I had wondered if everyone in the family knew and no one wanted to tell me.  I am glad that it is out and I don’t have to wonder any more.  I should apologize for my encouragement to find someone before you go to medical school and pushing you to date.  Again that comes from the way that I have found.  I have been sad this morning because I know that you will face challenges and it won’t always be easy.  I hope you know that I will always love you and am so proud of all your accomplishments.  I hope you know that you have a Heavenly Father that loves you and will always love you.  I want you to be a part of our family and all the activities that we will do together.  If I lost that then I would truly be heartbroken.  You can probably tell I’m not that great with written word and look forward to being able to talk in person. Know that I love you and let good things happen in your life.  I do believe it is our choice as to what we let come to us.  Which makes the last 2 years of my life somewhat puzzling.  Any way that is another discussion.  love Dad

1380702_10201761888665348_584508552_n

Most of our family ran the St. George Marathon the day before Jordan came out to me –Liisa

From his cousin Talia

Jord, you know what’s so weird? When you sent me that text last night I was sleeping and too tired to text back (sorry, haha) but I had a dream that that was what the email was about! Somehow you being my best cousin you must’ve used telepathy to tell me, haha. But guess what? I’m so so happy for you that you feel comfortable enough to be who you truly are, and I will always love you and like you the same no matter what! I’m just happy you are happy 🙂 love you Jordan, and can I please meet Moses soon? Love Talia

From his aunt Lil

Dear Jordan,

First of all, I hope you don’t mind that Talia forwarded me your email, but I am so glad she did because it gives me the opportunity to tell you how proud I am of you. I support you completely in loving whoever you love. I am excited for you to express yourself freely and without fear. I’m excited to see my wonderful nephew open to and feel what love has to offer. I’m excited that we’ll hopefully get to meet your date (or dates if that is the case) and treat him like we treat everyone else who is brought to meet our family. I am excited that you have a big weight lifted from your shoulders. (At least I hope it feels that way.)

 There are some things I feel so strongly about and one is that God is love and love is love and you are loved. – Well, maybe that is three things, but anyway,,,

 Sometime I hope we will get a chance to talk about spirituality and the things that really matter, but in the meantime, know that we support you, as always, unconditionally.

 You express yourself with eloquence, Jordan. My love, thoughts, and prayers are with you during this challenging/exciting time.

 Love…Your Sweet, Favorite, Youngest Auntie Lil

From an aunt and uncle

 Hi Liisa,Thanks for this. Jordan is awesome – same Jordan in our eyes. Jeff will send him a note soon and I will too. Can’t wait to see him and give him big love! We sure hope he can come on Sunday to Val’s bday party at our house. Any chance you can come too? More later.

Much Love, Connie and Jeff

From his uncle Mike

Hi Jordan,

Thanks for sharing with us. It makes no difference to me whether you are straight or gay. Either way, you are a man I like, respect, love and enjoy. We all love you and only wish you happiness. Nature is never black or white when it comes to sexual orientation. We all have our shades of grey when it comes to sex and relationships. You are good man and I am proud to have you as my nephew.  I hope we get a chance to do some more gold prospecting together next summer and Moses is welcome to join us.

Your Uncle Mike

From his uncle Jeff 

Hi Jordan-

You and I haven’t spent much time together over the years, but I have watched you develop physically, emotionally and spiritually and can say whole-heartedly that your coming out in such a beautiful and honest way puts you in a rare category of people that have what it takes to contribute their very best to family, friends and the wider world.  I am even prouder of you now, as a result of how you’ve handled this.  I only wish I could stay around a lot longer to see all the good you are going to bring into the world.

You are so right that we have a great family.  All the love and support I’ve needed and gotten in the last few years has made a huge difference for me.  Even when I’m gone, brother, my love will be with you.

