The Miracle of Forgiveness: An Open Letter Requesting Removal or an Update to Reflect Current Knowledge

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

President Spencer W. Kimball, twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was a respected and patient man, going above and beyond in spending time listening and corresponding with Church members and non-members. He was distressed by racism, and as an apostle he denounced racism during April’s General Conference, 1954. One of the most notable events during his presidency was to change the Church’s priesthood policy and remove all racial restrictions on ordination to the priesthood. His ability to move forward during a controversial time shows his sensitivity to the spirit. If he were alive today, I believe he would not only support the Church’s Mormonsandgays.org website but would also support the following letter written to Church-owned bookstores and members of the LDS Church:

My husband and I converted to the LDS Church in 1999. I have loved my church and new life. I began being aware of the members’ opinions regarding those who are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) during Prop 8 efforts. I stayed silent because I actually never gave the LGBT folks much thought, and this topic was new to me. However, the vitriol language used by my otherwise-loving ward members towards gay people was shocking. But, I kept silent.

Recently, the issue about whether or not to allow gays in the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) stirred up more hurtful talk. In order to educate the convert (me) about homosexuals, members including leaders would often cite the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness by Pres. Spencer W. Kimball (published 1969). So, I have obtained a copy.

Not knowing anyone who was gay or transgender, I sought to meet them to learn for myself if what the book discussed was true and to listen to their experiences. I find they are the opposite of what this book describes them to be. And, as often as I heard about the book from straight LDS members and leaders, I heard about this book even more-so from the LDS LGBT members. The application and adherence to what this book teaches about gay people have destroyed families and lives, often literally as I found story after story of suicide by our LGBT brothers and sisters — those who lost their family, ward, community and lastly hope. I can’t stay silent anymore.

I understand the value of the official Church website Mormonsandgays.org and see it as a step towards inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters. With this new direction the Church has taken regarding LGBT people, The Miracle of Forgiveness no longer reflects current Church policy nor Church counsel.  It does not appear appropriate for Church-owned booksellers to distribute a book that undermines the current Church efforts to include LGBT as welcomed and/or full-fledged members. I propose the removal and revision of The Miracle of Forgiveness because it is contradictory, perpetuates false stereotypes, leads to the rejection of  LGBT family members, and subliminally suggests suicide. I hope for conciliation between our LGBT and heterosexual members and suicide prevention. Continuation of this book as-is will be problematic for our church, resulting in more members leaving. Also, I humbly request that you, my fellow members and leaders, not use The Miracle of Forgiveness as a reference about homosexuality anymore.

Thank you for reading this far into my letter. Please take a few more moments to give consideration to a segment of our people who have been greatly mislabeled and misunderstood.

 

Demonstration of how the book contradicts current Church teachings (as clarified in the official church website Mormonsandgays.org):

Presently, the LDS Church recognizes same gender orientation and identity as a real human condition, contending that it is neither a choice nor a disease.  The Miracle of Forgiveness teaches the opposite: that homosexuality is a chosen and therefore changeable condition.

Mormonsandgays.org states that “individuals do not choose to have such attractions [and] attraction to those of the same sex, however, should not be viewed as a disease or illness.”

The Miracle of Forgiveness uses language such as initiate, beliefs, acts, practice, curable, comeback, change, treatments, and recovery (pages 80-89), which teaches that being gay is a choice and a disease/illness. By stating homosexuality is “curable” and can be “totally abandoned” or “overcome,” The Miracle of Forgiveness directly contradicts the new views expressed on the Church’s website.

Additionally, although Mormonsandgays.org does not mention self-gratification, it does teach that no one knows the cause of homosexuality, whereas The Miracle of Forgiveness asserts a cause of homosexuality is self-gratification.

-Mormonsandgays.org:  “No one fully knows the root causes of same-sex attraction.” 

-The Miracle of Forgiveness: “[Masturbation] too often leads to grievous sin, even to that sin against nature, homosexuality [and] thence into total homosexuality,” (page 78).

 

Demonstration of how Miracle of Forgiveness perpetuates stereotypes, continues to bear false witness, and gives members reasons to treat those with SSA with less respect:

Mormonsandgays.org states, “Though we don’t know everything we know enough to be able to say that same-sex attraction in and of itself is not a sin.”

