(And the post in which we sincerely apologize to every member of the LGBTQIA community)
Five-and-a-half years ago my wife, Lolly, and I sat together at a hotel in Las Vegas, nervously composing a coming out post that would, unbeknownst to us, change our lives in nearly every way imaginable. We were so, so nervous. But we were sweet and earnest, and we had been feeling the cosmic drive to do this for months . . . we knew, without a doubt, that it was what we were supposed to do, even though it felt totally out of left field, and we had no idea why. Our post went massively viral, and we were featured on shows and newspapers around the globe.
That act of authenticity brought many of you who will read this into our lives. Finally, we were able to live authentically, instead of this life of quiet struggle we had existed in for a decade. Finally we were able to be honest with our community, our friends, our colleagues, our families about our marriage, and about me—that I am a gay man, and that Lolly and I had gotten married knowing this about me. That I always have been gay. That it was not something I had chosen—it just was— but that I loved my wife and my life.
Finally, Lolly and I were out of the closet.
And it has been wonderful. The five years since that post have been largely the same as the previous ten years—deeply wonderful, beautiful years, filled with family-connection and love. We’ve continued to raise our girls. We’ve built memories. We’ve grown. We’ve had family home evenings every single Monday, prayed together every night, and read scriptures together every morning as we eat breakfast as a family. We’ve gone to church and filled church callings and hung out with friends and taken our girls on approximately four hundred million play dates. Lolly and I have loved each other deeply and generously, and we’ve woven a tapestry of beautiful connection and communication together that I daresay stands up against the connection and communication of any marriage anywhere.
In fact, it’s the depth of that connection—and the unrelenting transparency with each other that we share—the genuine, honest, loving nature of our communication with one another—that leads us to where we are today—to this very difficult, very unexpected post.
Today, we need to let you know that Lolly and I are divorcing.
I can imagine that reading that sentence will evoke a lot of emotions in anyone who has heard about us over the last five years. (And believe me, there are a lot of emotions—some of them very devastating–as we write those words.)
I can only imagine the range of reactions to this news we are sharing.
Surely, there will be those who are amused or overjoyed. (One of the most common things that brings people to our blog from Google these days is the phrase “are Josh and Lolly weed still married.”) There will be those who feel Schadenfreude and who might relish in our pain, and in the embarrassment we might feel in having to own up to our current reality. If that is you, I respect your reaction—I’ve reacted similarly to distant events in the past myself, and I know how it goes. I think this is human nature.
But along with this, there will be people who are very hurt, very saddened, very disturbed, very troubled, or whose very faith might be challenged by the sentence above. If that is you, I yearn for Lolly and me to be able to sit with you. Cheesy as this is, I wish we could all hold hands as the solemnity of what I just said above washes over us, so that we could then lean over and tell you: “it’s going to be okay.” Because it is.
We are going to do our level best to explain how a marriage as beautiful and sweet and loving as ours has been can also be a marriage that—for very legitimate, important reasons, and what we feel is the urging of God himself—needs to end.
In our original coming out post, what we were sharing was so complex that, to try to be as efficient as possible, we went with a question/answer format. Because I’m a sucker for things going full circle, and because we’ve spent the last four months telling people this news and getting a feel for the most common questions, we’re going to structure this post the same way.
1. Okay, wait. So what happened? I thought things were going so well…
So did we. And really, things were going so well.
Our marriage was absolutely beautiful as we described above. Yet it contained an undercurrent of pain that we were not able to see clearly or acknowledge for many years, which made continuing in it impossible.
Thus, the answer to this question is impossible to describe in linear fashion. Instead, I can tell you that there were three main sub-currents or tributaries that fed into where we are today, all of which culminated “coincidentally” on the day of my last blog post, as it turns out: the Fall Equinox—the day in which my denial crumbled, and the internal defenses allowing me to live my life as a gay man in a straight marriage shattered, mercifully and irretrievably.
I’ll share those three tributaries.
First: Love for the LGBTQ population: The first tributary that God used to bring us here was our love for the LGBTQ population. When we came out in 2012, Lolly and I had very little exposure to other gay people besides myself. Our post went viral in the very same year I opened my private practice, and suddenly we were thrust into the world of LGBTQ Mormons. And what we saw as the years moved forward was at once inspiring and utterly heartbreaking.
We got to know many, many people. We heard their stories. We met children, youths as young as 13 years old, so heartbroken by what they were feeling and what they were being told by their faith community—kids with no hope for love in the future if they wanted to be acceptable to their church and family. Young bright faces who were being told not to love who they fell in love with, looking up to us as some kind of beacon of hope. Our understanding of this issue changed with every person we met, with every single story we heard. We went from thinking this was an issue that affected a few burdened souls like ourselves to understanding more and more that this issue actually touches almost every life. Nearly everyone you know either is LGBTQ or has a first-degree relative who is. Many, many millions of Americans are LGBTQ. And hundreds of thousands (and possibly more than a million depending on the statistics you look at) of Mormons are LGBTQ. It affects so many people. Close relatives of ours have come out. Two of the seminary students I taught the year we posted our post have come out (and I didn’t have a terribly high number of students).
You see, LGBTQ people aren’t “the world”—we aren’t outsiders that the Mormon Church needs to protect itself from. We are you. We are students sitting in a seminary class, and the seminary teacher at the front of the class. We are the hurt youth pouring out his or her heart in a bishop’s office, and we are sometimes the bishop himself, with a painful secret guarded carefully, eating away at his heart. As our awareness and love of the LGBTQ contingent increased, our hearts were softened to their struggles, and our understanding of the Gospel of Christ, of mercy, of the atonement, and of God’s love and intentions for His LGBTQ children were forever altered, little by little, by Him, in the temple and in sacred spaces, in ways that felt as tender as they sometimes felt radical.
Second: Love of self as a gay person. The second tributary was related. About three years ago, I finally saw how important it was to love myself, to truly love myself as a gay man. It happened when my dear friend Ben Shafer (who himself is straight) turned to me one day and said “Josh, you realize your sexual orientation is beautiful, right? Not just tolerable. It’s beautiful . . .” I could hardly even register what he was trying to say. “What do you mean?” I asked. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. “What about the fact that it’s a biological aberration?” I challenged. “I mean, I get that It’s not an abomination like they used to say when I was a kid. But what about it being something so obviously not what God or biology intended? I’ve just always believed that I was meant to be straight, and that God will fix me someday so that I fit in with the rest of His children. I’ve always believed I was a broken straight person . . .”
And it was as I said those last words that my therapist-brain kicked and listened to the words coming out of my mouth. And I was stunned. People who view themselves as fundamentally broken, I knew, are not healthy. What I had just said was not healthy. Yet, part of me remained unconvinced. “But what about biology? What about homosexuality makes any sense at all? Why would it even exist? How could you find it to be beautiful?”
We went on like this for a long time, and I challenged Ben, sometimes with a bit of anger, as my entire concept of self, harmful as it was, was challenged by his persistent love and acceptance. I made him explain it as clearly as he could, in various ways. “How could an aberration be beautiful,” I was insisting. “How?” He finally thought of two analogies that broke through my resistance. The first was eyes. Blue eyes, he pointed out, were an aberration form the norm. Dark eyes were the biological default in humans, and blue eyes were an aberration, a genetic defect even. Yet some consider them to be very beautiful. Then he moved on to the second example. “Josh, there’s beauty in variation. So much of what we find beautiful is variation! Like, look at the Grand Canyon. People travel for thousands and thousands of miles to see the Grand Canyon and its majestic beauty. And what makes it so beautiful? It’s an aberration. It is a variation of the norm. And we love it.”
At last it clicked in, tentatively. Was it possible that my sexual orientation was beautiful? That it was beautiful in the same way blue eyes can be beautiful? In the same way the Grand Canyon is majestic and lovely, attracting admirers from around the world? Could it be that my sexual orientation wasn’t a mistake? That it was part of the diversity and variety that brings nuance to our planet and to humanity? And that God meant it to be that way?
That night I talked to Lolly and told her all Ben had said, still with a vein of skepticism. “Can you believe he said that?” was the feeling behind my words. And she sat for a moment thinking, then said something that surprised us both. “Josh, Ben is right. You aren’t just a broken straight person. Your gayness is a part of who you are. And your sexual orientation is beautiful. You are as God intended you to be.” Though we had never fully embraced these ideas as reality before, we felt the spirit confirm them powerfully in that moment. The truth of Lolly’s words rang in our bodies.
And if I wasn’t a broken straight person, and my sexual orientation was beautiful—if in fact I wasn’t a mistake–what did that mean for us and for our marriage? At the time, the implications didn’t matter to us. We had both promised to be together, to be a family. We are both true to our word, and we both adored in many ways the life we’d created together. We assumed God would never lead us to feel otherwise. But we were suddenly very, very interested in making sure that other LGBT people felt the beauty of their sexual orientation just like we had come to know the beauty of mine. And we were suddenly able to see more clearly the pain that my sexual orientation brought to our marriage. It hurt us both very deeply, and we spent many long nights holding one another and weeping as we thought of the decades to come for us, neither of us experiencing real romantic love. We were determined to work hard to help make sure that nobody else felt pressured to enter into marriages like ours, or had to feel the intense pain our love for each other brought us during those long, dark nights.
Third: the death of my mom. The third tributary that led us here was my mom’s death a year-and-a-half ago. It was after her death that we were no longer able to be sexually intimate. Grief has that affect on a lot of people—it often affects libido. But for me, as the months after my mommy’s passing continued to tick by, combined with all I’d recently learned about my own identity as a gay man, and what God really thought of me, and the beauty and legitimacy of my sexual orientation, I simply was unable to authentically engage in heterosexual sex again. This was very disturbing to both Lolly and me. We both hoped for a time that I’d be able to somehow function sexually like I had before. But, looking back on it now, it’s clear: so much of that was the denial. So much of that sexual activity was a belief that deep down, somewhere in me, I was actually straight, and that having sex with a woman brought me closer, somehow, to who I was always meant to be. Now, though, I knew that it did the opposite. It brought me away from who I am. It was an act of incongruence. That while sex had served to complement in some ways the beautiful connection Lolly and I shared, more than that it was an act that distanced me from the core of myself. And after my mom’s death, something in me just shifted. Seeing the woman who bore me there in that wooden box—feeling and knowing the reality of death and the shortness of life—rendered me somehow incapable of telling myself the half-lies required for me to believe that sex with a woman was okay for me, and that allowed me to ignore the ways sex with a woman was hurtful, was dishonoring on an intrinsic level, to the core of who I am.
So those were the three tributaries that we can identify that God used to guide us to this point. Not one of these three things led us to think “hey, I know of a good solution to these complex problems! Divorce!” It wasn’t nearly as simple as that, and Lolly and I—both of us being deeply committed, deeply idealistic, and deeply devoted people—had no intention of ever breaking the covenants we made together in the temple. To do so was unthinkable, as in, it literally never even crossed either of our minds in a serious way. Instead, these things set the stage for what God Himself was going to ask of us.
2. In your original coming out post, so much of what you said seemed to align with the Mormon church’s stance on the issue of homosexuality. Is that different now?
Let me see if I can explain this.
I have spent my entire life conforming to every standard of the LDS faith because I believed it was what God wanted me to do.
I believed this because every mentor, every exemplar, every religious teacher, every therapist, every leader I ever grew up listening to and trusting told me that that was the only way I could return to live with God. There was an emphasis on “perfect obedience” and yet, over the course of my lifetime, the list of things said by these trusted leaders about my sexual orientation was profoundly inconsistent and confusing. These individuals told me, sometimes implicitly and sometimes explicitly, that:
1. My sexual orientation wasn’t real
2. My sexual orientation was evil
3. My sexual orientation was an abomination
4. My sexual orientation was tantamount to bestiality and just shy of murder
5. My sexual orientation was a crime against nature
6. My sexual orientation was just a feeling
7. My sexual orientation was very small–merely a temptation and a tendency
8. My sexual orientation was something so huge and dangerous that it led to Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction and could lead to the downfall of civilization
9. My sexual orientation could change in this life if I had enough faith
10. My sexual orientation was a “trial” to bear
11. My sexual orientation maybe couldn’t change in this life after all
12. My sexual orientation could be managed with faith
13. My sexual orientation could be endured
14. My sexual orientation was my own fault (for, as stated in The Miracle of Forgiveness written by the Mormon prophet, Spencer W. Kimball: “Many have been misinformed that they are powerless in the matter, not responsible for the tendency, and that ‘God made them that way.’ This is as untrue as any of the diabolical lies Satan has concocted. It is blasphemy. Man is born in the image of God. Does the pervert think God to be ‘that way?’”—which was the quote that finally made me, as a 14-year-old reading those words alone in my room, throw the book across the room in horror. It was the word “pervert” that really shook me—I knew I hadn’t brought gayness upon myself and that I was not a pervert, even at that age)
15. My sexual orientation was NOT okay to have and needed to be rooted out (The Miracle of Forgiveness even recommends a type of counseling that will help, claiming many had changed)
16. My homosexual feelings WERE okay to have because they can never change, but were never okay to act on
17. It was not okay to be referred to as “gay” but instead only as “Same sex attracted”
18. Homosexual feelings should never lead to a person identifying himself/herself with the word “gay” as a noun
19. It IS okay to be referred to as “gay” but only in certain circumstances…
. . . and on and on and on.
I could keep going, but hopefully you see the point. These mixed, uninformed messages all came out during the course of my lifetime. Sometimes, they said the exact opposite of what was said before. And yet, I was instructed, continually, to listen to the men saying these things and obey what they were saying, and that if I didn’t, I was faithless and apostate.
That is a problem. While I can absolutely accept that the men who said this wide array of often damaging things were called of God, I think it’s clear from this list that the people that lead the LDS church 1. often share opinions about subjects like this, and not necessarily the will of God and 2. often change those opinions over time and 3. are sometimes totally inaccurate in their assessment of social issues. And I mean no disrespect as I point out this obvious reality.
The thing is, for people who are not gay or LGTBTQ it might feel like church leaders should have room to express and explore opinions like this over time, even in General Conference, and that it it’s okay that sometimes those opinions aren’t accurate in the long run. But for the lesbian girl in the back row of General Conference, wondering what her bleak future could possibly look like as a member of the church? For the sweet 14 year old boy reading a book by a past prophet/church president in his spare time because he wanted to be a better person and do what was right? These shifting opinions and incorrect, often psychologically damaging utterances are more than a thought exercise. This is our lives. Our futures. Our hopes and dreams. And so when you get mixed messaging from leaders about something so personal and so relevant, eventually you realize you can’t rely on those flimsy, topsy-turvy opinions to direct your life. You realize it rests upon you to get your own answers from God himself, very much in the spirit of Joseph Smith and his prayer in the Sacred Grove.
It was not until my 30’s that I even attempted to seek my own answers, and I mean really seek. This felt imperative when I became a professional psychotherapist and had to assist others with these issues. As I did this, and sought research to help clients, I began to realize that there was actual science around this issue, and that that science actually made the statistical difference between gay people beginning to live a healthy life, and gay people exhibiting symptoms that, if not treated, would go from severe chronic depression/anxiety to psychosomatic illness to, eventually, death.
For me, though, it all came down to the people I met with–the actual human beings who were coming to my office. They would come and sit down with me, and they would tell me their stories. These were good people, former pastors, youth leaders, relief society presidents, missionaries, bishops, Elder’s Quorum presidents, and they were . . . there’s no other way to say this. They were dying. They were dying before my eyes. And they would weep in desperation—after years, decades, of trying to do just as they had been instructed: be obedient, live in faith, have hope. They would weep with me, and ask where the Lord was. They would sob. They would wonder where joy was. As a practitioner, it became increasingly obvious: the way the church handled this issue was not just inconvenient. It didn’t make things hard for LGBTQIA people. It became more and more clear to me that it was actually hurting them. It was killing them.
Around this time, a dear friend of mine—a lesbian I adore—called me. Her voice was clipped and panicked. “Josh, I, uh . . . I need your help. I’m thinking of killing myself. I want to die. I can’t do it anymore . . .”
Guys, this person is an incredible human being. This person’s faith was rock solid. If you knew her, you would see a pillar of strength, of will, of resolve. She is one of the strongest people I know. This is not someone who is easily offended, or was not trying, or who “didn’t have an eternal perspective.” Think of the strongest person you know: that’s who this is equivalent of.
Lolly and I went to see her immediately. When we got there, she played with my girls for a while, and then she and I went on a walk. She was so physically weak, she could barely stand. I will never forget the feeling of physically holding this strong woman up as we walked around a yard.
This is what the church’s current stance does to LGBTQIA people. It actually kills them. It fills them with self-loathing and internalized homophobia, and then provides little to no help when the psychosomatic symptoms set in, instead reacting to this unexpected by-product (after all, living the gospel isn’t supposed to bring misery and death! It’s supposed to bring immeasurable joy! Right?) with aphorisms like “have more faith,” or “have an eternal perspective” or “be grateful.” And the LGBTQIA person is left even further alone, now having been shamed by having it implied that their unhappiness and lack of health is their own fault because they aren’t being righteous enough, or trying hard enough. And so, they try harder. And they get sicker. And the cycle continues. It is a sick, pathological spiral. Worst of all, and what amounts to the very crux of the problem: the church also deprives them—us—of attachment, and a natural, verified, studied reaction to attachment blockade is suicidality.
I know this is true on a personal level.
Probably the most motivating factor of all that got me to actually really consider what God had been telling us for a while was my recognition of my own internalized homophobia—the layers of disgust and self-loathing I felt for myself that I was in denial of—and the way that lead to my own suicidal ideation.
Please understand my context. Suicide is a very real thing for my family. My Grandpa Woody’s grandfather, uncle and son all took their own lives. Most recently, on my mission, I was horrified when my mom called me to let me know my poet-uncle that I’d always looked up to jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was in this context, seeing my family history of suicide, that my denial was stripped away as I started to really look at the fact that I had regular suicidal ideation. Guys, my life was beautiful in every way. My children, my wife, my career, my friends. It was filled with so much joy. The things I talked about in my coming out post in 2012 weren’t false. The joy I felt was real! The love I felt was real, but something in me wanted to die.
It’s the thing that wants to die in all of us when we don’t have hope for attachment to a person we are oriented towards. It’s actually a standard part of human attachment: when we don’t have attachment—and have no hope of attachment–our brain tells us we need to die.
My suicidality was not connected to depression. That’s how my mind could hide it from me. With no context and no warning, I would occasionally be brushing my teeth or some such mundane task and then be broadsided with a gut-wrenching, vast emptiness I can’t put into words, that felt as deep as my marrow–and I would think in a panic “I’m only 37. I’m only 37. How can I last five more decades?” That thought—the thought of having to live five more decades, would fill me with terror. It was inconceivable for a few moments.
But the other thing I hadn’t been looking at was something I read, with horror, in a text message I sent to a dear friend during my week in Jacksonville. By the time I read what I had sent, the denial had broken down. Lolly was sitting next to me, holding me as I wept, and I was reading these text messages to her, and it felt like reading the words of another person, yet I also knew it was true:
The text I had sent one week earlier said: I have thought of putting a gun in my mouth more times than I can count.
And it’s true. Even now, I can taste the cool metal of the pistol in my mouth from those fantasies.
Do you realize how wrong it is that I have had to face the following cost/benefit analysis: if I stay in my marriage then I won’t disrupt my daughters’ sense of continuity. But I also might take my own life. And if I did die, wouldn’t that end up being WAY worse for them in the long run . . .? Is it worth the risk?
And I want to make a definitive point here. This risk for death is higher, statistically, for any person who has no hope of orientational attachment—not to mention the higher risk attendant to internalized homophobia/transphobia. This is not just the case for me. This is the case for any LGBTQIA person who chooses, or is pressured, to forego human attachment. Your gay brother. Your Lesbian cousin. Your Trans nephew. They are all, by very definition, at higher risk of death if they are choosing to forego attachment for any religious or cultural reason. Literally.
In the end, the correct choice is obvious. We choose the option that makes sure people stay alive.
We should always choose the option that makes sure people stay alive.
I wish LDS people had more modeling of this.
This brings us to the next question:
3. You keep saying you were in denial but I don’t understand? What were you in denial of?
My denial hid itself really, really well.
One of the main things I internally lied to myself about was my level of attraction to Lolly, both physically and romantically. I remember being interviewed by Nightline five years ago and at one point being asked if I found Lolly sexually attractive. I said “yes.” And I wasn’t lying—I believed that was true. But I was in denial, meaning that there were parts of that question or issue that I didn’t allow myself to acknowledge or understand. What I told myself was something along the lines of, “Yes, when we have sex I get an erection and I find her beautiful and I’ve had an orgasm during sex with her hundreds of times and I love her dearly and we connect emotionally like gangbusters and have sex, with orgasms, often, so the answer to this question is ‘yes.’”
But there were some MAJOR holes in that logic that I wouldn’t let myself look at, and MAJOR problems I simply didn’t understand existed. For one, I had never, not one time in my life, allowed myself to have a developmentally appropriate, reciprocated romantic crush with a person I was attracted to who could like me back. I had never held hands with a person I was attracted to; I’d never had a first kiss; I’d never danced with someone I was attracted to at a dance; I’d never been asked ‘who I liked’ in a way that allowed me to even think about ‘who I liked”; I’d never even felt the chemistry of bumping into someone who I was attracted to and who might be attracted to me, the casual grazing of hands that sends a tiny spark of electricity through both people—the simplest of things. So what possible frame of reference did I have for what love and attraction felt like in a romantic and sexual relationship?
I had never, not once, been told it was okay to be attracted to someone I was attracted to, and then allowed to feel that attraction. So when I held Lolly’s hand and casually liked it, or kissed her and had a vague sexual stirring cuz, hey, two human bodies were doing the kissing thing, it was very easy to believe that these tiny stirrings—stirrings two straight people of the same gender might feel if they touched each others’ bodies or felt comfortable holding hands—were romantic and sexual feelings, or at least were some lesser approximation of those things. How would I have ever known otherwise? I knew I was sexually attracted to men’s bodies, sure, and not really visually attracted to women’s bodies, including Lolly’s. I gave myself that one. But the rest? All the other trappings? I allowed myself to believe that there were levels of attraction and connection on a sexual and romantic level that weren’t actually there. Lolly often said “something is wrong” in our intimate relationship, and I poo pooed it. She could tell something was missing—she had grown up straight, and she knew something was missing. I was none the wiser.
4. Did you fall in love with someone? Was there infidelity?
A personal question, but I can see why people would want to know. It would probably be easier for some people to process this if there were some specter, some secret thing that explained why this is happening. But, there isn’t. No, I did not fall in love with anyone else. In fact, there was never any infidelity on either mine or Lolly’s part at any point in our marriage. Gay love was honestly the furthest thing from my mind when my denial crumbled all around me. (Which was kind of the point.)
5. What about Lolly? What does she think of all that is happening?
Best friends forever
Let’s let Lolly speak for herself.
Hi guys. Lolly here, sharing the deepest parts of my heart. Just like last time.
Back in September, Josh and I realized together, crying in each other’s arms, that the best thing for both of us, and our children, would be to end our marriage. It was heartbreaking and it was not a decision we took lightly.
For me, giving my whole heart to Josh while knowing that he did not love me the way a man loves a woman has always been devastating. We were best friends, but he never desired me, he never adored me, he never longed for me. People who read our previous post might be confused because we mention having a robust sex life. That was true. We put forth a lot of effort and were “mechanically” good at sex—and it did help us to feel intimate, and for a time that closeness did help us to feel content in our sex life—but I don’t remember him ever looking at me with passion in his eyes.
After talking about this with my sister-in-law, she said, “but you guys have such a special relationship. You’re intimate in so many other ways. Believe me, sex is not worth throwing away the connection that you two have.” From the outside looking in, I can see why she would think that, but the truth is our relationship was missing more than just a primal sexual connection . . . it was missing romantic attachment.
Josh has never looked at me with romantic love in his eyes. He has never touched me with the sensitive touch of a lover. Whenever he held me in his arms, it was with a love that was similar to the love of a brother to a sister. That does eventually take its toll on your self-esteem. No matter how much I knew “why” he couldn’t respond to me in the ways a lover responds to a partner, it wears a person down, as if you’re not “good enough” to be loved “in that way.” And what I didn’t realize is that as human beings, we actually need to feel loved in that way with our partners.
This deficit started to mess with my self-esteem. I almost felt if only I could be thinner, prettier, sexier, maybe it would be enough to catch Josh’s eye, to help him want me in the way we need to be wanted by our attachment partners. In reality, Josh was GAY and it had nothing to do with me. This is where it doesn’t make sense. I knew he was gay. I didn’t think his sexual orientation was going to change. I could have been the hottest woman on the planet and he still would not have felt any different toward me. No matter how clear I was on the technicalities of this reality, it was impossible not to internalize his complete lack of attraction toward me. Subconsciously, it was a constant message. You aren’t attractive. You aren’t wanted. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t a good enough woman.
It was making me unhealthy. I gained a lot of weight. My self-concept was diminishing over time. What was worse, I knew my little girls were watching me as their example of what a woman can be, of what healthy womanhood looked like–and they were also watching my marriage. I knew they were getting messages and concepts from me that were not setting them on a path of self-esteem and self-actualized womanhood. It was breaking my heart to see this.
The truth is, Josh and I didn’t understand how to conceptualize our relationship. We knew we had a deep love for each other, but honestly, neither one of us had ever loved anyone in a true romantic way. We got married so young and had dated so little, neither of us had really experienced what true romantic attachment felt like. It was just a concept to us, and as such we were able to be in denial about it. We told ourselves that our love was similar to that of an elderly couple after infatuation and physical attraction had died away and what remained was a tender bond of love. That was the framework we used to understand our relationship. Using that framework, I was willing to sacrifice that sexual component because Josh was worth it to me.
However, as the years went by, and the holes in our souls grew larger and larger, we realized that our relationship was not like an elderly couple because, although the elderly couple’s sexual relationship had dimmed, their romantic adoration for one another did not. When we wrote our viral post five years ago, we were still stuck in this delusion, thinking that our relationship had no deficits, and that choosing to love was enough. But eventually we realized what we were missing. We realized the thing that so many people had tried to tell us: that we didn’t have romantic attachment. That romantic attachment was essential to a functioning marriage. And that it was something that we never had and, hauntingly, that we never would.
I remember talking to my mom about this and explaining that the void in our relationship was not even really about sex. If it were just about sex, we could handle it. We would be willing, and were willing, to sacrifice that. People can live without sex. Then I asked her what it would be like if she had to marry her best female friend, Joyce, whom she loves dearly. I asked if it would be as fulfilling as her love for my dad because she also loves Joyce. She said, “No, it would be different because I don’t love Joyce in that way.” To which I said, “But you do love her and you could live a nice life. But, would it compare to your life with Dad?” She said “no.” Then I asked if the difference in a life with Joyce and a life with Dad was just about sexuality. Would the only difference in a relationship with Dad and a relationship with Joyce be between having sex with a man versus having sex with a woman? The answer was clearly no. That is because she is not romantically attached to her best friend. And that is what human beings need to be healthy. All of us. Romantic attachment. It’s one of the main purposes of life!
I remember telling my mom, trying to help her understand that this was about so much more than just sex: “if the only thing missing in mine and Josh’s relationship was his sexual attraction to me, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? I mean, especially for me. I’m a heterosexual woman married to a man. In our marriage, I could have sex with a man whenever I wanted! Yet there is always something missing for me. There is a void in our connection and it wasn’t about sex. It is real, and it is damaging to who I am as a person.” And my mom and everyone who loves me can see it.
Platonic love is simply not enough, no matter how much we hoped it was. God designed us to need and want romantic attachment.
One thing that has been interesting to me is how people have reacted when I have told them about our decision to end our marriage and how hard it has been to love Josh with all my heart and to not have him love me back in a romantic way. Almost everyone has said to me, with an air of protective emphasis, “Oh, but Lolly, you deserve to be loved that way! You will find someone else who can love you like that. You deserve to love and be loved in that way!” And I agree with them. The thing that I find interesting is that these are all straight people looking at me, another straight person, and being able to see the injustice of me not experiencing true love. They see that it is wrong that I have never felt that love. They feel it. They can put themselves in my shoes and realize how hard that would be for them. They can see it because it is presented from a straight perspective.
The thing that’s so interesting to me is how few people think of Josh in this way. How few people in his life have ever thought these things about him—things that are so obvious, so clear, so emphatic when talking to another straight person. I mean, isn’t the same true for LGBT people? Shouldn’t we feel the exact same intuitive injustice at the thought of them deserving to be “loved like that”? When the tables are turned and we are talking about LGBTQ individuals, somehow people don’t see the parallels. Why am I, as a straight person, entitled to reciprocal, requited romantic love while an LGBTQ individual is not? I am not sure how a straight person can look at a gay person and say, “I deserve love, but you don’t! If a straight person doesn’t get romantic love it is an injustice. Everybody deserves that kind of love, if you’re straight. But gay people? Well, that’s another story…”
I am asking everyone who knows us to please, please not blame Josh for our marriage ending. I deserve love and so does Josh! This decision was just as much for me as it was for him. While our marriage was beautiful and full of so many wonderful things, it also contained a lot of heartbreak for both of us. The one thing we have learned in the last five years is that no one should be asked to live a life without romantic attachment. All this talk of “love” is actually talk of the basic human need for attachment. It is inhumane. We need it, or at least we need the hope of being able to find it eventually, in order to be healthy.
Being in a marriage where both of us thought we would live a life without ever having romantic connection was getting unbearable. Yet, we could not imagine our lives without each other because we do love each other so deeply. That was hell. Feeling like no matter what we did, we would be suffering. If we stayed together, our souls would be missing a huge part of the human experience. If we separated, our souls would still ache for our best friend. That is why the only thought that brought us peace was the thought of ending our marriage, but still remaining a family. Still raising our kids together.
I love Josh so very much. I do not regret the 15 years we were married. If I had to do it over again, I would not change a thing. I am a better person because he is in my life and he will ALWAYS be in my life. In the Weed family, no one gets kicked out for being who they are, and everyone is allowed to find the kind of attachment they were made for. Josh. Me. Our children. Hopefully our grandchildren. Everyone is of equal worth, no matter who they were born to love, and they will always, always have a place at our table, and I know they will also have a place at the table of Christ. And the way Josh and I are moving forward, together, is the greatest example we can set of those truths.
6. What will happen to your family?
The night Lolly and I realized that the only way to heal the things that had been broken in us by being married, and the thing God was asking us to do, was to separate, we were lying on the couch downstairs, holding each other, sobbing. It was one of the most heartbreaking conversations I’ve ever had. At first, the thought of separation was absolutely anathema—my mind couldn’t even consider the possibility as being viable. As we talked and wept, and looked in horror at what such a decision would mean we were losing, Lolly had a memory come to her. “What about our homestead?” she asked.
When we were in California last year giving a talk together, I had given her a priesthood blessing in which we were told that soon we would acquire a homestead. And that was the word that came—homestead. We had both been intrigued by this. We have wanted to buy a home for many years, and each time we have thought to do so, when we prayed about it, we both got the same answer: wait. This had been the case for over a decade. And now, this blessing had finally indicated that we would buy not only a home, but a homestead where our family could gather for decades to come.
When she said this I was confused for a moment. Yes, what did that mean? Did that mean we weren’t supposed to separate after all? And then, the realization hit me: a homestead is 160 acres! It is not a house, per se, but a property where families can live together, side by side. “Oh my gosh, it said homestead, Loll. Maybe we don’t have to live apart! Maybe we don’t have to break our family up…. ever, and just add future partners to it when the time comes!” The thought was so powerful, so sweet, so right. “I cannot imagine my life without you,” I said. She hugged me as we wept in relief, and said, “Neither can I.” And it was in that moment that I realized we, coincidentally, were positioned the exact same way—lying together on a couch in the living room holding one another—as we were the night in 2002 when I heard a voice in my head say “ask her to marry you,” and I did.
So, this is our plan. We are in no hurry. But we will be acquiring a property that will accommodate our family, and the addition of future partners if that time comes. (Because remember, the thing that is most cruel to religious LGBTQIA folks is not the lack of partners, but the lack of hope for a partner—that is the thing that makes them want to die. Not the loneliness, per se, but the decades and decades before them with no hope of attachment. It is for this reason that comparisons of gay people to simply single people who have not married yet are so woefully lacking in nuance. I once heard the difference between these groups stated this way and it’s always stuck with me: single Mormons go to bed every night pleading with the Lord that they will fall in love with someone tomorrow; gay Mormons go to bed every night pleading with the Lord that they will never fall in love with someone.)
8. Have you told your girls? What has their reaction been?
We’ll have Lolly answer this question.
To answer this, I’ll share a journal entry from November.
