Clarity

It has been over four years since Wendy and I found out that Jordan was gay.  Three wards, two states and a persistent search for a ward family to call home.  I have documented our experience in our first ward in other articles.  From cool tolerance to members not taking the sacrament from a gay deacon.  The tragedy was not that there were some bigoted souls in our ward.  The thing that broke my heart was that the majority of the members and the leadership of the ward and stake either passively or permissively allowed the bigoted voices to go unchallenged.  I was told by both the Bishop and the Stake President in separate interviews, “Brother Montgomery, you are just one family.  We aren’t going to upset the apple cart for just one family.”  A curiously exact phrase to be heard in multiple settings.  It was the unofficial policy of the stake that issued a clear message that in our ward, we were the expendable ones.

Our second ward began really well.  We had chosen it because we knew there were some supportive, loving families.   We felt accepted in the ward and the Bishop extended to me a Sunday School calling.  Jordan attended, but was always on the outside looking in at Young Men’s activities.  His seminary teacher was very specific about pointing out the evils in the world starting with Starbucks (the face of evil) and including homosexuality (the end of the world).  After about six months, bigoted comments began to get bolder and louder in various classes.  Attacking same sex marriage and defending religion are approved topics in Church.  But it rarely begins or ends as a discussion on defending religion and marriage.  LGBT people are the enemies in these settings.  Politics and condemnation permeated seminary, Sunday School, and testimonies over the pulpit.  Near the end, the Stake President’s wife told Wendy, “You know, it would probably be better for everyone if you just didn’t attend Church anymore.”Clarity

So, we sought refuge in Arizona.  One of the greatest LDS LGBT communities is in the Phoenix area: ALL Arizona (All Are Alike Unto God).  We had fantastic friends who found us a home and a welcoming ward.

Our third ward began really well.  We felt accepted in the ward and the Bishop welcomed us with open arms with full knowledge of our family and struggles in California.  Jordan also attended and found many friends among the youth – all of whom were fully aware that he was gay.  It just didn’t matter to them that he was gay.  Our hope in many ways was restored.

I became really close to our Elder’s Quorum President and his family who lived just down the street.  He had only recently been introduced to the LGBT community.  But he opened his heart and was awakened to the very real needs and challenges faced specifically by local LGBT members.

One aching experience was when he learned that a long time friend in the ward was gay.  This friend wore the perfect camouflage in Mormonism.  He was married to a wife of 17 years with several beautiful children.  My Elder’s Quorum President learned that some years earlier, his friend had been on the edge of taking his life.  He had done everything his religion had asked of him, but was miserable to the point of despair and the end of hope.  We were blind to his pain.  So isolating and unsafe were Church friends and even family, that he couldn’t approach anyone for help.  He was suffering in plain sight with a smile and a white shirt and tie.  He was in the pews with us, yet completely out of reach.

Another soul our Elder’s Quorum President met was a trans youth of 19.  He had been at BYU only a few months before.  He sat on our couch and told his tale.  The gender dysphoria and experience had almost taken his life at BYU.  His body language and despair were plain to anyone who took the time to see.  Just wrapping your arms around him with love and acceptance melted his sadness and gave him space to breathe.  Over just a few months and a few warm meals; conversation, laughter and love changed his life.

On another night, we sat in a circle with over a dozen local LDS LGBT people.  We learned their names and stories.  They spoke of the depths of despair and rejection.  And everyone’s burdens were made lighter as the yoke was shared across many shoulders.  The love of Christ was evident.  Clearly this is the soul expanding work of the Savior.  Reaching out to the one.  Hearing their pain and returning it with love.

My Elder’s Quorum President is my hero.  With no LGBT friend (that he knew of) or close relative to start with, he chose to love.  We frequently bring local LGBT friends to our ward to sit in a safe place and feel all the strengths of a loving Mormon congregation.  I remarked to him once, “I haven’t felt so alive and filled with the Spirit since my mission.”

He answered, “I have felt like I have just been going through the motions for years and years.  This is what I was searching for.”

Then, the Stake President called in my Elder’s Quorum President.  My Elder’s Quorum President poured out his soul and the love he had for the LGBT community.  His wife spoke with equal joy at the soul expanding experience of just loving without conditions.

“Keep loving others the way you do but the Church as a whole just isn’t ready to love like that.”  The Stake President replied.  “One of your duties is to keep the doctrine pure, command and correct those that sin in the quorum.  We are going to have to release you because you are making some members of the quorum uncomfortable and causing a ‘lack of unity’.”

As my Elder’s Quorum President relayed to me the conversation, I realized that my tenure in yet another ward had come to an end.  True to the pattern of our first and second wards, the bigoted voices grow louder and unchecked.  Soon they were heard by the Bishop and then the Stake.  Earlier this year, Elder Anderson and Elder Clayton came to Arizona and instructed local leadership that LGBT “distractions” are not to be tolerated in the wards and stakes.

It is a hard lesson that I just haven’t been willing to learn.  Regardless of whatever goodwill exists among local members and leaders, this is who the Church is.  This is my moment of clarity.  I have searched and pleaded with God to find a place in Mormonism for me, my family and my gay son.  Four years, three wards, two states and a heroic Elder’s Quorum President.

The message that I have been unwilling to hear is that there is no place for my family here.  Not my type of family.  I have turned over every theological argument a thousand times.  I have sought the spirit fervently and fought every urge to leave the Church.  I have heard it from other members in the pews in every ward we have attended at one time or another.  I have heard it from local leadership.  I have heard it from Stake Leaders both in person and from those they confided in.  It has been articulated from the top as they train local leaders and it is codified in handbooks.  I have heard it recalled in the stories of dozens and dozens of LGBT members and families spanning decades.

But the Stake President said as clearly as it could possibly be stated, “The Church as a whole just isn’t ready to love like that.” And he is exactly right.  Moments of clarity seem to come few and far between.  I have been left in a wake of pain and anguish since November 5th when the Exclusion Policy hit me like a ton of bricks.  I didn’t want to believe that Mormonism wasn’t the place for me.  When I laid my temple recommend on my Bishop’s desk, it wasn’t because of sin or shame or commandments, it was because the spirit within me was offended.

In every way, shape and fashion possible, my family has been shown the door.  With the empty words “We love gay people” still on their lips, we are not welcome here.  There may be a day when that is true, but it isn’t today.  When loving too much gets you released in less than eight months, there is a systemic problem within the organization.  Until the complaining voices of bigots are the unwelcome voice or there is a Church wide mandate from the very top to love LGBT members and not persecute or judge, this will be the status quo.

We want it to be true that the Church loves everyone.  It just isn’t ready to love like that.

For myself, I will check back in in around 20 years or so.  I feel a certain amount of relief in not having to make something fit that clearly does not fit.  It is exhausting to constantly be unwinding the doctrine we have wrapped around bigotry; being the counter voice of love, reason and inclusivity in every Church class and setting.