The Miracle of Forgiveness takes the opposite approach when describing our LGBT brothers and sisters. Defamatory words like the following are used twenty-five times from pages 78 to 88: perversion, ugly, sin, repugnant, deviate, abominable, deviation, evil, shameful, vile, low, degenerate, (un)clean, pervert, weaklings, not normal, reprobate, offender, and weakness. The book attaches homosexuality with illegal practices and falsely states that bestiality is an extension of homosexuality (78). Additionally, it uses the testimony of someone who was arrested without saying what the man was arrested for, giving the illusion that homosexuality is an illegal behavior (83).

Mormonsandgays.org states, “Love is not to say acceptance or endorsement, but it is to say inclusion and not ostracism. We want to be with you and work together.”  The Miracle of Forgiveness, as shown above, does not promote inclusion and instead ostracizes with cruel and dehumanizing labels. It is going to be difficult to “gather in the seeds” (54) of these labels.

 

Demonstration of how it leads to rejection of LGBT family members:

Mormonsandgays.org recognizes there is a problem with families rejecting LGBT members and states, “But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere… Family members with same-sex attraction need our love and understanding.”

The Miracle of Forgiveness states, “Sometimes not heavenly but earthly parents get the blame” (85) implying that parents are to blame for producing homosexual children.  This may prompt parents to reject their LGBT child as a display of fidelity to the Church and to shun what they are taught is evil. Having an LGBT family member does not destroy the family. It’s the fearful reaction towards that member that destroys the family and communities.

 

Demonstration how The Miracle of Forgiveness subliminally suggests suicide:

The Miracle of Forgiveness teaches that merely being gay is a sin, is a choice, and can be cured. When an LGBT individual realizes he or she can’t be “cured,” hope may be lost, especially when rejected by family and community. In order to protect one’s virtue and save the family from the shame of having an LGBT child, suicide is often considered and applied. In Utah, suicide is the number one cause of death amongst our LDS LGBT youth. This book has been influential with LGBT Latter-day Saints choosing this option.

p. 63 Quoting President David O. McKay, “Your virtue is worth more than your life… preserve your virtue even if you lose your lives… do not permit yourselves to be led into temptation.”

p. 66 “…one should give his or her life rather than to yield to loss of virtue.”

p. 67 “The death penalty was exacted for it (adultery) in the days of Israel, as it was also for many of the sex sins so common in today’s society. Perhaps in no other way could such sin be controlled.”

p. 71 “…willing to suffer any penalty in order to keep his virtue.”

p. 79 “All such deviations from normal, proper heterosexual relationships…carried the death penalty under the Mosaic law.”

p. 82 Re: curing homosexuality – “How can you say the door cannot be opened until your knuckles are bloody, till your head is bruised, till your muscles are sore? It can be done.”

p. 83 “The cure is as permanent as the individual makes it and, like the cure for alcoholism is subject to continued vigilance.”

p. 86 Quoting Christ about no turning back, “ ‘No man,’ said the Savior, ‘having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,’”(Luke 9:62).

p. 89 Re: when a homosexual becomes straight – “When that person repents and corrects his life, the Lord will smile and receive him.”

 

I empathize that The Miracle of Forgiveness has been considered a special book and a standard in LDS homes, and therefore, this is likely a difficult thing to hear when I propose its immediate removal from Deseret Book bookshelves and its revision. Our LGBT members are special, also, and a standard reality in many LDS families and congregations.

Again, I am grateful for Mormonsandgays.org, but it is like a pebble gently plopped into the middle of the lake. Its ripples are barely felt over the waves caused by The Miracle of Forgiveness, Prop 8 efforts, BSA debates, housing and employment debates, etc.  God’s word may not change, but our understanding of it does. The spirit has a hard time penetrating hearts that insist on believing a certain way…a way they have been taught generation after generation.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and prayer on this very important, life-saving matter.

