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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary


Hi guys.

Lolly and I are sitting by a pool in the blazing sun, tanning our Seattle-white skin. We are having the time of our lives. Our kids are being watched by their Aunt Kati and Uncle Blake while we relax, celebrating ten incredible years of marriage.

And, side by side, we are finishing the final details of this post which we have written together over the course of the last month.

This is a different post than what you’re used to seeing here on The Weed. If you are here to laugh and read something light-hearted and fun, you probably want to skip this one. It's long. And it's serious. And I won't be offended by anyone who decides to wait until things get light-hearted again.

This is the post where I tell you that I, Josh Weed, am homosexual.

I need to clarify a couple of things.

First, I think it’s important to clarify that although The Weed is a humor blog, this post is not a joke. This isn’t satire. This is not aimed to get laughs. I promise. This is completely serious, and it is us being completely real and genuine on a subject that is very personal and very dear to our hearts. 

Second, I need to clarify that this post is written from the standpoint of a devout, believing Mormon and addresses topics seen within the Mormon and broader Christian community. Please forgive us if our focus feels unfamiliar, or feels totally incongruent with the rest of the posts on this blog.

I guess the premise of this post is to share that not only am I homosexual, but I’m also a devout and believing Mormon. And that I’m very happily married to a woman, and have been for ten years now.
And for the first time, we’re talking about it publicly.

When we do tell people about this—and we’ve been telling a lot of people lately, so we’ve gotten really practiced at it—they usually have a lot of really good, genuine questions. Here are some of the questions we’re most frequently asked (there really should be an acronym for that—I know! I’ll call it a FAQ!). We hope answering these questions will help you understand how we make sense of this delicate and complicated issue in our lives.

1. Why have you decided to share this information?

We have several reasons for opening up about this part of our lives. First and foremost, my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs. I have decided to be open with these clients about my own homosexuality, and in doing so have opened the door to people finding out about this in ways I can't control. Therefore, we thought it would be wise to be the ones who told those we love about this part of our lives. Posting on the blog was the simplest way to make sure that happened as it would be impossible to sit all of the people we have known and loved in our lives down and share this personally. 

The second reason is that the issue of homosexuality is not very well understood. We wanted to add our voice and experience to the dialogue taking place about this very sensitive issue.

Thirdly, I (Josh) feel the desire to be more open regarding this part of my identity. I have found that sharing this part of me allows my relationships with others to be more authentic. It has deepened my friendships and enhanced my interactions, and it has also helped me to feel more accepted by others as it allows others the opportunity to choose to accept me for who I really am. 

2. What do you mean when you say you’re “gay”?

When I say I am gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted (and I use these terms interchangeably, which is a personal decision) I refer specifically to sexual orientation. I am sexually attracted to men. I am not sexually attracted to women. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true, but it’s really as simple as what a girl asked me* in junior high—and I’m sorry if this is a little blunt, but I’ve never found a question that cuts to the heart of the matter more effectively— “so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?” My answer, which I didn’t say out loud, was unquestionably the guys. And it was unquestionably not the girls. And that still is my answer. It’s really not very complicated. Most people just don’t think about their sexual orientation because they don’t have any reason to.

*Why did a girl ask me that question in junior high? Because a bully actively spread a rumor around the entire school that I was a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” This was unbelievably horrific and traumatizing, and I was harassed every single day about it, often by perfect strangers. I was more effeminate, played the violin, didn’t play sports, was never interested in girls and didn’t hang out with guys, and so people glommed onto that rumor and ruthlessly harassed me for the entire year, culminating in a yearbook filled with breathtakingly insensitive taunts. Being the gay kid is really, really hard in junior high. If you know a gay kid in junior high, give them a hug and tell them you love them. I assure you they could use it.

3. When did you know you were gay?

I knew I was gay when I was 11 or 12. That’s the onset of puberty, when humans begin to feel sexual attractions. For a little while I was waiting for the attraction to girls to set in because that’s what everyone said would happen, but then there was a sinking moment of realization—a thought like “oh, this thing for guys is its replacement.” I told my parents shortly thereafter, when it seemed pretty clear that my sexuality wasn’t playing a trick on me, and the girl thing wasn’t going to happen, but the guy thing was totally happening. I was 13 when I told my dad (a member of the Stake Presidency—which is a lay leader in the Mormon church—at the time). My parents were incredibly loving and supportive, which is part of why I believe I’m so well adjusted today. They deserve serious props for being so loving and accepting—I never felt judged or unwanted or that they wished to change anything about me. That’s part of why I have never been ashamed about this part of myself. (I feel plenty of shame about other irrational things, like the fact that I can’t catch a ball or change a tire (as you may have noticed on the blog)—and I’m working on that stuff because toxic shame isn’t a good thing. But I’ve never been shameful about who I am, or about this feature of me as a critical part of my person, which it is in the same way that sexuality is a critical part of any person.)

4. If you’re married to a woman, how can you really be gay?

This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period. Yet my marriage is wonderful, and Lolly and I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life. How can this be?

The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is “how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?” I didn’t fully understand the answer to this question until I was doing research on sexuality in grad school even though I had been happily married for almost five years at that point. I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable. But I didn’t understand how that was happening. Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.

5. Did your wife know you were gay when you married her?

Yes. I told Lolly about my homosexuality when I was 16 and we were on a date. In fact, I recently just wrote a humor post about that day. Here it is: vomit—a story of romance. That may have been the most important day (and was definitely the most important date) of my life. Everything I have in life that I cherish—the love of my life, my career, my education, coming home to three beautiful daughters screaming “Daddy, daddy!” with glee—hinged on that fateful day at Pizza Hut, and on a wonderful girl who was compassionate and open-minded and willing to listen to a young gay kid who was lonely and desperate for a soft landing place and to be heard.

Well…  I’ve actually published an essay which tells the whole story in an anthology published by Deseret Book. Here the book is, if you're interested:

The book was compiled by my friend Ty Mansfield, and my essay is called “An Unlikely Gift” under my old pseudonym, Jason Lockhart. For this post, we've had Lolly tell our story below.

In fact, let's do her question next:

6. Why would your wife choose to marry someone who is gay?

Hey guys. I never thought that the first guest post I wrote on “The Weed” would be talking about how I fell in love with gay Weed. But I definitely want to share my part of our story. So, here it goes. 
I have known Josh and loved him for a very, very long time. We met when we were very small children. We lived on the same street in Utah and his dad was my Bishop (ecclesiastical lay-leader of an LDS congregation). When we were younger, we were acquaintances. In junior high we started eating lunch together and grew to be friends. I found him amusing and I enjoyed being around him. 
After 9th grade, my family moved to Portland, Oregon. I thought of Josh Weed occasionally but never did anything about it until his family moved to the same city in Oregon two years later. We both thought it would be fun to reconnect, so we went on our first date. 
And that is when Josh told me that he was gay. I was the first person he told, aside from his own parents. I will never forget the look on his face during the first moments of that conversation. From that look, I knew that he was feeling extremely vulnerable in what he had just shared and that what he was dealing with was very hard and very real for him.  Knowing Josh’s beliefs in our church, the first question that came to my mind was “What are you going to do about it?” 
We talked at length that night about the reality of being gay in the Mormon Church.  He told me that he believed in the doctrine of the Church and that he wanted to do what God wanted him to do.  During the course of that conversation, my mind became overwhelmed by the complexities of the issue he was facing. And how alone he felt in facing them. 
I was determined to be an ally and friend to him in regards to this issue.  I can’t even recall all of the conversations we had, but we spent hours and hours over the course of years hammering out what this issue meant in general and what it meant for him. Why was he gay? What did God expect him to do? Etc. 
Josh’s commitment to God was so apparent to me as we discussed the choices ahead of him. My admiration and respect deepened immensely for him. We spent a lot of time together and I loved being with him. Our friendship grew and grew.  And I truly loved him. He told me that he wanted to go on a mission for the church and that he would also like to get married and have a family. I believed that those things were possible for him, but I never thought it would be with me. 
The possibility of us becoming more than friends would come up every now and then, but I would dismiss it quickly. My parents did an amazing job in teaching their children about the proper role of sexuality. In our home, sex was viewed as sacred, enjoyable, and something to look forward to in marriage. I saw the important role that intimacy played in successful marriages and that was one aspect of marriage that I was greatly anticipating. Therefore, in my mind, marrying someone gay was completely out of the question. 
I remember one conversation in particular in which Josh said, “If YOU won’t consider marrying me, then who will?” I responded with, “I’m sure there is someone out there for you. It’s just not me. Maybe you need to find someone who doesn’t care about sex.” He thought that line of thinking was wrong, but I couldn’t think of another solution for him. 
Years continued to pass. Josh’s first year at college, he got a girlfriend. Who also happened to be my best friend.  I loved both of them very much and was very happy for them. Yet, something unexpected happened. I started to feel jealous. They ended up breaking up shortly after the semester ended, but the feelings of jealousy that I had experienced in regards to their relationship threw me off guard. I started to seriously examine my feelings for Josh. 
In a moment of honest reflection, I realized that Josh was everything that I wanted in a husband. (All except for the huge fact that he was gay.) He was dedicated to God above all else and he loved his Savior deeply. He was kind, funny, sincere, honest and so much fun. I connected with him in ways that I did not connect with anyone else.  But he was gay. And I did not know if I could handle that in a marriage. 
I ended up confessing my feelings to him on a random day on a whim. He admitted that he felt the same feelings for me. That I was everything he wanted in a wife. I had never been more excited or confused. We decided to try it out and to start dating. It was truly an amazing experience for both of us, falling in love with our best friend. 
Before he left on his mission, I was still not sure if I could actually marry him. The intimacy factor was so important to me. During the course of dating, we held hands and kissed.  It was promising, but I didn’t know if our chemistry would be enough. 
One day, we were having a conversation about our relationship. He simply said, “Am I worth it to you?” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that question. We then talked about how no one is perfect and how everyone deals with his or her own set of imperfections.  When you get married, you are accepting a person as a package deal—the good, the bad, the hard, the amazing and the imperfect.  He wanted to know if I loved the rest of him enough that I could deal with the realities that his homosexuality would bring to our marriage. I honestly could not answer him then. 
Months passed and I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. I said to her, “I can find someone else like Josh, right? Someone else to love like I love him?” She said, “You could find someone else to love, sure. But you will never have what you and Josh have with someone else. Because no one else is Josh.” When she said that, and I thought of loving someone else, I knew the answer to his question “Am I worth it?” 
I knew that I loved Josh. I loved All of him. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to marry Josh Weed because I loved the man that he was. I loved everything that made him him. I didn't want anyone else. I knew that we had the kind of relationship that could work through hard trials and circumstances. I had faith in him and I had faith in our love. I did not choose to marry someone who is gay. I chose to marry Josh Weed, the man that I love, and to accept all of him. I have never regretted it. 
 
 I love this man. 

Okay, next question, and Josh will take over again. If you're still reading, I'm impressed!


7. Why do you not choose to be “true to yourself” and live the gay lifestyle?

First of all, I understand that when people refer to a “gay lifestyle” they are talking about a lifestyle that includes gay romantic and sexual relationships. But I want to point out that because I am gay, any lifestyle I choose is technically a “gay lifestyle.” Mine just looks different than other gay peoples’. My hope is that other gay people will be as accepting of my choices as they hope others would be of their choices.

But that doesn’t really answer the question. And it is an important question.

One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true. I think this is true of life in general as well. If you decide to be a doctor, you give up any of the myriad of other things you could have chosen. But with homosexuality, the choices seem to be a little bit more mutually exclusive.  If you are Mormon and you choose to live your religion, you are sacrificing the ability to have a romantic relationship with a same-sex partner. If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.  And so on. No matter what path you choose, if you are gay you are giving up something basic, and sometimes various things that are very basic. I chose not to “live the gay lifestyle,” as it were, because I found that what I would have to give up to do so wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me.  The things I wasn’t willing to part with were the following:

1. I believe the doctrine of the Mormon Church is true. One of the key doctrines of the church is that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Another is that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” These are things I personally believe. I also believe, and my experience has shown me time and time again, that when I follow the teachings that I know to be true my life is blessed and I find immense joy and peace. I feel that this joy and peace is a direct result of my connection to God’s spirit as a result of living in a way He approves of.

Deciding not to give this up--these profound spiritual beliefs that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul to be true--in favor of my sexual orientation required a great deal of faith, but I can honestly say that, for me, it has been completely worth it. I have not regretted the decision one day of my life. My life is filled with so much genuine, real, vibrant joy that I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God for blessing me for my obedience and adherence to His guidelines as I understand them. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Mormon Church, which I consider to be His restored organizational unit. I did not want to give that up.

