WATCH: Mormon Parents Record “It Gets Better” Video

Parents of gay Mormon kids have recorded their own version of an It Gets Better video, challenging the Church’s stern disapproval of homosexuality. The clip was released yesterday at a national conference for gay Mormons in Washington, DC. It features parents and family members discussing their path toward loving and accepting their same-sex-attracted kids.  Says one dad, “There was once upon a time that I told a co-worker of mine that if a gay ever came on to me I would punch him. Now, you know what I would probably do? I would hug him.”

A group of LGBT students at Brigham Young University made news recently with their own IGB video—which, like this new clip, was produced by former BYU staffer Kendall Wilcox. Wilcox told the AP he wanted to underscore how many Mormons weren’t buying the hardline ban against homosexuality the Church preached:  “It’s sort of an invitation to Mormons everywhere to come out and say, we can’t be quiet about this anymore. We have to show support,” Wilcox said. “All of these parents are saying nothing anti-Mormon,” Wilcox said. “It’s just, you know: In the end, when I was working through all of this, the message I got from God is that you love your child.”

For young LDS members who might think the entire world is against them, we can see how these videos offer something of a lifeline. But at what point do you say enough is enough and walk away from a doctrine that tells you you’re unworthy of God’s love?


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  • John

    “But at what point do you say enough is enough and walk away from a doctrine that tells you you’re unworthy of God’s love?”

    Because walking away doesn’t help anyone else. But standing up and creating a paradigm shift in the church and realizing that doctrine has no basis in religion, but out of hate. If they walk away then the church can still harm people. If they walk away the choose apathy, and apathy and silence never changes the world.

  • Christen

    This is amazing. It is truly amazing how far the Mormon culture has become. 11 years ago a video like this would have made a world of difference to me. I am glad it is out there for all the young ones now.

    wrt the question posed, It is easy for others to think one should leave the church and that it is about doctrine. It took years for me to finally leave the Church (although I am still on their membership records). Leaving the Church behind is more than just disaffiliation with a organization because the LDS faith is more than just dogma and church going on Sunday. It is all encompassing. It permeates everything you do and to leave the church means leaving your family and way of life. This isn’t even restricted to the religious things like taking sacrament, praying in public, going to the temple to see your siblings married, baby blessings and baptisms, but also includes cultural things like jello, funeral potatoes, not drinking/liking coffee and not knowing proper non-mormon wedding etiquette. I came out 11 years ago and stopped going to church 8 years ago and it is a constant struggle with my parents and family. I said enough is enough when I was going to BYU and in spite of my celibacy, and abstinence from alcohol, coffee, tea, drugs and tobacco I was still marginalized. I had no problem being a faithful gay mormon, but stopped going when I realized everyone else had a problem with it.

  • tookietookie

    @John: Nope. No one has a responsibility to remain a member of a false, damaging religion just to coddle and coax the sheeple in it into change. Mormons are the ones who need to see the world is bigger and a lot more complex than their little fishbowl worldview can account for. The responsibility is on their shoulders to realize their leaders are feeding them b.s., and to learn how to think for themselves and take personal accountability. Your attitude is paternalistic and doesn’t really empower them at all. They already know how to march to that drum.

  • Red Assault

    Let’s have a rundown-

    Guy at the beginning says his son “has same sex attraction,” making it clear he thinks it’s a mental disorder and making sure we all know it’s all about sex. He also says “you don’t know me but I know you” since all gay people are the same.

    Guy in the middle says “I used to say if a gay came on to me, I’d punch him out,” making sure we know gay men are sexual predators who are weak and can’t fight a fat, old guy. Then he says “now I’d hug him.” so we know gay men are still sexual predators but we all just need a hug. But he still refers to us as “a gay.” because he still doesn’t think we are humans… Just monsters.

    The whole video has this weird, underlying “I feel sorry for you poor victims of same sex attraction and I know how hard it is to be gay because I know how it is to be alone….” because they look at us like victims. That we’re all sad and suicidal.

    It’s so foul to see the It Gets Better campaign stolen by these… People.

  • Red Assault

    @John: Yeah and we see how much luck the log cabin gay republicans have had in the 25 years of their existence. None.

