Woman who had lived lesbian lifestyle brings hope to Mormons with same-sex attraction through LDS Church's new website

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8 2012 8:00 p.m. MST

"From the very beginning, my husband was very open emotionally," she said. "That was so important to me. I felt like I could tell him anything — and I told him everything — and he was so open and loving and understanding. He loved me, and I found myself falling in love with him."

That was 19 years ago. Today they have three children, and Campbell says she no longer desires lesbian relationships.

Campbell said she knows others who have had similar experiences with same-sex attraction, including Ty Mansfield, an LDS marriage and family therapist in Lubbock, Texas, and co-author of the book, "Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-Gender Attraction." His story can also be found on the church's new website.

"I'm not saying things will turn out this way for everyone," Campbell says. "And when it comes right down to it, that's not even the most important thing. Elder (Neal A.) Maxwell said that the Lord wants us to sacrifice our will to his. He wants us to turn our hearts and lives over to him and say, 'Do with me what you will.'

"For those with same sex attraction, that means telling the Lord, 'If I am never to get married in this life, I'm willing to remain single. And if I am to be married, I trust you will help me be attracted to someone I can marry.' That's what happened for me."

Which is not the same thing as saying she is now completely heterosexual.

"I don't identify as gay or ex-gay, heterosexual or bisexual. I identify as a daughter of God," Campbell said. "Some people don't realize that we choose our identity. It isn't heaped upon us, uncontrollably. I'm not sure you can completely change your orientation.

"But what I am sure of, because I have experienced it and know others who have, is that it's possible to change from a person who is only attracted to the same gender to a person who, at some point in their lives, is able to fall in love with someone of the opposite gender," she continued. "And you can be happy and at peace in your marriage, with your children and with your faith."

Campbell understands that her position is not a popular one.

"Some people in the gay community don't want you to say it's possible for someone with same-sex attractions to find happiness in an opposite-sex relationship," she said. "And quite frankly, there are people in the LDS Church who don't know how to act, or may react negatively, if they find out you've had same-sex attractions, whether you're still feeling those attractions or not.

"Neither group is particularly welcoming of the message. That's why I've kept my pen name over the years — and why I think it's great that we're all talking about it more now."

But as long as we're talking about it, she says, let's make sure we're acknowledging the feelings and perspectives of those who identify themselves as gay, as well as those who choose not to.

"There's nothing homophobic or hateful about wanting to change," Campbell said. "Just as we need to reach out with sincere Christ-like love and respect to those who are gay, we also need to reach out to those who don't want to be gay and offer love, encouragement and support."

And hope. Lots of hope.

email: jwalker@desnews.com

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