2. I am a traditionalist at heart. I wanted a wife. I wanted to raise children that were biologically the product of me and the one I love. Thankfully, Lolly was willing to marry me, and we found ourselves able to conceive children. I have three incredible daughters. Every moment with them is true joy. Sometimes as I wrestle in the living room with them, or watch them eat cookies with chocolatey mouths and lots of giggles, or read them stories before tucking them into their beds, I’m filled with a sense of such joy that I almost feel bad to have such an incredibly fulfilling life. I often find myself in awe at how amazing my life is, and how lucky I am. And in my opinion, it was more than luck. I believe my joy stems from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting God and his plan for me even when it was really hard and scary.

3. I love Lolly Shea. (In my mind, she will always be Lolly Shea, the girl that I’ve known since I was three years old.) I want to be with her for the rest of my life. I want to grow old by her side. I wouldn’t trade her for any human on earth, male or female. She is my best friend, my lover, and my greatest gift. I love her with a love that is undeniable, and anyone that knows us can attest to the fact that our love is real, vibrant and very apparent. Besides my relationship with God himself, she is my everything and nothing that I ever do or receive in my life will ever compare to her and her love for me.

I find that when I think of what alternative lifestyles could offer me, they pale in comparison to the full, joyous, bounteous life I live. Thus, I believe that to live my life this way is being true to myself, and to go down any other path would be egregiously inauthentic and self-deceptive.

About two years ago, I saw a psychologist to get medication for my ADHD-I.  She was a lesbian, and when I told her that I was a gay man in a heterosexual marriage, she spent an entire session hammering me with questions about my situation in a genuine effort to make sure I was happy. I didn’t love that she did this, but as a clinician myself, I understood where she was coming from.

During our conversation, she told me about her life with her partner. She spoke of a girl, whom she considered her daughter, who is the biological child of her ex-lover, with whom she lived for only three years. She told me of how much she loved her daughter, but how infrequently she got to see her. And eventually, when talking about my sex life, she said “well, that’s good you enjoy sex with your wife, but I think it’s sad that you have to settle for something that is counterfeit.”

I was a little taken aback by this idea—I don’t consider my sex-life to be counterfeit. In response, I jokingly said “and I’m sorry that you have to settle for a counterfeit family.” She immediately saw my point and apologized for that comment. Obviously, I don’t actually think a family with non-biological members is counterfeit in any way. I also don’t feel that my sex-life is counterfeit. They are both examples of something that is different than the ideal. I made that joke to illustrate a point. If you are gay, you will have to choose to fill in the gaps somewhere. She chose to have a family in a way that is different than the ideal. I choose to enjoy sex in a way that is different than the ideal for a gay man. It all comes down to what you choose and why, and knowing what you want for yourself and why you want it. That’s basically what life is all about.

8. Should all gay people who are LDS or Christian choose to marry people of the opposite gender?

I want to make it very clear that while I have found a path that brings me profound joy and that is the right path for me, I don’t endorse this as the only path for somebody who is gay and religious. I will never, ever judge somebody else’s path as being “incorrect” and I know many people who have chosen different paths than myself.

I have two general recommendations:

1. If you know and love somebody who is gay and LDS (or Christian), your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse.  Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes. Love. Only love. Show your love in word and deed. Embrace them, both literally and figuratively. I promise they need it—and they need to feel like they can figure out this part of themselves in a safe way without ridicule and judgment. It’s what Christ would do. It’s what your loved one needs. Accept them. Love them. Genuinely and totally.

If you are a parent or guardian, teach them what you know to be true in appropriate moments, with the Spirit. But then let go and let them govern themselves. Trust that they can find their own path. Let them live their life and have the experiences they need to learn and grow. Trust that they are in charge of their own agency and destiny. I promise you they will thank you. I also promise that pressuring them to live the life you want them to lead will only hamper their ability to make a genuine and authentic choice for their own future, be it what you hope for them or not. You will never, ever give your gay loved one a better gift than to love and accept them for who they are, right now, no matter what, period. The friends and family who did that for me (at varying points in my journey, including very recently) are cherished and will go down in the history of my life as the people that truly loved me, and as true Christians who helped me on my path. (And, btw, some of them are not technically even Christian—but to me are like Christ in their actions.)

2. If you are gay and Mormon (or Christian), I want you to know how much love I feel for you, and how much I admire you. I know how hard it is to be where you are. I want you to do me a favor. I want you, right now, to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and accept yourself as you are in this very instant. You are you. And your attractions are part of you. And you are totally okay! I promise. I want you to stop battling with this part of you that you may have understood as being sinful. Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction. I feel this is a very important distinction. This is true for every single person. You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose what you do with them.  

I want you to know that God loves you, and that even though you are attracted to people of the same gender, you are a completely legitimate individual, worthy of God’s love, your family’s love, and the love of your friends. You are no more broken than any other person you meet. You are not evil. You are a beautiful child of God. Please don’t be ashamed. Know that you can be forgiven for any mistakes you have made, and that God is not judging you. He loves you. Turn to him. He has a plan specifically for you. He wants you to be happy, and he will take you by the hand, and guide you step by step to where you need to be if you trust Him. He is not angry with you, and He knows you completely, every part, even the parts you wish you could keep hidden. He knows it all, and he still loves you! He couldn’t love you any more, and he is proud of you for your courage. I wish you could know of my sincerity as I write these words, and how deeply I feel compassion for you. 

Conclusion (finally?)

You might be having an emotional reaction of some kind to this post. We want you to know that that’s okay.

Perhaps you’re someone that has never met a person that is gay whose opinion you trust, and are having trouble believing that a man or woman could actually be sexually attracted to their same gender. Perhaps it’s hard for you to accept the idea that people do not choose to be gay because it has helped you to understand this issue to assume that it is a matter of choice. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps it is hard for you to believe that a man who regularly has sex with a woman could actually be a homosexual who has chosen to live with a woman he loves, and that there’s no way I could feel what I claim to feel. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has been affected by a loved one who is gay and got married to a person of the opposite gender under false pretenses and then left his or her family, and your feelings are raw, and this post makes you feel feelings of anger because you worry that anybody in these circumstances is in for an eventual rude awakening and horrible consequences. Perhaps it even makes you feel deeper pain and loss than you already do to imagine that while this type of marriage didn’t work for you or for someone you love, it is working well for someone else, and so it’s easier to dismiss our story as something that is bound to fail. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has trouble believing a Mormon or Christian could actually be gay, so this post is difficult for you to take at face value. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who is gay, and you once had desires to have a family with biological children of your own, but you gave that dream up long ago, and so now you feel challenged by the idea that doing so is a possibility for you, which makes you resistant to accept that what we are saying could be true—and maybe that makes you angry or upset that we would even suggest this is possible for those who want it. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you have had none of these emotions and are totally supportive. Maybe you are even excited to see this being talked about so openly. Or perhaps you have felt something entirely different than anything mentioned.

Wherever you find yourself in your emotions, know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. This issue is a very complex one and a very emotional one.

But this is a moment where whatever your feelings on the subject may be, you are reading the words of a real live person who is telling the truth. I am not lying to you right now. I have no reason whatsoever to share this with you besides to add a voice to the global discussion so that someone who might feel hopeless and lonely and devoid of role models or voices to trust can find all the information about their options available. I do so at great risk. I do so in spite of probable backlash from people I know as well as perfect strangers. I do so knowing that I will be misunderstood and possibly maligned—called a fraud, and told that my most intimate relationships are a sham. That I might be called Satanic, or told that I am the epitome of self-deception.

But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.

All of these things are true, whether your mind is allowing you to believe them or not.

There are too many voices of dissent. There are too many voices saying that what I’m doing with my life is impossible. There are too many voices saying I don’t exist. Saying that I am a mirage, or a fake, or an impossibility. And Lolly and I have had our ten wonderful years of isolation, where we have enjoyed the goodness of our love and our life together in private. We have had chances to come out before in loud ways—we’ve been featured anonymously in news stories, been invited to be on radio interviews and documentaries, and were even asked to be on a national talk show. But it wasn’t time. We needed to have those years—ten wonderful years to ourselves, to live outside of any scrutiny, and just be ourselves.

But now we know that it’s time for us to share, and begin a new phase of openness and authenticity. We aren’t sure why, but we both know, without question, that this is what we are supposed to do. Maybe somebody needs to hear our story. Maybe you are that somebody. If so, thank you for reading, and thank you for letting us share this intimate piece of our lives with you.

If you are someone we know in person, we worry you might feel a little hurt about the manner in which you have found out about this. Know that if you feel that this was an abrupt way to find this out, we genuinely apologize. There was simply no way to talk to everyone we love before publishing this post--but we want you to know that the dialogue is open. If you have questions for us, please ask them. We are talking about this now. We won't be weirded out if you ask us questions. And if you didn't hear about this personally, it's not because we don't love or trust you. We tried to get to everyone, but just ran out of time.

Also, generally, please feel free to use the comment section to discuss this matter if you wish. However, remember that this is our lives you are talking about. Please feel free to say what you need to say, but we would ask that you be respectful of our decisions and the decisions of others if you decide to comment. And if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it. You can click share in the upper corner or down below. We want this post to reach anybody it could potentially help. 

In closing, when talking to some friends about our situation in preparation for this post, one of them said “It’s almost like we’ve encountered a real live Unicorn!” She was joking of course. She was just saying that they were talking to something that not many encounter. A mythical creature. Someone who is gay, Mormon and married. And then as we told new friends about ourselves in preparation for this post, we told them we were initiating them into “Club Unicorn” because they had now seen something mythical with their very own eyes.

I now extend that invitation to every one of you. I am not a myth. I am real.

I cordially welcome you as the newest member of Club Unicorn.

This is what it's all about.

Photos courtesy of A&W Photography





4,247 comments:

  1. I think the most powerful part of this post is that this--your dedication to each other, your love for each other, your willingness to sacrifice in deep and meaningful ways for each other--is your happily ever after. And it's beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your lives. You guys are awesome!

    --And happy anniversary. Your family is gorgeous. :)

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  2. You know how much I admire and love you guys. This took so much courage. Hope you're enjoying your vacation!

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  3. As I read this, I was struck by how amazing you both are to each other. The way you have dealt with this issue together in your relationship has clearly strengthened your marriage and made it so full of love and understanding for one another and so... healthy! Thank you so much for sharing this very intimate part of yourselves with all of us.

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  4. Since the moment I met you two I KNEW you were literally made for each other. I love you guys and I think you are incredible! You have faith that could move mountains. Thank you for sharing. Your message is inspired. Go team Weed!
    -Allison H.

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  5. Josh and Laurel, thank you so very much for opening up your lives and sharing with us. Thank you for your honesty and your acceptance of us, as imperfect as we are.
    Right along with Mel, I admire and love you guys and value your friendship. Thank you very much for inducting me into the club. I was always too much of a social pariah growing up to be part of the cool clubs. Now I get to be in a totally cool one!
    Thank you also for your strength and will and determination (both of you).

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  6. what a beautiful, beautiful post! you both are so inspiring and so amazing..laurel your section of the post brought tears to my eyes. thank you for having the courage to share your story with others. i'm sure that it will give courage to others. xoxo

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  7. I'm so hurt I didn't hear about this personally. I find out in a blog post that you can't throw a ball?!

    My reaction is somewhat unexpected to me, but I'm kind of excited about Club Unicorn.

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  8. Anne Thrall-NashJune 7, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Wow, I am so very impressed. I am sure that many people will be helped by you telling your story with such clarity and love. Blessings to you, Josh, and to your lovely family

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  9. My in-laws need to read this. They once said that they would rather found out their son had been killed than to find out he way gay.
    I could NOT believe it.
    You're amazing.
    You're love is amazing.
    Good for you!

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    1. Yes, I think it is great that they were able to talk about this BEFORE getting married and loved each other enough to live church standards! My situation was that my husband of almost 15 years FINALLY admitted to me that he was gay, but I had to tell his family when we separated. They never really accepted the truth because he was also LDS but wanted to live a homosexual lifestyle.

