Josh Weed

Club Unicorn: I am a gay, devout Mormon, happily married to a woman, with three children

Josh Weed
By Josh Weed
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Editor’s Note: Homosexuality is one of the most challenging issues that we at LifeSiteNews.com deal with. In all of our reporting on the issue we seek always to integrate the principle of “love in truth” - that is, in all cases to love all people, but also to present them with the truth, which can be extremely challenging if they experience same-sex attraction, and especially if they have given themselves to the homosexual lifestyle. Sometimes the mere presentation of the truth is denounced as “hate” by those who advocate the homosexualist agenda.

However, there is a considerable group of people who present a challenge to both sides of the debate over homosexuality. Members of this extraordinary group of people admit that they have unwanted same-sex attraction, but also typically believe that sex outside traditional marriage is sinful, and homosexual attraction itself “disordered,” and therefore seek to live a life of virtue within the framework of their moral beliefs.

One such individual is a man by the name of Joshua Weed - who says he is homosexual, but also a devout Mormon, happily married to a woman, and has three children. There are problems with Josh’s approach to the issue - and we encourage our readers to charitably express their opinions - but what is certain is that Josh is seeking the best way to honestly unite an aspect of his personality that he did not ask for (i.e. homosexual attraction), with his firm moral convictions about sexuality: and by his own account the result has been spectacularly successful.

This post originally appeared on Josh's blog, The Weed, and is reprinted her with permission. 

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Hi guys,

Lolly and I are sitting by a pool in the blazing sun, tanning our Seattle-white skin. We are having the time of our lives. Our kids are being watched by their Aunt Kati and Uncle Blake while we relax, celebrating ten incredible years of marriage.

And, side by side, we are finishing the final details of this post which we have written together over the course of the last month.

This is a different post than what you’re used to seeing here on The Weed. If you are here to laugh and read something light-hearted and fun, you probably want to skip this one. It’s long. And it’s serious. And I won’t be offended by anyone who decides to wait until things get light-hearted again.

This is the post where I tell you that I, Josh Weed, am homosexual.

I need to clarify a couple of things.

First, I think it’s important to clarify that although The Weed is a humor blog, this post is not a joke. This isn’t satire. This is not aimed to get laughs. I promise. This is completely serious, and it is us being completely real and genuine on a subject that is very personal and very dear to our hearts.

Second, I need to clarify that this post is written from the standpoint of a devout, believing Mormon and addresses topics seen within the Mormon and broader Christian community. Please forgive us if our focus feels unfamiliar, or feels totally incongruent with the rest of the posts on this blog.

I guess the premise of this post is to share that not only am I homosexual, but I’m also a devout and believing Mormon. And that I’m very happily married to a woman, and have been for ten years now.

And for the first time, we’re talking about it publicly.

When we do tell people about this—and we’ve been telling a lot of people lately, so we’ve gotten really practiced at it—they usually have a lot of really good, genuine questions. Here are some of the questions we’re most frequently asked (there really should be an acronym for that—I know! I’ll call it a FAQ!). We hope answering these questions will help you understand how we make sense of this delicate and complicated issue in our lives.

1. Why have you decided to share this information?

We have several reasons for opening up about this part of our lives. First and foremost, my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs. I have decided to be open with these clients about my own homosexuality, and in doing so have opened the door to people finding out about this in ways I can’t control. Therefore, we thought it would be wise to be the ones who told those we love about this part of our lives. Posting on the blog was the simplest way to make sure that happened as it would be impossible to sit all of the people we have known and loved in our lives down and share this personally.

The second reason is that the issue of homosexuality is not very well understood. We wanted to add our voice and experience to the dialogue taking place about this very sensitive issue.

Thirdly, I (Josh) feel the desire to be more open regarding this part of my identity. I have found that sharing this part of me allows my relationships with others to be more authentic. It has deepened my friendships and enhanced my interactions, and it has also helped me to feel more accepted by others as it allows others the opportunity to choose to accept me for who I really am.

2. What do you mean when you say you’re “gay”?

When I say I am gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted (and I use these terms interchangeably, which is a personal decision) I refer specifically to sexual orientation. I am sexually attracted to men. I am not sexually attracted to women. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true, but it’s really as simple as what a girl asked me* in junior high—and I’m sorry if this is a little blunt, but I’ve never found a question that cuts to the heart of the matter more effectively— “so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?” My answer, which I didn’t say out loud, was unquestionably the guys. And it was unquestionably not the girls. And that still is my answer. It’s really not very complicated. Most people just don’t think about their sexual orientation because they don’t have any reason to.

