A Mormon Boy’s Mission to Save His Father

A mormon's mission to save his father

I was told my father was gay when I was 10 years old.  My mom wanted to tell me and my brother before spending a few weeks with my dad and his side of the family to make sure we didn’t overhear anyone and be taken off guard.  How does a mother explain that to a 10 and 13 year old?  I shrugged my shoulders and my brother asked how it could happen to our dad, and my mom did the best she could.

When I was 14 I connected with something in religion.  I had gone to church like everyone else until this point, but there was something about deep study of the scriptures that felt so good and invigorating.  I had a desire to be obedient, fulfill everything god had sent me here to do, and a hunger for learning new things.  I set out to study the Old Testament in depth using one of the church’s manuals; I still remember the moment vividly . . .

Sitting on my couch in the front room of our house on Dover Street, my Bible on the coffee table before me, I read a passage describing the despair of hell.  There are times when a concept you’ve heard about your whole life leaves the realm of thought and enters experience; when you don’t just understand something with your head, but feel it on a new level.

The passage described the darkness, depth of agony, and endless despair people in hell will suffer.  I went there; in my mind I left the earth and went out into space, into the most lonely place imaginable: no light, no other people, just me left to my thoughts.  Left to ponder on the selfish decisions I made in life, and wishing I had acted differently.  Wishing someone had reached me before it was too late.  When I opened my eyes I was crying, my mind turned towards my dad.  My dad . . . not just some stranger I could write off.  I didn’t know him very well; my parents were divorced when I was one.  But I knew I didn’t want him to suffer for eternity like that, and if there was anything I could do to help him wake up before it was too late I was going to do it.

I latched onto that thought like a drowning man in a squall.  I felt a peace, a confidence, that God wasn’t going to let him suffer.  I felt a conviction that God loved him and He knew this was going to happen.

That’s why I was born.

Hopefully none of you know the exact date of your conception; most parents wouldn’t be able to tell you even if they wanted to.  But I know mine . . . because my parent’s relationship was almost at its end: intimacy wasn’t happening.  But one night my mom had a dream: one of the vivid ones left un-muddled by sleep, still very alive when you awaken.  In that dream a tall, blonde man came to her and asked, “Will you let me come?”  She fought against it because it didn’t make sense, but decided to follow the dream anyways, and when she found out she was pregnant she knew it was a boy without a doubt.  I was told this story from a very young age; my mom loved me and wanted me to know how precious I was to her.  How important I was to her.

“Why?  Why was it important,” I thought, “that I be born to this family?”   In the front room of our Kaysville house, at age 14, the reason was made clear.  I was to be an instrument in God’s hands to bring my father back to the Gospel.  I was promised by God that if I was faithful my father would have another solid chance at returning.  Others in the family were to be important in this as well, but this was my mission.

__

I was sitting across from him at grandparent’s house in their sun room.  I was a bold boy of 17 and needed to talk to him alone, so I asked if we could chat for a second.  The others in the room left to give us privacy and I went to grab the Book of Mormon I had marked for him.  I had fasted and prayed to be guided, but had no clue what to say.  I told him I was thinking about him, that we had never talked about why he left and that I’d like to know.  He told me he “didn’t want to hurt me,” and he had promised my mother he wouldn’t try to sway us, so he couldn’t go into the specifics.  He mentioned that it was not easy, that there was a lot he found in the history of the church that was very troubling, and eventually he didn’t believe it anymore.  I bore my testimony and gave him the Book of Mormon I had prepared, and asked him to read what I had marked on his flight home.  My brother, Nate, was so proud of me, so proud of how bold I was, and said he was going to talk more openly with Dad again, like he had in the past.

__

Hot water flowed through my hair and over my face, I looked up, the morning light glowing through the shower’s translucent window, and thought about where I was.  “Normal Illinois, the first area of my 2 year mission.”  It was finally here, my preordained mission to take the joy of the gospel to many others.  It was like waking up in the MTC after my first night of sleep: it was hard to believe.  I had planned for this my whole life.  Do you ever think about what your loved ones are doing right now?  Right at this moment?  Whether your girlfriend is looking at the same moon, even though you’re separated by thousands of miles?  I thought of my dad, thought “maybe he’s showering right now too.”  I felt a loneliness for him: certainly his life must be shallow and non-fulfilling.  Surface-level happiness, the kind that comes with the “eat, drink, and be merry” life . . . he probably had that.  But true joy like I had . . . he couldn’t have it without Christ.

__

Elder Minnesota and I were teaching Anneliese, who had been investigating the church for a few months.  She was atheist, her husband was Jewish, her children were taught about everything, and she had a deep love of people.  During the conversation she became quiet and when asked about it she said she had a serious concern; she had many gay friends, great people who loved each other even more than her straight friends, and she just couldn’t see that it was a bad thing.  Elder Minnesota, the senior companion, tried to take the lead but didn’t know what to say.  So I opened up, told her about my dad, and immediately started crying uncontrollably.  I hate how my mouth turns upside down when I start to cry . . . it makes it impossible to talk like a normal person.  This was the first time I told anyone who wasn’t extremely close to me about my dad.  It was therapeutic; obviously I needed to talk about it.  She asked me, a concerned look on her face, “Why do you think your dad can’t be happy because he’s gay?”  That was the first time anyone had asked me that.

__

I now, for the first time in my life, have a close relationship with my father.  The conversation has changed because I no longer have it in the back of my mind that he needs to change.  My questions changed from “Why did you leave?” to “What was it like?

And that makes all the difference.

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60 thoughts on “A Mormon Boy’s Mission to Save His Father

  1. I remember how deeply intelligent your dad was, how spiritually inclined, how studious, and how lofty his understanding of the scriptures. But sooner or later it seems that our desire for deep understanding runs into conflict with some corrupt part of our nature. Your dad started to deal with the corruption, discovered how painful it would be, lost faith, and turned to a philosophy that redefines what corruption is. Emotional pain is extremely hard to bear, as you have experienced yourself. It can either make or break a man. I have endured a deep, dark abyss of loneliness myself, and can relate. I believe all must go through their own gethsemane, as part of their eternal upbringing. Few come out of it victorious, it seems, but in the end the victory, or non-victory, has to come as a result of our own choice and not God’s interference — otherwise He would not be creating us in His own image. He provides the circumstances and opportunities and reveals the principles that enlighten our minds; but we are the ones who choose the outcome. That choice is what determines whether we are to be increased or diminished in our possession of light and knowledge.

    • Hey Chuck, sorry if I don’t respond to every comment, but you should know I’m reading each one 🙂 As I told someone else, the main purpose of the comments are to give me an idea of what questions or points of clarification I can touch upon in subsequent posts. Although I continually seek to learn and better myself, I am confident in the philosophy I hold and there is almost no chance I would go back to believing in God. Even if I don’t directly respond to each comment I’ll do my best to touch on a topic relevant to what most people are asking or commenting about to clarify my position; the goal being understanding and bridge building.

      • Jefferson,

        You told Chuck, sorry if you don’t respond to every comment, but he should know you are reading each one As you told someone else, though I hope you don’t
        agree with your uncle’s bigotry and I don’t think you do. The main purpose of the comments are to give you an idea of what questions or points of clarification you can touch upon in subsequent posts. Although you continually seek to learn and better yourself, you are confident in the philosophy you hold and there is almost no chance you would go back to believing in the false Abrahamic god. Even if you don’t directly respond to each comment You’ll do your best to touch on a topic relevant to what most people are asking or commenting about to clarify your position; the goal being understanding and bridge building but, keep in mind
        that you should not build a bridge in order to tolerate someone’s elses bigotry.
        I myself would never tolerate or accept someone’s else’s bigotry and I will not
        leave the homophobic and anti-sexual views of fundamentalist religious persons
        to go unchallenged as far too much harm has been done because of religiously-
        inspired homophobia, transphobia and sexophobia geared towards lgbt and straight, whether married or unmarried or partnered or even prejudice towards
        folk of other religious, spiritual or non-religious statuses or races and ethnicites. I learned a long time ago not to accept bigotry
        and hate and to challenge ago after leaving the JWs who are prime example
        of a hateful and bigoted group of people. Just look up information from both
        current and former members of the Jebobah’s Witless church and see for yourself.
        I am recovering from all forms of religiously-inspired hate and find strength in
        combatting it as leaving into go uncriticized and unchallenged will only result in
        severe consequences. Never accept or tolerate hatred and prejudice Jeff. I’m sure there are SOME but, not ALL members of the Mormonic church who would
        want to kill and would do it if they thought they could get away with it for you being
        an ‘apostate’ and an atheist at that and they are probably prejudiced towards you.
        I hope you will learn and grow more through your experiences and beliefs as an
        atheist as I can already tell you have potential. Jefferson, I hope you will keep in
        mind with what I said: NEVER under any circumstances, never tolerate , accept,
        agree with or embrace bigotry and hatred even if it’s emotional as it will only destroy you and I also recommend this to the Mormons and all other religious
        people.

