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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A parent's letter to their family: Our son is gay--and we love him

This post is dedicated to my friends the Montgomerys. Below you will find a letter they sent to their family late last week, explaining that while their son is gay, not much of anything else has really changed: They still love their Savior, they're still active Mormons, and they still love their son--the same way they always did. 

It is my hope that other parents of Mormon LGBT children out there see this and realize it is possible--very possible--to love your child unconditionally, keep them safe from health risks, and still remain true to your faith. In fact, I think this is one of the truest representations of our faith there is--putting into action the principle that our family is first, our children are precious, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home. 

I think my favorite part is how this helps dispel the illusion that you have to choose between your church and your child. Kudos to the Montgomerys for not allowing anyone to force them into that horrible Sophie's Choice. 

Enjoy the read from my new friends--and my new heroes. And pay special attention to the postscript from their son at the end--that's a message we all need to hear.
_______________________________________________________________


To all our friends and family, we feel that it’s time share something that has been a significant experience in our lives.  Many of you already know this, or may have heard secondhand, so we wanted you to hear it directly from us (Tom and Wendy): our oldest son, Jordan, is gay. You may wonder why we would share this information (and of course it’s with Jordan’s permission).  We will explain, but first we want to share our experience through some excerpts from Wendy’s journal.

BEGINNING OF EXCERPTS FROM WENDY’S JOURNAL:

On the last Sunday in January, I stayed home from church with my daughter, Emma, who was sick.  Tom took the other 4 kids to church with him.  They weren’t even gone 5 minutes before I had a strong feeling to go read Jordan’s journal.  That feeling came twice before I acted on it.  (Jordan started keeping a journal as a Duty to God requirement a couple weeks before this.)  I’m not sure I can adequately describe my feelings as I read the things my sweet son wrote.  The entries clearly portrayed his conflicted feelings of being attracted to other guys, and not feeling anything towards his friends that are girls.  He knew he was different, that there was something “wrong” with him. 

The next day I drove down to visit my brother who is a Bishop in his ward and has had some gay teens in his ward.  I also stayed with my sister for a couple days.  I was afraid to come home and be around Jordan until I knew I could control my emotions and tears.  Tom is much better controlling his emotions and was able to be around Jordan without him sensing that anything was wrong.  I didn’t want Jordan to know that we knew yet and that we had read his journal because if that was the only way I could find out what was going on with him, I didn’t want that window shut. 

Tom and I met with our Bishop that week and talked with him about what to do.  He referred us to LDS Family Services to see a counselor about it.  In the meantime, we had several talks with Jordan, trying to let him know that he could talk to us about anything, we would love him and accept him no matter what, and so on.  We were hoping he would open up and talk to us about it, but he didn’t. 

After a few weeks, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer for him to come out to us on his own.  So Tom gave Jordan a Priesthood blessing that night after the other kids were in bed.  It was a beautiful, powerful blessing.  Afterward, Jordan sat next to me on the bed and I just hugged him.  Tom looked at Jordan and said, “Jordan, I feel like I need to ask you something.  Are you struggling with feelings of homosexuality?”  I felt Jordan start to tremble and cry.  Then he nodded.  He looked absolutely terrified.  Jordan just clung to me, for almost 2 hours.  We told him how much we love him, how this changes NOTHING of how we feel for him.  We accept him completely and will help him through this.

I have come to learn that how we handled that moment was an exceptional “coming out” for a gay teenager.  Many (including LDS teens) are disowned, kicked out of their home, screamed at, had hateful, awful things said to them, etc.  I can’t imagine EVER feeling like that towards one of my children.  But I know it was a tender mercy of the Lord that we had a couple weeks of knowing before this moment, so we could get a handle on our own difficult emotions and not experience the shock that so many parents do when their kids come out to them.