*Why did a girl ask me that question in junior high? Because a bully actively spread a rumor around the entire school that I was a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” This was unbelievably horrific and traumatizing, and I was harassed every single day about it, often by perfect strangers. I was more effeminate, played the violin, didn’t play sports, was never interested in girls and didn’t hang out with guys, and so people glommed onto that rumor and ruthlessly harassed me for the entire year, culminating in a yearbook filled with breathtakingly insensitive taunts. Being the gay kid is really, really hard in junior high. If you know a gay kid in junior high, give them a hug and tell them you love them. I assure you they could use it.

3. When did you know you were gay?

I knew I was gay when I was 11 or 12. That’s the onset of puberty, when humans begin to feel sexual attractions. For a little while I was waiting for the attraction to girls to set in because that’s what everyone said would happen, but then there was a sinking moment of realization—a thought like “oh, this thing for guys is its replacement.” I told my parents shortly thereafter, when it seemed pretty clear that my sexuality wasn’t playing a trick on me, and the girl thing wasn’t going to happen, but the guy thing was totally happening. I was 13 when I told my dad (a member of the Stake Presidency—which is a lay leader in the Mormon church—at the time). My parents were incredibly loving and supportive, which is part of why I believe I’m so well adjusted today. They deserve serious props for being so loving and accepting—I never felt judged or unwanted or that they wished to change anything about me. That’s part of why I have never been ashamed about this part of myself. (I feel plenty of shame about other irrational things, like the fact that I can’t catch a ball or change a tire (as you may have noticed on the blog)—and I’m working on that stuff because toxic shame isn’t a good thing. But I’ve never been shameful about who I am, or about this feature of me as a critical part of my person, which it is in the same way that sexuality is a critical part of any person.)

4. If you’re married to a woman, how can you really be gay?

This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period. Yet my marriage is wonderful, and Lolly and I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life. How can this be?

The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is “how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?” I didn’t fully understand the answer to this question until I was doing research on sexuality in grad school even though I had been happily married for almost five years at that point. I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable. But I didn’t understand how that was happening. Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.

5. Did your wife know you were gay when you married her?

Yes. I told Lolly about my homosexuality when I was 16 and we were on a date. In fact, I recently just wrote a humor post about that day. Here it is: vomit—a story of romance. That may have been the most important day (and was definitely the most important date) of my life. Everything I have in life that I cherish—the love of my life, my career, my education, coming home to three beautiful daughters screaming “Daddy, daddy!” with glee—hinged on that fateful day at Pizza Hut, and on a wonderful girl who was compassionate and open-minded and willing to listen to a young gay kid who was lonely and desperate for a soft landing place and to be heard.

Well…  I’ve actually published an essay which tells the whole story in an anthology published by Deseret Book. Here the book is, if you’re interested:

The book was compiled by my friend Ty Mansfield, and my essay is called “An Unlikely Gift” under my old pseudonym, Jason Lockhart. For this post, we’ve had Lolly tell our story below.

In fact, let’s do her question next:

6. Why would your wife choose to marry someone who is gay?

Hey guys. I never thought that the first guest post I wrote on “The Weed” would be talking about how I fell in love with gay Weed. But I definitely want to share my part of our story. So, here it goes.

I have known Josh and loved him for a very, very long time. We met when we were very small children. We lived on the same street in Utah and his dad was my Bishop (ecclesiastical lay-leader of an LDS congregation). When we were younger, we were acquaintances. In junior high we started eating lunch together and grew to be friends. I found him amusing and I enjoyed being around him.

After 9th grade, my family moved to Portland, Oregon. I thought of Josh Weed occasionally but never did anything about it until his family moved to the same city in Oregon two years later. We both thought it would be fun to reconnect, so we went on our first date.

And that is when Josh told me that he was gay. I was the first person he told, aside from his own parents. I will never forget the look on his face during the first moments of that conversation. From that look, I knew that he was feeling extremely vulnerable in what he had just shared and that what he was dealing with was very hard and very real for him.  Knowing Josh’s beliefs in our church, the first question that came to my mind was “What are you going to do about it?”

