National media attention overwhelms BYU valedictorian who came out during convocation speech

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  • Kevin Garvey Provo, UT
    June 4, 2019 12:55 p.m.

    Wise people say do not read comments on news articles because it will destroy your hope for humanity. And they are almost always correct. I came here to read comments on this particular article to see how many zealot bigots in my church, (a church that I love and that I am an active member) would spew idiotic rhetoric. And alas, they are many.

    It might surprise them to know the founder of our church spoke directly about them when he said.

    "For nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. Long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and blood, carnage and desolation are habiliments in which it has been clothed. -Joseph Smith History of the Church 4:571-581

    Come on fellow members of my church. Get to know some gay folks. Educate yourselves. Talk to your creator. Love more. Listen more. We are all better than this.

  • JoTag Raleigh, NC
    May 4, 2019 8:17 a.m.

    If you're wondering why he felt the need to come out in his graduation speech, it's because he's been surrounded his entire life by the hatred we can see in these comments. Being gay isn't a choice, and it isn't a sin. The church teaches this! How long will it take for the members to get on board with "Jesus said love everyone" ?

  • Trad Life Gettysburg, PA
    May 3, 2019 4:25 p.m.

    He is a political science major. Seems to me he is just advancing his political career.

  • utah_man18 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2019 2:57 p.m.

    @Autumngal

    "...But coming to support a loved one for a degree and having my young kids introduced to the topic of homosexuality without me getting to talk to them first is not okay."

    In 2019, it's your own fault if you fail to educate your children before you allow them to experience the "depravity" of the world outside your home where they will likely be exposed to the fact that some people are gay. Are you equally scandalized by a bishopric member declaring his love for his wife and even kissing her publicly where young children are present? Or how about parents joking about preschool-aged boys having "girlfriends" or vice-versa?

    If even the Church now acknowledges that being gay isn't a choice, then shouldn't the idea of homosexuality be introduced to children as early as heterosexuality is? I don't see what the hangup would be now that the Church seems to agree with the scientific community that exposure to the concept of homosexuality won't change anyone's ultimate orientation (just as countless gay people over the years haven't had their orientation changed, despite years of exposure to a hetero-normative society and homophobia). I don't understand why this isn't okay?

  • utah_man18 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2019 2:23 p.m.

    Just curious, Mata Leao from Ogden, UT: when you say, "When I graduated from college I did not feel the need to announce my sexual preference", are you saying that as a straight person? Because there is a big difference between announcing to the world that you're straight, something that was likely assumed about you from birth, and announcing to the world that you aren't straight, partly in order to correct those assumptions

  • Glen Danielsen Yorba Linda, CA
    May 3, 2019 1:30 p.m.

    BYU admin approved the young man’s self-serving speech, his declaration of his sexuality. Because after all it made him feel validated. It was heard by countless people who will view it as a validation of the gay lifestyle itself. That is the irresponsibility of it. Funded in part by sacred tithing funds, spineless BYU continues to adopt secularism.

  • Philippine Bonita Sammamish, WA
    May 3, 2019 11:19 a.m.

    Although this article is all about the fact that Matt stated he is gay in his speech, I doubt that his speech was ALL about that. I’d like to read his speech and see everything he said, not just the two or three lines that are quoted.
    The article includes a few remarks that he made praising BYU and noting that his experience was a net positive and that BYU prepared him, and his cohorts, to face and deal with the challenges of life whatever they may be. It sounds like he was sharing that he felt supported at BYU. He had come out to his family and friends long before this moment. I doubt that anyone who really knew Matt was surprised. I’m sure he did not live a life of deceit at BYU as suggested by one poster. Attending BYU and going about your life like a normal person as a son or daughter of God not announcing to total strangers on campus your sexual orientation is not being deceitful.
    To me he is saying to students & families, LGBTQ & straight, “BYU is an amazing place where regardless of their challenges in life, each child of God can live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, be valued, supported and successful, and may even be a valedictorian!

  • aggiefather Fulton, MO
    May 2, 2019 5:12 p.m.

    “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
    As to be hated needs but to be seen;
    Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
    Alexander Pope

    The cheering BYU students have moved from the "endure" stage to the "embrace" stage. The liberal public schools have done their work.

  • Glendabulous Frisco, TX
    May 2, 2019 2:02 p.m.

    Anyone who says a graduation speech is an inappropriate time and place for him to share this is Absolutely wrong. There are probably over 100 LGBT people at BYU and will be thousands in the future... his speech most likely gave hope, strength and validation to so many youth who may not feel worthy of Gods Love, who may not feel they were created perfectly, who may have been rejected by family and friends. If his speech saved even ONE life it was the perfect time and place. I read he had already come out to his family so it was not a surprise to them that he is gay. His parents, at least his mom was in the audience cheering him on. Many LGBT don’t have the same support from their families especially those who profess to be Christian. I wish him success, happiness and Love!

  • itsjustmyview Draper, UT
    May 2, 2019 12:51 p.m.

    As a byu alum, this selfish speech was an embarrassment to my family to the University and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Trust that President Worthen will take appropriate action to ensure this never happens again at a commencement ceremony.

  • BYUspeech , CA
    May 2, 2019 11:20 a.m.

    @Hep - Salkum, WA. Christ nor His church ever taught being a gay human being is a sin, but you say "one group (LGBT) find a pulpit and proudly proclaim thier sinful natural inclinations"...did the young man ever say "he sleeps around with other men?", did he proclaimed "he wants to marry another man?", did he take stage to "endorse a gay movement?"....no. If there be a future valedictorian at BYU who is a Native American student or a Muslim student from Syria...should it NOT be kosher to say "I am a proud Native American son/daughter of God" or "I am a proud Muslim son/daughter of Allah?"
    I understand the "hate the sin" part. But this guy never said he is committing sin nor did he endorse a movement. You can't consider your own heritage, gender, sexuality, or any form of human characteristics God made you as a sin.
    And for all those who say this is not the appropriate place and time...wrong. A convocation gathering is the right place; it would be the wrong place and time if this were at a sacrament meeting.
    Lastly, DN please stop rejecting my posting as their is no over speculative commits. I see more speculative mean-spirited commits by others.