There is no way to adequately explain how we feel, the emotions we are going through, or what we need to do to cope with all of this, all while trying to hold it together enough for our other 4 kids.  I didn’t know it was possible to cry so much, to have emotional pain be so intense that it becomes physical pain, to grieve over someone who wasn’t dead.  I feel like I am mourning the loss of the life I wanted for my son, and thought he would have: a mission, temple marriage, being a father.  It was as though the boy I raised was gone and I had to get to know this new boy.  He was different now, but still the same.  Such a confusing place for me!  I have read and studied this subject in the Church so much that I have a very good idea of what his life will be like as a gay LDS man.  If he chooses to stay true to the teachings of the gospel, then he will have a life of loneliness and celibacy.  Never having a companion or someone to love breaks my heart for him.  If he chooses to leave the Church and live an openly gay life, then he gives up the blessings associated with the Church.  He will likely pull away from his family because it will be awkward for him (even though we will try to not make it so).

My poor son!  This is an impossible situation, with no good solution in this life.  He is only 13, and most 13-year olds are not looking that far into their future.  But as his parents, we know this.  And it is an excruciating thing.  But he is STILL that wonderful, amazing, happy, always smiling, enthusiastic boy he has always been.  He is STILL the child I have loved the longest, my first-born, and will forever love regardless of what happens with this or what choices he makes.  

END JOURNAL EXCERPTS


So why are we sharing this with you now?  Our belief is that the choices before Jordan are both unfair and horrible.  They are complicated by both ignorance of fundamental facts and the polarizing political world surrounding gay issues.  Wendy, in particular, has made it her mission to be as educated on the subject as possible. She has studied both scientific research on it and read church leaders’ statements on same-sex attraction, which in recent years has evolved significantly.  She has read and listened to the experiences of hundreds of LDS gay men and women.   She has also waded through the majority of political, hate-filled misinformation out there.   She loses sleep regularly in her search for answers and help for Jordan.  Every spare minute she has is devoted to this.  From all her study and from our discussions with Jordan, I would like to share with you some of the important things we have learned:

(1) Being gay is not a choice.  Science and psychology have recognized this for a long time, and even the church has come to recognize this in recent years. I have read some of the scientific research (mostly from Bill Bradshaw, a BYU biology professor and former mission president), which is quite compelling. But more compelling than the science is the experience and testimony of numerous faithful LDS gay people, including Jordan.  They sincerely tell us that they never chose to be attracted to the same sex; in fact many have tried in various ways to ignore it, fight it or change it – but it doesn’t go away.  Moreover, why would an honest, faithful young man or woman ever choose to be gay in our church and suffer the shame, guilt and rejection that too often come with it?  Those who doubt this proposition should ask themselves, did I ever have to make a conscious decision to like and be attracted to the opposite sex, or was it natural and instinctive? Likewise, it is natural and instinctive for those who are attracted to the same sex.

(2)  Sexual orientation doesn’t change.  Again, numerous studies and the experience of numerous faithful LDS gay people can’t be ignored.  As Bill Bradshaw observes, “honesty compels us to consider the experience of a very large number of LDS gay people, who in spite of exhaustive, lengthy, and totally sincere efforts have not been able to change the fact of who they are sexually.  A testimony of the gospel, faithful church activity, fasting, prayer, missionary service, temple service – all of these are important, but none, in any combination, has been able to alter sexual orientation.” Any doubters should ask themselves, is there anything that would cause me to lose my feelings towards the opposite sex and be attracted to members of the same sex?

(3)  Being gay is not just about sex - any more than being heterosexual is just about sex.  Gay people are no different than straight people when it comes to relationships.  Like all human beings, they desire emotional, spiritual and physical attachment. They feel the same compulsion to fall in love, find a companion and share their life with someone. The desire for physical intimacy is just one aspect of the spectrum of feelings and emotions that humans, whether gay or straight, experience in a relationship.

As we learned these things, we have become comfortable with who Jordan is; and we no longer feel a need to hope for things that cannot happen.  For whatever purpose the Lord has, a certain number of people are faced with same sex attraction.  This does not change the fact that Jordan will need to choose how to live with being gay, but it circumvents a lifetime of petitioning the Lord for something that will never happen and focus his choices on how to live now.  He can move forward secure that he is as the Lord made him and not a broken or wicked person.  Our hope is that he continues to build his faith in the Savior and that he can find happiness in the Church, and we will do everything we can to assist in creating a place for gay people in the Church.