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  10. Wow, we'll done! I am talking about your grammar, I don't care about the rest...no no no. This was a surprising post and so interesting. I have been thinking lately about sexuality in regards to how we put limits on it. Who someone is having sex with and who/what that makes them. I am thinking sexuality is more fluid, subtle and intricate....complicated? Sure. But looks like you have made it beautiful for you and your wife. So, so very interesting. And I mean that from a loving place, not just a good article read; I have been enjoying your posts for a few different reasons. I am just in awe, is what I am trying to say. So, thank you and your wife for sharing.

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  11. I am just simply amazed. Your message is so hopeful, your lives so rich and inspiring. I can not identify with your orientation, other than the good good people I know in my life who are homosexual.
    Thank you for sharing this profound ....HAPPY story of who you are, and heck, who we all should be ~!! at least on the level of intimacy I see. May God continue to bless you and your family. Kathy

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  12. What a marvelous post! I can't read it (even for the third time) without being moved. And always, always thinking about the quote where the church grows to the extent that the members "reflect righteousness and articulateness." You guys are awesome!

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  13. This was an answer to so many prayers. And it's not because of any of the predictable reasons, but it is because of all of them, and then some. I DO think you are a unicorn, and very rare, and I have no desire to FORCE anyone to be anything mythological or beyond God's will for them. But I BELIEVE in unicorns!!! And you guys rock.

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  14. Fantastic. I have often told friends that EVERY lifestyle/sexuality/whatevertermisnonoffensive comes with a price. As a Christian woman, if my husband dies or leaves me and I never remarry, God has called me to be celibate. And that sucks. Because I was made to be a sexual being, it is part of the very foundation of who I am and I would have to deny it. But I have faith that God wants good things for me and I will do what He has asked.

    Being married means you give up the freedom of being single and some level of individuality, being single means you give up the intimacy that only a marriage can bring. Being childless can save you a lot of hassle but there is no one to change your diapers when you are old. We all make choices and even if they are not a "choice" as much as a basic foundation of who we are. We can't all have all the things. But we can all go out and create families and lives and a world for ourselves and be happy with all the good instead of what we think we *might* have missed out on.

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  15. This was an answer to so many prayers. And it's not because of any of the predictable reasons, but it is because of all of them, and then some. I DO think you are a unicorn, and very rare, and I have no desire to FORCE anyone to be anything mythological or beyond God's will for them. But I BELIEVE in unicorns!!! And you guys rock.

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  16. Josh & Lolly - I am so impressed with your courage to go public with this part of your lives. You are amazing, and I have nothing but respect and love for you both. I know that you will be able to help many people, and I am so glad to see this issue in the LDS church being openly discussed in a positive, supportive way. Hope to see you both soon!

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  17. Wow... long, but so well written! I am so glad you two ended up together (there were points where I could not imagine it any other way before it even happened)... and ten years... ha ha... still flying solo, but that is okay too!! What a beautiful family!!

    It has been fun to see your posts here and there... remind me & I'll send you an invite to mine! Even though mine are not as funny ;)

    And although it has been forever since I have seen you guys, I still am soo grateful for the friend from high school who was one of the biggest blessings in my life, Love ya Loll!! In some crazy way reading about your lives makes me feel a little reconnected with you guys! <3 ya!

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  18. Happy Anniversary! You two are amazing!! So glad you chose to share! I have had a really hard time lately with all of the gay marriage politics because I feel bad for people who can't be married to those that they love, but I also know that marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God. I wish everyone could walk a mile in someone else's shoes before judging them! Thank you for explaining the shoes you walk in every day! Miss you guys!

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  19. Dang it, I just love you two! Thanks for being fun, fantastic and amazing people. My life has been richly blessed by having you as my dearest friends. Thanks for living your lives the way you have. Your examples are admired by many, myself included. Happy Anniversary! 10 years! Holla!

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  20. At first I was pretty confused. "You're gay? What? You're married to woman! How would that work?"
    Then I got to that part where you talked about what intimacy really is, and I think I understand. I've always thought the same and am sad that a lot of people don't realize this. I look at other teens having sex and think "You're dumping each other in month (give or take), why are you getting that close?" Sadly, sex is mostly about lust and spur of the moment than actual love for each other.
    But I'm glad it's more than that for you and for coming out. Club Unicorn FTW.

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  21. You are both amazing. Thank you for this honest dialogue. I did have a question about if your children know or if they will be told and when.

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  22. Thank you both for sharing this. May your story bring hope to many! Beautiful words and a beautiful family.

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  23. Did you people really read that WHOLE post?? Mickelle read it 3 TIMES?? I just read "I'm gay... blah blah blah blah."

    Gym Friend

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  24. One of my dearest friends is part of the Unicorn Club. I cannot begin to express my awe in the choices you daily make to be part of that club. He has an amazing wife and several children as well. When he came out to me he said " I know two things that are true! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that I'm gay!" Club Unicorn does allow for both. Thank you for the article! Thank you for the honesty from both of you! and Thanks for the continued reminder of the power of love, acceptance and more love!

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  25. This is an amazing post. Seriously so powerful. I really respect your decision to share your experiences so openly. What you and Lolly have is amazing. It's obvious just being around you two that you have a special bond. And now I better understand why. Thank you for being so open.

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  26. Hi you don't know me. I saw your blog post on a friends wall on facebook. I'm 34 years old now. When I was 17 my dad came out at a family home evening. He explained how much he loved our mom and his faith (mormon too). He had just finished firing a psychologist who wanted him to leave my mom so that he could live the lifestyle he was in the psychologists opinion, meant to live. I'm soooo glad he didn't listen to that idiot. They are still together and happy. Are you in a lds support group?

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  27. wowza, you guys are totally missing the real unicorn here... no one is being a total douche canoe and saying how "hypocritical you must be to live a lie!"
    I'm so impressed with your readers.
    Also, awesome. Just awesome, awesome, awesome. My admiration for you just went off the charts. I hope to be this good at making hard decisions one day.

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  28. I don't have many heros in my life. Rob Robertson is one of my heros for his struggles and steadfast devotion to his beliefs. You, Josh & Lolly Weed, are my newest heros. I appreciate the frank discussion of something very complex. I appreciate the peace and happiness that you convey and have found in your relationship with your Creator, wife and family, including your wise parents. May God continue to bless you with his peace for the many decades you have left and congratulations on your 10 year anniversary. With my deepest respect and love.

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  29. The more I ponder what you and Lolly have written here, the more I realize that what you have really done is define true love.

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  30. WOW. I am blown away. That is such courage that I don't think I've ever seen before. I was Visiting Teaching companions with Josh's mom when we lived in Oregon and I LOVE her to pieces! Bravo to her and your dad for doing an amazing job parenting you, and bravo to the both of you for your honesty! You DO deserve an amazing, happy life! Most people never get to experience THAT. Can't wait to share this!

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  31. Hi Josh, I applaud your honesty and authenticity and so glad you have the happy life you have; because clearly...you are happy. You are lucky to have found a perfect partner for you and have found a way to put it all together. I have a handful of friends who have tried to make your choice work for them and it isn't or hasn't worked. They live in loveless and/or sexless marriages and both parties suffer and suffer. It has been painful for me to watch their pain. They tried to do "the right thing". They thought they could make it work. As in your case, both parties knew before marriage in the temple and thought their love would get them through. I'm wondering if you and your wife have any advice for those who have tried and it isn't working.

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    1. Hi again Josh. This is written the morning after reading your blog post and I had a somewhat wrestles nights sleep over it. That surprises me as it is such a feel good thing. I think it's because it brought up fear for me. While you are living what has been and hopefully will always be a success story as a counselor I imagine you have seen all sides of this scenario. I share my concerns not at all because I disagree with your decision to share. All night I tossed and turned seeing that it possible that leaders and parents in the church will use this as a tool to try to pressure or assure our gay youth that they should make your choice. Our church and many others whos doctrine labels acting out on their attractions as sinful are literally littered with an aftermath of pain and heartbreak of the broken homes and deep disappointments of those who tried to follow what they thought was the wise counsel of their leaders. You were fortunate, it sounds like, to fall in love with a woman at a very young age and you have been able to function as a heterosexual husband but many cannot physically do that but sadly find out too late. Please tell me you are not advocating your choice as the best option for gay youth in general. The church used to almost universally advocate and encourage your choice but has stopped because it has been an overall failure. I personably know about 10 people who have given it their heartfelt and spiritual all to do what you are doing And for reasons way more complex I don't know one good outcome. None of them are happy like you. Over half divorce and everyone pays the price. The rest have stayed married and live as shell of themselves and their spouses hearts break and endure as they have been taught and counseled to do. They wait for the next life for happiness. I am also concerned that

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    2. Those who tried and "failed" to find success dating the opposite sex and have found long term lovng same sex partners will be judged as "not trying hard enough" by others who don't understand. What can you share that would be helpful to families of gay kids and adults who choose to forgo a heterosexual relationship? Do you think it's possible that making a different choice than you is a viable and different but also joyful path? You choose family and children and it's working but is there a way for you to address the other options? I think it would be equally helpful if you would be so kind as to address the kids and adults who can't follow in your footsteps so they and their families don't suffer more pain than they already have.

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    3. Alder,
      this is an important aspect of this issue which often brings a great deal of fear up for people on all sides of it. Josh did address it in this post i think in the most appropriate way he could have. He does not endorse his path for everyone and respects and accepts others in their choices and offers no more advice than what his experience can truly testify will bring success -whatever you do, Love them, love yourself, uplift each other. I am not a close friend. I am simply a stranger who really appreciates this story. I have seen dear friends I love suffer because of the sacrifices that are required to become who they are. It is something every human goes through in one way or another, like Josh said. I have suffered many of the confusions surrounding these situations. I am grateful for the opportunities the confusion has given me to really find peace on such a deeply understandable level for myself that I would not otherwise have sought out. When you start replacing the many, very legitimate fears, that surround this with Love. Things have a better chance to work themselves out than people could possibly know how to orchestrate. I am so glad to read of your concerns and know others feel the way I have felt. This struggle from fear to love allows us to become and to embody our amazing potential, and I am very grateful for it. I don't deny how seemingly unbearable the pain of it is. It is so painful. But I have strength I would not have gained otherwise. So much of what is in this post can be applied to many many aspects of our lives.

      Thank you Alder

      And Thank you Josh

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    4. Adler, I echo your concerns, I'd be interested in hearing Josh's thoughts on this matter as someone who has a successful heterosexual marriage.

      I'd also like to add that in the Proclamation to the World, it also states with regard to family dynamics "other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." Could other circumstances being that you aren't attracted to the opposite sex? Might there be room in Mormon doctrine for unions of homosexual couples?

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  32. There are so many different conventional and non-conventional families out there s nowadays that I'm not surprised a homosexual can have a lasting and fulfilling relationship with a straight person while raising a family together. Any person who thinks they can judge this has to take a very long and hard look around at the people in their lives or their kid's lives to realize this is pretty normal in the larger scheme of things. Yes, it's not what people picture when they think of homosexual and heterosexual relationships but is it really that far out of an idea to happen? I hardly think so.

    Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time can see the love and respect you have for your wife, Josh. There is no lie being lived between the two of you and I hope people are open minded enough to see that.

    I hope a lot of good comes from your decision to be open and honest with everyone. The learning curve on this for some people is going to be interesting and thought provoking but in the end it'll all be good.

    ~Judy

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  33. Wow, you're both so brave and so honest! I love it!

    Josh, your parents sound like amazing people. It is very heartening to read of such open-hearted, loving acceptance from LDS parents, when so many LDS families have struggled with this issue (and I think have been painted in a bad light). What a great relationship you have with them; it's inspiring.

    I would be interested to hear about the reactions from your ward members. Mine make up such a large part of my world and feel like family. I'm not sure I could share something so huge so freely with them. Again, very inspiring and very BRAVE!

    I got your backs, Weeds!

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  34. Thank you so much for writing this! It was amazing to read this post and the beautiful way you both express your thoughts. Happy anniversary!! Your family is adorable.

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  35. Love you Josh-

    Auntie Ap

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  36. I have a dear friend from college who disappeared without a trace or a backward glance. After three random things brought him to mind over the course of a week a number of years later, I took the Lord's prompting and remembered the name of the company he'd started, found its website, and figured out his direct email address (turns out I could've just called his cell because he hadn't changed the number). Something completely random had him thinking about me as well just days prior. He told me he'd come out and that he was in a same-sex relationship. I told him he knew what I believed, and that I was coming home for a visit the following month and expected to meet him for lunch.