  • help america Eden, UT
    May 2, 2019 8:27 a.m.

    BYU has sent a message that deceiving is ok. You can lie and go to school knowing you are not abiding by the rules you agreed to. Now the administration condones all these acts because it allowed the most important forum and ceremony to be used for telling graduates and families that living that life style is wok to the world. BYU has lost much by this exercise in Political correctness rather than the mortal institution it once was

  • shadow01 Edwardsville, IL
    May 2, 2019 7:02 a.m.

    OK, It was brave of him to "come out", Congratulations. The thing is, I DO NOT CARE. It is not mine or anybody else's business what sexual orientation he is. If he is living a good clean life it is between him, God, his ecclesiastic leaders and his family and friends if he wants to share that with them.
    I feel that this "coming out" business, especially in large public forums is more like ramiumptum than anything else and I dislike Ramiumptum immensely.
    I don't go up to strangers or anybody else and ask "Are you straight, Gay or whatever?" It's an awkward and intrusive question that asks for an awkward answer. besides that it's impolite. Also, I don't expect or want people to come up to me and say, "Hi, my name is Leo, I'm Gay, What's your name and sexual orientation?"
    I would rather befriend someone based on their goodness, personality and faithfulness rather than a label they apply to themselves or given them by others.

  • dski Herriman, UT
    May 2, 2019 5:21 a.m.

    So what? He is gay and let’s move on. It is the conduct not the identity that matters. However, as long as religion declares homosexuality as a sin, for them, religion will always be the enemy. Regardless whether one is gay or straight, BYU students are required to follow the same honor codes.

    I wish him well.

  • PBradley Sydney Australia, 00
    May 2, 2019 3:03 a.m.

    Imagine that there is a 12 or 13 year-old child going through the challenges of an emerging sexuality and struggling with the not-uncommon confusion surrounding sexual attraction. Many children experience same-sex attraction during this period but, over time, the great majority stabilize with normal heterosexual feelings.

    But let’s say that same child hears the Church’s university has endorsed a valedictorian saying, “I am proud to be a gay son of God.” The child may quite legitimately conclude that their otherwise temporary same-sex attraction means they are really gay.

    And they can be proud about it because BYU said so. So, they begin a process of reinforcing those feelings through what they see and experience. That’s the problem with the speech - normalization of homosexuality and, potentially, gay behavior.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    May 1, 2019 8:49 p.m.

    There is nothing in Church doctrine that says that being gay is a sin. I may be wrong, but for those who condemn Matt for simply being who he is and sharing that with others - isn't that an unrighteous judgment?

    I have never met a perfect person. And nature is most definitely not perfect. Our genetic code can combine in almost infinite ways to create the unique person we become. Like it or not, it's perfectly capable of creating humans who are biologically attracted to members of the same sex. And we are biological entities subject to the whims of our genome before anything else.

    The simple fact that someone is gay never has and never will harm anyone in any way. It is only how we CHOOSE to react to that information that either makes us loving brothers and sisters, or immature, arrogant, small-minded people.

  • joewillie12 Corpus Christi, TX
    May 1, 2019 1:36 p.m.

    Just as a prophet is without honor in their own country, those who speak against cultural norms receive many of the type of comments and judgement seen in this forum.

    Colin Kaepernick, Dr. King, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, the lone man in Tiananmen Square, Vietnam veterans who came back and protested that war as unjust, Kent State students, etc.

    The list isn't long, but the acts are profound. And on the right side of history.

  • Crazy in California Acampo, CA
    May 1, 2019 12:03 p.m.

    It appears to me that Matt Easton has a lot of good qualities, I wish him well.

    It's also clear to me that his declaration was, not just an expression of pride in his identity, but at least, in part, an attempt to put pressure on BYU and The Church.

    He succeeded.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2019 10:52 a.m.

    Liberal/Digressive doctrine is ....

    If you subscribe to "their" way of thinking, with complete devotion, you are good to go.

    If not, they will come after you with smears, disparagement and boycotts, until you capitulate and comply.

    They do believe in "Live and Let Live", only if it's their way..

    The LGBT's are now focusing their attacks on Religion.

    The LGBT movement will never accept any Faith that defines their behavior as sin.

    Never!

    And so it is.
    -----

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2019 10:31 a.m.

    God loves everybody.
    But everybody has moral guidelines. Heterosexual people also have sexual urges that must be constrained. There is a spectrum of sexual, and other, urges that have various strengths. They are called "temptations". We all have our own crosses to bear. I can understand being "honest" about it, but I can't understand being "proud" of it. Do heterosexuals declare pride over wanting to ceat on their wives or any other digression from morality?

  • Hugh1 , 00
    May 1, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    It's OK to be gay, but it's not OK to fall in love, or act on being gay, or have a family, or to live a 'normal' life. Negative comments referring to Matt Easton as selfish, miss the mark entirely. Mr. Easton, like a thousand other graduates, is looking to make his way in the world, but he is unwilling to hide in a closet. I admire Mr. Easton for his courage, to take a stand in defense of his integrity.

  • Chuckee Kamas, UT
    May 1, 2019 8:49 a.m.