    • From this comment, for example, I’ll try to touch on the “thorn in the side” idea – that, like Paul talked about his perpetual issues that always nagged at him, we each have our struggles – and the idea that homosexuality is just another type of thorn. But I’ll speak about that later, in a post where I can more fully explain myself.

      • Touching on the ‘thorn in the side’ idea is interesting though it’s stupid. Paul’s
        ‘perpetual ideas’ that nagged at him are wrong to me. I don’t believe Paul even
        existed. He was a damned lunatic. He was actually the founde of Christianitsm,
        not Cheesus. Cheesus was a Jew who hated Gentiles with a passion. We each
        have are own ‘struggles’ that is true, but Paul’s ‘recommendations’ for dealing with
        these ‘struggles’ are not ‘advice’ that I would follow and I don’t agree with it.
        The ‘idea’ as pathetic as it is that homosexuality is ‘just another type of thorn’
        is a flawed and bigoted statement and is just plain wrong. Homosexuality is
        not just ‘another type of thorn’. It is a sexual orientation. Paul’s homophobia is
        a type of thorn and so is his bizarre views on woman. Homosexuality is NOT
        ‘another’ type of ‘thorn’ and Paul’s views on homosexuality and gay sex are entirely wrong and I reject them and condemn them, ridicule them and ignore
        them as being nothing more than the ignorant rantings of a religious lunatic.
        None of those authors understood the concept of sexual orientation or
        the psychology and physical aspects of sexual lovemaking through pleasure.
        Their unnatural and abnormal obession with ‘procreative’ sex has really caused
        too much strife in the subsequent centuries since the Jewish and Christian religious texts were written. The ignorant and bigoted authors of the boolbe
        which is not ‘holy’ or ‘infallible’ to me, and the homophobia embraced by Chuck should know that not everyone
        is a heterosexual. Not everyone was ‘meant to be’ a heterosexual and not
        everyone is ‘going to be’ heterosexual and nobody can ‘become’ heterosexual as much as they like to delude themselves into thinking otherwise. The world is a complicated place and
        is not based upon your personal interpretation of a religious text that was written
        by people with a limited knowledge of the world and their views as well as that
        of Chuck’s are wrong and are a form of prejudice. There have always been,
        there are and always will be people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered or are some other sexual or gender minority. There are , always have been and there will always
        be people who engage in romantically and sexually active relationships with
        another person of the same gender or seek out a successfully complete a gender
        reassignment change no matter what religious fanatics do, think, believe or say.
        That’s the way its , always has been that way and it will always be that way as
        homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, gay sexual lovemaking
        and gender reassignment changes are not going anywhere and will always exist in
        one way or another in both the animal and human species.

    • Chuck,

      His dad might be intelligent. ‘Religiously inclined’ and studious’ and his ‘lofty’
      understanding of the ‘scriptures’. Your desire for deep understanding does
      not run into ‘conflict’ with some ‘corrupt’ part of your nature. His dad started to deal with what is not a ‘corruption’ and it is not ‘painful’ for him by being gay,
      Lost his religious belief which is okay and turned to a philosophy that does
      not ‘redefine’ what ‘corruption’ is. Emotional pain is extremely hard to bear as
      he experienced himslef. It can make you or break you. I disagree that all must
      not go through their own ‘gethsemane’ as I do not believe there is such a thing
      and it is not part of some ‘eternal unbringing’ as I don’t believe in ‘eternal upbringings’. More than ‘few’ vomr out of it victorious it seems but in the end victory or non-victory it seems has to come of our own chouces and not
      some god’s ‘inteference’ as no god will intefere. There is no ‘otherwise’ an he
      did not creat us in ‘his own image’. We created the Abrahamic god in our likeness
      and image. Your god does not provide the ‘circumstances’ and ‘opportunities’ and
      does not ‘reveal’ the principles which are not going to ‘enlighten our minds; But
      we are the ones who choose the outcome of our situations. That choice is
      what ‘determines’ whether we are to be increased or ‘diminished’ but not
      in posession of some religious ‘light or ‘knowledge.

  2. Your atheist investigator pointed out that her gay friends were such good, loving people – so how could it be a bad thing? This attitude is reflective of a very common deception, one that even pervades through the LDS church to a large degree. It is the attitude of “I love, therefore I am righteous.” It is not the possession of love that separates the righteous from the wicked — it is the USE of love. Love, misused, is a corrupting influence. I once heard a child molester declare, in court, “I loved the child deeply, and she loved me too.” I guess he figured that, because love was present, it couldn’t be a bad thing. Likewise, despite the consent of both parties in homosexual acts, such acts are a misuse of love, working against the very nature of our creation. It is better to acknowledge the holiness of God, confess our own corruption before Him, and submit lovingly to His chastisement and any suffering that may be involved. I have experienced some of the deep healing and change of nature that occurs once we are able to accept our suffering as God’s hand, and meekly embrace it, and thank Him. “For unto the meek my wrath is a healing balm…”

    • Chuck,

      That woman’s gay friends are sucj good and loving people so it could not
      be and is not such a ‘bad’ thing. This attitude is reflective of what is not
      a ‘common deception’ one that pervades in the lds church yo a large degree.
      It is not the attitude of you love and are righteous. It is the posession of love
      that seperates the ‘righteous’ from the ‘wicked’ – it is not the ‘use of love.
      Love is miused but is not a ‘corrupting influence’. A child molestor who declared
      in was wrong as he did not ‘love ‘ the child deeply and she did not ‘love’ him too,
      Your ‘guess’ is wrong. ‘Love was not present, so it could be a ‘bad’ thing. The
      consent of both parties in homosexuals acts is not harming anyone and is not
      ‘likewise’ to child molestation and there is no ‘despite’ Such acts are not a ‘misuse’
      of ‘love’, they are showing love through psychical means and it is not working
      ‘against’ the very ‘nature’ of our non-‘creation’. It is not better to acknowledge
      the unholiness of your god , we should not ‘confess’ what are not ‘corruptions’
      before nor ‘submit lovingly’ to your god’s ‘chastisement’ an any ‘sufferring’
      that may be involved is wrong. I don’t believe you experienced some ‘deep
      healing’ or a ‘change of nature’ . You should not accept the sufferings at your
      sick god’s hands. You should not ‘meekly embrace’ it nor ‘thank ‘ him. He
      should be scorned. His wrath is not healing balm for the meek. People
      have the right to engage in homosexual acts whether you like it or not
      and it is not a ‘misuse ‘ of the very ‘nature’ of humans as homosexuality
      is natural and hurts no one and you are wicked and a judgemental prick.
      We were not created by your god.

  3. One more thing, and I hope you don’t mind: Your story suggests a deep love for your father, and you are determined to love him unconditionally. My counsel is the same as before — that is, be cautious of engaging in the misuse of love. There are times when, on a pure basis of principle, we must let go of a loved one who is fallen. A woman does this when she lets go of a husband who has abused her child. She chooses to fall “out” of love with the man she once felt highly attracted to. She does it as a matter of principle, to keep purity alive, to protect the innocent. If she were to continue to shower her love on such a man, it would not only corrupt him further by enabling him in his sin, but it would also corrupt her and her children. Knowing when to let go is part of godliness. It is mature love. Love is a passion. Learn to rule your passions, and be governed instead by the intelligence of heaven. Choose when to love, and when not to, just like the woman. It’s a choice. You are in control. Countless men have fallen in the attempt to be someone’s savior. They became overwhelmed and too emotionally invested; they lost faith and ended up falling into the same pit with the one they were seeking to save. There is only one Savior, and He requires your dad to knock on His door personally. Your letting go is part of your dad’s path of return. It is part of his path of healing. Ever think of that?

      • Jefferson,

        You should post on your blog what your idea of ‘truth’ is. ‘Truth’ means different
        thinks to different people and I if anyone should know this. You should know this.
        We both grew up in very religously fundamentalist household where the word
        ‘truth’ was used in such a loaded and unrealistic manner that was meant to appeal
        to our complicated and ever-changing emotions. Emotion can be good and sometimes bad. Just because a person wants to believe that they will live forever
        on an earthly paradise or inherit their own planet for the sake of producing countless angel-like children with their multiple wives because it makes them feel
        good and they fear death and do not want to anger their omnipresent, omnipotent
        and omniscient deity who has a deep hatred for the flaws of ‘his’ creations and
        for the mistakes they make in their daily lives. Despite the fact they want to
        appeal to their emotions by believing that such religious ‘promises’ are ‘true’
        without any evidence to back up what their saying. They can only quote passages
        from ancient texts which have been rewritten and translated countless times
        that people draw many diverse different interpretation from that cannot count
        as legitimate ‘proof’. The booble , Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great
        Price and the Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita, Quran, Torah as well as other
        ‘inspired’ and ‘infallible’ religious texts all make ‘claims’
        that their followers believe are ‘true’ as they are described by their authors.
        It is up to their followers to ‘prove’ that the ‘claims’ in these books are all ‘true’
        which they have failed to do. The bible is not ‘proof’ of anything , it is a religious
        document making ‘claims’ that it’s followers need to ‘prove’ to be ‘true’ and even
        if they are ‘true’ that does not make them ‘good’ or ‘moral ‘ or worth following
        and I wouldn’t follow them even if they were ‘true’ for moral reasons of my own.

