Advocating for Your Gay Mormon Family Member

I recently had the opportunity to interview Wendy and Tom Montgomery and their two children, Jordan (15) and Susannah (14).  They are devout Mormons from California who have five children in total.  They were part of the movement of many LDS members who pounded on doors in 2008 to support the passage of Proposition 8, the state referendum that overturned the ruling that allowed same-sex couples to marry in California.  They did so not knowing that their oldest son Jordan was gay and that he was struggling with suicidal ideation due to the position his church had taken that homosexual behavior was sinful.  He was also worried his family would cut him off if he told them what he was struggling with.  He was 13 when he came out to his parents.

This podcast touches on how they have become an advocate for him within the church and their community.  They discuss the struggles of loving their faith and wanting to continue with their Mormon heritage while simultaneously going through many hurtful experiences as they try to educate themselves and others and stand in unity as a family structure.  It is a wonderfully vulnerable and open window into the types of issues so many LDS families are struggling with as they grapple with the implications of our Mormon beliefs and their LGBT loved ones.

Advocating for Your Gay Mormon Family Member on Mormon Mental Health

They have been recently interviewed by a wide variety of media outlets.

Oblivion (A Mormon Teen Speaks Out for Others, Part 1 of 2) by Susannah Montgomery on No More Strangers: LGBT Mormon Forum

Oblivion (A Mormon Teen Speaks Out for Others, Part 2 of 2)

Family Acceptance ProjectFamilies are Forever

NPR interview: Keeping the Faith, and Loving Your Gay Son

ABC interview: Mormon Mom Who Fought for Prop 8, Now Fights for Gay Son

Huffington Post did an article called Gay Mormons: Wendy and Tom Montgomery Lead Push to Change LDS Church Stance on Homosexuality.

Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons

Daniel Parkinson is the main moderator at Gay Mormon Stories

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for audio production of this podcast.

TLC’s My Husband’s not Gay…
Navigating a Faith Crisis in your Marriage Workshop
Respecting Agency in Parenting
Finding your ACE Score
  • Past Primitive™

    I have a sincere question. It is not meant to belittle or make anyone feel less than a beloved daughter or son of God.

    From an LDS perspective how can we truly believe that homosexuality is a celestial traight?

    Do we genuinely believe that homosexuality will be part of our perfected and eternal nature as exalted celestial beings?

    If we do believe this, how come God has not even left any physical trace in the slightest that two males or two females can reproduce and make offspring? One of the most beautiful expressions of a marriage.

    • Past Primitive™

      I love people who are homosexual. I don’t think they are evil inherently. But I don’t think homosexuality is part of our eternal soul. I feel much the same way about homosexuality that I do about other issues that come from our personal choice or the way that our brains of developed when we’re born. Just because we feel something doesn’t mean it’s what God intends for us. Nor does it mean it’s what will make us happiest.

      • Past Primitive™

        I’m not saying answers are easy or simple or that there is some form of immediate happiness waiting for us. I still think God expects all of us even those of us who struggle with homosexuality or even if we don’t feel that it is a struggle for us to exercise faith in him and his plan is to recognize that he has a path that will lead us all too extreme amounts of happiness in the end.

        • Past Primitive™

          I will gladly accept if God tells me I am wrong in all of this. And that homosexuality is a celestial trait. But how can we genuinely believe a union that can never produce offspring is a trait that God wants us to have for all eternity?

    • MrShorty

      I hope this can be discussed rationally and respectfully — these kind of things have too much tendency to degenerate into name calling and other things.
      I don’t think I know the answer to these questions you raise. A couple of thoughts:
      1) On homosexual relationships being sterile — What does the same logic mean for heterosexual couples who are also infertile? I personally am not convinced that fertility should be a significant measure of validity for a marriage/relationship.
      2) On whether homosexuality is an eternal part of us. I think it is really hard to say. From your point of view it sounds like you are convinced that it is not, and you are laying the burden of proof on those who want to claim otherwise. I can understand your point of view, I’m just not sure that it is more valid than those who would say, “I believe it is part of my eternal nature, it is up to others to prove that it is not.” A difficult prospect in either case, because I am not aware of any evidence in scripture or other official LDS publications for either point of view.
      It seems clear to me that we each come to earth with different physical, mental, and emotional defects (whether homosexuality is among these is debatable). It also seems clear to me that, in the resurrection through Christ’s atonement, our bodies and minds will become perfected (whatever that looks like).

