LDS Stories & Thought

 

 
 
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"Mormons embrace the term "peculiar people" as a badge of honor. To Latter-day Saints it represents their status as God's people, with reference to the pride of their ancestors in being different the persecution early Mormons endured for defending polygamy, new prophecy, and the political Kingdom. The ironic reference to individuality and group consciousness is equally applicable to gay and lesbian Mormons who experience misunderstanding, guilt, and derision, often at the hands of fellow Mormons for whom discrimination is now a distant memory. In Peculiar People, a wealth of resources chronicles the successes and failures of contemporary LDS homosexuals. Those who have chosen celibacy are occasionally admitted into full church fellowship. Others, fearing censure and humiliation, conceal their orientation. But many, perhaps a majority, have decided that they "will not go where they are not welcome" and drift away from the Mormon community that once nurtured them. The church calls same-sex intimacy sin and recommends repentence and a thorough change of heart, though stops short of advising homosexuals to marry heterosexuals. For some time now church clerics, social workers, theologians, and sociologists have been engaged in debate about what place such people should occupy in the church community and what remedies or consolations should be offered them. To this discussion, Ron and Wayne Schow and Marybeth Raynes contribute their wide professional experience and bring a range of resources, gearing this volume toward helping people become informed and toward providing a variety of perspectives and options. These include the findings of biologists, therapists, and religious scholars.


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"In her best-selling "Goodbye, I Love You," Carol Lynn Pearson shared the moving story of her life with her homosexual husband Gerald--their Mormon temple marriage, the birth and raising of four children, their mutual anguish in realizing his orientation had not changed, their divorce and ongoing friendship, and her caring for him as he died from AIDS in her home. In "No More Goodbyes," Pearson revisits the challenging subject of religious people relating to their gay loved ones who are often condemned by their church and--many believe--by God. Through stories gathered from the microcosm of Mormonism, it becomes clear how this emotional earthquake affects families of all faiths.

 

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"In the terms of cultural geography, it’s a long way from Los Angeles to Pocatello. This is the story of Brad Schow, a young gay LDS man who lived in California and then returned to Idaho where he was born and raised—tragically to die of AIDS. It is, unfortunately, a story that is not uncommon.

In writing about his son, H. Wayne Schow reveals his own journey of sorting things out. This is a biography not only of Brad but of those whose lives he touched. It is a meditation on what it is to be ostracized or marginalized."

 
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"'A happy gay Mormon.' That's the shorthand I often use to describe myself," writes Tom Christofferson. "Some of my gay friends—as well as some of the LDS friends—are a little surprises that I think it's possible to be a gay Mormon."

In That We May Be One, Tom Christofferson shares perspectives gained from his life's journey as a gay man who left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then returned to it. After having asked to be excommunicated from the faith he was raised in, Tom spent two decades in a loving relationship with a committed partner. But gradually, the love of family, friends, and strangers and the Spirit of the Lord worked on him until he found himself one night sitting in his car in front of the bishop's house...

This book is about the lessons Tom, his family, and his fellow Saints learned while trying to love as God loves. It is about the scope and strength of this circle of love and about how learning the truth of our relationship with God draws us to Him. For anyone who has wondered how to keep moving forward in the face of difficult decisions and feelings of ambiguity; for anyone who needs to better understand the redeeming power of our Savior, Jesus Christ; for anyone who seeks to love more fully; this book offers reassurance and testimony of God's love for all of His children."

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"This powerful and innovative work by a gifted cultural historian explores the effects of religious conversion on family relationships, showing how the challenges of the Reformation can offer insight to families facing similarly divisive situations today.

Craig Harline begins with the story of young Jacob Rolandus, the son of a Dutch Reformed preacher, who converted to Catholicism in 1654 and ran away from home, causing his family to disown him. In the companion story, Michael Sunbloom, a young American, leaves his family's religion in 1973 to convert to Mormonism, similarly upsetting his distraught parents. The modern twist to Michael's story is his realization that he is gay, causing him to leave his new church, and upsetting his parents again—but this time the family reconciles.

Recounting these stories in short, alternating chapters, Harline underscores the parallel aspects of the two far-flung families. Despite different outcomes and forms, their situations involve nearly identical dynamics and heart-wrenching choices. Through the author's deeply informed imagination, the experiences of a seventeenth-century European family are transformed into immediately recognizable terms.

 

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"For most of his childhood, Joseph lived the quintessential Mormon life in Utah. But at the age of thirteen, he began to be faced with an ominous fact: that he was gay. The inner battle between his religious and sexual identities raged for ten years, nearly driving him to suicide. However, one night he realized that the monumental effort he had put into becoming a straight, mainstream Mormon man was not only an exercise in futility, but simply the wrong path for him. Around the next corner, he found the peace and happiness that had always been so elusive.

 

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"The true story of a wife, her homosexual husband, and a love that transcended tragedy.

Gerald Pearson had been honest with Carol Lynn about his homosexual past, but both of them had faith that marriage and devotion to their religion would change his orientation. Love would conquer all. Then, after eight years of apparent happiness and the birth of four children, Gerald was no longer able to deny what he considered to be his essential self. Carol Lynn was shattered, her self-esteem all but destroyed. Their divorce, however, could not erase a lifetime of love and mutual support. Carol Lynn courageously stood by her former husband's side. Even when he contracted AIDS - and came home to die."

 
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"Chad Anderson grew up gay in a large Mormon family. After years of trying to conform to religious standards, which promised a cure for homosexuality, he married and had children before finally coming out of the closet. Gay Mormon Dad is his story of finally learning to love himself in a complicated world. Chad currently resides with his two sons in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he works as a social worker and a writer."

 

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"What if, after all, being gay is not a defect, not a lesser life, but a different calling?-- an invitation to travel the road of heroes mapped out by mythologist Joseph Campbell and find the life-giving substance that cures all ills. The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon is offered to LGBT people of all religions, and their families and friends, as a traveling companion that will ease the path and celebrate the various destinations.

 

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"What is it like to be a Mormon who is attracted to the same gender rather than the opposite gender? How does this fit into a culture and religion centered on heterosexual marriage? In this book, thirty-seven individuals share their personal experiences, offering a window into these complex questions. The intense despair felt by gay and lesbian Mormon youth poses a significant challenge to their families, teachers, and ecclesiastical leaders who love them but who may be unaware of their difficulties or uncertain of how to help. These youth are often among the most devoted to their faith. While these issues continue to be surrounded by controversy, there is a growing need for understanding and respect for all involved. The accounts in this book offer hope and inspiration to those who wish to create a brighter future for their families and communities. The full text of this book is freely available online: Click Here"