We talked at length that night about the reality of being gay in the Mormon Church.  He told me that he believed in the doctrine of the Church and that he wanted to do what God wanted him to do.  During the course of that conversation, my mind became overwhelmed by the complexities of the issue he was facing. And how alone he felt in facing them.

I was determined to be an ally and friend to him in regards to this issue.  I can’t even recall all of the conversations we had, but we spent hours and hours over the course of years hammering out what this issue meant in general and what it meant for him. Why was he gay? What did God expect him to do? Etc.

Josh’s commitment to God was so apparent to me as we discussed the choices ahead of him. My admiration and respect deepened immensely for him. We spent a lot of time together and I loved being with him. Our friendship grew and grew.  And I truly loved him. He told me that he wanted to go on a mission for the church and that he would also like to get married and have a family. I believed that those things were possible for him, but I never thought it would be with me.

The possibility of us becoming more than friends would come up every now and then, but I would dismiss it quickly. My parents did an amazing job in teaching their children about the proper role of sexuality. In our home, sex was viewed as sacred, enjoyable, and something to look forward to in marriage. I saw the important role that intimacy played in successful marriages and that was one aspect of marriage that I was greatly anticipating. Therefore, in my mind, marrying someone gay was completely out of the question.

I remember one conversation in particular in which Josh said, “If YOU won’t consider marrying me, then who will?” I responded with, “I’m sure there is someone out there for you. It’s just not me. Maybe you need to find someone who doesn’t care about sex.” He thought that line of thinking was wrong, but I couldn’t think of another solution for him.

 

Years continued to pass. Josh’s first year at college, he got a girlfriend. Who also happened to be my best friend.  I loved both of them very much and was very happy for them. Yet, something unexpected happened. I started to feel jealous. They ended up breaking up shortly after the semester ended, but the feelings of jealousy that I had experienced in regards to their relationship threw me off guard. I started to seriously examine my feelings for Josh.

In a moment of honest reflection, I realized that Josh was everything that I wanted in a husband. (All except for the huge fact that he was gay.) He was dedicated to God above all else and he loved his Savior deeply. He was kind, funny, sincere, honest and so much fun. I connected with him in ways that I did not connect with anyone else.  But he was gay. And I did not know if I could handle that in a marriage.

I ended up confessing my feelings to him on a random day on a whim. He admitted that he felt the same feelings for me. That I was everything he wanted in a wife. I had never been more excited or confused. We decided to try it out and to start dating. It was truly an amazing experience for both of us, falling in love with our best friend.

 

Before he left on his mission, I was still not sure if I could actually marry him. The intimacy factor was so important to me. During the course of dating, we held hands and kissed.  It was promising, but I didn’t know if our chemistry would be enough.

One day, we were having a conversation about our relationship. He simply said, “Am I worth it to you?” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that question. We then talked about how no one is perfect and how everyone deals with his or her own set of imperfections.  When you get married, you are accepting a person as a package deal—the good, the bad, the hard, the amazing and the imperfect.  He wanted to know if I loved the rest of him enough that I could deal with the realities that his homosexuality would bring to our marriage. I honestly could not answer him then.

Months passed and I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. I said to her, “I can find someone else like Josh, right? Someone else to love like I love him?” She said, “You could find someone else to love, sure. But you will never have what you and Josh have with someone else. Because no one else is Josh.” When she said that, and I thought of loving someone else, I knew the answer to his question “Am I worth it?”

I knew that I loved Josh. I loved All of him. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to marry Josh Weed because I loved the man that he was. I loved everything that made him him. I didn’t want anyone else. I knew that we had the kind of relationship that could work through hard trials and circumstances. I had faith in him and I had faith in our love. I did not choose to marry someone who is gay. I chose to marry Josh Weed, the man that I love, and to accept all of him. I have never regretted it.

I love this man.

 

Okay, next question, and Josh will take over again. If you’re still reading, I’m impressed!


7. Why do you not choose to be “true to yourself” and live the gay lifestyle?

First of all, I understand that when people refer to a “gay lifestyle” they are talking about a lifestyle that includes gay romantic and sexual relationships. But I want to point out that because I am gay, any lifestyle I choose is technically a “gay lifestyle.” Mine just looks different than other gay peoples’. My hope is that other gay people will be as accepting of my choices as they hope others would be of their choices.

But that doesn’t really answer the question. And it is an important question.