 All the very best, Uncle Jeff

From his aunt Melinda

Dear Jordan,

First of all, I want you to know that I love and respect you. Secondly, I was very moved by your e-mail. You have obviously have gone through some grueling self-examination. I hope that you can now find some inner peace and continue your life in a more comfortable open manner. You are an honorable, intelligent, compassionate man with great integrity. I’m sure that you will accomplish many things in your life and I’ll always be proud to have you as my nephew. I hope that you find love and companionship with someone as wonderful as you are. Right now try to have some fun before med school starts! You and your friends are always welcome in our home in Napa.

Love always, Auntie Melinda

From his aunt Gretchen

Dear Liisa,

I’m so pleased that Jordan can let his worries go and know how much he’s loved, appreciated and accepted for the wonderful man he is.   Love is a beautiful, spiritual state that needs sharing.  I hope he can now feel my love, our family’s love and the love of a person of his choice without the pressure of secrecy.  I would truly enjoy meeting Moses or anyone else Jordan is connected with and hope he’ll bring them to Sunday dinners.   Liisa, you and Nick have a beautiful, supportive, strong and brilliant family and I am truly blessed to share in all of your lives.  I’m sending my love out to you all and I know Jordan will feel it and receive it.
XOX
Gretchen

[To any LDS parent of an LGBT person–Would you like to join a Facebook group to discuss with other LDS parents? (grandparents are welcome too!). 

There is a really great group for those who truly want to stay strong in the church while they support their gay children. It is a secret group (so that people can feel more sure of privacy), therefore you can only be added by one of the administrators of the group. Just send a friend request to one of the moderators listed below, and then let them know you want to join the parents group. You can go to one of the links below to get to their Facebook wall where you can send a friend request. 

The main moderators are Christy and Greg Searle:

https://www.facebook.com/greg.searle.71

https://www.facebook.com/christy.searle

Other moderators include Rachel Manwaring and Jen Blair:

https://www.facebook.com/rachel.m.manwaring

https://www.facebook.com/jennifermeikle.blair

So send a friend request to any of them and let them know that you are an active LDS parent of an LGBT person and they will add you. I really encourage any parent to join.  It is a great support group with some fantastic people.]

18 comments for “An LDS Family Unites In Love For Their Gay Son, Brother, Nephew, Cousin

  1. Jim A.
    January 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

  2. BBC
    January 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    WOW! “I would not add any more pain or suffering to this group of people who were already facing an incredibly hard journey.” –As I have loved YOU, love one another. By this shall men know YE are MY disciples… This is truly a family of disciples who gets it!! Thank you for sharing. I am deeply moved.

  3. Tracey
    January 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Jordon I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting you. I read your e-mail to your family. I thought it was great. I could never imagine how scared or worried you where on how your family might take the news. But if you don’t mind me saying your gender choose does not say what kind of a man that you are. I wish you and your future partner nothing but the best.

    Tracey Davis Church

  4. Beverly
    January 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    In the scripture when the lawyer asked The Savior what he needed to do to obtain Eternal life? The answer was to Love God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Also to love one another. I personally feel that one of the first questions we will be asked when we go before the Savior to be judged is how well did we love others? I want to be able to say as your family has, “unconditionally”

  5. Hanna L
    January 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish every young man/woman who faces this particular challenge could have such a living and accepting experience. My husband has a brother who had a similar background (LDS, served a mission, etc.) and found the response quite different when he told his family he is gay. To be fair, it was about 15+ years ago. I can’t help thinking how different his relationship with the family might be had they been as receptive as yours. I have only been a part of their family for about 10 years, but have thankfully seen great strides in their relationship with him.
    I am a young mother and have had conversations with friends who have had similar personal whispers that their young children may be turn out to be gay, and how they are preparing themselves and their families for that possibility. I can’t wait to share this with them to have a vision of how that can be an experience that brings a family together in love. Thank you all, again, for your wonderful example.

