Monday, November 9

Dear Little Brother (to children with same-sex parents)

When I was little, my parents were my heroes. To me, they were perfect. Yes, they tried to make me eat broccoli and carrots, and I hated having to practice the piano... but my parents were mine. They were the ones who cared for me when I was sick, held me when I was afraid, and prayed with me when I didn't even know how.

I knew that my family was different. My parents' choices were different from anyone else I knew... and I was different... so sometimes that meant I got bullied. Other kids wouldn't talk to me, I didn't have many friends, and people sometimes called me names or told me they simply didn't want to be near me.

My family and personal situation is such that I stuck out even at Church meetings. Everyone knew who I was, which was both good and bad. The worst part was feeling isolated, even though I tried my best to do what was right. There were a couple of kids my age in my ward, but I felt alone and different even when I was with them. The group did their best to include me, but I was different. Don't get me wrong - I laughed, cried, told stories, and spent time with people outside of Church. But I still felt totally alone sometimes.

But feeling isolated actually made my decisions easier. I always went to mutual activities and seminary, but only rarely because I wanted to talk to someone. I hated Church dances, yet somehow I got assigned to plan dances. I still went, not to dance (I stood outside the room because I can't handle loud music), but because I felt it was the right thing to do, and I believed that doing the right thing would help me be a better person.

All that was ok, because I had my family.

But eventually, even a great family isn't enough.

By the time I was a teenager, I was already facing addiction. I was depressed and wanted to die. I still felt like I had no friends. And while I knew that my family loved me, it was hard to feel it. I was facing personal trials that my parents couldn't just talk me through anymore. There wasn't a medicine to make me better, and even when they did their best I still hurt inside.

It was then that I really learned about God. I wanted Him in my life. I took the time to read the scriptures, and I sometimes prayed for hours or fasted for longer than I should have because I needed a response. I needed to know the right things to do, and what God wanted in my life.

One night I finally felt God's love for me. I found peace in a story from the Bible. King David had a great early life, but then he made an awful decision. He murdered a man so he could take his wife. And then he spent the rest of his life believing he would never get to Heaven. 

Unlike most of the people in the Bible who had turned against God, though, David chose to still follow Him. He spent the rest of his life praising God, writing the Psalms, and trying to be a better person.

David didn't do it because he thought his acts would save him. He didn't think think they would.

He praised God because it was the right thing to do - because God is worthy to praise... and the One we should always follow. David knew that following God was right, even if he never got the blessings that he wanted so much.

My name is David, too... and that made this story feel closer to me. I felt like I had somewhat been like King David. While I knew that God loved me, with all the obstacles in my life I honestly believed that I would never get to Heaven. In my mind, I was just born into a situation where I couldn't be saved. The Atonement applied to everyone but me.

But if King David could make the decision to follow God even though he believed that it would never be enough, and the result was the Psalms and a life full of beauty and goodness... then I could do the same, right? Even if I never made it to Heaven, I could still serve God. That's what brought me peace.

I left home when I was 17 to go to college. It wasn't until I left home that I realized how different my family (and hence the way I perceived the world) really was. When I lived with my parents, everything seemed normal to me, and anyone who tried to tell me otherwise was mistaken. Living with other people helped me realize that my family was anything but normal.

Leaving home has given me perspective. There are things that I admire about my parents, and things I don't. Things that I want to do in my life if I'm ever a dad, along with things I don't want to do. 

And I've realized that my testimony, and my choices and activity in the Church, are my own. When I wanted to serve a mission, it was because I wanted it. I started my papers, and I saved money to serve. And when the mission call came to my dorm room, I opened it alone, then called my family to tell them. My temple endowment was my own decision, and so is my temple recommend today. While my family did their part to help me along the right path, it eventually became my part to choose. I'm grateful for them, but mostly I'm grateful for God. I still don't know if I'll be good enough to get to Heaven, but I'm trying my best and getting better... and, for now, that's good enough for me.

If your situation is like mine was, you might feel alone or lost. You might feel alone at Church, at school, maybe even at the dinner table or extended family gatherings. Even if your family holds family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and attends Church, eventually that won't be enough for your testimony. Your parents might teach you about the gospel, and they might not. Either way, life will get hard one day (or maybe it already is), and you'll have to make your own decisions, and learn about God yourself so that you can serve Him the best you can.

Don't lose hope. Even if there are obstacles in the way, God can be there. 

That's not to say it won't be hard. 

If you live primarily with parents who are or have been in a sexually active same-sex relationship or same-sex marriage, you won't be able to be baptized at 8 years old. And, as much as you and I wish otherwise, we can't control the choices of our parents. You probably won't feel comfortable asking them if they have been sexually active. You probably already know if they're married. If they're not, a good idea is to determine if they are best friends or partners. If they're just best friends living together, and not partners, you can get baptized whenever you want, even if one parent is your dad and he and your mom are divorced. That said, while it's possible, it's not very likely that they are just best friends.

You may or may not have support from your parents to attend Church, read your scriptures, hold family prayer and home evening, and the rest of the things that usually come with Church membership. If you do decide to attend Church and even if you do everything right, you'll have to wait while other people around you are getting things you probably want more than they do. Without being baptized, you'll have to wait to get a Patriarchal blessing, to receive the priesthood if you're a boy, and to attend the temple and do baptisms for the dead. You also won't hold any major callings, though you can still be assigned to organize Church dances. :/

That will likely be one of the most difficult aspects of your life.

When you're old enough to legally make your own decisions without input from your parents, to be baptized you'll have to move out of their home and show that you believe that sexual cohabitation and same-sex marriage is wrong. You won't have to turn away from your parents entirely, just the sexual aspect of their relationship. That could be really hard, considering that you just grew up with same-sex parents... and they'll be your parents for the rest of your life.