One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true. I think this is true of life in general as well. If you decide to be a doctor, you give up any of the myriad of other things you could have chosen. But with homosexuality, the choices seem to be a little bit more mutually exclusive.  If you are Mormon and you choose to live your religion, you are sacrificing the ability to have a romantic relationship with a same-sex partner. If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.  And so on. No matter what path you choose, if you are gay you are giving up something basic, and sometimes various things that are very basic. I chose not to “live the gay lifestyle,” as it were, because I found that what I would have to give up to do so wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me.  The things I wasn’t willing to part with were the following:

1. I believe the doctrine of the Mormon Church is true. One of the key doctrines of the church is that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Another is that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” These are things I personally believe. I also believe, and my experience has shown me time and time again, that when I follow the teachings that I know to be true my life is blessed and I find immense joy and peace. I feel that this joy and peace is a direct result of my connection to God’s spirit as a result of living in a way He approves of.

Deciding not to give this up—these profound spiritual beliefs that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul to be true—in favor of my sexual orientation required a great deal of faith, but I can honestly say that, for me, it has been completely worth it. I have not regretted the decision one day of my life. My life is filled with so much genuine, real, vibrant joy that I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God for blessing me for my obedience and adherence to His guidelines as I understand them. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Mormon Church, which I consider to be His restored organizational unit. I did not want to give that up.

2. I am a traditionalist at heart. I wanted a wife. I wanted to raise children that were biologically the product of me and the one I love. Thankfully, Lolly was willing to marry me, and we found ourselves able to conceive children. I have three incredible daughters. Every moment with them is true joy. Sometimes as I wrestle in the living room with them, or watch them eat cookies with chocolatey mouths and lots of giggles, or read them stories before tucking them into their beds, I’m filled with a sense of such joy that I almost feel bad to have such an incredibly fulfilling life. I often find myself in awe at how amazing my life is, and how lucky I am. And in my opinion, it was more than luck. I believe my joy stems from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting God and his plan for me even when it was really hard and scary.

3. I love Lolly Shea. (In my mind, she will always be Lolly Shea, the girl that I’ve known since I was three years old.) I want to be with her for the rest of my life. I want to grow old by her side. I wouldn’t trade her for any human on earth, male or female. She is my best friend, my lover, and my greatest gift. I love her with a love that is undeniable, and anyone that knows us can attest to the fact that our love is real, vibrant and very apparent. Besides my relationship with God himself, she is my everything and nothing that I ever do or receive in my life will ever compare to her and her love for me.

I find that when I think of what alternative lifestyles could offer me, they pale in comparison to the full, joyous, bounteous life I live. Thus, I believe that to live my life this way is being true to myself, and to go down any other path would be egregiously inauthentic and self-deceptive.

About two years ago, I saw a psychologist to get medication for my ADHD-I.  She was a lesbian, and when I told her that I was a gay man in a heterosexual marriage, she spent an entire session hammering me with questions about my situation in a genuine effort to make sure I was happy. I didn’t love that she did this, but as a clinician myself, I understood where she was coming from.

During our conversation, she told me about her life with her partner. She spoke of a girl, whom she considered her daughter, who is the biological child of her ex-lover, with whom she lived for only three years. She told me of how much she loved her daughter, but how infrequently she got to see her. And eventually, when talking about my sex life, she said “well, that’s good you enjoy sex with your wife, but I think it’s sad that you have to settle for something that is counterfeit.”

I was a little taken aback by this idea—I don’t consider my sex-life to be counterfeit. In response, I jokingly said “and I’m sorry that you have to settle for a counterfeit family.” She immediately saw my point and apologized for that comment. Obviously, I don’t actually think a family with non-biological members is counterfeit in any way. I also don’t feel that my sex-life is counterfeit. They are both examples of something that is different than the ideal. I made that joke to illustrate a point. If you are gay, you will have to choose to fill in the gaps somewhere. She chose to have a family in a way that is different than the ideal. I choose to enjoy sex in a way that is different than the ideal for a gay man. It all comes down to what you choose and why, and knowing what you want for yourself and why you want it. That’s basically what life is all about.

8. Should all gay people who are LDS or Christian choose to marry people of the opposite gender?

I want to make it very clear that while I have found a path that brings me profound joy and that is the right path for me, I don’t endorse this as the only path for somebody who is gay and religious. I will never, ever judge somebody else’s path as being “incorrect” and I know many people who have chosen different paths than myself.