    Motive is everything. Why did the young graduate use the commencement forum to announce he was gay? Why did the Dean of the college agree to let him do it? You don't suppose it has something to do with the "shock value" and the perceived need by both to generate national attention? It seems like political correctness trumps all, in our modern society, even at stoic BYU. It seems like another veiled attempt to bring ridicule upon the church's traditional family oriented doctrine - abetted by the school administration itself in the name of showing love and tolerance for all. It is indeed a slippery slope we are headed down.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:33 p.m.

    I wonder if everyone would have cheered as loudly had they read Proclamation on the Family and the importance of gender in God's plan for His children. Instead it may have been accompanied with a respectful silence and afterwards an outreach of love and understanding, but boisterous cheering? I think not. Wrong time and place for this kind of announcement.

  • StevePhilly Philadelphia, PA
    April 30, 2019 9:27 p.m.

    As I read the article, I only find one sentence from the speech, so it’s impossible to know if he used the occasion to selfishly draw attention to himself or announced that he was gay because it was supportive of the points that he wanted to make. Those who are saying ‘wrong place, wrong time’ would likely find mention of homosexuality problematic in almost any situation. As another commenter noted, any time you talk of your husband or wife, you announce your sexual preference. Those of us who are gay get used to the surprised looks, but hope that it gets better in time.

    I hope that this young man is grateful that he was born in the 1990s. Those of us born in the 1950s and 1960s were told by the prophets and apostles that, while God of course loves us, the thoughts and feelings that we had (and he proudly announced at a BYU convocation) were wicked and perverse and would condemn us if we did not rid ourselves of them (‘...as a man thinketh in his heart...’ and all that).

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 4:13 p.m.

    For all those naysayers who say this was not the time or the place, and was not appropriate for a graduation speech, it was approved ahead of time by BYU officials. It was cheered by the students. What could be more appropriate than a student being true to themselves and succeeding despite being different, and being an example for the other graduates to do the same, even if it is for different reasons?

  • DebbieV Rigby, ID
    April 30, 2019 3:39 p.m.

    Why do we care that he is gay? We don't really; he is just one guy. But we DO care that he is alerting so many of us that gays are all around us -at school, in our neighborhoods, in our lives. And historically gays have been ostracized, vilified, discriminated against, judged, and at the very least misunderstood. His speech helps us all to take a breath, relax, and accept them, love them, and feel comfortable knowing them. This is groundbreaking and I applaud Matt - not for being gay - but for having the courage to make himself a high profile individual to help us all become less judgmental and more accepting.

  • jo1952 Redmond, WA
    April 30, 2019 3:26 p.m.

    For one, I applaud this young man for his courage. Anyway, many LGBT LDS have felt the way "A Good Person - Provo, UT" does and it's shameful that he or she is being rejected because of the way God made them. Good Person, if you haven't found yourself watching any of the North Star videos on youtube, you really should.
    I am so pleased that this young man announced to the student body that he is gay because of all of the young people in the LDS church who are LGBT and feel somehow ashamed and alone and depressed. Being gay is how God made him. I see so many comments about this being a choice. I know for a fact, it is not. God bless all of the LGBT men and women who are determined to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    And to those who don't understand yet that a devout LDS person would never choose to be gay and decide to turn your back on them when they need your support and love the most, you need to take a hard look at yourself because right now, Jesus is much more pleased with Good Person, than He is with you.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    April 30, 2019 3:10 p.m.

    @ Scott1 - funny your comments. Over 35 years ago I attended BYU, and yes, my roommate was both Gay, and a Catholic. Had he been honored with giving a speech at graduation about what he learned at the Y, his experiences, and looking forward, I think it would be completely appropriate for him to mention how his experience was unlike the majorities - and how he struggled with it, but also received support in that.

    I never was quit sure why a young gay catholic kid from New Jersey thought going to BYU was a good idea. But when I returned from my mission my friends were living with him at King Henry, and they had an open slot, so I took it.

    What I do know is his experience at the Y was unique. I learned a lot, and so did he. And frankly he kept the honor code better than me. I was more than once turned away from the testing center for not wearing socks. He never challenged the rules that I am aware of.

    I am glad that there is an example of a kid that despite all the challenges, did the right thing, and succeeded at the Y. A lot of kids should be encouraged by him.

    Shame on those who can't see the bigger picture here beyond their own homophobia.

  • MTerry SANDY, UT
    April 30, 2019 3:04 p.m.

    If I had been one of the hundreds of other graduates and families present celebrating the completion of years of hard work culminating with this commencement address, I would feel that my accomplishments would have been greatly diminished because of the focus of this captive audience (and the world) on Mr. Easton. I'm not judging his lifestyle or preferences; just the choice of making this declaration at this venue and to this particular audience.

  • Hep Salkum, WA
    April 30, 2019 3:04 p.m.

    Of course this young man is a son of God. As are all the human family. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not discriminate against sinners. What I fail to understand is how one group (LGBT) find a pulpit and proudly proclaim thier sinful natural inclinations; however defined, with the applause of so many?

    The Gospel "Plan of Salvation", including the "Proclamation on the Family" etc, etc, do not endorse the LGBT condition, however defined, as normal, healthy or worthy.

    This seems to me the intent of such declarations, or "coming outs" of those who affiliate, endorse, identify or accept the LGBT movement... to be considered "normal, healthy and worthy".
    Individual members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, such as this young man, always stop short of using those specific words as part of their declaration.

    To me, it's hideous spiritual sophistry; Paramount to declaring an "Alternative" plan of salvation.
    If this is not a degree of apostasy as a member, I don't know what is.

  • EmmanuelGoldstein1984 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 3:00 p.m.

    This is all good news!
    But this event took place four days ago. Why am I only reading about it today?

  • Markoantgarcia San Antonio, TX
    April 30, 2019 2:55 p.m.