With much love and concern,

 

Gina Crivello

Utah County

P.S. – One final thought from Mormonsandgays.org:

“I can understand that there could have been a legitimate concern about the kind of reception one might find from a local priesthood leader in the past. But I’m convinced that today that there are so much more help and resources* available to a bishop or a local priesthood leader.” – Elder D. Todd Christofferson

 *One of those resources is Supportive Families, Healthy Children : Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children by the Family Acceptance Project, earning American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s gold seal for “BEST PRACTICE for Suicide Prevention.  Here is the link for pdf and hard copies:  http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications#faith_based     A new film that accompanies this booklet will soon be released and is called “Families Are Forever.” Here is the trailer: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/family-videos .

52 comments for “The Miracle of Forgiveness: An Open Letter Requesting Removal or an Update to Reflect Current Knowledge

  1. Jim H
    August 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Thank you. This is a timely issue. The Miracle of Forgiveness spoke to the free love generation, but turning to it for counsel on homosexual issues today is as out of place as turning to Joseph Fielding Smith’s book Doctrines of Salvation for counsel on racial issues.

    I wish the author had worded things a little differently in this piece, though. Yes, the quotes are taken from the mormonsandgays.org website, but when you just list a website as the source it doesn’t carry as much weight as it would if you included the name of the apostle who made the statement such as, “Dallin H Oaks says in his introduction to the church’s mormonsandgays website…” or “on the church’s mormonsandgays website, Elder D Todd Christofferson says…”

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Hi, Jim! Thank you for your comment. You made a good point about the citation. We did try to clarify it based on your feedback, adding “as clarified in the official church website Mormonsandgays.org.” At this time, I do not know who specifically wrote the website’s home page. It’s the Church’s as-a-whole official statement. I may look further into it if this letter is posted anywhere else. :)

  2. Mark Crego
    August 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Thank you for this very well thought-out and written message.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

      You are very welcome. :)

  3. Becky Coombs
    August 21, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Nail on the head. Gina! Thank you!!!

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Thank you, Becky!

  4. Sherri Park
    August 21, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Gina, you have done a kindness here. These messages need to be changed just like the anti-black messages once needed to be changed.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Thank you, Sherri. And thank you and Bill for the wonderful examples you are.

      When I read the old anti-black messages, something that haunts me in those messages is the phrase, “…this is how God wants it, and who are we to change God’s word/plan?” Sound familiar? That’s why I say in the letter that our understanding of God’s word changes, interpretations of the scriptures changes.

  5. Loren
    August 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    A recent article I read had the headline…”I am Christian unless you are gay”. A similar parallel statement could say…”I am Mormon unless you are gay”. Why does living Christian values work for everyone else unless a person is gay, then we are allowed to hate, mock, belittle, etc.? In all my readings of Christ’s teaching never have I read, all are to come unto me except for the gays, all will be saved except for the gays. His love and compassion was for all. Yes, the book The Miracle of Forgiveness needs to be updated. More so, the brethren need to step back a bit and remember the teachings of Christ and be up front in their counsel and teaching the members to love all, yes, even the gays.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Thank you, Loren. Your input reminded me of one of my own sayings, “Don’t be an ian, which is a Christian without Christ.”

  6. Mungagungadin
    August 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I think this article should have something to sign to submit our requests to carriers of Miracle of Forgiveness. It would be much more organized than a phone-campaign.

    • Gina
      August 25, 2013 at 4:56 am

      Thank you, Mungagungadin, for the support and suggestion. I wish with each signature there could be some sort of portal in which to view that person’s experience with that book (directly or indirectly).

  7. Cami Ashby
    August 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    How can I add my name and approval to this letter? We should combine voices with all the LDS who agree

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thank you, Cami! You are welcome to use this info in this letter to start something.

      One way to add your name in an indirect way is to recommend it on Facebook. Church officials may see the number of recommends and view that as support for its content.

  8. Cary
    August 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Brilliant post. Thank you for taking the time to put it together.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Thank you, Cary. It was a labor of love, for sure. I also have to give credit to my “editors” (aka friends) for their input for the “brilliant” part (make it shorter, add this, too much of that, say it this way…). :)

  9. Ingrid
    August 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I’d like to sign my name to this as well.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Thank you, Ingrid! I left this message on Cami’s comment, “One way to add your name in an indirect way is to recommend it on Facebook. Church officials may see the number of recommends and view that as support for its content.”