There is a great deal of sadness and loss I feel toward many aspects of Mormonism’s religious life.  I plan to keep as many of the good things as I can.  My experience in Mormonism formed the conscience and sensitivity to the spirit that now takes me to higher, safer ground.

I pray for the day we are one, once again.   At some point Christ will need to heal the Church.  I hope that day comes sooner rather than later as with each day more of his LGBT children’s cries rise up to his ears.

I have a dream that the Church leaders at the top will by the voice of revelation begin to radically turn the Good Ship Zion back on course.  I will continue to follow where the Lord leads me.  Personal revelation and following the prompting of the spirit is still an integral part of my life (contrary to what many may think).  And the depth of relationships that I have experienced over the past four years are worth every struggle, inconvenience and even the loss of my ties to the organized Church.  I am bound and sealed through tangible bonds to people I love with a fire and passion that can only be taught by the Lord.  They are bonds forged in sharing the yoke of Christ and touching the cross of others.  To me, they are the fulfillment of eternal promises that the temple only points us toward.

I will always be sealed to my son, not just by ordinances and promises made when I was so young I could barely hold a job at Radio Shack.  And I am equally sealed to dozens of others with whom we have bled and wept together.  We have experienced Christ together, not in a theological discussion or silently in pews together.  With a clarity that cannot be observed by the modern Church, I have seen Christ minister to the sweetest spirits among us.  And it has inspired me to follow that path.  I pray for the day that it coincides with that of the Church.

 

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90 comments for “Clarity

  1. June 27, 2016 at 7:49 am

    profound. timely. Bless you and your family on your journey. Unconditional love is never a threat to doctrine. You have learned to love, on of the greatest lessons life can teach us. Thank you for your voice in our community.

  2. Göran Gustav-Wrathall
    June 27, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I love your whole family a thousand times ten, it makes me cry to hear such a family of God could be treated so in Christian like, as I ride my bus to work weeping, I extend my love to you all and embrace your family as mine. My heart is torn, but I have a hope that you will find a spiritual home and rest.

  3. Jillisa
    June 27, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I too am one of the ones who hide in plain sight, behind a white shirt and tie. I am one of the “T’s” in LGBT. I love you and your family, Thomas. I always will.

  4. NoLongerASheeple
    June 27, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I’m sorry for the pain you are experiencing, but I can promise you that life on the outside is not only as sweet, but far, far sweeter. You can be free to love in the way that you believe is right, you can shed the inherent judgment of Mormonism and you can begin to immerse your family into a far safer, secular environment.

    I don’t think Mormon Leaders will ever be the voice which rights “The Good Ship Zion.” I think they have long turned away from the love that Jesus taught. Many of those who love like you do have already left the ship, unable to condone conditional love, unable to condone bigotry in God’s name. As the good people leave, all you are left with is an increasingly toxic, fundamentalist contingent of self-righteous, hyperjudgmental members.

    • Lynn
      June 27, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Not all the good people will leave. There are many of us that will stay and will be the ones who speak up, who are not shy about challenging ideas and who will correct those judgmental members. Many of us are already doing that and won’t stop and will hopefully affect change.

    • Paige Brown
      July 2, 2016 at 9:48 am

      So sad that ” the church” can’t love as did Christ , with unconditional love. The church does not have to agree with the lifesttle, but can still love and accept the people, not treating them differently. IF the church looks at the gay community as sinful, aren’t we ALL sinful??? Yes, and God does not say one sin is worse than another.

  5. Steve
    June 27, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Excellent article. And a hard lesson learned. The Church does not want anything to do with gay people. Period. Not long ago they did not want to extend all the priesthood benefits to black people. And even though the ban has been lifted, there is pervasive racism in the Church because the membership still believe the ban was divine. The Church disavows racism in one breath and then under its breath condones racist thoughts from its members. I only say that to draw a parallel to the severe weakness of the LDS leadership.

    I know that you sincerely believe in the doctrine of the Mormon church. But if you look under the hood and really dig in, there are many doctrinal positions that are simply wrong. I served a mission and have studied extensively. And through study, I found that many of the things that were taught to me as a child are simply wrong. So this may be a real blessing in disguise for you. You might just find the truth on your new journey.

    • Mike
      June 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      “The Church does not want anything to do with gay people. Period” Not really a fair response. I think some leaders are not very well versed in gay issues, but the Church very much wants gay members to participate to the fullest and be loved so long as they are willing to abide the commandments as every member is expected to do.

      • Steve
        June 28, 2016 at 10:44 am

        I am sorry Mike, I standby my statement. The Church has no interest in administering to gay members. The Church calls them apostates. If a gay couple marries, the Church will come after them and excommunicate them. If a gay person has children, they are not welcome in the Church.

        And this is from the top down. Not just a cluster of local leaders that don’t understand.

        Oddly, the word apostates is from the Greek word that means “runaway slave”. So being an apostate simply means freedom.

        • Eileen Farnsworth
          June 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm

          Exactly, Steve.

        • Mike
          June 30, 2016 at 4:53 am

          Steve, I’m sorry you feel that way. I have no idea why you think the Church is still racist. In my long history growing up in the Church I’ve never experienced a whiff of racism at Church, that any other race is inferior, or anything of the sort. Quite the contrary actually. And you said the Church wants nothing to do with gay people, I don’t believe that… your example you then proceeded to use was of gay couples marrying, that the Church will excommunicate them. The excommunication though has nothing to do with being gay, but rather, engaging in what the Church considers serious sinful behavior. That’s not the same thing.

          • Steve
            June 30, 2016 at 8:19 am

            Read the Book of Abraham, the Book of Moses and the Book of Mormon. All books written by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith when he rewrote the verse on the mark of Cain, he defined it as a black skin. That is untrue. The original word has nothing to do with skin color. And then there is the “white and delightsome” analysis in the Book of Mormon. And most LDS still believe that the Priesthood ban was of God, not a mistake by Brigham Young. So yes, I still believe the Church is a racist organization.

      • Porter
        June 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm

        This is a joke, right? Pull your head out of the sand, Mike. The church you describe is not the LDS church.

      • AuntM
        July 5, 2016 at 10:59 am

        I agree with Mike. In my experience, the Church does not want anything to do with gay people.

        It will tolerate “straight” people with same-sex attraction. It will encourage “straight” people with same-sex attraction to participate as long as they try to be straight (i.e., marry someone of the opposite sex) or martyr themselves (i.e., be celibate).

        • AuntM
          July 5, 2016 at 10:59 am

          Edit: I mean I agree with Steve.

    • Paige Brown
      July 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

      So agree. This an organization, not based upon Biblical origins and truths. It is a man made religion that sadly many were brainwashed into thinking this was a religion based on Jesus’ teachings. So many practices that Jesus would be so sad to think his people have chosen to follow. So many parts and pieces in Morman ism that do not add up and many disproved historical teachings. These members have been misled and deceived by Joseph Smith, not a man with mainstream Christian beliefs at all. He was a man wanting a following, power and wanting to capture and mislead the souls of all who would buy into his Fairytale ! A criminal nearly brought to death for his behavior, and people chose to follow him??? Can’t understand that.