“We didn’t want to tell the girls until we had something more solid to tell them, but they knew something was going on because we were locked up in our room a lot talking and crying. On Friday, I was driving in the car with the girls. Josh was on his way to Portland. Anna asked if Josh and I were going to get a divorce. We never want to lie to our kids. I was praying that I would know the right thing to say. So, I pulled over and called Josh. I explained that Josh and I love each other very much. Then I made a parallel between Josh and Stellaluna.”
Okay, let me break away from the entry for a second so I can explain that part before I continue with the entry. A few years ago, Anna came home from school with a book she had checked out from the library. It was Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. It’s a charming story with beautiful illustrations.
Stellaluna was a tiny baby fruit bat. One day, Stellaluna’s mother was out flying with Stellaluna, when suddenly an owl attacked them. The owl knocked Stellaluna out of her mother’s grasp, but luckily she ended up safely in a bird’s nest. Stellaluna was allowed to stay in the bird’s nest as long as she acted like a bird. She ended up giving up all of her bat ways—she slept at night, ate bugs, and never hung upside down because Mama Bird told her that those things were wrong. Stellaluna tried very hard to be a good bird, even when it was very difficult. One night, Stellaluna ended up finding her bat family who convinced her that her bat ways were not wrong for her—that they were part of who she was. Maybe they were wrong for a bird, but not for a bat. They fed her delicious mango and taught her to fly at night and she realized she never had to eat bugs again. When she finally accepted her identity as a bat, she found happiness she never knew.
The first time I read this to Anna, I had no idea what the book was about. When I finished it, I felt absolutely sick in my heart because I could instantly see the parallels between Stellaluna and Josh. Josh was a bat trying to be a good bird. I knew that he didn’t want to eat bugs and that he wanted to hang upside down, but everyone around him told him it was wrong. He was gay, trying to live a straight life. That is the essence of internalized homophobia—trying to be something you’re not because you think it’s “bad” or “wrong.” Religion has told us that homosexuality is bad and wrong, but I started wondering if these beliefs were a result of our heteronormative culture. Like in Stellaluna, the birds thought flying at night was bad, and they were right. It was bad for them, because they were not made to fly at night, but a fruit bat was born to fly at night.
Anyway, back to the journal entry:
“And so I explained to the girls that Dad was a bat trying to live like a bird. I explained that he needed to love himself and be a bat. We told them we would always be a family and that Mom and Dad would always love each other and that we wanted to still live in the same house but that we might find other people.
They cried at first and said they felt like they were in a nightmare. Once we explained that we would still live together and always be a family, they became calm. Anna even said, “Mommy, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the spirit is telling me that this is the right thing to do. Even though it will be hard. You guys aren’t suppose to be married anymore. When I think of you separating I feel good inside. And when I think of you staying together I feel yucky inside.”
It was hard because Josh was just on the phone and he has been out of town this whole time. Friday night, I picked Anna up from Janey’s birthday party and we had a talk. She was a wise little oracle. She said, “I’m worried that people will say, ‘See! I knew their relationship wouldn’t work!’ But, the thing is, your relationship did work, just not the way we expected it too.” I also told her about how Dad has been struggling to love himself. She said, ‘Dad is perfect the way he is. He should love himself. He has done nothing wrong.’
We talked about how Heavenly Father asked me and Josh to get married and now he is asking us to take this next step because gay people should be loved for who they are. I told Anna about how there are many young people who kill themselves because they feel so bad about their life because they are gay. This is what Anna said. “Mom, we need to go on the Ellen show. We need to tell people that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you, you need to follow your heart. This is my mission. I need to tell those gay kids ‘I love you! You matter! You are important!’ They have done nothing wrong.”
She also asked if Josh and I were still having sex and I told her no. That Dad could not do it anymore. She said, “Mom, he did it for 15 years though with you. And he did it because he loves you. Just remember that. He did it because he loves you. Even though he doesn’t LOVE LOVE you, he still loves you more than he would love a friend.”
I am kind of flabbergasted by her insight and wisdom and caring. Both Anna and Viva have said that they feel it is the right thing for Josh and I to not be married anymore and that they feel that through the Spirit.”
We have some things we want to apologize for.
We’re sorry for some of the things we said in our original coming out post in 2012. There are several ideas in that post that, though well-meaning, we now realize stemmed from internalized homophobia. We’re sorry, so incredibly sorry, for the ways our post has been used to bully others.
We’re sorry to any gay Mormon who even had a moment’s pause as they tried to make the breathtakingly difficult decision that I am now making—to love myself fully for exactly what God made me—because of our post. We’re sorry for any degree that our existence, and the publicity of our supposedly successful marriage made you feel “less than” as you made your own terribly difficult choices. And we’re sorry if our story made it easier for people in your life to reject you and your difficult path as being wrong. If this is you, we want you to know: you were right. You did the correct, brave thing. You are ahead of me in the sense that you have progressed through things I have yet to progress through. You listened to your gut and to God and did a brave, brave thing. Now I’m following your example.
We’re sorry to any gay Mormon who received criticism, backlash, or hatred as a result of our story. It wasn’t long after our post that we began to get messages from the LGBTQIA community, letting us know that their loved ones were using our blog post to pressure them to get married to a person of the opposite gender—sometimes even disowning them, saying things like, “if these two can do it, so can you.” Our hearts broke as we learned of the ways our story was used a battering ram by fearful, uninformed parents and loved ones, desperate to get their children to act in the ways they thought were best. One person wrote—and I’ll never get the horror of this out of my head for the rest of my life—saying that he went to see his family for Thanksgiving during his second year of college, where he was an out gay man who openly had a boyfriend. When he got home, his father pulled up our story on the computer and then physically assaulted him, beating him as he had often done during his childhood, saying “if this guy could avoid being a faggot, so could you!”
Think of that. If we heard about our story being used in that way, I cannot even imagine the stories, all along the spectrum of manipulative horror, that we have never heard.
We’re sorry to anybody who felt a measure of false peace because of our story. There are many people who have good hearts, who were grappling with the issue of homosexuality before we came out, and who were having difficulty reconciling the church they loved with the things they knew about their gay loved ones. Our coming out post gave a false hope: “See? I just knew there had to be a way for gay people to stay true to their faith by denying themselves and live a happy, healthy life!” We’re sorry to perhaps send you back to the state of confusion you were in before you saw our story—but at the same time, that state of confusion is necessary. Something is wrong. It really doesn’t add up. As I have said in thousands of prayers over the last half-decade as I have come to know more and more LGBTQIA individuals and the ways they have been hurt, as well as have realized the impossibility of a God that would set up a “plan” that is totally impossible for a huge segment of His children to participate in, all within a church whose policies and positions assert that that is exactly what God has done: something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong with how things are currently set up. I don’t know yet what is right. But, Father, something is so incredibly wrong.
We’re sorry to any LGBTQIA person who was given false hope by our story, or who used our story as part of the basis for their life-decisions. We honor your decisions, whatever they are, and we’re sorry for any way in which our current trajectory might be unsettling or alarming.
I, Josh, am sorry to the many LGBTQIA people over the years that I subconsciously saw myself as different than. I am no different than you, and any degree to which I held on to the idea that I could be gay without being gay was, I see now, a manifestation of lingering internalized homophobia born of decades of being told this part of me was evil. It was an effort to belong to the “in-group” (heterosexual members of the Mormon Church) that I was actually not a part of.
I have had to eat a lot of crow in these last four months. I have had to look at things Lolly and I thought and believed for decades and realize that we were misguided in our thinking—that there were deeper truths about me and others that we weren’t allowing ourselves to look at. I have had to look over things we’ve said or thought or done over the last five years (and before) and accept that we were very wrong on some key ideas—and that I was hiding things from myself that many others could see. Some of these things I said or did were on camera in front of millions of people. There is no taking that kind of thing back. I take comfort in the fact that those uncomfortable doses of denial can now be refuted and put to bed. That footage, those blog posts, were genuine—they were written and said in good faith, and though I now realize I was wrong, I was never dishonest or disingenuous. I hope people will have a stance of generosity with me (as I will try to do with them), recognizing that humans are dynamic, always learning, and capable of both profound goodness and profound error.
That is how I view the LDS Church (along with other religious denominations), in fact. Institutions that are dynamic, learning and growing, and capable of both profound goodness and profound error.
I hope as we have this conversation that we all can hold that space of generosity for one another. We are all learning. We are all aching to understand truth, and we all love the ones we love. I hope this post helps push the conversation forward.
What have you learned from all of this?
I have spent this week listening to the song “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons, trying to get up the nerve and stamina to post this post. I have felt deeply inspired by Dan Reynolds and his loving, noble stance of activism for gay Mormons—and I cannot wait to see his documentary Believer (which, if it’s any indication of quality Hans Zimmer agreed to score. How amazing is that?). The song has been helping sustain me. During the final chorus, where you can hear him saying “never give up” in the background, I tear up every time, and feel like I can face whatever difficult consequences taking this stand, making this choice, and fully embracing my sexual orientation—in the only way that leads to health for LGBTQ people, including embracing and participating in romantic and sexual attachment—will bring me.
Guys, I can’t tell you how difficult it is to look into an abyss you were told was evil and filled with lava and poisonous snakes your whole life, only to be told later by God, “you know that pit you have been drawn to and taught to hate your whole life? Well, I’m gonna need you to jump into it. Without a parachute. Into pitch black. I promise you won’t get hurt. I promise to catch you. I promise to help you fly.” It is absolutely terrifying. It is putting my faith to the test in ways I have never imagined.
But I’m here to say that I will never give up. I will never give up on my daughters and I will never leave them. I will never give up on my familial connection with Lolly, who is my very best friend, and who has been my greatest advocate since I was a child. I will never give up the fight for my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters. I will do everything in my power to help ensure our health, our well-being, and our safe space to live and love in the way we were made to by God Himself. I will fight and do all in my power so we don’t lose one more LGBTQIA youth to suicide—the loss of these beautiful souls is not just a loss to their families and dear friends. We all, as a church, as Christians, as a nation, are losing some of the sweetest, best, most thoughtful, most creative, most articulate and most faithful individuals on this earth.
Our original coming out post has a title that makes me laugh now. In it, I was inviting people into “Club Unicorn”—a club of people who had seen a gay person married to a straight person who was healthy and happy and content—a rare, unique thing that most people never get to see. The thing that’s funny though, and that I wasn’t seeing then but so clearly see now: unicorns don’t actually exist. The idea of our marriage as successful and healthy, we have finally realized, is just that: mythical. Impossible. Not real. And we had everything going for us: same religion, same socio-economic status, same ideals, great communication, similar life objectives. Heck, we even both became marriage therapists. If any marriage like this were going to be functional, it would have been ours.
But it’s not. Not because the marriage was bad. But because the foundation we were building it on was a mirage. The most integrated, sound home will fall to a shambles if it’s built on a sinkhole. Our marriage was built on a sinkhole. Gay people and straight people cannot attach to one another.
One thing I am learning is that there are some things you can choose in life, and some things you can’t. One of the guiding principles in our original coming out post was the idea that no matter what life gives you you can choose your own destiny. I truly, deeply believed that was true.
I’ve learned though that there are some things you simply can’t choose. A bird cannot choose to be a dog. Like Stellaluna, a bat cannot choose to be a bird. And a gay person cannot choose to live the life of a straight person—not without serious consequences to their mental health that will endanger their life.
All of this notwithstanding, there are still things I can choose.
I can choose to attend the Mormon church—the faith tradition of my youth and of generation after generation of my family—until the day I die. I cannot choose what the institution does to me/with me. But I can choose to be in that pew, and I can choose to sit with my children and best friend and honor what I love in this faith tradition, which will inexorably be part of me, though the institution itself might consider me an outsider, and though the institution might not let my youngest two children be baptized if I partner with a man and my children live with me full-time as Lolly and I have planned.
I can choose to never leave my babies, and to be there with them every day of their lives.
I can choose to love. I can choose to love my friends and my family, even if they struggle with who I am. I can choose to love my enemies. I can choose to love the leaders of the LDS church, and to view them in the most generous light, as I too hope to be viewed in the most generous light. I can choose to love my family—the one that Lolly and I created together. I can choose to love Lolly with every ounce of love a gay man can have for a woman. And I can choose to find a partner and love him as well, adoring him and attaching to him in the beautiful way I was always intended to. And I can choose to support Lolly as she does the same. And we can support one another and our children, together in our homestead, watching the years tick by, continuing to have Family Home Evening every Monday, and continuing to say our prayers together every night, and continuing to read scriptures together as we eat breakfast in the morning, and to attend church every Sunday.
We can continue to be the family we have always been, and we can add to that family. This is a concept I learned from my step-mom, Laura. When she married my dad, she told me that her vision was not one of two separate family groups awkwardly interfacing from time to time, but instead a family unit where everybody in her clan and everybody in our clan felt loved, included, accepted and embraced, fully and completely. And that is how we will treat our family. It is a beautiful vision. Nobody rejected. All invited to the table. All members loved unconditionally, no matter what.
In this way, families really can be tied together—knit together in bonds of love that are unbreakable. It is in this that families can be together forever. It is accomplished by loving and welcoming and embracing one another—all of us. In so doing, we can create the legacy of love and acceptance and inclusion that will last through generation after generation, and onward into Eternity.
“A family in transition…” –Anna
Josh, Lolly, thanks so much for sharing this difficult step with everyone. My heart goes out to you guys. The only thing I’m left asking is what words of advice you would give to the few other “unicorns” out there who are still (and at least for the time being, still want to be) in a mixed-orientation marriage. Are you really claiming that this is universally wrong? I’m not trying to justify it at all, and I don’t recommend it to anyone, but I have friends who are still in this situation, and I can see how your words here could be difficult for them.
I dont think it is “wrong”. Just inherently pointless
B0yd: As pointless as a marriage where you can’t have posterity.
Carlos you are wrong LGBT can and do have children…are you saying a heterosexual couple who are infertile have a pointless marriage?
Of course he is. This has been a position of the LDS church for decades, whether directly stated or not. People who have children are blessed, people who can not are not blessed or cared about.
Pointless no but trying to fix plumbing on a house with all male parts is impossible so it’s just common sense.
Or even electrical work try to get all female parts and see how far you get with wiring a house.
Think about that
Shawn SAvage said:
“Pointless no but trying to fix plumbing on a house with all male parts is impossible so it’s just common sense. Or even electrical work try to get all female parts and see how far you get with wiring a house. Think about that.”
Yes, let’s think about how human beings are not hardware parts. Let’s think about how ignorant it is to reduce human relationships down to hardware parts. Let’s think about how human sexuality is wide and varied and has more purpose in relationships than just reproduction. Let’s think about what it means when, rather than opening their mind to the possibility of the existence of human beings who are not exactly like us, someone feels the need to call the unfamiliar wrong and pretend that humans are less than they are because it makes them feel safe to pretend everything they don’t relate to isn’t real or right.
Bang on. This whole idea that reduces human beings to their genitalia, is so very, very wrong. But it gets funny when they reduce gay people to their genitalia, but don’t see themselves doing it.
They don’t seem to realise they are reducing their own relationships at the same time, as if having kids was the only reason they married and there’s no emotional connection and no sexual and intimate connection that has nothing to do with pregnancy.
I believe all children deserve a mother and father and will develop better in a home with both.
Why do you believe that?
garry, of course, nice one. yep, children deSERVE a mother and a father figure. How about the fact you think its ok to judge us like that when people like you (homophobes) disown LGBT children so they have neither?
But its ok, cause we’re less human than you. Every child deserves a ‘mother and a father figure’ unless that applies to my community.
I get it.
We’re not the same as you so we get thrown out into the street, because our crime was simply love. We try to adopt all the babies straight couples throw away.
Think about it for one second, and stop being such a hypocrite.
The proclamation to the family in part says in part “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between a man and woman is essential to his eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and a mother who honors marital vows with complete fidelity.”
I believe it makes sense to most people, especially those who were missing one or the other while growing up. It is my understanding that our sexuality and many other traits are influenced at an early age by our mothers and fathers. I know you don’t want to hear that. I have cousins who were raised by two mommies and it affected their lives and relationships. We have family who are in lesbian relationships and it has been utter hell for their kids and we have all seen it first hand. How is a boy to become a well adjusted man without and example in the home? And vise versa for the girls? I know many pro gay people want to ignore that like so many other things that don’t fit their agenda. The evidence is out there and overwhelming. I wonder if it matters to you?
David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable of the Good of Children and Society, (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 197.
Garry Berg you may want to research the background on that proclamation, it was developed by lawyers to give the LDS legal standing to file legal briefs opposing same sex marriage cases. It wasn’t revelation!
Of course it matters to me Garry. Of course it all does. But instead of stopping someone else from having rights like marrying and settling down to have a family, how about we try to create a more accepting environment? I know where you’re coming from, I do understand that kids of gay parents have had problems because of it, but don’t you think that has something to do with the way they are treated?
The LGBTQ+ community is much bigger than you think. By promoting this hard closed-minded view you are hurting a large majority of people, some of which, yes, are kids. I was one of them.
Simply stopping us from having kids or the rights to representation claims we don’t exist and gay people die, yes, die, because of it. It hurts to know we don’t exist.
I know you might not understand how two parents of the same gender could raise a child, but I know we won’t go away because of it. We are wired to live that way. I know it’s been tradition, but maybe that tradition needs to change to fit an evolving society to include a group of people that have been denied acceptance for so, so long.
Also if sexuality is influenced at a younger age by their parents, by that logic all straight parents would raise straight children; I can testify that is not the case. You are biased in your judgement; if only because you see us as lesser – being gay is a perversion to you so of course the ONLY sexuality that is acceptably cultivated as a child is heterosexual. Unfortunately, that is a false and misleading assumption. Trying your hardest to keep us from the media and from the family will hurt gay people: representation will not make people gay. You just think people are turning gay because more and more people are being open about themselves after a long hiatus. The closet is not a safe space for any young person and it is a crime to keep them in a place like that. Until you’ve been in there, you have no idea how it feels like, and therefore have no place to judge, let alone condemn.
Just adding to this pointless metaphor, see how much plumbing you can install without a female-to-female converter.
Sexuality is complex. Have read of many people who thought they were gay and lived the lifestyle and changed their minds. Don’t do this Josh! Stay with your family. Show them we discipline our feelings. Everyone has sexual feelings they have to discipline. You had such a beautiful thing!
So are you saying a straight, opposite-sex couple who had a loving committed marriage for 60 years would have had a “pointless marriage” if they didn’t have kids? Or is your “no kids = pointless” rule just for the gays?
Carlos, the ignorance of your sentence is astounding. I would practically have to re-parent you in order for you to understand the fallicy of it.
I know this post and the replies are old, but I have to comment on this. B0yd, how might someone feel about your comment if they spent decades building a loving mixed-orientation marriage? Despite how you might feel personally, please try to be a little more compassionate in your comments. There’s nothing pointless about creating a family and working hard to build a loving relationship despite a lack (at least initially) of sexual attraction. If someone follows your logic, if a spouse was horribly burned in a fire and no longer sexually attractive, their marriage would be pointless.
Make your own path. I feel that’s the only advice to be given. We are all on our personal journies, but if they stay close to the spirit, I believe they will know what will be right for them.
It is inherently wrong and it sends a harmful message to other members of the LGBT+ community. Today is the day for happiness. This life, not the next one.
As a person who was in a loving gay relationship and is now in a loving mixed orientation marriage, I can see why Josh and Lolly are taking this path as it seems right for them. However, mine has definitely been right for me.
Laurie. . You’re gay, but married to a man???? How does that even make sense? Your husband has to be gay too then. There’s no way a straight man would be satisfied being married to a lesbian.
Hi Melissa; If you say things like “There’s no way…” or “I just don’t understand … why you would ever…” then it shows your inability to comprehend even ONE exception. There are almost always exceptions to every “rule” & it’s not wise or healthy for someone to come into a conversation like this as an extremist. I realize that some personalities are inherently rule oriented & it might be impossible for them to think creatively of situations where these rules don’t apply or could be extremely wrong- so I don’t condemn you for coming across as ignorantly belligerent.
In my opinion, Laurie Campbell may be a bisexual who was in a loving same-sex partnership which ended, and now she has found a man she loves and is happily married to.
And a gay man would…?
Laurie could be bisexual. Or pansexual. And “satisfaction” comes in many forms.
When you are bisexual, these things are possible, as with you.
I can see why that might make sense, Jordon. However, it is difficult to categorize some people. If I were bisexual, then I would be attracted to men (plural) as well as women. There is one man I am attracted to, my husband, and that didn’t happen until we’d gone out for quite some time. And, I was in my 30s when we met. Before that I’d only fallen in love with women and assumed I was gay. I don’t really fit all that well into any category. So many things come into play in relationships and marriages. I don’t think there’s any easy explanation as to why one might work out and another might break apart. That’s just been my experience anyway.
I love your video Laurie. I always watch it when I am having a hard day. So many things you say I can relate with. Thank you.
I’m glad to hear that Andy. I appreciate it.
Me again. I am so grateful you commented on this post, as I had no other way to contact you to express my gratitude. I honestly don’t like labels that we seem to put on others and ourselves sometimes. I honestly just don’t feel like I fit into really any category I have found, or what others say I should be. I feel you are very brave and am so grateful that you choose to do what you feel is right, despite what others may say. Same goes for Josh. But I definitely think you have to be courageous for doing what you feel is right when it seems so many others don’t agree. It is very easy to do what you feel is right when everyone agrees with you.
Really, thank you. I cannot express that enough.
You are welcome Andy. If you’d like to email me sometime for support or whatever, feel free to do so at Lrip at mac dot com.
My dad is gay, and my mom is straight. None of us knew about any of this until we children were adults, so our situation is a bit different. I am here on this earth because of them and the decisions they made, and I am thankful that they have made it work and that I had a mom and a dad to raise me and love me. They have brought about great and beautiful things in the world because of their decisions and they are still together. I don’t think people should generalize specific cases to apply to everyone else. I don’t think there are absolute rules for everyone in this area. Follow what you feel is best and aligns with God’s will for you in your life. Do your best and don’t judge – we’re all in the same boat compared to the perfection of God and the need for Christ regardless of the types of sins we engage in.
I am a queer person, a 26 year old woman who is very happy to (mostly) like other women (I also like Captain America and Black Panther). I hope in the future to settle down with a woman and have some dogs or cats! It saddens me to see people who dismiss your relationship – many studies believe women to be more fluid in their sexuality, and in media we see many women who love men who have an “exception” of a female lover. I do not see why you could not be any different. I hope you are in a loving and hopefully romantic relationship that is very fulfilling, and I hope you are in it for as long as it makes you happy (may that be death do you part). Please do not let other people who project their own values on your relationship get you down.
I hope you are having a good week!
Cecilia, I just read your comment. Thank you for being open and kind even though your experiences are different from mine. I’d love to see more of this. I wish you well in your life, too.
Laurie, I have the same concerns that some others have, about Josh and Lolly seemingly endorsing binary orientation ideology, and the idea that it’s always wrong and unhealthy for any gay person to marry anyone other than a person of the same sex, and even insinuating that it’s contrary to God purposes. I’m very glad to see you telling your story, here, and elsewhere. I agree with what Ty Mansfield said in an article I just read, we need more stories.
Laurie Campbell: This might not be the best place to ask this, although I can’t seem to find any other way. Is there a chance that I could get some kind of contact information for you? I’ve read your latest book “Reborn That Way” and I’ve seen a number of your interviews. I love your story and I guess I was hoping to maybe ask you some questions.
This is a case for dating- a lot. I mean really dating around before you get married.Lilly said she hadn’t really dated anyone else. They were best friends. That meant time for getting to know someone else was eaten up by their time woth each other. Teens need to learn to date. It can be hard. Uncomfortable. Especially if you’re needing to date the same sex I guess. I can’t speak on that area. But see it in the Mormon culture and in myself. I had a steady boyfriend and had to learn in college how to date. It’s like tha analogy of falling in love with the first dress you put on in a store. Try on several! Make sure it’s the right size too! How will they be able to date even now if there isn’t a separation of some sort? I dunno, maybe someone out there is hip with this idea. But it isn’t the normal dating scenario for divorces. Especially for Lolly. All this said, their story makes me realize the sensitivity needed in our lives for people’s complicated lives.
I Just don’t understand as a woman why you would ever marry someone you know is gay and will never romantically love you in the first place. I don’t feel sorry for her… that was a dumb choice and she wasted 15 years..
You just said what everyone else was thinking but were too politically correct to say out loud.
They have four beautiful daughters and a very strong family unit. In my eyes, I do not see that as a waste. They love their girls very much and I am sure that they do not see that as a waste either.
“You just said what everyone else was thinking but were too politically correct to say out loud.” Not everyone, and certainly not me. But what I am thinking right now, about you (not Josh and Lolly) I am too “politically correct” to say out loud.
I have read J&L’s post several times. I can’t stop reading it. J & L took a leap of faith 15 years ago, based on their feelings, their prayers, the doctrine of their church, their intense friendship. How can you say that what they did was “dumb”? And even though their marriage was filled with pain, it was also filled with love. There was intense, irrevocable love and beauty, and so much of worth to others both gay and straight.
It brings to mind words from Tolkien’s Silmarillion, of a choice from which both evil and unforeseen good would come: “So shall it be! Dear-bought those (choices) shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus … shall beauty not before conceived be brought into (the world).”
I wish J&L all the best. As a straight person, thank you so, so much for sharing your journey with me. As for those who think your choices were “dumb”, I just wish those with no moral imagination, no ability to put themselves in others’ shoes, no ability to look outside the framework of the small bubble they inhabit, would at the very least practice a little self restraint and be quiet.
So their four beautiful kids that are the result of their choices are pieces of trash? How could you say that 15 years was a waste of their time?! Haven’t they expressed through this article how much they learned from their experience?
What a shame to come away from such an open and loving couple and to miss the positive and generous spirit they are bringing to the table by sharing this very intimate story with people because they think it will help them in the long run. I have no space to judge any of their decisions but I am glad to say I deeply respect the choices they have made with their lives, how they have handled themselves within their marriage and as they make decisions for their family, and how they are choosing to share this with people because they think their experiences could possibly be helpful for others.
All I am thinking as I read this is that this is a beautiful woman who made a choice to share her story with the world and I hope she knows she hasn’t wasted a moment with her life because this story and experience is no doubt helping so many people and she’s got those lovely children I’m sure she wouldn’t trade for anything.
That was beautifully said.❤
I agree. Sara you have eloquently said what I was thinking.
I do admire them for stepping up, so eloquently and with such love and clarity, to try and save others from the mistakes they made. I am just sad for all the people who thought they could deny their authentic selves because ‘Josh and Lolly did it’.
Thank you, Sara. Beautifully put. I hope Lolly (and Josh, too) both don’t let comments like that doubt their life decisions. They have been an amazing example of a generous spirit to me. It is a very, very rare person who will open up and let us see the actual process in a difficult situation – not just the end result. Their example has been an enormous light to me.
I feel sorry for you, Melissa. You don’t have to understand to not be a jerk.
Not strong on empathy there, are you Melissa? Feel free to work on that.
Melissa, I’m guessing you are not Mormon, right? I think it is difficult for someone outside of a very conservative religious tradition to understand, but within those circles it seems reasonable to many. That’s not to justify it. Also, it’s really not fair to say their 15 years were wasted. I believe that all relationships are meant to teach us something, even when they don’t work out in the end. Personally I think Josh and Lolly are both going to do amazing things in the world now that he has fully come out as a gay man.
It’s not about being DUMB. It’s about being brainwashed from birth. She was a victim of a horrible organization. If you had been brainwashed from birth you might have done the same thing.
How was she brainwashed by Mormonism into marrying a gay man? From what I recall, Mormonism has no problem with straight people marrying other straight people.
It’s not being brainwashed from birth, but more taught and if you want to go your own way out of the church you can. It’s called free agency 🙌
How is Dr. Shades (allegedly) a doctor of some sort and still so dense and lacking imagination?
I don’t think she wasted 15 years since she had children so…
It is very easy to make judgments on people who you yourself do not know. Unless you have a close connection to them, like I do, many things will not make sense.
Which is okay. Just remember your words are read by them. There are real people with real feelings that you do not know on a personal level like I do. It is confusing, it is messy, no one is saying otherwise.
Being able to make rash judgments about people you do not know is very human and we all do it. Having the luxery of saying whatever you think without the repercussions of this straining a relationship or ever having a true interaction with the individuals involved makes it so easy to jump to conclusions and throw out biases and judgments.
We could all take the time to remember that, as I should also. I encourage you to try to do it also. It isn’t about being politically correct, or babying people. It is about realizing this is real people, hurting, growing, learning, apologizing for their faults, and mistakes.
I look up to them with a great love and adoration. They are the salt of the earth people. They love others unconditionally, and they are some of the best parents I know, and I could go on and on.
I love these two as deeply as a souls can, and I encourage to try and really listen to the words they say and to try and understand.
Thank you very much and well said. I came to this blog via a link posted by a friend on social media. I have been appalled by the casual, caustic ways the commenters have chosen to pass judgement on people they don’t know with struggles they don’t understand. Josh and Lolly’s decision to share their story does not give permission to strangers to analyze, parse, and draw harsh conclusions about who they are as people nor how their story will end. It’s still their story.
Tom and Kelli they allowed their story to be used against the LGBT community. They were actually cited in a brief opposing same sex marriage. Now we are supposed to have sympathy for them. Where was their sympathy for the LGBT community those 5 years?
What do you mean by they allowed it? They never spoke out against gay marriage, and they said from the beginning “this works for us, this is rare, do not expect or impose it on others or yourself.”
I would need to see this citations/article. If someone used their words and contorted them to their own agenda, why does that automatically make them agree with the contortion?
Your right, damage was done which they address in this post. I encourage you to read it in it’s entirety if you have not. I think it will answer your questions.
As someone who is close to them, they have been activists for the mental health and well being of the LGBTQ people and especially those who are among the members of the church. The fact that the public did not display all that they have done, and that you have not witnessed it, does not negate the reality of how much they have done behind the scenes. Josh and his family never intended to be public figures, his post went viral, hence lack of other information about them besides the blog, exc.
Kelli, they actually DID come out aga8nst it. They filed a brief to accomplish just that in one of the marriage cases. It might have been obergefell itself. Now, at least, they are trying to make amends. Maybe.
Tim W –
Hi, this is Lolly. I rarely comment, but I have to say something because your comment is missing facts. You said we “were actually cited in a brief opposing same sex marriage. Now we are supposed to have sympathy for them.”
You should get ALL the facts before you speak. Check out the article at the bottom of my comment in which we openly spoke against the brief. That brief was filed without our knowledge or consent. They used our words without asking us and it was taken out of context. When we realized this, we immediately went public to denounce the brief. We also have openly supported gay marriage and voted for it when it was on the ballet in our state of Washington.
Did you even read the post. For so many people being gay is “wrong” that they try to fix it – they both went in knowingly thinking they could make it work. And for the most part they did. But neither regret their decisions. THAT is actually something quite amazing. To not look back with regret, to accept eachother, to make sense of it all. And to love eachother. Even if they’re not married. Some people are fortunate to not have to go through this all. Some people have to go through it all to be fortunate. And if you read the post – she’s not asking you to feel sorry for him. And neither is he.
Why would a woman enter into a marriage with someone who can only ever like her? Because she believes that’s all she’s worth. That’s not stupid. It’s not even uncommon. It’s tragic. And that’s what makes this story so hopeful; everyone involved in this story is learning that they are more valuable than they knew.
Beautiful and wise comment.
David! Thank you! Is there a way for me to “love” this comment? Also… everything in dynamic. Nothing is the same today as it was yesterday; nor as it will be tomorrow. This is true for all relationships, all orientations. So, everyone grows. Everyone has a reason to hope. Everyone has the potential to learn that “they are more valuable than they knew”. Oh, how I love this idea!!
How can anyone possibly know what Josh’s life would have been like if he had not had Lolly as a companion throughout this journey? There are many young people who are going it alone and don’t make it this far. If Lolly was what he needed to make it to this point in life and Lolly loved him enough to help him get there, then who are we to judge their relationship. It seems that they have had to come to terms with some potentially life shattering personal revelations about themselves, their marriage and their faith, all of which could have individually ended tragically. Time is not wasted if lives are saved, love grows and faith endures.
I know this is weird to have someone respond nine months later. But you’re comment really made me stop and think about how crazy our lives can be. Truly we don’t know, and can’t know why we are put into the situations we are, but I firmly believe that all of our experiences are for our good. Even if those experiences are soul crushing and seem in-congruent with what we expected them to be.
“I just don’t understand…” Clearly, you don’t. The next step for you is not to spout off ugly ignorance, but to try to understand. “I don’t feel sorry for her…” I don’t believe Lolly asked for or needs your pity.
“… that was a dumb choice and she wasted 15 years..” That was her choice, not yours, not one that she regrets, according to her own words, because of many good things that came from it. Such as four beautiful daughters. Would you tell those little girls that their mother wasted 15 years bearing and rearing and loving them? Because that’s essentially what you said.