    We were both raised in devoutly Christian homes. He chose not to take out membership in Club Unicorn (can a non-LDS believer be a member, too?) and was afraid of the repercussions of his actions so he distanced himself from all Christian friends. What breaks my heart is not the path he chose per se, it's his decision to so compartmentalize his life that Jesus Christ has taken a backseat to everything else... his company (which the Lord has blessed) and his relationship with his partner. I have no doubt that he fully understands the saving grace of Jesus Christ, but he has more than a little trouble submitting to His will. I continue to pray that he will come back to his relationship with his Creator. And when I'm back home for a visit, we try to go to lunch or dinner... sometimes with his partner, but usually just the two of us. I've always felt my sole job is to remind him that Jesus loves him. Jesus. Loves. Him. It gladdens my heart to hear you say just that. My friend is no less valuable and is every bit as precious as any straight person. And Jesus love him.

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  37. That echoes so many things I've thought were true about homosexuality. Thanks for sharing your experience and paving the way for hopefully a lot more people to believe in the possibilities that you are proving exist.

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  38. This is truly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about...knowing that we are not perfect, but through Him, Christ, we can find our perfection!! Beautiful and heart warming story of TRUE love! Thank you for your wonderful testimonies! Allison, Vancouver, WA

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  39. Wow. You and Lolly are brave pioneers. Thanks for sharing. I know your story will help so many people to be more loving and understanding and I think that is what we need...to be more understanding of each other.

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  41. I found this post to be extremely helpful. I really appreciate your honesty. I wonder if, because of your sincere obedience, it has gotten any easier for you over the years? (Less attraction to guys?) I was trying to put myself in your shoes as I read it, thinking... okay I'm a girl, and if I HAD to be with a girl, could I do it? It would seem weird in ways, other than the fact that I knew at least what I was doing was the correct thing, and I believed it was a commandment from God. I think this is a great article because it shows us that "gays" struggle just like everyone has their trials and struggles. I have a mental illness that I keep secret to most people...but sometimes I just want to tell people about the pain I feel everyday and what this does to my life and marriage on a daily basis. I think I will "come out of the closet" sooner than later thanks to examples like you... I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to open up about this knowing how judged you would be...and I never really thought about the fact that gays have to sacrifice something either way whether they choose to live the gay lifestyle or not...very good point.

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  42. Loved this for so many reasons...thank you for sharing and opening my eyes. Awesome.

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  43. I don't even know what to say except that I am bawling and I just feel so incredibly blessed to know you and to get to be a tiny part of your family's lives. There are only a few people, you guys being two of them, who have had such a possitive impact on my life. Beautifully written and right from your hearts. Love you guys!!!

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  44. I'm so glad you shared this. I once listened to a forum where a man talked about how he had been through a very tumultuous single life, and his story ended with him weeping from the joy he feels for his daughter. I have tried to convey to others what he shared, but without his dynamic details, people just would just look at me suspiciously like I thought homosexuality was fixable or something. Thank you for sharing this--I've had no means to share the power of what I heard about that man's journey, which has been a disappointment because his words were a big answer to a my prayers. I'm sure yours will be the answer for others as well.
    By the way, this man shared his story at BYU Law School. In the 90s! I'd assume his audience had... minimal exposure to the idea. They treated him with great respect, but what a brave thing for him to do. And what a brave thing for you to do as a couple.

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  45. I love you guys! I am not LDS, but I have a very good friend who is, and has had to deal with similiar issues throughout his life. He is now serving his mission in Mexico, and is on the other side of the hump and will be home in a year *yay!*
    Getting to hear things like this make me so happy, for his sake and the sake of so many sweet people who feel persecuted and rejected for their sexuality. Thank you so much for being open, loving, and vulnerable for the sake of helping someone else. You are a great example of being Christ like. I believe that putting yourself out there and being honest to help others are truthful to Him. You guys are both awesome!

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  46. As Blake and I read your post, I literally cried 3 times, if not more! We love you both and are so grateful for your examples of love and devotion. How lucky are we to have such wonderful families, and parents that truly set the example. We can't wait to be in your place and celebrate 10 years together... one and counting! :D Love you again, and know that we are here for you always!

    Kati & Blake

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  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you for choosing to post this. It is very well written, thought out, and understanding. I know exactly what it's like to grow up in Utah as a gay Mormon. I know what the deep conflict between sexual and spiritual identities feels like. I also know that the choices you have made and your marital/family situation is a completely viable option for a gay man, and one that can definitely work for some people. I'm so glad it works for you. It didn't work for me. As much as I wanted to be a husband and father, it was not my path. I'm glad I realized/accepted this before getting married to a woman. I still feel the loss of what I gave up, but know that it was the right choice for me, just like you know your choices were right for you. I'm hoping my family will read this post, especially my mother. Learning that my family's love for me is conditional was, and still is, very difficult. Thank you for being a unicorn. I know it can't be easy. Thank you for not hiding; people need to know that unicorns exist. Thank you for being a unicorn that says it's ok that I'm not a unicorn, despite my desires and efforts to be one. Thank you.

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  48. I appreciated your post. It cleared some of my jumbled opinions about gayness inside christianity and I applaud your choices. I also know it doesn't work for everyone that way. It takes a very special person to be open to dealing with that sort of complication. I think that when I see wheel chair bound people with thier spouses, a big dedication on both parts, and same for you. Thank you. I hope your mission to share is the help you want it to be.

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  49. Perfect.
    That is all I can say.

    Oh- and your pics are a-MAZ-ing! Who did your hair??

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  50. Wow.. That's all I can think of saying after reading this. Truly amazing, inspiring, and also had me feeling the spirit. I'm so glad you shared your story. It makes so much sense to me. I especially loved your words when you said, you don't get to choose your circumtances, but you do get to choose what you do with them.
    I think this should be in general conference!! You have a beautiful family and it shows through living the gospel, happiness comes to EVERYONE!!

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  51. Wow - you've done it .... You've taken the canvas off the remarkable work of art that is your marriage and family - we are witnessing creation! You've placed your hope in us and your trust in God that it is time. No doubt it is. I often wonder if knowing so intimately the inherent challenge presented to your marriage has provided a deeper commitment to the craft of building - daily - the relationship you want. After the wedding, most couples never bring (or know to bring) the level of intention, attention, presence and love needed to keep their love alive. Yet it is precisely this kind of moment to moment breath that any lifetime partnership requires if intimacy, pleasure and joy are to thrive. You've both known from the beginning that nothing could be taken for granted. Because of your core attraction differences, your marriage had to be a tender daily work of art. In a way, I wish all couples knew this was true for them as well. Failing to intentionally nourish a relationship will ultimately allow whatever core differences between them to tear them apart. You give an example of what it looks like to know and own your differences and carefully structure a way to work with and learn from them. I am your biggest fan ... with a silly grin on her face!! May God continue to bless you exceedingly abundantly beyond what you could ever hope or imagine. (And to think you were my GA once!! I am your GA now!) xo

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  52. It's interesting, because talking with you before this aired, you had mentioned a expectation of lash back and ridicule. Having followed the post, the shares, the likes, and the comments, it seems to me that the eloquence with which you portrayed your situation, and the evident love with which you talked about Lolly and your beautiful girls, have left very little wiggle room for the would-be haters! There isn't much I can say that hasn't been said, but know how proud we are to know you and to love you, and how much of a hero you are in our eyes. You are in a position that very few others will ever experience, and you have a talent that even fewer possess. Your courage and faith are bound to be a beacon of light in many otherwise dark tunnels. Thank you for sharing the most tender and vulnerable parts of who you are!
    ~Faulkie of the Blake variety (and Kati, because she was sitting next to me telling me to hurry it up and to stop dragging it out because I was rambling on for way too long and saying way too many things for this time of night when we have to be up so early in the morning to get the girls off to school...)

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  53. Thank you for your courage and beautifully written post.

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  54. Wow. I think this was perfectly expressed and written and I don't see how anyone could find offense by it. I am glad to see the commenters are supportive so far. I think the argument that you always have to give up some things to have other things is a good one. Especially people who are in marriages for the long haul. Not that long term relationships are a sacrifice, because I don't feel that way, but you have to commit to what IS and let go of what ISN'T in any marriage that lasts. Thanks for sharing. I read on facebook. Also, you are a good writer. Go for that.

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  55. Dear Friends,

    Thank you with all my heart for sharing. Your words are full of truth, faith, hope, charity, and courage. They are attended by the Spirit of God and have a peaceful, healing influence. The principles apply in very real and powerful ways to all loving human relationships. I learned ways to be a better parent and friend.

    You willingness to share with friends and strangers alike touches my heart. Your motivation for sharing is so Christ-like. I will pray for you and your beautiful family as you begin this new adventure!

    May God bless you!

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  56. Often in life we fear ridicule or rejection when being honest but I have to say that your honesty and love for one another strikes me in awe. I can imagine that this "coming out" is freeing. I can also imagine it has to be a bit terrifying but i commend you for being you. For loving one another but more importantly for being honest to your wife and for dedicating your life to the Gospel. You are a strong family with core and devoted values in which i respect. Thank you for your post.

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  57. So, I spent the day yesterday both so excited and nervous for you guys to post this. (Being 8 hours ahead of you guys was stressful!)I know making this decision wasn't an easy one, but I am so proud of you both. You have an amazing way with words... both of you. Even though I have known this for many years, it was still such a neat thing to read the beautiful things you had to say. You guys are such an inspiration to me. I have always known you were perfect for each other, but its wonderful for everyone else to get to see that too. I hope you continue to get such amazing feedback from everyone and that your story can be shared all over the world. I love you guys!!
    Love, Kammie

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  58. Thank you so much for your bravery, for sharing this with all of us, and for doing it with the Spirit. I've finally found the words for my feelings about this "hot button issue" that I can share with my family and friends.

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  59. You are amazing. Thank you for you and being you. Everyone is loved by God and you wrote that beautifully!

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  60. This was a beautiful article. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  61. Congratulations to you and your family. I say this for (1) making it work and (2) being honest and open. I am a gay mormon, myself. And, while I guess I can't be a part of "Club Unicorn", I welcome you to our group of LDS people who are gay.

    It isn't easy being a gay mormon. Members often confuse us as automatic sexual deviants or pedophiles or those who would rather be administering angels than live with God. I am hoping that your blog works to help others, members or not, understand and accept gay people more. My fear is that it may also encourage members to think that your "ideal" lifestyle is not only an easy decision, but the only acceptable solution.

    I have many close friends and family who love and support me. They may not understand me, but they listen and try to sympathize. But, I also have friends and family who have rejected me, ignored me, and chastised me for being gay, no matter that I am completely active and temple worthy.

    Many of the comments here are positive and encouraging. But, your readers should know that this is atypical from most LDS members. Recent misunderstood comments about Prop 8 or talks by leaders about physical retaliation against gays continue to encourage members to be anti-gay. A new anti-gay LDS group, the Standard of Liberty, has been called anti-Christian and is compared by some as the LDS version of the Westboro Baptist Church.

    I recently opened up my house to a young man who was kicked out of his house in Eastern Seattle for being gay. The family was more worried about what their ward members thought than they did for their son. There are people who are tearing down the LDS Magazine's article on (Ty & Danielle's) couple living in a mixed orientation marriage. In my company, which has over 250,000 employees all over the world, it is my LDS co-workers that openly make fun of the gay co-workers.

    There is an opportunity for us all to be more open and honest and share our experiences. While more and more gay people leave the Church or worse, commit suicide, we need to continue giving hope and support.

    Thanks, again.
    Maxwell

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I have no experience with this. I didn't understand how people could be gay and Mormon. Thanks for helping me understand.

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    2. Thanks for your comments maxwell.

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  62. You will never know what an impact your honesty has had in my life! Thank you!

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  63. I fall in the "totally supportive" category, just in case you were wondering how I felt emotionally after reading this article :)

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  64. This is absolutely incredible. I don't even have words to say how moved I am, how touched, how blessed by your journey, your story, your honesty, your courage, and most of all your love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. I know it will be a help and blessing to many, many people. You guys rock. :) God bless you hugely and may joy continue to be abundant in your lives!!! ~Tracie <3

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  65. I cried several times reading this. I am not a Christian and am fully supportive of gay rights and marriage, and my initial reaction was that it was so sad that you had to live a "traditional" lifestyle, married to a woman, a "counterfeit" life as your therapist said, in order to maintain your relationship with your church. But as I read on I started to question that. You have really made me think deeply about this, and I imagine you have done the same for people on all sides of this issue. Good for you. I admire your honesty and your courage, and I am so very happy that you have the life, love, family and faith that you have always wanted. I wish you and your family the very, very best.