    Romans 1:27

    Self explanatory. I don’t celebrate drinking, gambling, smoking, or any other sin. I certainly don’t dont judge him, but just because it’s politically convenient, I absolutely won’t celebrate it.

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 30, 2019 2:27 p.m.

    @23Miricles

    Just because the Dean approved the remarks. Still doesn’t make it appropriate to those it matters to. In my mind, the Dean approving it was simply a move to be PC with all the hoopla going on.

    This is the world we live in. Succumb to pressure and be afraid of getting sued. Don’t stand up for what you really believe in.

    Personally, I don’t really care if the kid is gay. I agree with many that this is not the time or place to come out. Your a child of God wether you choose to be gay or not. What was the reason for adding a title to it? Why is there not an article written for a straight speech giver? All people ever do is co plain about separation, why can’t we have, do, be, get what someone else is getting? This kid separated himself from everyone else by adding his title to his speech. If he wants to be gay, then be gay. Be the best gay person you can be. Treat people with kindness and respect and be gay. But why do we have to put a label on it. If you are gay, and you don’t want to be labeled, then don’t label yourself. I disagree with what he did. But will encourage him in his life to come.

    @autumn meadow

    Argumentative. Sustained.

  • moresureword Maple Grove, MN
    April 30, 2019 2:04 p.m.

    The Brigham Young University Honor Code states that the following homosexual behaviors are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code: "all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings."

    Thus, a gay BYU student may not kiss, hug, or hold a member of the same sex in an intimate way. In other words, a human, born the way they were through not fault of their own, may not express the way they feel in a loving way.

  • A Good Person Provo, UT
    April 30, 2019 1:54 p.m.

    As a person who is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and happens to experience serious same-sex attraction "stuff," I think that some comments being made regarding this young man's choice to speak up are less than kind. Same-sex attraction or being gay, depending on how the person wants to describe their experience, is a very, very lonely place to be when you feel the negativity of so many in the world through their words and actions. And, especially when the person is part of an organization that has a tenet of acting on same-sex attraction is a sin, it is evil.

    When others notice my feeling discouragement and loneliness, and I choose to trust them with the reason why, most choose to no longer speak with me or spend time with me. For whatever reason(s) they choose to do so, it makes me feel like I must be a terrible person for them to ignore me so completely.

    I encourage everyone to not treat others negatively. Instead, please help all of us who must experience life differently than you, by showing us that you love us and care about us. That we have value to you and that you want us to feel uplifted and strengthened by your actions and words.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 30, 2019 1:53 p.m.

    I don't care who he is attracted too. As long as he lives the commandments.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, WA
    April 30, 2019 1:47 p.m.

    @NWClerk - Salem, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:50 a.m.

    When I gave a convocation talk at my graduation from BYU 30+ years ago, I neglected to discuss my sexual orientation. Please forgive me for this oversight.

    =======

    Please forgive me, but
    you are gay - are you just coming out now?

  • Autumn Meadow South Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2019 1:27 p.m.

    @Pasta: "Why go to BYU if you are gay? honest question."

    Here are some similar questions. Why go to BYU if you are black? Why go to BYU if you are not LDS? Why go to BYU if you are not American? Why go to BYU if you are older than 30?

    I suspect that the most common reason that people choose to go to BYU is to get a good education. But that's just a guess.

    I'm pretty sure it is not BYU's mission to only educate straight, white, American, young LDS people, even if it may sometimes feel like that on campus there.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 1:09 p.m.

    I found it incredibly heartwarming that the BYU graduation audience cheered for Matt Easton. The picky judge-y comments on this board, however, are kind of depressing. It appears that the graduates are simply kinder and more accepting of others than some older folks.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    April 30, 2019 12:38 p.m.

    It appears the D News writer had a chance to interview Easton for this article.

    Given, the fact that Easton served a full-time mission and has now publicly declared his sexual orientation, a few questions (not intending to embarrass or be hostile) that might have been asked, that I’m sure many people have:

    What are your future career plans?
    Do you have future plans to have a family?
    Do you have a boyfriend?
    Do you have a girlfriend?
    Do you hope to some day enter a same-sex marriage?
    Do you hope to some day enter a heterosexual marriage?
    Do you want to remain celibate the rest of your life?

    No judgment here. Just curious how he plans to act (or not act) based on his religious beliefs and his sexual orientation.

    Not trying to pry either. Easton chose to make intimate orientation part of a very public record.

    I do applaud Easton on his academic accomplishments and for selflessly serving a full-time mission. He has clearly learned and is using good study and work habits. And, I wish him all the happiness he can find going forward.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    April 30, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    @ Scott1 - Salt Lake City, UT - April 30, 2019 11:32 a.m. - "Purely selfish motives from yet another selfish person addicted to attention. …..I would be embarrassed if my son or daughter spoke at a Catholic school commencement and declared the LDS church as the only true and living church. It would be a move to purely annoy and agitate those present along with Catholics around the world."

    Bingo!

    An excellent example! Just because something is true does not mean that it is appropriate to be pushy about it at every opportunity. When I was younger I was more rigid in my thinking and saw things as always black or white but as I got older I can see the wisdom of always doing what is right and moral but, when needed, doing it in a way that is more subtle or 'smooth'.

  • trollover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 12:05 p.m.

    I too agree with many here, but why at graduation? I applaud him for being strong in his beliefs and hopefully he can live a life which he is happy with.
    For me graduation is not about you as the keynote speaker making a statement about yourself, but encouraging others to be better. I guess he felt coming out would give others the boost to help reveal themselves in ways they might not be comfortable,.
    I worry that the only reason he is getting attention is because he is gay and goes to BYU and what does that say about how his message was taken.

  • NWClerk Salem, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:50 a.m.

    When I gave a convocation talk at my graduation from BYU 30+ years ago, I neglected to discuss my sexual orientation. Please forgive me for this oversight.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:38 a.m.