Life isn’t about perfection, but about choices, and learning from them. I’m so happy for Lolly and Josh that they have learned profound things from their choices and have made another choice that opens up the possibility of each of them experiencing the sexual and romantic attachment they have longed for but been unable to give one another, as much as they wanted to.
They say there is no cure for stupid, but I believe there is a cure for meanness; however, it might require fixing what is broken in you. Good luck with that.
“Would you tell those little girls that their mother wasted 15 years bearing and rearing and loving them? Because that’s essentially what you said.” Spot On. This thread is full of hypocrites, one way or another. What two people choose to do with their own life is there own choice, but raising children is beautiful know matter how you cut it.
I don’t think Lolly wasted her time with Josh, she was idealistic and naive. Who isn’t when they get married? What Josh doesn’t understand is that Lolly will never be able to move on unless there is a greater degree of separation between the two. What potential suitor is going to want to take on a girl with a gay best friend who lives next door? Oh and did I tell you he was my husband for 15 years and we have three kids together? Josh and Lolly may have their heads in the clouds and think this is the best solution, reality is usually quite different.
They are obviously in a bad place. I hope the best for them and they can certainly try this alternative to their current marriage. They may be happier in a few ways, but I think their problems are just starting. Good Luck and God Bless!
Maybe they will need some more separation to help each start their new life. On the other hand, they got this far lovingly, so I think they’ll be fine however they work it out. Also, I know of plenty of people who wouldn’t be phased by the extended-family arrangement. Now that I think of it, I believe my neighborhood has two sets of post-divorce couples with new spouses – which seems similar, and must be common enough where children are involved.)
Dayle, I enjoyed this comment, especially, “reality is usually quite different.” LOL!
You say she wasted 15 years after allegedly reading a post in which she says the exact opposite. Your definition of happines is not hers. We all have our path, our walk. We should be thankful two people are willing to be so honest and forthright with us, making us all feel a little less alone.
If we could only feel sorry for people who made 100% smart choices, we’d never feel sorry for anyone. And maybe it would be smarter to live in a shell and never feel anyone else’s pain. How intelligent that would be!
I can totally understand it. I am 52 and have been single all my life and I get so lonely at times that I would gladly marry my best friend, who is gay, rather than continue to be alone in this world. To me sex and romance would be great but I could see myself forgoing them to have a companion. Especially to have had someone to have children with.
Completely disagree. I’m a straight woman. And it sounds to me that you might not understand how love works. It was not a dumb decision – it was a decision based on pure love for another human being.
I am a gay man, and no two relationships I have been in have been anything like each other. I am not even sure they contained even the same principal emotions. Each has been a different experience. More importantly, each of them has evolved over time.
It’s perfectly feasible that this woman might have started out believing something foolish like the idea that she could turn her man straight if she loved him enough, and when he frustratingly kept behaving more like a friend from her sorority wanting to play games with her on the Wii more than she was interested in anything romantic, the more she realized that he couldn’t give her what she was trying to get from him, no matter how desperately he wanted to.
You might start out a romance with dumb, arrogant, foolish ideas, but your heart often grows more respectful and genuinely loving as you get older. In their case, she just had to realize that she could not genuinely love him, for the person he is, without loving the fact that he is gay. Most people don’t figure that sort of thing out until they are a little bit older, so if they’re getting this far by now, they’re doing pretty good.
Personally, I don’t think any kind of shaming about such a personal decision is correct. I don’t think Josh and Lolly have done this, or at least don’t see any motive or intent to shame. I see vulnerability, heartfelt open honesty about their challenges, suffering, and what has led them to their decision.
Mixed-orientation marriages shouldn’t be used to shame those who choose a gay relationship/marriage, and vice versa. Of course, a mixed-orientation marriage may be not only challenging but untenable for most, as Josh and Lolly have warned. At the end of the day, however, we need to empower people to feel 100% comfortable making their own decisions and eschew words and attitudes that shame.
Tragically, the church absolutely does NOT empower people to feel 100% comfortable making their own decisions – they offer words and attitudes that specifically shame.
Thank you for your beautifully written, honest post. Although never married, I am a gay man who used to believe the lies that were spoon-fed by the Mormon Church (and through that awful, awful book the Miracle of Forgiveness.) I used to sob my eyes out begging for God to “heal” me, “fix” me, “cure” me, make me straight so I could do everything the “right” way (that is, the way the LDS church said was the supposed “right” way.) My eyes were opened about 5 years ago and now I am in a wonderful relationship with an amazing man who I never thought I would ever find! Best wishes to you!
I’m so sorry for all who have been given this book. I’m a straight female who was also harmed by the book “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. This book is at best out-dated and at worst evil. There is much good in the gospel as taught by the LDS Church, this book is not.
Yeah but that book was written by a prophet!
the last prophet was John the Baptist and the last revelation was entrusted to John the Apostle-Genesis (beginning) Apocalypse (end) Anyone who calls himself a prophet after the Baptist or wants to add another book after Revelation is a false prophet, we are in the time of the apostolate (preacher of the gospel of salvation and forgiveness) not of prophecy
angela lara, what makes someone a prophet? Was John the Revelator a prophet when he saw visions of God, testified of Jesus, wrote scripture, and prophesied of the end of the world, or was he missing a requirement?
When Jesus told his followers they could recognize a true prophet by his fruits, did he really mean to say, “there is no reason to discern true prophets from false prophets any more, because every prophet from now on is false”? Or did he forget that there wouldn’t be any more prophets?
The Miracle of Forgiveness may be a terribly destructive book…
But I would love to read your answers to these questions and to know what scripture tells you that all prophets after the Baptist are false.
Daniel, I am happy for you and at the same time angry the church put such shame in your heart and mind. I am glad you rose above it to find Love and Happiness…I wish you both the Best! PS I am an active member for 56 years now and I am in complete disagreement to the way the church has responded to our LGBT brother and sisters. I continue to hope and pray everyday that hearts and minds will be open and inclusive and changes will come.
Difficult, yes, but not harmful. In fact, I think this post is going to do many LGBTQ Mormons a world of good and have a general beneficial impact in so many ways.
A lot of the feelings Lolly expressed are feelings any woman experiences in a marriage with a straight man–once the initial “falling in love” period ends. That doesn’t mean we need to get divorced every few years to find it again. That “looking with desire” is more holly wood romance, and not true love. That’s something we women will always struggle with.
The thing was that Josh had never once looked at her with desire, not even at the beginning of their relationship, and never would — never could, because he is gay. This isn’t a matter of a once passionate marriage going stale.
Consider yourself in both positions: do you think you could ever feel truly fulfilled in a marriage with a guy friend who was never attracted to you in the least? And do you think you could ever feel truly fulfilled in a marriage with a woman whom you lived dearly as a friend?
Amen. I had that same thought
“That ‘looking with desire’ is more hollywood romance, and not true love.”
Oh, H. Oh, my dear. I’m sorry that is your lived experience, but it is absolutely not true.
Obviously love changes, within a relationship. Sparks become home fires that are more tender, sometimes. But the sparks are *there,* the desire is *there,* the romance is there to build on. And it flares up now and again in the most unexpected times, when you watch him dandle a baby, when you see him teaching someone, when he’s laughing with a friend and you see his face and just get that kick low in the belly all over again. Only in a long-term relationship it gets tempered by the knowledge that this guy is in it for the long haul–and if you think THAT’s not sexy, too, H, that it can’t bring bright desire…I hope you can find a better life someday.
Jenjen, perhaps we should find out how long H has been married and how long you have been married. Definitely, things change the longer you are married. We are going on 32 years and I agree with H.
Your romantic attraction to your spouse might change over time, but you didn’t start from zero, yes?
It’s not accurate to compare Josh and Lolly’s situation to that of a long-married straight couple. Even if your life isn’t a Hollywood romance (and few people’s lives are–straight or gay), you have a romantic connection. A basic physical attraction of a heterosexual man and woman in a marriage you chose and desired. Josh and Lolly don’t have that.
A far more accurate comparison is one Lolly used in this piece.
Imagine your best friend. The one who totally gets you and you could talk with for hours. Now, imagine that your choice in life is to either marry her, another woman, or spend your life celibate. Since you married a man instead, one to whom you have or once had physical and emotional attraction, the comparison that you, H, and tons of others are making simply doesn’t work.
Speaking for myself as a straight (albeit single) woman, I don’t see any similarities between the two. If I try picturing myself living a married life with my best female friend, it doesn’t feel right. In fact, just the thought of being in an intimate relationship with a woman *feels* off in my body, because physically, mentally, and emotionally, I’m attracted to men. Nothing will convince me that living in lifelong incongruence with my fundamental nature is the same as a long marriage that’s lost its spark. It’s not, and I think you know that.
Anon — Since “nothing will convince” you perhaps this reply is wasted. I have no gay or same sex attraction. But, as a contented, happy, but not terribly romantic or hormonal straight male in a nearly 40 year hetero relationship, I disagree and could actually picture myself “living a married life with my best [male] friend.” And I believe it could “feel right” for me. I truly do. But, I would not do that because of my commitment to myself, to my wife, and to my God, and my desire to stay with my best female friend. I don’t think there is much of a difference as you suggest.
It is possible that if you do not seem much of a difference, there isn’t much of one for you. There are many bisexual people in heterosexual relationships, such as myself. If nothing else, the much more plentiful supply of straight partners who are interested in us means that at least 90% of bisexual people will probably end up in heterosexual relationships, even before accounting for cultural factors.
I’ve been monogamous and happily married to my husband for years, but I’m bisexual. It doesn’t really factor into my life (other than passing thoughts finding both men and women attractive, the same as straight people have about their preferred gender), but it is there.
If you don’t find the idea of marrying and sleeping with your best friend “off”, it’s possible you’re also bisexual?
You may not be, of course, and how you choose to define your life and attraction is always going to be your choice. But I saw your post, and I felt empathy, so I thought I would share.
Guaranteed, my comment will be suppressed, won’t show.
Whereas Josh & Lolly are lapping up the attention they are getting I bet the hole against the doughnut they are holding back not telling the whole story. No doubt THIS is closer to the FULL TRUTH than the pablum they have written here.
Without planning to, Josh met a man he has fallen head over heels for and he will no longer deny himself. He can’t resist this man and furthermore he doesn’t want to. He’s going for it and stand-by-your-man Lolly is supporting him with his new relationship. It is fundamentally dishonest for them to not write about the new man in Josh’s life. I don’t know them but I have read literally thousands of stories just like theirs and this is always always the case. The gay spouse without planning to gets their head turned by someone of the same sex and then it is bye-bye straight marriage, hello gay boyfriend. This new infatuation puts the gay spouse in a position of no longer being willing to fake it any more in their marriage. So why didn’t Josh & Lolly write the FULL story instead of this sanitized version? Their apology doesn’t cut it when they are not being fully honest in their apology.
“Bitter, party of one.” I don’t see anywhere in the comments section where you are asked to identify your sexual preference, only your name. But you didn’t have the courage to own your rancid comments. Or maybe you just mistyped it, because I would totally believe your name is “HateGrandmother.” Why don’t you take your little supposition session back to the revival tent or underneath whatever rock you call home.
They’ve clearly stated that this isn’t the case, but you know what, if it had been so, and that was the thing that made them realise their married is untenable, that would also be perfectly okay. The way you’re talking about makes it sound like Josh is ending his marriage because he “wants to sin.” And what is more true is that Josh wanted a relationship with a man is only a sin in the eyes of the Mormon church. And the Mormon church is 100% wrong.
ppppffffttttttttt *fart noise* bbbrrrrrppppppppppppphhhhhhhhhhhhh pffffttttgghhhhhhhhhhh it rules to declare really horrific personal stuff that these people have gone far out of their way through to open their veins and bleed out to explain to you the horror they’ve lived through, because of homophobic “fundamentally dishonest” nonsense, when I can all but guarantee you this person has woken up numerous times in the middle of the night and wanted to kill themselves because they’ve been told they are not just worthless, but an abomination to god. So spare me this nonsense. I can all but guarantee you these two people have suffered through something you can never understand, and I would ask you to compare Christ’s words at the well with the “Samaritan woman” but I’ve learned by now you people don’t actually care about people who are suffering, marginalized, or hurt by power, corruption, and satan. you just want to exacerbate your own power. Shame.
Judgmental, much, Str8Grandmother? Or is it H8Grandmother? Your spiteful, judgmental comment is on display for all to see. You didn’t have the courage of revealing your true name, so you’re sure Josh and Lolly must be lying? Despite specifically addressing questions and assumptions about the reasons for divorcing. Josh and Lolly intentionally revealed exactly who they are, and unintentionally, so did you.
I’m so happy for the realizations they have come to, and that their marriage can no longer be held up as something to aspire to for LGBTQ Mormons who want to stay in the faith. This is real progress and cause for rejoicing.
Judgmental, much, Str8Grandmother? Your spiteful, judgmental comment is on display for all to see. You didn’t have the courage of revealing your true name, so you’re sure Josh and Lolly must be lying? Despite specifically addressing questions and assumptions about the reasons for divorcing? That’s rich. Josh and Lolly intentionally revealed exactly who they are, and unintentionally, so did you.
I’m so happy for the realizations they have come to, and that their marriage can no longer be held up as something to aspire to for LGBTQ Mormons who want to stay in the faith. This is real progress and cause for rejoicing.
I totally agree with you. Totally. Completely disingenuous to not state the facts of what happened. And I stand by my assessment of this entire relationship and even the arrangement now, specifically, are fundamentally unfair, grossly so, to lolly. Sheesh saddle him with the four children and go make a life for yourself while you still have some youth left. With love, Z.
I disagree. Str8Grandmother has no right to make such a baseless accusation. For Christ’s sake, she doesn’t even know these people! To say something like that with such venom is really unfair, since, may I remind you, she doesn’t know what happened. I also disagree with you on your interpretation of the whole issue. It wasn’t unfair. It was just awful. It wasn’t working for either of them! Now that they’re separated, they’re both going to be happier. They won’t be romantically tethered to someone they can’t love. Honestly, I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of thought process that would lead to this conclusion.
I am going to take a guess that something like this happened to Str8Grandmother, and if so, that is her misfortune, surely. But it does not follow that it is also Josh and Lolly’s story. Rather than presume to know someone else’s truth, Str8Grandmother, why not tell your own story and allow Josh and Lolly to tell theirs? You sound like the blind followers of dogma that create the very environment where mixed orientation marriages happen, and are even encouraged, blessed – but when it comes apart, you turn a blind eye to how your own attitude permitted it to happen in the first place. Shame on you.
Hey h8granny, “literally thousands?” This is “always” the case? Your use of ‘always’ is about as correct as your use of ‘literally.’ While I don’t doubt that you spend most of your waking hours trolling these types of sites and quite possibly making at least figuratively thousands of judgmental and ridiculous comments, I truly doubt you have literally read thousands of stories exactly like this one. You sound like a sad, pathetic, bitter woman and I almost feel sorry for you. Almost. Perhaps you experienced this personally so therefore it must be the same for everyone else on the planet. Generalizations are *never* true, with the exception of this one.
It is intrinsically damaging for people who need romantic attachment to go without it, and have no hope for it. It wears at your mental health and well being. As Josh and Lolly have proven, relationships and especially marriages are about more than sex, about more than children, more than just platonically caring for someone. It cannot be healthy if there is no real attraction there. They may be in denial, but they need to come out of that.
God loves all His children. Every one. He gave each of us the precious gift of choice. He knew we would each come here with different challenges, strengths, weaknesses, etc. In Abraham 3:25, He explained that we chose to come to earth, and here would again make choices. “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”(Abraham 3:25)
He never said those choices would be easy. Most of us struggle with a number of life choices, especially when there seem to be innate feelings and desires in us that would pull us to make choices not in keeping with what He has, through His prophets and His Son, outlined as the path to follow if we would become as He is, or in the case of women, as our Heavenly Mother is.
I have two friends who have both struggled with alcoholism. While I am not saying this is the same thing as homosexual feelings and desires, it was something that, for them, seemed to be an innate desire-even longing. They both felt they had almost no control over the desire for alcohol. One overcome that years ago, through help from alcoholics anonymous, but says that desire still returns if she is not making a daily decision that she will not drink. She believes it will be a life-long struggle, but that, for her, it is worth the struggle. The other has been homeless for several years now, and looked twice his real age the last time I saw him. I don’t know if he is still living. My point is not to praise or condemn either. It is to point out that each made their choice—and had the God-given right to do so. And each learned the law of the harvest- that as we sow, we reap. And that we have the right to chose what we are willing to do to achieve the outcome we desire.
C. S. Lewis spoke a great truth when he said: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ God gave us choice. He has promised us each (with the exception of those hopefully rare souls known as sons of Perdition) a Kingdom of Glory after the resurrection. A place where we will find what we have chosen as happiness. But that happiness means something difference to each of us. Not everyone will choose that path that leads to an Eternal Existence where it requires male and female to become God, and to produce spirit offspring and their own worlds and kingdoms.
For me, the goal has always been a destiny where I can become as my Heavenly Parents and my Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. They have made clear what that will entail on my part.
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matt. 19:4-5, Genesis 2:24). However, this is not the choice some of God’s children make, and He has given them the right to make that choice. And I must- and do- respect that right. What will make me happy after I leave this life is not necessarily what will make others happy. And so- we make our choices, even in the face of struggles to chose what God has outlined for becoming as He is, and He rewards us with a Kingdom where we will be able to experience happiness. For many that does not include a Celestial dwelling with Husband, Wife and the “continuation of the seed,” the bringing forth of children.
To condemn others for their choice is not our right. We have also been given the commandment to love all God’s children. Period. And to allow each to make the choices that will lead them to a Kingdom where they will be rewarded with the happiness merited by those choices. As Lewis said, to them, “God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” How can any of us argue with that?
Peace and love to you Josh and Lolly.
May Gregory, I’d like to thank you deeply for sharing your thoughts. I agree wholly and completely.
Hi Laurel and Josh. I’ve followed your story through Josh’s blog over the years, and have had a prayer in my heart for you and your family. You are both such powerful writers, and your writing makes it clear that you are both such thoughtful people. Life can be so difficult to navigate at times. I so admire your vulnerability, and willingness to share your (at times difficult) journey. You have most certainly reached many listening ears and listening hearts.
Josh shared how you each “deserve” to have romantic and sexual attachment. I guess I’m stuck on this part… how does one determine what one “deserves?” And further do you think making a decision based on what one deserves is the best course of action? I’ve wrestled with the same question myself- having lots of things I’ve felt I deserved in life, but have been denied by no choice of my own. Certainly, many of my hopes and expectations have not been met in many instances. Yet when I put the matter to study I can’t find any examples of great world leaders of any kind- that made decisions based on what they deserved, expected, or even wanted. Think of all the greatest leaders and exemplars throughout the ages, all of them went without things that our modern psychology would tell us we “deserve,” but humanity is all the better for it! Of course it’s most sobering to think of Jesus Christ. Where would we be if He had decided not to perform the Atonement because He did not deserve that burden since He had never sinned? Where would each of us be if Christ had decided to make His life decisions based on what He deserved? If Christ the greatest of all “descended below all things” are we asserting we are “greater than He” (D&C 88:6) if we make our choices based on what we decide we deserve? Christ was in life, word, and deed a sacrifice for OUR sins. Part of following Christ means, at times, suffering- doesn’t it? Going without something we really want/need/long for/ache for? Haven’t all the covenant saints done that since the beginning of time? Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” 2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” 1 Peter 3:14 “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.”
I worry about the movement I see in modern thinking/philosophy that seems to lead us in thinking that our choices should most often be based on what we need (I might add what we THINK we need)- even want- to be happy. Don’t the scriptures say that whosoever will save his life shall loose it? But if we lose our life, we’ll find it? Aren’t we required to observe our covenants by sacrifice (D&C 97:8)? Sacrifice was first taught to Adam and Eve; ever since then God has required sacrifices at the hand of His people. Father Abraham was willing to sacrifice that thing he longed for very most in life- even his son. Wouldn’t it follow that to partake in the blessings of eternity with our Savior and Father Abraham, we must be proved faithful in being willing to do the same? To be willing to sacrifice and consecrate all for God? Even, for the time being, the deepest longings of our heart?
I certainly don’t have the expertise you do as therapists, but don’t most marriages have SOMETHING in them that one partner really needs that they go without? Would there be any marriages to speak of if everyone got divorced when they did not/could not get something they deserved? Am I just too cynical in this thinking because of my experiences? Is it unfair to say that all people gay or straight will do without things they “deserve” in their relationships? Aching for something God says we should not have, is not unique to gay people. Aching for something God says we should have, but for various reasons do not currently have is also not unique to any one group of people, is it? Don’t you think that’s a blanket condition for humanity at large? Sacrificing what God asks us to sacrifice, and learning to want what God wants us to want? Further doesn’t anything I put before God, anything I love more than Him, anything I choose over keeping my covenants with Him define Idolatry? I wonder if the things we long for, even deserve, can become our Idols. The ones we fashion unto ourselves, and then make sacrifices to. I know I find myself worshiping the idol of my dreams and expectations far more often than I’m comfortable with.
Ok last question, why do you think there is such wide spread offense to the idea that we are “broken?” Josh mentioned reforming his thought process in seeing himself as being a “broken straight person.” Why is this such a hang up for us? Aren’t we all broken? Again, not a gay thing- a human thing. Isn’t that why we need Christ? I see it laced in so many self-help books and affirmations: “You are perfect just the way you are.” This does not ring true. Obviously one could not encourage self-loathing by any stretch, but where are we getting the assertion that whatever we are, and whatever we do is right (Alma 18:5), and good, and even PERFECT? This idea of humanity being perfect just the way they are is another currently popular idea that I can’t find either scriptural support for, or historical value in. I’m broken in a long list of ways, which is why I need Christ so deeply. To deny my brokenness, is to deny my need for a Savior; surely this thought process would be the ultimately unhealthy one, would it not? Being “broken” or in other words not yet complete, whole, or perfect- does not diminish our value. It’s just a matter of being en-route to Gods perfection, rather than claiming we have already arrived, and I believe it’s God endeavor to help us arrive “come as you are, but don’t plan to stay as your are” (Elder Holland, “Songs Unsung”). In that sense, my “brokenness” could be viewed as gift that provides the chance for me to truly come unto Christ.
Each journey is intensely personal, and life is not easy. I believe we are each doing the very best we can, and must above all seek to always be kind to one another as we search for truth and reason. I send, truly, all my love and very best wishes for your family’s happiness now and always.
Well said, Sarah.
I’m not saying I agree or disagree with any of what I’m about to say here. I merely ask whether you believe it to be true or not.
What about “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well,” and, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you?”
Is God infallable, or did God make innumerable mistakes in the creation of everyone who identifies as LGBTQ (are they broken)? That would be millions of mistakes/broken people.
Is every instance of same sex attraction wrong, evil, and anathema to God’s plan?
Do you believe in a perfect, loving, all-knowing Creator? Do you believe that a Creator such as this would intentionally create humans “in His image,” then make rules that prevent them from enjoying the same happiness allowed people who only experience opposite sex attraction/feel at home in the bodies they were born in? Would that Creator demand obedience to rules which cause such anguish and despair that many choose death rather than continue to suffer for decades?
How does Paul’s advice apply to people with same sex attraction? “6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Based on this advice, should not those with overwhelming same sex attraction marry someone for whom they “burn?” Or do we discard this advice entirely and expect everyone to be celibate – as this supposedly is the ideal situation?
If you intend to interpret scripture to support your opinion, it should be reasonable to take all interpretations into account. If all scripture is God-breathed, infallible, and there is only one interpretation then every instance of errancy is sin – eating shellfish or pork, wearing mixed fabrics, sharing a bed with your wife when she’s menstruating, etc.
If Jesus truly is the fulfillment of the law, and the only commandment that remains is to love God and to love our fellow humans, who are we to judge, condemn or have any opinion whatsoever on what someone else has said they believe is right for them?
Very well said, America. The level of spiritual arrogance on display in some of the comments is astonishing. How could anyone presume to have greater authority over Josh and Lolly’s lives than the message God has already given them?
On if homosexuals are “broken”: the gay uncle hypothesis is the idea that a few childless adults will lead to a more enduring society because of their ability to defend, create, or forage as compared to every adult having children — that gay is beneficial by design.
“An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 7:32
“I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” – Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Very well said Sarah Jackson and May Gregory.
Sarah Jackson, that was beautifully articulated and are my thoughts precisely. I wish I could express myself as you have. You have a gift.
We all have our own journeys of faith and challenges in our lives; hence judging others is pointless and is not loving. We all are “broken” (being mortal) in one way or another. However, the real challenge for all of us is to see if we will continue in obedience to live our life the way that God wants us to. He stated that was one of the purposes for creating this Earth and sending us here: Abr 3:25 “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them”
No matter what the sacrifice could be (i.e. not being romantically in love in THIS life is a challenge for many, straight or not), it is with eternal vision that we realize this life is so short and that we need to be patient in our afflictions and endure. Life will be different after we pass on, we will leave the mortal weaknesses behind. There is always hope. May the Lord bless this family.
I appreciate and agree with your comment Kizzy.
“Broken” is a Christian concept, not a human one. It is a word they apply pr8 arils to gay people. It gives them a fake disease, which a fake physician like josh tries to make “unbroken” using a fake cure.
As a gay man, I’ve never felt there was ever a single thing wrong with me that getting rid of antigay bigotry and the kind bigotry that hides behind religious belief wouldn’t cure, the bigotry that says gay people are broken is the same kind of bigotry that says that women are less than, black people are less than, Jews are less than— an unwarranted and unwavering faith in a self-assigned and completely imaginary superiority as a heterosexual, a allegedly “moral” person, a so called Christian, and a human being.
Bravo, Ben in oakland. There is beauty in all the natural human variations.
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
I, too, am broken; I have struggled with (heterosexual) sexual addiction for much of my adult life. When I hear people talking about alcoholism, it resonates with how I feel. When I hear people talking about homosexuality, especially repressed homosexuality, it too resonates with how I feel. I can utterly sympathize with Josh. It is in this sense I am broken, but I trust that God can make me whole, in the next life if not in this.
I do not feel the answer for me is to give into my desires, even if I can fantasize that I would feel not only gratified by doing so, but perhaps intimately fulfilled by pursuing a fluid, dynamic, polyamorous lifestyle. And how would I know? I’ve never experienced a polyamorous lifestyle, despite my feelings. I’ve held myself back my entire life; my wife of a decade is the only person I’ve ever so much as kissed! But I have no desire to convince myself that I should “be true to myself” by abandoning my workaday marriage and freeing myself from emotional repression. I love my wife dearly because of who she is and because of the journey we’ve shared. I am grateful that we (both) realize that, while romance is a great thing in a marriage, is not a critical component (or we likely would have divorced years ago; our love is enduring, but our romance comes and goes.)
Reading Josh’s earlier comments has been helpful to me in strengthening my own resolve to keep the covenants I made in my marriage. I am saddened by his change of heart; it’s disheartening to see someone fall off the wagon, especially when they had been doing so well. I wish Josh and Lolly the best and hope they find the temporal satisfaction they are looking for, but I am ever so saddened to read of this.
I will add, though, that for those of us who struggle with addiction, The Miracle of Forgiveness is an exceptionally unhelpful book.
Sarah thank you for this very inspired post! It was an answer to my prayers as I have been wrestling with these views and where I stand on them for years! I sensed no judgement in your comments, but love from one who is walking a disciple’s path.
I love this comment, and the discussion that followed it.
Wonderfully put May Gregory.
What would you do if your child identified as gay? Not a challenge, just a question.
I think maybe they are doing the responsible thing here, particularily due to the stated familiarity with other members of the church who are LGBTQ and either considering or have already committed suicide. Particularily given the stated messages the church gives LGBTQ members, it seems much more important to address those living their lives in quiet despair, hating themselves- even subconsiously (which was a frightening thing to read about- someone certain they had made the right choice, but hating themselves underneath in a way that expresses itself with sudden thpoughts and unexplained feelings that forces them toward suicide). If their marriage was held up to other ‘unicorns’ as an example and a beacon, it seems entirely appropriate and responsible to tell those people the truths they have discovered about themselves.
Heather, I agree with you, that they’re doing the responsible thing in publicizing their decision, and their reasons for it. I always thought that Josh was implicitly depreciating gays, including a part of himself, and I’m glad to see him recognizing that.
I’m afraid their endorsement of identity ideology, and their over-generalizations about possibilities for gays, might have some unfortunate consequences, for themselves and for others. I hope it won’t take five more years for them to see that, and to reconsider some things they’ve said.
(I apologize, because I think maybe the regular comments were turned off…so I could only comment in a “reply”) Anyway, I appreciate Josh and Lolly’s openness and sincerity. At first, I thought, how could this be? And as I read it, I understood. I can see very much how Lolly (and Josh at this point) feels that the right thing for her to do at this point is to divorce. All I kept thinking while reading Josh’s words were: “put a frog in a pot of cold water, and slowly turn up the heat…then you’ve got him.” It made me so sad, because I could see how Satan was presenting these little, subtle, half-truths to him and very slowly turning up the “heat.” The first half-truth seemed to be that his sexual orientation was beautiful. Yes, and no = half truth. The Grand Canyon, and blue eyes? Ok, sort of…but you have to be careful with analogies, because not all analogies are “analogous.” Yes, his sexual orientation could be beautiful in the sense that he could learn and grow and set an example in a really unique, special way. For almost everyone, our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness and vise versa. I do believe that God made us all with strengths and weaknesses. It’s part of the the testing and growing and learning that we need to learn from to progress in this life. It’s simply not true to me and a clear rationalization to say “anyone who views themselves as broken is unhealthy.” Why? Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics…but not facts. We aren’t suppose to reach “perfection” in this life. It doesn’t mean that we should hate ourselves for our weaknesses (THAT would be unhealthy)…but we should acknowledge them, and go from there. Even Christ (who was sinless) grew “grace by grace.” Are we better than him that we should think that we have no weaknesses or shortcomings…that we are just perfect as we are? The world, yes the “world” would say YES! Because in the “world” anything goes! There is no “right” or “wrong.” But then there would also be no truth or growth. If someone had a really bad temper, should he just be told that his temper is what makes him “beautiful?” What if that temper went unchecked and he decided to hurt someone? Is that part of the beauty of his temper? Or…what if he realized he had a bad temper and worked really, really hard to control it? What if it even went against his natural reactions to control his temper? What if holding his temper in and not releasing it in a fit of rage made him feel like he was holding back a part of himself? Would people tell him….”Look, it’s just who you are! It makes you beautiful! Release those feelings however you feel like! You don’t need to control them or harness them!” Is that what people should say? Would that be ok? Or…what if he said to himself: “Ok, I have a really bad temper. It even makes me feel better for a while to get really, really angry sometimes. But I know it’s wrong. As natural as it is for me to loose my temper, I have to fight against those feelings and CHANGE my reactions, change my behavior, channel it another way. I need to learn, grow, pray, and yes—control my feelings in this life, until I become better.” Wouldn’t most of the world even applaud this thinking? Wouldn’t most people encourage him to do this, and even stand in awe of his “beautiful” example of working hard to faithfully endure and overcome his weakness? Maybe knowing that he could do this (with the Lord’s help) was the very reason the Lord allowed him to be born with a weakness for having a terrible temper. Maybe the process and strength that would come to him from overcoming that weakness is what makes him “beautiful.”
I know that what I’m saying will probably feel hard to swallow for most people. It certainly does go against the “world’s” advice. And yes, it is true…we are all in the world. We are all born with things we need to overcome. That does not make us bad. It makes us mortal. That is exactly where we are in the eternal perspective of things…we are in our mortal, imperfect state. That IS how we are suppose to be, but it is NOT how we are suppose to stay! I wish Lolly and Josh well. I just feel like it’s another win for the Adversary….And not because they are getting divorced. (I have been divorced myself. I was married to an unkind man. We were married in the temple. We received a temple cancellation, and I have been remarried to my true Eternal companion for almost 17 years now.) I feel like Josh’s rationalization (yes…half-truths) have won, and that is why I am sad for them and their family. Maybe they shouldn’t stay married, but I don’t think Josh’s words are true. (Even though I believe he is convinced they are true for now.) He contradicts himself by saying that after his mother’s death, he realized how short this life is…and yet he goes on to say that he doesn’t know how he could continue for so long in this life. I get it, I think we all feel that way about life at times. I wish him well and pray that they both find peace and truth, and eternal happiness.
Very thoughtful and wise words DW. You expressed some of my concerns with grace. I think the Weed’s sympathy and strong association with the LGTGIA commnity and their agenda was the warming water that finally cooked the frog. Unfortunately, I see this happening to too many good Christian people, especially on the topic of homosexuality and other sexual challenges. When anything is leading someone away from God’s values and doctrine, there has to be a better solution. We are told that God will not give us more than we can bear. I believe that with all my heart but we need to faithfully follow Him to turn even the most difficult trial into a strength and blessing. I have witnessed that time and time again in my own life and in the lives of others.