The points outlined above should help secure our compassion and empathy for those who are gay.  There has been too much pain and suffering, mistreatment and rejection – all because of ignorance, fear and misunderstanding.  This isn’t a political effort to get you to vote one way or another, but as long as this subject is taboo and people are too afraid or intimidated to speak about it, then young gay people in the church will continue to suffer.  Today in the Church (and our communities) there is bullying, fear and self-loathing – even suicide.  We will continue to lose too many wonderful gay men and women (and often their families) because they feel unwanted and unwelcome among us.

This should not happen in our Church.  This is why Wendy and I have decided that we can no longer be silent, closeted parents.  We don’t want to be a part of the problem.  We want all gay people, particularly that young man or woman in our midst who is silently suffering with nowhere to turn, to know that we love them and support them.  We are there for them and for their family if they need help, encouragement or understanding.  The Church at this time has no official outreach or instruction on this subject, other than a few statements over the years and a pamphlet.  Local leaders are mostly left on their own on how to counsel gay members.  Among other things, Wendy and I have spoken with our local church leaders about our willingness to be a resource to help educate fellow members and especially to help individuals and families who just need someone to talk to.  There shouldn’t be one member of our Church who thinks it is the Church’s position that they should turn against their children, throw them out of their homes or shun them.  This is the opposite of what Christ would do.

Here is our final point:

To be members of the church in full fellowship, gay members must make a sacrifice of supreme proportions. They are not allowed to fall in love, show physical affection, or be married to those to whom they are naturally attracted.  They are required to be completely celibate.  Being gay is not like having a disability, as some have tried to tell me. Gay people are capable of living and loving like everyone else. A disabled person is never told that they are not worthy of God’s choicest blessings, they always have hope and admiration. As do single women in the church, who are progressing in years without a prospective husband on the horizon. Again, they have hope, support, and love. Our church is all about the eternal family and the only group of people who have no hope of attaining this are homosexuals. To deny a Latter-Day-saint this goal is to strip them of their very reason for being. So, no, nothing can compare.

To give it a personal perspective, if you were told that you could not marry or that you had to give up your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend in order to retain your membership in the church, how would you choose?  Thankfully, most of us don’t have to make such a difficult decision, but most gay people do. And because falling in love and having someone to share your life with is such a major part of our earthly experience (and a major focus of the church), the great majority of gay people at some time or another choose that path.  We have heard statistics that say up to 80% of gay children leave the Church.

Our only purpose in bringing up this point is so that we might have an extra measure of empathy and compassion for our gay brothers and sisters.  Many of us, Wendy and I included, gave of our time and resources fighting for prop 8 in California, but have we spent one moment of our time to reclaim or show love to some of these rejected souls?  And we wonder why our efforts are perceived as hate.  We should welcome them with open arms into our congregations with love and acceptance, no matter their status or circumstances.  We are simply asking that we love them as the Savior does.  Love Jordan as you always have.  This does not require any doctrinal changes or threaten the sanctity of marriage.  It might just make us all a bit more Christ-like.

While this has probably been too wordy already, there are many things that have been left unsaid.  If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to us.  Also, feel free to share this letter with anyone you feel may benefit from our story.

With love,
Tom and Wendy Montgomery 

P.S from Jordan: I wanted to say something to you guys. Many of you know that we went to San Francisco this past weekend. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We went to a conference for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBT). They are wonderful and amazing people who have been so devastated and hurt by what society and their families have said and done to them.  Some were thrown out of their homes, others beaten, and some lost everything when they came out. I don’t want this to keep happening. I and my parents are only the start of something that can take the blinders off of people’s eyes and let them see that we should all just love and accept each other for who we are. I’ve been bullied a lot by people at my school and previous schools. That bullying can drive people to suicide, cutting themselves, and all these awful things that I would never throw on anyone for as long as I live. All I’m asking of you is that you love and accept EVERYONE. Not just gays and lesbians, but EVERYONE.

Jordan Montgomery  

33 comments:

  1. Dear Mitch,

    Again, I am in awe and humbled by this "mission" you have chosen to do not only for yourself, but for others like you and I within the Church. I sit here with tears wetting my cheeks, shirt and desk, knowing how the Lord works in mysterious ways, and that His Divine intervention has saved Jordan from so much pain and heartache.

