264-265: BYU Professor and LDS Church Employee Kendall Wilcox Comes out as Gay

July 8, 2011
By

Kendall Wilcox is a lifelong member of the LDS church, returned missionary, BYU graduate, filmmaker, BYU professor, producer for
BYUTV…..and he is (now) an openly gay man AND an LDS church employee.  This is his story, and below are the links to his 2 new initiatives: 1) Empathy First (a non-profit dedicated to promoting empathy), and 2) his documentary entitled “Far Between.”

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97 Responses to 264-265: BYU Professor and LDS Church Employee Kendall Wilcox Comes out as Gay

  1. reed russell
    July 9, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Can’t find an empathyfirstinitiative link that works.

    • Kendall Wilcox
      July 9, 2011 at 6:37 am

      it’s coming. programmers are coding as through the night. 

      • July 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

        I like how you apply pressure by posting up he link. Web Developers love that! :)

        I’m really looking forward to listening to this one. Thank you for sharing your story.

        Haha, I thought uploading an image would make that image appear as my avatar. I can’t get rid of it now!

      • Arjuna Razonable
        July 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        i listened to this podcast about your story mr. wilcox…i certainly can relate.  i grew up from a happy, supportive and church believer family, not from an over bearing mom or a timid dad…but i grew into terms i am gay…i loved the gospel and still have a testimony that it’s true…but i decided to leave…

  2. July 9, 2011 at 4:03 am

    I think the Church has a relatively easy way out  in regards to the homosexuality issue. There is a precedent within the Church for no longer requiring certain commandments to be followed if they are too difficult. For example, the Law of Moses being perceived as a lesser, easier version of a higher law or the Law of Tithing being an easier to follow version of the Law of Consecration. So even if the Church feels a need to stick with the doctrine that the highest level of exaltation requires the marriage of a man and woman, they need not require it’s members to follow that here on earth.  In addition the temple allows one to be sealed for time only, so perhaps that could even provide an opportunity for same-sex temple marriage within the ‘lower law’ context. Of course it would rightly be offensive for the Church consider  those in homosexual relationships as  living a ‘lower law,’ and it would be unfair and discriminatory for  homosexual sealings to be for time only in a religion that values eternal marriage and ideally the Church would find a way to include homosexuality in their doctrine on an equal level with heterosexuality, but at least this would be a way to allow same sex relationships within the Church as the gospel is currently understood. (I’m only about 3/4ths of the way through the podcast, so I apologize if this point was already made by John or one of the guests.)

    • Timthetriplet89
      August 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      “I think the Church has a relatively easy way out  in regards to the homosexuality issue. There is a precedent within the Church for no longer requiring certain commandments to be followed if they are too difficult”  This is completely not true.  Also, homosexual marriages will never happen in the temple.The Church has never claimed that certain ‘hard’ commandments are not required.  To see the official Church stance on Homosexuality, please read their official statement on the matter.http://newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction(Please read the entire statement)”The New Testament affirms that God has given us commandments that are difficult to keep. “

      • August 27, 2011 at 7:01 am

        When I read the manifesto it seems to state  that members are no longer required to practice Polygamy because the negative consequences outweigh the positive. (ie. it is too hard) You seem to disagree so perhaps you could explain to me why church members are no longer required to practice the  Law of Polygamy? Or the Law of Consecration. Or why Old Testament Saints were held to a different, (often called lower) standard than New Testament Saints? 
        I am assuming you are not able to predict the future  so I will set aside your assertion that homosexual marriages will never happen in the Temple. (But I may remind you that similar statements were once made about interracial marriages and the temple, so who knows what will happen in 100 years. If the past is any guide, gay temple marriages seem likely to occur at some point)  I have already read the Church’s official statement  on homosexuality. I realize God gives commandments that are difficult to keep, but he has consistently allowed that commandments which are TOO difficult to keep need not be followed while on earth.

        • Crystal
          August 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

          Actually the reason Polygamy was put in place was because women could not own land back then and a lot of the husbands died in war, so in order for the men to take care of those women and make it right in God’s eyes by not living together outside of marriage they needed to marry them and many of them as soon as they were able to provide a separate house for there other wife they did. Also it wasn’t all the men members who were able to marry more then one wife, it was only a small percent who proved worthy of doing so who won’t go over board with it or marry too many. They also had to keep all the standards and morals and be able to financially be able to support their wives and families. Also their wife got to pick or agree on the other wives. The main reason it was done away with was because it’s purpose was fulfilled and it was against the laws, God expects us to follow the laws of the land.  

          • August 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm

            Crystal,  Your information conflicts with what I have learned so I am curious if you have any references to support your claims?  Polygamy was against the law from the moment it was revealed. Surely it didn’t take God numerous decades to figure that out?

          • Sarah
            November 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

            You should really do your research before you make such ignorant statements about polygamy.  Check into those who Joseph Smith, who set the example for polygamy, was married to.  The majority of those women were single (never married, ie were not widows).  I understand that this reasoning fits into your need to make it all seem okay, but it simply is inaccurate.  Additionally, read some diaries of Emma Smith and how she found out about many of his wives.  It was obviously not her choice.

          • November 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

            Actually, to prove your point even more, I’ll just toss out some more info. Not only were a majority of Joseph’s plural wives single, but 1/3 of them were already married, their first husbands were still alive and well, and they continued to live with their first husbands after marrying Joseph. None of the usual rationalizations for the purpose of polygamy can explain Joseph’s plural wives. 

        • Crystal
          August 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

          Actually the reasons blacks and whites weren’t able to marry in the Temple wasn’t because of interracial marriage, it was because for the longest time blacks were slaves and black men because of that weren’t able to hold the priesthood. Also none of them were even able to get baptized unless their owners gave permission for it. Once slavery was done away with they were able to get baptized freely and the men were able to hold the priesthood. Then they were able in the to whom they wanted to as long as they were both worthy to do so.  As for the old and new testaments, there was a reason for that to. In the old testament they did the laws that way how God taught through Moses because they just got out of slavery and they needed all the steps and rules guide lines like that cause in one since they were like little children who needed step by step rules guidelines taught explained to them that way same as kids today. In the new testament Christ didn’t do away with them  really for those who were new to the gospel or needed them at first while they worked towards the new testament goals and guidelines. I like to think of it as like the old testament laws are liked to grade school, new testament laws are liked to Junior high, going through the Temple likened to high school, and when Christ comes back to live on earth likened to collage.  