In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite scriptures.
Mark 11: 28-30 says “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I bear my witness that will Him, nothing is impossible. I Pray for Josh, Lolly, and their daughters and that somehow God will intervene, as he has done at crucial times in my life, even when I was ready to kill myself at 19, and touch their hearts and give them new-found hope and direction.
This comment reminds me of how liberated it feels being out of the church. I realize you’re trying to be understanding, but, my gosh, the level of mind control is flabbergasting. I never cease to be amazed by how “sure of themselves” people in the church are.
I sort of get where you are coming from but to compare this issue to something like a temper, which actually causes hurt to others when expressed, is way off. It sounds like you are saying that acknowledging this part of yourself and loving yourself is tantamount to causing pain to others, which could not be further from the truth. Gayness is not a personality trait.
I was just wondering. I am still a member of the church and plan to stay on the path I am on, even though I do experiance a strong attraction to the same sex. Same sex attraction, gay, whatever you want to call it.
By this post, are you saying the path I am on is ultimately impossible because it was that way for you? I really an sincere here, and just would like to know your thoughts. Thanks.
I know your question is old but I wanted to comment. I have dealt with some same sex attraction, but am very happily married and will be so for eternity. I think everyone’s situation is different, but for me, I look at it like this: we all have our burdens and it’s up to us to choose to remain faithful or not. I had a massive temper as a child, but I chose to learn to control it. I inherently don’t really care about other people, but I try to serve in a way that fosters a love for others in my life.
So while I’ve experienced same sex attraction, I choose to love my wife and to remain firm in my faith. I also think Elder Bednar’s words were very powerful for me. He basically said: above all, you are a child of God; your sexual orientation is just one small facet of who you are. For me, it’s been nice to think of myself as someone who experiences same sex attraction as opposed to using language that tries to define me by my sexual orientation.
I hope you find my reply helpful.
Thank you for being brave to share your experience. I always appreciate people vulnerably and honestly sharing their stories.
Don’t do it don’t do it Grandma gay speaking here 60 years experience done it all it doesn’t work. Gay people need to marry gay people straight people marry their straight people in the story. Amen
Dear Josh –
I am sure there will be haters on your post, but as a straight white LDS guy, I wanted you to know that I thank you for this. You and Lolly have always been able to express yourselves clearly, tenderly, and compassionately. I read your original Club Unicorn post, and I, too, have heard and been horrified by the way it was weaponized on those who are already struggling. I, too, have felt what it was like to be married to someone who never found me desirable as a human being, much less romantically, and I died inside over more than a decade until I got a divorce and married my best friend.
The difference is night and day. I cannot say what will happen within the LDS church – the doctrine is expressed strongly for certain, but we know how loving our Heavenly Father is, and there is a disconnect somewhere. What needs to change, I, like you, cannot say for sure. Somehow, somewhere, there is a way to help those that struggle in these things.
You have brought and continue to bring a voice that I value to help me understand the struggles of those that are outside my own personal experience. Keep it up. I’ll read everything you guys post on the subject.
I hope that you find the joy in life that every person needs.
Behind you all the way,
What an incredibly courageous and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the growth and changes you both have experienced and for giving those who identify both as LGBTQIA and religious, hope that they can be true to themselves while also having faith in their creator. I hope that as religious institutions grow and change that they do heed and give thought to the lives they lead and make strides to offer not just understanding and compassion but true fellowship and the opportunity, to their members, to be faithful servants of their faith, while honoring, loving and being true to who they are. I wish you all peace and compassionate understanding in the journey(s) that lie ahead of you. Remember too that the sorrows we experience make the joys that much sweeter. The love you have for each other and your communities clearly shows. While this time of sorrow is heartbreaking, the joy you’ll find as each of you has a chance to be authentic to who you are, grow and be better able to meet your core needs, will be worth it. Even if, the joy, has a hint of bittersweet.
As I pondered this, I had some additional thoughts:
I’m not sure how anyone can use oversimplified ideals to armchair quarterback someone else’s life in the middle of an incredibly complex situation. As long as their post was, I promise this is just the tip of the iceberg.
For fellow LDS folks, we are here on this earth to LEARN and GROW. Consider the story of Elder Christofferson’s gay brother who came back to the church after being gone for decades. Would he have been able to understand things the way he did if he hadn’t been allowed to go and have experiences as a gay man and decide what he TRULY wanted? Josh and Lolly need to grow and learn, just like each of us, and I guarantee that in a few years, they’ll look back on THIS post and *facepalm* over a few things they simply didn’t understand at the time. And how could they without having the experience?
At the end of the day, they are making a decision, the best one they know how, taking into account all of their faith and beliefs and principles and all of it. What they do may not be wrong or right for any of us, but they are doing what they sincerely believe is right, which should be good enough for any would-be-armchair quarterbacks who frankly lack enough information to truly guide and counsel them in the middle of this sticky situation.
We are free to say what we would or would not do in the same situation, but it may be like non-parents deciding how they are going to parent before becoming parents, which is to say, *they have no idea until they have the experience*. I am not gay, I am married to a woman that is my actual best friend and I am romantically and sexually attracted to. I have no right or context to judge what Josh and Lolly are doing, not really.
And if you ARE in a mixed-attraction marriage, your situation is not his, and while you have a better idea of what is going on than most, you *still* don’t have enough information to armchair quarterback Josh and Lolly’s life for them. Asking questions seems fair, but judging does not. Loving and supporting them even if you don’t understand is definitely the right thing, but judging is definitely not the right thing.
Anyhow, they are choosing to move forward, and God loves it when we exercise our agency. That’s good enough for me, I don’t need to judge their complex situation from my limited perspective. Goodness knows, I’ve had plenty of my own complex situations when others tried to armchair quarterback me and I know how much I hated it, so while probably few people will read this, it’s probably best to keep the judging down as close to zero as possible.
Appreciate your thoughtful post Ian
Ditto to everything Ian said, so beautifully said. Josh & Lolly, you are loved and I’m very happy that you are both finding the peace & happiness you deserve.
I’m confused by the relevance of your race to this discussion.
There probably isn’t any direct relevance, but I’m so used to grouping “straight white male” together that I didn’t give it much thought beyond the automatic response. 🙂
We’ll put. I definitely value the experiences of other that are not my own. You put it all very eloquently. Thank you.
Oh my gosh. This is so beautiful. I wish more people like you existed.
Some of you may know the story of the 6 blind men and the elephant. Each of them touched a different part of the elephant and got a different idea what the elephant was. One touched its trunk and thought an elephant was like a snake, one touched its side and thought an elephant was like a wall, and so forth.
Then they all began arguing with each other, which begs the question, WHY? Why are they arguing? It’s not just because they see things differently. My wife and I see a lot of things differently, and we talk out our differences instead of fighting about them. I’m a religious conservative and one of my best friends is a liberal atheist. All convos on the table, never a fight in a decade of friendship. We don’t avoid sensitive topics at all, and never a fight.
So what’s the REAL issue? The blind men fight because each one of them believe that their *correctly perceived PIECE of the truth is the ENTIRE truth*. Instead of trying to figure out how each piece fits into the whole for a wider view, they cling to the truth that they know and fight off all other truth that seemingly disagrees with them.
I see pieces of the truth in nearly every post here, but everyone is arguing as though their piece is the whole truth. Josh and Lolly’s experience is valid for them, and they have some very good points in their blog. It’s easy for a straight person to tell a gay person to just deal with being single or stay in a mixed orientation marriage, but there are difficulties and nuances there that cannot easily be ignored. Thier choice may not fit within the truth of someone else, and they will have some unintended consequences for what they’ve decided (goes with ANY major choice in life, frankly).
Those that are LDS and preaching against the dissolution of J&L’s marriage have some good points. What ABOUT asexual people? Disabled people? Does sexuality and romantic attachment have to attend every marriage or else that marriage falls apart? What about the voice of the prophets? As Josh and Lolly are LDS, these are questions they have to wrestle with.
Those that are anti-Mormon have often experienced terrible things at the hands of members of the church, and they have good points, too. The LDS church has not always been great at handling all situations with all people perfectly at all times. It’s easy to point out all the flaws, and they do totally exist, make no mistake.
Being LDS, I see how the church evolves constantly and works hard to grow beyond what it is, so I have complete faith that it will get to where it needs to be, regardless of the weakness of its members, but this does not invalidate the terrible experiences of those who have left.
All pieces of the truth. How about we try to see what the whole dang elephant looks like by discussing openly and respectfully instead of holding to our piece of the elephant and invalidating everyone else’s?
More pondering from an LDS perspective.
One of the reasons we Mormons tend to get tied up in a knot about LGBT stuff is because of a conversation in the Book of Mormon between the prophet Alma and his son, Corianton.
Alma tells Corianton, who had slept with a harlot while on his mission, that sexual sins are an abomination to God, behind only murder and denying the Holy Ghost (that last one is tricky, but suffice to say that pretty much almost no one on this Earth is capable of it).
This creates in our heads this hierarchy of sins – the worst ones are, in order, denying the Holy Ghost, murder, and adultery (and other sexual sins).
However, this actually doesn’t match up to the Savior and how He tended to deal with those who committed these sins. Who did He have the harshest words for? Not the Samaritan woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery.
So recall the lawyer (or whoever it was) that asked Him what the greatest commandment in the law was – Christ responded to love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and the second was like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself.
Wrap your brain around this – the biggest sins in LDS theology AREN’T murder and sexual sin. Those are just sins that are particularly difficult to repent of because there is no real way to make resititution. The biggest sins have to do with the two greatest commandments.
The Savior had the harshest words for those that claimed virtue but were full of judgment. They may not have murdered, or broken the Sabbath, or had any major sexual sin, but they broke the greatest commandment.
Let me put it this way – I would rather be a murderer or adulterer who had love in my heart than be free of major sins and be judgmental of others, no matter how far astray they were. It’s not my place. Granted, it’s easier to repent of not loving than it is murder or adultery, but I’ll take being one of the adulterers the Savior spoke to over being one of the Pharisees.
So before we as a people can really tell LGBT people how to live their lives, how about we make sure they know we truly love them first? It’s tricky to love someone when they claim you have to fully accept their behavior to love them – that’s not love, either. But I can totally be a believing Latter-day Saint and not jump into a diatribe about Josh and Lolly’s experience.
I’m free to ask questions to understand and challenge some of the thinking in a respectful way, but not to preach, prophecy, or attack.
Just my thoughts. 🙂
Wow. I had never thought of this the way you just put it, but that was wonderful. Thank you for the insight.
Like you, I understand that the church hasn’t always handled these issues well but that, like the rest of the world, we are learning and developing and understanding of this issue which has never come out in such openness before. I think that this “unleashing” of homosexuality into the mainstream is a part of the fullness that was promised for the last days. The Lord WANTS us to face this, and understand it, and develop compassion for it. He wants us to know that not everything is black and white. We truly live in an incredible time.
Thanks, Lolly and Josh, for expressing yourselves. Thanks to others in these comments who have explained that for them, something different is what was right for them. Each experience is truly unique and I wish ALL of you the very best.
Ian — I’ve appreciated your ponderings. Thanks for sharing them. Like you, my quest is to keep the first and great commandment and keep it foremost above all else. To do so I must stop judging others and having a heart at war. Keep the faith. Thanks again.
Ha! SOMEONE has read one of my favorite books in the entire world, or else that turn of phrase was a crazy coincidence! I, too, wish to have a heart at peace instead of a heart at war, to stay out of the box and see people as people instead of objects. 😉
In case anyone here has not yet read the wonderful Arbinger books, The Anatomy of Peace, and Leadership & Self-Deception, go get them right away. Life changing in all the best ways.
Wow~ Josh and Lolly. You guys inspire me by your authenticity. There is nothing but love coming your way. You BOTH deserve to be loved and desired in a romantic way. Can’t wait to hear about your bright lives in the future!
Love you Josh and Lolly! Thanks for your authenticity and friendship.
I am in tears over your honesty – it is heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. I am also SO incredibly excited and thrilled that you and Lolly will both finally be living your truth with opportunities for that deep romantic love you both need. What an exciting adventure! I absolutely adore the idea of a homestead – of a place you can all live side by side. What a beautiful way to provide stability for your family and show them what true love really is. Congratulations!!!
Josh and Lolly,
I’ma straight male Baptist from Georgia, and I loved your original post. I loved it because it utterly confounded the people saying that being gay was aberrant and showed in its example that someone can be gay and live righteously in the eyes of a homophobic society, thus showing that being gay is not and has never been a state of damnation.
I realize now that the stance I took about your first post was also a compromise. It gave you a pass to not live into yourself fully, and I repeated in the third person that error which you and Lolly have written about so expressively.
I believe deeply that your original post did a lot of good. It showed us something that many people had not been exposed to: someone devout in his faith and yet unapologetic about the way that God made him.
I believe that your post was an important step for people on their road to embracing marriage equality and welcoming gay people into their own life. I used it and referenced it in discussions that helped bring people to escape their own homophobia.
But I also know that my perspective is premised from the standpoint of homophobic straight people learning to accept, not those looking to condemn their own family members. And so, while I’m still glad that you wrote the first post, and glad that you came out to the world, I’m also glad that the step has been taken, and for what you’ve both taught me in this beautiful piece of prose.
This piece of text is beautiful and I see God working in it. I see God working in both of you. Thank you for exposing the Steep part of yourselves, and through yourselves being an education for so many others.
Exactly. God bless you both.
I’m so sorry for the heart break and pain you are both going through, but am also looking forward to hearing about your wonderful family and your choices in the future. I had always wondered about the idea of you being made heterosexual in the after-life and now I can see how that fits into your thinking. My own personal experience over the last several months has been a process of realizing how much self-hatred I have for my autism and how God/Goddess has been calling me to find a way to love myself more fully, so I feel like I’m on a similar journey. Love to you both!
Wait, you’re an aut? Awesome!
I just discovered your writing. Got my wife The Book of Laman for Christmas, and then promptly devoured it myself. I’ve also really loved witnessing autistic self-advocacy since I first ran across it 10-plus years ago. What the autistic community has to say, to outsiders and to themselves, makes deep sense to me. (I don’t have a diagnosis myself, but if you believe in Baron-Cohen’s autism-spectrum quotient, I’m a 26. If I’m not secretly an aut, I’m at least deeply sympathetic.) So it’s a delightful surprise to find that an author I enjoyed is learning to love her neurons. Much respect.
This is beautiful, and I’m grateful you’ve chosen to share your experiences publicly. I’m curious what you might say to a heterosexual couple where one spouse doesn’t (and has never) felt the undercurrent of romantic attraction you deservedly long for. I’m talking about a relationship in some small degree like the one you describe: friendship + sex without natural romantic attraction. I ask because I’d guess a sizeable portion of heterosexual marriages are like this, and your story seems relevant at some level to them. Thanks again for sharing. Best wishes to you.
I’m not sure if you’re referring to asexuality but I was thinking about that as I read through Josh and Lolly’s words. Another small but real portion of people truly weren’t made to need romantic attachment and they may be an “aberration” too but need to also be seen and heard that they aren’t broken for not wanting/needing that anymore than being LGB is, though that is a separate issue in many ways and not their job to break down while telling their personal story. Just a side note while we’re lifting from the bottom and apologizing to LGBT community, remember there is an Aon the end for a reason.. Much love and hope to you both!
Emily, I am assuming you are talking about yourself being the A on the end. I hope you realize that you are not fundamentally broken, either. Though you may not need or want the sexual attraction and romantic love, you do need the depth of emotional connection and love. You may be or may not be monogamous. Please remember that in going forward, honesty and transparency is best. Never be afraid to be you and let others know who and what you are. The right person or people will come along.
Asexuality could certainly be part of it. I’m not Ben, but I’m guessing that he’s referring more to folks who got married after knowing each other a short time and didn’t really determine if they were really compatible sexually or romantically. They may have taken Spencer W. Kimball’s statement about any two people making it to the Celestial Kingdom if they’re willing to work on it, and got married more out of a sense of duty than romantic or sexual feelings. Then there are those who may be suffering from low self-esteem or depression who accepted the first marriage proposal that came along because they weren’t sure if they would get another one. Both cases could lead to situations with little or no real intimacy either in or out of the bedroom.
Yes, Steve. I’m referring to that situation. Thanks for articulating it so well!
That’s an excellent point Emily, and something that crossed my mind as well. Sexuality, gender, and romantic desire are ALL spectrums – and we should celebrate diversity and empower each individual to live authentically and pursue a happy life. While statistically there are aberrations and outliers, we are ALL humans, with a fundamental need to be cared for and understood. I think the ultimate lesson here is: listen, and even when we can’t fully understand, choose to love rather than shame.
Hi, Emily —
I’m not speaking of asexuality, though that’s an important case to consider. Rather, I’m speaking of someone who got married because they were good friends with their potential spouse and believed they were “compatible enough” sexually.
So a relationship where all of those things exist, but there’s little to no romance.
In short, friendship + sex (even sometimes enjoyable sex) but no romance — which seems to be a theme in the post from the Weeds above.
To be candid, this situation has been a theme of my marriage, and that’s why I ask. I would guess that it’s possibly a theme of many marriages.
Ben, I’d love to connect with you on the subject. My wife and I are in a similar situation and Josh’s circumstances resonate with me in part because I’m bisexual and in part because my relationship with my wife contains very little romance. While I would never consider divorce because we have the /capacity/ to make things work without intimacy (including things as simple as holding hands on the walk to church), the pain indicated here is akin to the pain felt in my marriage frequently.
Feel free to look me up on Facebook. I’m the one located in Provo.
I look at it in this way. I am also bisexual, but that does not mean I am attracted to everyone. I may experience deep emotional connections with people and never feel romantically or sexually attracted to them. I may be oriented to someone of my partner’s gender, but that doesn’t guarantee attraction to them.
Just like everyone else, you and your wife both deserve the kind of requited love you need in your lives. There is no reason to try to force attraction that isn’t there. Doing so is little more than having a marriage of duty rather than love.
If you are going to spend eternity with someone, it should be someone you love in every way, who loves you back in equal measure and kind. Why settle for something unfulfilling?
I got married in the temple. Due to my husband’s choices, I lost emotional connection and attraction to him. He was very abusive. It tore me up to consider divorce, but ultimately I knew that I deserved to be happy. I deserved to be truly loved.
I’m in a similar marriage to what you describe. Pleasant. Kind. But not intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually compatible, which is what I imagine romance consists of. We both loved/love children and I saw that he would be a good father. The project of raising our children is our main focus. When the babies stop coming, the relationship got more challenging. I wonder if this played into Josh and Lolly’s decision at all, since their family was completed around the time things got really hard for him.
Perhaps it’s a bit of empty nest couples have when kids go to school, although theyoungest child looks like a preschooler in the photos I’ve seen. But kids remain a project for a couple through the teens.
I wonder if the timing had to do with being in the late 30’s and realizing youthful passion and romance was fleeting. Granted older people can have those thing too, but speaking as someone in her 60’s, it’s different (better in some ways worse in others) than premenopausal romance. (This is not just about The women. Men have declining sexual desire too and may not be able to “work at” finding someone attractive as easily as they did in their 20’s.
Wishing you both strength and peace and of course deep deep love! Forge ahead. Thanks for sharing your personal journey. We are all learning. You inspire me to love all people as they are, in their perfectness.
I have nothing but love for you both and for your family. Thank you for this essay that is both heart-felt and heart-rending. I cannot think of a more powerful arc to demonstrate that love and life fulfillment is so much more than mutual affection and an ability to have sex. What you’ve been able to define and express here could not be more truthful or important and I wish you both the best as you start this next chapter.
That was absolutely beautiful. I admit when I read your original post in 2012, I felt like what you were describing just wasn’t something that could be maintained forever.
Hearing your journey is inspiring. I am so glad you each have such a beautiful and strong person to support you. I truly hope you each find the true, romantic love that I think you each deserve. I had no doubt that your homestead will be that much richer and better as a result.
Love you both. Always have. Always will. Thank you for your honesty. ❤️
Of course, Now that they are thinking with their own minds it will be fun to watch what will inevitably happen next
This is your second derogatory comment on this post. Go troll somewhere else.
I don’t know you personally, but…I feel such love for you, Lolly, and your children. I admire your courage to engage in the journey of embracing authenticity and wholeheartedness, whatever that looks like for you. What a ride. I admire your ability to hear God through it all, even when His voice was saying things that you weren’t expecting. You are good. You are needed. You are beautiful. You are just as you should be–all four of you.
“. . . to this very difficult, very unexpected post.”
“Difficult,” yes. “Very unexpected,” absolutely not. Literally everyone else on the planet saw this day coming ever since 2012.
This^^^^. Was only a matter of time. I hope the idealized vision of a ” homestead” doesn’t end up this way as well.
As an LDS woman who was married to a man who eventually came out I appreciated Lolly’s description of her feeling of not being fully loved and ache for the pain their family is going through. While I wish them the best with their “Homestead” ideal, I hope they will remain flexible as the reality of adding “partners” and being one big cohabiting family present. To me it feels like one more concession Lolly is making for Josh’s happiness. I hope she’s eventually able to breakaway and create her own.
“One more concession Lolly is making for Josh’s happiness?”
Isn’t a statement like that remarkably similar to one she addressed in her remarks above?
“Oh, but Lolly, you deserve to be loved that way! You will find someone else who can love you like that. You deserve to love and be loved in that way!” And I agree with them. The thing that I find interesting is that these are all straight people looking at me, another straight person, and being able to see the injustice of me not experiencing true love. They see that it is wrong that I have never felt that love. They feel it. They can put themselves in my shoes and realize how hard that would be for them. They can see it because it is presented from a straight perspective.
The thing that’s so interesting to me is how few people think of Josh in this way. How few people in his life have ever thought these things about him—things that are so obvious, so clear, so emphatic when talking to another straight person. I mean, isn’t the same true for LGBT people? Shouldn’t we feel the exact same intuitive injustice at the thought of them deserving to be “loved like that”? When the tables are turned and we are talking about LGBTQ individuals, somehow people don’t see the parallels. Why am I, as a straight person, entitled to reciprocal, requited romantic love while an LGBTQ individual is not? I am not sure how a straight person can look at a gay person and say, “I deserve love, but you don’t! If a straight person doesn’t get romantic love it is an injustice. Everybody deserves that kind of love, if you’re straight. But gay people? Well, that’s another story…”
Could it be that it is a sacrifice they are both making for not only each other’s happiness, but to try for their children’s as well?
I am pretty sure they are primarily choosing to cohabit for the sake of their kids more than either parent’s happiness. And the kids should always come first in a family, so that is the correct call.
What man is going to want to go live on a “homestead” as part of their little fantasy family? These 2 still have a lot of reality to face…It is a mess created by the LIE that gay people need to be fixed. They have a LONG WAY to go.
I’m surprised at how few people have pointed out the, to be blunt, naive homestead plan.
Whatever man is right for either of them. In fact, there are plenty of men who choose to live on “homesteads” because they enjoy the lifestyle of self-sufficiency that comes with it. There are also step-parents all over the place who manage to have a friendship and co-parent with their partner’s ex. I’d imagine it’s more difficult in situations where the ex used to (and still might) have romantic and jealous feelings than one where everyone admits they never really felt that way.
Excellent point. Also, there are polygamists who live this way very happily. Different strokes for different folks.
To add to this, I don’t think they’re required to even live in the same house. 160 acres is a lot of space.
It’s possible they may end up separating and living in different places, but one way I could see the homestead working in the long run is sort of making it into a community with different homes for different couples.
I hope they have an open mind as there are a lot of potential solutions here.
I know that LDS doctrine has changed (a LOT) based on, as I understand it, continued revelation but I am kind of laughing at all these people going “who would want to LIVE on a HOMESTEAD with your partner’s OTHER SPOUSE and all your SHARED CHILDREN”.
Historically, um. Mormons?
plips, I’m dying over here! 😀
Like… isn’t that what Mormons did for eons? Except with lots of ladies having to share the same dude? (Which actually sounds much less wholesome to me than two monogamous couples sharing the same piece of land–but, hey, no judgment).
Historically yes, was it easy, no way! Read some of the journals of early LDS pioneers and their plural marriages. Very messy! Add a gay Mormon parent and his partner, very, very, very messy!
Hi Dr. Shades, Your thinking that “Literally everyone else…” is, of course, totally made up & un-provable but I realize it’s your way of saying that you personally thought things would unfold similar to how they have. However, your comment(s) indicate that you lack the sympathetic ability to understand that someone in a cult religious environment can absolutely not foresee (later find to be unexpected) what might be obvious to a lot of other people. It’s a common practice in these religious communities to only allow oneself to mentally contemplate the desired situation (not being gay for example) & to envision otherwise is often taught to be a dangerous act (sin?) in itself. It would behoove you to consider that other peoples journeys back to God are just as special & valid as your own.
I’ve literally never responded to anyone in a comment thread before. However, your comment was so ridiculous, so rude and insensitive, and incredibly immature. But then again, your blogger name is Dr. Shades and you have some sort of Harishuku girl as your avatar, so I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised. At any rate- bugger off, troll. Who says something like that?
No mater how “ridiculous,” “rude,” “insensitive,” or “immature” you may think it was, it was nevertheless 100% true, and you know it. You aren’t allowed to get irate and self-righteous over things that are true. As for “who says something like that,” well, I do.
Now do us both a favor and go back to not responding to anyone in a comment thread anymore. You were much more tolerable that way.
😂😂😂 what a dick you are shades.
How am I a dick? Please explain, ’cause I don’t think you know, either.
Wow, really? The sentiment that this outcome was entirely predictable is rude, insensitive, and immature? He’s right, it WAS completely predictable! Maybe if people like you stopped living in fantasy land there wouldn’t be so much suffering in this world. 4 kids subjected to this do-gooder social experiment, all based on lies and selfishness. Oh, but this random internet opinion is too much for you to handle? OMG!!! Less political correctness please, more real talk.
Hi Peter, What you call a “do-gooder social experiment” is more of a compliment that you probably intended. Josh was taught by the LDS church that only a Temple Marriage sealing between a man & a woman would allow him to reach the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom; but now he’s in a quandary right? Does he be true to his sexual identity (i.e. not marry a woman) & reject his Celestial Future or does he deny his true self & follow the advice the church has given him? If following the church’s advice was his efforts to “do good / be good” then yes he is a “do gooder” . If making a hard choice to follow the church’s advice required him to “experiment upon their words” (which resulted in a rare situation in our society) then yes it was a social experiment. The fact that children resulted from this marriage is, again, only a sign of Josh & Lolly following the teachings of the Proclamation to the Family. Of course Josh & Lolly willfully & faithfully entered into this arrangement believing that the instruction & guidance of church leaders were actually from God & not, as you put it, based on lies. I would also add that Josh was selfishly doing what he was taught was the only way that God could accept him back into His presence. Is being selfish wrong if someone follows the church’s teachings in a selfish desire to return to God? You can’t blame the soldier for following orders without also holding the commanding officer responsible.
Yeah, but what about Lolly? She was under no obligation to marry someone who is gay.
It’s blatantly obvious that they put more thought and care into any one phrase of either of the two posts than you put into your whole comment, so maybe you could try *not* being super condescending about it.
It’s not “super condescending.” It’s just “super realistic,” nothing more.
Hi Dr. Shades. (Sorry to comment on the wrong thread but I find that sometimes the “Reply” button is absent on other threads).
In response to your question in the previous thread of “Yeah, but what about Lolly? She was under no obligation to marry someone who is gay.”, you have an absolutely valid point. Lolly was under no obligation to marry Josh but it’s also not a stretch of the imagination to understand why a woman would want to marry her best friend believing that 1. Marrying a righteous man in the Temple is a requirement that Josh fulfilled & 2. They had every reason to believe, at the time, that their marriage would be successful (as others in this comment section have indicated they are in successful Mixed Orientation marriages). Everyone’s dating/ courtship experience is unique (though surface qualities can be compared) & I give Lolly the benefit of the doubt that she is a fully grown, intelligent woman who chose, based off the best evidence available, that her decision was right & amazing for her. Plus, no matter how scary the “unknown future is” if they both felt like God sanctioned their marriage then they probably felt every bit of confidence they needed to move forward.
You are right in that she (& nobody else for that matter) is under any obligation to marry someone who is gay but she was under an obligation (from the LDS church) to marry a man who was temple worthy- which Josh was. It was a bonus that she also got to marry her best friend.
This post made me cry. I applaud you for being so honest in such a public way. I applaud your bravery and your devotion and your love for others. Thank you for being such a good example to the rest of us.
Josh and Lolly –
I have followed your post since your initial Club Unicorn post. As an LDS married mother of 5 with 3 gay siblings, I have always found your thoughts insightful, sincere and eye opening as I have tried to understand their journey better. I must admit, I shed many tears through this post. My heart hurts for you both on so many levels. I am full of compassion for how difficult this experience must be for you. How generous of you to take us with you on this journey with such humility and grace. Although we’ve never met, you feel like family to me and I want you to know you are dearly loved by me and I pray only for the best for both of you and your girls in the future. They could not have two better parents.
I love this post so much. So much honesty and kindness has gone into it, and is obviously woven into your lives. I used to be Mormon (I left over the November policy change, as I couldn’t raise my boys in the church after that), and was recently divorced and am so much healthier and happier and even though repressed sexuality wasn’t a factor in our split our relationship is very healthy. I just want you to know that you’re going to be fine. You love each other and your kids so much, you will be ok. You will be more than ok, you’ll be so much happier. I am so happy for your decision and the brighter future you have chosen that will only be full of more love, not less. Thank-you for your beautiful post, and I am excited for what lies ahead for you.
Thanks for sharing your journey and not holding back. I hope every General Authority in the Church reads what you have written here.
Josh and Lolly, I want to thank you. You two are amazing and I appreciate this post so much. I am a queer woman and have been attending a church school for many years now, and it’s taken a toll on me. Luckily for me, I am attracted to both men and women, so I can still fit in in this Mormon world. But for so many years I have felt broken and wrong because of my feelings. When Savannah bore her testimony last year about God’s love for her, I felt that. And in a similar way, I feel this. I am shaking reading this because my heart hurts so badly because of the way this Mormon world treats us. But you two give me hope. That someday, I can be open and accept myself. I have a trans sibling, and most of my closest relatives and friends are LGBTQIA of sorts. We are all either transitioning out of Mormonism or struggling to stay, and your ending remarks in this post reminded me that I can stay active the best way for me. I appreciate all of your words so much. The Proclamation and the newest policies have been tearing at my soul for years, and I find a shred of peace in knowing other people struggle too, and choose to find hope. I am beyond grateful for you two, for sharing your struggle and hearts with all of us. All of my love.
Hi Emily 🙂 I am one of those people that transitioned out of the church. As you know, there are a lot of benefits to remaining active (both as benefits & as lack of punishments like being kicked out of school or (in my case) being shunned by your family). But in case you didn’t already know I wanted to tell you that there is just as much hope & joy (arguably more) on the other side as well. The transition out can be short or long, hard or really hard, but the freedom to love & be loved, to not judge & be unjudged, once you’re fully out can be priceless & worth the transition. In other words, I just wanted to say that you can find hope in either direction. I wish you all the best whatever your decision looks like.
E – I wanted to respond to your post because my heart goes out to you as you mention the choice of whether to “transition out of Mormonism or struggle to stay” I truly wish you felt there were a third option of be true to yourself and being able to stay. I want you to stay, I want you to feel welcome to stay. I want you to know that your words and the words of many others have helped me learn and grow as a human being and come to better understand the struggle many, many of God’s children have experienced. I have greater empathy for what you have experienced and I have felt a great love God has for you and all those who struggle. I know you are beloved. And I hope and pray that as a group of people we can become more loving and supportive of the struggles you and all of God’s children face in life. You help me and others become better as you interact with us and I am grateful for your willingness and Josh and Lolly’s willingness to put yourselves out there to do that. I hope that I can pay it forward with those I interact with based on the unique challenges and experiences I have had. May we all judge less and love more! May God Bless You.
As I read this I was moved beyond words. It seems odd to say this about someone I have never met in person, but I am so very proud of you and Lolly. You and your children all have amazing futures ahead of you, and your experiences will make you much better helpers as well. Can’t wait to read what the next chapter bring for you both.
“Only the wounded healer can truly heal.” — Irvin Yalom
You are good people.
It can’t be easy to have such a public relationship and to have to explain it changing into a different kind of relationship in the middle of a lot of pain. So, so, so much love to the two of you and your children. ❤️❤️❤️
I feel Lolly’s pain. I was in her situation for a very long time and it got to me on a level that made me absolutely hate my body, even though, I knew it wasn’t about me, but I still felt like a grotesque monster. It’s impossible to love your self completely when you don’t like your body. At least I never figured out how to do that.
It wasn’t until I got remarried and had lots of sexually charged sex that I healed, mostly… From being in a relationship with a beautiful women who never could see me the way I saw her. Now I understand what was missing. Hard to know that until you have that.