    • Chuck,

      His story is indeed revealing a deep love and an unconditional love for his father
      who he is determined to love uncondtionally. Your ‘counsel’ is wrong even if
      it is the same as before. He does not need to be ‘cautious’ as he is not engaging
      in ‘misuing ‘love’. Your ‘pure’ basis of ‘principle’ is wrong and there are no times
      when you must not let go of a loved one who is not ‘fallen’. A women who lets
      go of her husband who abuses her child does so for protection. That is not the
      same thing as shunning She does not choose to fall out of love with the man
      she was attracted to. It’ human insticts. She does not do it to keep ‘purity’ alive
      or as a matter of ‘principal’. She does it out of common decency. It is to protect
      the innocent which are her children. If she showered him with love it
      would only make him more corrupt but not enable his ‘sin’ as it is not a ‘sin’
      but it is wrong. It would not ‘corrupt’ her and her children but make them vulnerable to attack and make her insecure. Knowing when to let go is
      not part of ‘godliness’. It is not ‘mature’ love in the case of homosexuality,
      in fact , it is quite the opposite. Love is passion but do not learn to ‘rule’
      your passions as it can be dangerous unless they are harming someone else.
      You should not be ‘governed’ by the ‘intelligence’ of a fictional ‘heaven’ that isn’t
      there. Choose when to love, don’t choose when ‘not’ to. Just like the woman over
      spousal abuse , but not having a gay father or lgbt child. It’s not a ‘choice’ to love.
      You are not in ‘control’. You must have compulsary disorder or something. You
      have an unnatural obsession with authority, dude. Get help. What are you some secret authoritarian wannabe? Your just as bad as the Jehovah’s Witnesses
      as their attitudes and bigotry are no different than yours. You should be ashamed
      of yourself and it seems your relatived don’t like your ‘advice’ that much either.
      Countless men
      have not fallen in attempt to be another person’s ‘savior’. They did not become
      ‘overwhelmed’ and were not too ’emotionally investing’. They lost their false
      ‘faith’ and did not end up ‘falling into the same pit’ with the one they were seeking
      to ‘save’. There is not only one ‘savior’ and ‘he’ does not ‘require’ his dad to
      ‘knock on his door personally’. His letting go is not part of his dad’s ‘return’.
      It is only the cause of more hate, division, misunderstanding and bigotry.
      Did your blind and brainwashed bigoted self ever think of that?
      No, I suppose not. Why don’t you stop acting on your religious beliefs
      as my god Thurkamenatonishibohibitiel finds it offensive and its not what he wants
      unless you want to be annihilated at the end of the world for being an ‘unbeliever’.
      Two men or two women have the right to be in a romantically and sexually active
      relationship with each other regardless of what you think or say or believe
      about it I think you are wrong and are so far from being ‘right’ , your
      god would be more likely to allow a romantically and sexually active
      couple of two men or two women in his fictional kingdom than a hateful
      bigot who supports a church that protects pedophiles, so get over it!

  4. Thank you for beginning this story of your journey, Jefferson. I am beginning my own blog that will be linked here, for anyone who wants to read my perspective, but it will be a week or so…. In the meantime, may I correct one thing you said? You are right that you, Nathan and I had the talk about your Dad when you were 10. I don’t believe that HIV was mentioned at any time. My purpose in talking with you was that you boys were about to spend 6 weeks with him at your grandparents’ home in Utah. Knowing that some of your older cousins, and all of your aunts and uncles, knew what was going on with your Dad, I was concerned that you would overhear something “on the fly,” and knew that would be unfair to you. So I told you. I remember asking you later in the day, “How are you feeling, what are you thinking?” and you shrugged your shoulders, seemingly unconcerned. I remember asking the same questions of Nathan (who was then 13), and him responding, “Mom, how could this happen to our Dad?” I answered that I did not know; that I had been taught such-and-such, but that I personally did not know. That was the truth then, and it is the truth now. I respect this effort you are making, Jefferson, and will assist in any way I can. With love.

    • Changed 🙂 Thanks for the help remembering the sequence of things. I know you had the conversation with us about HIV risk before Bear Lake – that image is engrained in my mind, apparently – but I’m not 100% which year it was, and now that I think about it I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the first time you talked to us about our dad (cause that’d be 2 big incomprehensible whammolies at the same time) I’m looking forward to reading your side of things on your blog so I can understand it from your point of view. Love ya mom.

      • Jefferson,

        Changed and a good thing too. The conversation about HIV ‘risk’ that you
        had before Bear Lake is ‘engrained’ in your mind and maybe shouldn’t be whether or not you can remeber the year and you think that your sure it would not have
        been the first time your mother talked to you about your dad and I don’t think that
        would have been two ‘incomprehesible whammies’ at the same time. You want
        to understand things from her point of view which I hope has a more positive spin.
        I hope she can support her former ‘husband’ and his boyfriend no matter what and
        and I hope she is with a man that is entirely heterosexual this time around.
        Your dad needs a boyfriend who will one day be his husband and your mother
        needs a heterosexual man that she can love as it is only fair and right.

  5. I actually agree with a lot of what Chuck said. But not all. There is a pure and unconditional love that you can hold for your Father, and not let him go-you can enjoy every part of your relationship and let the rest be.
    We are not here to judge each other. But we are here to figure out what each of our individual beliefs are. And that is what you are doing.
    Like anything else that is emotionally harrowing, it’s hard to know how or even why to fight something that feels natural and “right”. Each of us individually must take it upon ourselves to figure out where our fight will be, and if there will be one. There is so much more to same gender attraction than most of us can recognize. I have studied the topic quite a bit to figure out things in my own mind about it…because I felt rather clueless. I like to understand where people are coming from. I have to say, all in all, I’ve realized that I have not the knowledge in any case to judge. But that I do believe that just as my depression brings out my most destructive natural side-and problems that I don’t seem to struggle with much otherwise (and I’ve learned that I get a high off of indulging in the sadness I feel sometimes), many deal with tendencies and hungers that are sometimes way too overwhelming to know how to deal with. To each his own. I have had a taste of many things enough to have at least a small understanding of the magnitude of hardship people go through.
    This is where I stand in my own heart when it comes to my own hardships~ I choose, always to trust in God-his mercy and grace to pull me through and help me to overcome my natural tendencies, selfishness and corruption. I want to be like Him-I want to see as He sees, especially His children. I know we are all precious unto Him-and that is what I desire to share more than anything. A message of hope, that all is not lost. And that Jesus Christ is the ultimate and everlasting source of hope, happiness and salvation.

    • Rachel – I think your admission of a lack of knowledge about homosexuality is a great place to come from. Its a huge issue that no one can truly understand unless they’ve been through it, though we can try to gain a better understanding through books and stuff like that . . . I’d also suggest the North Star group for any LDS person who wants to understand it better. Check out their website, northstarlds.org. Let me be clear . . . I don’t agree with their prescription for homosexuality, but think they do an important thing for LDS people who struggle with it. This group was started by the parents of a gay young adult who committed suicide on the front steps of their local meeting house, and its work is to offer a place for anyone to meet and talk about their struggles without judgement. I went to a few myself, as I think the ONLY way to understand this issue is through hearing others’ experiences and accepting their sincerity.

    • “Unconditional love” is a misnomer for “pure love”. In reality, the two are opposites. Unconditional love means, literally, love without conditions. But where there are no conditions to be obeyed, all things become corrupted. Even love. Love that is “unconditional” is love that loses its purity, because it serves to uphold the rebellious and make them feel acceptable in their corruption. By “rebellious” I am referring to those who justify their corruption rather than confessing it and seeking repentance. When a man seeks to legitimize his own corruuption, and popularize it, he is working to destroy society by bringing it down to his level. This is wilfull rebellion, not just an imperfection of character. When you say to such a person, “I disagree, but I love you anyway!”, you might just as well have responded that way to Adolf Hitler. Hitler was more physically destructive, but not more spiritually destructive than those rebellious souls currently being embraced by a family caught up in the false and worldly philosophy of unconditional love. Let us come into balance, discern things for what they are, make the necessary judgments, separate ourselves and our children from all unrepentant, self-justifying, corrupt influences in the family, withdraw all fellowship from them, and thereby preserve whom we are able among those still innocent. Let our love be conditional, and thereby kept pure. There is no such thing as “unconditional love” in God’s Book.

      • Your god’s ‘book’ is evil and those souls embraced by their family caught in the
        true and non-‘wordly’ philosophy as unconditional love for those who are are
        not ‘ rebellious’ who are currently embraced by your loved ones. We should
        not go into your ‘balance; and not ‘discern’ things that you wrongly claim ‘for
        what they are’ , nor should we make the ‘necessary judgements’ of hating those
        who our different nor should we seperate ourselves and our children from those
        who are not ‘unrepentant’, nor are they ‘self-justifying’ their non-‘corrupt’ influnces
        in the family and we should not ‘withdraw all fellowship’ from them and should
        not ‘ thereby preserve’ whom you thing you are ‘able to’ among those ‘still innocent’ . Let your love be uncondtional and thereby , Charles keeping
        your hate diguised as ‘love’ which is ‘conditional ‘ and is not thereby kept ‘pure’.
        Your children are innocent but should unconditionally love homosexuals who
        are not hurting anyone unlike you Chuck with your self-righteous bigotry.

