Saturday, April 16

Dear BJ - Question & Response

I got this comment recently (some info had been edited out for privacy). I get similar questions each day, and thought this might help those readers who wonder how to help family members or friends who are trying to live the gospel in the face of trials:

I have read your blog several times and I think I have a brother who is in your shoes. He is a faithful member of the church, served an honorable mission, but he has no desire to date, has never kissed a girl, and is uncomfortable hanging out with other male family members. He is the only brother in our family. He has made comments that have lead me to believe
that he is battling same-sex tendencies, however, he has not come out and admitted this. I have wondered for years. Now I think I know.

How should I go about handling this situation? I called him last night and told him that I've been thinking about him and wanted him to know that I am in his corner no matter what. And that I want the best for him.

What else could I do? Do we want him to be able to admit this weakness? Is that part of the healing? Is trying to get him attracted to women a lost cause?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.


BJ -

Every person in the world is different. Each has a unique background, motivation in life, fears, hopes, dreams... Each man has things that make him want to shine and things that make him want to disappear. Life is hard for everyone - whether you're a single parent of 4 or a gay Mormon. Boys, girls, men, and women each have different needs. Your brother is completely and totally unique in who he is... which means that the key in supporting your brother is understanding what he needs... something that always requires involving God through prayer.

Some want their families to know; they've told their close friends and are just biding the time until the moment is "right." Some will never tell their families, preferring to fight their battles alone than jeopardize faith and relationships with the chaos that inevitably ensues to some extent. I don't know what your brother wants. I'm not planning to tell my family, ever, at this point... but if they found out through here I'd want to know.

But your question was actually about what you can do for your brother... and the answer to that question is profoundly calming and reassuring. 

No matter who your brother is, what trial he is going through, and whether or not you know for sure... You should always treat him the same.

This is something different than what most people would interject here, and what you hear on the news - the "Show unconditional love" that actually is meant to be interpreted "Support him in whatever he does and never tell him that anything he does is wrong."

Love is something far more than tolerance or condoning the actions of another. It's more than wanting physical happiness for another. True love is love as God shows love... by example, in word, and in deed... and always leads to righteousness. True love is always encouraging him to make choices that will lead to eternal happiness... and never settling for less than what he deserves in life - from others and from himself. Be his arbiter and cheering section in the good he does, and have the courage to play a critical role in his decisions to give him someone to help sort out his thoughts and make the best choices from all angles.

If I were your brother, I'd want you to talk to me... to tell me that you love me... and to help me see what you see in me - the vision of the person I could be someday in your eyes. And I'd want you to be truthful, not accusing, and to simply share your observations, and communicate how you feel you could help.

On how to help, please, please, please ask God for confirmation before you suggest anything specific. You said he's not dating - you need to figure out what the reason there is before you try to set him up. "Trying to get him attracted to women" is a massive simplification of a host of controversial therapy modalities called "conversion therapy"... and isn't usually something that you can just decide to do as an outsider by setting him up with a cute girls and locking them in a room together. I've had family members try similar techniques and the relationships disappear as soon as I'm out the door. And others who have tried to "reason me into liking girls." Yeah, that doesn't work. If it did, we would have done it decades ago. He's probably spent hours, months, years developing his rationale behind his current course of action... and the first step to helping him find greater happiness is understanding where he is now.

Ultimately, realize that in order to help your brother, you simply need to help him grow in faith. Can I say that again? In order to best help your brother, you need to help him grow in faith... and the most effective things you can do to help him grow in faith may have nothing to do with (Gay) Mormon Guy. It could be involving him in your family through family home evening, calling him on speakerphone to have him take part in family scripture study and family prayer. Scheduling a day when everyone can go to the temple - simultaneously if you're far away. Texting him with the text (not just reference) of favorite scriptures, and your testimony. Giving him a chance to serve your family. Helping him find good friends, choose good entertainment, read good books, and surround himself with good things. Talking with him, in person, and sharing pieces of your own life to build greater trust... and to show the hand of the Lord in your own life. Praying for him, out loud, by name, for his specific needs... and counseling with the Lord as to what to do and what to say.