      You are more than welcome to use the info in the letter and do something with it (letter signing party to mail to headquarters as an idea).

  10. Clay
    August 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 10:05 am

      You are welcome, Clay. Thank you for taking the time to show your appreciation. :)

  11. August 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I think that this is only a small piece of why The Miracle of Forgiveness needs to be revised or disavowed. It’s sections on rape and sexual sin are just as deeply hurtful, and rape victims who are told to read it as they “repent” also have a high suicide rate. I think that a campaign/petition that allows people to ask for its recall, should have as broad a base as possible, and for that there needs to be a look at the entire book, and more sources than just the website, if we want enough people to be involved, to get attention from church leaders. I know that there are a lot of people who overlap in having both a gay family member or friend, and having a family member or friend who has been raped. Some would hesitate to sign something that only mentions one of the problematic issues with the book, but would be more likely to identify more strongly, (and feel less fear of ostracism) if there were multiple issues listed for the reasons behind it being discontinued.

    The reality is that bishops are still using church funds to buy this book and give it to members who have been raped.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

      Hi, Julia! I agree about the other hurtful items in the book. There are many questionable items. In discussions I’ve had with others about things in the book that aren’t quite right, people say, “There’s this. And how about that.” So, you are not alone in the points you made.

      When I originally wrote this letter, I had to think who the audience was: the General Authority and Deseret Book. I felt it had to be short and to the point showing undeniable contradictions, otherwise they may not read it. My goals are for people not to use that book as a reference and to pay attention to the Church’s counsel to be kind (and understand that being LGBT is not a choice nor illness). Then I decided to share that letter here, personalizing it towards members.

      I whole-heartedly agree (painfully so) that the topic of rape and repentance needs to be addressed better. (Would that be something that you would like to do?)

      Thank you for your input.

  12. Xenophon
    August 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Proposed libricide is a little too reminiscent of past oppressive regimes. By the same logic, one could propose the removal of this website because it ostracizes heterosexuals and subliminally condones homosexual behavior. I, for one, am not convinced.

    • Daniel Parkinson
      August 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Deseret Book has a unique role in our community, in that it only sells approved publications, and the very presence of any book there is interpreted by members as a church endorsement of that book. You might take note that there are many books that are no longer sold there including Bruce McConkie’s book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ specifically because it does not reflect current Mormon doctrine even though it was written by a General Authority who later became an Apostle (note the Spencer W. Kimball was an Apostle when he wrote ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness’).

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

      My biggest goal is for leaders and members to not use that book as a reference to hurt others anymore and to instead follow the Church’s council to be kind and to understand that being LGBT isn’t a choice nor an illness.

      I’m not seeking that the book be burned; it’s part of history to look back at and see how far our understanding has come. But like Daniel said, if a church bookstore sells it (and leaders distribute it), then members assume it’s God’s word. It is not.

      This website doesn’t ostracize heterosexuals. It ostracizes the perpetuation of hate.

  13. ldsmember
    August 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Although I appreciate your effort in helping the GLBT community, I feel no revision is required. The Miracle of Forgiveness is a book who talks boldly against SIN, not sinner. It prevents people from suffering the consequences of bad choices. It doesn’t condemn same gender-attraction: It condemns immoral behavior. Masturbation, sexual relationships outside of the boundaries of marriage and any other impure practice are bad because are not in harmony with God’s plan (and here I’m not talking about people with same gender attraction only. Heterosexual people who transgress the commandments of God will be accountable as well). Saying that, I totally agree the way that MANY of the members of our church see homosexuality MUST CHANGE. Same Gender attraction is not something you choose, and church members should understand that. It’s not a disease, it’s not a mental disorder, it’s not a sin. ACTING on any kind of immoral way according to the commandments of the Lord, now that’s sin. Members should embrace and help those who may feel excluded because of their feelings, so they can find the courage to make their own decisions in order to live in happiness both in this life and the next one. We must change our attitude, but not our doctrine, And this comment comes from someone who has Same Gender Attraction.