        • Whoa! Hold on, there! I thought your atheist religion teaches you that you shouldn’t judge! Yet, it seems to me, cotton-pick! – that you’re judging me!

          I’m teasing, of course, but with purpose – to show how impossible it is to cleave to a philosophy that claims there is no need to judge. No religion judges more than the atheist religion — it’s just that they judge against all the wrong things. They judge against those who judge against corruption. But, I’ll tell you what. If you can keep from hating me, in your darkened frame of mind, and from hating religion, then I won’t start hating homosexuals. Deal?

          • Charles,
            Oh my dear sweet Chuck, you just are too obsessed with me. Really I’,m
            smitten. But be careful! I’m starting to think your in love with me. Again, my atheism is not a ‘religion’.
            In order to qualify as a religion you must believe in either a deity or an afterlife
            and since atheists believe in neither, Atheism cannot possibly be a religion.
            I don’t ‘cotton-pick’ as I don’t like cotton. I cannot ‘cherry-pick’ either as I
            don’t have a book of religious fairytales from the desert to pick what beliefs
            and laws out of there that I choose to follow literally or to discard as being metaphorical as I threw mine away a long time ago. It seems to you that
            I am judging you. You don’t believe in unconditional love and I do, so let’s
            just agree to disagree.Okay? You tease me with ‘purpose’ you say to
            show me how ‘impossible’ it is to cleave to a philosophy that ‘claims’ that
            there is ‘no need’ to jude? You say no religion judges more than the atheist
            ‘religion’. I won’t say that no atheist including myself has ever been judgemental. I have never said that as that would be lying and I don’t believe
            in lying as it is immoral and discourteous to me. I know some lies lead to
            you to hurting someone’s emotionally and that’s why don’t do it I don’t want to hurt anyone. You say that it’s just that atheist judge against all the ‘wrong things’. THey do judge against those who are wrongly judge against what is not a ‘corruption’. I don’t hate you. I am not in a
            ‘darkened-frame of mind’ at all, thank you very much. I don’t hate religion.
            I only hate some of the things religion does to people that harm others such
            as putting people death for ‘heresy’ or telling homosexuals what they can
            or cannot do in the bedroom or even if they can do anything in their bedroom
            as they is nobody’s business what two consenting adults do in the bedroom.
            You say you won’t start hating homosexuals. Hmmm. I think you already starting hating on homosexuals from the moment you were taught how to
            by your religion. I couldn’t hate religion since I was religious at one time myself. I have no interest in converting anyone to atheism. I’m happy leaving
            people alone as long as they don’t try to convert me to their religion and don’t
            use their beliefs to hurt others. This discussion with you Chuck, is now official ended.

      • Chuck,

        Don’t put uncondition love in quotations. Unconditional love is not a misnomer
        for ‘pure love’. There is no such thing as ‘pure love’ and in reality (which you don’t
        understand ) are not two opposite things. Unconditional love might literally mean
        love without conditions as long as you harm no one else. But when there are no
        ‘conditions’ to be ‘obeyed’ , all things do not become ‘corrupted’ . And no love
        does not become ‘corrupted’ if you love someone who is NOT hurting anyon else.
        Love that is unconditional does not lose its ‘purity’ as there is no ‘purity’ because
        it does not hold those who are not ‘rebellious’ and they should be made to feel
        acceptable in what is not their ‘corruption’. The ‘rebellious’ people who try
        to justify what is not a ‘corruption’ who don’t need to ‘seek to confess ‘ it and
        do not need to ‘seek repentance’. When a man seeks to rightfully legitimatize
        was is not his ‘corruption’ and ‘popularize’ it which he is not doing. He is not
        working to ‘destroy’ society and bring it ‘down’ to his ‘level’. This is neither
        ‘willfull rebellion’ nor is it an ‘imperfection’ of character. When you say that
        you disagree but love the person anyway, you might just as well have said
        that to Adolf Hitler who also murdered homosexuals, you fuckwad! Hitler
        was both more physically destructive and religiously destructive’. You seek
        to dehumanize lgbt people just like Hitler did. He also hated Jews, communists,
        anti-Nazi resistance fighters, Gypsies, anti-socials, criminals, Jehovah’s Witnesses
        and soldiers fighting in the war to end Hitler’s reign of terror. I think your
        just like Hitler but too indoctrinated by fundamentalist religious belief to see it.
        Fuck you, homophobic bastard and I will be thankfully when you are no longer
        around to hurt anymore people with your destructive bigotry.

  6. Jefferson, regardless of whether a “religious” person would have an opinion that leaned one way, or a “non-religious” leaned another, I applaud your efforts for sharing something most would fear. And I don’t mean fear sharing your dads sexual orientation but rather, sharing something with the world that was deep and concerning to you, that moved you and was very deeply rooted. Many are afraid to share a deeper side of themselves. I appreciate your honesty and courage and applaud you for it. In addition, despite strong opinions from any one side that believes your dad not worthy of unconditional love or that it needs to be cautiously given so as not abuse it, or even “let got of him”, (and not to stir the pot) but I cannot imagine a love more pure than one of a child or parent loving the other unconditionally. You know and I will get religious for a sec…because even if you wanted to argue love from a religious aspect aren’t we taught to love our brothers an sisters, family, etc as unconditionally as possible. That Christ loves all His children regardless of what walk of life they choose? Are we not taught to emulate the complete love of Christ through charity and a love that does not set parameters? And for someone who doesn’t get churchy in talks much i think I remember hearing about Pres. Hinkley encouraging people to love their children regardless of sexual orientation but I’m a convert so don’t quote me on that. Either way, your dad’s lifestyle aside, a God or no God aside, the lack of love in this world is exactly whats wrong. The lack of respect for others culture or choices hinders us from growing as a human. I can understand not tolerating a abuseful spouse or respecting a thug for wanting to rob you cause that’s “just how he rolls”. But true 100% love for our friends and family is one that does not set conditions on lifestyle, choices, tattoos, social drinks, jobs, hair color, height, weight, religious or not. Nothing. I bet your dad is moved by your love for him. As a parent I can’t imagine a greater thing than being loved by your child for every ounce of who you are.

  7. Don’t ever let go of your father, Jeff. He’s a great man. I know you won’t, but I had to add my two cents just because everyone else is. 😉 Love ya!

    • Fo sheezy mah neezy! He actually just moved to Dallas, so I’m stoked . . . he’s lived on the east coast most my life, and now he’ll just be 3 hours away.

  8. Jeff, quick question —

    I gather from this story that even as late as your mission, you believed that your father, because he is gay, could have no depth of happiness. Is this correct?

  9. I asked Jefferson not to approve of a response I wrote more than two hours ago, and was going to leave it out, but got back on because I think it needs to be said, just a little differently. Chuck, I love you (if this is my uncle) but I have never seen anywhere that you should not love someone because of their choices. In fact, in conference today, Elder Uchtdorf said: “The moment we judge others, we condemn ourselves,” and withdrawing love because of choices, to me, is judging and condemning. That is not our place. Even Christ was never one to withdraw His love from anyone, regardless of choices. There’s a thing called “tough love”, but even that is not withdrawing love, and even when it’s used, it’s merely used as a way for parents to help the child to learn from the consequences, meaning the parent will not go in and take the consequence away. Indeed, some choices of others require that we back off, that we dissociate ourselves for our own safety or that of those we love, but even there it is still possible to love them. In those cases, we’re still asked to forgive as usual, but are not asked to reconcile or even restore trust.

    What THIS issue boils down to, though, is the difference in our beliefs regarding the commandment to refrain from homosexual *behavior*, which is something that even general authorities (in the LDS church) have said people have a tendency towards–Dallin H. Oaks, for instance, in reference to same gender attraction, said “All of us have feelings we did not choose.” But the “why” behind the commandment is not something I choosing to get on for (though I love this way of discussing, Jefferson) I can understand where you’re coming from, Chuck, but with all due respect, I also don’t think it something that gives us the right to condemn simply because we believe in the commandment.
    ~JeLyn

    I Just read the other comments, as the only ones that I saw the first time I posted were, but I really like what you said, Natalie =) Just saying.

    • Hi, sweetie. I understand where you’re coming from, and I don’t believe in hating anyone. Nor do I believe in loving everyone. I try to follow Jesus’ example, and hold in my heart an esteem for all flesh — “The Lord esteemeth all flesh alike…the righteous he favoreth.” And, although his feelngs are pure towards all, Jesus understood the nature of evil, and knew that it would be a mistake to openly display love upon those who are in open rebellion and are not seeking repentance. For instance, he displayed no love towards the scribes and Pharisees who had not just sinned out of weakness, but were in a state of rebellion against God. Jesus demonstrated no love towards them, as you can see by reading his speech recorded in Matthew chapter 23. He was angry at them, and used descriptive words such as “O generation of vipers! Hypocrites!”

