Blake Smith is a member of the church who has a history with same sex attraction. In this interview, he shares how he reconciled his sexual attractions to men with the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the law of chastity has brought him peace. He begins talking about his unsuccessful attempts at aversion therapy and subsequent failed marriage. He then shares why he decided to stay in the church and what helped him. He talks about the love and encouragement he received from his ecclesiatical leaders and from a support group called North Star. He tells his story of finding true love to the woman of his dreams and of finally overcoming same-sex attraction.
This is the third of a three-part interview.
This is the second part of a three-part episode.
How does a man with same-sex attraction find the only woman in the world to whom he is attracted? In this interview, Joshua Johanson talks about his history with same-sex attraction, his experience as a BYU student and as a member of a singles ward, and introduces us to his wife, Alyssa Johanson. Alyssa shares her insights into being married to a man with same sex-attraction. Joshua and Alyssa also discuss the things that have helped make their marriage successful. As they do so, it becomes clear that their relationship is not all that different from anyone else’s.
They also discuss Proposition 8, Elder Packer’s October 2010 General Conference address, as well as the following questions:
- Does the Church recommend marriage as a therapeutic measure for someone experiencing same-sex attraction?
- What is wrong with homosexual activity (kissing, etc.) that stops short of intercourse?
- If gays can marry, why would sex in that relationship be a violation of the law of chastity?
- Did Jesus speak out against homosexuality?
- How can the Church uphold its standards while still extending love to those who experience same-sex attraction?
Fred & Marilyn Matis are Co-Authors with Ty Mansfield of the book published by Deseret Book called, “In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same Gender Attraction.” Fred and Marilyn are the parents of Stuart Matis, a young man who struggled with same gender attraction. After successfully serving a mission for the LDS Church, Stuart returned home and continued to struggle with same gender attraction for many years until, in February of 2000, at the age of 32, he took his own life. Since that time, Fred & Marilyn have reached out to other individuals who experience same gender attraction and their families to help foster better understanding and support for those who struggle with the unique challenges of same gender attraction.
This is the second part of a two part interview.
How do Mormon parents respond when they find out they have a son or daughter with same sex attraction? What happens when the child decides the leave the Church and engage in homosexual activity? What can parents do to show love for such a child while still remaining faithful to the Church? In this episode, two active, LDS mothers talk about their experiences raising sons who are involved in homosexual relationships. It should be noted that they will not be referred to by name out of respect for their sons and for other family members, and they did not feel comfortable using pseudonyms.
When we think of people with same sex attraction, we usually don’t imagine a temple-married, active LDS, mother of two. Yet that is what we find in this interview with “Samantha.” Interestingly, a person such as she may not be as uncommon as we often believe. LDS Family Social Services estimates that 4-5 members in the average LDS ward experience same gender attraction. Most of those are married with children. In this interview, “Samantha” tells about her experiences with Church leaders at BYU and in her home ward over the years. She also helps to provide insight into how fellow family members and ward members can help lift the burden of someone who experiences same gender attraction.
This is the second half of a two part interview with Steven Wilson.
Steven Wilson is a member of the Church living in the San Francisco Bay area. Twenty years ago, he was introduced to the Church by a recently returned missionary he met in a gay bar. The two eventually moved in together and during the next seven years, Steven developed addictions, contracted AIDS and became severely depressed. As Steven’s condition worsened and he began to feel that he was going to die, he turned to an in-depth investigation of the Church.
This is his story about how he joined the Church, and eventually became an ordinance worker at the Oakland Temple. He is now happy and no longer experiences temptations with same gender attraction. He was baptized by the same returned missionary that first introduced him to the Church and with whom he has lived for the past 20 years. During the past 13 years of active Church membership, the two men have maintained a close bond of love, friendship and brotherhood within the gospel. He attributes his success in overcoming same gender attraction and his addictions to the Church’s 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program and to the atonement of Jesus Christ. He shares his thoughts on gay marriage, President Packer’s October, 2010 Conference talk, and his strong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This is the first part of a two part interview.