Divorce was hard, but not as difficult as being in a marriage without the sexual romantic love that our souls need.
I’ve supported you guys from the very first time your story went viral and was in team unicorn wanting nothing but happiness for you both and continue to do so. The new journey is scary, but worth it.
I just want to hug both of you. You DO both deserve love. Thank you for sharing your journey with us so that we can better love our fellow humans. May God continue to bless you all.
A Mama Dragon
Thank you for this beautiful essay. Best wishes of peace, joy, and fulfillment to your whole family.
This is amazing. Life is all about growth. You were genuine 5 years ago and you’re still genuine today. And you have certainly grown. What more can we hope for in life than to keep on growing?
I commend you for your bravery and honesty. I’m so glad that you are FINALLY going to be able to live as your true and authentic self. You truly owe no one an explanation for your decision to get divorced, but your story is encouraging to me as a supportive mom of a gay daughter. I’m sure it’s even more valuable to LGBT people. Carry on with your life. Best wishes.
I started to cry the second I read the title, and continued to cry throughout that beautiful post. I have recently been through a faith transition, and have often thought of you guys, and how you reconcile the possibility that our prophets could be mistaken. I am both thrilled for the happiness that is in your future, and heartbroken over the pain you’ve endured and are probably still going to endure. I love you guys so much, I have felt like you guys are family as I have followed this blog over the years. I admire your courage, and your faith. You guys are one in a million! Hopefully stories like yours will soften the hearts of the brethren sooner rather than later.
I am glad for the two of you. I never entered a MOM myself, but this post echoes the years that I went through in denial of my true self, until I could no longer keep pretending I was straight. The Stellaluna analogy is apt. No matter how much I thought I was in control, there was always something a bit off, and it was so freeing once I was able to finally accept myself for who I was. One thing though, that is likely unintentional and done out of ignorance but was extremely hurtful in this post. Not everyone experiences romantic love. Aromantic people exist. And just as God created gay and straight people to experience romantic love for their preferred gender, I believe God also created me this way on purpose. Platonic love is not inherently lesser than romantic or sexual love, and while I would never ask a non-aromantic person to deny the parts of themselves that they feel, I ask the same courtesy of others to recognize that my orientation is also a valid one, that I am no more broken than Josh, as a gay man, is. Anyway. Just had to speak up. Best of luck to the two of you!
Well said, Megan. I’ve seen a lot of aromantic and asexual erasure in the comments here, which is disappointing but I guess not surprising.
Thanks for sharing that, I can’t speak to asexuality personally but hope there can be validation there too of not being broken for not needing romance or sex.
Josh, I appreciate your courage. However, I do wish you’d show the same courtesy to those of us in mixed orientation marriages (and grateful to be so, for 24 years) that you’ve shown LGBTQ+ people in the past. You’ve always emphasized, wisely, that no two journeys are the same and other’s experiences are not the same as yours. Perhaps you could correct your incorrect statement about embracing your sexual orientation “in the only way that leads to health for LGBTQ people, including embracing and participating in romantic and sexual attachment” to the same sex. The other inaccurate statement is that a “successful and healthy” mixed orientation marriage is “mythical. Impossible. Not real.” I respect the choice you are now making, and understand that you don’t see it as a choice. My life experiences have been different from yours, and please don’t say my marriage is not successful and healthy. That’s not fair, and I know you’re a fair person. I do wish you the best. I’ve always felt a deep love for you, even though I know you mostly through your blogs.
I can see how this would feel hurtful. Perhaps he meant gay men and straight women. That may make it less threatening. I do expect a reaction from Ty Mansfield as well, possibly even more entrenched although my hope for Danielle is that this post ultimately sets her free too.
And Laurie sorry if you are truly romantically and sexually attracted to your husband you are bisexual so knock it off with I am a lesbian married to a man. It is insulting to the LGBT+ community.
Tim, as I stated earlier in one of these comments, I was attracted to women, and not men, until I was in my 30s. To say I’m bisexual would imply that I’m attracted to both genders and I’m not. My husband is the single exception. Also, I don’t identify as a lesbian anymore, nor bisexual. None of the typical “lesbian, bisexual or asexual” categories accurately describe my experiences and life. I would hope the LGBT+ community would understand and appreciate when someone doesn’t fit the typical idea that many others have with regard to sexual attractions, especially since the same has been done to them.
I agree with Laurie Campbell 100%. There are so many like Laurie who have chosen to live within the framework of the church teachings regarding marriage and sexual expression, even though they experience SSA (same-sex attraction.) I guess it’s too bad that we don’t hear from more of them. But many like Laurie Campbell, Tom Kristofferson, Ty Mansfield and others, have the courage and talent to write and share their experiences with others. I am so thankful for those Heroes. Because of this, all who choose to live within the bounds the Lord has set, become worthy to receive all of the blessings associated with the gospel including sacred covenants associated with both baptism and the temple. Many of these people who are in mixed-orientation marriages even serve as Bishops and stake presidents etc. I know many people in this boat and it seems totally unfair to make blanket statements about them and discredit an entire group of people because it didn’t work out for you. I must say I find it interesting how people who decide to go against the Church and live in sin all of a sudden are critical of The Church and do everything that they can to justify their poor choices. Unfortunately, I know too many good people because of a child who is gay or their own homosexuality and choices, who have become so sympathetic with the LGBTQIA community, that they loose sight of what really matters. This has led many of them down a slippery slope towards apostasy. Like many have said, SSA is certainly a difficult and complex subject. In my mind, there are so many challenges that could be even more challenging. The Weeds talked about deserving intimacy etc. I think there are a lot of things that people deserve like food on the table, not to live in a war zone, not to have a debilitating disease or mental illness. To not have a spouse die in war and have to raise your children alone. To not have a spouse addicted to pornography or leave his wife or husband and children for another man or woman. What about the widow who deserves not to be lonely? What about the asexual person or the transgender? I could go on and on and on. Several years ago, Ty Mansfield gave a great keynote speech at the North Star conference. Paraphrasing and going off of my memory, he basically brought up the point that Heavenly Father may have asked some of us to experience same-sex attraction or at least we knew we would deal with it while on this Earth. This had never even crossed my mind before but made perfect sense. And if that is true, what might be the purpose? Could it be that this life is a test? Could it be that we all learn and grow and become better people, and recieve incredible blessings, even eternal life because of learning to conquer our challenges that we face on this Earth? Could it be that once we follow the gospel and have had some success and been deeply blessed because of it, that we might share our hope and testimonies of change with others? I don’t remember Heavenly Father saying that certain challenges are exempt from keeping the Commandments and living the gospel. In fact, I believe that with God nothing is impossible. Will everything go the way we think it should? Probably not, but I believe that Heavenly Father can make more of our lives, no matter what our challenges are, then we can make of ourselves and all he asks is for us to follow Him. He has given us all the formula to return to him some day.
My intent here isn’t to beat up the Weeds. I saw their Voices of Hope Video years ago. Because they are so public about this and have the ability to influence so many people, I was concerned that some might be tempted to go down forbidden paths and so I wanted throw out some things to consider. I commend all who are making good choices and fighting the good fight and pray you will be blessed and remember your worth. God loves us all equally and beyond any of our comprehension. He wants us to be happy and to return to him one day. That is why he gives us commandments and a living prophet.
I really do wish Josh, Lolly, and their four sweet and beautiful daughters the best.
Nah. Ty Mansfield is dangerous.
So are you
So are you — so are we all
I am a gay guy in a marriage with a man, and I am only really attracted to my husband. We routinely go to LGBT related events, and I can be around several dozen gay men from various age-groups. I don’t have any sort of sexual interest in them at all. I am a married man.
I am one of those people that are predisposed toward monogamy, which actually is somewhat genetically heritable. It has nothing to do with whether I am moral or not moral. It is related to distrubutions of vasopressin receptors over certain cortices. When I am in a relationship with a man, I not only lack the inclination to pursue exterior affairs, but I lack even the slightest temptation. It’s not a matter of me having resisted that temptation out of having stronger morality. In fact, if I had any such temptation, I am not entirely sure that I would want to resist it. Polyamory has always appealed to me, at an intellectual level. I fully embrace the idea of polyamory, at an intellectual level. The firmware just doesn’t support the Polyamory OS, though, and that’s really a pity because it sounds like lots of fun.
I am therefore attracted not so much to men as something more like “one man at a time.” My sexuality is nuanced and has many dimensions to it, actually. I just call myself “gay,” though, because it constitutes a single syllable that illustrates what I mean suitably enough for government use. If anybody wants to know more about me, then they can try getting to know me.
Nothing but love and support for you and your family. Your courage and candor is inspiring and so refreshing. Best wishes to you all, always.
Wonderful post. All of us Mormons (exmo in my case) have sure woken up to the lies church leaders taught us all those years. You are courageous to step up to the plate and start righting the wrongs. God bless you and your family. You’re doing it right.
They aren’t lies. God does things in his own way and timing, and right now he is telling his church leaders that gay marriage is not approved of by him right now. Will that ever change? Who knows? I can’t say it “never” will….because I’m not God. I don’t know what his ultimate plan for his children facing this is. But I’m sure not going to pretend I know more than God.
It well may change one day IF that is what God has really had in his plan and IF he created them specifically to be that way. Which I’m still not convinced of-how do we know it isn’t just a natural struggle such as cancer or a mental illness, or physical struggle that God didn’t really create, but that he lets happen because he has to let natural order happen.
But it may well also be that he will give everyone the same opportunity to have romantic attachement/sexual attraction after this life in the way he planned it to be, and that struggles with homosexuality actually can be changed when everyone is resurrected and perfected.
But the thing is, we simply don’t know. Regardless of what people have said, God does 100% love each and every one of his children no matter if they follow him or not or follow his commandments or not, and wants them to have every chance to have every joy they deserve. He does love them exactly as they are 100%. But when did that ever mean he loves everything everyone does? Id even say he loves anyone who’s ever done anything bad like murder or being a dictator or whatever. Yes he does love them as they are, BUT doesn’t mean he approves of any of that stuff they’ve done or thought or felt or said-some stuff of which the individual truly might’ve felt in his heart was right to do.
I always have like the quote “Everything will work out right in the end….if it isn’t right, it isn’t the end.” Why should gay people not have to struggle with that even their whole lives, if a single person has to struggle with loneliness their whole life, or a starving person has to struggle. Or the person who gets beat by a partner. Or any other suffering. In my view it seems as if the lgbt community thinks they’re struggling more than anyone else, or they have it worse than anyone else, and somehow think their version of struggling is worse than anyone else. Being happy 100% of the time and having no struggles isn’t reality.
One very solid truth though overall is God is in control and everything WILL work out exactly as he meant it to be-and everyone will have an exactly equal chance to have everything they deserve and desire. Whether what people desire and are attracted to changes, or whether God “changes” his plan-NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL will be left out of getting a fair chance for eternal happiness. That’s why Jesus died for us….so everything will be made right.
All that said, this couple has every right to do what they think is right and what makes them happy, and what they feel and think is the right thing to do. And whether their choices are right or wrong, that is 100% Gods call. Because he knows them better than they know themselves. I don’t agree with much of the stuff he said but they do have the right to choose their actions.
Well written post! I agree with you.
It breaks my heart that you are such an insecure person. Your pain jumps off the screen. You try really hard to use big words and sound sophisticated, but I’m sorry, you just sound like a little child. An adult who has been infantilized and never had the opportunity to mature. This is not what agency looks like. This is not what the plan of salvation is supposed to be. If it is anything, it is satan’s plan. Simple question: what if the church isn’t true? Period. End of story. Literally made up. The ravings of insecure albeit well intentioned men who lived a really long time ago and were struggling to make sense of their own human weakness and place in the cosmos? Oh, but you “know.” Because you had a “profound” feeling. No, you don’t know. Your experience is not special. Frankly, you are not special. I respect you enough that I will not lie to you and pretend otherwise. You are one of billions, and your experience has been had countless times over throughout the ages among all people and walks of life. You are not special, you’re not chosen, and you don’t know squat. And, deep inside, you know this to be true, and that hard, cold reality haunts you. You’re afraid is what you are. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of not having the answers given to you, of not being made to feel special and having your ego puffed up. You are petrified of the thought of having to walk into the darkness and navigate the moral landscape, where you are truly responsible for your own choices and can’t lean on some theological narrative to excuse and justify your own failures. I wish you well fellow human traveler, and pray that some day you’ll learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Real life is hard, but that’s also what makes it so much more fulfilling at the end of each day. All the best.
THIS. You just described me 4 years ago.
Peter it seems to me this really does hinge on whether we are alone in the universe or whether there is an intelligent higher power. Is there a God above all Who is the source of all light, Love, and truth? You don’t appear to believe there is. Eowyn does. So do I.
Your comment is totally on point. I agree with everything you said; I just didn’t know how to say it. And you’re totally right–life isn’t about being 100 percent happy. I think depression is a great example. People who struggle with severe depression have trouble feeling hope at all, at any time in their lives. Josh said he felt suicidal and that one of the reasons why is because there was no hope of him ever really loving someone romantically. It’s horrible to live without hope. It’s a struggle. Josh believes that in order to end that struggle, he needs to end his marriage. Perhaps God did help him come to that conclusion. We don’t know. But the point is that almost everyone goes through a severe struggle at some point in his or her life, and some people have the same struggle throughout their entire lives.
If someone has depression, should he or she just embrace it and stop fighting it? If someone has schizophrenia, should he or she just stop taking the meds and embrace it? If someone struggles with some part of his or her sexual self, should that person just stop struggling and embrace it? And here’s where a lot of people would lunge at my throat–I seem to have insinuated that homosexuality and similar things are akin to illnesses that need to be dealt with. Am I right? I have no idea. Only God knows that one.
But I do have a strong testimony of the LDS church. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that all the prophets who followed him were meant to be prophets and leaders of this church. Yes, prophets are human and can mess up sometimes, but I absolutely do not believe that one of those mess-ups was The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I believe that was inspired revelation, meant to help us through these times today. Remember–God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So why would he give us that revelation only to completely change it later? That wouldn’t make sense to me at all.
I think it’s so great that Josh has such a strong testimony to continue to go to church with his family. I really hope he continues to do so. And if he finds himself wanting to stop going, I hope he sees that that’s not God telling him to not go. Anything that pulls us away from God simply isn’t good.
There are a few mis-conceptions that you’re perpetuating through your comment that should be corrected here:
1. You are assuming that being gay is a struggle that should remain a struggle & not be embraced even if that embrace would eliminate the struggle. This is a sadistic viewpoint. Many others throughout history have preferred the suffering of others if it allows them to avoid mental dissonance with their own theology. (ex. the pharisees preferred to crucify other people rather than consider that their theology could be wrong).
2. You yourself know that it’s wrong & inaccurate to compare the “struggle” of homosexuality with the “struggle” of other things because you try to address that issue of false comparison in a hope that others won’t challenge you on its absurd pairing.
3. You say numerous times that we “don’t know” & that “only God knows” but the rest of your comment is you unabashedly talking as if you do know. If you honestly believed that you don’t know & only God knows then you would leave it at that.
4. You believe that The Family: A Proclamation to the World is actually to the world & not just to the LDS church. Unlike it’s brilliant marketing title suggests, the world never did & never will receive this proclamation (in the same way it will never receive the thousands of proclamations from the leaders of many other churches).
5. You say that God is the same yesterday, today, & forever, but then you go on to assume what that looks like. If I said the same phrase applying it to an unchanging God who was not LDS, is not LDS, & will never be LDS then is my testimony as valid as yours?
6. You ask why God would give us a revelation only to completely change it later? There are two reasons. The most obvious is that He probably didn’t give the revelation to begin with (you acknowledge that prophets are humans & can mess up but you don’t want to fully accept what that means). The second reason is that if God gives a revelation and then (what later might look like a contradiction to your human mind) gives a superseding revelation- this second revelation could in fact be “further light & knowledge”. Consider this scenario: If I pray & ask God if water is good & He answers by overwhelming me with the Holy Ghost & telling me that it’s so good that it actually is essential to my well being then I would naturally feel like I had received a testimony of an eternal, unchanging truth. If I stop there (as most people would) then I, too, would be confused like you are now when someone else says that they received the same feelings from the Holy Ghost telling them that water is bad- so bad that it could actually kill them. So I ask you is God contradicting Himself by giving both revelations? Can you see how God can tell someone at one time that the LDS church is “True” & at another time that it is “Not True”? Not to mention the “contradictory” revelations that are already accepted in Mormonism (ex. Racial discrimination, Joseph Smith marrying other women who were already married thus committing infidelity which the proclamation to the family expressly forbids, etc. etc.) You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth & think that it’s acceptable.
7. You assume that going to church (yours I presume) is what God wants people to do & never would God tell someone to not go. Can you honestly not contrive any situation where God would want someone to not go to church? What if they’re coming from a radical religious background & they would be killed for attending your church? (This is a true example). What if your church happens to be one of the unfortunate ones that has a leader who repeatedly molests a certain child? The true nature of God is that He wants whats BEST for each person right? The fallacy of Mormonism (& a lot of other religious organizations) is that they believe that THINGS (their church in this case) are more important than PEOPLE. This doesn’t allow you to consider that your church could actually be the worst thing for someone (depending on various factors). Consider the worldwide, long-lasting cause for good that Mother Teresa was/ is. A lot of Mormons would sacrifice her outstanding contribution in exchange for her baptism & quiet reverence through weekly LDS church attendance. There is no program or resource in the LDS church that could have put her in the position to accomplish what she did through the Catholic church .
8. You say that “anything that pulls us away from God simply isn’t good” but you are (again) assuming that being pulled away from the LDS church is the same thing as being pulled away from GOD. Consider this scenario: someone who leaves the LDS church finds that God stayed with them every step of the way &, in fact, their relationship with God is now more simple, beautiful, & rewarding now that they have a direct relationship without having to go through a “middleman” (a.k.a. the church).
I write this hoping that others won’t read your words and be emboldened in their false judgement of other people & also that you will consider that you might be confusing God with Church in a way that is actually preventing you from growing in your relationship with God.
Great response. I would have just called Eowyn a dumb shit and left it there. You’re much more restrained and accepting. I have something to aspire to.
Thanks, @Cult Survivor, for your reasoned and thoughtful response. I especially appreciate your straightforward distinction between God and the Church. Seems to me that that is almost always the source of conflict when religion comes into play in any subject … people’s interpretation of God’s will … as if one group of people’s interpretation is somehow “righter” than another group’s.
Wisdom. May many readers learn from the things you have shared here.
When people makes laws that make your most private behavior a crime, when they manage and pay for political campaigns that declare you are an enemy of god and a threat to western civilization, when the label to ur life and children and love counterfeit, when they call your existence a threat to everything good and holy…
You might want to reconsider what you just said.
“Why should gay people not have to struggle with that even their whole lives, if a single person has to struggle with loneliness their whole life, or a starving person has to struggle. Or the person who gets beat by a partner. Or any other suffering.”
This is about preventing the suffering that CAN be prevented. We shouldn’t turn our back on the suffering of millions of people or on any injustice just because one person somewhere suffered once.
Following commandments is supposed to make you happy, not cause suffering. I wouldn’t be so sure that the current church stance on LGBT issues is of God. I highly recommend researching what else leaders have gotten wrong, such as Brigham Young and apostles preaching against abolitionists (link: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Journal_of_Discourses/7/45 ), and saying that the Civil War won’t end slavery (link: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Journal_of_Discourses/10/49 ) to their teachings that monogamy is the downfall of civilizations (link: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Journal_of_Discourses/13/23 ).
As Josh points out, they’ve already contradicted themselves on homosexuality, especially regarding whether simply having the orientation is a choice, whether having the orientation is a sin, and whether those individuals should get married to straight spouses. People have already died because of their false teachings in the past. Can you imagine what it’d be like being a gay teenager, who hasn’t chosen your orientation, hearing from church leaders that just having your orientation is a sin? This is what the church taught in the 70s and 80s. Spencer W. Kimball: ““Homosexuality CAN be cured, if the battle is well organized and pursued vigorously and continuously…. God did not make men evil. He did not make people ‘that way.’”
“Regardless of what people have said, God does 100% love each and every one of his children no matter if they follow him or not or follow his commandments or not, and wants them to have every chance to have every joy they deserve.”
Too bad the church had to shame Josh and call him evil and wrong. Kinda makes me wonder if the church really is following God’s teachings.
Bravo Eowyn, couldn’t agree more.
I agree with you Eowyn. Thanks for your perspective.
May I just point out that a widow struggling with loneliness, a starving person, someone who is beaten by their partner—-nobody blames these people for their struggles. That is the difference. Not that gay people should not have struggles, but they should not be inherently blamed for having them.
“May I just point out that a widow struggling with loneliness, a starving person, someone who is beaten by their partner—-nobody blames these people for their struggles. That is the difference. Not that gay people should not have struggles, but they should not be inherently blamed for having them.”
Good point. Another difference is that church members do what they can to alleviate the suffering of the widow, the beaten house wife, the starving the child, etc. With gay people, instead of alleviating their suffering, they’re making it worse by pushing either celibacy or mixed orientation marriages on these people, either of which actively contributes to these people’s suffering. If church members could see the love that gay people feel for each other, it would go a long way to helping remedy this situation.
Thank you for sharing. You’ve put into words almost exactly everything that I’ve been feeling since I was 14. I am 23 now and left the church when I was 21, and while I don’t feel like I am gay, I am finding it very difficult to be straight.
I particularly connected with your description of a lack of romantic love, and how hard it is to define when it’s something you don’t know is missing. Frankly, I am disturbed that before today I had never realized marriage/love is (or could be) more than a close friendship with sex. I have plenty of fulfilling friendships in my life, but I mentally can’t seem to understand connection beyond that. I had always felt that the world had moved forward without me and never quite understood how, but I suppose that the truth lies somewhere in this fundamental misunderstanding. Just because I’ve never had that romantic connection doesn’t mean that I can’t, or maybe it is some facet of myself that I will come to love.
I wish you the best of luck and happiness in your paths.
Riveting and beautiful. God’s speed tomyou and your loved ones.
So much love and gratitude for your vulnerability in this. I’ll be cheering your entire family on in my heart from Idaho.
This is the most stunningly beautiful, heart breaking thing I have read in a very, very long time and I read A LOT. I don’t know either of you personally, but I want to. This is the most courageous thing I think I have ever been privileged to witness. What power, what humility, what grace. I don’t know what else to say except, “thank you for your willingness to share this.” I don’t know you, but I swear to God, I love you.
Thank you so much for sharing!I hope it helps a lot of people.
Hi, Josh. Canadian Karen here (although I realize you probably know other Canadians named Karen!). It is interesting timing as I had commented on one of Danielle Mansfield’s posts on FB which resulted in that whole post being deleted (ooops, I STILL need to learn to be more sensitive) and I got to thinking about you and how from you I had really learned to just shut the heck up and really listen to other perspectives. Your graciousness with me is not something I will forget.
I appreciate your honesty here and Lolly’s and I know it will be an up and down road for you with some feelings of grief. I hope you both have some support during this time.
You know that some folks will push back against what you are saying – there is all ready some of that in the comments because what you are doing may be terrifying for them. (If Josh’ marriage can’t make it, how can mine – that kind of a thing). But the good from your integrity will vastly outweigh the terror of some.
All will be well but it will probably suck for awhile.
Yes, everyone deserves romantic love.
Wishing both of you all the very best.
I wish you peace.
Your bravery is incredible. I am blown away by your striding forwards into reconciling with your truth, and all its implications.
Turning inward to face what is true inside us, and to listen to it and act on it, is an extended, painful act of radical courage.
You both (and your kids) deserve complete, full love and happiness, individually and a family who loves each other. My very, very best wishes for every single one of you. Be free.
Well you’re homestead better be near Hillsboro or beaverton, lots and lots of land out here😄
I can’t wait to read your first post after you fall in love with a man, and have sex with your beloved. Your head just might possibly explode 😉
As the proud mother of an openly gay son, I hope for you what I hope for him; a man as good as yourself to love.
And I hope the best for your entire family.
I just want to give both of you the biggest hug.
And it very well might be the Pollyanna in me, but I think a large number of those Google searches were people like us who are checking to see how you’re doing, in a good way. <3
A homestead is pretty much what my husband and I are planning. There is no reason to break up our family just because I'm not straight.
Best of luck to both of you.
I was so touched and inspired reading this. I applaud both of you for your courage in telling your stories. This will change and save lives. Regardless of the policies of the LDS Church, this will increase compassion. It’s an incredibly powerful message. Bravo
Incredibly beautiful, and vulnerable! All of my love to all of you! It is truly an inspiration to be able to share in your journey of learning, growth, and love!!! This is a powerful example of how many difficult things we people can traverse successfully, if we choose to love, honor, forgive, and to learn, continually!
This was so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing the deepest and most personal details of your life. I’m LDS who has often felt the same way about LGBTQIA people even though I’m cishet. I wish the absolute best of luck in finding your new path, the one that brings you peace and joy.
Nothing but love and admiration for you both. Everything you’ve done, everything you are. This was beautiful.
This is so beautiful and important and vulnerable. Thank you for your honesty. I wish you and your family so much peace and love as you take this next step.
My husband and I sat on the couch to read this. With the thoughts of our gay son in our minds, and with tears in our eyes, your brave decisions have given us hope and faith that he too can completely accept himself. Moreover, your post has helped me personally realize once and for all that living without hope of romantic connection is deadly. I want my son to live, to love.
Your son is very lucky that he has you for parents. If you accept him, and show him that you love him, truly, just as he is, without reservation, he will love and accept himself.
Too many young people have parents who think that whatever they think is tRue about homosexuality and what it means to be gay is far more important than their relationship with their sons or daughters. My parents were that way– not horrible, but completely unwilling to learn anything. Eventually, it cost them their relationship with me.
I was fortunate, though. I had other parental sets that loved me for who I am. My current “mom” is 97. I’m 67 now. It was my parents’ loss, not mine,
Amazing…amazing love, parents, friendship and insight. Best wishes to you both and your girls as your beautiful family evolves! ❤️
Wow! Such a beautiful post. I just do not have the words to explain how I feel, and the love I feel for the two of you, although we have never met. I wish you and your girls peace. I love that your girls can process this the way that they have, with help from the Holy Ghost.
Josh, Lolly, I cannot thank you enough for your openness, your vulnerability, and your kind generosity in sharing your journey with us.
I have been following your journey since that first blog post five and a half years ago when it gave me so much hope as a young gay RM. and have still kept up with how you have shared your journey even as my own took me away from the church to pursue a relationship with a man.
This post resonates with me to my core, and I love you both for being so willing to share that with the rest of us. It rings true to me and I am so very happy for the both of you and for your family, and I am excited to see how it will grow. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us.
Also, I have a question I would love to discuss with you if and when you are able to. This post rings so true to me. But my very best friend, whom I love as you two love each other, is asexual. She is unable to comprehend sexual attraction, though she understands romantic attraction. To her, the idea that resonates so much with me, that you have stated so well, that people need romantic attachment to someone they are oriented towards, seems like somewhat of a death sentence to her. She doesn’t understand or feel sexual attraction, though she can understand sexual gratification, and feels that her lack of attraction/attachment dooms her to a life where she will be unable to have a complete and fulfilling relationship with anyone because she can’t guve them that attachment, anymore than You Josh can give that to Lolly. She worries that any person whom she comes to love, even if they are attracted to her, will come to feel as Lolly did, and will not want/be able to remain in a relationship where she isn’t attracted to them. I would love to share this blog post with her, for you have perfectly described my own feelings so eloquently in ways I wouldn’t have thought to say. However, I know that she would only see the message that she is doomed to a life where she can’t attach to anyone the way we all crave.
Please, if you are able to, I would love to discuss this with you if/when you have the chance.
And again, thank you so very very much for sharing your journey with us with such bravery and authenticity.
Good luck to you both! My sister and brother in law are going through the exact same thing – eeriely close. They are planning on divorcing and living on the same property too. Good luck to you both, and I thank you for all you have done and will do for the LGBTQIA community and church members!
I do have a question – same as above – I’m a married asexual, and to be honest, Lolly’s wording of needing romance I feel might have been too inclusive in it’s language. I know that people of different orientations might do need that attraction (both romantic and/or sexual) in order to feel fulfilled, but hearing her phrasing that all people need that romantic attraction had me in tears – because lots of ace people can’t give that. I doubt she meant to imply that asexuals are doomed and any relationships they have that may only be platonic and not true marriages or can produce true happiness (as every person with mixtures of orientations and personalities have different circumstances). I just wonder if perhaps, if you do use this post to help people of the LGBTQIA community, that the A part was considered with your phrasing, as I know no harm was meant.
I hope that came across right – I know this has been a painful journey, as I’ve walked with my sister through the exact same circumstances and results. You have all my best wishes and gratitude for sharing all you’ve been through.
I hope you do show your friend this post. And I really hope that she is inspired to seek out friendships with other people who identify as ace. Having ace friends is very helpful – at least for me, it has helped me to accept my sexual identity as valid and real, and that is no small feat.
Like Jessica, I am also a married asexual. My husband and I have been married for 12 years and while there have been hard times, it’s been worth it. Good luck to both of you <3
I’m not in the “I told you so” camp. That being said, this post feels like a step in a direction that works… but feels still fairly confusing. It feels honestly like you both are taking steps into new lives- but still try to hold on to your old ones. You will still try to live as together as possible while divorced… with the possibility of other partners ok with living close together with a giant complicated family of exes on a homestead? Good luck finding partners who get that and want to be a part of a threesome or foursome parenting situation that close to each other.
Also- two feet in the LDS church and Two feet out of the LDS church doesn’t work. Try just picking one or the other… it feels like you still want the best of both worlds- having all the benefits of a previous marriage- while having a new one too.
I applaud honesty and being open and how you are trying to make it work. It’s just painful sounding- it sounded painful then it sounds painful now, and I hope I’m wrong and you both find ways to make this work.
I’m one who know what josh feels like in an LDS mixed orientation marriage. I didn’t find much joy in joshs original post, knowing I was not alone in my experience. I didn’t find any consolation in the failure of his promise of a working mixed relationship either. I just feel sad about the whole thing. This post I guess should make me happy for you. I hope it brings you happiness. For me, I don’t know what will bring me happiness- I believe too many contradictory things about myself and my life and my God and my marriage and kids. I fully believe things that confuse myself as I think in circles. It’s painful no matter what it is I chose.
Typically, people can’t have their cake and eat it too, when it comes to divorce, religion etc.
I hope you are different, but I see this homestead idea as not much different than you staying married with a mixed orientation idea. The pain of your failed marriage will not go away just because you found someone new you are sexually attracted to. Especially if only one of you has a new partner for a time.. or if the new partners don’t get along with the ex, or their partner. I’m guessing it will be harder on Lolly for a variety of reasons. Same with church, eventually it will be hard to be there.
Please give yourselves time to adjust before jumping into another unconventional family dynamic. Hearts can only take so much heartbreak.
I totally agree here- this feels like the same only one step different.
Cindy, thank you for this comment. I was thinking the same way, hoping for them to give themselves more time to adjust.
Regarding the homestead.
I know you have a lot going on that you are processing, but from someone who is a little further down the divorce path, I’m hoping to plant a seed of thought here. This homestead idea is not going to go anywhere good. Part of the reality of this divorce it it allows both of you to move on and to find someone where you can have a truly fulfilling romantic relationship. This means these new partners in your life are going need and except true and complete intimacy and while you will remain as co-parents the intimacy has to go eventually so there is room for the new relationships to flourish.
Using an lds concept when you get into these new relationships you will need to “cleave until them and none else.” You are going to have a huge problem if you have these split alliances. In other words “no man can serve two masters.”
I get that it is comforting to hold onto this homestead concept for now to make it feel like you aren’t loosing as much. Hold onto it for now if you must, but eventually you need to allow each other to live separate lives so you can move forward with your lives and relationships.
Along these lines, I’m sure you are anticipating that things are going to be amicable and you don’t need to do a formal, legal agreement with lawyers. Lots of feelings are going to come up that you have buried. When new romantic partners come into your lives everything will change. Make custody legally clear now and use lawyers to ensure both of your rights are protected. This is to keep thinking amicable which is best for your children.
Yes, the idea of having the benefits of both worlds will not work. One must choose Whom one will love most.
“Good luck finding partners who get that and want to be a part of a threesome or foursome parenting situation that close to each other.”
Speaking as a single guy, if I found a woman who I had a real connection with who approaches their decisions in their relationships in as deliberate, caring, thoughtful, principled, and responsible manner as Josh and Lolly have modeled in their blog posts, being a part of the dynamic and parenting situation wouldn’t even be a *price* to pay, it’d be a *bonus*.