    To the Montgomery's I say this: God bless you for your open minds, heart, and intelligence. You have saved your son from many years of wondering how you would react to hearing the words "I'm Gay" come from his lips and trembling thinking you would cast him aside like a discarded piece of food or clothing. God Bless you in all your endeavors to enlighten the many good men and women of the Church on this subject and to paint a very clear, concise picture of what it is to be Gay AND to be Mormon. And finally, God Bless you for sharing this wonderful touching story for the rest of us. My greatest hope is that we can all be true followers of Christ and accept each other as God, Our Heavenly Father has made us.

    Sincerely with Love

    Jim Price

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    1. Thank you for pointing out that it was through God's divine intervention that Joran's dear mother was prompted to learn about his homosexuality. This speaks volumes.

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  2. Beautiful. Well said, thank you so much.

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  3. Thank you, Tom and Wendy, for taking the time to really understand, and for being willing to review you past actions in the light of new information.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. Much inspiration here,
    -CK

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  5. My fervent prayers accompany you and these families. I pray that the leaders of the church will speak out in exactly these ways to heal the deep wounds that arise for no good or righteous reason. Love for one another is asked of us unconditionally. On that I think we all can agree.

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  6. You have been blessed with an extraordinary first born. I want you to be aware of one thing above all. But, first, you will have to substitute one word in the following sentence: "We have a gay son." Now, take out "gay" and replace it with "gifted".

    Because Heavenly Father does not give us more than we can handle, we also need to realize that we are also charged to "fulfill the measure of our [unique] creation". Your son most definitely has a superb mission on this earth - with his giftedness, his gayness, his amazing family, his devotion to the Truth. I marvel at this rising generation of gay Saints - as I am over 40 years older than Jordan.

    In the end, what is it that each of us can do to allow Jordan and his entire generation to "fulfill the measure of their unique creation"? What can we do to stop the madness of this "Latter Day Racism"? What can we do to do all we can do? Before the Lord Himself steps in and instructs the Church on all of this?

    May the Lord bless the Montgomery family this week after opening to their various communities. I salute each one of you.

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  7. I want to thank the Montgomery family so much for sharing this wonderful and personal story. I deeply appreciate it.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. I am a parent of small children and LDS and have recently thought a lot about how critical our reactions to our children. I have thought about how I would react if one of my children said he or she were homosexual, and I will keep this post as a reference and example. If people truly believe that Jesus Christ is our perfect example, then we should use his unconditional love as a foundation for how we treat and react to the children for which we are responsible to raise and teach. Thank you again!!!

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  9. Thank you Tom and Wendy and Jordan for sharing your story. I think the best thing we can do with our challenges in life is to share them to make the pathway easier for others.

    Thank you, as aways, Mitch, for giving a place to share these stories.

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  10. AS an adult homosexual woman who has had to leave the LDS faith, I applaud you for your compassion and understanding of your sons struggles. I wish you success in your mission to educate the LDS community and your son a beautiful, successful, happy life.

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  11. Our only purpose in bringing up this point is so that we might have an extra measure of empathy and compassion for our gay brothers and sisters. Many of us, Wendy and I included, gave of our time and resources fighting for prop 8 in California, but have we spent one moment of our time to reclaim or show love to some of these rejected souls? And we wonder why our efforts are perceived as hate

    A few things I don't understand:

    1. Does your 13-y.o. son want you to out him publicly?
    2. You supported (and as far as I can see, still do) the denial of basic civil rights to your fellow LGBT Californians. Don't you realize that this is--to quote you--"We should welcome them with open arms into our congregations with love and acceptance, no matter their status or circumstances. We are simply asking that we love them as the Savior does. Love Jordan as you always have. This does not require any doctrinal changes or threaten the sanctity of marriage. It might just make us all a bit more Christ-like--" complete hypocrisy? It's fine to love them, but they don't deserve the same rights as everyone else.

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    1. The answer is actually pretty simple: people progress and if we find better and more Christ-like ways to apply and implement the gospel, we should do just that. By your reckoning, anyone who has a change of heart is a hypocrite. It doesn’t exactly leave much room to gain any allies.