  6. Martin L Kokol
    June 27, 2016 at 8:41 am

    This is one of the finest letters written on this subject in the modern history of the LDS church. Sorry for the praise, but it is THAT good. And it needs to be widely circulated. I am simply a college professor, teacher of teachers, LGBT myself, and proud father of three grown daughters. While I met you for a few seconds several years ago, I am humbled to know that you have spent the time to write, no, to craft, something that sheds this much light on the subject. As we have all become objects of derision, of contempt and of dismissal.

    May we find that the timetable of waiting 20 years, as you put it, gets accelerated by the power of social media, by the determination of the rising generation of Saints unwilling to participate in what I call latter day racism, and by the breakthrough that a future prophet will have thanks to the revelation from on high – AND from the reasoning from all of us.

    Let us begin the work of establishing the Leviticus project, just as Darius Grey and others established the Genesis project for the issue of race some 40 plus years ago. And then, we can begin the work of reuniting and rebalancing reason, revelation, scriptures and policy to the solid foundation that truth (circumscribed in one great whole) demands. ///

  7. Danny Kofoed
    June 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

    “I am bound and sealed through tangible bonds to people I love with a fire and passion that can only be taught by the Lord. They are bonds forged in sharing the yoke of Christ and touching the cross of others. To me, they are the fulfillment of eternal promises that the temple only points us toward.”

    That, my friend, is what you call the Holy Spirit of Promise. And you’re right, the temple ordinance doesn’t give that to you automatically…it’s something you have to develop and seek after, and prove it by fire as you have.

    God Bless you my friend

  8. Sam
    June 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

    So sad that the church or my youth, my adulthood and now my senior years is not ready to love as Christ loved. How does the church carry His name but not follow his prime directive? How can it claim to be the only true way to heaven when it does not follow the very essence of Christ’s example. The Good Samaritan, The Golden Rule, The Two Great Commandments. When you have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me. These teachings are the very heart of His gospel, His beautiful gospel. 146 years after it’s founding, “The Church as a whole just isn’t ready to love like that.” May it’s time we change the name of the church to The Church Not quite ready to follow Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints. I actually believe that the general membership is loving and would follow the Savior’s example and invitation to embrace charity. It’s the upper leadership who are holding us back. Although, I’m late to the party. I have now chosen to follow both the teachings and example of Jesus. Every week I wear my rainbow ribbon to church. A few days after the Orlando shooting, we held a “Mormons Supporting the LGBT Community Prayer Vigil.” It was well received by many, excluding leadership. Thank you for taking the time to compose your essay. If you are ever in my area, I know safe people within the Mormon church. All My Best Wishes!

  9. Denee Tyler
    June 27, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I weep with you and Wendy as I, too, have recently left the Mormonism of a half century of my life and moved on to a place where I could feel acceptance and love for my family and my children. It’s breaking my heart to leave, but it was crushing my soul to stay. Best of luck and good wishes for all in your family.

    • Jack
      July 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      All I did was reflect the “hate in your originally message” right back at you. You have no moral authority to judge. Even your religion will tell you that. And if you think people are just going sit by while you make horrible comments about their family and children who might gay, you got another thing coming.

      I mentioned Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to let you know that I think your religion is baloney. So I do not care about whatever moral authority you think it gives you to judge others.

      You did not like my comments. They are nothing more than a reflection back at you for the mean the things you had to say earlier.

  10. June 27, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Thank You Tom and Wendy for your gallant efforts. This essay speaks to so many of us. You are thinking with clarity and you are protecting your family. Yes, we all wish the Church would change, but, it’s not, so time to move on; at least for me and my family.

    Thank you for sharing your heart felt sadness.

  11. Sharon Palmer Hamm
    June 27, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Please seek out the Community of Christ with headquarters in Independence, Missouri. You might find what you are seeking in the tradition of the Restoration. We were once part of the same movement started by our prophet, Joseph Smith. We honor all people in the tradition of Jesus Christ. We are strong in our efforts for peace and justice and are welcoming to the LGBT community. God bless you in your journey.

  12. Wendy
    June 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Congratulations for entering this phase of your life! Your efforts are amazing that you went to such an effort to start over by moving and trying on new wards. I’m not surprised though of the results, which is truly sad, but when the problem does exist from the foundations of the religion, then no amount of moving would accomplish your goal of inclusion. Life outside of the church is a VERY beautiful thing! Yes, you will bring with you all the kindness, charity, etc the “church” teaches one who grows up with weekly Sunday school lessons, and following the paradigm of righteousness, but you and those who are considering leaving the church but fear what life will be like outside of carrying around a temple recommend, will find a most precious core of calmness, centers was, and knowing that the spirit of Christ is alive and well everywhere and with everyone. Good luck and thank you for sharing your story.

  13. Robert Slaven
    June 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Obviously, not only do our top church leaders subscribe to the “small tent” vision of the Church, but they have pushed it down at least to the stake president level, if not all the bishops. 🙁 I am so sorry your family has had to deal with that hate and exclusion from people who are supposed to be loving and healing shepherds, not stern hard-ass gatekeepers. Much love to your whole family, no matter where you stand in relation to the ever-shrinking tent.

  14. Amelia Shelton
    June 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    How well-written and thoughtful. I’ve been following your family’s story for some time now. You are not alone! There are so many families who are grappling with similar hardship, wanting to find peace within the Mormon church but who are unable to find it in the face of homophobia and bigotry from members and leadership alike. I’ve been there, but as a child of gay parents, and I chose to leave after the Exclusion Policy was issued. Sending hugs and positive vibes in your general direction! You’re such an awesome dad. I am heartened that so many parents are choosing unconditional love over all else.

  15. ABM
    June 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I don’t understand why the Elder’s Quorom President was released. Was it just for inviting LBGT people to church? Something else?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 27, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      ABM, I would say it was a combination of making LGBT welcome in the quorum that evidently agitated other members. Many believe openly expressing support for LGBT people is against Mormon doctrine. And evidently, the Stake President expected that it was part of his responsibility to condemn all things homosexual in the quorum.

      • Mike
        June 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Who is the stake president, and which stake?

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 27, 2016 at 9:34 pm

          Not an appropriate question.

          • Mike
            June 30, 2016 at 5:02 am

            I don’t disbelieve what you are saying. I feel for you that you’ve had such a rough time. I have seen members and leaders that don’t understand homosexuality and conflate members who are trying to live faithfully with troublemakers. I believe you are genuine when you said you’ve tried to make it work and that many have not treated you well. And if true, that’s very sad an unfortunate, we still have a lot to learn. I hope you know that not all members are that way; that we are all imperfect sinners, and that we hope you’ll come back. But I would really like to validate the story for myself, since you have leveled some pretty serious accusations, that a stake president said the Church isn’t ready to love like that and would release someone from a calling for the sole matter of them trying to show love for members.