  6. Lil Barron
    January 4, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you sharing this. As a mother to a gay daughter, my journey has been very similar. I love the love you all have for him and when the time comes his partner. Nick, I’m the one that went to school with you and I still think you are amazing! Thanks again for sharing this, it really touched my soul to know I’m not alone in my feelings and that we can all make a difference. Our children are our children and they chose us for a reason, our unconditional love and support. I made a promise that when I knelt before God that He would never say to me, “All I wanted you to do was love her.” I have kept true to that promise now we have other things He is going to say to me…but that will not be one…Thanks again and appreciate your willingness to share.

    Lil Barron

  7. Shannon Allred Cox
    January 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Dear Liisa, I’m so grateful you shared this. I don’t know if you remember who I am but I am Tony Allred’s little sister. We once stayed with you many years ago when I was going to California with Tony and Deb. Lil was my soccer coach for a year (and I adored her). I am now 40 years old with 5 children of my own! For the past about 10 years I’ve been really seeking answers of my own about the church and lgbt issues. I feel a deep need to understand and have read many books and have read pretty much everything and watched every video on the Northstarlds.org website. I have had no prompting or indication that one of my children is gay, but I have felt for a long time that the Lord is preparing me for something with this and that I must be ready. Maybe it’s not one thing. Maybe it’s many. I live in Dallas and was recently in the YW presidency and we have a young woman who is gay and feel that I’ve been able to be some support there. I have friends who are gay. I am currently the primary president in our ward. But as of right now I don’t have any close family members whom who have “come out”. I do not know who or how or when or why I feel so passionately about issues surrounding our brothers and sisters who identify as lgbt. But I do feel I’m being prepared and you sharing this story has helped me even more. Thank you. God bless you and your family!

  8. Eleanor
    January 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal story of your son and family. 5-6 years ago I felt prompted that my son would face this issue, and I have been preparing myself for it somewhat. He is currently 15 and has not had any major issues with his sexuality come up, and perhaps I am wrong about my interpretation of that feeling from so many years ago; but I really do appreciate reading your story and hope I will be able to handle any similar situations (if they come) with the same amount of love as your family did. I am very close to my son and love and admire him and would never want to make his load heavier to bear. Thank you to Jordan and to all of your family for being willing to share with us even though we’ve never met. It is courageous and very selfless and kind of you.

  9. Liisa Frei
    January 5, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Shannon of course I remember you in fact I think you lived somewhere close to my daughter Cassidee. She lived in Richardson Texas while her husband was in dental school. Debbie told me your were living near there. I am so happy that you are paying attention to what your heart is saying about LGBT issues, especially dealing with the LDS church. You are right someone in your family will be LGBT and now is the time to learn all that you can so can help them live their life to their fullest potential. It sounds to me that you already are there for many individuals and thank goodness you are. These conversations need to take place so that we can remove the fear and ignorance that surrounds this subject. I wish I was able to share with all of you some of the private messages I have received after posting this, if I could you would see why I feel such urgency in changing peoples hearts. Much love to you!

    Eleanor… my story and maybe yours is much more common than you would think. I know of many parents who knew that their child was gay at a very young age, some even as infants. When I really did not know for sure if Jordan was gay the important thing that I learned was that it really didn’t matter, the only thing that did matter was how I would treat anyone who happened to be gay. This is such a wonderful opportunity you have to study all that you can on the subject and if the time comes someday that your son tells you he is gay you will be well prepared to teach him that he is loved for who he is. If this turns out not to be the case for your son I know that there will be many lives blessed because of your love.

    • Eleanor
      January 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

      Thank you, Liisa. I believe you are very right.

  10. January 5, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I remember the night I received that email and it brought back some of the emotions I felt. It really changed nothing for me. I am glad to see that no alienation occurred and it speaks volumes to me about the friends and family you are surrounded by. It was very brave of Jordan to do that and I respect him to this day for it. I am also lucky for the additional clarity and insight he has brought to my own thoughts and study of the issue. Thank you for this post and sharing the many responses. I never knew about Lincolns reply either. That was classic. Also Lincoln iF you’re reading this I will take you up on that offer if Jordan doesn’t.