    The only way to stop it is to make the or on cult illegal,

  • S. Rune Emerson

    I used to be LDS. One whole side of my family still is. I’m nowhere near their faith now, I left the church very early on- before I even knew my sexuality.

    My grandfather, who just recently passed at 87 years of age, said to me “I’m a Mormon, and I don’t approve of that lifestyle. But I will always approve of you. I will always love you. And I don’t need you to be Mormon for me to love you. I don’t need you to believe things that I believe, in order for me to love you. And as long as you’re happy and safe, I will be grateful every day to Heavenly Father for that.”

    This was after ten years of estrangement and me forcibly closing the door on a very poisonous relationship.

    My family went from being awful and destructive, to being accepting and loving. It doesn’t magically make everything better, but the video’s message is right- people can change, if they have the reason to do so.

    If you leave a religion because of your sexuality, and you stand firm in your own truth, you can still be the reason people who love you need in order to change. So, I say that the video is right. It’s not enough, not nearly, not yet. And there’s a lot of harm the Mormon Church has to make right. But this is a very good step, and I won’t deny it for what it is.

    I hope that it spreads across the earth.

  • london89

    “Nobody in their right mind would choose this”
    Excuse me? Sounds like being gay is a punishment and the end of your life. Shows how strange these people think…

  • Red Meat

    @london89: It’s meant to say that no one would choose a life that alienates them from their family and society or puts their life in danger by homophobes.

  • I get it too

    Why don’t Catholics get the same kind of criticism in these forums? The Catholic church even more poisonous for gays than the mormons.

  • randy

    Over at Towleroad, someone posted that he knows the guy who produced this video and states that it was made under the approval of the LDS church. There is nothing courageous at this at all — just the opposite. It’s a bit of propaganda made to make the church look a little more tolerant towards gays in this election season with Romney as a presidential candidate.

    And of course, this video isn’t saying anything other than “Dont’ hate your gay children.” It doesn’t say love your gay children, it says if you have a gay child, there is something terribly wrong with him, but if he stays in the closet and never ever has sex, and never has an orgasm (since masturation is also forbidden by the church), then you don’t have to hate him.

    But if he has gay sex, a boyfriend, or loves another man, then sure, go ahead and hate him.

  • RedAssault

    @randy: I have never for a minute believed that either of these was a real grass-roots video. Both have the exact same production values, both are way above what some college student with a video camera could do.

    They both use the same type of cut-aways, the same washed-out colour correction, the same style of sad background music.

    Both use the same verbiage… “I have same sex attraction” or “my son has same sex attraction” like we’re all stricken with an illness. They both have the same sort of “gay people are all sad” message. There is no “you’ll be happy,” it’s “you will be sad forever but stay with the church.”

    The most disturbing message that you’ll miss if you’re not paying attention….”you can be gay and the world will hate you but if you stay with your family in the church they will be nice to you.” Because mormons only want your money. So as long as those faggots stay with their families, they will stay with the church and keep giving the Morons money.

    This is a very dangerous video series and it’s fooling a LOT of people.

  • Bale Hipo

    @ Randy
    I can personally assure you that this video was in no way intended to help Romney’s campaign but rather demonstrates that long-help homophobic views can change even among some of the most socially conservative people on Earth. I personally know some of the children of these parents and they are in real gay relationships having real gay sex and are fully loved and accepted by their parents.

  • Dirty Ole Man

    @randy: +1

    The beware Morman Gays. The Church has NOT changed one bit. You are not accepted, even if you tow that ridiculous line.

  • ReallyReally

    As an LDS member, I find it really easy to get caught in the “Us vs Them” mentality when court cases or less formal disagreements have clear sides that you have to choose between. I don’t think this video has anything to do with picking sides. This wasn’t a message to the world made by the LDS church; it is a message to LDS church members from LDS church members who are deeply concerned with the hurt being caused by their personal actions and perceptions (with no mention of policy or official position). I’m glad to see the video made it to this site, but its intended audience isn’t likely seeing it here. There is a very real internal struggle and conversation going on within the church’s membership that should be acknowledged. And though it may not be discussed the way you want it to be, or progressing as fast as you would like to see, the wheels are obviously turning. Keep the conversation going, many LDS members are listening.