          • August 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

            Crystal, allow me to quote Brigham Young (long after the end of slavery) “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.”

          • Carrinsr
            September 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

            Please provide creditable references to anything and everything anyone posts, here or anywhere.

          • September 27, 2011 at 12:32 am

            Okay. I will make sure to provide a reference for everything that has
            ever been posted on the internet. I will even go the extra mile and post
            references for things posted on physical bulletin boards at grocery
            stores, schools etc.. It will take me about one week so please be
            patient.

          • September 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

            Whoops, that response from Marissa was actually from me, I was logged into my girlfriend’s account by accident.

          • Joe Bob
            November 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm

            the Law of Consecration is still in effect.  Practicing, temple going members know where to find it.

          • November 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

            People still covenant to follow it, but functionally it is gone in the same way that gathering to Zion is functionally gone. It used to be that gathering to Zion meant much more than simply being baptized or attending church meetings (in fact, back then if one only got baptized and attended meetings without moving to ‘Zion’ no one would consider them to have “gathered” even figuratively). Similarly today’s “Law of Consecration” would be considered lip service by the saints that lived in the United Order or Brigham’s various Orders of Enoch. 

    • Crystal
      August 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      The main reason behind marriages and prob only reason for marriages performed for time only in Temples is for women who were already sealed to a prior husband, they are not able to be sealed to more then one so they can the next time be married for time only.  

      • August 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

        Yes, bu the fact that marriages for time only can happen in the temple, regardless of the reason, shows that it CAN happen, which is the point I was trying to make. If it can happen at all, perhaps one day it could happen for a different reason.

        • cmoore
          April 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

           time only marriages are no longer done in the temple.

          • May 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

            Oh for reals? When/why did this happen? Of course, this doesn’t really effect my point since it could easily be reinstated (and I don’t think you were trying to say  it would effect my point), but I’m still curious to know anything more you know about the ending of time only sealings.

        • cmoore
          April 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

           time only marriages are no longer done in the temple.

  3. July 9, 2011 at 4:05 am

    And it is nice having you back as host John. The guest hosts were pretty good, but few people match your level of charisma, ability to ask provocative questions and articulateness, attributes which make you an unusually good podcast host.

  4. Lindsay Park
    July 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Kendall Wilcox, what a wonderful and brilliant interview. Thank you for your candor, your bravery and your truths. My family keeps you in our prayers and we wish you all the greatest successes.

  5. Elissa
    July 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I love the idea of the dinner groups!  Kendall, do you have contacts in the UK who would be interested in coming?  I’d absolutely host.

  6. JCH
    July 10, 2011 at 5:56 am

     Please, would someone enlighten me as to the difference  between homosexuality and  a biological/mental tendency to  be a pedophiliac, a biological/mental tendency to bestiality or any other biological/mental tendency that is a sin according to the LDS faith? These folks seem to want to distance themselves from these other biological/mental tendencies.  Now if I am not mistaken, in the LDS faith, the biological/mental tendency to be heterosexual is the only norm on earth and in Heaven.   How is homosexuality different and why should it receive any more consideration in the church than these other conditions?  I am not trying to be mean or mean spirited and I am definitely not homophobic.  I really do not see the difference.  I have talked to many GLBT and I have not had anyone that can articulate a reasonable argument why. 

    • July 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

      “How is homosexuality different and why should it receive any more consideration in the church than these other conditions?” For most of its history up until just a few decades ago, the church discriminated against people with the wrong skin color. I could very easily change one of your sentences to say this: Now if I am not mistaken, in the LDS faith, the biological/mental tendency to be white is the only norm on earth and in Heaven… I think many of these people who are anti-bigot and pro-tolerance think there needs to be a revelation and a revision to the existing LDS church, the way there was in 1978.

      I don’t really see the relevance of your question. There may be a biological/mental tendency to almost all of human behavior, that doesn’t mean all of those behaviors need to be sanctioned by God. There may be a biological/mental tendency to be xenophobic (many scientists believe there is) that doesn’t mean it needs to be sanctioned by God.

      • JCH
        July 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

        My understanding of the people of African descent that joined the church was that they would eventually realize all of the blessings of the gospel at some point and time.  I could offer numerous quotes if you would like.  I am not so sure this is the case with practicing homosexuals or any other perversion.  

        So is being a pedophile with consenting parents and the child or man and his favorite animal any different than consenting homosexuals?As far as poor consequences with regard to practicing homosexuals, the list is limitless.  Please tell my good friend that is dying of AIDS that there is not consequences to homosexual actions.  By the way he is a temple recommend holder and says that homosexual sex is a sin.  Maybe you have not paid attention to the other statistics as well?  Take a look at the longevity of  practicing homosexuals and the rest of the population not to mention the cost of health care.  I am not trying to be cold hearted here, but the numbers speak for themselves.Interesting xenophobic comment.  I guess I do not see the relevance to my questions.You still have not answered my questions.

        • sister blah 2
          July 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm

          What does “consenting parents” have to do with an analogy to gay couples? Do gay men commonly rape other gay men with the consent of those men’s parents? The quality and reciprocity of loving homosexual relationships is no more analogous to the two things you list (pedophilia and bestiality) than heterosexual relationships are analogous to those things. Do you see your relationship with your girlfriend or wife as being analogous to pedophilia with consenting parents? If not, why not? I don’t think you can list anything that doesn’t also apply to gay couples.

          What is most clear from the imaginatively bogus and unrealistic claims you make is that you don’t have any actual experience with real, loving gay couples and families. It’s a shame that you feel to speak out so loudly about something with which you have no real experience or understanding. Maybe if you spent more time trying to get to know real living, breathing people, these things would be less mysterious to you, and you wouldn’t find yourself embarrassing yourself in public by asking such ridiculous and offensive questions. 