  11. Emily
    January 6, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I didn’t expect to bawl so early in the morning! I grew up LDS and was for 30 years (I’m only 32 haha). I am so glad to see this. This was a rough spot for me in the church because of how strongly I supported lgbt rights. I’m so happy to see that there are some families that know how to treat each other. With all the darkness that surrounds coming out lately, this is an amazing light in the tunnel. Keep being awesome!

  12. Becky
    January 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Liisa,
    Thank you for sharing your family story. You have a gift for writing! I am impressed at the love and support and kindness offered by your family and at their understanding of and faith in God’s love. My daughter forwarded this article to me. A friend of a friend had posted it on Facebook. I, in turn, forwarded it to my mom. You see, my daughter’s uncle, who is my brother, and who is my mother’s son, was gay. It will be 20 years in March since he passed away. He was the baby of our family. He was tender and kind and genuine. He was sensitive and accepting. He was a light and joy in our family. We miss him so much. I will never forget how he told us what we really already knew. My sister got engaged on a family vacation; he announced his gay relationship then. This was the mid-1980’s. He lived in a time when being gay frightened others. AIDS was a new and scary disease, quickly spreading through the gay community. Gay people were told that if they really wanted to, they could change. They were persecuted and scorned. My brother was beaten with a crowbar by a complete stranger because he was gay. His being gay was something we kept quiet and close to our hearts. Some members of the family had a very difficult time understanding and even accepting him in the beginning. I don’t blame them. Everyone has to come to their own personal understanding and we will all have different perspectives, biases, and timelines. Mostly, I don’t blame them because he never did. He genuinely loved them and understood their confusion and fear. I am still sad at the confusion and fear that he had to face alone. Even though we were very close and he had the love and support of many, I know he still felt alone. He was a bright, articulate human being. He was finishing up a master’s degree when he died. He offered so much to this world. His lifestyle was a cause of his death. I don’t blame him. I find great comfort in knowing he knew he was loved deeply and unconditionally by many, as is your Jordan. I don’t know everything about how this all fits into God’s plan. But I do know that my brother did not choose to be gay. He told me that. I know that there are some people who do choose a gay lifestyle. I know that God did not make my brother gay. I know that God’s laws of morality do not change and I support those laws. I know my brother would say the same thing. He understood and respected God’s laws even though he didn’t always live them. He knew there are eternal, fixed consequences for breaking God’s laws. He told me that. He did not deny his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ even though he didn’t always feel like there was a place for him in the church. Our father taught us to never confuse the gospel with the church – that we need both, that the gospel is perfect and the church is a place for imperfect people who are trying to live the gospel and are on the path of becoming perfected through Jesus Christ. I know that we don’t need to try to change the church or the world’s laws; we just need to try to change our own hearts to be more loving and kind and understanding – to be more like our Savior. I know that I don’t have to judge, I can just love. I know that through God’s Only Begotten Son, we are ALL offered grace and mercy. My mother and I used to pray for someone to reach out to my brother, to offer him acceptance, safety, peace, and love. We feel that our prayers were answered in a way we didn’t expect and that he is now safely “home”, where he is free from the chains and pains of this mortal existence. We love him and we love the Lord and we trust in the Lord’s plan of eternal families. We are so grateful for my daughter’s uncle, my brother, and my mother’s son being a part of ours. This is our family story. So, thank you again, Liisa, for sharing your family story. I read it, more thoroughly, late last night, after seeing a reply email from my mother to my daughter thanking her for her understanding and wisdom in sharing your article with her. Your article had touched our family so much already. So I read it and got all the way to the bottom of the comments before I realized I know you! You and I were high school friends. I was brought into our group of friends a little later than the rest of you, by our mutual friend, Diana. I am the “other Becky”. What a great group of friends it was. It offered me acceptance and belonging. What amazing high school friends we were to have “family prayer” and to sing songs of faith and friendship. I moved away soon afterwards and have lost touch with all our friends, but thank you for being a blessing in my life then and again now.

