Comments about ‘Stephanie Nielson stands up for Mormon faith in blog post, 'I will stay true'’

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Published: Monday, Jan. 13 2014 1:10 p.m. MST

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jeanie
orem, UT

I have no excuses.

Tiago
Seattle, WA

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.

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. Many that agitate for change do so out of the love they have for their faith.

suzyk#1
Mount Pleasant, UT

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.

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

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 up!

Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT

@O'really

Thank 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 statistics.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"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?"

Tiago
Seattle, WA

@O'really
I 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.

Tiago
Seattle, WA

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.

BYUalum
South Jordan, UT

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!

rusby
Minneapolis, MN

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 being mortal.

Sal
Provo, UT

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.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

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.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

@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...

ImaUteFan
West Jordan, UT

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.

ChrisGY
Fairfax, VA

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%.

archemeedees
Tooele, UT

You are my hero in so many ways Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

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 shot.

valiant
Salt Lake, UT

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.

Dan Maloy
Enid, OK

@ 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.

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