          • JVH
            July 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm

            Hmmm….  Another judgment without merit.  You really do not know what my experience has been now do you?

        • July 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

          “So is being a pedophile with consenting parents and the child or man and his favorite animal any different than consenting homosexuals?”

          If you can make this statement it’s quite clear that you don’t know anything about homosexuality. I am not trying to be cold hearted here, and I’m not trying to be mean spirited, but are you trying to equate homosexuality to pedophilia/bestiality because you’d like to engage in those behaviors? Maybe that’s not the case, I’m just confused as to why you keep insisting these are all equivalent sexual practices. I’m not saying you actually want to engage in bestiality/pedophilia and I’m not trying to offend you, but your fixation with this analogy would make more sense if you’re upset because you can’t engage in pedophilia/bestiality openly. But if I’m right (please don’t be offended, I’m not trying to be offensive) and you’re really just an advocate for that behavior I would suggest using a different strategy.

          • JCH
            July 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

            Hmmm…. don’t answer the question but attack the messenger.  Interesting.

          • July 11, 2011 at 12:21 am

            How is inquiring about your possible biological/mental tendency for bestiality/pedophilia an attack? Is it offensive to infer from your fixation on the analogy that you may indeed by seeking to justify the behavior? I find it very interesting that you didn’t definitively answer my question. But I’ll put your possible tendency for bestiality/pedophilia aside and assume I was mistaken (please don’t be offended when I suggested that you may have a tendency, I would never suggest that you actually act on your tendency). It’s strange that you think my honest inquiry was an attack when you don’t think comparing homosexuality to bestiality/pedophilia is also an attack.

            There are less derogatory ways to frame the type of question that you are asking and I’d happily engage with you on these types of questions if you’d actually respond to the relevant points that have already been raised and if you’d ask your questions in less derogatory terms. But those are things you’d do if you wanted to have an honest discourse and a productive discussion.

          • Uncle Buck
            July 11, 2011 at 7:22 am

            I tend to compare Mormons to morons, so I guess it is fine to compare gays to child molesters.  Makes perfect sense in a Mormons world.  Until one regains thinking for oneself, takes responsibility, and grows up a bit at least.

        • SK
          July 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

          Mormons are such naive idiot haters.

      • CS
        August 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        Check your history. The church never “discriminated” against blacks. Blacks did not hold the priesthood until the lord saw fit to restore it to them.

        As for the gay issue. The lord is pretty clear. Violating the law of Chasity regardless of sexuality keeps one from full fellowship. A person can choose to be gay, have 3 wives,or be sexually active outside the bonds of marriage. All these behaviours keep one from full fellowship,  all that is required is obedience to the law.  The “choice”  is up to the individual.  A person can’t change the consequences just because they don’t like the law. A way is prepared so ANYONE can choose to serve God. 

        • Anonymous
          August 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm

          CS – Where does the Lord say everything that you just wrote?

        • August 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

          Cs Discrimination is defined  ”the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex ”. Since not allowing black people to hold the priesthood is prejudicial treatment based on grounds of race, whatever the motivation, it is clear the Church discriminated against blacks. Besides, as David O Mckay said, the priesthood ban was a policy not a doctrine. And if you listen to the most recent Mormon Matters episode you will hear a heart breaking account of a black person not being allowed to attend sacrament meeting.

    • July 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      @Jch The big difference between homosexuality and something like pedophilia or bestiality is (except for some very rare exceptions), someone with an inclination towards bestiality or pedophilia can still have an otherwise meaningful and fulfilling relationship with a man or woman. As podcasts like this aptly illustrate, a homosexual man can physically marry and have a relationship with a woman, but in most cases, it  will be unsatisfying and unfulfilling for both the homosexual and their opposite sex partner.  It is  difficult for most people to lead a happy, satisfying life without deep, romantic companionship, and if one is a homosexual, that level of companionship can only occur through a same sex relationship. However, if one is a pedophile or bestiaphile (if I may coin a term) , they can  still fulfill that fundamental human need for companionship with a man or women, even if they must suppress their sexual attraction to animals or children.  Homosexuality is about much more than mere sex. It is about who one wants to be in a relationship with. Even if they are sexually attracted towards them, a person simply cannot have the same sort of deep and meaningful relationships with a child or animal that they could have with an adult they have a romantic bond with.

      • JCH
        July 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

        Well, finally someone tries to answer the question.  I understand what you are trying to say.  On the level of sin if one believes in a prophet of God and the Old and New Testaments are you willing to allow homosexuality in the face of these other well identifiable sins and I believe that deeper feelings may have something to do with it, but I could have very deep feelings for someone other than my spouse that I am legally married to  and it would still be a sin according to my understanding of Christ’s teachings.  Do we make this exception too?  And the list could go on and on of various exceptions because of feelings of love and devotion.  Seems like the Lord has already drawn the line on this one wouldn’t you say?

        • July 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm

          Based on your reply it seems like you have accepted my answer as to why homosexuality is not comparable to bestiality or pedophilia and now you are trying to compare homosexuality with adultery? If am not understanding correctly, let me know.
          As for your comparison to adultery, I give the same answer I gave in my two other responses. Even if you have ‘very deep feelings’ for someone other than your spouse,  you are still able to have a meaningful, life long, fulfilling relationship with your wife. It might make it more difficult and even make it temporarily impossible, but ultimately, it would not prohibit you from having an otherwise happy and fulfilling companionship and family  in the same way being homosexual would prevent someone from having a happy and fulfilling life married to a women.  Homosexuality is not comparable to other ‘sins’.   As BK Packer acknowledged, why would a loving God make someone homosexual and forbid them to act on it? Since  all reputable science confirms that homosexuality is an in-born trait, (especially for males), that only leaves two options, either God is not loving, or homosexuality is not actually sin. 