    • Micah Unice
      August 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      ldsmember, if you truly believe everything you just typed, then you have an inherent misunderstanding of the gospel. I pray there is no one LGBT close to you, because you inflict this ignorant drivel on them, you will be responsible for much needless suffering.

      • Ambrose Pencil
        August 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        Micah, what is wrong with his understanding of the gospel? Can you point to a verse where God condones sin? I would say that he’s pretty close (I don’t know the accuracy specifically regarding TMOF) if not right on in stating that neither God nor the church nor leaders endorse or condone sinful behavior, which includes homosexuality. But having those feelings, attractions, etc. is not in and of itself sinful.
        What you seem to suggest is that if one does not completely endorse the behavior of the LGBT community, then that one is the cause of suffering, etc.

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Hi, ldsmember. Thank you for your comment. The basic concept of the book to avoid destructive behavior in order to live a harmonious life is a good one. And you are correct when you said SSA is not something you choose, a disease, mental disorder, nor a sin. This book, though, teaches that merely being gay is a choice, disease, mental disorder, and a sin — there’s no separation. It is not doctrine. One way to have members change their attitudes as you wisely pointed out, is to get them to understand that this book is not doctrine. It never was doctrine. It was written by a man who was an apostle at the time. He was given an assignment. This book is the result of that assignment, and he even says within the first pages that any mistakes in this book are his. He was a good man that did his best with the information he understood at the time. The fruits of that labor, though, need to be looked at.

      I hope you have never felt excluded and know that you being gay/ssa is okay. (hug)

  14. Rodrigo
    August 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    This is a great article- very well written and clear. This proves that we are a living church and God continues to speak to us.
    I must share that a list is going to do no good. There have been plenty of lists written and sign to cause change, but sometimes nothing gets done. We ought to be examples and teachers to those who are ignorant to people who think differently than we do. If we want something to change, make sure that we are impacting what we can (our homes, our workplace, our meeting houses-wards and branches, and our neighborhoods).

    • Gina
      August 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Thank you, Rodrigo! I’m glad you liked the article. I’ll share with you something interesting that happened to me while writing it. Last year, I was really sad and discouraged about being a member of a church which I loved but saw hurting others. I was at a crossroads and felt powerless. I seriously thought about not being a member anymore.

      Then I began my research and writing. I began learning about each apostle and member of the presidency as I personalized each letter to them. I began learning that I can have an opinion, vote my conscience, and speak up as long as I don’t ridicule leaders. Something inside me changed. My heart softened toward our leaders as human beings (even if I may not agree with their opinions). I grew more peaceful. Yes, things that members ignorantly say still upset me, but my confidence and peace inside grew. It’s because I took action. I didn’t stand by and watch.

      My letter may not make any difference towards The MofF being on bookshelves or not. But it made a difference within me. Making a list of signatures, mailing campaigns, etc. may not change the location of the book, but it could change the condition of the people’s hearts and spirits who participated knowing they are following through with what they feel is right.

      And, yes, we must start at the local level, too, as you said. :)

  15. Kent Flake
    August 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Yes I agree that there are some things in Miracle of Forgiveness that don’t quite coincide with current teachings on gays. I’m an active gay mormon but a lot of stuff referenced in this letter is totally based on how someone interprets what is said. When you are quoting about giving your life before losing virtue is not saying take your life so you don’t have to lose your virtue. The church does not need to change it’s doctrine on eternal marriage. We all have a choice of acting on our attractions. Parents and members need to teach true doctrine and let others govern themselves. Then is where parents and members are at fault is when someone chooses to follow their attractions, they still need the love that is what is causing youth to commit suicide. Love needs to come no matter what.

    I just met with my own bishop and did not agree with everything that he said but he was like, you have your agency but whatever you choose is up to you. I still feel love from him even though we don’t agree. I feel love from my family even though they don’t understand. I know this isn’t normal but it is my life.

    • Gina
      August 26, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Thank you, Kent, for sharing. President Kimball would never endorse suicide and even denounces it in this book. You are correct in pointing out the people interpret things differently (including art, scriptures, etc.).