Anyone who dates or marries a divorced person (or as a divorced person) involves themselves in that dynamic to some degree or another. It’s something I’ve done, it can have its challenges and it’s good to keep eyes open about that fact, but it’s navigable and even rewarding with well-matched people and the right commitments.
you Mention pain. It struck a chord in me in a different way. I have a disease that affects,y entire body. But the most painful is the fact that tunnels form from ulcer in my intestine to other organs. Or out my skin. They can abcess and create problems like blood poisoning and death. I’ve had it 25 years. I’ve used all the biological drugs for it. A steroid can help a littl ebut after awhile it’s a mess. So imagine have feces and such exiting you body. Against your will. Mine have mainly been in my buttocks and lower back. They constantly seep. In Africa, when it happens in birth the women are sent to the outskirts of their communities. Alone. With a goat. Maybe another woman who leaks. Urine or fees or both. Can you imagine? It is a false narrative that these fistulas are eradicated even in the new world. I can’t change up my diet, my sexual orientation, or even pain meds to help with it. I suffer with it. I, too, have thought about death. Thank goodness I have a son AND a knowledge that God sent Jesus Christ to help me through my afflictions. To ALL those who suffer- you have the same knowledge. You need to erase the narrative that YOU are an abomination to Him. When we act on a feeling then that is another story. If I killed myself would I end up in outer darkness? No. In the third kingdom? No. God will know my heart. And where my mind was when. I named that choice. God did not give me this disease. It happened with the roll of the dice in the beginning and the choices my ancestors made that matched up genes to this point. I will be honest I don’t understand all the hurt that these young kids feel and you feel about being shamed for your orientation. I do know that if you crapped your pants in front of a college class and the unGodly smell fill the room, I could identify with that shame. (Lol) I don’t see the Prophets ever turning the decision on A man and woman being married in the temple. I’m not even married in the Temple after my divorce. )
So to sum up a very long rationalization, you’re leaving your wife (who you admit is your best-friend) and your 4 kids because you’re not romantically attracted to your best-friend/wife? If you were straight, this would be deemed a very cowardly thing to do by anyone with a sense of duty. An honorable man/woman (gay or straight) would stick it out (again, you’ve stated you’re married to your best friend and in a loving, if not romantic, marriage), at least until the youngest leaves home. Then, once free of dependents, you would go do something about finding a romantic interest. Somehow you missed that you are still responsible for having brought 4 kids into the world and they need their parents to love one another (not necessarily romantically) during their formative years. Your sexuality (I would add “or lack thereof” but there is at least some proof that a sexual relationship was possible at some point) really doesn’t negate that. A loving parent’s romantic interests do not trump the children’s right to a two parent home. That, is what “love” really is about, not sexual attraction.
Except, Mr Smith, that he’s made it clear repeatedly in the long post that he’s not leaving Lolly nor the kids. No one’s going to be in a single parent home.
It also ignores Lolly’s desires. She has the right to be in romantic relationship also. If she said, “I’m getting a divorce because my husband is gay”, no one would bat an eye.
Except a marriage where both parents are dying emotionally and spiritually really isn’t healthy for the children. Staying married just for the children robs the kids of witnessing a pure, loving relationship and brings emotional harm down the road. Better to just rip the band-aid off so that Lolly, Josh, and the children don’t have to suffer anymore.
Oooh, two Jacobs! That’s not confusing.
What if the “honorable thing” ultimately led to Josh’s suicide? Would that have been better for the kids? Personally I’d rather have divorced parents then suicidal parents.
It’s honorable to admit when we’ve made mistakes and work to correct them, not persisting in denial and living in-authentically.
It’s not honorable to continue to hurt the person you love most once you recognize what you are doing to them. It’s not honorable to keep them in a cage where there in no chance of a fulfilling, romantic relationship. It’s not honorable to both live so hurt that you are a shell of a person to your children. It’s not honorable to model a non-authentic marriage to your children. Recognizing the truth, pain and past denial is incredibly difficult and honorable. It begins the path of healing – there is a difficult road ahead, but taking that road is absolutely honorable. Many children grow up successfully with divorced parents.
Yes, we need to focus clearly on the eternal commitments we make and realize no relationship is perfect. Sexual feelings ALWAYS vary over time. That’s no reason to break a commitment made before the Lord. And the Lord has promised through His prophets that we will have all blessings if we remain committed to His ways. We do know some things about homosexual feelings. We know that homosexual relationships take us away from the Lord’s path. We know that eternal families are to be led by fathers and mothers for good reasons. We can conclude that homosexual attractions will not get in the way of eternal happiness in Celestial families. All challenges and issues in life have solutions. Sometimes we have to remain faithful and continue forward until the next life. That is not impossible; in fact, it is being done happily by many people.
We don’t “know” that homosexuality takes people away from the lord’s path. Until the lord comes down and tells you this personally, you are simply repeating what someone else told you. And that is exactly how they got into this mess in the first place.
Why don’t you people ever listen to gay people and learn about our lives, instead of assuming that you are the ones with the answers, and we have none?
Because from a religious standpoint, you’re at odds with doctrine. So maybe you don’t have answers…?? And yes, active homosexuality takes you away from the path. Duh. Just because you don’t like the answers doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Pepe L’italiano, then the DOCTRINE is wrong. Duh. People aren’t wrong for being who they are. You’re unable to sympathize with a different kind of life experience, I get it. Happily, for Josh and Lolly, they’re learning to do what is right for them and their children, no matter what some OTHER person’s idea of doctrinal correctness is. Doctrinal correctness doesn’t lead to happiness. Living authentically does.
I agree with you Steve.
‘We’ know these things about homosexual feelings? Who is ‘we?’ Speak for yourself.
This guy is onto something👏🏼
Sounds like if these two play their cards right, these children will end up with a four parent home, and their current parents love them and each other enough to make a very complicated family work. I am sure their two step dads will be just as dedicated. They have to be brave enough to marry into a family of divorced cohabiting marriage counselors, after all.
Thank you. I have agonized over how to manage feelings of wanting my son to be active but knowing that asks him to give up any hour of love or children for his entire life which as you explain is just a ridiculous expectation for anyone.
My marriage finally ended when I realized bring with him caused me to feel diminished and less valuable as a human being. I never want my son to experience such feelings. I don’t want him to feel less than.
When he came out to me, I prayed for him, his happiness, his testimony, his future, him feeling my love and Heavenly Father’s live and the only answer back was short and sweet: “it will be OK.”
Faith it is…
Thank you once again for your strength and honesty and example.
There are no words strong enough to express what I am feeling. You have put into words what I haven’t been able to explain to people. Thank you and bless you!
I would hope that no one will feel gleeful about you finally realizing that you were wrong. Divorce is sad and difficult even when it is happy and right. It’s sometimes like graduation; getting there was work and the next steps seem scary, but now you get to start a new chapter knowing much more than you did. I wish you luck.
I hope that at some point you take the next thing I say seriously. Because you won’t want to. You’d rather die than consider it. I just hope that before you waste too many more years of your lives not knowing, you will have the chance to realize that the church itself is like your marriage. You stayed because everyone said it was right. But in the end it isn’t the whole truth. We grasp so tightly to that mormon version of God and Christ because thats the only god we know. And we feel whisperings of the divine, so we know something is out there saying, “Yes, be honest, be kind, be faithful.” What you’re not realizing is that the Mormon version of God is so narrowly defined that you haven’t seen what all those divine whisperings might include. You have defined God the way you used to define love…without a complete picture. I was married to my husband for 7 years and I thought I was happy because I too had no comparison. But after it ended I took a really good look at ALL of the things I believed were true. I spent a year praying and studying my faith. I saw the bishop once a month for that year. And at the end of that year I walked away. 18 years have passed and all I can say was that I was so young in my intellect and so inexperienced with finding personal truth that I could not have seen all that makes me happy while I was a member of the church. I could not judge it’s veracity because I had never compared it to anything else. And its easy to feel it is true because it has pieces of truth. But it doesnt have the whole. It hasn’t cornered the market on faith. It isn’t the only truth. I think if you ponder that for a while; consider it and pray about it, you might find that another path makes you happier. Just my two cents. I wish you, your best friend and your daughters all the happiness in the world.
Thank you. I am so full of the fullness and beauty of Josh and Lolly’s posts, but my nagging doubts for the children will not be denied. Talk about mixed messages. “You two older ones will be okay as soon as you denounce your father, and you two younger ones must do without those blessings your entire childhoods, until you can denounce him and get dunked.”
Talk about bats.
I know that was both crude and blunt, but the children will have no choice but to be immersed in the self-loathing that was dealt to you, Josh. Their identities, LGBQTIA or not, are not to be toyed with. Your family of “second class members” – just think, Josh and Lolly, if you really want to be standing outside of their temple weddings, if you would encourage, allow and continue them to be indoctrinated into a belief system so basically faulty that it caused you, Josh, to taste gun metal for most of your life. And you, Lolly, to slowly die from the inside out.
They will be forced to eat bugs, like them or not.
They, too, deserve the mango.
I understand that the revelations have been coming fast and hard, but there is still more authenticity to uncover.
My very best wishes for all of you, on this difficult and joyful path of awakenings. May you dream of and find your perfect homestead property. May you continue to hear those whisperings that tell you to hang upside down. They are not the property of any organization. They have always belonged to each of you, and go with you, wherever you go.
The truth of this is in the voices of your children.
Sounds like a condemnation of an intolerant church more than of their decision.
I am so glad that former Mormons are commenting here. I am not Mormon but was formerly involved with the evangelical Protestant church, which is equally non-affirming to any expression of sexuality or gender that is not opposite sex marriage. I have seen people, especially gay or queer males, become depressed and suicidal in that type of milieu. I would think that being in such a non-affirming group is far, far more likely to cause suicidal ideation than not having the prospect of being able to form a romantic sexual attachment. My personal belief is that lasting romantic sexual attachment (not infatuation) in persons of any orientation is rare, very rare. We would have many more suicidal people if lack of sexual attachment caused that level of despair. It seems more likely that the pressure, threats, and even what I consider abuse, from highly controlling religious sects is a primary causal factor.
You make a good point, Kathy. There is so much more to healthy spirituality than just Mormonism. I shudder to imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn’t realized that almost three decades ago.
Just give it 5 more years and he’ll be out of the church (cult) too.
My heart aches for all of you. We have many friends and family members within the LGBTQ+(I call it alphabet soup) community I’m a convert, when I joined certain ethnicities were unable to have the priesthood, thankfully, that has changed. We do not know what the Lotd has in mind. I pray you will both remain dedicated to your families, to yourselves. Thank you for being open and honest. May you be guided in all that you do. May you share them love of our Heavenly Father with those who need to understanding. We’re still rooting for good things for all
As someone who is gay, I find the alphabet soup comment hurtful. Just wanted you to know. I know you’re probably just trying to be funny, but each of those letters mean something. And there are people behind those letters.
It might look like a jumble of letters to you; all those letters are there because the experience of being straight and cisgender is assumed to be the norm, and all the rest of us are lumped together, for better or for worse. You know; the “regular people” and “everybody else.” Like saying “are you Catholic or Protestant?” to a Mormon, a Pentecostal, and a Quaker.
But since we all have the experience of being outside of the expectations of gender and sexuality, we can have empathy, listen to one another, and work for justice for people who aren’t like us. That’s why all those letters go together.
This is a beautiful, heartfelt and honest post. This is the first time I have visited your blog and I am astounded by how candid and truthful you have been. My heart is filled with joy that you and Lolly have realized these things about yourselves and that you are brave enough to share this knowledge with the world. I have nothing but respect for you and a deep-hearted desire for you to both find partners who will embrace your entire family and recognize how special it is. Go forth and seek fullfillment.
I respect both of you and your decision. And I wish true happiness and love for you both. Truly. My marriage just ended this past summer. He was also gay. He and I are really good friends, probably best friends! He tells me everything. He is currently living the gay lifestyle, and I have to tell you that he is struggling with it. What he is finding is that in the gay world, it seems to be driven by sex. Most of the guys are looking for a hook up only, and the ones who are in relationships are generally in open relationships. He wants a monogamous, committed relationship. He’s having a very tough time finding that. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. But in his experience, he hasn’t seemed to find that connection with someone who has his same desires. Even some gay couples who he has admired in the past have turned to open relationships. It’s very disheartening for him and sometimes he regrets his decision to divorce me. He is realizing now how deep his love really is for me. And I kind of wonder if it’s the same for you two? What if what you have together is, in fact, true love?
I believe this is part of his journey to experience the gay lifestyle. He has learned a lot and has actually become better in a lot of ways. So my intention isn’t to discourage you, but to let you know what he has experienced. You may not have that same experience. I don’t know? It’s a very tough thing to go through the things you’ve endured and I do have so much empathy for you both. I wish you two the absolute best, because I know you both deserve it. I love you. Best of luck to you. ❤️
I just want to mention that I have several gay friends. Their gay lifestyle includes going to the grocery store, getting coffee at Starbucks, walking the dog, paying the mortgage, family dinner on the weekends, paying the light bill, going to work every day, buying new towels at Target. Pretty much identical to my straight lifestyle. The “hookup scene” is also very much alive and well in the straight dating community. I’m also aware of several hetero couples experimenting with open relationships. Not my cup of tea but CERTAINLY not a gay-exclusive arrangement. My point is, there are all types of people in all types of communities and it’s a wee bit bigoted to project the idea that stable, monogamous relationships are rare in the gay community.
Steph, well put. That is a really good point that a lot of people miss I think, and end up coming across as judgmental (even if it’s unintentional).
I’m a gay man who has been out of the closet for 30 years, mostly living in gay neighborhoods in large, liberal cities. I just want to say that these stereotypes about LGBT people (gay men are promiscuous, lesbians bring a U-haul on the second date, trans people are mentally ill) do not reflect the experience of me and my friends. There is as much lifestyle diversity among LGBT people as there is among straight people. This is no “gay lifestyle” any more than there is a “straight lifestyle.” Lots of gay and straight people struggle to find their soulmate, sometimes for quite a while. If your friend isn’t meeting gay men who are interested in committed, monogamous relationships he may be looking in the wrong places.
Thank you for sharing this information about you and your ex still nurtuting a loving frienship. I am sorry to hear that he is has not yet being succesfull trying to find the right person for me. Certainly there are many gays out there who have different princicples and goals which don’t match our’s. I just want to say it takes time for Christian, paticularly Mormon gays coming out at a much later stage, to finally settle down. After years of suppressing feelings, and being unexperienced in romantic relationships towards men and all what this may include (dating, communication, breakups, etc.) will most likely take an emotional toll at first because we think we already know a lot, but in actually we know next to nothing when handling same sex relationship. May I admit something: When things ended with my very first brief boyfriend, i thought it was almost the end of the world!! (I was in my early thirties and you can imagine how naive I was) Because things just didn’t work out with him ( I was sooo naive thinking that things with the first boyfriend I found were going to turn out perfect for the rest of my life), I almost came running to my bisphop office to repent of my “trangressions” For a few days only I felt okay, but later I again started feeling terrible. I had nothing to repent about as I realized it was part of life! For a moment I thought that by convincing myself that not “acting out” was going to make me feel better was a BAD idea! I mistakenly thought that the pain of breaking up after a simple and not relevant romantic experience was the result of my detachment from the church. In retrospective, I can tell my intelect was so inmature. The idea of going back to the painful and unfulfilling path by staying in the church would heal me would have actually killed me. Maybe your former husband just need more time and experience until he finds the right person for him? You, as his best friend could help him trememdously to find the person worth of his love. I am happy that he has your support and understanding. Good luck for both of you
We witnessed this same experience as a friend tried to pursue a gay relationship. He ended up leaving the gay lifestyle. I wonder if the idea of a gay relationship has been built up so much in Josh’s mind that it will be surprising how plain and ordinary that turns out to be. I think our society is focused so much on what color our cotton candy is we are not seeing that life is just hard. I wonder how you could have felt those tender feelings of desires to marry 15 years ago and are now dismissing those feelings.
I am so very happy that you now know the truth that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, just as you are. Blessings to you and Lolly as you move forward in clarity.
I wish you both happiness. Thank you both for your honesty and your insight. I feel like there’s so much to say but I think you’ve both said it all so honestly and completely. Thanks for doing so.
I have never ever read something that allowed me to really understand the LGBTQIA perspective until now. I have know for a while now that I needed to change my perspective and understanding of what it meant being gay and why gay people deserve what straight people have. I was raised Mormon, I am straight myself as is my husband. I have friends who are gay and I have not been able to reconcile my indoctrinated beliefs with what I know of them until now. This post is the absolute best description of why gay people deserve and need to live authentically. Thank you for sharing your innermost private lives to benefit countless others.
Love to both of you and to your family!
I have read about your journey over the years. I appreciate your honesty. I’ve been married for 43 years to a member of the LGBTQ community. I have found comfort in your story. Strength in your story. As a member of The Church, I have been challenged to stay married and in the Church with our secret life. I understand your decision. I understand Lolly’s need for intimacy. I have missed it as well. Thank you for all your truth-sharing. I wish you both well, lives full of happiness.
Beautiful words! Lovely family, excited for your new family adventure.
Praying for you both and your family.
Josh and Lolly, I send my love to both of you. My heart is breaking for you, but also soaring for you. You are right and I wish you all the best of what life holds in store for you and your family.
First, thank you for this post. I greatly admire and respect anyone who puts a sincere, deep effort into a challenging situation. I find myself rather stubborn, and tend to only be persuaded by those who genuinely attempt difficult things, rather than cynically discount from the sidelines. This is a post that will affect my thinking for years to come. Many people have given plenty of praise, and I add to those.
I do have some qualms though about what was said, only because I’ve been in a marriage sharing some (but definitely not all) difficulties listed here. The post had a hint of making sweeping generalities, that people need sexual compatibility in marriage, that marriages cannot work without a longing desire for the other, that those who don’t follow their desire are living a lie and causing a part of them to die, and that those who struggle in marriage can blame others because of unreached standards.
These generalized statements are too sweeping. What should be done if one partner becomes terribly depressed, or gains a chronic long term disease, or completely loses sexual drive? Or what of someone whose brain is what medically we would consider broken, such as the pedophile, who has tendencies and hates that he has them but cannot get the urges to go away? On one hand, sexual compatibility with a partner is very nice. Having a spouse that feels like more than a friend is nice. But it isn’t always a necessity. In your situation, I understand, when it hits levels of suicidal thoughts, that trumps all. And if you mature and realize you dread the next several decades, and that feeling never goes away, that is very serious and should be acted upon. Your decision for a divorce was yours after much good thought and reasoning. But that doesn’t mean that all marriages with incompatibilities result in people slowly internally dying. Suppose your spouse gets into a car accident, and your spouse now is deformed and in a wheelchair and you lose your physical and sexual connection with your spouse, do you divorce because of that? Your above post effectively says “Yes, you do, because studies show most spouses in this situation will start to internally die, because they now ‘cannot attach to one another’. And people deserve romance and the quadriplegic can no longer give that back.” You mentioned you felt naivety in coming to your current conclusion after 15 years of marriage, I think some naivety still remains, as you’re freshly viewing marriage from a newer perspective. But there are many, many other perspectives still.
Again, I understand what it’s like to have marriage feel like hell. Or to have psychological changes abruptly hit you which makes life feel like agonizing hell for months on end. Or to see your spouse psychologically feel like hell for months. Or to know close friends that commit suicide. I’ve lived through those too. I won’t go into details, other than to say I found myself nodding my head a dozen times reading your post thinking “Yes, I remember that.” But marriage can be more than needing to feel sexually and romantically loved. Not for all. No. I’ve been through enough hell to learn there is a time when a marriage must stop, and you know that too. But it doesn’t apply for everyone. It is wrong to make sweeping generalities suggesting that couples “cannot attach” with wildly different sexual and romantic desires, because there are some of us out there that *do* happily attach. In your situation, divorce was needed for psychological and physical health. For others, divorce is needed as the two grow and mature they realize they are simply incompatible. But for some of us, these deep incompatibilities didn’t reach a point where divorce was needed, it was simply a very difficult part of life’s journey that sometimes can be overcome.
It’s not about sex. It’s about the ability and hope for romantic attachment which is a deeper emotional connection to someone.
I think Ryan has a point though that there are some generalizations in this posts wording. Some on the asexual spectrum or autism spectrum are not only unable to meet sexual desires of partners, but romantic needs. A lot of the generalizations in the post imply that without romantic attraction or attachment the marriage is not healthy to the partner, which I don’t think they intended as a rule for everyone. It certainly is a valid and healthy conclusion for Josh and Lolly, but perhaps should not be phrased to isolate those in the asexual/autism communities unable to meet romantic needs.
Atheist bisexual, so. Ignore as you will on that basis. But:
Imagine that you could only get a mortgage or a credit card if you were married to another person, and not only that, the bank would monitor you at least once a week to make sure that you _seemed_ married. And you strongly believed that you only deserved a credit card or a mortgage if you really _felt_ married, inside in your soul, which were feelings that you’d be encouraged to examine in depth every time you did any banking.
It’s a goofy example, yes (though, um, real for women in the 1960s) but: for people outside strong cultural and religious institutions like the Mormon church it’s hard to imagine how real and vivid the worldview and its pressures are and how they shape your life. It’s not belief like “I believe that plants grow if you can talk to them”. It’s belief like “I believe that this square of plastic with a magnetic strip corresponds to real money and can buy milk”. It’s physical and it’s lived.
An asexual person and a non-asexual person might choose to get married for all kinds of reasons – because they’re good friends, because they’ve talked through the asymmetry and think they can get over it, because they love each other. In the case of someone who’s asexual but not aromantic, because they’re in love. But there’s a huge, huge, HUGE difference between deciding to get married across that gap because you think it’ll be best for you – and living in a world where external institutions that influence every corner of your life insist that getting married is something that you MUST do to be a real adult, and even, in this case, to get into the good kind of Heaven.
Also, Jessica, I’m not sure if you personally are autistic, but if you aren’t, it might be a good idea not to say this about autistic people. I’m on the spectrum and I’m not asexual/aromantic, and I have friends who are “more autistic” than me and they aren’t asexual/aromantic either. (The only asexual person I know is gay-married to another asexual woman. They’re very happy. This would not get them into heaven either, I imagine, even though they’re asexual.)
My apologies Plips, I was too vague in my comment about ASD – (I too am on the spectrum, as well as my husband). I didn’t mean to imply that being asexual = ASD or if your on the spectrum then your asexual. What I mean to point out (and I didn’t, which is my bad) is that some people on the spectrum (some, definitely not all) can find it difficult to provide the ‘traditional’ romantic gestures or ‘passionate’ interchanges with their partners which Lolly seemed to imply that all relationships need. Some with ASD have their own special way to communicate their love and passion and intimacy that might be very different from what Lolly used as examples all people need. That is what I meant to point out – not that they are the same as asexuals. I hope that makes sense. I in no way meant to imply a generalization to you or others. I hope that makes sense?
Jessica–Your point re: the universality of romantic attachment is well founded. But, by the same token, please don’t lump the autistic community as a whole into the asexual or aromantic communities. There’s nothing wrong with any of those identifiers, of course. But–speaking as someone in the gray area between neurotypical and autistic–there is no correlation that I’m aware of between autism and asexuality.
Can multiple categories exist in the same person? Absolutely. But, (again, from my own personal experience and that of many autistic friends), most of us have as great a need for a romantic/sexual relationship with a suitable partner as most neurotypical people. We just tend to have more difficulty forming those relationships. In that sense, though I’m a straight woman, I can empathize with the long-term loneliness both Josh and Lolly must be experiencing. When Josh mentioned feeling “fundamentally broken” or deprived of even the possibility of romantic attachment, it hit me right in the heart. Oh, to be a red-blooded human with every desire to connect with the male of the species, but feeling too “fundamentally broken” to go for it. I know what that feels like, albeit from a different perspective. I wish them well. Though the desire for romantic attachment may not be universal, it’s certainly widespread–even among many of us who don’t fit neatly into society’s default boxes.
Hi Anon, a copy-paste from my above response because I got the wrong message across – I was too vague in my comment about ASD – (I too am on the spectrum, as well as my husband). I didn’t mean to imply that being asexual = ASD or if your on the spectrum then your asexual. I didn’t mean to imply that the asexual and ASD communities belong together or are even linked. What I mean to point out (and I didn’t, which is my bad) is that some people on the spectrum (some, definitely not all) can find it difficult to provide the ‘traditional’ romantic gestures or ‘passionate’ interchanges with their partners which Lolly seemed to imply that all relationships need. Some with ASD have their own special way to communicate their love and passion and intimacy that might be very different from what Lolly used as examples all people need. That is what I meant to point out – not that they are the same as asexuals, but that they too could be hurt when told their language of love is lesser than neurotypical language. I used the wrong phrasing and I sincerely apologize. I hope that makes sense. I in no way meant to imply a generalization to you or others. I may be only speaking for myself, and if so I do apologize. I hope that makes sense?
Yes, I’m aware of that, and lived through it too. When she wrote “Whenever he held me in his arms, it was with a love that was similar to the love of a brother to a sister.”, I know exactly what that feels like.
“That does eventually take its toll on your self-esteem. No matter how much I knew “why” he couldn’t respond to me in the ways a lover responds to a partner, it wears a person down, as if you’re not “good enough” to be loved “in that way.”
Yes. I painfully know that feeling too.
“This deficit started to mess with my self-esteem. I almost felt if only I could be thinner, prettier, sexier, maybe it would be enough to catch Josh’s eye, to help him want me in the way we need to be wanted by our attachment partners. … could have been the hottest woman on the planet and he still would not have felt any different toward me. No matter how clear I was on the technicalities of this reality, it was impossible not to internalize his complete lack of attraction toward me. Subconsciously, it was a constant message. You aren’t attractive. You aren’t wanted. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t a good enough woman.”
Yes. I painfully know that feeling too.
“However, as the years went by, and the holes in our souls grew larger and larger, we realized that our relationship was not like an elderly couple because, although the elderly couple’s sexual relationship had dimmed, their romantic adoration for one another did not. ”
Fortunately for us, despite some very deep compatibility issues, we still adored one another. It seems to be like what many older couples have who are still in love, but it isn’t what I would term romantic or sexually romantic, but it is definitely now what I would call a marriage and not just brother/sister.
Here she states something crucial, that at no point in her marriage did she ever feel like she could get beyond the brother/sister relationship. I sympathize. It’s an understatement to say it’s hard to be in a marriage that feels like brother/sister. Her reason for divorce is hers, but I personally also agree with her conclusion for her state.
Where I really start to disagree is when Josh says things like this:
“I’d never even felt the chemistry of bumping into someone who I was attracted to and who might be attracted to me, the casual grazing of hands that sends a tiny spark of electricity through both people—the simplest of things. So what possible frame of reference did I have for what love and attraction felt like in a romantic and sexual relationship?”
In my case, my spouse had a wonderful romantic/sexual drive, that turned not just to zero, but to negative zero. I don’t think he’s had the experience of bumping into your spouse only to have your spouse instinctively *cringe*. Imagine the opposite of the tiny spark of electricity, where you try to engage romantically only to get get rebuffed in horror. That’s a common reaction when I surprise my wife with a simple kiss. (The more we both tried to push, the more her body rebelled against it.) And it’s not her fault, she doesn’t choose to feel that way, and she knows it and I know it. And we’re still happily married. Josh has only in the past few months begun to realize that sometimes marriage doesn’t have those tinges, and now he wants them. That’s understandable. But I can say from personal experience that sometimes those tinges are simply gone, or they may start in a marriage and entirely disappear. But that doesn’t mean the marriage is gone or devolves into friendship, or worse, that someone must internally die inside.
Where I really, really disagree with Josh is his sweeping generalization to all other relationships:
” And we had everything going for us: same religion, same socio-economic status, same ideals, great communication, similar life objectives. Heck, we even both became marriage therapists. If any marriage like this were going to be functional, it would have been ours. But it’s not. Not because the marriage was bad. But because the foundation we were building it on was a mirage. The most integrated, sound home will fall to a shambles if it’s built on a sinkhole. Our marriage was built on a sinkhole. Gay people and straight people cannot attach to one another.”
Some people who don’t have that “tiny spark of electricity” *can still attach to one another*. Not all people. But some.
Their sinkhole was far more than that he was gay, it was that they were just friends all along. Even if he wasn’t gay, they would still be just friends. It took both of them about 15 years to realize they married young and never understood their marriage beyond this friendship level. They sincerely tried to make it work. But they were just friends. Once they realized it, they made a responsible and mature decision to divorce. But he’s only a few months into his new views of marriage and relationships and what made them no longer attach, and he’s making almost dangerous generalities for others. I just don’t want to see couples that have marriage difficulties read this latest entry and assume attachment is impossible in their current situation. Romantic desire can flip on a dime in a marriage. Sometimes divorce may be needed here, especially if mental health hits a point of thinking of suicide or unable to move beyond dread of the future. And sometimes divorce isn’t needed, as just because romantic desire disappeared entirely, doesn’t mean all such marriages can no longer “attach”.
Ryan, I wonder though if, because you and your spouse DID attach romantically at one point, if that’s enough? I don’t Josh and Lolly were ever more then friends, while you and your wife were (are). It’s hard to predict what I would do (because we are always our best selves in our imaginings, right?), but I feel like if my husband were to suffer a brain injury that would sever our current romantic attachment, I would still care for him and stay married to him til death do us part. But I wonder if, had he been gay and we had never “attached”, if a brain injury occurred if I’d be more likely to wheel him into the nearest care facility and go on my merry way (maybe NOT my best self in that imaging.. heh). Anyway.. I wonder if once attached, always attached at some level?
I think it depends on the reason why the connection was severed. Obviously if it was a brain injury or some other circumstance that was beyond my spouse’s control, I would stay. I’m not Ryan, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what happened in his marriage. I could be wrong, but his story sounds a lot like what people who participate in the DeadBedrooms subreddit say.
Many people live in marriages with little or no hope for a deep level of romantic love, due to various reasons. My parent’s marriage was riddled with depression and mental illness, then an accident that led to mental disability. I think that the love they showed each other, caring for the other during crisis, was deeper than that of romantic or sexual love. My own marriage has been devoid of romantic attraction for different reasons, with a deep eternal love for each other as trials are worked through. It would be easy to walk away, looking for sexual romantic love…but I believe we would be filled with regret and most likely find sexual attraction/love as fleeting as it is in most marriages. I do believe that this deeper conncection is a lifelong journey for most, and for many a hopeless journey, not belonging only to SSA marriages.
I’ve seen this argument several times, the comparison between a mixed-orientation marriage and a long-term straight marriage that has simply lost its spark.
Respectfully, that’s a false equivalency.
Your marriage may be devoid of romantic attraction now–and it speaks to your devotion to stay the course regardless–but, was that always the case? Did you originally date and marry your husband with no attraction whatsoever? Even if you based your decision to marry on greater factors than an initial spark, surely, some degree of romantic attraction was there at one point?
To get a sense of what Josh and Lolly are really going through, an example Lolly cited works best. Think of your best girlfriend. The one who’s always there, who totally gets you, who you could talk with for hours. Do you love her? Most of us probably love our best girlfriend. But, do you love her *that way*? Would you be able to marry her, even though you’re not attracted to women? Would you be able to endure the pressure to stay married to her for the rest of your life, despite a continued attraction to men–an attraction that you’re told is sinful and must be resisted for the rest of your life? Could you live with that? Because that’s a more accurate analogy for Josh and Lolly’s situation than the old straight married couple one.
Now, if Josh and Lolly each remarry a man who is ideally suited to them, and then talk about a loss of attraction after ten or twenty years of marriage, THEN you can make that comparison with more conviction. 🙂
I wonder if the people who question the need for romantic attachment, attraction and even for sex, have experienced those things with more than one person. Because truly, there is no one way to love, no way to know what you might be missing if you’ve never had it. If you never had chocolate, you wouldn’t miss it, but if you’d had and LOVED chocolate and then when you wanted chocolate you got raisins and were told that the taste and your enjoyment didn’t matter since you had something, you would be resentful.
Despight the length of this article, I did read it completely. I am sympathetic to your complicated set of intense feelings and personal challenges. I can see that you are dealing with a true dilemma which I will never be able to understand or experience. I hope you find the peace you are struggling find. I hope you will be as open and sincere in the analysis of your feelings and circumstances over the next few years. I think it will be instructional to learn if your anticipated “romantic attachment” turns out to be everything you had hoped for. I wish you and your family, and in particular, your wife, all the best. It will be interesting to see how this issue is eventually resolved by the Church.
While policies and procedures of the Church are refined by continuing revelation and inspiration, doctrines will never change, including the law of chastity. There has never been nor will there be a doctrinal change to include anything other than the male-female marital relationships. Why? Anything outside of this divine pattern and decree “violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel.”[v]
So, please be wary of those who teach or persuade others to believe there could be changes to the doctrine of the law of chastity, the plan of salvation and temple ordinances to allow for the acceptance of same-sex relationships and marriage in the church. As Elder Ballard recently stated in the October 2017 General Conference, “Brothers and sisters, keep the doctrine of Christ pure and never be deceived by those who tamper with the doctrine.”