          • July 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm

            And as I mentioned in an above comment, the Church has a history of allowing certain things to slide if they are too difficult, such as Law of Tithing being an easier form of the Law of Consecration. or the Law  of Moses being an easier form of a higher law.  Not to mention all sorts of rules in   both the Old and New Testament people feel free to completely ignore, such as not allowing women to speak in meetings, requiring women to wear veils,  killing people who eat shellfish, or putting to death a sibling or spouse who suggests worshipping another God (Deuteronomy 13:6-10). Why can’t homosexuality just be another one of those rules we conveniently disregard? Surely the benefits of to a homosexuals being allowed romantic expression is even greater than getting to eat shellfish or not requiring women to wear veils during any worship service. 

          • JCH
            July 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm

            From a sin aspect I totally disagree.  I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the brethren to change their stance on same sex marriage.  Perhaps more tolerance for those with same sex attraction trying to do their best to live the gospel.  And science does not irrefutably confirm homosexuality as an in-born trait although I believe in my mind that most cases it is.

          • July 11, 2011 at 12:10 am

            So it seems like we have come to an agreement that homosexuality is nothing like adultery, pedophilia or bestiality or other such sins?   As for your point about ignoring commandments which are sins.  According to the Old Testament  eating shellfish (to give one example), is a sin on equal footing with homosexuality. I’ve heard no modern day revelation saying it is no longer sinful and nothing in the New Testament indicates it no longer applies, yet it is still ignored.  I agree that one should not hold their breath waiting for the brethren to change their mind any time soon, but I do believe it will happen within 50-100 years. However, it is not meet that we should be commanded in all things and I believe the brethren are incorrect in their position on Homosexuality, just as Brigham Young was incorrect when he said the law of God shall always be that when a black person sleeps with a white person the penalty is death on the spot. As for where science stands on homosexuality, I suppose we should just agree to disagree since it would be too long of a side note and it seems like we generally agree  on it being in-born.

          • JCH
            July 11, 2011 at 12:42 am

            No, you misunderstand me, homosexual sex is a sin on the same par as any other sexual sin. What we agree on is how to treat individuals that are truly trying to follow the brethren and live the gospel as a same sex attraction saint.  Never should there be any kind of treatment other than full fellowship with them.  I think that might be what members of the church need to work on. 

          • July 11, 2011 at 1:03 am

            Well I am happy we can agree on the treatment of homosexuals and I commend you for your desire that they be treated with full fellowship.  I thought I had given an adequate response to your comparison of homosexuality to adultery, which you did not address  (other than to say I sounded like a broken record) so I mistakenly assumed it was because you had no response and had come to agree.  Since I have made my case I am now curious why you do not believe I have adequately explained how homosexuality is different than other sexual sin and should be given special consideration.

          • seefilms
            July 22, 2011 at 3:12 am

            Although i haven’t liked the way JCH has approached things and find your way of approaching things to be more open minded and, perhaps ‘charitable’ is the right word… I do have a problem with the notion that ‘since all reputable science confirms that homosexuality is an in-born
            trait, (especially for males), that only leaves two options, either God
            is not loving, or homosexuality is not actually sin.”

            First, I’m interested as to what ‘reputable science’ means, for, from my understanding of what ‘reputable science’ has said, depending on the individual it could be in-born or otherwise…

            but  more troubling is the idea that since science says something (we’ll just leave reputable out for now) then there is only two options.

            Science said the world was flat…therefore there are only two options.

            Science said… if we measured everything by what ‘science says’ we might as well be playing ‘simon says’. Not that science is often wrong…but scientists know that they only know as much as they can possibly know and that rules can (and indeed sometimes do) change.

            But the true sticking point is this: when you are dealing with something that we can really only minutely fathom, namely God and His work, how can one  possibly come up with only TWO options?

            My thought is… why not say “that leaves only three options”…. Either God is not loving… or homosexuality is not actually a sin… or… I have no idea but God must. Maybe he’ll give us a better clue at some point.”

            And, maybe if we just weighed everything more heavily toward science we could say:

            …three options. Either God is not loving…or homosexuality is not actually a sin… or…one day science will open up more evidence to help us understand all this even better…

        • July 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

          and just to be clear, my defense of homosexuality isn’t based on ‘ feeling love and devotion’ towards another individual. It is based on ability to have a, deep, meaningful romantic partnership. We know the need for romantic partnership is one of the most fundamental aspects of human psychology. It is difficult to thrive without having that in their  lives,  most people need to have the opportunity to have such relationships to be fully happy and grow. For a homosexual male,  being in a romantic relationship with a woman is no more fulfilling than it would be for you to be in such a  relationship with another man. Sure it would benefit you to some degree, but not in the way marriage to a woman benefits you. Imagine if your only options were to remain celibate, or marry another man? If that were the case, I am sure you would be find the ability to justify a homosexual relationship. 

          • JCH
            July 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm

            Sorry, but your response seems to be a broken record repeating itself.  With regard to the law of the gospel, the gospel is meant to help us remember why we need to repent if we are to become like Christ and become joint heirs. Good luck on trying to justify anything else.

          • July 11, 2011 at 12:21 am

            I apologize for being overly repetitious. It seemed my point was being somewhat misunderstood and I worried it was because I hadn’t been clear enough, but in my attempt to clarify I was just being redundant. as for this “With regard to the law of the gospel, the gospel is meant to help us remember why we need to repent if we are to become like Christ and become joint heirs. Good luck on trying to justify anything else.” I’m not quite sure I follow you. I  can agree  that the gospel is meant to help us remember why we need to repent if we are to become like Christ and become joint heirs, but I’m not sure I’m following the connection to whether or not homosexuality is a sin?

          • JCH
            July 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

            No problems.   I think one has his head in the sand if one does not recognize as a LDS from scripture and modern day prophets that homosexual sex is a sin.

          • July 11, 2011 at 1:05 am

            I think one has his head in the sand if one does not recognize that there is continuing revelation in the LDS church.

            Once again, I can rephrase your sentence to say: I think one has his head in the sand if one does not recognize as a LDS
            from scripture and modern day prophets that interracial sex is a sin.