I have two general recommendations:

1. If you know and love somebody who is gay and LDS (or Christian), your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse.  Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes. Love. Only love. Show your love in word and deed. Embrace them, both literally and figuratively. I promise they need it—and they need to feel like they can figure out this part of themselves in a safe way without ridicule and judgment. It’s what Christ would do. It’s what your loved one needs. Accept them. Love them. Genuinely and totally.

If you are a parent or guardian, teach them what you know to be true in appropriate moments, with the Spirit. But then let go and let them govern themselves. Trust that they can find their own path. Let them live their life and have the experiences they need to learn and grow. Trust that they are in charge of their own agency and destiny. I promise you they will thank you. I also promise that pressuring them to live the life you want them to lead will only hamper their ability to make a genuine and authentic choice for their own future, be it what you hope for them or not. You will never, ever give your gay loved one a better gift than to love and accept them for who they are, right now, no matter what, period. The friends and family who did that for me (at varying points in my journey, including very recently) are cherished and will go down in the history of my life as the people that truly loved me, and as true Christians who helped me on my path. (And, btw, some of them are not technically even Christian—but to me are like Christ in their actions.)

2. If you are gay and Mormon (or Christian), I want you to know how much love I feel for you, and how much I admire you. I know how hard it is to be where you are. I want you to do me a favor. I want you, right now, to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and accept yourself as you are in this very instant. You are you. And your attractions are part of you. And you are totally okay! I promise. I want you to stop battling with this part of you that you may have understood as being sinful. Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction. I feel this is a very important distinction. This is true for every single person. You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose what you do with them. 

I want you to know that God loves you, and that even though you are attracted to people of the same gender, you are a completely legitimate individual, worthy of God’s love, your family’s love, and the love of your friends. You are no more broken than any other person you meet. You are not evil. You are a beautiful child of God. Please don’t be ashamed. Know that you can be forgiven for any mistakes you have made, and that God is not judging you. He loves you. Turn to him. He has a plan specifically for you. He wants you to be happy, and he will take you by the hand, and guide you step by step to where you need to be if you trust Him. He is not angry with you, and He knows you completely, every part, even the parts you wish you could keep hidden. He knows it all, and he still loves you! He couldn’t love you any more, and he is proud of you for your courage. I wish you could know of my sincerity as I write these words, and how deeply I feel compassion for you.

Conclusion (finally?)

You might be having an emotional reaction of some kind to this post. We want you to know that that’s okay.

Perhaps you’re someone that has never met a person that is gay whose opinion you trust, and are having trouble believing that a man or woman could actually be sexually attracted to their same gender. Perhaps it’s hard for you to accept the idea that people do not choose to be gay because it has helped you to understand this issue to assume that it is a matter of choice. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps it is hard for you to believe that a man who regularly has sex with a woman could actually be a homosexual who has chosen to live with a woman he loves, and that there’s no way I could feel what I claim to feel. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has been affected by a loved one who is gay and got married to a person of the opposite gender under false pretenses and then left his or her family, and your feelings are raw, and this post makes you feel feelings of anger because you worry that anybody in these circumstances is in for an eventual rude awakening and horrible consequences. Perhaps it even makes you feel deeper pain and loss than you already do to imagine that while this type of marriage didn’t work for you or for someone you love, it is working well for someone else, and so it’s easier to dismiss our story as something that is bound to fail. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has trouble believing a Mormon or Christian could actually be gay, so this post is difficult for you to take at face value. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who is gay, and you once had desires to have a family with biological children of your own, but you gave that dream up long ago, and so now you feel challenged by the idea that doing so is a possibility for you, which makes you resistant to accept that what we are saying could be true—and maybe that makes you angry or upset that we would even suggest this is possible for those who want it. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you have had none of these emotions and are totally supportive. Maybe you are even excited to see this being talked about so openly. Or perhaps you have felt something entirely different than anything mentioned.

Wherever you find yourself in your emotions, know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. This issue is a very complex one and a very emotional one.