            It would really help me out if you could at least let me know the stake and I can do my own research. I have no ax to grind, I just want to validate what I hear, and who knows, maybe in the process I can teach some of the people that wronged you in the process.

  16. Janice Marcus
    June 27, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Tom,

    I’m not L.D.S., but have witnessed the pain that you describe. I have lived in Utah my entire life and became President of the Salt Lake City PFLAG chapter. Within the support groups of this organization I heard the pain associated with those that were struggling with their membership within the L.D.S. Church. Many have chosen to leave their church and many continue to struggle. I admire you and your family for all that you have done to promote love for the L.G.B.T. community within your church. Finding peace is an individual process and I know that your decision has been one that has been filled with turmoil. Several years ago I marched in the Utah Pride Parade with a poster of my son and his husband. The theme for the parade was Love = Love! Thank you for your courage and love for all of our families.

  17. Teresa Bushar
    June 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    My heart breaks knowing that when a smile, hug, love and friendship was needed that ignorance prevailed.

    Not all members are in the NOT READY TO LOVE LIKE THAT category…I am more than willing. Our role as God’s children and especially those of us who belong to the LDS faith is to LOVE as our Savior loved! It is shameful that leaders are either ignorant, fearful or lazy to be the examples that are needed for others to follow.

    It has been challenging for many who know and love those of our brothers and sisters who struggle to find their way. I cannot understand HOW anyone who professes to know Christ and LOVE Him could ever treat another of His children as naught.

    Know you and your family are loved (along with others in a similar situation) and prayed for. May you feel His love and tender mercies in your life.

    Hugs
    Teresa Bushar

  18. Rick Rosio
    June 27, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    It is with such a heavy heart that this loving family must be brought to tears over the lack of true compassion within the LDS organization.
    How sad for those families whose children are dealing with a ” faith” ran by flawed men who have chosen to continue to support positions of bigotry over love and compassion for their church members.
    The God they pray to is one of compassion and forgiveness…. if they cannot understand that simple fact… then they are no leaders… but parrots of a lost document being held up as a path of faith.
    Love your children…. your brothers and sisters…. your parents…. and your neighbors as you would love yourself in Gods grace and compassion…. and leave the hate to those who profess to be pious for the ” business end of the church”

  19. Ian Chamberlin
    June 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Dear Brother Montgomery,

    I am a former LDS person myself and left over a decade ago. I attempted suicide twice before I came out. I’m a gay man myself. I thank you so much for your love and care for your son and for LGBT people, and your (former) Elder’s quorum president should be highly commended for his love and Christlike actions.

    My mom is currently LDS, in name only, but she does not attend at her ward very much if at all. She does frequently attend with me at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix. Although perhaps not from the Restoration pedigree per se, I have found openness, and acceptance there. We have many ex-LDS members and some who still at least informally affiliate. I would like to invite you and your family to explore this place at least as a temporary spiritual home until it is safe to return to the LDS church.

    Peace and Love

  20. Michael Chard
    June 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    The church’s glacial pace of change will continue, just as it has with every single social issue American society has faced in the past 150 years. The church will continue to lead from behind, catch up in about 30 years and then, through the miracle of historical revisionism, will disavow today’s bigoted rhetoric as the personal teachings of select leaders and not the official teachings of the church. You don’t need a gay son or daughter or even a close gay friend to see the egregious error of the church on this issue and so many others. If the leaders would spend any personal time with almost any gay family or gay youth, I suspect they would see the damage they are unnecessarily inflicting and the wasted time and resources they are spending on this issue when there are so many other critical issues in the world. The church is caught in its past and its man-made theology and until there are financial penalties (polygamy) or threats to continued growth (race and priesthood) the church will continue down its one-size-fits-all path. If I had a gay child, I would never inflict the church on them. The November “revelation” was the last straw for our family and we left, even without being personally affected by the policy. You have to take a moral stand at some point.

  21. Connie Cahill
    June 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Dear Tom
    You and Wendy have been a big part of our life’s
    We love you like family. And I will.always be greatfull for your love and friendship. It hurts me seeing you in so much pain.and I wish I could help you the way you have helped me and the kids. I look up to to and stand behind you .God bless you and the beautiful family you have.All my love and friendship..

  22. Karen Villani
    June 27, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    My heart breaks for the lack of decency, respect, love, and tolerance to name just a few things that you and your family have endured. In my eyes, knowing you and your family over the years, you have exceeded what the church can provide. How each of you have learned to love, to accept, to embrace, to include, has defined the path Christ paved for his people in ways the church could never do because they operate under conditions and limitations. You cannot reach the climax of spirituality, of being so close to Christ you can almost stare into the pupils of his eyes if you are bound by any organized religion. So my friend, in your journey that has been guided by the light of Christ, you have travelled to a level of acquisition that few can or will experience as long as they remain bounded by restrictions, limitations, regulations, rules, etc. While I know the decision to stand apart from the church you had loved during your life, was an extremely heart wrenching one, don’t despair, for you have reached the summit of Christ’s teachings and your are living the core truth of his teachings. Anyone can preach from a pulpit. Anyone can hold titles. Anyone can instill fear and try to control the flock. You have released yourself of all “man mad” limitations, expectations, and compliancy. Your freedom will continue to allow you to be filled with the spirit, and you will feel the Lord nourishing your soul. Your family will always be sealed forever, for it is love and love alone that provides that. Not any piece of history, sacrament, endowment, etc. does that. It is through loving one another that our connections and relationships are sealed by Christ here and in eternity. I have said it before, and I will say it again. At the end of your life, I cannot help but believe that God will place his arm around you and say, “Thomas, my son, you used everything I gave you. A life well lived, a job well done. The greatest life lesson is to have loved one another as I have loved you. Thank you for standing apart and by doing so, choosing the right.”

  23. Cathe Day
    June 27, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Love you and Wendy and your beautiful family. I’m sorry for your pain and loss. Wherever your path leads you I know those who cross it will be blessed by your loving heart, and wisdom.

  24. Jeff Van Vliet
    June 27, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    You are such a man of honor and integrity. I wish I knew you personally, but I am grieving with you. So hard to have your family be characterized as a distraction by leadership up and down the chain. Please know that there are many of us that love you and your beautiful family.

  25. Metta
    June 27, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes… The spirit within myself and my family was also deeply offended at the November 5th policy announcement, and we took that as our cue to bid adieu to the church. At that time (about six months ago) it was a very difficult decision, but not a day goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars that we have moved into a chapter of our lives where we feel like we can live with 100% integrity. No need to un-teach things to our kids after church, full freedom to take back our moral code instead of outsourcing it to a group of old, privileged white men. Part of our departure was because we realized that this is just the discrimination flavor of our day, and that it is not unique, but sadly just one chapter of a history of discriminatory decision making, after blacks and the priesthood, after the ERA and everything to do with women. And my frustration runs parallel to yours: why do people say that change doesn’t happen because “the church members aren’t ready for it”? This is ludicrous. Leadership means getting in front of people and showing them how to achieve a higher, newer version of themselves, how to become bigger and better. Leadership is not waiting until everyone in the congregation is on the same page and then moving forward. I know this change hurts you something fierce right now, but rest assured that you will deep breathe through this transition and wake up in a few months feeling extraordinarily lucky to have had the church and equally lucky to now be free of it. Thank you for your story!