      You see, when we openly show love towards the rebellious, we make them feel all the more secure and comfortable in their rebellion. Maybe we don’t intend that effect, but it’s their nature to respond to our love that way. If they had a spirit of repentance for their sin, then our love to them would be supporting their repentance. But when there is no repentance, which is rebellion, then any open display of love is supporting them in that rebellion.

      Do you remember the story of Captain Moroni and his “title of liberty”? He was indignant against the traitors who were seeking to overthrow liberty, and was gathering an army to march against and destroy them by the sword. It would have been wrong for Moroni to go and demonstrate love and kindness in an effort to win their hearts — for they had rebelled against the light they had once received. The nature of the rebellious is to destroy souls and to destroy liberty, no matter how “loving” they may act to try and win you over to them. They will not be swayed to repent by your love — for they have rejected repentance — all your love will do, for them, is to make them feel more justified in their rebellion.

      Love is a strong attachment — it binds our souls to the people we love. The Lord asks us to remove all attachments from his enemies, ESPECIALLY emotional attachments. If we can make ourselves let go, and allow the rebellious to go their own way, then we can remove their influence from our little ones. If you treat an unrepentant homosexual with open love and affection, and your little ones see it, their little hearts will grow to believe there is no real advantage to righteousness, and that God will never reject anyone no matter how corrupt they are. It’s the worst message you could possibly convey to your children. And it won’t do any good to try and teaching them, with your words, that homosexuality is a corruption which God cannot accept, while they see you loving on the homosexual who doesn’t accept God! Always keep in mind that actions, to a child, speak louder than words. Don’t let your message be mixed, but let it be the pure and undefiled truth of God. They’ll get the other point of view, easy enough, from the world after they have matured and been brought up in the light, and are capable of discerning the deception.

      Look up Matthew chapter ten, starting around verse 34, if I remember right. Jesus doesn’t accept everyone, and withdraws his love from the rebellious. Then read D&C section 19, and you will see that “eternal punishment” doesn’t mean that the punishment of the rebellious will last forever and ever — such a thing would be unjust. The rebellious must be let go of, completely — but we can rest assured that in some future time, their own self destruction will humble them enough for a renewed opportunity. Once they begin to manifest the fruits of repentance, the Lord’s people can appropriately restore their fellowship and love. Our intelligence, our core being, is eternal and cannot be destroyed.

      It takes as much self-discipline for a loving person to take control of his loving emotions as it does for an angry person to take control of his anger. But God expects us to learn to GOVERN our emotions, and direct them to comply with the principles of righteous judgment. A people that is governed by their emotions, instead of by PRINCIPLE, are the very definition of wickedness.

      That’s my opinion of the matter. I know it’s hard, and that we can’t do it without the Lord’s help. But God is in the process of separating the righteous from the wicked, and this is how he does it. Focus all your love on Him, and upon those who love Him and believe in Him. Study his word, and ponder it constantly. If your focus is there, then it won’t hurt so bad when you separate yourself, emotionally, from those who are his enemies.

      I have a friend who is homosexual

      • I didn’t intend for that last half-sentence to remain in my comment above, but started to say that I have a friend who is homosexual but is willing to see it as the obvious corruption that it is, and hasn’t hardened himself against repentance. He is in a state of sin and corruption, but not rebellion. We can feel good about loving those who are seeking repentance.

        • Charles F. MacWhicken-Tired,

          Your ‘friend’ who is homosexual should not be willing to see his inborn sexuality
          as the ‘obvious corruption that it is’. He is wrong and homosexuality is not an
          ‘obvious corruption’, homophobia is an obvious corruption;, He should
          ‘harden himself’ against ‘repentance’ as he doesn’t need to ‘repent’. He is not
          in a ‘state of sin and corruption’ and I agree he is not in a state of ‘rebellion’
          as he didn’t ‘rebel’ against anything and you should not feel ‘good’ about ‘loving;
          those who don’t need to ‘seek repentance’ as he has nothing to ‘repent’ of. Your
          friend is being brainwashed by your bigoted ass to hate himself and hopefully
          he’ll see through your ‘friendship’ and ‘love’ and come to learn that he is not
          a ‘sinner’ nor is he’ corrupted and does not need to seek ‘repentance’ for loving
          and having sex with other men which is in his nature to do, You only like this
          guy cause he hates himself for being who he is and how he was born and you
          are not his ‘friend’. THere is nothing wrong with being gay or having sex with
          the same-gender as it harms no one and should reject your religion which
          is false and your immoral book of fairytales and I hope he finds new friends who will love him and accept him
          as he is.

      • ou wouldn’t do that because you know that stuff it wrong. Your god is not in the process of ‘seperating the righteous
        from the wicked’ and that is not how he ‘does it’. You are wicked, Charles.
        You’re just too blind to see it. I will not focus all my ‘love’ on your false god
        nor on those who love this false god nor do I love those that believe in this
        false god. I respect them as people but I do not respect or endorse their beliefs. I would treat you decently but I cannot accept or agree with your
        sick beliefs , Charles and alot of people wouldn’t. I will not ‘study’ your
        false god’s ‘word’ or ‘ponder’ it constantly. My focus is not there and it doesn’t
        hurt ‘badly at all. Nor does it hurt. Nor will I seperate myself from those
        who are not the ‘enemies’
        of your false god.

      • Charles F. MacWhicken-Tired,

        You don’t believe in hating anyone or loving everyone. You hate homosexuals
        even though you say and think you don’t. You hate them because they are of
        a sexuality that you don’t understand. You justify your homophobia and
        gaysexophobia which are both irrational by using ancient passages
        from a book of desert fairytales which have a wrong view of sexual lovemaking
        and sexuality. Lot impregnated his two daughters who were engaged for
        goodness sake’s! The bible approves of procreational incest and slavery.
        The Mormons still believe that blacks are ‘marked’ and have no problem
        believeing that Native Americans are an evil group of people who are
        descended from a bunch of corrupt Jewish tribes. THe bible supports incest,
        slavery, infanticide, slavery, does not allow woman to speak in church and
        views a woman on her period as ‘unclean’ and a woman should be killed
        if she is a non-virgin on her wedding night and must marry her rapist
        and disobedient children must be stoned to death, prostitutes must
        be burned to death, eating shrimp and shellfish are worthy of some punishment
        and Jesus said that you must hate everyone to be his disciple and even
        he called a gentile woman a ‘dog’ for not being Jewish like him and insulted his own mother
        by referring to her as a ‘woman’. If you do not act on these beliefs literally
        than you are not a true christian. If you truly believe in a literal interpretation
        of the bible than you must act on all these beliefs in a literal fashion. I’m
        guessing you won’t , so that makes you a cherry-picking hypocritical
        bigot! Jesus was Jewish and you cannot ignore that he honored
        the Jewish bible and supported these beliefs being acted upon, You follow the example
        of an apocalyptic Jew who holds ‘esteem of the flesh’ and you hold ‘esteem’
        towards all ‘flesh’. Jesus didn’t love the ‘rebellious’ nor did they love him
        as he preached things that they found that went against the Jewish religion
        of which you forget he was apart of. You oddly believe showing love
        towards ‘rebellious’ persons as it might make them feel more ‘comfortable
        and secure’ in their rebellion. You hate those who don’t seek ‘repentance’ from
        your god for being who they are. They do not respond to the nature of your
        ‘love’ in any way as your ‘love’ is disguised as bigotry under the guise of
        religious authority. They need no ‘spirit’ of ‘repentenance’ for their ‘sin’
        than your ‘love’ would be in support of their ‘repentanance’. THe people
        who you claim are ‘rebellious’ do not want to destroy ‘liberty’ nor ‘souls’
        and they do not try to ‘win ‘ you over to their side. You are quite the indoctrinated
        fruit-loop aren’t you? They do not need to ‘repent’ by your ‘love’ and they should
        reject ‘repentance’ for things that hurt no one and live with guilt for things that do
        hurt others. Loving them will not make them ‘justified’ in their ‘rebellion’. You are
        rebelling in they eyes of the Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Muslims, Jewish fundamentalist’ Seventh-Day Adventists and many
        other fanatical religions for refusing to see that they have the ‘truth’ just as your
        denomination they are the ‘truth’. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and I once
        believed you were going to be annihilated for being in a christian denomination
        that I believed was in the control of ‘Satan’. I no longer believe in the JWs or
        any other religion nor do I believe in Yahweh or ‘Jehovah’ as he is a false god to me. Nor do I believe in the fictional book of desert fairytales knows as the ‘Bible’. I don’t believe in captain ‘moroni’ who killed the traitors at the sword.
        Love is a strong attachment that bind us to others and that is true. Your false
        ‘lord’ never asked you to remove all ‘attachments’ from his ‘enemies’. Your
        god did not ask you to give up ’emotional attachments’ to anything. Emotional
        attatchments are not always bad unless your close to a homophobic and
        sex-hating bigot like you. You think if you stop associating with folk you deem
        as ‘rebellious’ and let them go their own way that you will be moving their
        ‘influence’ away from your little ones. There is no such thing as a ‘unrepentant’
        homosexual as there is nothing to ‘repent’ of. If you treat a homosexual with love
        and affection then your children would know how to treat others of different sexualities as human and they will hopefully learn that your ‘advantage ‘ towards
        what you claim as ‘righteousness’ is false and nothing more than self-righteous
        bigotry that they claim comes from their parents’ false god whose followers are
        part of a hate-filled religion. Your god is false and should not reject a person
        who is gay as they are not ‘corrupt’. You think that by not teaching your children with the
        evil message that homosexuals are to be hated as they are ‘ inherently evil’ and ‘inferior’ to heterosexuals just for liking and being in
        a romatically and sexually active relationship with another consenting
        adult of the same-sex which they have the right to do and it harms no one
        that you are setting them up for punishment by your ‘loving’ false god. Sheesh.
        You would have made a great Nazi.