But this is a moment where whatever your feelings on the subject may be, you are reading the words of a real live person who is telling the truth. I am not lying to you right now. I have no reason whatsoever to share this with you besides to add a voice to the global discussion so that someone who might feel hopeless and lonely and devoid of role models or voices to trust can find all the information about their options available. I do so at great risk. I do so in spite of probable backlash from people I know as well as perfect strangers. I do so knowing that I will be misunderstood and possibly maligned—called a fraud, and told that my most intimate relationships are a sham. That I might be called Satanic, or told that I am the epitome of self-deception.

But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.

All of these things are true, whether your mind is allowing you to believe them or not.

There are too many voices of dissent. There are too many voices saying that what I’m doing with my life is impossible. There are too many voices saying I don’t exist. Saying that I am a mirage, or a fake, or an impossibility. And Lolly and I have had our ten wonderful years of isolation, where we have enjoyed the goodness of our love and our life together in private. We have had chances to come out before in loud ways—we’ve been featured anonymously in news stories, been invited to be on radio interviews and documentaries, and were even asked to be on a national talk show. But it wasn’t time. We needed to have those years—ten wonderful years to ourselves, to live outside of any scrutiny, and just be ourselves.

But now we know that it’s time for us to share, and begin a new phase of openness and authenticity. We aren’t sure why, but we both know, without question, that this is what we are supposed to do. Maybe somebody needs to hear our story. Maybe you are that somebody. If so, thank you for reading, and thank you for letting us share this intimate piece of our lives with you.

If you are someone we know in person, we worry you might feel a little hurt about the manner in which you have found out about this. Know that if you feel that this was an abrupt way to find this out, we genuinely apologize. There was simply no way to talk to everyone we love before publishing this post—but we want you to know that the dialogue is open. If you have questions for us, please ask them. We are talking about this now. We won’t be weirded out if you ask us questions. And if you didn’t hear about this personally, it’s not because we don’t love or trust you. We tried to get to everyone, but just ran out of time.

Also, generally, please feel free to use the comment section to discuss this matter if you wish. However, remember that this is our lives you are talking about. Please feel free to say what you need to say, but we would ask that you be respectful of our decisions and the decisions of others if you decide to comment. And if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it. You can click share in the upper corner or down below. We want this post to reach anybody it could potentially help.

In closing, when talking to some friends about our situation in preparation for this post, one of them said “It’s almost like we’ve encountered a real live Unicorn!” She was joking of course. She was just saying that they were talking to something that not many encounter. A mythical creature. Someone who is gay, Mormon and married. And then as we told new friends about ourselves in preparation for this post, we told them we were initiating them into “Club Unicorn” because they had now seen something mythical with their very own eyes.

I now extend that invitation to every one of you. I am not a myth. I am real.

I cordially welcome you as the newest member of Club Unicorn.

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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TLC pulls ‘19 Kids and Counting’ from schedule following Duggar molestation allegations

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By Ben Johnson

SPRINGDALE, AR, May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The television network TLC has removed the Duggar family's reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” from its schedule, at least temporarily.

Multiple news outlets have confirmed that the show, featuring the large and expanding evangelical Christian family, will not be on the air until the network makes a final decision about the program's fate.

The network had previously removed “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” from its network after “Mama June” Shannon had been seen associating with convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, possibly exposing her children to a sexual predator. Shannon has told the entertainment news outlet TMZ that she would sue the network for unfair and inconsistent treatment.

TLC has not made a final determination as of yet and aired a Duggar marathon Thursday evening as the controversy brewed.

Friday's move comes after media outlets obtained police records showing Josh Duggar, as a young teenager 12 years ago, inappropriately touched as many as five girls, often while they were sleeping. The police records show the incidents began in March 2002, the month the oldest Duggar child turned 14. He admitted the incident to his parents that July, but another incident took place in March 2003. At that time, the family sent him to a program that required counseling and hard physical labor.

Three years later, a letter containing details of the molestation was found, and its recipient notified police, who launched an investigation.

One of his victims told police, after Josh returned in July 2003, he had clearly “turned back to God.” No further incidents have been alleged.

Duggar's wife of six-and-a-half years, Anna, said Josh revealed the painful episode to her two years before they got engaged.

Since the allegations have been made public, Josh Duggar admitted his long ago wrongdoing, calling his teenage actions “inexcusable.” He also resigned his job at FRC Action, a pro-family lobbying organization.

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Some figures have offered the Duggars their reassurance that, whatever sins Josh committed as a teen, he can be – perhaps has been – forgiven by God.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a presidential hopeful, said that Josh “and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

He said those who leaked the story were motivated by “insensitive bloodlust” to destroy the Duggar family. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past, and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.”