    I also want to add that I am incredibly impressed with the comments. I was sure I'd be reading hateful, negative comments but your posters have been wonderful too.

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  66. I don't know you personally, a friend of mine posted a link to your blog on her Facebook page. This is an amazing blog post. Homosexuality and the LDS faith are a touchy topic these days and one that seems to get a lot of press. As a devout member of the LDS church, but also having grown up in southern California amid people of homosexual and bisexual lifestyles, I have felt that there isn't a way to reconcile homosexuality and my faith because the typical gay lifestyle and sexual choices make it impossible for a "gay" individual to receive fully in the ordinances of the church without being limited in their sexual fulfillment or their ability to find a partner.

    This is why your blog post is amazing to me. I always wondered if there were people who were "gay" (I usually think of it as people attracted to the same gender) who were able to reconcile their sexual feelings with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Your life and family's story are an amazing example of what faith and love can accomplish. I truly hope that you are not the only unicorn in the world, and that you feel the love you deserve from people around you. You are a shining example of how the gospel of Christ brings peace and joy to our lives. May God bless you, your wife, and your beautiful children.

    Grace

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  67. As a formerly married gay man (and yes, I have three children with my ex-wife), I find this incredibly sad. But I very much appreciate your honesty and courage in sharing your story.

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    1. That was quite ambiguous. You find what sad?

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  68. I read the article and all of the comments trying to articulate what my thoughts were. I've been thinking all night about marriage and choices and the sacrifices that you talked about, how all of us prioritize what is must important to us. I thought about how everyone who wants to have a successful marriage has to wrangle in their sexuality and commit to being faithful. I've heard that'love knows no gender' from people who were straight and then fall in love with someone of the same sex. You did the opposite, falling in love because of who Lolly was and not the body parts. I hope that your love and faith continues to sustain your marriage and family. I wonder , have you ever had any repercussions when people find out? Does being open about your sexuality affect the callings you hold in you're ward?

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    1. It shouldn't (though, unfortunately, that wouldn't necessarily be the case.) The church's handbook specifically states that homosexual members that abide by all precepts of the church are rightfully enabled to hold callings and attend the temple.

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  69. Thank you so much for this. I don't know you or your family, but you have put into words things I have tried to share with my gay friends, both in and out of the church, for years. The power of choice and of sacrifice is what is so central to the teachings of the church, and of putting your trust in God that when he says 'this is the way to happiness and eternal life' that He is right. That whatever sacrifice we make to follow his teachings, whether it is being gay but choosing to have a heterosexual relationship, being gay and making the choice to live a life of abstinence and chastity, being a heterosexual single your entire life without the opportunity to marry but still remaining true to the law of chastity, all of these choices and sacrifices will, I truly believe, bring true joy in this life, and cannot even compare with the promised blessings that are to be ours in the life to come.

    Thank you so much for your willingness to share something so private and intimate with the world. You are truly an amazing couple to be so willing to become a part of the global discussion. I have so many people I want to share this with, so thank you so much!

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    1. Please don't universalized Josh's story to all homosexuals. For most it doesnt work.

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    2. That's like saying it doesn't work for me to be faithful to my husband because I'm attracted to all men...I'm just saying

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    3. Alder, I don't believe that Anonymous was saying that everyone should follow Josh's example. I think they were saying that the sacrifice for God and the gospel is always worth it. In high school my friends constantly aked me why I would not date before I was 16, have sex before I was married, or "party" like everyone else. Always my answer was because I knew the commandments of God to be true, and the prize was better than the sacrifice.

      I can't imagine the struggle of same-sex attraction. I don't judge those who find the sacrifice of a relationship with someone they're attracted to to be too much of a sacrifice. But I believe Anonymous was merely saying that each individual that has truly been converted and truly felt the power of God in their life will make a decision that is best for them to continue to have that power. Whether they find a similar peace and fullfillment in a marriage like Josh and Lolly's, or they choose to sacrifice that part of their lives to remain true to the gospel.

      I don't envy the struggle, and I believe in a loving, merciful God that has experienced all heartache, all trial, all illness, all pain, all temptation, all everything of everyone. I find peace in knowing that the One who will judge is loving, merciful, understanding, and wise. He loves ALL his children, gay or not, and He understands perfectly their trials. I think the message to remember is that we are commanded to love one another. We are not to judge, we are to love. I have my trials, struggles, and temptations too, and although they are not for same-sex attraction, they are difficult and I would not want other people to judge my life and my choices because they do not understand my struggle.

      I believe in love. I believe in God. And I believe that in this life we are called to be examples of Christ. Christ, who lived among lepers, adulterers, and sinners, and loved them all completely and without malice. When asked what the greatest commandment of all was, Christ answer first it is to love God, and second it is to love our neighbors. We can remind people of Christ and His love for them, we can share our testimonies and encourage obedience to the gospel, but ultimately our commandment is to love one another, as Christ loves us, which is a love without end and without condition.

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    4. I completely agree Lindsey until you say at the very end about sharing our testimonies and encouraging obedience. One mans obedience is another mans betrayal. Let's just stop and love and be an example of love and save the rest?

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  70. What a great, honest and honorable post. Club unicorn rules. I wish you guys all the happiness you deserve. Love ya. :-)

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  71. Thank you for sharing your story. What courage!! I am not gay, nor do I have anyone close to me in my life that is, but I am Mormon, and a mother. I would not give up those two things for anything. Hearing you describe your decision was eye opening. I had never thought of a lot of the points that you brought up. Thank you for opening my eyes. What an amazing relationship you have with your wife!

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  72. Wow. I have never had the priveledge of reading one of your posts before- and how glad I am that this post was shared with me. You have a very touching and amazing story and I applaud your courage to be honest with yourself and those you love. But above all, I greatly admire your faith. There are many in our church that don't understand that it's about choices- and that the choices you make are the ones that show the faith you have in God and his eternal plan. Thank you (and your dear wife!!) for sharing such a personal and spiritual part of your lives. I have several friends who would greatly benefit from the power of your words.

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  73. Thank you for explaining this so well. I was raised with the mind-set that being gay was a choice and I am slowly learning the truth, especially since having a daughter who was born with ambiguous genitalia due to extra testosterone. We are told she is more likely than average to be gay, yet there is so little information for parents in the LDS faith on how to help gay children. I appreciate your insight.

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  74. Thanks muchly for your post - I've been reading your blog for a while and have shared bits and pieces with my partner's Mormon family (as I will with this post). I, too, am really impressed with the tone of the comments here :-)

    What really shines through for me is how everyone here seems to walk the walk - according to Christ's teachings which I read as ones of love rather than ones of intolerance.

    Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou mo tō koutou aroha, tō koutou whaiwhakaaro mē tō koutou kotahitanga.

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  75. Happy Anniversary! My wife and I just celebrated 8 years, ourselves. Your bold and open post is mind-opening and inspiring. While it helped evolve my view of homosexuality and religion, etc., even more so you provide a wonderful view of what a husband and wife relationship should really be. While sexual attraction may be the standard and natural way for a relationship to begin, the two of you forging a relationship despite the lack of sexual attraction on one side serves as a great example of the kind of relationship I will continue to strive for with my wife. We are doing great, and more in love than ever before. But I welcome a story like this that has somehow helped me refocus on what we are truly trying to build deep down.

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  76. Wow. Truly courageous, not just to share this, but to live life the way you have chosen to do. I think there are other people in the LDS religion that are living the same kind of life, but perhaps not with the same kind of openness, even in their marriage. I hope your post will help them. Best of luck to your family.

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  77. Thank you for writing this. I am LDS but have many, many friends from high school who are gay/lesbian. I don't judge them or think ill of them-in fact I have always just felt confusion at this trial. It seems so hard to reconcile with Christianity because most of my gay/lesbian friends wouldn't call it a trial-it is just who they are. I have been pondering a lot lately on how God expects people to reconcile this and live happy fulfilling lives following his commandments. Your post is not only an answer to gay/lesbian people's prayers but also to those of us who are straight and want to find understanding and love for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. And even reading comments by gay people who have chosen to not get married but remain active in the church has been enlightening. It helps me understand that there are ways to remain faithful to God and to oneself. I like how you explained that no matter how a person chooses to live they have to sacrifice something-I believe this applies to gay as well as straight people.
    I also love your explanation about intimacy and sex. I know that when I first met my husband I was not immediately physically attracted to him. But as I got to know him and found out what an amazing person he is he became incredibly attractive to me. When we are intimate it is more about our deep respect and desire to connect with each other than it is "lust" (although there is definitely that attraction too-it just isn't the driving force).
    Thank you for sharing. I am sure you are helping more people than you know.

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    1. Please avoid universalizing Josh's life for all people. He has been blessed with the best of all circumstances but to judge others or use his life as an answer for all could cause great pain for others.

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  78. Simply brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

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  79. Your parents are truly amazing people. They truly live by "love one another". That is taught by our church but often forgotten by many.

    Thank you for this beautiful post, I am a stranger and am so happy for you and your wife.

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  80. Hi The Weed,
    this is one of the most interesting viewpoints on being gay I have ever read.
    Extremely well done and thought-provoking.
    Thank you for writing it.

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  81. Thank you for your voice.

    May I ask two honest, if difficult questions, from sincere curiosity? Do you ever worry that your wife is being shortchanged by your lack of "lust" for her? How does she feel about sacrificing that part of a relationship?

    Second question, how would you suggest interacting with family members that have chosen to live in homosexual relationships? I worry that welcoming family members who have made those choices may somehow teach my children that those decisions are acceptable? It's an honest point of concern and confusion for me, as I feel deep love towards this family member, but I don't want to confuse my children.


    Thanks again for your amazing comments. You are a blessed man in many ways.

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    1. I think they answer your first question by saying that they have a robust and intimate sexual life that makes them happy. What more is lust than a desire to have sexual intimacy? I've noticed in my marriage that when I "lust" for my husband, I am simply wanting an intimacy with him that I can get no other way. (I have only been marred for 13 months, so I cannot claim to be an expert at marriage, but I know what I know that regards to me)

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    2. I am a latter-day saint raised by strong parents. My mom is a convert to the church and her aunt is homosexual. I LOVE her! We stayed at her house all the time, received birthday cards from her and her partner and slept snuggled in the blankets she made for us. Her sexual choices are as unimportant to our relationship as my grandma who drinks coffee or my friends who go out to eat on Sunday. I didn't even make the connection that she and her partner were anything but good friends until I was 13 and I asked my mom about it. We had a wonderful conversation about how much we love her and the choice she made. I think the confusion comes when it is something to be feared. I would say show that love for your family member. Welcome them in your home, and then have conversations with your children about what Heavenly Father plan is. It's the same as when a good friend of your child uses a word you find inappropriate, it's a teaching opportunity. Teaching love and morality.

      I don't even know you I just thought this might be helpful in some small way. :) Good luck!

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    3. "Love the sinner, hate the sin." I think one of the biggest flsehoods Satan tries to teach us (and one of the easiest traps for members of our LDS faith to fall into) is that if you do not condone the act, you cannot love the person committing that act. This goes not just for acting on LGBT feelings, but also for those who choose to drink, smoke, swear, work on Sundays, etc. To be truly Christ-like is to learn to love people--all people--without condoning everything they do. You CAN accept and LOVE people w/out accepting and LOVING everything they do. We have all given into temptations that we aren't proud of. NONE of us, I venture to say, would want or expect our children, parents, siblings, and friends to stop loving us simply because they don't love something we have done. Christ taught us to love everyone, but not to condone everything. There is a big difference, and finding the depth love that it takes to separate 1) actions from persons, and 2) temptations from actions, and accepting people outside of their actions, is something that will draw us nearer to the savior than just rejecting those whose views, temptations, and choices don't jive w/our own. Christ NEVER taught to shut out anyone. He taught that we should love everyone, even our enemies, even those who make choices we wouldn't make ourselves, even those who struggle with temptations that we do not understand because we have never had to face those challenges ourselves. If you teach your children to love people, and to make gospel-centered choices, you will be doing MUCH more for them than if you decide to reject this family member all together. You will teach them to love as Christ loves.

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    4. Why do we even have to go to the place of
      Thinking we have to even go to the place of whether to condone or not. Just love and leave it at that. We have been taught by leaders to draw boxes around sins and sinners and even if we love the sinner hate the sin I feel we almost indistinguishingly miss out on an even deeper level of loving connection when we classify anyone's behavior as sinful. If it is a sin to you then by all means refrain. To others it's not a sin. Live your truth and let others live theirs. Isn't that what the 11th article of faith says? Let them practice how, where, or what they may?