Sherry – many, if not all, of our most fundamental doctrines have changed over time. We have a living church. I would recommend reading this to see how there is doctrinal and moral justification for the choices Josh and Lolly are making: https://mormonlgbtquestions.com
Thanks for the link Bryce. Much appreciated
The law of chastity as worded in the temple doesn’t specify opposite sex, as currently worded a same sex couple legally and lawfully wedded can be chaste… Interesting, huh? The law of chastity historically *has* changed and adopted over time as noted by examples of polygamy and eternal polygamy. And God has made many creations in the animal kingdom who exhibit same sex courting, mating, parenting, and life partnership, as well as sex changes and intersex even, all including mammals. God blessed those creations as good too and they can be “fruitful and multiply” as they are. Many studies show biological components to homosexuality for humans as well. God has blessed these people as good already. Maybe it’s time to allow/seek further light and knowledge instead of insisting the canon and charity is closed here.
“…..doctrines will never change…” With all due respect, that assertion is simply blind to history. The LDS church has changed all kinds of doctrines over its entire history. That’s the whole point of continuing revelation. It’s easy for me to imagine the church finding a place for gay couples eventually.
Sherry you are focusing on one point of doctrine so closely you are missing the mark. The Mormon church is a living church and as such, it may change, even in fundamental ways such as which marriages are accepted (think of Joseph Smith and pologamy) We are taught, through doctrin, to listen to new doctrine as it comes from the Prophet. The teaching of the Church in this regard may change, and even if it doesn’t, I’d be wary of judging others that are clearly listening to God and following Him according to their Personal Revelation.
“doctrines will never change”
Yeah, that’s why black people aren’t allowed to hold the Priesthood, right? And wait, aren’t interracial marriages allowed in the Church now, despite Wilford Woodruff declaring in print that the only response to such a thing was to cut the throats of both participants AND THEIR CHILDREN?
Here’s the same thing from Brigham Young: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Brigham Young, March 8, 1863, Journal of Discourses 10:110.)
That will always be so. And the doctrine will never change. Right?
Gimme a break.
This is a powerful post. Your story will do more to change hearts and minds in our Church than just about anything I can think of. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being vulnerable and sharing this beautiful, gut-wrenching, honest, tragic – but in the end, hopeful – part of your lives. I wish all the best for you both as you discover the joy this life was meant to provide. Much love and respect.
My parents divorced when I was 2 in the Fifties. I never met another divorced family until I was 13. Your words sound sincere but you have shattered your daughters lives with your choice. Divorce and a ruined chance at a happy family is borne most completely by children that never see it coming. So bereft for you innocent girls and the lifestyle you have forced in them. Sad.
Might I say what are they teaching their daughters by living un-authentically and unhappy (not being true to them)? If either Josh or Lolly became so worn down and physically ill by staying in the marriage and taking their lives…I believe that would cause more damage than a divorce. I fully believe they will keep their families close and be healthy parents to their girls. Of course divorce is hard on all parties—but Josh and Lolly are not taking this lightly. I am sorry for what you may have gone through, but everybody’s story is different.
Susan, The differences between the daughters of this family and you as a child are too numerous to list, but for your sake, I hope you take the time to actually read the post.
It’s possible that you consider it too painful for you to do, but projecting that pain onto others using the faulty belief that “divorce is always wrong” is a laziness born of fear, not reality.
So sorry for your difficult childhood, Susan. That said, not all divorces are bad for the kids. One can point to many examples where the children were much more hurt by parents who stayed together when they should have divorced. I have an example of that in my own extended family, and several cousins who will testify that they would have been much, much better off if their parents had gotten divorced when they were young.
Susan, I’ll respectfully disagree with your assumption that they are ruining their daughters lives with this decision.
It sounds like your family situation was painful, and made even more so by not having anyone in your community that you knew of that was also divorces. That may have brought a lot of shame or feelings of isolation in you. I’m very sorry if you ever felt that way.
However, it’s not the 50s anymore, that was over 60-70 years ago and the stigma of divorce is, thankfully, largely gone. If you grew up today, you would have had the opportunity to play with lots of well adjusted kids that also came from divorced parents.
My parents divorced in the Nineties, when I was fourteen, and it saved our lives.
Susan, have you ever lived in a home with parents who were obviously not just profoundly unhappy, but profoundly unhappy being married to each other? Children can always tell, and I have. This was far, far more traumatic to me than divorce could have been, or eventually was (after I had already left home). I very much wish my parents had divorced in my teens. It would have saved me, and them, a lot of trauma.
This was so heartbreaking and so beautiful, thank you for sharing it. I wish nothing but happiness for you both❤️
Josh and Lolly—
I know you have so many comments here to sort through. I just have to say that I am bawling here. I lived a very devout LDS life and served a mission. The whole thing. After only about 6 months of being home from my mission, I came out to everyone. I had also met someone and absolutely loved her. Fast forward a year and a half since coming home from my mission. I married that girl. I’ve stuggled immensely and dealt with heartbreak. But I chose to live true to me and who I felt God made me to be. Thank you guys. Thank you for being examples and choosing to live authentically. My wife and I are very involved in the LGBTQ+ community and work with youth in particular. I just started a blog to help people understand LGBTQ+ issues. If you have time, I would love for you guys to check it out. Feedback is welcome! https://liveengayged.wordpress.com/
This post was a clear, significant answer to my prayers in attempting to better understand how God’s will and homosexuality coincide. I didn’t even know about you/your blog until today I somehow fell upon it, the very day you posted this entry and while in a personal depth of confusion and hopelessness. My boyfriend recently broke up with me because our serious relationship (being his first) confirmed to him that he is gay. He was my second boyfriend, and this is the second time that I have been in this same situation. Although I don’t experience same gender attraction and will never fully understand the struggles and pain it can cause for someone who is Mormon and gay, I have been directly impacted by it and have suffered a lot of confusion and pain for people I love dearly. I have wondered and still wonder what is wrong with me, and why the two men I have loved the most in my life didn’t love me the way that I love them. I don’t understand how this fits into God’s plan and have so many questions.
However, I do know now that all of God’s children, including me, deserve to love and be loved to the fullest extent. I have been so miserable and disappointed and honestly in denial that marrying a man I love whom I consider my best friend is not a viable, healthy option. I thought we could make it work. But now I understand that I have never experienced sharing a connection with someone who is truly and completely attracted to me in every sense of the word, and that I deserve and actually need that, and my ex-boyfriend does too. This has brought peace of mind concerning his decision to end the relationship. It’s for the best for both of us. But there is still so much pain and uncertainty about the future, as well as the present. I trust that Heavenly Father will provide answers in time, as unbearable as it seems for the time being.
I have never shared the truth of my two similar experiences with anyone, so this is really hard for me. But I had to let you know how meaningful this post is to me. Thank you for your raw honesty and faith-inspiring words. My faith has been shaken more than ever before in my life, but I know that Heavenly Father is real and loving, and that Christ’s Atonement can heal. I cling to those two truths.
You wrote, “I don’t understand how this fits into God’s plan and have so many questions.” It fits into God’s plan by being His way of curbing population growth.
Hi again Dr. Shades. If you believe your own comment that homosexuality is God’s way of curbing population growth then you’re either quoting non-LDS doctrine or it’s you’re own opinion that you’re trying to pass off as fact. Of course, you’re probably joking in which case you are also probably unaware of the social dynamics flowing through this thread (as seems to be the case from your other comments).
Oh, I’m *acutely* aware of the social dynamics flowing through this thread. It’s impossible NOT to be.
lol No i don’t think you are, but that’s okay. When I was an AP on my mission I was shocked at how much time & resources went into babysitting & fixing the mistakes of the missionaries who had your same inability to sympathize. The sweet irony is that you ended up doing more harm to the church than good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you have a lot to contribute that others would find enlightening; but as long as it’s delivered in a way that’s irrelevant, unsubstantiated, or annoyingly sarcastic then very few people can hear your message through the deliverance. I wish you all the best in your learning curve.
Dear cult survivor,
Your assertion that I have an inability to sympathize is mere projection on your part, since I said nothing that would lead one to that conclusion. And I hereby call you out on your wild claim that an “inability to sympathize” required you to babysit anyone on your mission. Please give us some examples if you wish to be taken seriously.
Best wishes on your own learning curve, too.
Thank you for your well wishing on my learning curve. You are right in that I shouldn’t have assumed that you have an inability to sympathize; it would be more accurate to say that it seems like you don’t have the ability or that you choose to not employ it- as is evidenced by many of your past comments. (for example: mentioning that “literally everyone else on this planet saw this coming” strongly suggests that you can’t/won’t consider countless reasons why Josh & Lolly might not have seen this coming).
As far as giving you examples of missionaries that needed careful supervision because of their lacking ability to understand/ respond appropriately to others I can give plenty . . . I could tell you about the companion on a bike that chased a car to it’s home & told the driver that if she ever honked at us again he would rip the f#cking horn out of her car & f#cking beat her over the head with it & left her trembling in fear-(this missionary needed constant babysitting) or the companion that actively encouraged a less active lady to divorce her non-member husband (with whom she had an amazing, loving relationship with) because it would be better that she be in a position to marry a mormon so she could obtain the highest degree of glory than be happy in this life with a non-mormon- or a handful of other missionaries who said or acted in extreme ways that exhibited their inability to comprehend/sympathize with the intricate details that surrounded another’s position (I think most mormon missionaries are not unfamiliar with the common scenario wherein most missions have trouble missionaries that need to be babysat (i.e. serve as office elders, have senior companions who can keep them in line, etc)). . . but would expounding on these examples mean that you would “take me seriously”? How would you know if the examples I give aren’t just made up?
No. My comments can be taken seriously or not depending on their intrinsic value alone. It really is a shame because I think we might have more in common than this thread will allow us to realize. I don’t have an issue with your opinions per se, but your delivery methods are often unnecessarily void of sympathetic comprehension (not saying that you don’t comprehend, just that you don’t exhibit it). A well-packaged false statement is often times more effective then a poorly delivered true statement. In other words, I think your ideas are worth exploring but if you’ve noticed, most of your feedback isn’t people wanting to talk about your ideas, rather they can’t get past your delivery method- which means your real message is being lost.
Miss Anon.. don’t take it personally. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. <3 If you are dating exclusively LDS men, there will be a higher proportion of gay men then in the general non-LDS population attempting to date women, if that makes sense. Especially if you are young and the men you are dating are young! Lots of self discovery still happening in the late teens and early twenties. Bad luck, but NO fault of your own. May your next partner give you everything you need and more!
Thank you for your kindness and insights <3 I know in my head that it's not my fault, but I don't FEEL it yet. But I hope that will come through the healing power of the Atonement.
I’m sorry the heartbreak your gay boyfriends caused. I’m gay and dated a few women before I started dating guys. It’s conplicated for all involved when everyone is young and trying to figure life, romance, and sexuality out. I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors, particularly in the dating realm. Here’s to the next boyfriend being straight!
p.s. I’ve stayed amazingly good friends with just one of the women I dated. I encourage her to find true love and she had helped me realize that being gay is okay, and supports me in my relationship with my boyfriend. She and I weren’t meant to be married, but our post-dating friendship has blessed both of our lives. I see God’s hand in the failed relationship we had.
I appreciate your comment, Tyler. I don’t blame either of the guys and am SO grateful for my experiences with them and everything I learned. I, too, can see how God led me to these relationships. It sucks that it has to be this way in the end, but I’m trying to see the beauty in it. My ex and I are remaining friends and figuring out what that will look like for us, so it brings me a lot of hope to hear that you have maintained a strong, life-blessing friendship with your ex-girlfriend. I really want that for us. Thanks so much for sharing.
Oh sweet Josh and Lolly – my love and heart weeps and supports this courageous, vulnerable and loving step into your future as a family and into your lives as individual people. I don’t doubt for a minute the truth of your decision. This public story you are so generously sharing with us, will be a gift for so many people as they watch you respectfully and lovingly navigate this journey. Know that when you hear words of hate, that those voices are in the minority. You are healing yourself and so many others by living into the promise of God’s love and abundant life available to all. You are giving an example of how you make excruciating decisions with patience, intention, love and care – while honoring self, children, family, and core values/faith lived. This kind of example is rare nowadays. Know that I send my love and am holding your family close!
Love you guys.
What’s heart-breaking is that you actually believe it.
The Prophet was right in that quote you shared. Sex and sexuality were intended to bring two people together for His purposes – only some of which are realized on this Earth. The Prophets don’t often use slang terms – typically, they use the words correctly. The word pervert applies. I don’t believe that he meant it in a hateful way towards any person, but sought to relay God’s position on the issue with some degree of accuracy.
Sexuality is about how you use your procreative gift or power. It has nothing to do with emotion, lifestyle or mindset. Some might be trapped within their urges to harm others; some might be trapped inside an inextinguishable desire to play with fire; and some may undeniably and completely lose all desire for their wife and find themselves immutably drawn towards another woman. Sometimes, it’s not about what you desire now or even what you believe you were born desiring, it’s about the appropriate expressions or restraint of appetites. Like with any sin, the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ teach and warn us. Do we heed it or reach out to the sympathy and apathy of others to maintain a sense of worth?
People can and do change all of the time: emotionally, spiritually, physically, and in every other sense of the word. Some people change from feeling an unshakable and deep sense of guilt and self loathing to eventually feeling acceptance and bliss. Some people find themselves while others lose themselves. Some go from not knowing the high of marijuana to not being able to imagine life without heroin. Some turn the opposite way. Some go from porn star to advocates against it. And anybody can change their desires and dispositions – I’ve seen it hundreds of times personally in those who change all kinds of lifestyles, appetites, and behaviors – people who run to Jesus Christ and a life of servitude in His arms, and never look back.
God gives commandments and allows us to have desires and weaknesses that rival His will for us. Your struggle with sexuality is likely no more or less valid than the most difficult struggle that others face or have had to face – not even mine. But it’s our struggles and temptations that we sacrifice that qualify us to return to His presence. If you believe your longings and desires are overpowering, consider this scripture:
“7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
2 Ne 9:20-21
20 O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.
21 And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
God loves you regardless of your struggles. He knows who you were before this life, and knows who you have the potential to become. True disciples of Christ will prove that same love to sinners – even those who don’t qualify for membership in Christ’s church. Christlike love does not love evil but loves people towards the light of salvation. (See Moroni 7). Never feel so rejected or out of reach that you turn your back to the light.
You don’t need to ask how to get to that point or to expect the instruction manual to be handed to you any more than you might need an instruction manual handed to you to lead you to hell. When you start to desire it, then you will seek it out – and the way will begin to unfold itself to you. See the talk by Russell M. Nelson called “Ask, Seek, Knock: Every Latter-day Saint may merit personal revelation.”
“People can and do change all of the time: emotionally, spiritually, physically, and in every other sense of the word. ”
Have you ever put yourself in a gay person’s shoes? Have you ever considered changing your sexuality from straight to gay? Can you not see how awful it is to say…if you’re lucky enough to be born straight, then you can marry and love your spouse and enjoy all the blessings of eternity, but if you’re born gay well then, tough luck. If you want all the blessings of eternity you’re going to have to cut that good and righteous desire…the desire to love and be loved by another human being…right out of your heart. Just for one minute think about that situation. Think about how “easy” it would be to change your physical and emotional attraction from one sex to another. When you haven’t been asked to make such a sacrifice because you are attracted to the “right” sex, you have no right to pass judgement on someone that has been asked to do that, as well as lived that way for over a decade. As they pointed out in the post…it’s not just about sex. It’s about love. And what do you mean sex has nothing to do with emotion? It has everything to do with emotion, unless you believe people should only have sex to become pregnant.
Clearly your pharasaical thinking is getting in the way of a Christ-like empathy for this brave couple. You obviously have not developed the ability to listen (or in this case read) with your heart. For that I pity you. BYU science professors are now admitting that alternate sexual orientations are biological, not a choice.
If you were able to feel empathy, you’d realize that a loving Father in Heaven would want ALL of his children to experience joy, fulfillment, and happiness in this lifetime, not just when they’re dead. Would you give your children feelings and then tell them “whoops, sorry … I’ve made you feel this way just to see if you can make it to the next life without choosing happiness now? Let’s see if you can endure without any hope?” A loving Father would never do that to His children.
I know a lot of others will disagree, but I’m grateful that you came out and shared your viewpoint as well as that of the brethren so clearly. Too many folks in the church are trying to soften that message or make it appear more palatable, and good folks like Josh and Lolly get trapped as a result. I would rather have the ugliness you presented out in the open for all to see. And for everyone who has LGBT children and want to somehow find a way to remain in the church, this is exactly what the church teaches.
Whenever the LDS church promotes a doctrine that hurts people then there will follow three camps: The ones who are bold in championing the church’s position to hurt others, The ones who decide that people are more important in God’s eyes than an organization, & The ones who struggle to reconcile the two (or “soften the message” as you put it). It seems you relate most to the camp that chooses organizational policy over human beings (which can be confusing when the organization teaches (pretends) that they are all about human beings).
I’m grateful you shared your viewpoint so boldly. It helps intelligent and rational beings see how toxic the rhetoric in the church has been. And that some very orthodox or old memebers still hold onto those unchristlike world views. If you want to stay in the church I hope you are flexible enough to show love and understanding towards our gay brothers and sisters. Because there is a sweeping wave of righteousness and Christlike love that is spreading across the earth right now I’m how LGBTQ people are being accepted. The Church officially supported the LoveLoud fest and over time more small steps towards a more Christlike church will happen.
Sexuality has nothing to do with emotion? Yikes, bro.
Love and power and joy to you both.
Devastatingly beautiful in all the best ways.
In case ya’ll forgot about me, I frequently used to stalk your blog and then met you guys at a conference in Provo once. I have since left the LDS church, gotten divorced, and my whole life got exponentially better. I hope the same for the two of you! Divorce is a decision that no one ever takes lightly, but in the end it’s always the right choice! Like Louis CK says, “No good marriage ends in divorce. That would be a tragedy! Divorce means things sucked and now they are better. I mean, things still look like shit from wall to wall, but they are better.” I hope all the shit clears from your walls soon and you are both able to find ultimate, self-accepting happiness! You continue to be one of the most inspiring couples around, and if you are ever in Utah Valley again, I’d love to have any combination of your family over for dinner. Love you guys always!!! Mad respect for your entire journey.
Before you make any purminant life and eturnal altering decisions I urge you to consider what you truly believe. Do you believe that the teachings and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ are the truth? Do you have a testimony that Christ him self dictates and runs this church. If you do then listen to one of his prophets. The Plan and The Proclamation by elder Dalen H Oaks.
I do not pretend to know what you have gone through. I can not say what you should do concerning your marriage but I do know with all my heart that god is the same yesterday today and forever that he loves you and want you to be happy. However he will not condone sin, no matter how we justify it to ourselves or others. I truly only have feelings of love and concern for you after reading your blog post.
I truly am not trying to be mean or offensive. My heart aches for you and your situation.
I agree you should love and except your self. However, your eturnal salvation is at stake here. If you truly believe that The LDS church is Christs church. Then do not ignore what he is saying and telling you and all of us. Your eturnal life is on the line here.
God doesn’t dictate the policies of the LDS church anymore than the Man in the Moon does. The Family Proc was written by lawyers to protect the church against the likelihood of same-sex marriage being legalized. And there is no such thing as salvation being “on the line.” No god worth worship hands out a list of rules and then adds at the bottom of the list, “If you follow all these rules you can be with me again.”
The LDS church changes constantly.
1) It started with traditional marriage, then polygamy, then back to traditional marriage with polygamy eternally.
2) It started out believing that black people did not fight valiantly in the war in Heaven, so they were not worthy of the blessings of the temple. That black people carried the mark of Cain. In fact we were taught that if we intermarried with people of color, our children would be cursed as well. Then they disavowed these beliefs as being a product of the thinking of the time.
3) Brigham Young taught and believed in the Adam/God doctrine. That Adam is the God of this world. This was disavowed by modern prophets.
4) It was believed that serious sins (such as murder and sexual sin) could only be forgiven by the spilling of blood (Blood Atonement). Now disavowed.
These are just a couple of the doctrines that have been disavowed.
The LDS church was founded by a man looking at a stone in a hat. The days of anyone with an even slightly open mind believing it has exclusive claims to the truth are long, long gone. Heck, most of my friends who are active members would be the first people to acknowledge that (although admittedly my LDS friends are perhaps atypical).
I am Mormon. I am straight and I don’t believe for one minute that asking anyone to shut down such a vital, core part of themselves is noble, or right, or what Jesus would ask of you. Being who God made you to be is never a mistake. Embracing fully your identity is the only path through to peace. Having gone through divorce I know there will be many stormy days ahead, but also moments of sunshine and relief. I hope you both find love, healing and solace in the years to come. Much love.
Gosh, what a story. Someone passed this along but I never heard of you guys and I’m not Mormon so I don’t know what to think. Faith is supposed to help us when we lose our bearings, that somehow this journey makes sense. I’m kinda Josh too but further down the road. Reading his words so much registered as true of the internal conflicts faced and won and lost. Each step you do what you believe to be right but sometimes you don’t see everything clearly, or at least the next step. The path to happiness is not always a direct one either. Sometimes it takes you into valleys but even there happiness can be found. Of all those commenting here, I probably know you the least, but no one wishes you both a better future more than I.
One followup, it’s said that faith is the reality of things hoped for, the proof of the unseen. Your story, more than others I’ve read, makes me ask how faith meshes with the happiness of the soul when they seem to point or pull in different directions, when so many things seem real and hoped for.
Just so much love for you both and many well wishes for your happiness moving forward.
Stunning, love and support you both. .?
Hello my name is Colton,
I’m a 25 year old gay man, who like you had his faith and roots in the church for many years. Heck, my ancestry goes deep and includes men, women and children who were the first pioneers of the early church. I was always the leader of the pack, the one who held “high” callings, served a full time mission, always hung out with a lot of pretty girls, and expected to get married early. I was fairly popular in school, and went to church because I wanted to, not because I had to.
It was not until I was 22 years old that I came out. (Younger then you, but still too old). I can remember having many of the same thoughts that you had, in wondering how my life could really fit in with the church, but I still blindly followed. I use the word “blindly” on purpose which I’ll explain later.
I remember coming home from my mission, and feeling empty, less than, and just unsure of what to do next. I was experiencing deep depression for the first time. When I came home, my mother told me that the kid she sent out on a mission was not the same one that returned. I had wonderful spiritual experiences on my mission! Ones I won’t ever deny! But I was in denial of myself, and that was causing deep pain, and even physical sickness to me.
Fast forward to finally figuring out something I wanted to do with my life after moping around my parents house for a few months. I moved out of my home town, and moved north to go to college. During college I “experimented” and honestly did a lot of things that I had wanted to try for a while. I thought I was bisexual then, because I still had the thoughts of… “homosexuality is wrong” and… “only marriage with a woman can make me happy!” I sacrificed quite a few great relationships based on that preface and belief.
Eventually, I confess all of my “terrible” sins to my singles ward bishop whom I have never met. For some reason it was easy confessing these things to him. After spilling my guts out to him, his response was… “I have never dealt with this before. It needs to go to the stake president”. Scared me right off. And I never went back to church. I couldn’t really explain why until later.
I come out to my mom a few weeks after this all happens, and she is fairly understanding and supportive… along with luckily my older brothers. (I was terrified to come out to my dad, but this fact isn’t important to the reasoning behind this long post).
Then… Fast forward about one and a half years. I’m living with my boyfriend in a condo, and am drinking wine in the tub, listening to music on my phone. I get a phone call from my beautiful mother. She sounds distressed. I brace myself for what I’m about to hear. She then proceeds to ask me a very odd question. She asks; “Colton, do you believe the book of Mormon to be the word of God?” Almost without hesitation I say yes. Then the next question. “And do you believe that Joseph Smith saw, and talked with God?” Without hesitation again.. I answer, yes. The next thing that came out of her mouth, from one of the strongest LDS women I know, hit me like an avalanch. She says; “Well I don’t!” I remember being flabbergasted at the words that came out of her mouth, and I began to ask her all sorts of questions.
Bottom line was that she has always been an avid reader of church history and doctrine, and had questions about incongruencies in church teachings for a while now, but she had always brushed them aside. Then she stumbled across something called The CES Letters that shook, and broke down her foundation. She began to describe some of the things she had read there which led her to deep questions which she could not find answers to. She told me a few of her reasonings and ultimately invited me to read the letters. I did, and found I also had some questions that I would like answered that definelty shook my faith. The letters ultimately were NOT the reason I am not a member of the LDS church today.
I like you had a public coming out with maybe 500 or so responses to a Facebook post I wrote. But nowhere near the publicity you and your soon to be? Ex wife had/have. In that post, I also talked about how I was going to stay in the church, and live the gospel somehow while having a gay romantic partner. I look back now, and realize it was still a cover-up for what actually made sense.
Going to church as not only a sexually active gay man, but even a gay man who is dating another man is putting yourself in a never ending toxic environment. Do you expect the things your leaders and bishops and prophets have told you in different conferences, and personal meetings will stop? I think you have already made peace with the fact that they won’t, however, I think you are still in denial about how they will affect you.
Once you realize that for example, in your next meeting with your bishop when you are trying to renew your temple recommend, he asks you questions 5,6,7 and 8, these questions being…
5 Do you live the law of chastity?
6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
7 Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
You may begin to question yourself again as to if the way you feel god made you is really in line with the teachings of the LDS faith. I think you know they are not, but just like 5 years ago, are walking around with a vail over your face in denial. I get it, because it’s hard to lose the last piece of your foundation you have to cling to!
I realize that the statements I have made up to this point are bold, but so we’re the ones I proclaimed on my mission, until unrealized I was spoon Fed all the answeres and was taught not to think any different. Well, now I know, and I will proclaim what I know now to all who will listen, and especially to my beautiful LGBTQI brothers and sisters who are struggling.
It’s hard when you lose your foundation, and there are many struggles that go along with that, but I promise you that once you really come to terms with who you are, and that what you feel is not wrong, and if God did in fact make you perfect, then maybe the “gospel” that the LDS church claims to be the soul truth is in fact flawed in many ways. You can find your foundation again, and let go of the dogmas and beliefs that are slowly poisoning your beautiful gay soul!
You can truly be an advocate for what you know is right, and I invite you to do so! Pray about it if you must, for I know you will get your answer if you truly search the truth. I love you my brother, and hope you find peace.
Thanks for this Colton. I’m curious, do you still have faith? I’m not Mormon so it’s not a trick question.
I would say I do, but it’s a different kind of faith than what I was taught growing up in the church. It’s more of a hope in humanity.
Yeah, I’ve never been Mormon but I get that why faith changes from what you get from church growing up, it needs to if it’s gonna matter. I’m ssa and it’s been a journey. I call myself a follower of Jesus and brother to others who are.
With all the political stuff, you’re a better man than I having hope in humanity.
Thank you sir (:
Thank you for your beautifully written, honest post. Although never married, I am a gay man who used to believe the lies that were spoon-fed by the Mormon Church (and through that awful, awful book the Miracle of Forgiveness.) I used to sob my eyes out begging for God to “heal” me, “fix” me, “cure” me, make me straight so I could do everything the “right” way (that is, the way the LDS church said was the supposed “right” way.) My eyes were opened about 5 years ago and now I am in a wonderful relationship with an amazing man who I never thought I would ever find! Best wishes to you!
Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your belief oriented institution is not that old. You don’t have to go back many generations before your ancestors didn’t know that the LDS religion would ever come into existence. Just like all religions, there was always a time before. You should feel an even larger connection to all that was more Universal and less Mormon. Mormonism is where the least of your families heritage is placed through time and space.
It is great to be in community but not at the expense of your credulity and compassion. One does not exist without the other. You have one more step, Jonathon Livingston Seagull. Go find your community. https://www.uua.org/
I write with care but I will not step around God’s truth. God’s word does say it’s an abomination for man to lie with a man. Many people can relate to a feeling of longing for something that they don’t have, who don’t feel “immeasurable joy” even though they’re living the gospel. But Josh, and Lolly, you know that immeasurable joy doesn’t always mean in this lifetime. You have a longing for romantic attachment. Many marriages have little to no romance, yet they have love. What about someone who longs for a baby but that never happens for them? Or someone who longs to get married but never has that opportunity? Or someone who does get married, only to be cheated on when they’re in their thirties or fifties, and never finds anyone else after a divorce, even though they’re living the gospel? And they have to live that way for decades, the rest of their life. What about a terminally ill child or teenager who knows they won’t reach adulthood? What about someone born with no arms? Or who can never walk? Or who becomes deaf, or blind? Or whose face and body are burned or disfigured the rest of their life? None of it feels fair…but all of it can happen to people living the gospel, who ‘deserve’ immeasurable happiness (I’m referencing to how Lolly was told she ‘deserves’ to have romantic attachment, and then she says Josh also ‘deserves’ romantic attachment.) You both speak of deep romantic attachment as if that’s something that life cannot be worth living without. But it is! Sadly, I feel your long blog post is an attempt to justify to yourselves what Satan has tried to convince you- that true happiness can be obtained through something other than Jesus Christ. Wickedness never was happiness. If Josh seeks out sexual activity with a man/men, he’ll discover that can never bring him real joy or real happiness. It will only bring pain and heartache for him and those around him. Living a life of celibacy would be better. But living life with his wife and children would also be better than the emptiness those sins would bring. Josh speaks of living on a homestead with a future male partner while still having FHE, daily scripture and prayer and going to church with Lolly and the kids. But you cannot serve God and any other master. I speak the truth in love.
STOP. This comment was not made in love. You are coming from a place of judgement, ignorance, and misunderstanding.
Nowhere did I judge. I spoke of God’s word, in particular I spoke of 4 scriptures: Leviticus 18:22-about a man who lies with another man, John 14:6 Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one cometh to the Father but through Christ, Alma 41: 9-11 about that wickedness never was happiness, Luke 16:13 that we cannot serve God and another master. I’m sure Josh and Lolly have heard of these scriptures, so they hopefully know where I’m coming from, though maybe you didn’t know and maybe you don’t believe these scriptures. But my referencing scripture is not judging, it is loving. I am not ignorant to the difficulty of extremely hard trials in life. But if they claim to believe in Christ’s gospel, they need to rethink what Josh is about to do. Christ can make our burdens light (Matthew 11:29-30).
I think JDavis’ comment and follow up illustrate how toxic the Mormon church can be to many folks. It speaks of a twisted form of cruelty and abuse that they call love. Imagine if I beat my son every morning before he went to school, but I claimed I did it out of love because I didn’t want him to be a sissy or get teased by other kids.
Josh and Lolly, look at the replies I got after my comment where I included references to scriptures. Most of these people who are ‘supporting’ Josh’s decision to soon go find a man to be sexual with, are people who have left the church and who are telling you both to leave the church. They say I’m toxic, for quoting scriptures, the very same scriptures you say you want to keep reading with Lolly and your kids every day. These people compare my reminder of God’s word to “cruelty” and physical abuse. Whatever you do Josh, remember Jesus is always waiting with loving outstretched arms for you to come back to Him.
JDavis, you should be aware that even the devil can quote Scriptures; even Satan can quote scriptures.
If your intention in quoting the Scriptures is to cause harm to another human being, then you are doing Satan’s work, not God’s.
Hi JDavis. You seem to find a great amount of comfort in reciting scripture (as though this is coming from someone else & not you?) But we’ve all graduated seminary here & can recognize how quoting scripture is not as important as the interpretation of said scriptures. The ones you’ve quoted can be interpreted many different ways &, in your case, you’ve chosen to interpreted them in a way that goes contrary to the true gospel of Christ. You wanted so badly to come across as a pure, scripture quoting disciple of Christ who is undeservedly victimized by Christ haters. LOL. You’re like a kid who thinks if they close their eyes then no one else can see them.
Well, if we’re quoting LEVITICUS, I assume that you don’t eat shrimp? Since that’s also toe’bah, translated in most English scriptures as “abomination?” Of course, it *means* “ritually unclean,” and could literally be washed off in the morning, but “abomination” just sounds so FORCEFUL, doesn’t it?
What about poly-cotton blends? Those are also against Scripture. Hope your clothing is all 100% cotton or wool, because wearing anything else literally makes you as much a sinner as someone who engages in gay sex on the half-hour every day.
