Here is an email I wrote to my friend, Gayle, and her response:
I read your opinion piece recently in the Salt Lake Tribune, and I wanted you to know that I appreciated it very much. I've never told you this, but I actually deal with homosexual feelings myself, and although I have tried very hard to live my life according to the precepts of Mormonism, I find it increasingly difficult to do so as each year passes. The irony is that I still believe the Church is true; I am just wondering if maybe God has another path in mind for me right now.
These last two years while I've been away at college...have been very instrumental in my growth. I met a really great guy there who I love very much, and I am currently in the process of deciding whether to be with him permananently or whether I should stay true to my testimony of the LDS Church. As I'm sure you understand, there are no easy answers.
I have always, always appreciated your attitudes regarding this subject and have always loved how nonjudgmental you are about it. Of course, I know it is a subject close to your heart as it is to mine. It was refreshing and well expressed what you wrote for the Tribune. I truly appreciate it.
By the way, I have a blog I keep online (anonymously), and I reprinted your opinion piece (I hope that's okay). I don't know if you'd be remotely interested in reading any of my blog, but if you are, you can find it at http://gayldsactor.com.blogspot.com/
I'm still not fully out of the closet yet, so I would appreciate you keeping what I've told you confidential for now.
Love you and miss you
Oh, Cody, you made me cry! I'm so glad you read the op-ed piece and if it helped you in any way, then it's worth every hate letter I get! :) Actually, there has only been one negative response in the Letters to the Editor and one person mailed me a packet of material to convince me of the error of my ways. :) But we think the latter is from a woman who fell in love with my gay brother and never forgave him for not marrying her...because he is gay. Mind you, they were never a couple. She knew he was gay. Very strange. :)
I have had many, many positive responses. People in church on Sunday told me they appreciated the piece, agreed with me and thanked me for writing it. High profile, active LDS people in the community have called and expressed the same thing. People at work, all in agreement. And emails from strangers, families with gay members, who finally heard what they've been needing to hear for a long time. I am humbled and amazed at the response. One of my other brothers (I have a bunch of them) is the 2nd Councilor in his Stake Presidency in Rhode Island. When they received the "letter" from the First Presidency, he went to his Stake President and proffered his resignation, saying that he could not support the letter. His Stake President wouldn't let him resign, thank goodness.
As I tried to explain to my step-son, I have prayed for many, many hours about this. I have complete peace in my heart. I am not confused or struggling or in conflict. My patriarchal blessing claims I have the gift of discernment. I've relied on that gift my whole life. I don't understand why I should have such peace with my belief that homosexual relationships are not immoral. That position is so clearly in conflict with the church's position. And I'm guessing that there are church leaders who feel at peace with their belief that it is immoral. I don't know why we are getting different personal answers. Nevertheless, I can't deny that belief any more than I can deny my faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I will some day meet my maker and I am not at all worried that my stands on homosexuality will even be discussed. I'll have to explain plenty of other things!, but not this.
I am so grateful for your friendship. It means so much to me. Thank you for writing to me and rest assured that I will keep your confidence. My best friend from high school came out of the closet about 16 years ago at the age of 35. Like you, he loves the church and the gospel. He served a mission in Guatemala. I'm going to direct him to your website. I'm sure he has insights that I can't even imagine. He has been in a committed relationship now for about 8 or 9 years, I think. He's an extraordinary pianist and I can't help but think what a loss it is to the church not to embrace and appreciate and love and accept so many like him and my brother.
Love you and miss you, too. Please stay in touch. Love, Gayle