            I think if the history of the church tells us anything, the LDS church believes in continuing revelation (blacks, polygamy, etc). How do you account for these changes? Aren’t you worried that you would have been one of those members resisting these revelations?

          • JCH
            July 15, 2011 at 2:16 am

            I would pray about it.  I really believe that I wouldn’t have a problem with it in the least.  When the heavens were opened and our prophet and other general authorities received “Declaration 2″, I  had the most marvelous assurance that it was correct.  I do not imagine it being any other way with any other kind of prophetic revelation.  I look forward to all that will be revealed in the latter days.

    • Me
      July 10, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      This is interesting seeing men trying to decide and establish new social ways of living and marrying in our day… but what type and shadow or example plan did God leave us? If families are the central unit of the Kingdom of God, and creating posterity worlds without end is the highest end of being… were does homosexuality come in? Do some suppose there is some kind of room in God’s program for those who wish to do as they please and think things should be? Stick to the scriptures. God has already given the world so much word to know how to be, should we be so confused in our day?

      • JCH
        July 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm

        I cannot justify practicing homosexuality.  I can see where there needs to be more tolerance and love towards those that have same sex attraction.   When I was a young man growing up in SLC a bunch of my HS buddies would go out queer-bashing at Liberty Park.  I have never felt more shame than hanging with people that took part in whumping these folks.

        Now that I am an adult and have had many interactions with members of the church with same sex attraction, who are doing their best to live the standards of the gospel,  I think that many members of the church still stereotype and treat them as something less than Saints unjustifiably.  With that said, I cannot justify those with same sex attraction that ignore or try to rewrite the scriptures or talk badly about the Lord’s anointed trying to put forth an agenda to justify same sex marriage.  It just does not fly.

        • Buffalo
          July 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

          JCH, perhaps you could tell us more about your own same-sex attraction. When you went out to the park to beat up gay people, do you think you were really trying to beat the gayness out of yourself?

          • JCH
            July 15, 2011 at 2:10 am

            Buffalo,

            I did not say that I did.  I said that I had friends that did.  It made me feel badly that they were some of my friends.  I have never had a problem with same-sex attraction.  I feel very deeply for those that do as much as do with anyone else that has a cross to bare.

            JCH

      • Tommi
        September 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

        a little bit on the side tracks, but why a fat people allowed to go into the temples?

    • July 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      It is actually quite simple.  There is nothing criminal about homosexuality per se.  Homosexuals are just like heterosexuals, except that they feel sexual attraction to individuals (not everyone, notice!) of the same sex.  Just like the vast majority of heterosexuals, they have absolutely no trouble keeping their clothes on in public and are disgusted by pedophilia (and bestiality too, while we’re at it).  Notice that many pedophiles are heterosexual.  There is nothing especially good about being sexually attracted to anything at all, really.  Goodness is not what we are, it is what we do with what we are.

      Do you want homosexuals to be good by shutting up, denying their sexual attractions permanently and in all circumstances?  Why do Mormon heterosexuals get to have loving relationships that are categorically impossible for their homosexual counterparts?  Celibacy is not really a Mormon virtue (certainly not if we look at our faith history).  Marriage, on the other hand, is a Mormon institution, and homosexuals can have vibrant, healthy marriages (contrary to what we have been told by well meaning people who don’t know any better: I am genuinely sorry that some of these people had pretensions to speak for God when they were really just “speaking as men,” the way all of us do).  The essential ingredients for marriage are love, intimacy, trust, forgiveness, kindness, charity, and compassion — not a penis and a vagina (or two or twenty).  Marriage is about ethical virtues, virtues which homosexuals possess and exercise even when they have sex with someone who really loves them.  Denying them the rite of marriage is refusing to recognize the moral goodness in them.  It is making a mockery of faith, trusting vain idols (the traditions of our nitwit fathers again).  Our denial of the moral benignity of homosexuality is ludicrous, based solely on fear and superstition.  We are like the Catholic monk who rejects sex entirely and then points critics to a brothel and says, “That is sex!” (the way I might point to many brothels and say, “That is heterosexuality!”).  Homosexuality is not pedophilia (nothing close, man).  It is not bestiality.  It is not murder (or anything like it).  It is not wrong.  There is nothing inherently bad about it.  (When we bitch and moan about saving the family from homosexuality, we are not dealing with reality: we are really just trying to save ourselves from examining outworn stereotypes.  Rather than fix my own broken relationships, I point to yours as the reason mine failed.  This does nothing good for either one of us.)

      • JCH
        July 15, 2011 at 2:58 am

        Evidently you’ve never seen a gay pride parade in San Francisco if you think they keep their clothes on in public.  I understand that most homosexuals are not pedophiles.  I could have used all lot of other examples and probably should have becasue of the sensitivity to that issue.  Please accept my apology.

        Do I expect homosexuals to be good by shutting up, denying their sexual attractions permanently and in all circumstances?  Very tough question.  Not sure I have a good answer.

        The essential ingredients for marriage are love, intimacy, trust, forgiveness, kindness, charity, and compassion — not a penis and a vagina (or two or twenty).  

        You forgot one very important ingredient.  It needs to be ordained of God which excludes anything outside of a man and a woman.

        You mention that there is nothing inherently bad in homosexuality.  I would strongly disagree.  Find one study which points to homosexuals extending life expectancy beyond the norm and I will roll over and recant everything I have said about it.  The truth is and you know this from your own experience that homosexuals die a lot earlier for a variety of reasons that the general population.  This would suggest that something in it is very bad.  I would say the same thing about people that smoke tobacco.  For years smokers and those that produced the product denied the scientific fact that smoking causes all kinds of health issues.  But what was and is the truth?  You can tell me all day long that there is nothing inherently bad in homosexual sex, but the statistics and science prove otherwise.

        How can mankind condone people taking, as one study has claims, up to take 30 years off of the average age of a human being just by practicing homosexual sex?  This is immoral from a humanist stand as well as a religious stand.  Please enlighten me if you disagree.