      As far as Jordan wanting to be out publicly, that was a long, thought out question that all of us debated. Time will tell if it is the correct one. For sure Jordan has followed our lead, but he has been very brave. He feels that if we can help just one person like him have a better life, he was willing to help. Although we approached this with a healthy fear of the unexpected and the prejudices that are out there, here have been some of the results:

      1) Jordan is happier. He is not hiding in fear.
      2) He is not alone. He is secure in his family’s support and now many, many of his friends and adults.
      3) He knows who his allies are. Many would never have known he was gay and he would have feared the worst in their reactions.
      4) For 2 years, Jordan has withdrawn from his friends both at school and at Church. Just about everyone has put an arm around him and reassured him that he has a place both at school and at Church. Instead of his next four years being lived in isolation and fear, he can move forward confident of his friends, family and support.
      5) As a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood, he knows that his Bishop is behind him and that living a chaste life makes him as worthy as any other young man in the ward.
      6) Because Jordan is out, we as parents can take upon ourselves to educate and be an influence on how our friends and family treat him. In addition, we (Jordan included) hope to positively help young kids in similar situations and hopefully influence their parents in how they react and treat their children.
      7) Because Jordan is out, we as parents can establish the expectation among our friends, family and community in how Jordan is to be treated. Anyone with a problem with that can deal with us instead of harassing him. Part of my responsibility as a parent is to shield my son.

      Tom Montogmery

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  12. You expressed the feelings of a parent who learns they have a gay child very well. At first it is as if they have died and a look alike is in their place. You do mourn for the hopes and dreams that are suddenly lost. The emotional pain is indescribable. I cried and prayed until there were no tears left and it felt like there were no prayers left. Then I prayed and asked "What am I to do? How do I deal with this?" and the answer came, "Just love him".
    The most helpful thing that I did was start asking myself if I was being selfish in trying to deal with issues with my son. When I had a choice to make I would ask myself if I was trying to avoid some perceived embarrassment, or was I truly thinking of the best interest of my son. As time went by I was able to overcome the fear and selfishness and work with my son to help him have the best future possible.

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  13. I completely agree that we as members of the church should love everyone. It's important that all are loved despite any part of their lives. I think it's horrible when gay people are treated with hate or disdain. However, I feel like people always want to make out that gay people's lives are so unfair. We ALL have trials. Heavenly Father gave us all trials that seem unbearable and make us feel as if we have no way out. That is what turns us to Him. And brings us to a level of a tiny bit of understanding of what our Savior went through. It's all part of the plan. As Josh Weed, a gay Mormon, put it, no matter what way of life we choose we have to make sacrifices.

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    1. Yet, as difficult as many of these trials are, many of them can be overcome, smoking, laziness, alcoholism and people find sympathy and understanding because there is a workable framework in the church for how do deal with it. Being gay however is something you are, not something you "overcome" and there is no way to reconcile it with current LDS doctrine, and no current policy that effectively deals with it. In that way it is "unfair" by comparison. This unfairness is what led a good friend of mine to commit suicide and many other people I know attempt it. They cannot reconcile being Mormon with being gay, the feelings are always there, period. Mr Weed is an exception to the rule, and his life is very far from the norm that people experience. Besides I suspect he is bisexual enough to make this particular sacrifice.

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  14. Let me first say it's wonderful that you are accepting of Jordan and the way he was made. It’s wonderful that you are trying to open up and learn about new perspectives. I want to share another perspective with you which is not meant to cut you down or deny how much you love your son.

    I can say as a lesbian with a Jehovah's Witness mother and Mormon brother (and family) your "support" means nothing if you don't wholly support him. When he is an adult and meets the person he wants to spend his life with and you tell him "I'm sorry Jordan, I can't come to your wedding/commitment ceremony/event etc. because while I support you, my religion and I don't support same sex relationships or marriage and your choice to have one" you will effectively drive a wedge between the two of you. What kind of "choice" is not having a relationship? You were able to choose the person you married and you have all the federal rights and protections that any other married couple has. There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law which same sex couples do not have.

