I have no excuses.
Stephanie Nielson is a heroic example of faith in difficult circumstances.
I'm inspired by her and appreciate her respectfully sharing her convictions
and that she is teaching the same to her children. As a faithful gay
Mormon, I think it is so important that members of the church show nuance and
compassion as we discuss the complex reality of same-sex attraction. In part,
this means acknowledging that the orientation is not chosen and cannot be
changed. There are people close to each of us (maybe within our own families)
quietly dealing with same-sex orientation and they are the people most mindful
of what we say about these issues. They notice and internalize the tone of these
conversations. If the message is framed as a fight against an enemy or
"us" vs. "them," those we love who deal with SSA may feel like
they are inherently wrong or evil and are being pushed to the outside. I wish
some of the energy we currently dedicate toward "fighting the world"
would be redirected to considering how we can include and support. Just as the
Savior has helped Stephanie create beauty from ashes, He can similarly support
all of us.
I wish to thank Tiago's thoughtful response and also add that I think it is
indeed possible to stay true to, stand with and defend the Mormon faith even if
one disagrees with a matter of current church policy. Many that agitate for
change do so out of the love they have for their faith.
Stephanie never ceases to amaze me with her upbeat, genuine love for her family
and for Jesus Christ. She is an example of constant positivity. Bless her heart.
I totally agree with Stephanie!@Tiago You said, "orientation is
not chosen and cannot be changed." No, gay people never sat down and decided
they would be attracted to their same gender. But the do choose how they will
deal with that attraction. In the LDS church, there is no room for
experimentation or acting on those attractions if one wants to remain a member
in good standing. But they can absolutely still come to church, worship,
socialize and love and be loved by other members. Loving someone and
having an intimate relationship does not have to include sexual contact. After
reading and researching this topic I have learned that many homosexuals desire a
close relationship, to be acknowledged and affirmed by the same gender. When
that recognition is given in non-sexual ways, the intense need for attention
from the same gender diminishes. At times it all but goes away completely. Many
homosexuals have learned to deal with those impulses in healthy, non-sexual
ways. I suggest you do some reading if you haven't already at LDS voices
of hope. Remarkable and very spiritual read! Don't give in. Don't give
@O'reallyThank you for your helpful and insightful comments. I
would only add that I believe we need to acknowledge that SSA is sometimes not
chosen and hence we need to be very sensitive and compassionate about that.
Please consider this evidence:Eight major studies of identical twins
in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive
at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.“At best
genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead
worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years,
then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic
Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities
about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and
"I would only add that I believe we need to acknowledge that SSA is
sometimes not chosen "I would have to agree. Who would
"choose" that life?So, then, the question to the
"religious" among us, "Who made them that way?"
@O'reallyI think we'd be friends! To be clear, I believe in the
law of chastity and choose not to experiment with guys. I'm totally active
LDS and have good leaders, family and friends who help me.About my
attraction and what it means--I have a hard time hearing people describe it like
it is something inherently evil. As far as I can tell, SSA is as rich, deep, and
varied as OSA. I'm a good Mormon guy who does all the "Sunday
school answers." I just happen to find certain guys charming, attractive,
and interesting in the same wholesome, exciting way a Mormon girl does. I wish I
felt this way toward a woman, but I don't--not at all. I wonder if
most people who talk about diminishing their SSA mean they learn to control
destructive behaviors. There is an idea that if a gay person can
"overcome" SSA they will suddenly be straight. It doesn't work this
way for most people. This idea is as strange to me as it would be for a straight
person to think they could do something to diminish their straightness and
suddenly be gay.
I like Voices of Hope videos, but nobody who watches them would conclude that
all is well in Zion. The people featured all talk about rough roads and periods
of isolation and depression.The reason I’m commenting here is
because I want to help increase understanding and compassion about this issue.
There has to be a way to make it so every gay kid in the church doesn't
have to go through gut-wrenching isolation. We can help them want to stay.I see members I love voicing strong opposition to laws that makes life easier
for gay people. They think this will make it so less people are gay. I
don’t think it will. It will only keep some people deep in the closet or
on the fringes of society. I'm not saying good people can't oppose
same-sex marriage. I'm saying to be careful about the arguments and
language we use and the message we are sending to the people paying most
attention in our own church family. The church has been very civil in its tone
and this article is another good example. Let's keep this up.
How did this beautiful testimony end up being a blog about gays?what
troubled times in which we live! Stay to topic, not justifying your own stand in
life.Stephanie, Thank you for your wonderful life, for enduring your
trials so well, and for being such a beautiful person. You are an inspiration to
all of us!
One of the things that is important to me about my faith, is whether or not
someone is born with something is really not important. We all have different
things that stand in our way from being perfect like Christ. Personally,
I try to avoid using any labels that would place someone in a group that
conflicts with groups of which I identify and I try to avoid groups that would
cause my interests to conflict with others.I do think there are problems
in our society as our culture teaches us that sexual fulfillment is way more
important than it really is. We all have to learn to suppress some of our
sexual inclinations in order to become better people. I know personally, I have
experienced strong sexual inclinations that I had to suppress that were quite
out of the ordinary track of acceptable human behavior. It was really hard for
a season, but I have learned to ignore them and just chalk them up to part of
Lehi teaches in 2 Nephi 2:26-27 that we are not helpless victims. We are free
agents. We can choose, in spite of our orientation or inherent addictions and
weaknesses, to obey God and enjoy life and liberty or we can choose to disobey
and suffer misery.