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    5. Dear anonymous I think it is misinformation that you have received that you would think you might confuse your children. Children see people as people and love as love. Teach them to love others and not to concern themselves with who others love and all will be well.

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  82. You guys are AMAZING!!! I have often thought about the subject of Gay people and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it works. I have had mixed feelings on people having true attraction to the same sex that they were born with and can't help and those that choose it and overly flaunt it because they like attention. I love what you have written and how you decipher your feelings and knowing what and how God wants you to live.
    I know this is weird and I will probably get a lot of flack for it, but I associate the feelings and decision's with the Twilight Series. In that the Cullens are Vampires and Vampires are conditioned or made to be monsters and drink the blood of humans, but this family chooses to be different and go against the natural grain of their desires. I love the strength that they show and it is an example to me that we can all be strong no matter our situation. You have proven this to be true. Just as a diabetic has to go against their natural desires for sugar and sweets to keep their body healthy.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and Lolly, you are an AMAZING daughter of God as well. :o)

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  83. Thanks for this. Has been on my mind a lot lately with the whole "gay marriage" issue making so many people so disagreeable. Has been hard for me to reconcile things in my own mind. Can't even imagine what is has been like for you. So thanks for helping me get the puzzle pieces in the right places.

    Hope the backlash for something like this is minimal. :/ Internet is a scary place.

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  84. Decided to read this on a whim while surfing facebook. You two are truly inspirational. What a lovely family!

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  85. I read your blog post from a link on a friends facebook. Your story is amazing. Your relationship with your wife is incredible. I hope some of the commenters who are concerned that you are advocating a certian lifestyle go back and reread this post. It's about love and acceptance. and that is all. I don't feel like it's my place to do this, but there is a facebook group called USGA (understanding same gender attraction) started by BYU students. I feel your story could make an incredible impact and be a great support. You should think about looking into that group and maybe sharing there as well. I'm certian they could use all the love and acceptance that people are willing to give right now, and you seem to have that in abundance. It's https://www.facebook.com/groups/114825138564153/

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  86. This may be the first time i have ever appreciated and respected an opinion on this topic. It softened my heart and helped me gain a greater appreciation for the challenges, sacrifice and faith required by everyone involved. What a great example of faith both of you are.

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  87. I've been reading the weed for a long time now, and this post, while a bit of a shock (having come here for a quick laugh before I wake the baby!), was really inspiring. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. More than anything else, my overwhelming feeling after reading is calm. Lolly's question brought me to tears and I felt the spirit throughout. Thank you :)

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  88. Beautiful. I wish there was a way to just convey feelings of love and support over the internet other than just saying "Looooooove!" and "Suppooooooort!" Even though I only hung around you guys a few times in P-town, and it was usually in the capacity as "Paul's(probably annoying) little sister," I was always blown away by how welcomed, accepted and loved you both made me feel. You guys were amazing to me before this big announcement, and you're amazing to me still. I hope I can share back with you some of the love and acceptance you guys have shared with me over the years!

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  89. As someone who shares in this challenge with you, I appreciate the things you have said. I'm LDS, married, have children, and deal with same-gender attraction. I think this post was awesome and honest and made me not feel as scared of people know what I deal with. Thank you.

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  90. Wow. Those pictures with faces of pure joy say it all. Blessings to your gorgeous family.

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  91. Thank you both for your honesty and courage! This is such a beautifully written post filled with wisdom and hope. You have helped strengthen my testimony that, while we have all come to earth with unique temptations and trials, our Father in Heaven will never abandon us. If we will not isolate ourselves from His love and influence He will guide our lives every step of the way. It reminds me of the phrase, "God has a better plan for you than you have for yourself." He also has a better plan than what others would have for you. Some may not be able to wrap their minds around the decision that you both have made, but it sounds like you have found joy and fulfillment in the path that Heavenly Father has put before you. How can any of us begrudge you that? I don't know you and your family and this is the first time I've visited your blog, but I feel a great love for you and wish you all the best!!

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  92. All I really want to do is thank you. I think there is so much negativity in the world about this subject, from all sides and you just brought hope. I think it is important for people to make their own decisions whether I agree with them or not but I just love that you shared your story. No one should be afraid. I'm sorry, my thoughts are so scattered but I just love everything you and your lovely wife have shared. You are amazing and courageous. It's amazing what blessings the Lord can bring when we try so very hard. Again, thank you.

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  93. Thank you for posting this. As a clinician, I can see this being helpful to those that may struggle with this. I am curious though, what you believe the sexual orientation of mankind to be at birth. Do you believe that those who struggle with same-gender attraction are "born this way?" What would be your personal answer, according to your beliefs, to the question: Why was I born like this?

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  94. thank you for posting this. I don't know you personally. We have friends in common and one of them put a link on facebook. I feel so much more understanding about this subject than I ever have before. I hope that your honesty and sincerity will reach someone who truly needs some direction in this area of their life.

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  95. I was absolutely blown away by this blog post. I have known the Weed's as acquaintances my whole life, but never very well, though Josh grew up good friends with my older brothers.

    I am trying to find the words to express to you Josh. And your wife Lolly! I have never felt more genuine respect for a couple, obviously so in love. Your dedication to each other and to the Church is beyond incredible and I am so so grateful that you have opened up about this.

    Your story is a fantastic reminder that our relationships (friendships, family, sexual, whatever) are all about love and accepting and nothing more. If you are gay, that's fine with me. If you are straight, that's fine with me. I don't get to choose how to judge you, your decisions, your lifestyle, your family, your anything. This is something that we all need to remember.

    I wish I could sit down and talk to you because I am so so excited about this post! Your words are some that everyone should read and I am so grateful that you were able to articulate them so beautifully. I am especially grateful for Lolly's comments, as they gave me a deeper and greater understanding of your relationship from a different perspective.

    All I can say is THANK YOU! You are giving a voice to many many people who need it, and so beautifully! Your courage is remarkable, your testimony astounding, your love inspiring. Please continue to share this story.

    And props to all the readers and commenters here who have been supportive and understanding instead of belittling and negative. What an amazing story, one that I will definitely never forget.

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  96. I don't know either of you and you don't know me but as a person and a parent I am SO proud of you! I have always said that some people believe their religion and some people live their religion and you definitely live it. Love is what it's all about and your story is a beautiful one. Here's hoping that more people chose to live their beliefs after reading your story. Love to you and your family...

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  97. I have a niece whom I adore, who is struggling with same-sex attraction. This helps answer so many of my questions. Thank you for having the courage to share your story!!! You are helping so many by doing it!!!! I'm going to share this with her. God bless you!

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  99. Wow. I'm so impressed by your deep thought, faith and introspection. I've really wondered about homosexuality and how that fits in with our Mormon faith. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    I hope you will do a post in a few months and talk about the fallout of this blog post.

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  100. Dear Josh,

    Now what? I think you need to call me. There is a behind-the-scenes story that needs updating. And by the way, I love you (but Lolly is, and always will be, prettier).

    Love,
    Sam

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  101. Josh, I've had nothing but love and respect for you since I've known you, and many times found myself wishing I could be more like you. However, you have challenged some of my beliefs and I feel the need to defend them. I do not desire to offend while defending and hope you will take it as such.

    Between the ages of 12-16 I had some homosexual experiences with some neighborhood friends; I was also molested by an great-uncle. I had a huge fear of girls and felt much more comfortable around guys. I could have easily ended up gay myself, but I chose differently.

    When I share that with Gays I get back the response that, "you were just too young and immature back then to know". That is true, however, that is my point. I don't believe anyone can know by 11, 12, or even 16 that they are gay. We are immature and it is such a confusing time of our lives, yet there is such tremendous pressure on teenagers now to find their "sexual identity". I believe their decisions have more to do with finding reinforcement in their environment than by their own choices. (i.e. they are not really gay but because of teasing, bullying, enticing, or other external reinforcement they become gay).

    Some of the most powerful words in the English language are "I am". It is how God used to describe himself to Moses. (Ex 3:14) When a Gay man (or woman) "comes out" and says, "I am" "Gay" it has a certain finality to it. The problem is God did not send us to a destination, but on a journey. You are challenging my belief in that by "accepting who you are" and that you cannot change.

    There have been men that change their sexual orientation. There's no question that some men have changed to BECOME gay. If that is true then gay men can CHOOSE to become straight. There are many stories on peoplecanchange.com and evergreeninternational.org that reinforce that.

    I absolutely believe I could choose to be gay. If I allow myself to, I can be stimulated with thoughts of other men. As such, I find it difficult to believe that a man such as yourself finds no arousal from your beautiful, and very sexy, wife, Laurel. It is unimaginable to me that if she were to wear a something skimpy and try to seduce you that you would simply go, "eh!". If that is true then I truly do feel sorry her because women need to feel sexual and wanted. I've been married over 20 years and still find my wife attractive, sexually stimulating, and lusting after her. It's such an important part of our marriage.

    To be honest, I wish you wouldn't have shared this part of you, that you wouldn't have "come out". I guess I feel that I just didn't need to know that about you. It's one thing to tell your story anonymously and say, "I am straight but I struggle with homosexual attraction." It is another to say "I am gay". "I am" is such a powerful way of defining yourself. It does lead to prejudice and intolerance, and I can only pray that when we say hi to each other that I can look beyond it.

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    1. Psshh...really??? It's a word, and Josh has every right to describe himself as he sees fit. My goodness, even the "Little Pioneer Children" got to call themselves, "merry, and happy, and gay..."

      The bottom line here is that you missed the point, which is that this is Josh's blog and he gets to say whatever he wants to here, and while you're clearly welcome to comment, what you've said hinges on semantics and comes off as churlish and judgmental. You've made a number of comments that have no right to be made as long as you don't personally know Josh and Lolly.

      That being said, I bow to Josh's words: "It's okay that you feel that way." Because he's right. Allowing other peoples viewpoints and feelings opens the door to validating the views and honesty stated on this blog. But I still believe it's unfortunate to get hung up on how something is said, rather than hearing the meaning of the message.

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    2. HuH? I read your reply several times and it made absolutely no sense to me in relation to the points I was making. Please elaborate so I can explain what I'm trying to say better.

      If you are referring to the semantics of "I am straight, but struggle with homosexual attraction" vs "I am gay", there is a huge difference. Not in just how it's said, but what it means internally to a person as to who they are, what they are. The first defines what you have (SSA). If you think about that for a minute, what you are and what you have are very different.

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    3. If you felt you had a choice then you are likely bisexual. Sexuality has a scale from 100% ssa to 0 and on either end and all points in between are an almost infinite number of realities to experience. We
      Can all only speak for ourselves and share our personal experiences. The pain and trouble come when we try to tell another person that their experience was skewed and try to give them an alternative explanation that fits in with our own. When we listen with an open heart to each person and accept their experience as completely valid and legitimate for them then love and respect and compassion grow. Please don't try to tell josh he has not understood himself. He has obviously considered it all very deeply and found his own way to live authentically and with great integrity.

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    4. My point is that we are ALL bisexual. There is no solid 0-100% SSA scale as it moves at different points in our lives and with different people we meet or see. Fact is, all women check out other women, generally in the way they look. Men do the same thing, but more-so in the way they act. There are natural attractions on both sides of the gender scale. It's what you choose to do with those attractions that affect who you become.

      Questioning Josh's ability to be attracted to, and become sexually aroused by, his wife is a perfectly valid question.

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    5. Alder is correct: "...the trouble come[s] when we try to tell another person that their experience was skewed and try to give them an alternative explanation that fits in with our own."

      Clearly you, Anonymous, have difficulty allowing Josh to use his words and to define them within his own experience. He's not a straight person who "struggles with homosexuality" (and he not only has the personal, but the educational and professional background to validate his claims)--he's Josh, and he says he's gay. Who are you to tell him otherwise? It's fine for you to describe yourself as you see fit. It's silly for you to say others must do so within your parameters.

      As for questioning Josh's ability to be attracted to his wife sexually, I believe he answered it at great length as it applies to him. Simply because it doesn't belong in your one-size-fits-all definition, does not mean it's invalid.

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  102. I admire your post, because you wish to stay true to the principles of the church. You know how you feel, but you have someone who accepts you as you are and you are committed to them. Its not easy, my mother had a good friend in high school whom she dated, and went to the dances with who was gay- she kind of knew then but this was back in the day, people did not talk about that much. He married and had kids, but unlike you he could not handle feeling like he did, and his commitment to his wife. He became an alcoholic for awhile and has a partner now of same sex. You are doing it right. Me and my spouse dont have those feelings but we do know what its like to feel different, and beat the odds, we both have mental illnesses. Some people dont think people like us can do what we do either.

