Gay Marriage And My Grandmother

By John Crofts

When I was a student at BYU I was given an assignment to interview my grandmother (Gay Marriage among the zillion questions).

My grandmother was an amazing woman. Her mother died leaving my grandmother to raise her younger siblings. My grandmother cared for her sick father during the 1918 Pandemic… luckily, her care of my great-grandfather allowed him to survive–and she and her younger siblings were not left as orphans.

Grandma grew up suffering loneliness from not having a mother…. but Grandma nurtured and helped her younger siblings. Grandma helped her single father and family survive anyway. Grandma left her homeland (after her siblings were adults), fell in love with my grandfather, moved to Utah and started a family–raising my mother and her other children Mormon.

My grandfather passed away–leaving Grandma with eight children (the youngest still in diapers). Grandma finished raising her children–alone.

Grandma told me during my interview that she had no idea she would be alone (without a husband) for 40 years. She said that had she known (when her husband died) that she would be alone for 40 years–she could not have tolerated the deep loneliness.

Grandma told me suffering loneliness is the harshest of God’s punishments. She told me that she could not think of a worse punishment from God than to be without someone, and to be alone.

My Grandfather was the bishop of their ward and they were at the center of the social hub in Utah. After his death Grandma was pushed to the outside of the social circle. She not only lost her husband, but lost friends, social involvement, and the support from the Mormon culture.

I asked Grandma about her opinions on Gay Marriage (part of my assignment). Grandma said she lived without a mother and lived without a husband for over 50 years. She said she felt the sting of loneliness more than most people. Grandma said that she was better qualified to have an opinion on Gay Marriage than anyone else in our family–because she lived loneliness.

Grandma said because she suffered loneliness so much she thought it would be all right to be gay because nothing is worse than loneliness. She said if being gay and being in a gay relationship would stop loneliness that she was in favor of Gay Marriage. Grandma said she didn’t understand “gay”, but if it helped others to avoid the suffering she endured that she was all for it.

Grandma’s compassion, understanding, experience, and life are not included in the current Gay Marriage discussions. I was looking at the photos of all the Mormon couples who showed up at the State Capital to demonstrate against Gay Marriage. The women in the photos were all beautiful women (with highlighted hair). They were all the “pretty people” who have spouses. It was apparent they all had families. It didn’t look to me like they go to bed alone or suffer any degree of loneliness.

The Mormons and everyone who are so against Gay Marriage enjoy intimacy, love, and happiness from having a spouse. It seems to me my Grandmother’s compassion, empathy, and suffering (from loneliness) is absent in today’s discussion.

3 comments for “Gay Marriage And My Grandmother

  1. Lindsey
    June 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    While I love hearing about your grandmother’s life, it is definitely heartbreaking to think of enduring that loneliness for so long. I am a Moon woman, who is single in her mid-thirties. While my friends have gotten married and raised families, I’ve felt lonely and left out of social events that involve couples or families as well. And while I don’t diminish your grandmother’s pain (because I feel that pang of loneliness daily), it’s harsh to say that she was forced out of a social circle. For me it’s less comfortable to be in the social corpe that constantly reminds me of what I’m missing. Instead I’ve joined other circles, like being with other single people, or even embracing and caring for my friends and families children.

    Also, it’s most certainly not just the perfect married people who oppose gay marriage. I love all my friends for who they are, not who they want to sleep with, but I don’t believe in making gay marriage legal either. Such generalizations and opinions of those who you don’t see eye to eye with make it hard for me to give you credibility.

    I do agree that loneliness is one of the most horrible things that I’ve had to bear, and I can at least have hope that one day I’ll find someone to marry, AND be able to do so with God’s blessing. So I can’t comprehend their pain. I wish I could take that away, or give them hope, but that’s not mine to give.

    Also, I don’t believe that loneliness is God’s punishment. I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this. It’s just one of the trials of life. One of the fuels that adds to the refiners fire. And as your grandmother has endured it for so long, she has clearly become a remarkable, loving, and selfless woman. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • John Crofts
      June 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      I hope that you find a worthy spouse, and do not have to suffer loneliness much longer. Perhaps you carry your burdens better than many other Saints.

      • Lindsey
        June 1, 2014 at 10:23 pm

        Thank you, John. That was very kind. I hope so too, but if not… I’ll try to continue seeing the silver lining. There have been many times that my burden has broken my spirit, so I don’t expect I’ll always bear them well… Or at all. I’d never wish a life of loneliness on anyone.

        (Sorry for the typos earlier… A *moon woman? Should say *Mormon. And circles, not corpe)

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