SSA is but one of many defects or weaknesses that we have to deal with in our
personal lives. If we took the stance that it's okay to act out on all of
them "because we were born this way" it would be an unmitigated disaster
both personally and socially.
@Bodaggit: " Many that agitate for change do so out of the love they have
for their faith."I understand this, but recognize Who you are
agitating against. Church policy does not originate with 15 old, white guys in
suits. It originates with the Savior and is in line with His commandments. The
Gospel is not based on democracy. It is based on love, obedience, and
self-denial.We all want simple answers for complex issues. They do
not exist. The answers are as varied as we are. Ultimately, humans can choose.
we do not simply respond to stimuli as other animals do. Tiago -
Thank you for the insightful comments! Like you, I hope for more understanding
on all sides of this issue...
I have been following Stephanie's blog for several years now. She and her
husband are both amazing, inspiring people.It is a miracle that she
survived the plane crash, not only survived it but then has thrived in her life
after such a horrendous ordeal. Hers is a truly awe-inspiring story.
I've been reading Stephanie's blog for a few years. I also read her
book. Concerning her recent blog mentioned here - I totally agree with her. I
am NOT a Mormon. I totally relate to what she is saying regarding teaching her
children. I think regardless of what religion you are you have principles,
morals and religious beliefs and that is what you teach your children. In
regards to the gay issue that seems to have taken over this article, that is not
her main focus here. She was trying to teach her children and also make them
aware to accept others even if you don't agree and to conduct your life
thru the teaching of the church and not be swayed in a different direction. I
love Stephanie and her principles, I support her 100%.
You are my hero in so many ways Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your story and
Stay strong, Sister Nielson!You too, Tiago! Most of us
don't face burdens as heavy as the ones both of you carry. Not by a long
I have seen this video several times and each time I am moved to tears of joy
knowing how Stephanie has been a great example of how applying the Atonement
strengthens one's ability to "press forward with a steadfastness in
Christ." I appreciate her willingness to share her life with us with truth
to help remind us we too can overcome our challenges and make our weaknesses
become our strengths. My daughter, who is physically beautiful struggles with
self worth and watching this video was very empowering to her. When Stephanie
said "I am not my body" this helped my daughter to focus on her inner
desire to be close to her Savior Jesus Christ and try to see herself as he does.
Thank you for sharing and speaking up no matter how sensitive the issue is. You
will always be an instrument for good in Heavenly Father's hands. By the
way, remind those you speak to that they too must speak up.
@ Bodaggit - San Francisco, CA - "I wish to thank Tiago's thoughtful
response and also add that I think it is indeed possible to stay true to, stand
with and defend the Mormon faith even if one disagrees with a matter of current
church policy."Sorry. Not possible. And...this mistaken belief
will soon lead to a large exodus of people within the Mormon faith. And the
largest exodus will be former members within the shadows of the Wasatch
mountains."You are either for me or against me."Who said that.Jesus.
Tiago - OK, I read more of your comments. You're a Mormon in
every sense of the word.Keep fighting and stay strong, brother!
There's a lot of confusion among the members of the church, I suspect,
mostly because we all are a bit more connected through social media. The
constant barrage of topics disparaging traditional values advocated in the
church continues to mock and point the finger. At a certain point you just have
to take a stand for what you believe in and "heed not" those that might
mock or scorn you for it. I think this is a natural part of KEEPING a testimony.
It's easy to get a glimpse of truth and love it and even follow it, but to
KEEP it over time and cherish it, requires a conscious choice in our priorities
and beliefs. So many try to keep their testimonies and the
world's ways too... and well... ultimately that's going to fail. I am inspired by Stephanie's desire to Love God first. Good for
her. I wish her the best, and hope I can take an equally courageous choice in my
own life... despite the enticing ways of the world in which I live.
Dan Maloy, yes Jesus is reported to have said something like "You are either
for me or against me". He is also reported to have said (Mark 9:40 (Good
News Translation))40 For whoever is not against us is for us. So one must try to take things in context, and as we are often told, to
seek to understand the Scriptures and the Counsel of the Prophets. We need to
think it through, try to understand how what we read was intended and then ask
Father in the name of Jesus Christ what He wants us to understand, whether we
have correctly understood. Only then will He confirm His Will (the meaning of
the counsel we have) to us, through the Testimony of the Holy Ghost/"Proof texts" alone are insufficient guides.
Way off-topic here, people! All have burdens, whether it's chronic
illness, addictive behaviors or things like SSA that make it difficult to
balance our lives with what we know to be true. We came here knowing we would
be given trials and adversity to overcome. Stephanie and her family are
inspiring how they deal with the impacts of her horrendous accident. I watch
her and suddenly feel like I don't have much to complain about. Keep sight
of the big picture and know we are all in this together--the Savior's love
is the most powerful thing that can help all of us get through this life. Thank
you, Stephanie, for your wonderful words and example that strengthen so many of
With as much as this woman has been through, I doubt that ignorant, vicious
haters on the internet or elsewhere in the media could have much impact on her
anymore. She is way too tough to let such foolish people affect her. You go, girl.