  26. Monica S.
    June 27, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    So well written…and so very unfortunate. I came here to your blog through a link from a friend. I used to be so prejudiced against gays and I didn’t even know it. Reading one book with a broken heart and contrite spirit changed me for good. Here’s a link to a letter I wrote to the Salt Lake City Weekly about 3 years later: http://www.marvelousworkandawonder.org/Q_AFiles/SLC_Weekly_Salvation.pdf

  27. Lori Burkman
    June 28, 2016 at 12:11 am

    You’ve fought the good fight, Thomas. I’m so happy to have known you for the 3 years I have. You’ve endured the pews far longer than they deserved to have you–but your presence and influence will be sorely missed solely due to the urgent need for people like you. You have served your time well though and put up with years more than I was able to withstand. I hope nothing but good things for you and your family. I think you’ll find this next phase to be surprisingly peaceful and hopeful.

  28. David Redden
    June 28, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Great article, Tom. Sounds like we had similar experiences, in that the lead-up to the decision to leave was difficult, but decision itself was easy and clear. The road ahead for me has remained spiritually fulfilling and meaningful, but also challenging in different ways, and I’m confident you’ll find the same.

    I’ll also second the recommendation to check out Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix. I was a paid soloist in their choir about 20 years ago, and even back then it had a wonderful spirit of inclusiveness and beauty. It’s the first time I ever sang in a church choir with openly GLBTQ people. Because of that experience years ago, the first church I looked into after leaving the LDS faith was an Episcopal parish here in Minnesota. My first Sunday there we prayed as a community that God would forgive us for our biases and prejudices against those we perceive as different from us. I knew I was on to something. After checking into a couple other churches, I took my family there, and we decided to make it our spiritual home. I now, once again, sing in an Episcopal church choir with openly GLBTQ members, and I love it. You’ll find your own way, no doubt…there are many great options. Best of luck in your journey forward!

  29. Matt Ray
    June 28, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Tom, I admire you for trying multiple times to make the church work for you and your family, despite the bigotry. I also admire your strength and decision to leave the church at a time when it no longer works for you. You guys have made a big difference in the lives of many people, both in the LGBT community and without. Know that you have done as well as you could for as long as you could. I know how hard your decision was and I commend you for your strength in making it.

    Matt

  30. June 28, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Love you and your family. There is so much loving to do outside the walls of the church. You will do so much good wherever you are. You’re a good man and a good human. I hope to meet you and Wendy some day.

  31. Kirt
    June 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for this beautifully written piece… Many parts ring true for me, but none more loudly than “it was because the spirit within me was offended”. I am a gay man with a husband of 20 years (legally married since 2003 and only accepted 1 year ago in my state) whose spirit was offended long ago. I continue to be guided by inspiration and the innate right & wrong instilled into my soul by a loving family. You will never go wrong being guided by love.

  32. June 28, 2016 at 11:09 am

    First of all i extend my love to all people including the lgbt community.My wife and I have two daughters who are and were in gay relationships for over 20 years. I decided many years ago that being an active Mormon I would not in any way find judgement on their personal choices. I have totally loved both of them and their partners for many years. We have seven children, 15 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. When ever either my wife or I are hospitalized or have health issues Our two daughters and their partners are quick to call us or even fly accross the country to be at our side . They have never questioned their parents strong commitment to Mormonism. I have been a member for 68 years. In my wards and stakes I have never had a mormon bishop or stake president in any way suggest that that those who chose different life styles are not welcome in a ward or stake or branch .I know that church courts are courts of love and all the members are loving, priestholders who have the members and non members best interest at heart. I summit to all those who read my comments that my remarks are true and I wish love and happiness to all people , regardless of their personal choices or lifestyles. .

    • AuntM
      July 5, 2016 at 11:05 am

      The end of Stan’s comment (“…all the members are loving, priestholders who have the members and non members best interest at heart.”) reminds me of Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

      Church members are human, subject to their own flaws and circumstances. By no stretch are all “loving.”

  33. Nathan
    June 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Tom,

    Although I’m very sad for how things turned out for your family things just don’t seem to add up for me. You never mentioned the age of your son, so I’m not sure how old he is, but I take it that he was still a minor. If that is the case, why focus on the sexuality of his dilemma, why not on the law of chastity? It doesn’t matter what a person’s sexual orientation is, the standard we all must keep is the law of chastity. How does a minor really know things of this import anyway? I have 6 kids ranging from 4 to 16. They are all very unique and interesting, but they don’t even have a concept yet of gay, straight, transgender. How did this all come about? You wrote several times that you had changed Wards/locations to find acceptance and understanding. Sounds and looks to me that you were “Ward-Shopping” so you could find someone who made you and your son comfortable in his sexual dilemma. To me this sounds like what Elder Holland spoke about when he said:

    “To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well. To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do.”

    The Savior is not a comfortable God, as Elder Holland went on to teach:

    “Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

    Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?

    And what of those who just want to look at sin or touch it from a distance? Jesus said with a flash, if your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off. “I came not to [bring] peace, but a sword,” He warned those who thought He spoke only soothing platitudes. No wonder that, sermon after sermon, the local communities “pray[ed] him to depart out of their coasts.” No wonder, miracle after miracle, His power was attributed not to God but to the devil. It is obvious that the bumper sticker question “What would Jesus do?” will not always bring a popular response.”

    In Luke 9, the Savior is asked by a follower if he can go and bury his dead father first and from another he was asked if he could go and say goodbye to people who are at his home before he follows him. The response was the same for both:

    “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

    “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

    In other words, there are some things, some people, who are even more important than family: The Father, The Son, the Plan of Salvation. Covenants. Ordinances. The Sacrament. Promises.

    Elder Nelson: “Teach of faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy.4 Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.”

    Why not ask your son this instead: “Considering your dilemma, how are you going to keep your covenants?”

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Nathan, my son was and still is a minor. Just about all of your questions and scriptural prescriptions have been covered in other articles I have written and are linked at the bottom of this article. If you are truly interested in understanding our journey and exploring the theology, I invite you to read further.

    • Jack
      June 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Nathan, a typical response from someone that has no understanding of the situation. Thomas is making the right choice for the right reasons. The word apostate comes from the greek word that means “runaway slave”. In other words, it means running for your freedom. It is freedom from a hateful Church. Oddly there is life after the Church. And often a much better life. And unfortunately, no matter how much you believe in Mormonism, it just is simply not the truth. It is full false doctrine.

      It is so hard to leave a cult, so my recommendation Thomas is to run, run, run to your freedom.