        • Adolf Hitler would be so proud of you,
          Charlie! I hope that your children don’t swallow your bigoted crap that
          homosexuality is a ‘corruption’ that your false god ‘cannot’ accept it. Your
          god accepts slavery and stoning disobedient kids with rocks to death, so why don’t you? You just cherry-pick what you want to take literally and what you
          want to take metaphorically and the bible’s promotion of stoning disobedient
          kids to death and burning prostitutes is not a metaphor nor is it invalid as
          Jesus the Jew said that ALL the practices ( which includes killing
          disobedient kids and burning prostitutes) in the Jewish bible must be kept
          and presumably acted upon as commanded by
          Yahweh that the Jewish practices would not be invalidated until the current earth and heavens ‘pass away’. Loving on a homosexual who doesn’t accept
          your bigoted and false ‘god’ does not hurt anyone. Actions do speak louder
          than words to a child but bigoted words and shunning of homosexuals
          who you hate because of an immoral passage in a book of fairytales commands
          you to do so is sickening. You message should be ‘mixed’ as being seen
          as intolerant and hate-filled though you have convinced yourself into believing
          it isn’t. The ‘pure’ and ‘undefiled truth’ of your god is abominable and should
          be ignored as it causes only further damage and harm to the victims of religious
          fanaticism and bigotry such as you display. They should get the ‘other’ point
          of view from the ‘world’ soon enough after being matured and have learned
          they were not brough up in the ‘light’ and are capable of discerning what is
          not a ‘deception’. Your corrupt, not homosexuals. You have been so brainwashed or have indoctrinated yourself to view a whole group of
          people as ‘evil and inferior’ to yourself that you spend your whole life
          hating them and pretending that you ‘love’ and ‘care’ for them but you know
          in your mind that you would love to see them all as dead as a doornail. Just
          like I saw your denomination of ‘Christendom’ when I was a JW who believed
          all non-Witnesses were going to die at Armageddon and that Jehovah’s chosen
          people would live forever on an earthly paradise forever with a 144,000 specially chosen few to go to heaven to rule with Yahweh and Jesus over the
          rest of us on earth. Mormons I believed were under the influence of Satan
          whether they knew it or not or whether they believed it or not. I believed Satan
          had blinded you from the ‘Truth’ as I called it. I believed that if you did not
          join the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society before Armageddon came that
          you were going to die and dead for eternity. I now learned that the JWs are
          not the ‘truth’ and are a false religion just as I believe Mormons are a false
          religion and all religions are false to me. ‘Eternal Punishment’ would be unjust
          but there is no ‘eternal punishment’ The people you deem ‘rebellious’ who
          are not hurting anyone will not be punished whether or not it is ‘forever and ever’. They will not ‘self-destruct’ so don’t rest assure yourself. Nor will they
          be ‘humbled’ for a ‘renewed opportunity’ that they don’t need as who wants
          to be controlled by a bunch of old men who follow an immoral book of fairytales
          that they claimed came from an even more evil god who is not worthy of anyone’s worship. They should not ‘manifest the fruits of repentance’ and your
          false ‘lord’ will not appropriately ‘restore’ their ‘fellowship’ and ‘love’. Your
          ‘intelligence’ is false and your ‘core being’ is thankfully not eternal and does not
          need to be ‘destroyed’ but it should and will one day die out along with your
          homophobia and gaysexophobia. A loving person should not ‘self-discipline’
          themselves to ‘control’ their ‘loving’ emotions but a angry person such as
          yourself should control his anger if he might lead him to hurt someone else.
          Your false god does not ‘expect’ you to learn to ‘govern’ your emotions and
          comply them to ‘priniciples’ of what is not and far from ‘righteous judgement’ A people who govern themselves by their emotions, instead of ‘principle’ are not
          the definition of ‘wickedness’. You govern yourself with appeals to emotion
          by hoping you’ll become a god a rule your own planet with multiple wives
          and thousands of ‘afterlife’ chidren as you are scared of
          your angry god who will punish you with death for having flaws and making mistakes and you blindly follow priniciples that inspire to hate and disguise
          bigotry under the word ‘love’ and ‘religion’ and ‘god and ‘divinely-inspired’
          ancient religious texts which are all corrupted. No one needs your lord’s
          ‘help’ and it is not ‘hard’ and you can do it without your god. You are not a good
          person nor are you moral . You’re religious idealogy is just as bad as that
          of the Neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan who also consider themselves to
          be ‘true’ christians who are just doing what their god wants. I don’t hate people because of old
          religious texts having passages that inspire you to which also happen to command that you commit genocide, hold slaves and killing folk of other religions and of
          no religion, killing bad-mouthed kids, burning prostitutes, punish men
          who shave their beards or people who eat shellfish or wear mixed- fabrics and must stone non-virgin brides to death. You wouldn’t do that because you know that stuff it wrong. Your god is not in the process of ‘seperating the righteous
          from the wicked’ and that is not how he ‘does it’. You are wicked, Charles.
          You’re just too blind to see it. I will not focus all my ‘love’ on your false god
          nor on those who love this false god nor do I love those that believe in this
          false god. I respect them as people but I do not respect or endorse their beliefs. I would treat you decently but I cannot accept or agree with your
          sick beliefs , Charles and alot of people wouldn’t. I will not ‘study’ your
          false god’s ‘word’ or ‘ponder’ it constantly. My focus is not there and it doesn’t
          hurt ‘badly at all. Nor does it hurt. Nor will I seperate myself from those
          who are not the enemies
          of your false god

          • Hi, Brandi. I don’t recognize your name, but once in a while you raise a question that I suppose should be answered, for the sake of those who attempt to make sense of your posts. And, yes, I guess you could say I’m a wannabe authority. Are you a wannabe competitor to my wannabe authority?

            Christians in general do not comprehend the God of Israel, or why he would establish such seemingly harsh penalties for sexual immorality, such as stoning an adulterer, etc.

            The principle is this: The kingdom established by Moses was at a higher and more exalted level than the kingdom we are a part of now. It was given to Israel, and not to any other bloodline, because more is expected of the spirits born to that lineage. But, at the same time, “he who sins against the greater light receiveth the greater condemnation.” Thus, Israel either becomes the most enlightened and empowered people on earth, or else the most condemned and trampled, as history has shown.

            The more exalted and holy a kingdom is, the less allowance can be given for offenses, or else that kingdom would lose its exaltation. The closer society comes to the presence of God, the more stringent are the penalties which he appoints to that society. The celestial kingdom, being the most exalted of God’s kingdoms, is not a place where much mercy can be offered to adult offenders. Most of the mercy available to us is appointed to the sphere in which we now dwell, termedd a telestial kingdom of God, where opposition is permitted to make its powerful appearance and men are allotted a great deal of time and space in which to repent and overcome their corruptions, to prepare themselves for the presence of holy beings where corruption is not allowed to take root.

            The penal system under the Law of Moses was designed for a sanctified people, which Israel had become in that second generation after Moses had begun his ministry, by the time they obtained their inheritance. Every adult was held responsible to take part in keeping the kingdom pure and undefiled. Every adult was required to know the law of God and honor it, because it was by the nation’s obedience to that law that it was guaranteed complete protection against all enemies. To be a holy nation, they could not allow the covenant to be broken without executing its penalty upon the offender. If they failed to do so, their God would be duty bound, under the covenant, to execute that penalty upon the entire nation.

            This principle is more easily understood when we view it on a smaller scale – let’s say at a company level (something that modern man can relate to). Let’s say an employee of the company does something offensive which defies the company mission statement and creates distrust and suspicion towards the company itself. If the company wants to preserve itself, it must preserve its honor; and to do so it will have to rid itself of the employee and repudiate the employees offensive behavior. If the company fails to render such a penalty upon the offending employee, it is signing its own death warrant; for it cannot last if it loses its good name.

            In a similar fashion, God’s kingdoms are held together by covenant, “without compulsory means” — which means it is held together by the trust of its citizens. By failing to render the covenantal penalty upon individual offenders immediately – a penalty which all have agreed to by covenant – the kingdom itself would become untrustworthy and gradually fall apart, as do the kingdoms of men for the same reason. The continual upkeep of whole and complete JUSTICE is what enables an exalted kingdom of God to endure forever and ever.