Regardless, like I did, you'll probably find that there are things you admire about your parents, and things you don't. 

And if you decide that you support God's definition of the family through the Church... and no longer support the sexual portion of the relationship of your parents, then you can join the membership through baptism, get a Patriarchal blessing, go on a mission and tell everyone about eternal families, and then (in this life or the next) find your own spouse to be married in the temple for forever.

Is it fair? Is it fair to be born in a situation where you have no control?

Fairness is something you'll probably grapple with in your life. I know I did. How could God really be fair if some children were born to starve in Africa and others were born on the side of the street and others were born into happy, loving families? Was it fair to be born with physical or mental or social disabilities that would make life excruciatingly painful for as long as you lived? How could a perfect God bless one innocent child with everything, while essentially cursing another just a few doors away?

In your case, there are lots of questions of fairness. Was your upbringing, birth, early childhood, school, Church, and everything else fair? Is it fair for you to have to wait an extra 10 years, leave your home, and denounce part of your family's relationship to be baptized?

It took me a long time to come to grips with how God really sees our circumstances in life. He would love to be able to bless us. But He loves us too much to make life easy. So He adds in things that are hard. Things designed to honestly make us question who we are. And sometimes things that seem totally and completely unfair, with the hope that we will trust Him, believe Him, and commit to following His commandments no matter what. Abraham was promised infinite posterity through his son Isaac. Then he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac on a mountain. A dead son can't get married or have children... so Abraham didn't know how God would keep His promises. But he chose to believe anyway... and because he found that strength and faith deep inside him, God could bless him with everything. An easier life doesn't mean a happier life.

That's not to say that everyone should have the same trials and blessings. Don't mix up equality (where everyone has the exact same life circumstances) with fairness (where everyone has exactly what they need). God chooses the best circumstances for each of us that will push us beyond our limit... and, because of that, everyone's life is different. Ironically, that's how life is fair - because it's individual. Follow God, and everything will always be ok. He will never let anything happen to you that could destroy your soul - on the contrary, He'll come up with some of the most creative ways to always show you He is there and to push you to become the person He sees in you.

I would be far less today if God had just taken away the obstacles in my life. I'm grateful for the crazy, seemingly unfair, and often absurd circumstances that life has thrown at me, along with the lessons I've learned from them. And you'll find, if you stick close to Him, that the same is true for you.

May God be with you, little brother. I'm here for you if you need a friend to talk to.


A good link:
A post written by a Mormon woman raised by same-sex parents


  1. A good link, to an article written by a Mormon woman raised by same-gender parents: I am the daughter of lesbians and I am a Mormon

  2. What good insight and understanding you have.

  3. Dear David,
    Thank you so much for the articles you have written these past few days. You shared your unique perspective and knowledge of situations we so called "straight" members don't have. I appreciate you for sharing them with all of us. You write beautifully! I feel better having read your articles.

  4. David- you have been such a grounding influence to the emotional roller coaster many members and non-members of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been riding the past few days (and much longer). Thank you for sharing your experience, feelings and faith with us all. I just adore you.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I'm grateful for your example of love and guidance for people deeply affected by the new policy. Your advice is excellent for everybody, not only your intended audience. I happily read this to my children this morning. BTW, I also struggle with the question of whether or not I'll be good enough to get to heaven. But we don't have to - we just have to do our oh-so-flawed best. Jesus has paid the entire price and is more interested in who we're becoming than our present imperfection. This is first post of yours that I've read. I look forward to reading many more and learning from you. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Yes, life is not fair and the sooner we get over that the better, right? I love this line: He'll come up with some of the most creative ways to always show you He is there and to push you to become the person He sees in you. Thanks for your time in writing you thoughts. Beautiful illustrations.

  7. I love reading your blog! I have followed you for a couple of years now and am edified by each post. You have some wonderful insights and my soul feels the closeness of the spirit and your faith whenever I read. You have strengthened me today and I thank you for that.

  8. I love the way you explain the difference between equality and fairness, especially by defining fairness to be "where everyone has exactly what they need". We are all so unique and special and Heavenly Father knows that and can hand-craft the situations we need. I have loved reading your last few posts and I'll be visiting your blog often. Keep doing what you're doing!

  9. I hope someday you have the opportunity to speak to the whole church. What an inspiration you are!! I am many years older than you and you have taught me. You gave me a little chance to walk in the shoes of some and understand a small amount of the heartache and struggle they deal with. These are my brothers and sisters and I thank you for that understanding.

  10. Nice work again, David. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Thank you for this message. As you said, each person's circumstances are different. I am looking at walking away from someone I've loved dearly for a long time because of circumstances beyond my control. I am hoping he'll find his way back to Heavenly Father...and me in time. In the meantime I want to do what the Lord would have me do.

  12. I am glad that I can hear(read) from you. I feel like I have been given hard, hard trials- but I do love God, know He is there, and want to keep trying. Your trials are so very very difficult-- thank you for sharing your testimony, and in doing so, strengthening mine!!! -Julie

  13. Thank you. I love your post. So glad, we are on the same side. Love you.


Comment Rules:

(G)MG is how I write to you. Commenting is one way to write to me.

If you want your comment published: No swearing, graphic content, name-calling of any kind, or outbound links to anything but official Church sites.

In addition, comments must be 100% relevant, funny, uplifting, helpful, friendly... well-written, concise, and true. Disparaging comments often don't meet those standards. Comments on (G)MG are personal notes to me, not part of a comment war. You are not entitled to have your ideas hosted on my personal blog. There are a zillion places for that, and only one (G)MG.

And I'd suggest writing your comment in Word and pasting it. That way Blogger won't eat it if it's over the word limit.