    Hmmm....so what do liberals do now that BYU was respectful and loving to a gay student? This kind of Christian outreach doesn't fit their hateful narrative. They must be scrambling right now.

    Proud of BYU and my church....and congratulations to this outstanding and smart young man. Wishing you life's best!

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    April 30, 2019 11:35 a.m.

    This was hardly a selfless or risky move by Matt Easton.

    Actually, this was very good move for Matt Easton himself. Now, more than ever before, big name national organizations want to bring him into their fold. His career prospects got a huge boost from his coming out speech.

    There was virtually no risk in Easton doing this. He has completed his time at BYU, and then got the Dean’s approval of his speech to boot.

    Unfortunately, BYU will likely only get negative press out of this. Many across America will only see the headline on-line or just skim an news report and believe Easton spontaneously rebuked a conservative cult’s flagship university during its graduation ceremonies. In reality, the university, it’s faculty and students are doing everything they can to accommodate Easton and make feel welcome at BYU.

  • Scott1 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:32 a.m.

    Purely selfish motives from yet another selfish person addicted to attention. The dean should be fired. I would be upset if I were there with my children. Those considering attending should be allowed to read and "approve" the speech online before showing up to a circus.

    I would be embarrassed if my son or daughter spoke at a Catholic school commencement and declared the LDS church as the only true and living church. It would be a move to purely annoy and agitate those present along with Catholics around the world.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    April 30, 2019 11:23 a.m.

    Wrong time, wrong place. Period.

    To do this during the graduation exercises was pure selfishness. And this is applauded?

    (SMH....)

  • Count Rushmore Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:15 a.m.

    @Autumngal: "But coming to support a loved one for a degree and having my young kids introduced to the topic of homosexuality without me getting to talk to them first is not okay."

    Amen. It is well worth considering what would cause both the speaker and the BYU administrator who approved the remarks to conclude that they had the right to do that to your children. Consider the political philosophy of those who support the LGBT agenda and connect the dots.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 30, 2019 11:08 a.m.

    Susan Roylance, you wrote, "I agree that we should love all people" .

    Would you also say, "I agree that we should not judge people."?

  • Count Rushmore Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 11:06 a.m.

    I believe it was President Hinckley who said that "adulation is poison."

  • Pasta Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:53 a.m.

    Why go to BYU if you are gay? honest question.

  • conservativeme1 West Valley City, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:52 a.m.

    This commencement address should have been something uplifting for ALL the graduates. It shouldn't have been just about him. He misused his opportunity to encourage and congratulate others in the graduating class. This was his opportunity to get his 15 minutes of fame. If his talk truly was okayed by the Dean, then shame on them both.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:42 a.m.

    Umm, I'm not really sure why people are saying it's not the time and place. This was a subtle form of protest and all protests take place at times and places that are not "appropriate". If BYU didn't have a discriminatory honor code (allowing certain behaviors for hetero but not for homo), then I'd probably agree that his announcement is unnecessary. But the honor code is discriminatory, and this brings attention to it.

    Good on the kid for having the courage to stand for something!

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    'heroic'? A public announcement or display seems very self absorbed! Rather than giving us examples of sacrifice, service, forgetting of self, etc., we are instead bequeathed another individual who can't get over themselves! Where do they go from here, as they continue their 'authentic self' journey, a self for all intents and purposes seems more focused on themselves, rather than others.

  • Pasta Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:26 a.m.

    A Hero is someone who fights for our freedom, a firefighter who risks his/her life to save another, a police officer who puts his/her life on the line every day, not some kid who decides to make a graduation convocation about himself to announce his sexual preference.

  • Autumn Meadow South Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:14 a.m.

    Anyone who has ever thanked their spouse for their support during a BYU graduation speech has also publicly announced their sexual orientation. Not the time or place? Hmmm...

  • Sal Provo, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:11 a.m.

    Matt says he has to be true to himself. I didn't hear any mention of his determination to be true to God and his commandments.

  • axle Riverton, UT
    April 30, 2019 10:09 a.m.

    @ David
    I too have put a lot of thought into this current phenomenon of people that are LBGTQ feeling the need to use a large public stage to announce their sexual orientation. I realize that we are in a time of trying to educate and the public is trying to sort out their feelings toward something that was hidden out of fear in the past. I don't know if I will ever not feel awkward when someone decides to share with everyone what their personal sexual preferences are.
    I think it takes a special person to have that attraction and still be able to stay in the boundaries of their religion. I hope that some day this will be a world where all of us are able to see eye to eye and be fair and understanding of what we all face in life.

  • Doogie South Jordan, Utah
    April 30, 2019 10:07 a.m.

    I was at the graduation and frankly quite shocked at the response of those in attendance when this guy announced his sexual preference it was whooping and hollering and thunderous applause. I am with most of the those here that have made comments in questioning the time and place of his announcement. I don't think the response would have been the same if a unmarried woman stood and said she had been single for 20 years through no choice of her own but had chosen to remain true to her moral values. My point is was his talk about encouraging others to go out and be an example to the world or was it more about him seeking affirmation and pats on the back for his bravery at the expense of others in attendance? After his talk they awarded a post humorous degree to the widow of a student that had fought cancer courageously and with dignity but had succombed before he could the receive his degree. The response was polite but nothing like what the other fellow received. What a contrast! Do we have our priorities mixed up? I think we do...

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    April 30, 2019 10:06 a.m.

    I believe that discretion is the better part of valor. That is, why make an announcement of something that should be a family and close friend matter?

    I personally think that a portion of those "coming out" to be gay do so for the attention. This man is possibly sincere in his sexual orientation, but he has much more to be proud of. His academic achievements are extraordinary. He will have a great boost in his capability to move forward in life based on his scholarly attributes. To me, that should be the focus in his talk, without some momentous announcement that should be a private issue.