            To a sanctified people, it would have been a deeply humbling and sorrowful thing to be required to participate in the execution of the death penalty upon a covenant breaker whom they had loved and fellowshipped. In the Lord’s system, no one is given authority to execute judgment unless they are sanctified in their hearts.

            At the same time, however, this wide participation would have kept the entire citizenry mindful of the tender feelings of God when he must, for the covenant’s sake and to protect his innocent ones, destroy those who would destroy the kingdom by breaking the covenant that holds the kingdom together. Such is the only option for a kingdom to last forever; which the kingdom of Israel was designed to do, and would have done if not for their apostasy.

  10. Jefferson, my son…Im sitting here in Dallas wanting nothing more than to get in the car, drive down and hug you hard! I’m still limited to this phone, but will respond and comment later. Thank you so very much for sharing!

  11. I LOVE that you wrote this, Jeff!! It is definitely interesting to hear from your perspective and experiences, as they differ from mine so much because I was told at a younger age, told first, and because I am a daughter and not an adolescent son (which I know makes it different!). Chuck wrote,
    “My counsel is the same as before — that is, be cautious of engaging in the misuse of love. There are times when, on a pure basis of principle, we must let go of a loved one who is fallen. A woman does this when she lets go of a husband who has abused her child. She chooses to fall “out” of love with the man she once felt highly attracted to.”
    It really upsets me when people are talking about homosexuality and then bring in topics like molestation and abuse. It happens a lot and there is no reason for using an example about child molestation in a discussion about gay people. Also, Uncle Chuck, many of us know some about your darker periods, not a whole lot, but we did hear and see things, so I ask if your own Mom and Dad, your family members, did they abandon you because you had “fallen”? I know all situations are different, but I see that as the EXACT OPPOSITE of what a loving family member or friend should do!!
    Natalie and JeLyn- ya done good! I think you are the BEST example of a church going person as you are able to hold your beliefs AND love unconditionally.

    • Great response Rin. I think it would be GREAT if we could all agree that molestation, necrophilia, bestiality, etc, are not acceptable illustrations of homosexuality . . . they are 100%, completely, and utterly different on all accounts. It is regularly taught, however, that homosexuality is just another one of those temptations of the flesh someone has to resist, like ___ (use the previous words), in an effort to make the issue understandable to those who in reality know nothing about it. That’s not meant to be condescending to those who think homosexuality is just another temptation . . . I know nothing about what its like to be a Sikh woman, and will not attempt to interpret that woman’s experience through my own lens . . . instead, I get to hear it from herself as she interprets it. But . . . I’m getting ahead of myself here . . . 😛

      • Homosexuality is okay. Necrophila, Molestation and beastiality are harmful
        and completely different and are not acceptable ‘illustrations’ of homosexuality
        and homosexuality is acceptable and hurts no one. It is wrongly ‘taught’ that
        homosexuality is a ‘temptation of the flesh’ and they are forced to ‘resist ‘ it
        which is also wrong. Homosexuality is not ‘another temptation of the flesh’
        and people should not ‘resist’ it as it is unhealthy. Yes, make the issue
        understandable to those who know nothing of it but you should be condescending to those who wrongly think homosexuality is ‘just another temptation’. HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT ‘ just another temptation’! Homosexuality is not
        a ‘temptation’ at all. You may not know what a Sikh woman goes through but
        you should attempt to interpret her experience through your own lens as she
        describes it for you as she understands it. Don’t tolerant bigotry and hate dude
        even if it’s from your own religious family or friends or not. You seem very
        naive to me kid. Don’t become so tolerant that you agree with and accept or tolerate the hate
        and bigotry that you leave to go unchallenged.

        • If you can not realize that then
          you are no better than they are. If an atheist wants to accept and rejoice in the
          company of homosexuals that is their choice. All men of all persuasions might
          end up rejecting some kinds of people and accepting others but it depends on circumstance. If the person that they have rejecting is behaving in a negative
          and condescending manner and only seeks to do harm towards them and others or promote bigotry and hate, then they have a reason to reject that person. A person
          who is more likely to do good help out, speak respectfully even when disagreeing, learning to get along even though they disagree sometimes and treat each other as human beings and be tolerant towards others and try to be understanding
          and accepting towards those who are not harming anyone else than they are more to be accepted. Rejecting someone because they are a gay person who is
          also in a romantically and sexually active with another consenting adult of the same-gender,
          a person who needs extra help with certain educational subjects due to a mental
          disability, a person of a different skin color because you were taught they are all
          thieves, communists and ugly and only seek to destroy society, a woman who
          believes that she be treated equally to men working in a construction factory or
          even a Spanish immigrant who is having a difficult time talking in English with
          a heavy accent or believing that the Spanish immigrant, the same-gender loving
          person who also happens to be in a romantically and sexually active relationship with the same gender whom they love, the mentally disabled child who is really quite intelligible once you get to know him or the woman who just wants to be given all the same rights and opportunities as a man should or the atheist who tries to help out in community projects but is refused due to the fact he does not believe in the existence of a deity or an afterlife or the Hindu down the street who just wants to practice his religion in a peaceful manner in the privacy of his own home who is not out to convert or anybody should not be allowed to
          live, should not even exist and must be destroyed and deserve to be eternally
          punished or entirely annhilated by some deity who also happens to dislike these
          people is a form of hatred, bigotry, cruelty and is a result of ignorance of understanding people who are different than you is a form of rejection that poisons and is ruining our planet and is destroying are own inner humanity.

  12. Jeff – in that same space that lead to your belief your dad couldn’t experience true happiness, did you also believe that Homosexuality was a choice? Now the same question, present tense.

    • Short answer: Yes, I believed he was choosing to succumb to his carnal nature. That slowly changed as I gained a respect for the real challenge it is to struggle with homosexuality. Now – homosexual urge’s are not a choice; scientific evidence is very convincing here (anyone can ask Nate for links to studies done if you’d like). There are many nuances to both statements I gave . . . but I’ll get to those in posts later 🙂

      • Homosexual ‘urges’ are not a ‘choice’ and scientific evidence shows it,
        There is no ‘struggle’ with homosexuality, only homophobia. It’s okay
        to act on your homosexual urges if your lgbt and scientific evidence is convincing.

  13. Hey Jeff! I enjoy your blog! I always wondered how you guys coped with your family situation. I talk with my wife all of the time (being LDS) about what we would do if we had a homosexual child. I told her I would support my child regardless. I told her this would be difficult to be a member of most religion since is it frowned upon. I guess this is where I learned to believe what I do. I strongly believe we are judge on our heart. I wish I could remember the exact reference I heard this when I was younger it was something along the line of “don’t be surprised when we see King David in heaven” To me that really taught me that the lord is much more merciful than we think. That is just my view. I am not preaching to you or your family. I strongly believe everyone is human regardless of your place or position in any church. We all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. If I never felt the spirit or witnessed the miracles I witnessed I would be an atheist. There is no possible way I could deny the miracles that I have had in my life through a priesthood blessing. I am not a blind follower I will always ask questions. I guess I am a liberal Mormon, but I do believe in Christ. Too much points to his existence. To me religion is simple Jesus lived and no one can deny that. I guess the questions comes down to is he the son of God. That is for everyone to decide on there own. Once you decide that answer the next questions comes down to Joseph Smith. Did Joseph Smith see God the father and his son Jesus Christ. It is that simple. Joseph is human like everyone else. No one is perfect. Everyone is human everyone makes mistakes. To me I answer the question yes and yes. My third reassurance is when it came down to the power of the priesthood did those miracles really happen that I have even preformed in my life. To me the answer is yes. I am not trying to convert you back to the church. I do believe in a balance. I don’t believe the people who are homosexual will not necessarily be punished for there belief. I believe we are all Gods children. I never understood how God could love each of us individually until I had my own two kids. I can promise God loves each of us regardless of the lifestyle we live. I really appreciate your blog.

    • I have never contributed to a blog and probably will not do so again but I just have to say that I have never even considered not loving Curtis or anybody; Where would I be if love was meted out only due to worthiness? and where would I be today without that love which I felt from all of my family even though I didn’t feel and truly wasn’t worthy of that love. I always knew I was loved and it was the thing that made it possibler for me to overcome my weakness through the Atonement of Christ. It is a miserable thing to look in a mirror when you are feeling absolutely hopeless and helpless and would probably be very easy to give up if you felt completely unloved…..I know- I’ve been there and I want to thank all who continued to love me during my trial even when I felt, and was, unworthy. Thank you all for your love and be aware that I will always love ya-all!! G-Paw

      • Dad, I did not know you had written on Jefferson’s blog until tonight, and it is newly 2013! I really appreciate your writing about the love you continued to receive even through your toughest times. I cannot say I was one who offered unconditional love then, though I certainly loved you, always.