    • Buffalo
      July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Please, would someone enlighten me as to the difference  between heterosexuality and  a biological/mental tendency to be a pedophile, a
      biological/mental tendency toward bestiality or any other biological/mental
      tendency?

      • JCH
        July 15, 2011 at 2:32 am

        Marriage between a man and a woman, legally and lawfully wedded in a heterosexual relationship is ordained of God.  The rest is not.  Any biological/mental tendency outside of this covenant even though it is heterosexual is not ordained and falls into the same camp as any of the other tendencies mention.  More than likely, it will probably have even deeper eternal consequences because of covenant breaking.  No news here.

  7. Patriarchal_gripe
    July 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Another great MS podcast, kudos to John and his panelists.

    I empathize deeply with these men and their experiences and hope them the best in their lives and projects to bring more openness and empathy to the LDS GLBT community.

    But I’ve gotta gripe a bit.  First off, I disagree with the idea that the best way to bring these issues to the fore is to just be “nice” to each other in the Mormon way.  Nice seems to be the only was you can get one Mormon to listen to another, but based on my view of history it is not the way to effect change in the world in any way that impacts individual lives.

    And on this tack, you need to read more about Jesus, if you can’t picture him being anything but nice in his approach to effecting change.  Reference the purging of the temple, directing his apostles to obtain weapons before Gethsemene, and the many “not nice” words he used to describe Jewish leaders, other races, etc.  In other words, this Mormon idea of a gilded, kind, Jesus, doesn’t bear up under scrutiny or an actual reading of the New Testament or especially the D&C.

    STOP BEING SO STINKIN’ NICE, and get out and be an actual advocate.  I might have a GLBT grandchild someday, that doesn’t need to be told by a nice old man sitting in a chair with a headset on that “a loving HF didn’t make them that way.”

    Sorry, gripe over and out…

  8. don't know mo
    July 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks to all who participated in producing this powerful podcast. At least I hope it proves powerful in beginning to change people’s hearts. I’m cautiously optimistic that our church culture is at a tipping point regarding our gay brothers and sisters. I found Kendall’s remarks regarding Pres. Packer’s October conference address interesting. I recall thinking at that time that perhaps God’s hand actually was in those harsh words that Pres. Packer spoke. That perhaps those stunning words in such a public forum were a way to initiate a catalyst for changing hearts. I’m so looking forward to the documentary and hope these noble efforts find great success.

  9. JCH
    July 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    hmmm..   Still no definitive answer.

    • July 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      Could you explain why you did not find my response satisfying? You apparently disagree with my reply, and perhaps your reasons why are perfectly valid, but I am curious what they are.

    • Palerobber
      July 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      dear JCH, please pursue your biological/mental tendency to be a dick in public elsewhere. thanks, PR.

  10. JCH
    July 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Be happy to as soon as you address my questions.  Do a review, I’m sure you’ll do better.

  11. HCJ
    July 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

    JCH.  Here’s your bloody definitive answer.  Oh and if your reading this I’m going to be kind of enough right now to warn you I might cuss once or twice…okay kindness stops now, just be glad I don’t cuss the hell out of your ignorance.  First of all, don’t try to act like you are gay friendly.  You’re obviously homophobic.  ANYONE WHO OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE IS!  It’s quite simple dammit.  Now to that answer you were so desperately wanting to justify your homophobic stance.

    Homosexuality is biological.  As is pedophilia.  As is any desire to have sex with anyone/thing.  

    Now, what is the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia?  Why should one be considered morally justifiable while the other should not?  In the case of homosexual or heterosexual adults who have sexual relations, consent can be given.  Pedophiles can not find a partner who can give consent.  Which means that (assuming you believe in capital T Truth), pedophiles can not live out their sexuality in a moral way, because in doing so they would be committing rape.  

    Now please, enlighten me by telling me why you think being an LGBT is morally wrong. 

    • MC
      July 11, 2011 at 4:06 am

      I guess by your definition, I am homophobic. If that will instantly cause animosity between us, then I don’t know what I can do. I have actually done a lot of pondering on the subject, and can’t seem to see it any other way.

      As you say, Homosexuality is biological. As is Heterosexuality, pedophilia, etc. I reason I feel that being an LGBT is wrong stems from what I’ve learned from the scriptures and the prophets. The Lord has spoken quite plainly that sexual relationships are to be kept between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded. If there’s any question on this, see the proclamation to the family that the church published, and not an obscure reference to something that Pres. Packer said. The Lord knows that we will have desires to have sex outside of marriage, some to others of the same sex. But he has repeatedly said that all sexual desires are to be kept within the bounds that he has set. One of the purposes is to have a fulfilling relationship, but another which has been ignored is procreation…something that is not possible in a homosexual setting.

      Now, I’m not gay, and can’t really understand what it would be like to be told I had to marry a woman when I didn’t feel attracted to women. But I can understand what it’s like to be told that I can only have sex with the one I’ve married and that looking at pornographic images or thinking about other women sexually is a sin. If I find myself having difficultly with this, justifying it and saying that the Lord should loosen the rules for me doesn’t make sense, and isn’t consistent with what Christ taught. Repenting and asking the Lord to help me overcome is the only way that Christ has shown us.

      Of course, we are all sinners, and we should show empathy and love to one another in that light. However, we should continue to preach the truth and have the right attitude with respect to sin and repentance.

    • JCH
      July 15, 2011 at 2:18 am

      It’s not as long as you repent.

    • JCH
      July 15, 2011 at 2:20 am

      I might add,  repent like the rest of us sinners.  (-:

  12. sister blah 2
    July 11, 2011 at 2:03 am

    It’s a shame that an affirming podcast with a relentless focus on empathy and connecting with real people as individuals has elicited this comment thread. 

    People, there are like 1000000 other venues on the internet for rehashing of the same old arguments about pedophilia or OT interpretations/comparisons or is it inborn on not. Can’t this one thread be, for just a few moments, a refuge from the kinds of pointless bickering and vitriol that Kendall said so emotionally wounded him, that sparked him to undertake this project? Yikes!