  • Rita B Herriman, UT
    April 30, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    When I was at BYU 25 years ago, I sometimes heard ugly homophobic comments from my fellow students. I wondered how the gay students felt hearing those terrible things. I'm so glad that things are improving. I'm guessing that Matt felt that his speech was an appropriate time to say those things because he knows that there are many more gay BYU students who need to be strengthened and encouraged in their journey. I was so proud of my alma mater when I heard his words and the crowd's response.

  • deseret pete Springville, UT
    April 30, 2019 9:48 a.m.

    kbee -- you suggest" we drop the morality of the Honor Code" -- if you do that we have no honor. -- Maybe you would suggest we drop the commandments also so we wouldn't feel guilty if we broke them. --- Maybe we should enlarge the the Home plate in baseball so the pitchers who couldn't throw a strike over the set dimensions could feel good about their skill or maybe we should shrink Home plate for the batters who can't seem to hit the ball within the ruled dimension and could therefore draw a free pass to get on base. -- No it is our responsibility to keep our appetites and passions within the Bounds set by God not to expand those bounds to accommodate a different criteria for each person -- Strait is the gate and narrow the way

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 30, 2019 9:35 a.m.

    A graduation exercise is not the place to be announcing your sexual orientation; it is the place to be reviewing what you learned while you obtained your degree; how your learned to study; how these academic skills will help you throughout your life, etc.

    Whether approved by a dean or not, his comments in that category were inappropriate and now being exploited by the press for their non-academic sensational content. His dean should have known better and had him remove the irrelevant part.

  • Fabled Soul Provo, UT
    April 30, 2019 9:26 a.m.

    Interesting considering he was educated in the Spencer W. Kimball tower and was speaking at the graduation for the School of Family Life.

  • Nathan Andelin West Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2019 9:04 a.m.

    Were the cheers from the audience expressing love and support for the individual? For his courage to be open and direct about his feelings? Or were they cheering the prospect of his future life choices?

    I endorse Church doctrine regarding homosexual relations in that I view them as a detour from God's plan that we become intimate and procreate within the bonds of matrimony between men and women and try to establish eternal family units. It appears to me that detours from that plan are likely to lead people and societies into tribal associations that establish the predominance of the tribe, rather than the sanctity of a family.

  • EastCoastAcorn Ridgefield, CT
    April 30, 2019 9:02 a.m.

    I am happy for Matt. By making this announcement he seems to have lifted a burden from his shoulders that he has felt for at least four years. However, I am not sure the convocation service for his college was the best place to come out. Unless, of course, his real intention was to steal the show from the other 1195 graduates from his college. By coming out in this way he has turned what should have been a service to honor the achievement of all 1196 graduates in his college into an event for himself only. Have there been any other newspaper articles about his peers? No. Too bad.

  • windsor Logan, UT
    April 30, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    The speaker in this situation is supposed to inspire and uplift everyone, not hijack this event for himself.
    I am surprised and appalled at the lack of propriety to know that.

    People can tell this private business about themselves if they want--but they should not hold others hostage and hijack testimony meetings, sacrament meeting talks, talks at baptisms, mission call reveals, or BYU graduation etc to do it.

  • 23Miracles Herriman, UT
    April 30, 2019 8:44 a.m.

    Those questioning if the remarks were appropriate, or if this was the time or place to declare should carefully re-read the article : “ Easton said he had to submit his remarks to the dean's office for approval. The remarks were approved, confirmed the college dean, Ben Ogles . . . “

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 30, 2019 8:22 a.m.

    @Lilly Munster

    "Heterosexuals declare their sexual orientation, directly or indirectly, in everything they do"

    Absolutely 100% False. There is no truth to this whatsoever. This is made up propaganda to try and make a point. Yet a point that is 100% inaccurate.

  • Hawk Littleton, CO
    April 30, 2019 8:13 a.m.

    Like Impartial7's response, the national news media wants to create a "woohoo, he really stuck it in the eye of the puritan regime at BYU" story and a narrative that it will shake BYU to the core. In reality, this might have been the case 10 years ago, but I think the responses to this article are pretty representative. Many find it curious that he would use this such a public forum to announce his sexual preference, but most will respond to him (and the other 1100 graduates in attendance) with "congratulations on your graduation, best of luck in your life moving forward."

  • packers roy, UT
    April 30, 2019 8:03 a.m.

    Good to see this paper actually come out and do a story on this, I mean, how old is this news?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 30, 2019 7:54 a.m.

    @Impartial7: "BYU can't censor him anymore. Can't wait for the response."

    Censor him? Did you miss this part of the article:

    "Easton said he had to submit his remarks to the dean's office for approval. The remarks were approved, confirmed the college dean, Ben Ogles..."?

    BYU did not even attempt to censor him. They approved his remarks.

    As for reaction, I wonder how the left would react if Mr. Easton were to make clear that as a proud as he is to have same sex attraction, he also has the integrity to abide the honor code he voluntarily signed, or that he intends to continue living the law of chastity as taught by the church?

    I've personally raised my hand in church to sustain to leadership position a man who was open about being homosexual.

    My experience going back a couple of decades on this topic is that the religious are far more tolerant of homosexual individuals than the anti-religious are of those who choose to live moral teachings regardless of personal challenges. Those on the left too often only support "choice" when they agree with the choices being made.

  • Susan Roylance
    April 30, 2019 7:53 a.m.

    I agree that we should love all people, and that it would take courage to say he is gay in front of a BYU audience. But I would like to know how he feels about being sexually active outside of marriage. As I understand it, that is the position of BYU, and the honor code. Even heterosexual students who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage are not in compliance with the BYU honor code. And marriage with a man and a woman is the accepted practice for sexual relations. I'm grateful we have an institution that still stands for something -- in a society of rapidly decreasing morals.