        I believe what Jeff A. said above: that we are ultimately judged only by what is in our hearts. (I personally believe that this judgment comes from within ourselves, and that it will be a perfect judgment.) Thus, Nathan’s expressed feelings at the time of Osama bin Laden’s capture and execution: that we could not judge him, and had no right to celebrate his death (or the death of any human being) as if he were not our brother, for if we’d been born in bin Laden’s same circumstances, who is to say we’d not have done the same things? And who of us can judge what was in his [clearly religious-minded] heart when he did those things?

        Marinne, good points! I feel it is the nature and even the duty of a mother, father, or child, to be loyal and to love through everything, something Chuck once sang of in his very touching song, “The Prisoner.”

        As Natalie said above, “The lack of love in this world is exactly whats wrong. The lack of respect for others’ culture or choices hinders us from growing as … human [beings]” and, (I would add) as a human family.

        Part of the reason so many in our family have rejected religion (which is not synonymous with rejecting God), is that religion incites judgment of those who are “different”, whether the difference is in religion (Protestants v. Catholics, endless, bloody war); or sexual orientation (a 19-year-old homosexual boy lured by Wyoming cowboys who visited a gay bar “under cover” and lured him to a place where they tied him to a fence, tortured him, and left him to die); race (the murder of Martin Luther King and thousands of other Americans whose only sin was laying claim upon the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. While neither of the latter appear, at first, to have anything to do with religion, yet the prejudice against both groups is founded (by those who even bother to have a reason other than hatred/fear) in the Bible, and then in a feeling of superiority or even of being called to cleanse the earth of such sin (think: Hitler).

        Some may say that THEIR religion has not contributed to such harsh judgment and atrocities. There may be religions like that. I don’t know of any.

        Jefferson, you are doing a great job here.

        • First of all, I don’t believe that hate, as we understand the word in our modern usage of it, is part of true religion. Love, on the other hand, exists in ALL religions – yes, even the one we refer to as atheism. And, if you knew this history you would realize that the atheist religion, itself, has caused more war and bloodshed than any other. If you don’t know world history, maybe you could just take a look at what’s transpired since this nation was founded. What nations have caused the most war and bloodshed since the days of our founding fathers? By far, it is those nations whose governments are founded in atheism. Stalin killed more of his own people than Hitler’s military killed of his enemy nations. Mao Tse Tung, the same thing. Was it self defense? No. They were the aggressors. Hitler himself, at first, claimed to be Christian in order to take power and get his people’s backing, but this was a pretense for that purpose alone, and his closest associates knew him to be an atheist.

          Are there good atheists? Well, I suppose there are those who do good things – especially the new converts. But since they are a law unto themselves, and do not feel obligated to obey any intelligence higher than their own, who is it that defines what’s “good” in their religious creed? Why, it is themselves, of course. And since intelligence is rather limited in any human who sees humans as the highest intelligence, it is the atheists in this country that are doing their best to push their religion, by government force, upon the rest of us.

          I have noticed that, in this family, all who have become atheists have forgotten what Liberty is, and are pushing for government control of wealth. That’s what every atheist government has always done from the beginning of time. Today we call it communism, but it’s been known by other names – and of course it always ends up that the government not only becomes the god of the people (i.e.the source of all blessing and cursing), but it becomes the only wealthy creature in the country! And, do atheists share the wealth once they have become the government? Why, of course they do! What loving, giving hearts they are! They use government force to steal from those who obtained their wealth through personal wisdom and sacrifice, and then they are quite happy to share it. They’re even good enough to share a small percentage of it with the people, themselves. Of course, they offer to share ALL of it with the people while they are in their initial stage of taking power. But it never ends up that way.

          And what about all those selfish, hardened, wealthy people who so deserved to have their wealth taken from them, for government distribution? Would they have done any better at sharing the wealth, if they had been left alone by the atheist influence in government? Yes. The beauty of free enterprise is that even the most hardened among the wealthy tend to want more wealth. What do they do to get it? They start new businesses. That means jobs. Do they pay enough to their employees? Well, no. Not usually — until a better businessman comes along and starts taking his best employees by offering more pay. You see, competition is a natural equalifier in itself. Free enterprise is the principle that made this nation the wealthiest in the world, for a very long time. It even opened doors for the lowly, dark-minded atheists to obtain wealth, so that they can use it to influence government to take it away from their competitors. It’ll bite them in the butt when they discover that their fellow atheists have no loyalty to their own kind. Their religion doesn’t require it. Each man is his own personal god. Wonderful religion!

          And, where did the founding fathers get the idea free enterprise, in the first place? Look at the history, and you will find that Moses was their big inspiration in that regard. Remember Moses? He was that great big tyrant who claimed God had actually commanded him to take his army of highly moral, mostly married men, to go through and send entire nations and tribes straight to the other side of the veil, where they could sit and think about their legalized child-molesting, abject slavery, satanic cults, and pornographic lifestyles. Such cruelty! – why didn’t he just let them live their religion?

          Were there atheists among the founding fathers? Only one, that I know of. Did he do any good for the cause of liberty? Yes. His name was Thomas Paine, known for his great and inspired pamphlet, titled Common Sense, which saved the cause of Liberty by totally renewing the hearts of the soldiers in the depleted and under-funded Continental Army. His name was praised by George Washington at the time. After the war, however, he became an enemy to Washington for stealing his glory – after Washington had pleaded with the people NOT to choose him as their general during the war because he had learned previously, in the French and Indian war, that he wasn’t gifted in battle tactics – and he desired NOT to be President of the United States because he was tired after eight years of war, and wanted to go home. Yet, old George Washington was Mr. Paines enemy, in Paine’s mind, because he stole his glory. Paine should have been president!! Why didn’t the people choose him? I mean, wasn’t he the one that saved the war?? You see, his atheist religion had taught him there is no God; therefore, it was just silly, stupid, childisness to think that God had inspired his writing and used him as an instrument for good. The glory belonged to him, and him alone!! — and if the people didn’t GIVE it to him, then, by god (oops!) he would TAKE WHAT’S HIS!! Thomas Paine died a miserable old man, having fallen to God’s green earth as an over-ripened fruit off the Atheism Tree, otherwise known as the Tree Of Ignorance About Good and Evil.

          • Are there good atheists? Yes, There are those who do good things – especially the new ‘converts’. But they are not a ‘ law unto themselves’, and do not feel
            ‘obligated to obey any intelligence higher ” outsidethan their own, Nobody defines what’s “good” in their non-‘ religious creed?’ . It is themselves of course. Human intelligence is’ rather limite’d in any human and that is true who sees humans as the highest intelligence, it is NOT the atheists in this country that are doing their best to push their ‘religion’, by government force, upon the rest of the Christianites
            or anyone else. Hitler was not an atheist. He was some form of Christianite.
            Hitler’s christianity was not a ‘pretense’ to get into government, dude. It is
            unfortunate that he would use religion to excuse his behavior towards hurting
            Jews and other minorites who did nothing wrong. Atheists
            do not believe they are their ‘own gods’. Mormonics believe this will happen
            to members of their church. ‘Mosesite’ wasn’t real. He commanded his fellow
            Judaicists to kill folk of other religion’s whom they believed were ‘evil’. Those
            tribes were not ‘highly moral’ men and even if they were married , what does
            it matter? Those ‘pagans’ did not legalize ‘child-molestation’, nor were they
            ‘satanic cults’ and living a ‘pornographic lifestyle ‘ non-harmful. There is
            no such thing as ‘satan’ nor do ‘satanic cults’ exist in the form medieval
            people thought they did and they are certainly delusional if they are convinced
            that they hurt people in the name of ‘satan’ who does not exist. It is cruelty
            and that could not ‘live their own religion’ as there is no proof that they existed
            or even did such things. Should we kill all Germans because of what the Nazis
            did? All Germans from the pre and post- Nazi days should be exterminated
            to since their descendants and ancestors killed 11 million ethnic, political,
            religious, and minority groups . Grow up, dude! You are quite an ignorant
            ass and you are why reason why I am no longer religious. My former beliefs
            were mistaken but I do not want to ‘convert’ anyone to atheism. ‘Mosesite’
            was a ‘big bad tyrant’ and in the Jewish text he claimed Yahweh told him
            to send his fellow Jews to kill the ‘evil’ pagans. Even if some of the ‘pagan’
            religions of the past did that stuff, it does not mean that all who did not
            participate in such activites should be punished just because they happen to
            be related. Keep in mind your bible supports slavery. It does not ‘abject to
            slavery’. His ‘atheist religion’ did not ‘teach him there was no god’. The
            government is not the ‘god’ of anyone whether atheist or not. Thomas Paine
            did not die and did not fall on your god’s green earth from the ‘atheism tree’.
            which is non-exist and is not known as the ‘tree of the ignorance about good
            and evil’. Nor was his fruit ‘over-riped’. I don’t judge all religious people but I
            do judge their beliefs are your beliefs are wrong. Communism is not a religion
            and yes most communists have been atheists but not all atheists are communists.
            Not all religious people support theocracies and not all religious people agreed
            with theocratic countries putting people to deaths for their beliefs or lack of beliefs.
            You are an asshole, Charles F. MacWhicken-Tired and if your religion inspires
            you to lump all atheists like that together than you belong to a very messed
            up religion/

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