God, Huckabee said, forgives all sins.

“In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption,” Josh wrote.

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Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 - United States Steve Jalsevac/Vatican City
Rebecca Kiessling

I told her I was conceived in rape. She told me to prove I shouldn’t have been aborted.

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

(Savethe1) - Why should I have to prove my worth and my right to life? When I first learned at the age of 18 that I was conceived in rape, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by our society because I’d heard what people said about pregnancy “in cases of rape.” Right away, I felt I was in a position where I would have to justify my own existence – that I would have to prove to the world that I shouldn’t have been aborted and that I was worthy of living.

I’ve since found my own value, identity and purpose in Christ, being created by God, in His image, and for a purpose, so I no longer feel I need to prove my worth to others in order to feel worthy. Instead, I share my worth out of gratitude for my own life being spared and in order that others may see the value of those who are still at risk – those who are in harm’s way as yet unborn and being targeted for abortion in the clinics, in legislation, and in people’s hearts and minds.

Whenever I speak, I share this aspect of my journey, but people are shocked to hear that I actually do get challenged to prove my value, to demonstrate my positive contribution to society and to justify my right not to have been aborted. This recent e-mail is a case in point. It was a tough inquiry to receive, but you’ll see my hopefully patient (and prayerful) responses below, and the ultimate outcome of the exchange:

I’m feeling sad and skeptical about rape babies.  I’d love to consider myself pro-life due to biblical reasons, but I just don’t really see what good can ever come out of a rape baby. I still think that it sometimes furthers the victimization of a rape victim. And it’s also because I’m very sad and disturbed by your blog.

I just think sometimes that it would be better if these babies never existed -- that every single one would naturally be miscarried by God’s will, so no one could bully them for their skeleton in their closet. Like I said, the subject manner disturbs me to the point where I vomit. I wish that every child was conceived in love and not violence because that's the way it should be. And I'm sad to say that the only way I could fully believe all of you rape mothers and children is if you were to pray for the peace of God that transcends all my futile understanding and my volatile, overly-sensitive emotions. 

There is no story in the whole world that can fully change my mind. The only way I could ever is if I were to befriend a victim or become the Bride of a man whom was the product of abuse. I'm so sorry to be brutally honest; it's just that my heart grieves to the point where I feel the struggle to overcome the sin of prejudice. I'm so angry at God that he allows this to occur.

Dear __, I appreciate you going to our blog and taking the time to reach out to us.  Your concerns are the most common, but research shows that rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion vs. giving birth. Dr. David Reardon's book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault explains this.  So it's a myth which gets perpetuated -- that a rape victim would be better off after an abortion, that her child would be a reminder of the rape, and that she would even see her child as a "rape baby," as you put it.

I understand a lot of what you're saying.  You would definitely feel differently if you knew someone personally.  I wished I wasn’t conceived in rape, but I do believe now that God definitely brings good out of evil, and uses tragic situations to bring healing.  He doesn't intend the evil of course, but his trademark is redeeming really awful situations.

-- Rebecca

Her reply (again, challenging for me to read, but I think she candidly articulates a lot of what most people really wonder or think):

What has God done in your life personally besides this blog that has made your tragic family life worth the pain? Tell me what you have been doing: like marriage, dating, children, jobs, friendship, volunteer work; any of that. I am curious to see how God has given your life joy and purpose. I'm sorry if I have ever been difficult to handle. I'm emotionally impulsive when I hear something sad.

First of all, my birthmother and her husband legally adopted me 3-1/2 years ago because my adoptive family was really screwed up (long story of abuse and abandonment.) My own adoption by my birthmother was our fairy-tale ending.  She says I'm a blessing to her, I honor her and I bring her healing! I love adoption -- my two oldest are adopted (very open adoption,) and we adopted a baby with special needs -- Cassie -- who died in our arms at 33 days old. It was an honor to take care of her and was definitely one of the most important things I'd ever done in my life. She died because of medical malpractice.

Married for nearly 17 years, we have 5 children now – two adopted sons and our three biological daughters.  Here's my son's story. He wrote it last September at 12 years old.

Besides being the president and founder of Save The 1, I also co-founded Hope After Rape Conception. I'm a family law attorney, though I closed my law practice to have my children and to home school until 2-1/2 years ago.

