I once had a friend named Todd. We were best friends since we were both seven years old. He told me he was gay just before I left on my mission. To my eternal shame I thought homosexuality was—as the church clearly taught—an abomination. I encouraged Todd to stick close to the church and not act on his feelings; he left the church a few months later, but I wasn’t about to drop my best friend. I wrote to Todd from my mission and told him I loved him no matter what and would prove it by treating him no differently than I did before; we remained best friends.
By the time I returned from my mission, Todd was living in Salt Lake City. He would tell me stories about how people would give him dirty looks when he walked downtown, quietly holding his boyfriend’s hand; how they would even cross the street to avoid him; how people at adjacent tables in a restaurant would make comments under their breath, just loud enough for him to hear; how people would yell obscenities or even spit at him.
Todd eventually met a man for whom he fell deeply in love. He was, of course, never allowed to legally marry that man, the person of his dreams. Instead, he and his boyfriend were joined in a ceremony performed by a kind female clergy member of an open Christian faith. It was beautiful.
Shortly thereafter I told Todd that I had been mistaken; the church was wrong and I loved every part of who he was. I never felt better. After Proposition 8, I called Todd and told him I would no longer support an organization that allowed such discrimination. I left the church, and I am honored to now be able to donate my time and money to support gays instead of suppress them.
With the exception of my time in the mission field, I interacted with my friend Todd almost every day of my life for 21 years. Todd was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, humane, gentle and utterly Christlike people I have ever met. Late one night, just four months ago, Todd drove up a canyon near Pleasant Grove, Utah and threw himself off the top of a waterfall. He died instantly.
I am not okay with that. I miss Todd terribly, and from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry to the entire gay community for ever supporting a religion that is clearly so hurtful to you.
I believe God will hold accountable any person who ignores their conscience just because they were told to do so by General Authorities. I will never make that mistake again.
I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I am thrilled to have found this blog and I thank all of you—especially those who remain LDS and thus have the power to create positive change from within—for your magnificent apologies and your thoughtful words.