This past year, my wife and I got to participate in a beautiful project entitled Voices of Hope. As expressed in the title, its purpose is to give a voice to those in the LGBT community who have found hope and strength through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The project is a part of a bigger organization, Northstar, that seeks to build a community and hope for LGBT Latter-Day Saints.
The project actually started out as a book. Ty Mansfield compiled a beautiful series of essays that compiles the stories of LGBT Latter-Day Saints together with gospel perspectives from LDS scholars. I first came upon this book in a Deseret Book after reading his beautiful In Quiet Desperation. To me, these essays embody their title so well. I was in a very dark place. When my faith and my sexual orientation first came into conflict, I felt so alone. I had no one to talk to about it. That’s why I was so surprised when I found a spark of hope in the last place I had expected at the time, in an LDS book store. I poured over these essays, I shared them with my bishop when I came out, and they helped my wife Jenni as well.
Because the book had helped so many, the project has been extended to capture as many voices as possible. The Voices of Hope website has stories from Latter-Day saints who are gay, lesbian, transgender, spouses of those engaged in the wrestle, and parents and family members. Last year, my wife and I published our story for the first time here on our personal blog. Shortly thereafter, Ty contacted us and asked if we would like to record an interview and write a pair of essays for the Voices of Hope project. Nervous but excited, we were able to do so while attending our first Northstar conference this past March.
Thankfully the have really good editors on board, because we were really nervous at that interview! I just watched it last night with my wife, and I was nearly in tears. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to recount my story in full, from beginning to end. I am so glad that through the help of so many, I was able to move out of the darkness and feel the love, compassion, and grace of the Savior. There are so many angels in my life.
I love my beautiful wife Jenni, who loves the whole me, weaknesses and all.
I love my parents who, despite being caught by surprise, have been loving and supportive.
I love my brother, Nathan, who has been so good to me, from exchanging letters when I first came out to him on his mission to just talking and asking.
I love both bishops in my singles ward, Bishop Graham and Bishop Lucking, who sought to listen and learn with me.
I love Ty Mansfield and everyone at Northstar for providing a home and a community.
I love my ward members here in Washington for helping us be a part of Zion.
Here is the highlight version of our interview at LDSVoicesofHope.org. You can also read our essays and view the full version at the link provided.
Thanks for reading and watching!