  • Mata Leao Ogden, UT
    April 30, 2019 7:49 a.m.

    When I graduated from college I did not feel the need to announce my sexual preference.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    Anyone can choose his/her lifestyle.

    In my opinion, the timing of this announcement was way off, and I think inappropriate. It was meant to put the Church and BYU in the spotlight of public opinion. Some will say yay, others nay! I say nay!

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2019 7:39 a.m.

    Why can't I celebrate my sexuality? Why is it that when someone 'comes out' it's a big deal?

    Whatever happened to live your life...be a good person and keep your private life to yourself, regardless of your sexual preference?

  • bill4570 ,
    April 30, 2019 7:33 a.m.

    It is not at all uncommon to see these so called "newsey" articles about someone who wants to make public their "sexual orientation".

    My big question is "why"? Why is it so seemingly important to openly mention this? And why is it such a big deal for all the press to hone in on this?

    How one is or is not "sexually orientated" is their own private matter. I do not have a need or a desire to know anything more about you other than are you a good person, do you treat others right and are you a compassionate human being?

    That being said, I really doubt if my revelations about being "not gay" will bring the press to me and "ya hoos" from anyone for me being "brave" enough to mention it. Big deal, it's who and what I am.

    Just live a good life. Do no harm. How your sexual compass points is your business, I do not have a need to know either way. And, best wishes to you and yours.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    April 30, 2019 7:26 a.m.

    National media are usually looking to exploit sensational stories, and this kind of incident gives them fodder. Why the kid has to declare what he is attracted to publicly would be thought strange except that it is the fad today. Who he is attracted to has nothing to do with his school work and academic training, which is why he was asked to speak.

    And his declaration that God made him His "gay" son is nonsense. God created him the same as He did everyone else, from the dust of the earth in the natural birth process from his mother. How we choose to live our lives after that is up to us and results in eternal consequences for good or bad. The cheering students simply proved they don't know doctrine and need to familiarize themselves with the scriptures and teachings of the prophets. These inspired sources declare what is right and wrong and God's eternal plan of salvation.

  • Matttty Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 30, 2019 6:34 a.m.

    To me it seems such a selfish point of view. The reason I say this is to me I am forever on trial afterward. Do I address the person properly, do I use the correct pronoun. Why is a person's sexualty so paramount? I don't go around announcing to everyone that I'm straight.

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    April 30, 2019 6:00 a.m.

    Interesting timing. Did he feel that he couldn't be his authentic self until the exact moment of his graduation speech and he was completely done with BYU and with the worry of being judged at BYU? Of course, that is not the way life should be. Nobody should feel that way and nobody should feel stress from being judged. Another proof that BYU's honor code needs a huge adjustment. This story is proof that students can still be their authentic selves, keep trying to improve, work hard and achieve greatness with or without an honor code which can't see into a person's heart. But if they dropped the morality part of the honor code, students could live without the guilt it places on their shoulders.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 30, 2019 5:50 a.m.

    "...why stand before a crowd and announce your sexual preferences...at a graduation? "

    I suspect it was because there's a much larger message here than 'I'm gay'. He stood before his fellow students as valedictorian and told them he was gay, but would he have had that opportunity if he were openly gay four years ago? I don't know for sure, but I suspect not. He is who he is, but he seems to have felt he could only be gay after the fact or the outcome would have been different.

    Perhaps that was his message.

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 30, 2019 5:33 a.m.

    Interesting time to announce.

  • JMOpinion Orem, UT
    April 30, 2019 3:46 a.m.

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King. I have a dream that one day no one will feel the need to publicly reveal their sexual orientation because it’s no ones business and it’s the content of their character that counts.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    April 30, 2019 3:08 a.m.

    @David wrote,

    "He was certainly courageous. And maybe that is what we applaud here. But do people really care that he is gay? Is that something we now pay homage to?"

    If his speech had included a reference to his wife, I don't think you--or anybody else-- would label it "paying homage to" heterosexuality. I don't think you'd be asking, "But do people really care that he is straight?"

    BYU has always had gay students. They just kept quiet and feigned heterosexuality. This story made national news because this particular student had the courage to challenge the culture which would have preferred that he stay in the closet and pretended to be straight.

  • Lilly Munster , 00
    April 30, 2019 1:22 a.m.

    Why announce your sexual orientation? Because he has every right to declare who he is.
    Heterosexuals declare their sexual orientation, directly or indirectly, in everything they do, and are NEVER persecuted, bullied or shamed for that. This is not a contest of who is better, more righteous or even more honest. We all have the right to declare our truth, whatever that is.
    If others are intimidated, angered or confused by this man's courage: they need more truth in their own lives. After all, the are LGBTQ Americans in their families as well.

  • dmb Lehi, UT
    April 29, 2019 11:23 p.m.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think this young man is very accomplished, and I like the fact he recognized he is a son of God - just like the rest of us men are. I do question whether he should have come out and announced it during his speech. What must have been the reaction of his parents, family members and close friends. Could he not have had this conversation with his parents at least prior to the address. Was he thinking about their feelings, and how this news might impact them. I definitely agree that we need to be much more loving and accepting of those who are gay because God in fact made them that way. What I do question is what is the best way to show respect - not only to those who struggle with same-sex attraction - but the feelings particularly of parents who themselves may struggle with such news - especially when it's broadcast in front of everyone before the courtesy of having this young man talk to them first in a more private, personal way.

  • Pasta Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2019 11:15 p.m.

    Why is this considered heroic when “coming out” is so common in our current society?