Hopefully something I've written here resonates with you and your brother. Turn to the Lord for guidance, and He will help you to do the right thing for everyone involved. I know that God is our Father... and that He loves your brother even more than you do. And as you strive to serve and help your brother, you can turn to God and He will help you help His son.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do. Thanks for your question, and may God be with you. You and your brother will be in my prayers.

Mormon Guy


  1. Wouldn't it be ironic if BJ turned out to be the sibling of (G)MG?

  2. Ryan -

    It would be awfully ironic. But I date, and some of the personal information pulled out of the comment doesn't match me at all... so I don't think that this could be a family member trying to determine how to help me. If it were, though, I'd still suggest the same course of action. I think.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. It was such a loving and straightforward response to follow in faith and truth. Isn't this all we need to do for any answers and struggles our family members may have in their lives? It boils down to love them and pray for them. Thank you.

  4. Interesting insights, MG, agreed wholeheartedly. My brother has tried to confront (and confront is the right word) me about my strange tendencies and it doesn't help me very much. Now, I'm much less likely to ever confide in him. In contrast, my sister was always, as BJ says, in my corner, which made it so much easier to come out to her. As such, she's been my champion and has been a great resource to go to whenever I'm at a crossroads with the struggle.

  5. What I love about this post is that you didn't tell BJ to allow the sibling to do whatever his feelings motivate him to do, and that he should encourage the brother "to make choices that will lead to eternal happiness... and never settling for less than what he deserves in life - from others and from himself." However, you still stressed tolerance towards the brother and inclusivity, as well as being sympathetic of his situation. I've encountered several addresses from General Authority concerning this method of being tolerant. I wish more members of the church could have accessibility to this message. Thank you for the post.

  6. Whatever the challenge, this answer was a great one. Regarding your other post about "getting it", this one helped me understand a little more about unconditional love. I wish I felt closer to totally getting it though. Thank you for helping me come closer. It is a difficult thing for me to comprehend. I understand how it feels but sometimes it is hard to know how to DO so thank you for your help in figuring it out.

  7. I have an almost identical situation with my little brother, except he hasn't served a mission and has no plans to. I feel like he wants to be a part of the church, but obviously has this giant roadblock that has him carefully walking the fence (he is 20 and attends a church affiliated school). We have a close relationship, but he is understandably private and extremely sensitive. I think he would tell me if i asked, but my concern is "outing him" if this is something he intends to keep under wraps, or that in doing i would be a catalyst in him choosing that path (since it would be finally out in the open?). I want him to know that he is worthy of Heavenly Fathers love and eternal life and that it is worth fighting for, and of course express to him my absolute unconditional love for him as my brother.

    I can almost guarantee sharing scriptures with him would come across as annoying and patronizing...the last thing i want him to feel is more distance. my question is should or shouldn't i? The isolation i imagine he's felt his whole life makes me ache for him. I worry that maybe by waiting (instead of him finding support through family) he will find it with people he identifies with and will encourage him to cultivate his attraction to men. i'm so torn. At the age of 20 so many of us are at giant crossroads. I can't even begin to pretend i know what this kind would be like.


  8. C -

    "I want him to know that he is worthy of Heavenly Fathers love and eternal life and that it is worth fighting for, and of course express to him my absolute unconditional love for him as my brother."

    One way you can show your love and help others understand God's love is to share your own story... your deepest fears and hopes and dreams and how turning to God has given you strength. Show him that it is worth fighting for. Show him proof of God's love. And show him that you will love him unconditionally, whether or not he confides in you, by confiding in him, and sharing how the good news of the gospel has changed your life. Be honest. Be caring. Be a part of his life. Be patient. And pray for him, aloud, every single day by name.

    As I have opened my heart to others, in real life and here on (Gay) Mormon Guy, I've often seen them reciprocate... and open their hearts to me. But people don't have to open their hearts, or spill their secrets, to find healing power in the gospel and the teachings of Christ. As you pray for your brother, the Lord will inspire you to know what to say and to do to be the best sister you can... no matter what the outcome.

    My prayers will be with you and your brother.

    Mormon Guy


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