    • Brian
      July 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Well said.

      • SRR
        July 2, 2016 at 8:34 am

        Imagine being born into a world (the LDS world) where you are considered a freak and viewed unworthy at every turn. And most gay kids know at a very early age that they are different, but they don’t why yet. There will be no support from the Church, only ridicule. Normally nice people will say awful things about you and use their religion to justify their hateful behavior. That is what most gay LDS kids find in their world.

        Hopefully these children will have strong parents, grandparents and others that will help them along in their journey. Hopefully they will know that they do not have to stay in a hateful Church that does not want them anyway. There is so much more to life and so many kind people in the world. You will find all this once you have courage to get out.

  34. Aimee
    June 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Beautiful, raw, and full of Spirit. Thank you for being a voice of love and reason. Many blessings in your continued journey and expression of love for all God’s children.

  35. Frank Hays
    June 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Thank You. I wish every member of the church would read your article. I pray every day that something will reach the hearts of the leadership of the church and all the members. This exclusion policy needs to go away now, no matter its intent. At 62, a Returned Missionary, I have struggled all my life and although single am an apostate at heart. I wouldn’t wish my experiences on anyone.

  36. Bamball
    June 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Thomas, you are not alone in your feelings.Many are struggling, and your words and example are a strength to many. Still. For me, I’m afraid-an appropriate word, as it implies an emotion regarding the future unknown- that I’m on a similar path, and I do pray daily that hearts and minds in the right leadership positions get the message from others, and most importantly, from God and the Spirit, that we need to be moving further away from our Mosaic past, beyond Peter’s vision of inclusion, to a future where God’s love can be extended to ALL of God’s children, with the Atonement applied equally and without asterisks. God Speed, take care of your family and know that you hold a high place in many hearts.

  37. Rebecca
    June 29, 2016 at 5:06 am

    Welcome to freedom, my friend. It’s a rough road, leaving the church, but it is well worth it. As the fog continues to lift you will see life in ways you’ve never seen before. I wish all the peace and happiness in the world to you and your beautiful family.

  38. June 29, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I am a member of the LDS Church and I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I try to follow his example. I met several gay men and women, inside and outside of the Church. They were all loving and caring people always trying to do good to others. That is what Christ did! Why are they not welcome? I noticed that when you do not “fit” in a certain “norm”, people look down to you. I was single for a long time. When I married at 38, I married a convert who has dark skin color and a tattoo. He never served a mission. In some peoples eyes he was the last person to pick as a partner for marriage. They missed so much, because he is so caring, and awesome husband and father, always trying to do his best for his family. I believe if we would include everyone, everyone would benefit from it. I do not care who you are, I respect you and expect the same respect back. I do not care who you love, I am good to you and expect the same back from you.

  39. Steve
    June 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Why is it that gay people insist on telling people what kind of sex they like to have? If some heterosexual couple insisted on telling people what kind of sex they have, is everyone in the church supposed to be glad to hear it.

    If church members insisted on telling people that they fornicate, are members supposed to be glad to hear it?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      This is one of the most thoughtless comments I have read. It doesn’t require ‘telling people what kind of sex they like to have’. If a same sex couple gets married, they get excommunicated and their children get banned. This is a loving committed relationship – equal in love and commitment to any relationship a heterosexual person is capable of. It is actually a higher form of morality than fornication which is all that was left to LGBT people before marriage was an available option.

      This is what bigotry looks and sounds like.

      • June 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        While we’re talking about thoughtless comments, let me add mine. Two years ago, I embarked on the gut-wrenching journey of exploring the hidden history and dark doctrine of the LDS church that I had never been taught or even heard of in my 61 years of membership. Full time mission, BYU, temple marriage, bishopric, high council, bishop, etc. My study was confusing, disappointing, wrenching and lonely. I reached the point that I no longer KNEW anything. It took a few frustrating months to find my footing. The teachings and example of Jesus Christ were greatly appealing. I didn’t KNOW that he existed. But, I chose to follow and strive to be like Him. And, I chose to follow Him in the church of my childhood, the LDS church. Now, you’d think this would be a no-brainer. It’s not. I soon realized, that for my entire lifetime, I had chosen to follow the prophet. If his teachings didn’t align with Christ’s, I still followed the prophet. The big change is that I now follow Jesus. If the prophet’s teachings align with His, then I’ll follow the prophet, too. If it does not, I follow Jesus. I’ve been shocked that this approach has not been well received in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christ dined with the denizens and was a pal to the protitute. In the story of the Good Samaritan, He condemned the priest & Levite and praised the pernicious Samaritan. Why is it so hard to follow Christ in Christ’s church? I applaud your patience. I am amazed at your self-control and lack of anger. Jesus has taught me not to judge, but to love. Of course, I’m pretty terrible at both. It’s a work in progress. You and your son would be welcome in my home. If you attended my Ward, I’d be honored to sit in the pew with you. In the past 2 months, I have raised my hand in OPPOSITION at General, Ward, and Stake conferences. I do that in support of my gay friends and family. In hopes that my church will, one day, fully embrace my Lord’s gospel and character.

        • Steve
          June 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

          Sam stated, ” I soon realized, that for my entire lifetime, I had chosen to follow the prophet. If his teachings didn’t align with Christ’s, I still followed the prophet. The big change is that I now follow Jesus. If the prophet’s teachings align with His, then I’ll follow the prophet, too. If it does not, I follow Jesus.”

          It is simply astounding that there are members who think that Satan will deceive Jesus Christ’s prophet on the earth while Jesus Christ reveals His truths to the member.

          • June 29, 2016 at 10:23 pm

            Steve, I agree that it’s astounding. However, I’m not sure I know anybody who thinks Satan is deceiving the prophets. Maybe you think he does. I certainly don’t. But, I know the prophets are not perfect. They tell us so all the time. They are mortal, imperfect men, not gods. Our current apostles and prophets have disavowed past “theories,” which at the time were referred to as doctrine. They also CONDEMN all past racism. I say, HOORAY for our leadership who admits that past prophets got it wrong. They could have said the past prophets were deceived by Satan. They didn’t. It’s just their theories and practices that were disavowed and condemned.

          • Shai Hadassah
            June 30, 2016 at 10:51 am

            Steve:

            “It is simply astounding that there are members who think that Satan will deceive Jesus Christ’s prophet on the earth while Jesus Christ reveals His truths to the member.”

            Yeah, imagine that! Hate to break it to you, but it’s totally scattered in various places in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon (both the 1830 version and the 2013 version). You can google instances of this and then verify this in the scriptures yourself. Prophets in the past were sent to groups of people to mislead the people as a test. Since God doesn’t change and well humans are not God, it stands to reason it could still happen, regardless of the famous quote, “…the prophet will never lead the church astray…” because the whole quote is NOT based in scriptural patterns as illustrated in both the Bible and Book of Mormon.