  16. Madison
    August 24, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I just wanted to say thank you. As a lesbian who left the church for the very reasons you detailed in the article I am very grateful that someone has taken the time to acknowledge the fact that the way LGBT members are being treated in the church is..well…awful in many cases. And I appreciate that you are trying to raise awareness about the issue and attempt to start the very long process of becoming more loving and accepting to the LGBT community. So thank you.

    • Gina
      August 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Madison, thank you for taking the time to write. Your comment means a lot to me. I’m sorry for any mistreatment you had to endure. (hug)

  17. Ambroe Pencil
    August 26, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I think it’s also important to remember that at the time, even the scientific world considered homosexuality to be a mental disorder. It was not just LDS leadership, nor the LDS church, nor Christians, nor Americans who understood it this way. It was a scientific classification. Perspectives have changed and I don’t see any reason to even be harping on an older, unofficial publication when there is current, more official material available that takes a different, more mainstream approach.

    • Gina
      August 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Ambroe Pencil, you are completely correct. Now, if only we could get the leaders and members to agree and to actually be aware of and use the current, official material. Thousands of copies of The Miracle of Forgiveness continue to be sold yearly. It’s still a currently-used item. For example, there are stake presidents who buy several and hand them out. This is happening now.

  18. Mike
    August 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Gina,

    Great article and one I wish everyone in the Church would read and take to heart. Far too many members, including the leaders, need to be more Christlike and truly love ALL of God’s children. I’m a member, but one really struggling with many of the Church history issues and the position the church has taken in the past as is taking currently. I used to be “sure” that being gay was a choice. I now no longer believe that and my heart goes out to all those hurt by the church (members) and their treatment of those dealing with this issue.

    • Gina
      August 30, 2013 at 6:17 am

      Thank you, Mike! I can relate to struggling with church history, especially when it is covered up instead of being owned and discussed to learn from. It sometimes helps me when I focus on what the church stands for today — kind of like being proud to be an American; I’m ashamed of our history of slavery and other atrocities, but it continues to try to be better and so many sacrifice for our freedoms. So, regarding the church, what it stands for today is mostly good. But, if the fruits of members’ labor result in more discrimination and oppression, I’m not sure what to do next. I want to be part of something positive, that’s why I joined. I want to be part of something where members (and leaders) do things out of joy and gratitude, not out of shame or fear of hell or to get some reward.

  19. Kelly
    August 28, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Oh thank you so much. I am so glad that I am no the only Mormon who sees this for what it really is and I am so glad to know that I am not alone. I have several gay and lesbian family members who are so special to me and its so hard to see members of my family hate them so much because of what they have been taught instead of listening to their hearts. I cant say thank you enough.

    Kelly

    • Gina
      August 30, 2013 at 6:26 am

      “…because of what they have been taught …” — Kelly, that’s truth right there. Hate for LGBT is not a naturally-occurring thing.

      I appreciate your comment because I, too, have felt alone in my convictions. I was starting to become rather depressed about it until I found like-minded groups on-line earlier this year.

      • Ambrose Pencil
        September 16, 2013 at 12:21 am

        Hate is not something I learned at church or from Priesthood leaders, either though. I think this has been narrowed down too far instead of looking at how society as a whole has viewed it for the past few hundred years.

  20. David T. Reid
    August 31, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    As teenage, I personally wrote a letter to President, Spencer W. Kimball. In the letter I share with him my belief and faith in the gospel and my patriarchal blessing. It was also where I shared my feelings of same sex attraction. Innocently, I did not realize that it would result in movement to cure me of my homosexuality. I am well aware of “The Miracle of Forgiveness” as I was given one to read. In short, the message throughout was one of eternal damnation; and moreover, that there was no forgiveness unless I changed my behavior, which it concluded could be done. This book was an instrument that brought me to attempt suicide, because if I could not change myself then I surely must end my existence.

    • Gina
      September 1, 2013 at 5:58 am

      Then this letter, David, I dedicate to honor you and so many who have had a similar experience. Thank you for sharing this, and I am so glad you are here to do so.

