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Mormons reconciling gay rights and faith

Josh Weed, a therapist from Seattle, and his wife Lolly published a post on Josh's blog a few days ago. In it they told his readers that he is both Mormon...
Josh Weed and his wife Lolly
Josh Weed and his wife Lolly

Josh Weed, a therapist from Seattle, and his wife Lolly published a post on Josh's blog a few days ago. In it they told his readers that he is both Mormon... and gay. The couple uses the post - which is nearly 64-hundred words long - to explain their unique relationship in great detail.

Lolly knew Josh was gay when they married. The couple has three daughters. And because of their genuine love for each other, Josh describes their sex life as, quote: "a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight."

Here's more from Slate:

Josh remains, in his words, “very happily married to a woman” even though he has long identified as gay, because he also considers himself a “a devout and believing Mormon.” When Josh came out to his parents at the age of 13, his father served in the local stake presidency, meaning that he helped oversee several Mormon congregations. His parents nonetheless remained supportive of him—as did Lolly, who has been friends with Josh since the two were kids. Despite his homosexuality they have all agreed with his decision to stay true to the doctrines of Mormonism, including temple marriage, which can only be “between a man and a woman” and is “ordained of God” as one of the religion’s most sacred covenants. Weed says that this decision is an entirely satisfying one. “I am gay. Iam Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day.”

After publishing their story online, the couple says they received a slew of very positive responses on their blog post. In this YouTube video they talk about that - and explain a bit more about why they are sharing their story.

Josh and Lolly's story underscores recent developments within the Mormon community on homosexuality.

While the Latter-Day Saints Church officially refers to being gay as, quote: "Same-Gender Attraction," several hundred LDS Church members with a group called Mormons Building Bridges marched in unity with the LGBT community in Salt Lake City's gay pride parade earlier this month. And that comes less than four years after the LDS Church stepped into the Prop 8 debate in California, campaigning against marriage equality.

But in a fascinating opinion this week for The New York Times looking at the LDS Church's history with civil rights issues, Princeton professor and author Neil J. Young argues that Mormons Building Bridges and groups like it may have a tough road ahead:

... group members may find themselves weighing their personal and political convictions against their spiritual commitments. Sonia Johnson described that painful choice as “trying to decide which child to save from the fire.” Members of Mormons Building Bridges will have to act carefully to ensure they don’t get burned, but there are ways the group might remain in the church’s good standing while also bringing about change, if that is what they want. Petitioning the church’s leadership to alter its policies or theology will not produce the desired results, and protesting the church’s actions will most likely elicit harsh rebukes or worse. History has been clear that the church does not submit to pressure from below nor does it overlook challenges to its leadership.

This week also saw the release of a new guidebook, co-written by a former church bishop with input from Mormon families and congregational leaders, that seeks to help Mormon families with gay teens reconcile their faith with raising a gay child. That book was published by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.

Reuters reports:

University social scientist Caitlin Ryan launched her research for the cross-cultural, cross-denominational project in 2002, seeking to understand the impact of acceptance on the well-being of gay and gender-variant youth.Her co-author for the 25-page booklet, due for online release (yesterday), was Robert Rees, a former literature professor from the University of California at Los Angeles who was a Mormon bishop in the 1980s.The guide blends Mormon scripture and statements on family from church presidents with research that shows family support and acceptance to be critical to the health and well-being of gay youths.

This issue, no matter where it goes from here, is sure to be a fascinating one for both Mormons and non-Mormons, alike.