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    2. "He became an alcoholic for awhile and has a partner now of same sex."

      Well, if he's no longer an alcoholic and is happy in his same-sex relationship, then it sounds like he is "doing it right" as well.

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    3. I agree with the above comment. Your mothers friend was likely medicating his pain and now no longer needs to. Let him live his life in peace and celebrate the love and happiness he has found. Judge not lest he be judged. Isn't that what the scriptures say?

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  103. I was moved to tears by this post. Thank you for giving me a different perspective on this very sensitive subject. I needed it.

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  104. You just may be my hero for your courage, but your wife is a reminder of what real love means. thank you for sharing. God has big plans for you and the gift he gave you.

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  105. Josh and Lolly, I'm a gay man who married a wonderful woman 30 years ago, and ended up in a failed, dreadful marriage. I like your story for what it is: a description of a wonderful, happy life. I hope that your story does not become used as a prescription for other LGBT members about what their lives *should* be.

    We all have different lives. We all are on different journeys. From my own experience, and from what I have observed in the lives of others, often when people enter into a mixed-orientation marriage, they are inviting heartbreak and failure into their lives and the lives of their families. Your marriage is very much the exception, and not the rule. I appreciate your story. I'm grateful for your telling.

    The LDS church needs an open discussion about homosexuality (and more generally, sexuality). The rate of suicide among LDS LGBT youth is a shame and a scandal. The moral bind that LGBT members find themselves in is a heavy burden. The choice they have is often between being celibate and alone, or choosing to love and being excommunicated, which often means losing their families and friends, and being denied their faith.

    I know that experience, and I accept it. We need not only to love LGBT people in our midst, we need to minister to them in meaningful ways that fully expresses the love of God.

    I do not know why LDS prophets and Christian preachers are more concerned about the Levitical rules about homosexuality than they are about Levitical rules concerning the consumption of shellfish. I think it is a question worth considering.

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    1. Happy thank you for sharing your experience as well. All sides of the story need to be told. They are all valid.

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    2. I believe the difference between following Levitical rules about homosexuality and consumption of shellfish is this: the rules about shellfish are ancient and we are no longer required to live the Law of Moses, the rules about homosexuality are modern revelation. I agree with you, there needs to be much more open discussion. The suicide rate of LDS LGBT youth breaks my heart. It needs to be discussed, addressed, and made better. I hope we can find ways to support and love everyone, no matter their sexual attractions. But still I believe very strongly in the Proclamation on the Family and other modern revelations.

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  106. Josh and Lolly,

    Thank you so much for the courage, sincerity, and love you showed by sharing your story. My heart is filled with gratitude. Thank you for the kind way in which you shared your beautiful love. It is nice to put a face and a name to your story in Voices of Hope. I loved it when I first read it. I'm Mike Goodman, the author of the final chapter on Eternal Marriage in Voices of Hope. Again, I just wanted to thank you not only for the beautiful life you are living but for the sensative, kind, and inspiring way you chose to share it.

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  107. I don't know either of you, and I just saw a link to this post on my brother's Facebook wall. Truly, you are incredible. I'm sure you are beginning to realize the impact you have made and will make on so many lives. I'm left mostly speechless. This post was perfect. The world needs this, so much. Thank you for sharing!!

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  108. "Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction. I feel this is a very important distinction. This is true for every single person. You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose what you do with them."

    Thank you for sharing your story, but I have 2 questions:

    1. Does the quote I highlighted above imply that you think "acting on gay impulses" is a sin? In other words, you believe that a gay man (for instance) isn't inherently sinful unless (or until) he actually gets physically intimate with another man?

    2. Do you believe that civil, secular same-sex marriages should be made legal in the US? Have you fought against LGBT rights in the past? Would you actively choose to support things like Prop 8, an effort funded in large part by the Mormon church?

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  109. Thank you for sharing this! Josh, i haven't seen you for so many years but i always enjoyed our time together in orchestra and the granite junior youth symphony. I've always looked up to you and admired you. You've always had a wonderfully wise, happy, positive air about you. I feel bad that i never picked up on anything you were dealing with in junior high. I guess i was a pretty self absorbed 7th grader. Know that i love you and your wife and think you are amazing for not only survivng but THRIVING! Hats off to you!! I wish you many many more years of happy, love filled marriage.

    Love always,
    Cheri (Dickson) Haaga

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  110. I am overwhelmed by the love I see and feel when I read this post. Knowing you guys as long as I have, I know what you have is deep and lasting and pure. Isn't it amazing the depths that pure leave can reach? Thank you for sharing your testimonies and story and most of all, your love. I have a feeling what you are doing here is extremely important and can give a lot of people a safe, loving space. We definitely could use more safe places in the world.

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  111. This post is amazing. I truly believed before that a gay person could not live in a good heterosexual marriage without it causing problems. It's so funny. I consider myself very open minded, and yet I went into reading this post with a prejudice I did not know I held. It's like a previous commenter said- the world is full of different sorts of families, why is it that what you are doing is any bigger deal than the others?

    This was a beautiful post. It showed me that it is possible for some gay people within the church to live happy lives while still being a full member of the church. I think some need to hear this.

    You're staring a conversation, too. This is SO important. I think in the church we believe that gay people can't be changed, so why try? While it's true that orientation isn't something to change, the truth is that there are people like you who, I believe, because of your faith and also because of the acceptance of your parents and your now-wife, who can STAY in the church. I worry that too many gay people are pushed a way from a gospel they love because they feel like they have no other choice.

    Fantastic post. I've never read your blog before, this post was put on my facebook wall as I have been pretty outspoken lately about gay rights. I'm excited to read more, mostly because I like to laugh...

    Lexi

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  112. You have such a beautiful family and this is such a beautifully written post! You are such amazing people and the love you have for each other, you can feel just from your writing, so that says a lot! Happy Anniversary to you both!

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  113. Thank you so much for this beautiful message! And for being such an amazing and inspiring family.

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  114. Thank you! I needed to read this post today. I am friends with your brother, Chris and this was sent to me by a mutual friend. I am so proud of you and have nothing but love for you and your family! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  115. This is my first visit to your site, and may I say I was inspired and educated. I'm single, LDS and straight and have wondered how someone could be gay and live the teachings of the gospel. I somehow always knew, absolutely KNEW it had to be possible. I will share your blog with others. Thank you for being so open and honest and for your quick wit and your excellent writing!

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  116. What a great post! First of all Happy Anniversary to you guys! You have a beautiful family! I am so impressed by everything about your lives. I have to say though, your response to question #4 is AMAZING and something that EVERYONE, gay/straight, could really use a lesson in! Sexuality has become such a common thing in todays world and the world has taken away the specialness it is supposed to have. We are told that we should have sex because it is fun, and we are sexual beings, and we shouldn't control our urges, we should just go for it. It is so sad that so many people see sex as something of an activity to do whenever you feel like it rather than to use it within the bonds of marriage as something to bond with. It is so true that when it is used correctly, it can be so amazing and powerful! Thank you for bringing that message and every other message to this post!

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  117. I am also Mormon and have been having a really hard time trying to find the words to answer a friends questions about the church. She's a lesbian and I was really struggling to explain this exact concept. thank you for sharing your life.

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  118. Your post made me feel good! Thank you for sharing. What courage you have to share.

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  119. I just found your blog via Facebook and I want to just throw in my two cents. I admire the both of you so much for the courage you had to write that post. It was absolutely beautiful! I shared it on Facebook as well because I'm hoping people will read this and begin to understand homosexuality a bit better. It is such a beautiful post! Thank you for writing it and sharing with the world.

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  120. This was beautiful... thank you.

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  121. I grew up in a family that didn't talk about one of my uncles. He died when I was young and I assumed for years that it was because he died that no one talked about him. Reaching my teens I learned that he had been shunned from the family for opening up about his homosexuality after serving an LDS mission. My father, who tried to stay close to him, says that he found happiness in his partner, but regretted loosing his ability to have a family (both the one he was raised in and a biological one) because he felt he could not turn back. He felt that having come out as gay he could not return and live a life with a woman and have a family and learn to live with his feelings in connection with his faith in the church. He was gay, but still lost.
    I wish he could have heard your story of strength and reconciliation of faith and feelings. Even if it didn't change his mind, knowing that he had options could have given him most peace in his life before he died. I hope that others, of any orientation and lifestyle choice, learn to find strength and peace from your example. Most of all, I hope others learn to love those who are different, as I was taught by my father, who loved his brother even though they could never agree on what was right.

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  122. This is such a great message. Thank you for sharing your experience. It seems like there is a momentum of acceptance growing in the LDS church, and I hope it continues and spreads. I love that people are starting to talk about the reality of homosexuality, and hopefully accepting that there is a place for everyone in God's kingdom. Thank you again.

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    1. Acceptance of same-sex relationships and (civil) marriage, or acceptance of gay people who enter into heterosexual marriages?

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  123. Thank you so very much. You are both remarkable people and I so appreciate you being willing to share, so beautifully, your life together. I know it will be encouraging and helpful to so many.

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  124. Amazing insight. Thank you for sharing.

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  125. I love this post, and after going door to do with conflicted emotions during prop 8 I think this summarizes exactly how I felt then.
    I am going to link to this, I think it is great.
    Congrats on your happy marriage!

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  126. Totally inspiring post. Thank you for sharing this.

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  127. I gotta disagree on one thing, the timing of when you knew. I'll bet it was sometime after moving to Portland! That city has turned lots of folks gay!

    Hopefully everyone can see that was a joke. I caught an air of humor from Lolly when she referred to you as "Gay Weed" so hopefully my Portland comment isn't insensitive.

    I'm with everyone else...great post and very courageous. You probably don't think it took that much courage, but from the outside looking in on your family, to the rest of us it was a very courageous thing to do.

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  128. I feel incredibly grateful to you for your post. One of my close family members is gay and it has caused him so much heartbreak over the years trying to reconcile the Mormon upbringing with his natural proclivities. We love and admire him no less, but his internal turmoil is very apparent, nonetheless. I hope this message will give him hope, and also help him to love and forgive himself and others. I appreciate your openness, your love and acceptance of all views, your articulate and thoughtful responses. Above all, the beautiful relationship you have with your wife is a standard for all married couples, and am frankly astonished that such love exists (for real). I think that could form a Unicorn Club just in itself! :) I feel inspired by your remarks of devotion to eachother. It is indeed something to strive for! Thank you, thank you! And congratulations on your success! You have a beautiful family!

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  129. I saw this article posted by a friend on Facebook. I read the entire thing and wanted to share a few thoughts.

    My first experience with a homosexual person was when I was 21, actually. There may have been some before that, in high school, but I was sheltered enough that I wouldn't have known. Before my mission, I lived for a few months with a woman about 10 years older than my mom, as I worked and saved money. She had a daughter who had been married for 10 years and had four kids. They had a happy marriage. A month or so after I left on my mission, I found out that my mom's friend's son-in-law had left her daughter, because he'd been having affairs with men for over three years by then. He'd known since he was 16 that he was gay, but he went the traditional route. He also didn't tell his wife-to-be that he was gay.

    Not having any other personal experience with anyone who was gay (and these people being very close to family to me), I quickly developed a near-hatred for all things and people homosexual. I railed blindly.

    Since that time (10 years ago), I've aged and mellowed, lived in a city with a large gay community, and I've become more liberal in my social views (though not my moral ones). A rarity, I'm a Mormon who supports gay marriage (in that I don't have a good enough non-religious, secular argument against it).

    I really enjoyed hearing you story, for a number of reasons. It's happy and hopeful, but also brutally honest. I appreciate that you acknowledged that this is very much an uncommon outcome for gay people, and that it's most definitely not a universal solution. The thing I think I appreciate the most though, and this is because of my above-stated experience as well as one of my own, is that you never lied to your wife. She knew in advance, and you didn't trick her into anything, or think you were strong enough to do it without her support.

    I married a man who is addicted to pornography. He told me when we were dating, for which I will be forever grateful. He never tried to hide it from me (it wasn't first date conversation, but came at an appropriate trying-to-move-forward-in-our-relationship point), or hoped I'd never find out. He recognized that if he was going to be successful in the future in continuing to win his battle against this addiction, that he needed both the Lord's help AND his wife's.