  • Deanvrtc Vancouver, WA
    April 29, 2019 11:03 p.m.

    Was he supposed to be representing his college or the majority of his classmates? This was grandstanding to make his personal sexual orientation point ...to a captive audience gathered to celebrate ALL GRADUATES. While I’m sure it felt good to him ...and will no doubt lead to sympathetic gay acceptance and statements of courage. Obviously he wanted that result and some validation of his courage. But, most people don’t care if he is gay or not. I have gay family members and love them equally. I respect their challenges. But why choose a graduation speech to talk about your sexuality? Why not represent the university and honor ALL who are graduating? Now, graduates will just remember their graduating day was spent listening to a gay man come out ..instead of a celebration all of their hard worked for graduation.
    We all wish the man love and acceptance. I just believe he turned this into a self serving confessional statement of his challenges, instead of representing the university and his fellow graduates. Very disappointing to many families gathered. This was graduation, not a conference on the real struggles of gay men at BYU.

  • Autumngal Benjamin, UT
    April 29, 2019 11:01 p.m.

    I’m not in the business of judging anyone or their life choices...just as I hope they wouldn’t judge me. However, this was absolutely not the right time to talk about sexuality preferences. Graduating with a degree is something to be proud of! It looks like he went above and beyond and should absolutely be proud of himself! He sounds amazing! But coming to support a loved one for a degree and having my young kids introduced to the topic of homosexuality without me getting to talk to them first is not okay. Wrong time. Wrong place. I don’t understand why this is okay?

  • N.C.Y. Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 29, 2019 10:45 p.m.

    I am sure Matt feels great about his announcement. And I really appreciate the response he received from fellow students. That probably confuse a lot of people who stereotype BYU out of their own phobias. I do fear however, for what happens the rest of his life. What happens when then applause wears off? What happens when the tells his other gay friends, "I am gay buy I don't practice." How will they treat him? Will they respect his religious belief? Will the gay community applaud that decision? I fear it won't happen. His fight is just beginning not with his church but with his same gender community.

  • Autumn Meadow South Jordan, UT
    April 29, 2019 10:02 p.m.

    @David - Why announce this at a graduation? I'll take a stab at it, since I went to BYU when things were quite different.

    There are probably dozens if not hundreds of other gay students currently enrolled at BYU, many of them closeted and fearful and ashamed and perhaps depressed because of the homophobia exhibited so openly by many members of the Church. There are perhaps thousands of teenaged gay members of the Church watching what happened at this graduation. This event matters a great deal to all of them, and to the people who love them. The world, and often the Church members, have been cruel to gay individuals. Matt bore his testimony that they are loved by God, and that they were created the way they are for a reason. It is a wonderful thing to see that the environment at BYU has changed over the last few decades, and that most students and faculty members there are now treating gay students with the kindness they deserve.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 29, 2019 9:43 p.m.

    Very proud of you, Matty. You are who you are.

    No one should struggle with that in 2019.

  • Utefan60 , 00
    April 29, 2019 8:49 p.m.

    I'd compare that speech to the speech that President Wilkinson gave years ago that asked "anyone with those kind of feelings to leave BYU". He even offered a refund of their tuition.

    What a change we see in a more enlightened speech this week.

    Congrats to someone who hopefully has erased in some small manner that terrible pronouncement that was spoken from the President of BYU in the not so distant past.

    Courage? You bet.

  • Xandaira Hillsboro, OR
    April 29, 2019 8:42 p.m.

    Good for you, Matt! Hang in there, remember you are loved and you are important. Ignore the fearful taunt of naysayers. I envision the day you feel free to have a fulfilling, loving relationship with the person of your choice.

  • David Centerville, UT
    April 29, 2019 8:14 p.m.

    Why?

    I don't want to be rude or ignorant, but why stand before a crowd and announce your sexual preferences...at a graduation?

    I like the gay people I know. I just don't understand why this is applauded.

    He was certainly courageous. And maybe that is what we applaud here. But do people really care that he is gay? Is that something we now pay homage to?

    Please teach me here...

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    April 29, 2019 8:10 p.m.

    I am a large man. It is just who I am. Love food, enjoy going out with friends. It's what I do. And something I am always working on to keep in balance with the totally of all the other things I must be as well. Sometimes the whole moderation thing is my personal challenge. It's one I will have to work on my whole life. But it is also not all I am either.

    I am happy that this young man is able to be who he is, as he continues to define himself as he goes through life. Coming out as gay is only one part of who he is. But he is also a lot of other things as well. Obviously smart, a hard worker, and one who also takes his faith seriously.

    We have all been dealt different cards in life to deal with and build upon. No two of us are the same. We each uniquely have our challenges, and our opportunities. No one has walked in anyone else shoes. So the best thing to do is to accept and love each and every one of us, despite and because of our differences.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 29, 2019 7:42 p.m.

    The kid is a rock star. People all over know what he said, BYU can't censor him anymore. Can't wait for the response.

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2019 7:39 p.m.

    I am very proud of this young man. He is obviously a brilliant, talented, motivated and dynamic student. He has been making positive contributions to society already and no doubt will have a very bright future. I hope that he will have many employment opportunities and job offers that will utilize his gifts. And, he also happens to be a gay son of God.

    As a straight, white, middle-aged "Mormon mom", it makes my heart leap with joy to hear the positive reaction of his graduating class. Happy tears that he is being embraced and supported on his journey. I pray that his very closest family and friends will let him know that their love is 100% unconditional - in word and in deed. Every soul is priceless. I am impressed by how this young man is letting his light shine. I know he is inspiring and encouraging others.

  • TNgirl Memphis, TN
    April 29, 2019 7:28 p.m.

    Good for him! Any act that helps LGBTQ members of the church know that they are loved and that they are not alone is a move in the right direction.