I am here today to share my experiences as a parent of two gay sons. It has been 10 years since I’ve known my oldest son Trevor is gay. We did not find out until he was 18 and attending BYU. He sent us a letter explaining how he felt and what was going on. I didn’t have any idea he was gay up until this time. When Trevor was a sophomore in high school, I knew that he was dealing with something very difficult, something he wasn’t telling me. I would question him and ask what was wrong. I remember my despair one night when I asked him what was wrong. All he could do was look at me, choke back his tears, and hold inside the thing he couldn’t tell me; that he was gay.
When Trevor “came out” to us, my first reaction was, “oh no! What do I do with this?” But Bryce and I never rejected our sons or turned them away. They know now, and knew when they told us, that we would always love them and be there for them. They know they always have a place in our family and in our home. We love our children and family with all our hearts. We would never kick them out or act punitively. That is very contrary to what we believe – to Christ-like love or what he would want us to do. However, I do wish we had taken the opportunity when Trevor came out to learn more and understand what it means to be gay. I wish I would have talked less and asked more questions about what he was going through.
Bryce and I, along with Bryan Hendrickson and our son Trevor, started a support group for Mormon LGBT people. Trevor was very concerned that others, like him, had a support group where they could go and find friendship, compassion, and acceptance. He wanted a safe place where LGBT people could be exactly who they were and talk about their experiences and how they feel. Trevor had hope that others would be spared some of the suffering and loneliness he’s experienced. Hopefully, it could be an alternative to despair, alcohol, drugs, or suicide. He hoped for a place where people who had left the church, would still have some connection to active members who loved and accepted them.
That is the kind of support group we have today. I have met many wonderful people. I am glad that my LGBT friends know that I am an active member of the church who loves and cares about them. I don’t shun or shut them out. I hope some who have left the church will feel comfortable about coming back to church, if they ever desire. I want them to know that many of us want them there.
I know this is what my Father in Heaven wants me to do at this time. As a parent, I know how much I want all of my children to love, help and care about each other. I compare this to a loving Heavenly Father who wants all of his own children to do the same. As the apostle Paul said, it doesn’t matter how much faith we have, how much gospel knowledge we have, or how well we keep the commandments, if we don’t have charity – the pure love of Christ – we are nothing.
I don’t have all the answers and sometimes still struggle with the turn my life has taken. I’ve had to think harder and look deeper, pray longer and with more intensity. I have had to stretch and grow far out of my comfort zone. I still have questions that don’t have answers. But my capacity to love has grown, and I have watched my husband grow into a more caring and compassionate man as well.
I feel that maybe Bryce and I were blessed with two gay sons so that we could help make a difference and be a light in the darkness for our sons and family, LGBT Mormons, and the LDS community we live in.