            Do your own research. 🙂

        • Shai Hadassah
          June 30, 2016 at 10:47 am

          Yep:

          As a convert, I had a relationship with Christ before I joined the church and I will have one with Him if I get kicked out. Christ is my KING, above the prophet. I weigh everything they say as this is my duty. I’m not well received in my ward because I have this viewpoint and vocally lift it up to them on a regular basis. I challenge the culture now because as a beautiful, straight, white mother who happens to study scriptures deeply in the Greek, Hebrew and Paleo-Hebrew languages, I’m shunned. What do I have left to lose by continually lifting up Christ above the prophet?

          Um, nothing.

          I live unto Christ. I die unto Christ. Christ is the one who bought and paid for me with HIS blood, not the modern day people that hold the titles of prophets, seerers and revelators. It is unto CHRIST the KING I hold my sole allegiance to as a Citizen in HIS kingdom and HIS Father. The modern day LDS culture can just get over it in my opinion.

      • Steve
        June 29, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        People who fornicate are often in a “loving committed relationship,” but it does not change the fact that they are committing one of the worst sins anyone can commit.

        Fornication, homosexuality, and lesbianism are all sexual sin, which is, as Alma stated, “most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood.”

        These are the times when the Lord is separating the wheat from the chaff. Sexual sin will always be a sin.

        • Jack
          June 29, 2016 at 6:10 pm

          Thank you for your kind words and judgement. Most people leave those type of comments between the person and God. It is not your place to judge. I am sure you are a good Mormon, which unfortunately makes you feel superior to everyone else.

          • Steve
            June 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm

            Just passing along the doctrine of Jesus Christ, pal. It is not my judgments you are going to face. As for your false accusation, I do not feel superior to anyone. I believe in serving in the depths of humility.

            To deny Christ’s doctrine is to deny Christ, and I will not deny the Christ. Nor will I deny the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

        • Bamball
          June 29, 2016 at 6:43 pm

          http://goo.gl/w1DA4U

          In Steve’s words above, do I feel more or less Christlike love, or pharisaic judgement, than what I find in this beautiful homily written by a family for their son, a son of God with God-given personality, who was made in His image, whatever that implies or suggests.

          In my limited understanding based on trying to feel out “the fruits” of people’s righteousness, I’ll stick with the family’s Christlike words, over the pervy obsessiveness of Steve, who seems to be hung up over behavior, which Christ seemed to similarly fight constantly in his run-ins with those self righteous church leaders of the day, the scribes and Pharisees. For me and my house, I’ll settle on the side of Christ.

          • Steve
            June 29, 2016 at 9:03 pm

            So, passing along the doctrine of Christ is “pharisaic judgement,” but denying Christ’s doctrine in what you refer to as a “beautiful homily written by a family for their son” is actually “Christlike love.”

            Well did Isaiah say, “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”

            Those are Christ’s words, not mine, and you will stand before His judgment bar.

          • Bamball
            June 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm

            And there I will stand, with no one between me and Christ. As will you. I have a few questions I plan on asking, and I’m sure he will have a few chastisements to pass along to me, along with a few long-wanted answers. You may be surprised to find a few folks standing in line with you as you wait your turn, those that you didn’t think would even make it that far. And as you get closer, and see who is being sorted to the left and the right, you , as well as I, will no doubt be surprised at seeing who is being sent where. We all see through the glass, darkly. It’s part of the plan, filled with paradoxes. We all are doing the best we can, as we individually see it, then rely on the Atonement to fill in the rest.That’s my testimony, and yes, I have one.

    • July 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Steve, from across the mighty ocean, I would like to invite you to bugger off and go find another blog to spew your arrested development views.

    • July 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      What is WRONG with you? Nobody speaks about what kind of sex they have. Why do you even bring this up?

  40. Steve
    June 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    People obviously think that Jesus Christ’s church has apostasized because of this whole “gay” issue. If the church apostasized, it would mean this dispensation is over and the gospel has to be restored again before the second coming of Christ.

    It is really sad that people can be deceived to such a great degree.

    • Gay Convert Who disagrees
      June 29, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      As a convert, who left a sexually open lifestyle, with emptiness, drug and alcohol abuse and many more sins (of the past) — while I can understand the feelings….I also understand the sin involved in promiscuity of any kind and homosexuality and frankly what I believe to be the choice….even 22 years later. Is it difficult….YES! Are these powerful emotions and feelings — ABSOLUTELY! But the Doctrines of Christ is yet unchanged. The Path to Ultimate Happiness has not changed.

      As an newly called Elder’s Quorum President it is my mission to create openness and environment of trust — yet it is also my responsibility to insure doctrine is taught correctly….True…..many members are 100% ill-prepared to deal with people with different life-realities and prefer to live in their own bubble…wherever that may be. Sadly, people fail…but the Doctrine of Christ does not. However a harsh reality for the LGBT community to accept is that choosing to live that lifestyle is a sin…it is clear….and just as sinful as heterosexual promiscuity…it is sexual sin. There is a desire to run to the argument that it is not sin, it is not a choice, I should be free…..but oh how the Devil whispers that in the ears of some of his most precious children.

      • Thomas Montgomery
        June 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

        Thanks for your comment. My response would start with “the Doctrine of Christ.” Because I am quite certain Christ never spoke a word regarding homosexuality. Yet he spoke volumes about loving everyone. Of forgiving everyone as only he can judge. Unfortunately, if we are using the Doctrine of Christ as our measuring stick, the Church is under far more condemnation than LGBT people looking for love and support.

        Second, I appreciate and commend your story of turning from drug, alcohol and a sexually open lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if LGBT people could have healthy, committed, fulfilling relationships? Where they could champion monogamy, fidelity and commitment in marriage? Where they could model virtuous moral living? They can – and are!

        • July 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

          Love and support from so many of out here. We have to leave behind those who confuse their personal, indoctrinated disgust with the meaning of Christlike love. Embrace the many who have moved on. From one who loves. One of many.

      • Jack
        June 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

        That is your option and right to live a lie.

  41. Steve
    June 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    And as for those who think the word apostate comes from a word meaning runaway slave –

    apostate (n.)
    mid-14c., “one who forsakes his religion or faith,” from Old French apostate (Modern French apostat) and directly from Late Latin apostata, from Greek apostasia “defection, desertion, rebellion,” from apostenai “to defect,” literally “to stand off,” from apo- “away from” (see apo-) + stenai “to stand.”

    An apostate is one who has chosen to stand away from his religion, and that is what life is all about; making choices.

    • Steve
      June 30, 2016 at 8:24 am

      The word’s origin was Greek.

      Origin

      Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin apostata, from Greek apostatēs ‘apostate, runaway slave’.

      So you are the one that is wrong on the subject. And since we have the first last name, I am changing mine Steve1. I want no associate with a jerk like you.

  42. Allison
    June 30, 2016 at 12:15 am

    I was listening to Catholic Radio one day, when a gay man asked the Catholic leader (sorry don’t know his position) when the Catholic church would change its stance. The man said, we did not come up with this stance. God did.