    My Mormon brother and his family support me and my family 100%. They do not support Prop 8 and they will not vote for any person or rule that denies equal rights simply because of the way I’m made. My mother has only recently (I came out 10 years ago) realized that supporting my MARRIAGE to my same sex partner has nothing to do with her values or religion. She has only recently realized that unconditional love is unconditional and saying she supports me means she needs to support me in everything. My marriage is not about her, just like Jordan's future relationships are not about you. By supporting Prop 8 and denying rights to same sex couples you are 100% telling Jordan you will only support him on YOUR terms and will never support him fully for who he is. I think a lot of the gay community stays quiet about this point because they are just happy to not be hated. It’s not enough to not kick him out of your house, it’s not enough to just “tolerate” or not hate him. It will only be enough when all humans have the same rights and by not supporting that, you are not supporting him.

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    1. What was stated in the letter in regards to Prop 8 was showing that it was supported in the PAST and is most definitely NOT supported now. His family will have a front row seat to his wedding of the partner of his choice and he will be embraced and loved just like any other member of the family. There is NOTHING that will ever be done to drive a wedge there. Family comes first - ALWAYS. And frankly, all this is probably about a decade off. How about you let him get through high school first?

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    2. I think it is so hard to open your private thoughts and struggles to strangers. Thank you so much for giving a gift of insight into a sacred experience in your family's life. It has given me perspective, and filled me with warmth, sadness, and joy.

      It is easy to be critical of how someone acts when you are above the action and have no emotional investment. It is so hard because we are all human, and because what you have written in your journal was not scripted it is human, and therefore worth so much more. No one in the world claims to be perfect, and you and I are no exception. You have done so much more than just tolerate your son, you have waded through unknown and very uncomfortable territory which make you need to re-understand your most basic beliefs. A few years would not be enough time to do this transformation justice, and you and your son have already reached out to help people who might need some perspective and support. What is clear is that you love your son, and have enough love for others to reach out. While I read these comments, it is so hard not to get frustrated with comments on both sides, and I was just impressed with the Christ-like and loving tone you have all shown.

      I voted for prop 8 when I lived in California, because after reading the rights guaranteed citizens in civil unions, what I understood was it was exactly the same. I thought it was a good compromise. I am not sure that I made the right choice, but the beauty of life is we have the capacity for becoming better every day, and I hope we all can allow our neighbors that same benefit.

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  15. Here is my standing ovation to your family!! I applaud you for letting LOVE guide your life into further exploration of the fear, doubts and questions that surfaced upon discovering your son is gay. He is a VERY lucky boy. You are a wonderful example to others who may face this one day. I admire your family's courage and honesty!

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  16. Kudos to you. You are true Pioneers. Our forefathers were willing to sacrifice everything to establish God's Kingdom on earth. You are forging a path for the families of our beloved gay brothers and sisters. Thank you for doing this, a special thank you to Jordan!

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  17. I especially like the 3rd point you make about things you learned. Being gay is not just about sex - any more than being heterosexual is just about sex. Gay people are no different than straight people when it comes to relationships. Like all human beings, they desire emotional, spiritual and physical attachment. They feel the same compulsion to fall in love, find a companion and share their life with someone. The desire for physical intimacy is just one aspect of the spectrum of feelings and emotions that humans, whether gay or straight, experience in a relationship.
    I know that that is true and it is probably the biggest problem amongst members of the Church. It is not a sin to be gay. It is a part of what makes you you. And God loves the aspects of our personality that are associated with sexuality, many of which have nothing to do with sex. I would like to point out, though, that this line "Our church is all about the eternal family and the only group of people who have no hope of attaining this are homosexuals." is inaccurate. Yes, It is terribly difficult to feel like an abomination, or that you simply have no place in the plan of salvation and I don't mean to diminish that. But the Plan of salvation would simply not be true if God did not extend it to each and every individual. It's not fair to take away a person's hope if that is what they want. I am gay. I am mormon. I made a choice after recieving personal revelation that God loves me just the way I am to marry a man(and not like i love you but i am creeped out by you, or I love you but will be dissappointed with you if you choose to be with a woman). I don't think that that is the 'right' thing for everybody. But it's my choice. And if we really believe that God will help us obtain all our righteous desires, then EVERYONE can have hope! I'm gay and I will always be gay. I am proud of who I am and I know God is too. Jordan if you meet a man you love and want to commit to, I hope that you have a wonderful life with him, and feel the love of your God and your fellow church members. And I hope you can get legally married, because lets be honest, insurance is a beautiful thing. But if you meet a girl whom you can love and decide to marry in the temple, that can work too. I'll be honest, when I married my husband, it was difficult because I'm not naturally attracted to him, and it will continue to be difficult, but as long as i don't have to change who i am it sure beats celibacy. I do love him, more than any other PERSON in the world. And we have a beautiful baby, who one day I hope will be proud of his gay mom. If you ever need to talk, feel free to contact me or my husband. My baby can't talk yet, so we'll have to leave it at that :)