    After he told me, I took two weeks to think long and hard about it. I fasted and prayed, talked to my dad and my branch president, who both gave me good advice and poignant thought-provoking questions. Though I took two weeks before talking with my then-boyfriend about it again, it only took me four days to come to the same conclusion that Lolly did: I loved him. I loved ALL of him. I was willing to take the bad with the good, and we could get through it together. I didn't choose to marry a porn addict. I chose to marry my husband, and that's only one part of him. None of our friends know that he struggles with that, but they might be surprised at me if they did -- why would I choose that? Because I love him and I want to be with him, good and bad.

    (For the record, we've been married 6.5 years and he's yet to have a relapse. About 3-4 times a year we have a brief conversation about how he's doing in the pornography/temptation department, and then we let it be again.)

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  130. It makes me very happy to see such a positive take on such a very difficult, complex issue. This issue obviously hits home with me and reading your blog made me smile. Thanks Josh and Lolly!!

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  131. Thank you! Words cannot express how grateful I was to read this...I have a sister I can now better understand because of you. And a way to give her hope for a life she has wanted and never thought possible! You are brave and incredible! I wish I could be more like you. Please keep sharing your story and love...you are changing lives!!

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  132. Josh & Lolly -

    Thank you for being a part of the conversation... for the work you've done in your marriage, in your personal lives, with your friends, in your practice... and now, openly, to the world.

    We really do need more men and women who can share their stories of success in living the gospel of Christ along with facing homosexuality... because my experience shows that while they may be rare, there are far more than most would ever imagine... silently enjoying life away from the public eye.

    I hope that as you face the inevitable onslaught that accompanies the decision to share your story personally that God continues to help you know that it is worth it. One soul is worth it... and this message can save souls.

    I don't know you, and may never get to know you. That's one of the downfalls of being a still-anonymous blogger. One of my readers suggested I read this post, and stories of hope are always worth my thanks.

    Thank you again... and may God bless you on the next portion of your own journey in saving souls.

    gaymormonguy.blogspot.com

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  133. Thank you. For your honest, candid and brave post. I have been uplifted today.

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  134. Thanks for sharing. Dealing with a difficult situation in my family that is very different from this, but involves a loved one making love&relationship decisions that I really don't agree with. But your words have helped me see the best way to deal with it.

    "...your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse. Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes. Love. Only love. Show your love in word and deed. Embrace them, both literally and figuratively. I promise they need it—and they need to feel like they can figure out this part of themselves in a safe way without ridicule and judgment. It’s what Christ would do. It’s what your loved one needs. Accept them. Love them. Genuinely and totally."

    So thank you.

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  135. The words that come to me seem inadequate. Thanks for posting and being confident enough to be open. I'm sure this will help many others. I will share it. Like you I've struggled (but with different issues) from being different than the traditional expectations and being open has been both cathartic and brought others out from their "closets" as well. I wish you love and strength!

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  137. I just want to express my admiration, support and love. I am a friend of a friend, and so grateful to you both- for your understanding, your experience, your generosity in sharing. You are remarkable people, individually and together. Thank you!

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  138. Josh and Lolly, I know you both and I know Lolly's family well. I am proud of you. I understand Lolly. I understand deeply how you love the whole person. I married a man who was gay also (eagle scout, returned missionary, byu grad, etc.) but I didn't know. We struggled for nearly 20 years. He also had some other very serious sexual addictions (again I did not know before we were married). He is a good person and a lovable person and he was my best friend. I will forever miss him and the hope of what we could have had and could have been inspite of the same sex attraction issues. Unfortunately, more than 30 years ago when we began to deal with these issues we didn't have the help or support we needed. Therapists, bishops, etc. tried but did not know how to help us. I believe that had my husband chosen to keep the commandments completely and be completely faithful to me and to the Lord we would still be married - SSA and all.
    You have my total and complete support. I love you both.
    Janet Fawcett

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  139. You are so wonderful and I admire you so much! Thank you for being so open and for wanting to share your story with all of us. You are a blessed man and you have a beautiful family and you deserve all of that happiness. I feel such compassion and such love for you and I had never read your blog until now. Thank you so much!

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  140. Thank you for your beautiful and touching story. I'm touched by your love, compassion, and strong beliefs. My best wishes to you and your gorgeous family. To another 10 years of being a truly happy and joyful couple!

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  141. Found this through a friend on facebook and am so happy I did. You both are an inspiration to marriage gay or straight! So happy to have found your blog, I'll be following it from now on.:)

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  142. A friend of mine posted this on facebook and I read it on a whim, but I do have a question for you? Have you ever explained this to your kids? If so, how did you go about doing it?

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  143. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your private lives so openly. You shared in a very honest way. I can't imagine how difficult life has been for you and I'm grateful you met someone wonderful.

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  144. Thank you for your post. This is an answer to my prayers!

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  145. Amazing. Thank you for your courage and your willingness to share your amazing story with others.

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  146. Thank you for sharing your story, I think there are a lot of parallels between it an other marriages of unique circumstance. One I thought of is a couple where one has great physical disabilities. I have a friend who is nearly completely paralyzed, she also has other very dramatic physical deformities, someone could say to her husband the same things people say to you "aren't you sacrificing the chance to be with someone that you are physically attracted to etc?" and he certainly could, but I know he would respond that it would be at the expense of not getting to be the husband and eternal companion of my friend, and to him it would not be worth it. God never promised us that we would have perfect lives and perfect spouses etc, but he did promise us that in following his commandments that we would find true joy and happiness, and you are your adorable wife are living proof of it. I commend you for putting trust and faith in Lord when it is not really the "popular" thing to do in this day and age.

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  147. I know that my comment will probably get lost in the sea of all 100 million other comments that will come to this post, but in the even that you do read this, I'd like you to know the following:

    This is one of the most beautiful texts I have read in my whole life. You are so brave (both of you) for hitting this issue head-on. Your words were so powerful and meaningful, it definitely made me cry. The way you described your situation made perfect sense, and I am so proud of you.

    I felt the spirit strongly in your words, and found myself finding meaning and application for my life, even though I am not homosexual. It was just a beautiful reminder that Heavenly Father loves me despite my sins and imperfections. I love that you remind the world that Christ is accepting, loving, and tolerant of us, and so should we be with each other.

    I am also LDS and want to express my love for you and your whole family, from me and mine. You have genuinely incredible souls and we wish you the best from the bottom of our hearts.

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  148. Thank you for adding another voice and perspective to the discussion: one I hadn't heard before. Communication is just as important to building greater love and understanding in our society as it is to building greater love and understanding in your marriage. Thanks for being loving enough to trust us with your story at such a great personal risk. I hope that we're worthy of that trust.

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  149. I am in love with this post! The Lord is using you as an invaluable instrument to bless and enlighten the lives of others. What a blessing you and your family are!

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  150. You both seem like awesome people. Wishing you both the best in everything. :-)

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  151. Hi, Josh and Lolly. I met you briefly in April when I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law in your ward. Since then, I have been following The Weed avidly for a regular fix of witty and intelligent humor. This post was unexpected, but it might be my favorite one. I've spent the better part of an hour carefully reading the post and the comments from your readers, and I have to agree with the majority of them: you two are living the dream (the dream, of course, being a healthy, honest, and happy relationship).

    I have collected quite a few gay friends over the last few years. Most of them have left the LDS church in order to embrace the typical gay lifestyle. As you have pointed out, I have felt the best way to support them is to simply support them. Still, it's difficult for me to engage in conversations about homosexuals and the LDS church because I feel torn between my religious beliefs and my love for my friends. Your blog post has articulated something that I have not been able to: those who develop a relationship with God will have the strength to do what is right for them; those who don't will feel at a loss.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and story!

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  152. Thank you so much for being so open and willing to share your experiences with us. I'm LDS and straight, but have received ridicule myself for trying to support those who are homosexual and LDS around me who are trying to live a life like you two have chosen. Your post was so beautiful and the way you described what intimacy is and to love them no matter what. And that sin is in action not temptation. I'm so grateful for your insights and willingness to tell the world. I hope it can bring the feeling of God's love into many hearts.

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  153. Thank you for sharing this. I'm one of those who is just excited to be talking about this because I truly believe it's a real thing and that there are those out there who are LDS and gay and not sure what to do about it. You are a great example and you have such a beautiful family. I especially loved reading about the beautiful intimacy you and lolly share. We should all be more like that.

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  154. Wow. This is incredible, beautifully written. I cried twice.

    My husband and I were just talking about this. I feel I am pretty liberal, and as a convert I have always struggled learning how to deal with my new, society-imposed conservative label. I heard that church members, dressed in conservative clothing, marched in the Utah Pride parade with signs that said, "Jesus loves his children". I was so proud.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/over-300-mormons-march-in-utah-gay-pride-parade-to-send-message-of-love-to-lgbt-community/2012/06/03/gJQAkhQACV_story.html

    "Mormons" know, me especially having been out in the world in my youth, that you give up certain things to follow God's plan. I personally have believed that those in the LBGT community are born that way, and that being gay is not a choice. Following God's plan is a choice. At some point in our lives we will all have the opportunity to make this choice and we all have our challenges - its not meant to be easy. We know we are never given a challenge we can't handle - He would never make it impossible to follow His plan.

    I had to give up an entire lifestyle to follow His plan. It was a very confusing time, and I failed many times in an attempt to figure out who I was within my beliefs. It would have been easier not to change, but I couldn't deny the religious truth I had been exposed to - it was bigger than me. I don't believe living as a sexually active gay person is any more a "sin" than anything else that would keep a person from following His plan. God wants his children to follow Him, but He doesn't love us any less if we don't - we shouldn't love each other less or judge either.

    Happy anniversary!!!

    Jennifer

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  155. This is amazing and inspiring. I hope that this can open minds and hearts. Because many need to be changed. Thank you for stepping up and having the courage to do so. Thank you.

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  156. A friend of mine linked me to this post. It touched me. Unexpectedly, it made me think about my own life quite alot.
    I am in a very different situation. I have been dealing with mental illness (depression, generalized anxiety, and OCD) for most of my life. But I found that several things you said can apply to what I deal with.
    I have often thought that there is something seriously wrong with me. I have thought that nobody would want to be with someone like me, and it wouldn't be fair to share my burden with someone else.
    This has made me think differently about some things in my life, and things that I want in my life.
    Thank you Josh & Lolly!

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  157. A brave and inspiring post! Thanks for sharing.

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  158. What a powerful post. The world needs to hear this message. A most sincere thank you for your example.

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  159. Happy Anniversary!

    Thank you so much for being brave and open to share your story. I love your family for that. I hope you don't mind I posted your blog in a link to my facebook status for others to read. That's actually how I came across this post; one of my friends had it in her status.

    Congratulations on all you've accomplished. Your beautiful family, a happy marriage, a joyful life.. I am truly happy for your family!

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  160. I loved this. Thank you so much for sharing your story. This has blown the lid off my understanding in such a positive, wonderful way.

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  161. Thank you. I have no personal experience with homosexual feelings, but I've faced my own struggles which leave me sensitive to the experiences and choices of others. There are many decisions which I disagree with (including some in my own life), but it is vital for everyone to know I love them as a child of God before they know what I think about how they choose to deal with their unique challenges and opportunities. God bless us, every one.

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  162. Hello Weed family,

    Your article showed up in my Facebook newsfeed, and I'm glad I took the time to read it! We don't know each other, but I just wanted to say how much I admire you guys. Your relationship, while perhaps unorthodox, is exemplary, and I have been inspired by both Josh's and Laurel's words. I'm a young, LDS, heterosexual man who is trying to come to grips in my own way with reconciling Church doctrines and homosexuality, and this post was a much needed perspective. Thank you for your openness and bravery. I wish your family all the best!

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  163. I have one question for you. Were you abused in any way when you were a child?

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  164. Josh, thank you.
    I've been struggling for several years with the temptation of homosexuality, and for a long time, I thought I was a bad person because of this.
    I am getting ready to serve a mission, and I leave in September for Brazil.
    I have always been a little worried about how I would be able to deal with my companions. I have faith in the Lord, and faith in myself.
    Your post brought be great comfort, and reinforced my determination to live my life in a way that would make God happy.
    Because of you, I KNOW I can serve an honorable full time mission, and return home to marry a wonderful woman in the temple.
    I don't know why I have this temptation in my life, but I know God will not give me a trial I cannot overcome.
    Thank you for not hiding you candle under a bushel. You've brought greater light and strength to me.
    Thank you.

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