  13. ElizaSnow
    July 11, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I’m a strait Mormon/return missionary/moderate/woman who loves my church but struggled with Prop. 8.  Your constructive approach to this issue is very healing to me- I can’t imagine how healing it will be to gay Mormons.  Can’t wait for your documentary.  Thanks for being honest about who you are, Kendall.  I hope BYU continues to support and stand behind you.  You really seem like a good person.

  14. Anonymous
    July 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Gee, I’m an old guy and feel like I’m going to be whooped with a big stick for making any comment here. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the podcast. I’m a little confused as to the “ultimate statement” of the proposed film, but will figure it out if I live long enough to review the same. I guess I am simplistic, I have always felt there will be a separate but equal “enclave” in heaven for loving same-gender partners.

    With two brothers who lived in long time same gender relationships, with my oldest son holding out hope for the same, it is a vision I hope a further prophet will have settle upon his mantle in the future, perhaps an apostle with a gay child?  I feel Christ’s love behind the vision. And yes, I believe there would frequent visits to other parts of the Celestial realm (for a piece of mom’s cherry pie). 

    Shalom to all.

  15. Lee
    July 13, 2011 at 3:44 am

    JCH:  “Please, would someone enlighten me…”  I have read a great deal and followed a lot of online discussions on SSA since October conference, and I feel I can answer your question with some confidence.  No, no one can enlighten you.  There is enough good information and enlightened discussion about that you could enlighten yourself, and if you cannot, no one else can do it for you.  There is no reason, other than sheer determination, to remain in ignorance on this subject.  There is one thing I would like to point out, however.  The only good analogy for homosexuality is heterosexuality.  Not pedophilia or bestiality, but heterosexuality.  If you really wanted to understand, you would study your own heart (I assume you’re hetero):  Your early feelings and relations with friends of the opposite sex, your reasons for getting married, your reasons for desiring a family.  LGBT individuals desire the companionship of someone they can love and devote their lives to, just as you do or did (or as I imagine you do or did).  Similarly, the way to understand what it is like to be left handed is to understand what it is like to be right handed.  No *use* of the hand is analogous to handedness, just as no expression of sexuality is analogous to sexual orientation itself.   In your case it’s pretty clear that the “right hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth”, and has no intention of knowing.

  16. Paul
    July 13, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Kendall – Thank you for your courage in addressing these issues.  I love your approach of empathy first! 

  17. Anonymous
    July 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I have a question for LGBT Mormons: What is the “end game” for LGBT Mormons in relation to the Church? I’ve been curious about this throughout the years with groups like Affirmation and such. I’ve heard a lot of different answers. Some have said they want to build a “better understanding” between LGBT members, their LDS families, and the Church. I’ve also heard others say they want more “tolerance” or “acceptance.” I guess I’m looking for a more specific goal. Will the criticism of the Church only stop when LGBT members are allowed to marry their partners in the temple? Just curious more than anything. Would love to hear from anyone with knowledge of the movement.

  18. Buffalo
    July 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Really a fantastic podcast. I really feel for these guys whose sense of self worth is frequently held hostage by the culture of the church.

    John, a suggestion. The volume level between your voice and the voices of your guests is out of balance. Your voice is much louder, so when I’m listening on my iPod, I’ll have to turn up the volume to hear Kendall, but then when you speak again it’s so loud by comparison it hurts my ears and I have to quickly turn it down. There is software you can use to even out the volume of an audio file – limiting and compression effects. I believe Audacity has those effects, and it’s free. Maybe consider checking that out.

  19. Mohochris
    July 16, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Next time don’t use Skype or similar VOiPs. Missed several interesting points… Do the interview in person next time.

  20. July 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for another great podcast.
    @JCH, I liked some of what Christopher Allman said in response to your questions. I think one obvious distinction between homosexual relationships and pedophilic or bestial relationships is that homosexual relationships can exist between consenting equals, and these other relationships cannot. So treating homosexual relationships with different consideration from pedophilia and bestiality seems easy for me to accept. As for doctrinally different treatment, if sin=sin=sin, then I can see your point. Engaging in a sinful behavior is a sin. My difficulty is identifying WHY homosexuality is INHERENTLY sinful. With pedophilia or rape, I can see how someone is hurt without a prophet having to define it as sinful for me. With equal, loving homosexual relationships, I can’t see any reason for its being sinful except for the declaration of church leaders. That’s a reason I could accept, but in a case like this, I can believe that the doctrine might change, as in some of the cases others have pointed out.

  21. Gail F. Bartholomew
    July 19, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Great pod cast.  Thank you all.  I agree that this is an issue that effects the whole family.  I was married to a lesbian for over 16 years.  I felt closeted at church even after our divorce.  I am grateful for the work to change the culture from the bottom up and make our culture more empathetic.  Unfortunately I believe there is some organizationally systemic problems that fight that kind of  empathetic culture.  This not a question of status quo or a doctrinal change.  Yes John D. the assumptions we make about scripture and revelations is no more troublesome to be over come than that of blacks and temple blessings and priesthood pre 1978, but the real problems that are hurting families and driving gay members to commit suicide has little to do with the doctrinal stand against homosexual behavior. First and biggest problem is the idea President Packer stated in his November conference talk.  There is no example of  this type of change scriptural or other wise and to pretend it is true it causes self hatred.  Next the idea that homosexuals are encouraged to only share their orientation with their bishop and a close family member.  Until a gay member can say I am gay and I love and believe in the church ideas of individual members can not be changed.   Also we need to be done with using diminutive terms like same sex or same gender attraction or orientation.  I truly hope that your efforts through empathy first it can address these systemic problems.

  22. Ozpoof
    July 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Interesting podcast. I still can’t understand why anyone who is gay would ever want to remain in the church unless it was for a temporal reason such as retaining employment, socialization, business networking etc.

    I gathered from the podcast that Professor Wilcox still believes in the Mormon church as true enough for him to live by its standards, yet it seems to me that incidents such as Pres Packer’s talk scream “not inspired!” to me.

    A church truly led by Christ would not need any pressure to treat people fairly and with empathy. Christ’s church would know people are born gay and can’t stop being gay.

