My other blog is about my journey from devout Mormon to Atheist, and I usually keep it completely separate from this blog. Religious debate tends to divide people; my goal on this blog is to bring people together to pursue something we all value – helping other people.
Today I’m going to risk crossing over because of an issue I care deeply about – gay rights. I’m crossing over because . . . unfortunately many of the problems facing gay people are caused by religious belief about them.
Also, life has placed me in a unique position of empathy; I couldn’t keep myself quiet about it if I wanted to.
You see, my father is gay and I grew up in the Mormon faith. My parents were divorced when I was one, so my dad wasn’t around and I didn’t really know him, but he was still my dad. That had an affect on my religion. I felt like my dad was going to go to hell if he didn’t change and I felt a personal responsibility to help save him. This, along with many other things, was one of the things that led me to become very religious.
Listen, if you’re not interested in talking about this that’s fine. I’m not trying to push a conversation on you that you’re not open to and I’m not looking for an argument. Come back later and let’s keep working together in the areas we agree on.
The reason I’m bringing it up here is because there are too many good people suffering.
There are still too many instances of bullying, too many suicides, too many parents kicking their children out of their homes, too much depression, too much mental illness, too many STDs from normal people being pushed to the fringe of our society, too many predators taking advantage of young people who lost all support from family when they “came out.”
The world is changing. The world my dad grew up in was much more difficult for gay people. In fact, if he had been born a few years earlier there’s a large chance he would have been involved in electroshock therapy at BYU. Mormonism has become much more inclusive over the past few years.
Things are getting better, but we’re not there yet.
For example, 42% of homeless youth in Utah are gay. They were shunned, pushed into “reparative therapy,” or left their home for some on their own because of the pressure.
All of these things stem from the beliefs you and I hold about who gay people are and why they do what they do. They depend on the attitudes our kids hold when they go to school and see the effeminate kid being picked on. It starts with us.
So I’ve written about it a lot – mostly on my other blog, but also on Facebook, in the Pride Team Member Network within my job, in letters to family members, etc. Advocacy for gay rights and understanding of gay issues is a core part of my philanthropy.
Here’s the point
My brother and I were interviewed a few weeks ago on a podcast that focuses on gay issues within Mormonism. We talk openly about what it was like for us. If you’re interested in hearing our perspective, you’ll find the two episodes of the podcast here and here.
If you can’t listen, you’ll get the main gist of what I want you to understand in this short article: A Mormon Boy’s Mission to Save His Father.
Talk to me
I’d love to hear what you think! I’m very open about this and will answer any question you have. You can post in the comments below or send me a personal message.