      • David T. Reid
        September 1, 2013 at 8:20 am

        Thank you for your thoughtful and caring comments. I sincerely appreciate them. Gina, I love the gospel with all my heart, mind, strength, and soul; and this I know, I am alive today only because of our Heavenly Father. I live today for what reason or purpose, I don’t know. As much as I rather be gone from this earthly place, I remain here until the day I am called away. Until then, if I can help one person not go through the heartbreaking experiences I have, then I will feel I made a difference in the world. It has not been an easy road to travel alone. The teachings of the church come close to the heart of God, but still remain distant in its inclusion of all God’s Children.

        • Gina
          September 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm

          More and more of us are coming around so you don’t feel so alone. Would you be interested in different groups like LDS Family Fellowship, Affirmations: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, and/or Mormons Building Bridges?

          • David T. Reid
            September 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm

            Hi Gina,

            It is “Good News” to hear that things are starting to come around. It gives me a sense of hope that perhaps the suicide rate among gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender LDS members will get better. Any life lost to suicide is one life too many. It breaks my heart that so many beautiful souls die every day, week, month, and year. When, in truth, all they desired was for us to love them. I appreciate your suggestion of trying to connect with other church related groups or organizations. Sadly, I must report, I have reached out to groups and organizations like those mentioned with little or no response in return. Also, I must say, I have tried to join groups and organizations within the gay community, but had the same experience. Silence in itself speaks louder than words. A man can only knock so many times before he realizes no one is going to answer the door. Nonetheless, I have knocked on the Lord’s door and He has heard me; and hence, our Heavenly Father has blessed me; but my kindred have rejected me.

  21. Gina
    September 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I’m sorry, David, that those groups didn’t work out for you. That would be frustrating. I understand not wanting to try again, but maybe down the road there will be new people, and things will connect. But I am glad you have found peace within Heavenly Father’s arms.

    • David T. Reid
      September 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you, Gina. Your words truly touch my heart. My life has been a bitter sweet one. You don’t always get what you wish for and dreams don’t always come true. However, I don’t see the glass as being half empty, but being half full. You live with what has been given to you and you give thanks to god for the blessings you have. Ask not for more than what is needed so none are wasted in vain. I have tried to fit-in here and there. But, I realize more and more there is no place where I do. I am like an old cowboy riding off into the blazing sunset looking for somewhere to sleep beneath a blanket of glowing stars on the prairie all alone.

      • Gina
        September 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

        David, I have something for you. It’s a little silly, I know, but I hope it makes you smile. I tweaked an Elvis song for you. I changed the word “lonesome” to just lone, because I have a feeling you may not identify as lonesome while enveloped in Heavenly Father’s love. I also changed the last set of lyrics. :)

        Just beyond the mountain lies a city,
        And I hear it calling me,
        “Saddle up and ride, you lone cowboy.
        Here is where you’ll find your destiny.”

        In my dreams the lights shine bright and pretty
        Near to me and yet so far.
        Will I always be a lone cowboy?
        Am I only reaching for a star?

        Will I ever leave this lonesome valley?
        Really see the lights that shine?
        Gotta find what lies beyond the mountain
        Gotta rope and tie that dream of mine.

        I am just a lone cowboy
        Sleeping on the prairie
        The stars are my blanket
        It’s peaceful living solitary.

        Read more: Elvis Presley – Lonesome Cowboy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

        • David T. Reid
          September 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm

          Gina,

          That is so sweet of you… thank you so much for cheering me up… I love Elvis’ music and voice. God bless you.

          A Lonesome Trail ©
          by David T. Reid

          In the shadow
          of the mountains
          far from the sea

          Where the horses
          gallop wild and free

          Is a place where
          the amber fields
          rise up to touch
          the golden sun

          In a place where
          tall cactus grow
          and creeks run

          Where cattle roam
          under big blue skies

          And a cowboy
          can spread his wings
          like an eagle can fly

          There’s a place
          beneath the stars
          and the moon

          Where I travel
          down a dusty trail
          back to my home

          All rights reserved.

          • Gina
            September 11, 2013 at 9:23 am

            Now THAT is a good cowboy poem. Thank you! It brings me back to the Arizona desert where I was raised and still call home.

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