John Gustav-Wrathall

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JOHN GUSTAV-WRATHALL is Senior Vice President of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons and adjunct professor of American Religious History at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, where he teaches future Protestant ministers about Mormonism (and other religions).  He is the author of Take the Young Stranger by the Hand: Same-sex Relations and the YMCA (University of Chicago Press, 1998), has published articles in Sunstone and Dialogue on being gay and Mormon, and is the author of the Young Stranger blog.

John has been an activist for greater understanding of LGBT people since the 1980s on college campuses, in churches and faith-based organizations, and most recently on behalf of marriage equality in his home state of Minnesota.  Over the years he has spoken in churches and community forums, on university campuses and in religious assemblies and conferences (including at the Sunstone Symposium and at Affirmation conferences) about the issues affecting LGBT people in communities of faith.

Though excommunicated from the LDS Church, John has a testimony, and has been active in his south Minneapolis ward since 2005. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his husband of over twenty years, to whom he was legally married in Riverside, California in July 2008, and with whom he has foster parented three sons.

3 comments for “John Gustav-Wrathall

  1. Christanne
    January 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I just listened to your entire podcast on Mormon stories (to and from work). I was so touched by your journey. I am active LDS and really no contact with the Mormon LGBT community but really want to learn about the subject. I appreciated your perspective. All the best!

  2. David Else
    March 28, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you for you expressions and living your choices. LDS gender understanding is very clear. My question has to do with spirits that are in our bodies or the “Breath of Life”. My explanation of what I hear is that a female spirit inhabits a male body. The problem with that is proof. Does it make god a liar by having been born male but identifying with female. What happens when we die. Do we have a choice as to the body we get in resurrection. Do we learn after this life how to actually be male (assuming god did not make a mistake)

  3. November 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Dear John,

    I just listened to both recent local podcasts on Radio West, Nov.2 and 3, 2016 with Doug Fabrizio, and I was so touched and moved by your comments, especially closing on Nov.2, that I wanted to express my strong sympathy and admiration for your journey, your experience and your position. But last not least also for your compassionate and respectful language, not showing any (apparent?) grudge or resentment towards the LDS Church and your past, but showing your conviction that it is all about happiness and loving others and finding your own way.
    Congrats, I found that very inspiring!

    I myself am a Buddhist and I’m organizing a local Meditation Group here in SLC which has a very open and LGBT-friendly philosophy, and to everyone in general.
    In Buddhism, and I can talk from the lineage I belong to, the LGBT question is not an issue per se of content of faith, nor is the gender role, which I found empowering and liberating.
    The distinction is only made between ordained and non-ordained Buddhists, regarding sexual activity.
    I have followed this general and difficult discussion here regarding the Churches 2015 apostate ruling with interest, compassion and a good amount of concern, I have to admit.
    This goes along with most recent political events in this country.

    Here is my wish: May no one ever be separated from their happiness and and have a free possibility and right to manifest it wherever and whenever.

    Thanks again!

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