    • Liisa Frei
      January 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Becky
      As I was reading through your family’s story and thinking how grateful I was to have you share it here, as I absolutely believe the more understanding of the subject the more love there can be. I was thinking of your brother and the challenges of growing up when he did and I was overwhelmed with love for him and your family. Then when I got to the bottom and found out who you were, well lets just say it can be kind of awkward to cry at work. Thank you for sharing such a personal story and adding to a much needed conversation! Much love to you my friend.

  13. Austin
    January 6, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I am so grateful for this story of love and support from a Christ like family.

    My heart aches for Jordan for the challenges he faces. I too have the same challenges. I have dated other guys and found it was not for me. I realized just because I have these feelings, it does not make it right that I act on them.

    Heavenly Father has given every one of His children challenges. They are all different, but the point of the challenge is to help us become stronger and better. Whatever our challenge, we can endure, persevere, and receive all the blessings the Lord has for us. We are promised that.

    The gospel isn’t just a good thing that helps people live good lives, it is TRUE. If it is true, we should do all things in our power to live it and follow it. that is my advice for Jordan. I also want to thank Jordan for his bravery in telling his family the way he did. I have yet to do that..

    We have a plan to follow. We can’t just give into every wile of the world. We have to be strong and live the way that will ultimately bless us.

    I pray for him and all others who face this challenge. It is not an easy challenge, but Heavenly Father wouldn’t give us such great a challenge if we couldn’t live the way He wants us to.

    I hope my words don’t offend anyone. I am grateful for what I have read about the support and love. That is exactly like our Savior would have it. However, I also want to emphasize the importance of truth and living by it. The purpose of why we’re here.

  14. Jeremy
    January 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing Jordan’s experience and your family’s reactions. I was raised LDS and was outed 12 years ago. It was a very difficult time for me and my family and although things have improved between us, it did cause a lot of pain and struggles on all sides. Things are better now, but not quite where they were and I doubt they ever will be. I am no longer in the church and neither is my husband. It is still an issue for both of our families. Big hugs to Jordan! I hope for the best for him.

  15. Michelle
    January 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Liisa Frei, I am from your community and I LOVE YOU so much for sharing this IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Mostly, I want to encourage your son to be a “much-needed” advocate for gay men and women. I was a music and theatre major in higher education, and came into contact with many gay guys. I loved them then….and I love them NOW! There has NEVER been a single doubt in my mind that being gay is CHOICE! Of course it isn’t! To believe otherwise is senseless and incredibly ignorant. The figure you gave out of one per week of gays committing suicide is actually low! What a tragic, ridiculous loss of God’s most precious, tender, artistic, sensitive, loving human beings born! I should be so blessed as to have a gay son or daughter. They don’t come better. Recently, I had a 28 year old young man come out to me on an airplane from Seattle to SLC. He was a nervous wreck. His parents were picking him up at the SLC airport. This was the weekend he had selected to “break the news”. I told him then: if it goes poorly, call me, let’s keep in touch, and BE MY SON! We have kept in touch for the weeks since then. Jordan, thank you for writing your letter. I am SO proud of you. It really does NOT matter one iota to me what the Mormon Church, nor any other church espouses in a haste to “judge”. Jesus Christ is MY higher power. He would not/could not shed wrath on a gay person…NEVER! If we follow HIS teachings, not church dogma, we will never think less of these fellow beings. I ask the Lord’s forgiveness on those who would wittingly pass negative thoughts on these precious, beautiful, brilliant children of HIS! Amen.

  16. Janet bird
    January 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much for opening your hearts to others….It is up lifting and an excellent
    tribute to this remarkable family….thank you thank you thank you….

Comments are closed.