I knew this work, and my above all my honesty, would give me more than my share of detractors. I gladly accept that, for I believe it is through them that genuine debate is sparked, and hopefully hearts are softened and spirits become more receptive. Rigorous debate is a good thing, and, I believe, a God-given thing.
There are times, admittedly, where I feel spiritually beaten down as a result of being outspoken about who I am and what I believe. Today was one such moment. Without fail, when those moments occur, I am blessed with a letter or an email from someone who’s thinking differently about the place of gays and lesbians in our Father’s kingdom as a result of something I’ve done. I do, in my heart of hearts, believe this is my Savior’s way of showing me His hand in my life, and His way of lending me courage again when I feel I have none.
These moments are a humble reminder that I am, indeed, only an ordinary man—placed into extraordinary circumstances. And as such, granted the grace to live up to those circumstances.
Below is Sarah’s story. How grateful I am she was willing to be an instrument in the hand of my Savior, and lend me strength when my own was faltering. I hope you find in it the same strength and beauty I did.
Thank you for your courage in your quest to establish greater understanding within the Mormon community with regard to our gay brothers and sisters. You inspired me to have a conversation with one of my younger brothers about his being gay. Joe has always been very private and self protective, and it was difficult for me to gather my own courage, find the right words and setting and give my feelings utterance. The opportunity came when he stayed at my house for this holiday weekend. All four of my siblings and their families attended events at my father’s place. My father has a cancer diagnosis and will probably last a only few more months so people made a concerted effort to be here together.
I thank you for being an inspiration to me. I have wanted greater closeness and friendship with Joe, but felt awkward in broaching the subject of the “elephant in the room” that my family is uncomfortable with. I told him it feels strange to have a brother-in-law I have never seen. He and his partner, Mike, have been together for 30 years. We agreed that that would change when I stay with them in Portland on a vacation.
I wish to express my gratitude to my Savior for the opportunity to play a small role to mend a thirty-year separation between a brother and a sister, and bring an entire family closer together once again—right where they belong.
The blessing of this work, is, indeed mine.