I’m sure you’re aware there are several places where homosexual behavior is forbidden even thru the New Testament. (Romans 1: 26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Jude 1: 7-8) Perhaps you think no believer should even read Leviticus. It includes moral laws, ceremonial laws, and sundry laws, such as not mixing wool and flax in fabric, or about unclean foods. But much of the Mosaic law is still relevant to us today, such as the moral laws, of which the foundation was laid in Genesis, and is reiterated through both the Old and New Testament. Christ said that he came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it. The entirety of Leviticus 18 is about sexual law, but then chapter 19 names all sorts of sundry laws. So there seems to be importance shown on the subject of sexuality with the amount of space used just for the law on sexuality. Also At the end of Chapter 18 was a warning for their souls, not the same as the uncleanliness from meat being washed away with water. Also think of Sodom and Gomorrah which was destroyed because of the homosexual practices abounding there. No city was destroyed because of fabric or foods. Perhaps you are someone who doesn’t believe the Bible or believe in God. My intent was to appeal to Josh and Lolly’s belief in God and in the scriptures, which they clearly stated THEY DO believe in. About sundry laws, if you read through you may see why certain laws were given in their time. For example, maybe there was no good way to blend wool and flax back then, and if it was done and even sold it would shrink or not hold up well and be of little use to the owner. Polyester didn’t even exist back then. About unclean foods, it may very well be that the laws were a guide to be used with the only suitable cleaning and cooking methods of their time, to prevent sickness from bacteria. I don’t plan to argue with you about the existence of God or the truth of the scriptures. We each have our own beliefs and I wish you well.
Of course you urged. Wickedness. Abomination. Sin. It’s all judgment on your part. But then you would damage your own opinion of yourself if you admitted it.
You are not god. You don’t represent god. You don’t speak for god. You are not privy to his relationship with any other soul on the planet. All you have is your belief that you understand something you read in a book,
You don’t realize it, JDavis, but your comment is a perfect example of what leads many gay Mormons to commit suicide.
No one can lead anyone to commit suicide. It’s a tragic act but the responsibility is entirely by the person who commits it.
Drew, it’s comforting to believe that, but ultimately not true. We live in a connected world and we all influence each other.
Yes suicide in a healthy rational human is always their choice, but you cannot escape the reality that even if pulling the trigger is someone’s choice, there’s often a tangled web of outside influences and reasons as to why.
Saying the community has no responsibility is irresponsible and possibly one of the reasons Utah has it’s incredibly high suicide rate.
All is not well in Zion.
“No one can lead anyone to commit suicide.”
Jim Jones would disagree with you.
You can absolutely contribute to bringing someone to the kind of mindset where they see suicide as a solution. And people like you do that all the time.
“People like you…” Spoken to a complete stranger.
People like you indeed.
Oh, yes, I was told this so many times when I was having my faith crisis and contemplating leaving the church. That “wickedness never was happiness” and that I would end up lost and miserable. Not even close folks. After leaving the church roughly 22 years ago, I have experienced more joy, more peace and more sincere love than I ever did before. Guilt, shame and fear can be powerful tools to keep people “in line”. Don’t fall for it. All will be well by living true to yourself.
I think that it’s true, wickedness never was happiness. And I think that living a lie, and worse, getting other people to live that lie with you, is one of the ultimate forms of wickedness.
There probably are some mixed-orientation marriages that work, where both partners are happy. Somewhere there might be one or two. This is not one of them. To continue it would be wicked.
JDavis, AMEN. Thank you for being a lone voice of reason in this messy sea of misguided validation and false doctrine.
Truth isn’t decided by popular opinion, but for those that oppose Josh and Lolly making their own decision based on personal revelation, I’d recommend taking a step back and wondering why so many people are supporting them. I believe it’s because they see God’s hand in their story and believe them when they say God lead them to their decision to get divorced.
Ummm, that’s not why *I* see so many people supporting them. Josh Weed is spreading and always has spread a shallow message of taking the easy way out, which people find comforting and pleasant. It’s the same reason Chicken Soup for the Soul has so many positive reviews even though it’s just a bunch of feel-good warm fuzzies with no substance. God had nothing to do with their decision to tear their family apart.
JDavis, don’t try to invalidate their own personal revelation. As members of the church we recognize that everyone has the light of Christ in them and can go to Him for personal answers and revelation.
You tread on dangerous ground when you start questioning another’s experience with God. Because then you realize why should anyone listen to your experience of God.
Don’t run around the theme park of life with a shiny pin and pop everyone’s balloon that God gave them. Even if you think that someone in authority gave you that special shiny judgemental pin.
I am with you J Davis. So sad speaking truth, even as kindly as you did, will offend those who want to justify choices that go against what will bring eternal true happiness.
Thank you for sharing your latest experiences and the steps you have taken to get there. I learned a lot from your coming out post, and I have learned a lot from this one.
I wish love and happiness for your family.
I agree. They have helped me have perspective where I have often had little. Love to you all.
I feel that the humane thing I can do, though scary, is to suggest that perhaps something is terribly wrong because the LDS narrative you (and I) have been taught is not authentic. Its foundation is not as it seems. If or when you’re inclined to, the Year of Polygamy podcast is one place to start for unraveling this. All my love to your family.
Congratulations to both of you for having the courage to make this difficult but best decision.
When I read your coming out post I was intrigued and though wow that takes a lot of courage to live in a mixed -orientation marriage. I also knew by doing so would be denying your true self which is not fair and not healthy, which you stated in your current post. I’m so glad you realized this.
You felt it was right that you and Lolly got married and you followed that feeling. And now you feel you need to be apart for so you both can find True romantic love and that also takes courage. And you both feel right in doing so. And I understand why you did both.
I believe you both have learned so much about your selves and each other throughout this process.
I believe you where meant to be together and married to bring your beautiful children to this earth. That was the purpose for THAT time frame.
Being true to oneself is so vitally important and I understand that more fully now.
I thank you both for writing this blog and sharing with us your journey. I believe that finding your true romantic love with someone else as well keeping your family together is the most wonderful thing and will bring much happiness to all of your lives.
God bless you all and again thank you for your blog. I’ve learned so much more about same sex attraction and being true to yourself through your writings. I pray many will read your writings and it will help reach their hearts and help them understand that there is nothing wrong with them. And I hope others with the other perspectives read this and understand your writings as realistic and help them understand their loved ones better.
Best of luck in all of your endeavors.
I am so very happy for you all, Josh, Lolly, and your girls. You have come to a beautiful place because you put faith, hope, and love into action. You have your deep friendship, you have your children, and you both have depths of understanding that will enrich your life so much.
I was an ardent opponent to gay marriage for years. Because of my unrelenting interest, I kept arguing. Because I believed in the gospel, in love and truth, I tried to carefully remain reasonable and compassionate as I argued. Eventually, this destroyed my homophobia. Josh, I am so glad that you came to a place of loving every part of yourself. Homosexuality is such a beautiful gift to the world. Lolly, I hope to one day be a strong a woman as you, and I wish you strength to continue as the journey changes.
I am so thankful I learned. It came before it was too late. Only after I accepted gay marriage did two of my own kids come out to me. Now, since they’re still at home, I have a chance to repair the damage I inflicted on them. Not too underestimate it, I do think the love and reason I used before I came to my epiphany had an impact that hopefully lessened the damage. I continue to believe that love matters. Reason matters. Even when we cannot know exactly where they lead, I believe they are principles that, when combined, we can depend on quite far.
Having very recently been divorced, I’ll tell you we did not hold each other as we made the decision. That moment of reckoning included our last hug and probably the last time we shared what few scraps of emotional connection remained between us. I know this is pretty typical of most marriages as they are dissolving, and maybe the difference is that we once shared the romantic attachment you both write about. Neverthess, given the impact a separation has on everyone, I notice that you seem to be moving along on your journey with some distinct things of value, including keeping your BFF by your side. And that is a tremendous gift. May you all continue to have the gift of grace and love you might need as you adapt to new challenges.
Most of the comments say thank you for your honesty. Not sure you are or ever have been. Definitely not with yourself or others. I find it interesting that when someone writes a book long statement about their big change in life, they have to blame someone, someone always needs to take the fall because heaven forbid they simply accept they feel different and want to change their lives. Blame is where you fall short of being truthful and honest. Do whatever it is you want in life & accept your decisions as your own. I didn’t believe you in 2012 & still don’t today. Just feel bad for all the lives you’ve messed with and how many more your about to destroy because you can’t make up your mind (no matter how fancy you explain it). It’s all about YOU. That’s what I’m hearing.
Who did they blame? I saw them blame toxic messages, not any one person. And a person’s perception of the world is the only one they have. You have yours, I have mine. Of course my journey is about me relating to this world and yours is about you.
I suspect that I speak for many, in “mixed-orientation marriages” (as you call them), who feel both saddened, and rather hurt, by your post. I’m sorry you’re getting divorced, and I’m sorry for everything you’re going through. But it seems incredibly presumptuous of you to state that these sorts of relationships are incapable of working for anyone. Especially after all your talk over all these years about respecting everyone’s individual journeys.
After reading your post, I’m left with the impression that the LDS faith has some misguided ideas about marriage, and it doesn’t seem to have any place for (or respect for) those who are called to celibacy.
And I am sad that yet one more person, one more family, one more story will be used as an “I told you so” hammer, to beat on those in “mixed-orientation marriages”, or those who choose to live a life of celibacy, or those with gay family members who still believe that homosexual activity is wrong, and tell them that they are crazy or cruel homophobic bigots who just don’t “get it”.
I think they explained it thoroughly enough that if you want to say that you prefer obedience to the church to romantic intimacy, perhaps that will work for you. It’s their story, you’re always free to write your own.
Obedience to God? The One I Love most? Choosing my Beloved over myself?
Yes. Yes, I think I will.
Man, you have a long hard journey ahead of you if you think that God wants you to be unhappy and unfulfilled the rest of your life because you think you are being “obediant” to God marrying a woman, or being celebate. It saddens me to think there are still so many “unicorn” families out there, or ones who think they need to be celebate. There is a happiness that can only come from going through this life with a partner. And not just any partner, but one whom you are orientated towards. Get your mind out of the box that you are living in, and you will see really how different your life can be if you just trust what’s inside rather than what everyone else is telling you to do.
Anonymous, I’m sorry for whatever has happened in your life to make you so bitter about another human beings happiness. I’m all for criticising things you don’t agree on, but you haven’t laid any substantial reasons as to why you think they are doing the wrong thing. Instead it’s just emotional rhetoric. I’m reading between the lines here, but if by chance you are feeling vulnerable by this story because you are in a mixed orientation marriage or hope to one day be in one, then I don’t fully understand your post. If someone living differently than you caused so much turmoil, then maybe you aren’t settled in your own path as of yet.
Let Josh and Lolly be Josh and Lolly, you can likewise be yourself and live and believe as you think you should.
I do think they’re doing the wrong thing, but that’s my personal view and generally irrelevant to anyone else.
I’m aggravated with their insistence that their experience is true for all. They didn’t just say “hey, this didn’t work for us”, they said “this is impossible to work for anyone” – “nobody can be happy in such a relationship”, etc.
And they did this in a highly public way, knowing that their story will now be picked up and used everywhere to say “see, we told you so, those relationships never work” (etc, etc). Essentially, the reverse of their original post, which was used to “batter” LGBTQ people with the message “they got married, so you can do it too”
Thank you for your post. I am the daughter of a gay father and straight mother. I did not grow up in an LDS home, so I don’t know what it was like for Josh, Lolly, and their girls. I have followed their story for obvious reasons and have read through their announcement and all the posts above. Not in a hope to understand my father, because I know he was happy in the fact that our family was strongly build on hard work, laughter and love, but with the hope of understanding others around me.
Josh & Lolly have made a choice for them and their family. For better or worse, they have become public figures – people with education and degrees that people have been and will turn to to help sort out the complicated feelings & issues surrounding this topic.
What I am sad about is the blanket statements Josh wrote about some of his beliefs. He wrote them as facts. This whole thing is about his and Lolly’s story – what they are feeling & discovering for themselves and their family. It may help others, it may not matter, or it may make it more difficult for others, but when he said that his feelings and discoveries are the way it is or that it can never work for anyone else – he is himself, being judgmental of others and their choices, their feeling and the messages they have received from God.
I would implore Josh and Lolly to not state their discoveries and answers to prayers as “the way it is” for everyone.
Our father in heaven is a loving God and tho we do not understand the reason for all things, I have faith that we will someday. My heart breaks for those going through some really tough struggles through out the world. I believe we all wish that we had the answers and that there was a solution, a “right” way, a “fact” that would cover everyone’s lives… if we each “just respected each other”, if we each just obeyed the commandments” if we could each “chose to live by what happiness meant to us”. We are all given challenges and must all choose for ourselves how to face those challenges. For some, leaving is the best option, for other that is not an option. For some choices, we know the consequences and for others we do not (or don’t know them all.) I don’t believe something is broken. I believe we have yet to understand His ways. I believe our job to to love each other, to help each other and be there for each other. No child should die because they feel unloved or feel there in no place for them in this life. Our challenge as a society is to find a way to love each other, without judgment from either side, and still follow the dictates of our own conscience, and allow everyone that same privilege.
klarson, thank you. It did me good to see your comment. I was concerned too, about the possible effects of the dogmatic, sweeping generalizations in this post, about other people’s relationships.
Anonymous (“saddened, and rather hurt”), thank you. It did me good to see your comment. I was concerned too, about the possible effects of the dogmatic, sweeping generalizations in this post, about other people’s relationships.
Thank you for your openness and honesty. I cannot imagine how tough this has been.
Makes me want to honestly jump off my homophobic fence I am on and start hugging every gay person I meet.
Thank you for sharing.
Your strong lesbian friend’s story really hit me. Fits the description of all the gay Mormons I know.
I love your mission to not lose another lgbtqia person to suicide. I’m with you on that.
Thank you for your authenticity.
Thank you Josh and Lolly for being open with your story. We love you. We support and your new decision. You are helping more than you know. I feel inspired and strengthened by your story to heal my own holes in my heart, even though they’re different than the ones you two have dealt with. Thank you for doing something so courageous.
Josh and Lolly, I am praying for you in this journey. I hope you both understand how your lives and your decision to share your struggles have positively impacted not only the gay community, but those of us who are straight and believe in the beauty of our gay friends’ orientation. God bless you both and good luck as you move forward. You are well loved.
This is so beautifully written. Thank you for always being so honest. I have been following your story for a while. I wish all the best to you. Lolly, and your daughters.
I read this last night and was incredibly saddened by this post. I wept and it kept me up most of the night thinking of the words you wrote. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost that can confirm truth and he confirmed that some of the things you are saying are not written the spirit. No matter how hard you try to make it seem like they are.
I respect that this is your story and that you have your agency to choose but, how awful for you to write end-all statements and act like you are the only “unicorn” family out there. You are NOT the only one. You never were. You weren’t the first and and you won’t be the last. Just because you came out publicly doesn’t mean you have the authority to speak for all “unicorn” families and just cause you are marriage therapists doesn’t give you ANY authority either.
You wrote, “Gay people and straight people cannot attach to one another.” ”
“The thing that’s funny though, and that I wasn’t seeing then but so clearly see now: unicorns don’t actually exist.”
“in the only way that leads to health for LGBTQ people, including embracing and participating in romantic and sexual attachment” to the same sex.”
And countless other statements that say that mixed orientation marriages can’t work. This is one thing that frustrates me about the LGBTQ community is that they say you can’t choose anything else but a gay lifestyle and try take away the agency to choose. You don’t need to say things like this to help justify YOUR decision to choose to end your marriage and live a homosexual lifestyle.
I am in a mixed orientation marriage and I can understand the pain and the things you guys have gone through but I have true joy in my marriage and so does my husband. People are letting you write your own story, support others in theirs no matter if it doesn’t agree with your agenda and you could have done that by not putting all these end all statements that mixed orientation marriages can’t work. Everyone is different and sexuality is on a scale I am sure you know that…so everyone is different and IT CAN WORK.
Good luck to the both of you and may god bless your little children.
I suspect a lot of us “unicorns” had sleepless nights, after reading this.
People tend to sleep well when they are confident in what they are doing. If other’s beliefs and stories that don’t jive with your own bother you, I’d recommend looking within and examining where that anxiety is coming from.
Indeed. It hit me as if it was actually my husband informing me about his decision of divorce. The Weeds have been our only proof that living in MOM is possible. We live in Poland, where unfortunately there are no support groups, even in big cities. The only support/counseling we got were from psychologists/psychotherapists/sexologists (the basic message was divorce is the only way) and Catholic Church (take this cross and carry it).
We’re in our late thirties, and we’ve been together for 9 years now, out of which three last years were filled with a lot of crisis periods, even 2 weeks separation at some point, but we’re still together. Same as Josh and Lolly, we’re best friends, we love cuddling, spend time together, share interests. Our sexual live’s happy with occasional struggles. We fear one day my husband won’t be able to show me his love in an intimate way. We fear we won’t be able to have children due to his neurosis. We fear we’ll end up being lonely.
Still, our method is trying not to dwell upon it more than necessary, spend time doing things that bring us together and make us happy, and finally be responsible for decisions we’ve taken (even though neither of us had been aware of my husband’s homosexuality).
I wish you all a lot of strength in either decision you take, for there isn’t any that is going to be easy. And do not rush into making one, don’t take Lolly and Josh’s model as paradigm. It’s their way, not necessarily ours. Maybe it is best, but who knows that. It might happen that the world out there isn’t any better than the one you’ve created.
And also, what we believe in today might not be so obvious in future. We’re in a never ending learning process.
Anyway, that’s my experience, I hope someone finds it helpful.
How dare you share your story. Oh wait….you mean we’re all allowed to share our stories and the truths we’ve learned? Interesting concept…
Share your story. But don’t tell other people they can’t share theirs or what they’ve learned from it. From my understanding, those things you’re offended by are things he learned from his personal experience, his professional experience with many clients, and research done by others.
Keep kidding yourself if you must, but the amount of passion you feel to defend your view only tells me how much of a burden this is on your own self and marriage. Who are you trying to convince? Yourself or us?
You don’t get it, and that’s OK. Stay calm, have courage, and wait for the signs.
That was incredibly unkind. It has been hard but there are lots of marriages that have unique situations that are difficult. There are lots of other trials I can’t imagine dealing with and I feel grateful for the lot I have been given. I’m not trying to convince myself or any of you. I really am truly happy. I love my life, my daughter, and my husband. I have never experienced such joy.
I believe agency to be an very important part of the plan. And I want others who are living this lifestyle and in happy, healthy mixed orientation relationships to know that what he has said is his own experience and that his marriage is not your marriage and to not be discouraged. Also I respect his and Lolly’s agency to choose. I have my choice and you have your choice. How beautiful is that.
There is a reason so many were attracted to his initial post of them coming out. People did see pure Christ like love in their actions. How they loved and cared for one another and their children. How they bore one another’s burdens. This is how we should all strive to be in our family and friendships. We should love one another in our circumstance.
Each of us has our own individual story — indeed, many of them — and they are perhaps like a repeating dream, that changes day by day. I too, after nearly 40 years of marriage to my best friend read this last night and wept. My story — today at least — happens to involve a committed relationship where neither of us has felt drawn to same sex others. But, at least one of our many children is so attracted. My story — at least today — involves me living a committed faith life serving in and attending the LDS church. Labels are so easily attached, and can be helpful, but can also be so very damning and damaging. Let us all pray to share with love and grace and to learn from one another’s stories. Let us also allow room for each person to have their own experience in their own time without our expectation that they must conform to our story. God bless us all, everyone.
Thank you for commenting on this. I respect this blog post, but I do not believe that it speaks for the entire Unicorn community. Each marriage is different and consequently has their own difficulties. My husband and I struggle with reacting too quickly to situations that may be a little tense. We do not struggle with feeling genuine, romantic, passionate love and companionship with one another. I am not saying that our marriage is better than any one else’s, just different. I hope that we as an LDS community and as humans in general, will continue on the path towards celebrating diversity. We need to stop the generalizations and stereotyping of others. It only hurts ourselves.
Lolly and Josh, I sincerely hope that your are able to remain close to God and close to one another, and that your children will live happy, healthy lives. I hope that you do not let anger or embarrassment fuel your future decisions either. We love you and we are still rooting for you!
I bet a lot of women married to gay men had trouble sleeping after reading this, but probably because deep down in the stillness of your heart you know Josh is right.
Josh is neither right nor wrong. This is his experience. It is your choice to believe he is right. Please don’t assume you know what someone is feeling “deep down in the stillness” of their hearts.
Let’s give Josh and Lolly the benefit of the doubt. Maybe when he was saying gay people, he actually meant people that are gay, not bisexual. It seems reasonable that bisexual people can make a mixed orientation marriage work precisely because they aren’t gay.
Is this Mrs. IDM? Anyway, I imagine it is terrifying for other MOM to hear of this. Terror can result in anger which can result in all caps.
Further, the spirit told me Josh and Lolly are on the right track so I guess we cancel each other out.
You hold on. These people are trying to justify the unjustifiable. It’s sad, but it’s not everyone. Ignore their ignorance. People can and do make it work.
By “sexuality is on a scale” you mean bisexual people exist. Bisexual people can fall in love with and marry people of another gender, and make it work. Nobody has argued that that is not the case. Josh is not bisexual, though. Josh is gay. Josh is at one end of that scale, which means that he cannot romantically love a woman.
Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful, touching post. This is the first time I have heard your story. I wish you all the best. The spirit burns strong in the LGBTQIA community.
A Mama Dragon
I appreciate so much your honesty and for your willingness to allow the world into your innermost feelings and thoughts. Such vulnerability is so brave and helps us understand better those who are going through similar things. Thank you for that! I’m glad I read this and feel such compassion for your situation. It is one of the most difficult things to belong to a religion that does not allow the type of relationship you long for Josh. I would just end by saying that even with this great dilemma you’ve described I would encourage you to stay true to the covenants you’ve made in the temple. Not just the sealing but also the endowment. Nothing in this world should separate us from the serious and powerful promises we’ve made. Life is so short and this time is our time to be tested and to prove that no matter what happens we will always be true! It’s very hard to stay true when we don’t understand all things and can’t explain the reasons why. However like Adam who obeyed for a time not knowing the reason, so must we. I pray for your family and wish you the very very best!
Jennifer, your example of Adam obeying without knowing why is interesting. Adam would have stayed in the garden if it was up to him. Eve chose to risk it all to learn for themselves, grow, gain wisdom and not remain in safety or stay for fear of disobeying. I think there’s some lessons there for all of us to have the course to step into the darkness if the Spirit/God is leading us to.
I cry with you. Lolly and Josh, I cry with and for you. I came out gay and left my wife of 27 years just shortly after you came out, too, and I even thought about making the 4 hour drive from Richland, WA over to see you, Josh, for therapy with my now ex-wife. I only know this: I am deeply happier now married to a man than I was in my depressed 49 years of hiding in the closet. I’m no longer Mormon, either. I am friends with Ben Shafer and know intimately of his alliance with us, the LGBTQIA LDS community, and I am glad he is your friend and support, too. I recommend Affirmation LDS as a great support for you. Us “Fathers in Affirmation” are in our facebook group talking wildly about you, Josh, and Lolly may benefit from the Affirmation MOM group, too. Peace, joy, and happiness to you and your family, Lolly and Josh, Josh and Lolly.
A big Mams Dragon hug for both of you as you start this new chapter!
God bless you both and your beautiful family. It took a long time but I read your entire post and it opened my heart and mind a little wider to the simple truth that God’s love is perfect and He alone loves us perfectly. I’m so glad that you both have found a way to accept his love and live your lives honestly. Thanks for sharing, however difficult. I wish I knew you IRL and I could just give you a gigantic hug!
This is so brave, and so hard. As a queer woman and a pastor, my heart goes out to you two as you continue to live into the best life — the life abundant promised in Jesus. I believe that life abundant is there for LGBTQ people, fully affirmed and allowed to live into their sexual orientation and gender identity. I pray that both of you continue to find healing and support, that your children rejoice in how deep your love for each other has been shown, and that new life arises as the old ways go into the past. If you’re ever in Minnesota, you have a place to stay at my home. <3
I have quietly waited since I first read your unicorn post all those years ago. I wondered when the realization would hit. And I am grateful that it has…life is short, and full of wondrous things. Both of you deserve happiness and love and the full human experience.
May the world continue to open and unfold for both of you. Once you step outside the carefully crafted LDS box, you realize quite plainly that it is not as scary as one was taught to believe. On the contrary, there is more beauty and breathtaking moments of pure joy on an everyday basis than there ever was inside the box.
Amen to that
Of course you were waiting. Everyone was. Accepting a lie about yourself and pretending to live it as truth will always end in disaster.
No one is born gay, no one has to be gay.
Fuck you, Drew. Like…really. Fuck you.
What do you do every day to help yourself choose to be straight? How do you reinforce your straightness? When you catch yourself looking at another man in lust, what do you do, every day, to help subvert that? When you wake up from happy dreams of other men, how do you distract your waking mind? How much time do you spend everyday choosing to be straight?
‘Cause, I mean, that’s what you’re saying you do, right?
One straw man after another. And a few mixed metaphors. Not very effective.
You don’t choose to do something that is biologically and instinctively hardwired and ensures the continuation of the species. Thoughts and feelings become actions, and vice versa.
Thank you so much for your honest and brave account. So much love to you and your family! 💗💗💗
So so so much love to you. A marriage ending is complicated enough and your situation has a few extra twists and turns. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. I was also married to a gay man, and we loved each other very much. If you experience what we did, the pain of ending it is deep but living your life without this weight, although it will take some time to fully realize, will bring you joy you can’t imagine. And thank you for your love of all of our LGBTQ family.
Josh and Lolly,
Thank you for sharing this and being so vulnerable and brave! I have learned so much from what you’ve shared.
You have helped me finally understand on a level I hadn’t previously grasped. I want to be understanding, accepting and loving of everyone, no matter their position or orientation. I had thought that a gay person staying single and celibate wasn’t much different than a single or widowed person who was celibate. Now I see (and hopefully understand) the difference. Thank you so much.
Every person needs to decide for themselves what works. You and Lolly did what was best and right when you got married. You have produced an incredibly beautiful family, which, I’m sure, was part of God’s plan. Now you have progressed to the point where you understand a new plan. Everyone needs to be willing to look to Heavenly Father for direction in whatever stage of life we’re in. Our path can change. I’m sure there are many mixed-marriage couples who are exactly where they want to be. Others, such as you and Lolly, have realized that your path has changed. Hopefully we can be Christ-like enough to allow everyone to live life in the way that is true to themselves, without judgment,–whatever that might be.
Two words: eternal commitment. We all need to ponder what that entails.
Josh and Lolly,
I, and openly Queer Lutheran pastor, read and shared your story five years ago.
Your love and faithfulness were obvious and beautiful in that post. This made it more powerful and beautiful, and this more dangerous, than similar posts.
And yet I felt your love and faith were real.
I am glad your love and faith have led you to this place of healing. I see God’s liberation in your story. And I thank you for your apology.
(I know this complicated your story, but I would invite you to consider that you have once again made the mistake of assuming that your deepest truths must be true for everybody. Asexual and aromantic people exist, and that is also beautiful and good and a gift from a loving God.)
Wow. Just wow. So much love to you and your family. So much hope for healing and wholeness in the world. God bless and keep you both in your future as a family.
Wow. Just wow. So much love to you and your family. So much hope for healing and wholeness in the world. God bless and keep you both in your future as a family.
Not totally sure how you’re planning on staying in church when you’ll be looking for a new relationship that is including sex with the same-sex. Kinda feel like you’re fooling yourself and will be exiting religion slowly. I don’t see a “homestead” situation happening. I see a textbook scenario here of you finding a guy, getting super fit, getting married and your hubs wanting your own lives. Not away from your children, I know you’ll be with someone that loves your girls as his own, but not seeing a compound living environment happening. Lolly kind of made a hurtful statement about those that don’t have romantic relationships are living an unhealthy life. I’m sure she didn’t realize what she was saying as a whole, but there are so many people all over just not able to have an opportunity to have a romantic relationship and in no way is there something wrong or “unhealthy” about their life. I wish only true happiness for both if you, but what you have planned seems like more of fooling yourselves. I’m LDS, but it seems your full happiness is to break away completely and do your own thing. At least that seems to be what others say can only happen for you to be happy and true to yourself.
There are loads of problems with your comment, but I’ll focus only on being hurt by Lolly’s remark. There is a difference between those who can’t find a romantic relationship because they haven’t found the right person and those LGB folks who DO find the right person but are told that they can’t be with them. Lolly recognizes that it is not fair for Josh to be forced into a relationship where he does not love the other person, and it is not fair for herself to be forced into a relationship which does not allow her to be loved.
The Church’s narrative encourages this kind of relationship. Single folks are in a completely different situation and it’s more than a little disgusting that you’re trying to subvert the conversation by bringing attention to your own unrelated situation. #StraightSupremacy
I feel your anger and hate in these threads has made you misunderstand me. Lolly said “And that is what human beings need to be healthy. All of us. Romantic attachment. It’s one of the main purposes of life!…God designed us to need and want romantic attachment.” My statement was inrefernce to those who are Asexual and don’t have that “romantic” desire. What of them? Are they concidered un “healthy”? Are the missing out on the “main purpose of life”? Does God expect Asexuals to “need and want romantic attachment”? No. No to any of what she’s saying about this. This can be hurtful to those that don’t have control over this what’s so ever. I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the thing with single people or straight people. I made no mention of that. I feel bad that you misunderstood. So sorry.
Asexual folks are a completely different story than what you were talking about, Tabitha. You were talking about people who are “just not able to have an opportunity to have a romantic relationship.” That’s being single, not being asexual.
That said, this post is not about asexuality and it’s pathetic to try to make it about that. Asexuality is not part of the conversation this post is trying to generate.
I happy to know you know me so well. I wish you well and LOTS of peace in your heart.
As an active Mormon with a brother who is gay, I appreciate hearing your sincere feelings. I think it will help me be more empathetic. I have heard of gay men in healthy gay relationships that have left for a mixed orientation marriage. I am curious to see what differences you will experience between the two relationships. It is a dangerous move to move away from the principles taught by the Church and still think you can keep all the joy that comes with it. Just stay close to God and stay humble as you travel these new waters. And have your kids keep an eye on you. Somehow kids know when we are changing in dangerous ways that no one else notices. Also, I think people have to be careful with the way they think about “romantic relationships”. Attraction is important but if we all had to feel very attracted and butterflies in our stomach ever time we looked at our spouse to feel that we “really love” them, then probably most of us would get a new spouse pretty often, just for attractive drama’s sake. I’m just saying, people have to be careful. Life and romance is not a movie. It’s way better, but it’s not as dramatic and romance is not all about butterflies. And if you want to know about in consistant sex drive and desire, just talk to pregnant lady. Sometimes it happens and it’s okay and a lot of it is psychological as well as hormonal.
Very interested to see how things will be for you guys in the future.
Thank you for this beautiful, heart-exposing, difficult post. I am a friend of the Heffernans and a fellow psychotherapist in the PNW. You could not be more right about what you’re saying. Without attachment to those we are oriented to, we die. It’s not about choice; it’s science and biology, completely backed by research. I really respect your journey and have followed it from the beginning with interest. I am an atheist but grew up Catholic with similar messages about the LGBTQIA community. I just wanted to say that you have another supporter out here in the world and I wish you and your family TONS of luck and love in life!
Geez, this is a mess and I remember when they went public in 2012 and I, like many of you, felt that this could only end in disaster. I am not fully aware of all the dynamics here – no one is. But to all of you praising Josh, I think you need to take a second look. Its obvious by the tone of the post that it is, and has always been, about Josh. Josh is selfish. Josh lied to himself and convinced a young woman to marry him knowing who he was for whatever reason. And she went along with it. Not only that but they decided to have kids on top of all this. And the kids are the ones who will ultimately lose in all this.
As a family therapist, Josh is fully aware of the damage he is about to cause to this his kids. They are the real victim here. Shame on you, Josh. You are not a hero.
Yes the apology to the LGBT community was nice. WHAT ABOUT THE APOLOGY TO YOUR WIFE AND KIDS?
There’s so much love being poured out on Josh here. What about Lolly?
Lolly, today is a new day for you. You are not young and naive anymore. You now have a full life in front of you. You now have an opportunity to find out what true love is. You now have an opportunity to find a man who will love you as a woman and be a co-equal in the realitionship. I highly suggest finding a man that treats you like a goddess as you should be treated. I hope you find a man who will love your daughters. I hope you will find a man who will take you to the LDS temple and honor his convanents. If you can find him, life is about to get way better for you in so so many ways. You will no longer be living a lie and you will know that everytime he is with you it is about you and not him (or so I hope it will be). Oh and yeah, I hope you find a man who is ok dealing with Josh’s BS (as a step dad – he will also have to put up with Mr. LookAtMe!)
Most of all I am so sad for the children here. It was a very poor decision to have kids knowing this could be an outcome. That’s on both of you. I hope you will both be committed to them and their well being. Josh, as selfish as you are this will be hard but you need to put your kids first before everything else. I hope you at least do that one right thing.
Fuck you and your disrespect for a man who really was trying SO hard to do the right thing.
Trying is relative. But nice civility there, “GEM.”
Chris, as a therapist I’m surprised you paint Lolly into a victim role with so little knowledge about their own family dynamics. This brash analysis isn’t helpful or informed. It sounds more likely that you have some culturally engrained stereotypes in your mind.