I make baby quilts which I donate to pregnancy resource centers and I give to moms in unplanned pregnancies. My birthmother taught me to sew! I also taught my children to quilt, as well as many of my friends and their children. I've volunteered with orphan care, Sunday school, feeding the disadvantaged, free legal work, volunteer work for a maternity home, and helping in various ways with pregnancy resource centers. I changed the hearts of Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on this issue during their presidential campaigns!

A large part of what I do is helping others to understand their value, identity and worth because lots of people struggle with these issues -- not just those conceived in rape. I hope this helps!  -- Rebecca

Her final response – from someone who said “there is no story in the world that can fully change my mind”: 

Dear Rebecca, thank you so much for your time to straighten out my emotional acting out -- I'm really glad you told me about your life. I really think I'll be okay now. I still wish that men wouldn't rape, but at least the world knows a lot more than they used to and I can say that I'm pro-life to my college professors without paranoia or anxiety. I even talked about helping people like you with my mom and dad. They told me I'm too sensitive in personality to be involved directly in domestic politics; yet, I'm praying about being a free English tutor for troubled families as well as being an anti-pornography informant or activist. After all, the porn industry has been statistically linked to the sexual violence pandemic. I'm so glad that you are living life well and to the best of your ability; keep telling people that just because your birth father was an evil scumbag doesn't mean that you are. Thanks Rebecca, you have really touched and strengthened my heart. With much sincerity.

 

BIO: Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and nearly aborted, but legally protected by law in Michigan pre-Roe v Wade.  She's an attorney, pro-life speaker and blogger, and President of Save The 1. Her own website is www.rebeccakiessling.com

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Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders.

Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, said in a speech at the 2015 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Annual Meeting Thursday that the Boy Scouts would have to adjust to "the social, political, and juridicial changes taking place in our country -- changes taking place a pace this past year no one anticipated."

According to Gates, the way to balance the religious affiliations of "some 70% of our scout units" and avoid "a broad [court] ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard" is to offer individual troops a flexible membership policy. 

"For me, I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs, allows religious organizations -- based on First Amendment protections of religious freedom -- to establish their own standards for adult leaders, and preserves the Boy Scouts of America now and forever."

"I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," said Gates, who said that BSA should "seize control of our own future, set our own course, and change our policy in order to allow charter partners -- unit sponsoring organizations -- to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

This is not the first time that Gates, who led the military to end its two decades-long Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, has supported gay Scout leaders. Last year, he said that he "would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country."

In 2013, BSA allowed openly homosexual scouts for the first time. That policy reads: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” and took effect on January 1, 2014.

A year ago, Gates said he "was prepared to go further than the decision that was made" to allow gay Scout members, but decided that "to try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement - with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own."

This week, though, Gates said that "events during the past year have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore."

"We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy, from some councils... in open defiance of the policy," said Gates. 

However, Gates' remarks may have come too late to prevent internal challenges from splitting BSA. Due to the 2013 vote, a number of Scouting alternatives launched, including the organization Trail Life USA. The latter group says it aims "to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens." 

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In January, Trail Life USA said it has "over 540 Troops in 48 states and the registration of nearly 20,000 adults and boys..."

Furthermore, the decision by BSA to allow gay scouts has led to criticism from people on both sides of the debate. Homosexual activists say the group did not go far enough, whereas many Christian parents and organizations say BSA is bowing to public pressure from homosexual advocates to affect its membership, despite its Christian roots.

Corporate pressure has also been aggressive. Last year, Walt Disney World threatened to not allow employees to volunteer for BSA as part of its VoluntEARS program in 2015 if the organization does not allow gay Scout leaders. Diversity Inc. reports that Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, Major League Baseball, and AT&T are just some of the other companies that have pressured BSA to further change its policies.

LifeSiteNews asked BSA whether Gates' comments indicated support for a totally flexible scout leadership policy, or just related to gay scout leaders, as well as whether BSA would take a stand against state and local laws that deny First Amendment rights to people who oppose same-sex "marriage."

BSA declined to comment, telling LifeSiteNews in a statement: "Dr. Gates’s remarks speak for themselves. ... It is important to note that no decisions were made during the National Annual Meeting. A decision is expected no later than the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board meeting in October."

A video of Gates' remarks is below. The comments about membership standards begin at 8:40.

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