      • Past Primitive™

        My hope was for rationality, and respect as well. As far as sterility goes. I too agree that of course there are many heterosexual couples who are sterile, etc… However, any heterosexual couple would consider that most likely a defect. Where as among the human race homosexuality has never once successfully created progeny via natural fertilization processes. It seems to me if God had intended homosexuality as part of a celestial trait that he would have also allowed for the ability for them to reproduce as well. Seems strange that God would not afford them the same reproductive capabilities as all other humans. I hope that makes sense. I realize there are exceptions of heterosexual couples, but as far as I know there hasn’t ever been an exception of a homosexual couple being able to reproduce without drawing genetic material from the opposite gender. At which point regardless of who parents the child, the child was indeed the outcome of a heterosexual union. Even if there was no intercourse involved.

        You are correct to assume that I am mostly convinced that I don’t think it is. But I am very aware that is by no means official, or authoritative. Nor am I infallible. So i am genuinely discussing the thoughts there. Not just asking loaded questions.

        From an LDS view point I am laying the burden of proof on Homosexuals to prove that homosexual relations are inherently heavenly and part of our eternal identity and not just part of the mortal struggles we face as imperfect beings. While the LDS church seems clear on their stance that homosexuality is not inherently sinful, acting out sexually on homosexual feelings is. And that is not some obscure doctrine only taught once or twice, we can see loads of evidence throughout scripture, ancient and modern prophets of this teaching. I am not sure I see the same evidence for acting on homosexual feelings. So I would expect that if we were to endorse homosexual marriages, and active homosexual sexual relations as righteous behavior in the Mormon Church that there should indeed be some compelling evidence nullifying the previous stated stance of the church. In the Book of Mormon some started to say the law of Moses was fulfilled before it was, and said they didn’t need to follow it anymore. While ironically indeed it would be fulfilled eventually and ceased to be observed righteously. God did expect of his children to continue to follow it until he revealed otherwise. So I guess I am saying it seems that God has told us how to view homosexuality (and I feel through my personal study that I concur with the Church’s stance on the issue) So until God reveals otherwise I would expect any member who disagrees with the current stance to provide ample evidence as to why they feel that way, and at the very least simply comply with the church’s stance until it is revealed through proper priesthood channels otherwise, and to only teach official stances/doctrine regardless of personal revelations on the future of the matter.

        I guess it just seems odd that homosexuality would be a celestial trait without the ability to create offspring from the unions. It seems such a vital part of celestial law for heterosexual couples.

        But I appreciate that is all very speculative. I suppose I am a bit confused why homosexuality by default has now become viewed as just part of someones identity as opposed to a physical / mental defect whether it’s from choice or from the inherent imperfections of our world. And that shouldn’t be taken as me speaking of those who are homosexual as second class citizens. By no means to have any disrespect for those who either choose to, or are homosexual because of genetics, birth, etc…

        But why is it now required that I call homosexuality healthy for everyone? It seems that if the gay community feels so strongly about protecting their rights to view homosexuality as an acceptable and appropriate way to lead their lives, that we should allow the same freedom of choice to those who feel deep down that they are genuinely heterosexual, but are afflicted with homosexual feelings.

        While I don’t believe that we should institute “homosexual conversion” therapies by default. I see no reason why we should not allow such activities by consenting adults if we allow gender change operations, and other such things to take place.

        Politically speaking my feelings about gay marriage center around not forcing my conscience and personal religious views on others. I feel that homosexual marriages are sinful. However I tend to lean more towards allowing homosexual marriage if the majority of the nation feels so inclined. Or in other words I want to allow them the same freedom of conscience to embrace it as a righteous way to worship God, that I want to have to call it sinful, and not part of celestial law. I feel the same way about polygamous/poly-amorous marriages. I see no reason to prohibit them from living there lives as they see fit in that regard. Who knows exactly what heaven will be like. Maybe we have an idea… but even then that gives me no right to force myself on others, especially when I am in the minority.

        I must add that I personally think that if we are as a nation to allow homosexual marriage, we ought to allow poly-amorous couples to also join together in marriage. I see no reason not to allow polygamy, and I don’t think its detrimental to us, at least no more so then homosexual marriages. But I am concerned about the hypocrisy of not removing government restrictions on who marries who for one group, when we aren’t willing to do it for all….

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