    I believe the same. That God is the one who has, from the beginning of time, declared homosexual sex as sinful.

    Do you believe we can love a gay person if we do not believe it is o.k. for them to marry and have sex?

    I can tell you how accepting our family is — our dinners with gay friends, how each of our kids in high school have close gay friends they regularly do things with, our love of gay young men in our ward, etc. I just fear you won’t believe it —- or say I really don’t love them if I believe the doctrine and scriptures are clear as to the sinfulness of gay sex.

    Can we have a kind conversation about how you view my position, which I believe is the bottom line for so many Christians?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 30, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Allison, I am open to the conversation. But if you think you can find scriptural support for the statement, “God is the one who has, from the beginning of time, declared homosexual sex as sinful”, you will be sorely disappointed. There are some Old Testament references that are largely in a cultural context or in chapters where we no longer practice any of the commandments in them. And we routinely ignore things in the Old Testament that we don’t like. There is the opinion of Paul, but Paul also said celibacy was a higher virtue/path than marriage. And Paul certainly doesn’t represent “from the beginning of time”. Modern scripture is entirely silent regarding homosexuality – D&C, Book of Mormon, Peal of Great Price. And, of course, the ultimate authority, Christ, said nothing regarding homosexuality.

      So, where should we begin the discussion that “God is the one who has, from the beginning of time, declared homosexual sex as sinful”?

      • Allison
        July 1, 2016 at 12:40 am

        Oh my. I can tell you won’t change my mind, and I won’t change yours. I’ll leave this thought with you. My belief comes from scriptures, personal revelation, modern prophets, the temple, personal experience, impressions from the Spirit, etc. Just a TINY sample of experiences that have affected me–
        1. Reading in Genesis that God created male and female, and told them to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Obviously gays are not able to fulfill that commandment.) And that man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. Gen. 19 Footnote 5a, ETC.
        2. 2 Nephi 13:9 – read years ago, lots of AIDS going on, those with it lost fat in the face and you could tell by looking at them they had AIDS. Thankfully the treatments have so improved it’s not the same now! Interestingly, other translations say they “do not hide it.”
        3. Having a friend who works in the ER, and hearing about many problems gays come in with. Our bodies are not meant for anal sex. Check it out on web md — loads of bacteria, the fact that our anus was meant to keep feces inside it, etc. all cause problems. Not to mention the sexually transmitted diseases.
        4. All of God’s words on morality….the seriousness of it. The importance of being morally clean. The entire reason we are here – to gain a body, have children, prepare to be like our heavenly parents, etc. Oh there’s too much doctrine to talk about!
        5. And just recently, reading in Helaman, a parallel for our day, about how people say “do whatsoever your heart desireth,”

        Again, just a tiny sampling, but culminated with a lot more study the doctrine of Christ is absolutely clear to me.

        I love the gospel. When I study more than one work of scripture at a time, I’m amazed at how everything fits together so beautifully into one Lord and one Faith. This is how I know that homosexuality is not ordained of God. I reject that because Jesus Christ did not specifically mention it, then it is o.k.!! He even approves it! Encourages it! There are scriptures that are clear about man not lying with man, but you cannot tell me any scriptures where it says it is fine if homosexuals have sex.

        Well I don’t know that I have gotten my feelings across but I can be clear about this — I respect your right to believe whatever you want. It makes me sad you have left the church (recently just read this too – Alma 1:24 – “withdrew”). But I know it’s important to respect your beliefs. I just hope you will show respect for all of us of who do not have your beliefs.

        Love,
        Allison

        • Jack
          July 1, 2016 at 7:37 am

          You can believe whatever you want as long as you don’t discriminate against other people. You are a typical Mormon though, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hateful to the core. Casting judgement without regard to other people’s belief, circumstances or feelings.

          And you believe in a lot of nonsense. Starting with Joseph Smith, a man that cheated on his wife and married at least 34 women that are acknowledged by the Church, but most likely he married 40 or more. Some were 14 years old, there was a mother and daughter team. And he even married a couple of women that were already married to men that were still alive and serving missions. And his wife Emma was out of the loop on most of it. It is so ridiculous that I cannot fathom anyone believing in such nonsense (such as his rewrite of the bible), nor will I be lectured by someone like you, that does not have a clue and probably doesn’t even know this about your Church’s founder. And then we can move on to Brigham Young who falsely applied the curse of Cain to African blacks and made the Church members racists for over 130 years and that racism continues to this day because most members still believe the priesthood ban was of God. It wasn’t. And there is an entire sorted history of exactly where the curse of Cain philosophy came from originally. He also believed and preached about blood atonement and the Adam God theory. All of which have been discredited by the modern church. And I can go on and on and on. So quote scripture and tell me about your personal revelation and watch me roll my eyes.

          And you do have a right to believe whatever nonsense you wish, but don’t expect me to accept it. The Mormon Church and Westboro Baptist – two peas in a pod.

          • Allison
            July 1, 2016 at 12:41 pm

            Interesting that we cannot stand up for our beliefs without being called “a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hateful to the core,” and someone who casts judgment without regard to others. You tell me I believe in a lot of nonsense and don’t have a clue.

            You say all these hateful things, and then accuse me of it because I believe in God’s word, and God’s definition of marriage, and that our bodies were not meant for homosexual relations?

            And then you go off on an entirely different topic. I’d tell you about my conversion and how I came to know Joseph Smith was a prophet, but I fear my sacred experience would fall on deaf ears.

            And THIS, Thomas is exactly why the conversations are tough to have.

            I gotta move on — life it too busy!!! 😉

  43. June 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Dear Thomas,
    If this string is at all representative of what you have faced in your church experience, I don’t know how you stayed so long.
    Best Wishes to you and your entire family.
    -Active LDS friend.

  44. Cathy
    July 2, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Why must you feel a need to vocalize your unhappiness with the church. It seems to me your looking for others to support your leaving, to make you feel justified. If this is your choice, why not keep it to yourself and go on with your life. It’s like a bully who gets others to follow him as he rants and raves at his victim. It makes him feel bolder, more comfortable with what he’s doing. Go about your life and don’t try to draw others with you.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      July 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Cathy, six LDS LGBT kids in Utah took their lives just last week. I have been a vocal advocate for 4 years trying to stop or stem the tide of LDS LGBT youth suicide, depression, drug use and addiction, and homelessness. And we are failing as their are more today than their were yesterday. And the catalyst to this is the November Exclusion Policy and every attack on LGBT people (for example Elder Perry calling same sex marriages counterfeit or Elder Bednar saying that there are no gay members of the Church).

      At some point you are going to have to face the reality that the Church is the bully. And it has cost the lives of innocent youth. And I won’t be silent about that.

  45. Nathan B
    July 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I don’t know you, but I rejoice in your goodness, weep over your struggles, and share in your frustrations and anger at those too arrogant to embrace and empathize with the life journeys and conditions of all of God’s beautiful children. One day I hope such understanding and empathy will exist.

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