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  18. Tom and Wendy, Thank you for posting this and for handling your son's situation in such a constructive, powerful way. We have a gay son who suffered in silence through his teenage years because he was too afraid to tell us and too worried that others would find out. If more families with this situation could be open like you are (and us, belatedly), our fellow church members would know how to love and support gay people. Young gay youth would not have to suffer so much and everyone could help them along the way. That's how it should be.

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  19. Jordan clearly has not only incredibly parents, but incredible personal integrity as well. His plea for universal tolerance despite the ways he has been misused--indeed, in part because of it--reveals a deeply compassionate and precociously wise soul. God bless you always, Jordan, and may many arms embrace you with much love.

    Janet Garrard-Willis

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  20. I shared this blog post on my facebook page last week, and yesterday after church, a neighbor thanked me for posting it, he was touched, and shed some tears as he read it. He also said he used it in his EQ lesson.

    Thanks again for sharing your story. It means a lot that there are more brave families out there, speaking out on issues close to their hearts. The more we do so, the more things will change.

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  21. This is amazing, thank you for sharing with love and courage. We need more people like you

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  22. Tom & Wendy, thank you so much for publicly sharing your thoughts and struggles. I know it's difficult to open your hearts like this, but it's obviously that your family is so full of love. All of you have nothing to be ashamed about. Keep speaking up and talking about these very important issues, because while others might fight back and disagree, ultimately, they cannot deny the Christ-like love exuding from your hearts. They'll understand one day if we all keep trying and sharing these stories.

    We're behind you 100% and support both of you and your son.

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  23. Tom and Wendy, thank you for sharing this, and for standing up for your son. Thank you for articulating so well the struggles that a gay person in the LDS church has. Thank you for giving this rather jaded LDS lesbian a little bit of hope for change in the church.

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  24. Mitch, Tom, Wendy, and Jordan,

    This post is so inspiring! I am just now talking to my children about homosexuality and recently invited two of my very best (gay) friends over for dinner with us. We spent the evening playing old board games. My kids took to them right away, and thanks to openness all around, my children have a positive and personal experience with homosexuality.

    You are all very brave for being so willing to share your stories, and your courage is so needed these days. Thank you so much for being willing to put yourselves out in the public eye. Good vibes to all of you.

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  25. Way to go Montgomerys! You're setting a marvelous example of parenting. I hope that I can be as sensitive to my children's feelings and needs as you have been to Jordan's. Jordan is an awesome kid.

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  26. Jordan is lucky to have parents who can love him as our Father in Heaven loves him. Tom and Wendy, all parents can learn lessons from you in how to love their children, regardless of their sexual orientation.

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  27. Dear Mitch, please forward this message to Wendy Montgomery. Thank you.
    -----------------------
    Dear Wendy,

    I'm Kriszti Kotka from Hungary, we don't know each other. This afternoon I read your story, then Mitch Mayne's blog entry about your son, Jordan, being gay, and how you have handled this new situation and I must say: I have never felt such a burning desire to... become a MOTHER. I felt the enormity of the deep-rooted love you feel for your child that permeates your every day; that allows you to change YOURSELF and how you see things; and the passionate will with which you go out there to find the way to help him feel normal, accepted, and loved.

    I love my husband to death but we don't have children yet and I KNOW, INSTINCTIVELY, that the love you feel for your spouse is not the same kind of love you feel for your own flesh and blood you give life to. I can barely wait for the moment that I can experience that feeling.

    I just want to say thank you for giving me a glimpse of what that feeling is going to be like.

    With true admiration,
    Kriszti Kotka

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