During my recent trip to Utah, my dad and I had a talk the night before my husband Göran and I were to return to Minneapolis.
We were discussing the problem of LGBT homeless youth. I mentioned that on the mormonsandgays.org website, Elder Quentin L. Cook was quoted saying “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
We talked about the fact that one of my childhood friends and a member of the ward I grew up in experienced pretty much total rejection by his dad. (His mom would have been more accepting, but his father was pretty adamant.) This friend of mine recently died from AIDS-related complications in California, alienated from his family. Dad and I wondered what a difference it might have made in his life if his father had — twenty years ago — read words like the ones uttered recently by Elder Cook.
My dad said: “In my last temple worthiness interview, I told my Stake President about you and your marriage with Göran. I told him that we love you and support you 100%, that you are both fully integrated into our family. I told him that if he felt that caused a worthiness issue, he could take away my temple recommend if he felt that was necessary, but that I felt the only right thing to do was to love you and support you unconditionally.”
I was surprised. I didn’t know if my dad had ever discussed me and my husband, or our relationship with any Church leaders. I found it deeply moving that he would say something like this to his Stake President, even as I felt a bit awkward… I would never want my dad to lose his temple recommend over me. I need my dad active and praying for his family in the temple!
Dad told me that his Stake President responded, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. In loving your son in this way, you are doing just what the Lord would have you do.”
After absorbing the import of what Dad had just told me, and after expressing thanks for his Stake President’s response, I said, “Some day, Stake Presidents will deny temple recommends to parents who kick their gay kids out of the home.”