    The fact the church seems to need to be educated on empathy so often by the secular world tells me Mormonism is just a human construct, and one that is about 50 years (at least) behind the equality, fairness and empathy demonstrated by the irreligious. Religion, and particularly Mormonism, creates division, suspicion, and hate. If you believe in the supernatural, these traits are clearly spawned by a false and Satanic cult. Those are the only possible origins of Mormonism – man or Satan. To believe a righteous and loving God would be behind Mormonism is insulting to deists and denigrates Godhood.

    • Apron Appeal
      September 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      How can you say Pres. Packer’s talk was not inspired? Look what good it has done? Just because the “doctrine” of the message appears to be wrong, the goodness it has inspired in individuals like Kendall is anything but wrong. It brought many people out who may have just taken it otherwise but are standing up and bearing their witness and testimony. To become strong you have to tear your muscles, it hurts, but after the healing is done you are stronger…I see this as an AMAZING opportunity to help members of the church become stronger, wiser, more compassionate…and isn’t that a good thing? 

      if it were not for people willing to stay with the church throughout their time of unbelief then there would be NO REASON for members to ever reconsider their belief. “How can a homosexual believe in the same thing as me?” it’s an important question that people need to ask so they can grow. But maybe you believe it’s ok to condemn an entire group of people to Hell just because they understand things differently than you. :) If that is the case, then yes, I guess the talk was uninspired and we should let the separation commence. 

  23. Sarah
    August 1, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I really appreciated this podcast. I just wanted to know why we don’t talk more about chastity for homosexuals from a monogamy standpoint. Is this a conversation that is common or uncommon in a homosexual community? My limited exposure to homosexual issues has not addressed this possibility.  I know it kind of sounds like a no-brainer but wouldn’t this be a valuable discussion to have with heterosexual church members?  We have so many stereotypes about the promiscuity of homosexuals that we never think about the idea of allowing homosexuals the opportunity to live chaste monogamous lives.  If one of my children was gay this is what I would want for them.  I would want to say find one person that you want to spend your life with/marry and live a monogamous life. Strive for Chasity don’t sleep around keep your standards etc. Anyway, It seems so obvious when I write it out but I honestly haven’t heard this discussion. And I listened to tons of coverage of prop 8 from inside and outside of the church and the benefits of monogamy never came up. Is this just because society has moved away from monogamy that we as church members assume that homosexuals don’t desire it? Anyone? 

  24. Ponderer
    August 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thread, but I had a question. Is there a post, podcast, thread, etc. somewhere on the bloggernacle that discusses possible avenues for same-sex marriages being accepted by the church? Some discussion board with possibilities people have come up with for the church to doctrinally accept homosexual marriage? 

    On that subject, the thought occurred to me recently that if the church were to start pushing the view that our spirits were eternal and not literally born and the church were to gender inequalities in the temple (each of which could occur at whatever point the brethren decided) it would open the way for same-sex marriage. Those changes would cause minimal disruption to mormon doctrines. If we then have the view (as taught by Joseph) that we’re children of God because we chose to covenant with him to be his children and learn to be like him, then there are no issues with how two men or two women could also have eternal posterity. This would obviously overturn things like the Family Proclamation, but it seems to me that this approach would cause minimal changes to mormon doctrine while allowing homosexuals equality in practice and ordinances. 

  25. Mel.
    August 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Just found this thread and it seems to be begging me to comment….First of all, let me say that I love the Church and its doctrines. I don’t necessarily blindly agree with every one of them, but I am faithful, adherent to the Gospel and carry a temple recommend. I am also a non-practicing lesbian. I have made my choice and I have made peace with it. I would rather be completely celibate and have the blessings of the Gospel that give in to my (yes) inborn desires for a loving, trusting, monogamous, fulfilling relationship with another woman. I know that I will never attain the highest level of glory, but I will be a ministering angel throughout eternity. My choice was difficult, and painstakingly made. I would be eternally grateful if the Church would receive new revelation stating that it is now inclusive of the LGBT community. On another note, I am all for Civil Ceremonies, but I am not in favour of Gay Marriage. I can hardly be classed as a homophobe.

  26. Elaine
    August 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Enjoyed listening. I appreciate your willingness to be so open about personal things. Love that you mentioned Boulder. I’ve also found it to be a great place to clear my mind & feel God’s love.

  27. Mjp Mikeperry
    August 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I want to thank John Joseph and Kendall for  opening  up your personal lives like this.  I have always struggled with a desire to want to empathize with brothers and sisters who are GLBT both in and out of the church, but have never known quite how to do that without betraying in some way the commandment to preserve and protect the traditional family.  You have helped me begin to sort through that struggle.  

    On a side note, my parents were recently divorced after 25 years of marriage.  Due to my mother being abused as a child, sexuality was never functional in their relationship.  I see many similarities (although there are obvious differences too) between the stories you have told, and the struggles they have gone through first to try to make it work and then to attempt to pick up their lives after their marriage fell apart.  I can see potential for a lot of natural empathy between homosexuals struggling to keep the commandments, and heterosexuals in sexually dysfunctional marriages also trying to keep the commandments.  

    Thanks and Godspeed 

  28. Mike
    August 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I want to thank Jon Joseph and Kendall for 
    opening  up your personal lives like this.  I have always struggled
    with a desire to want to empathize with brothers and sisters who are GLBT both
    in and out of the church, but have never known quite how to do that without
    betraying in some way the commandment to preserve and protect the traditional
    family.  You have helped me begin to sort through that struggle. 

    On a side note, my parents were recently divorced after 25 years of
    marriage.  Due to my mother being abused as a child, sexuality was never
    functional in their relationship.  I see many similarities (although there
    are obvious differences too) between the stories you have told, and the
    struggles they have gone through first to try to make it work and then to
    attempt to pick up their lives after their marriage fell apart.  I can see
    potential for a lot of natural empathy between homosexuals struggling to keep
    the commandments, and heterosexuals in sexually dysfunctional marriages also
    trying to keep the commandments.  

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