  • Dirty Ole Man

    The mindset that generated first Prop 2 in California, then years later prop 8 has not changed.

    Some of the rank and file have problems with the Church’s position, but the hierarchy has NOT changed their position one bit. When someone uses the phrase “same sex attraction” , it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up.

    The LDS Church has surpassed the Catholics as the Evil Empire with plenty money behind their belief system to push their ideas on others.

    Its certainly not a benevolent group!

  • RedAssault

    @Bale Hipo: but they give money to the people who brought you prop 8 and question 1 anyway.

    That’s not love, it’s “putting up with.”

  • Bob

    @John: OH, PLEASE! The only way to stay is to give up your life and not have sex or a partner

  • Bob

    @Bale Hipo: NO WAY can a Gay person have sex or a partner and be part of the mormon church. I am glad the parents accept them, but THIS IS PROPAGANDA, plain and simple

  • Bob

    @I get it too: Yeah, but catholics are mostly accepting, and mormons mainly think Gays are misguided or sick

  • Red Assault

    If you watch the two supposedly un-related video projects that were just done by the people themselves…. You start to notice a few eerie similarities.

    First… Both are shot with two cameras. That’s not that huge a deal but they employ the exact same technique. Camera one is straight one, framed tightly and focused on the speaker. Camera two is a 45° angle(or greater) to one side with the subject out of focus but the background tightly in focus. The more confidant the speaker is, the greater the angle of the offset camera. The editing style, back and forth between the first and second camera angles is identical.

    The colors are washed out, faded. But the more sad and meek the speaker is, the more faded the colors are. If a speaker is more strong and smooth, the more bold the colors are.

    The music in both videos is pretty similar. And mixed the same way.

    Both open with a weird “it’s not really going to get better” statement. Both use the term “same sex attraction” and the underlying message is that the whole world is going to treat you poorly so it’s best to stay with your family and stay in the church and keep giving them money. Both suggest that being gay is a mental disorder that we “have.”

    Both also go out of their way to paint being gay as something that is sad…. Always sad. “I don’t know what it’s like to be gay but I know what it’s like to be sad and alone.”

    These aren’t grass roots anything, they’re made by the Mormon church.

  • cam

    The Mormon Church has a major problem with gays that they did not have with the Black community or with Black civil rights.

    Blacks were outsiders and huge numbers of Mormons felt that way and it was outside pressure that finally grudgingly made the church decide it was better to change their rules.

    The major problem they have with gays is that “Good” Mormon famillies keep giving birth to them. They were telling parents to sever ties with these kids, kick them out etc… but the problem is, you are starting to get more and more families that don’t, or leave the church, and you even have people like MArie OSmond saying it’s perfectly ok that her daughter is a lesbian. Which puts the church in a bad spot if they try to kick out somebody else but don’t go after her.

    Make no mistake. The Mormon church still hates gays, but they are stuck, they are losing family members of gays, and are not sure what to do. They will try the “Kinder Gentler” bigotry but that won’t work.

    Will be interesting to see when they finally cave as they did with Blacks.

  • Blah, bla..huh?

    STFU Mormons. Your little snake oil hustle is out in the open now, quit pretending that your attempting to talk to anyone but yourselves. Everyone knows you’re just the splinterheads working this carnival, so fix us a funnel cake and keep your mouth shut while you do, psychos.

  • Geoff B

    I get it’s really hard to separate from religion especially when it’s been part of your whole life, but when you are a parent, that is the most important job that God can give you. It’s your job to protect them from harm even (maybe especially) from those who claim to speak in God’s name. If that means leaving your church, then so be it. I can’t imagine a more unchristian thing than turning your back on your child in favor of what some bigoted asshole who claims to speak for God says. Maybe this video is a small step in the right direction, maybe not. But these folks still have a long way to go to make up for all the damage they’ve done

  • Scott Nicholson

    @Red Assault: The similarity you note in these videos is due to their being filmed/produced by the same person. Kendall Willcox is a gay man who used to be a film professor at BYU. He was let go a few months ago. He insists that his termination was not because he’s gay, but rather because his pet project, an independent film about gay Mormons, was not allowing him to meet the minimum requirements of his job.

    He worked with USGA (an unofficial QSA at BYU), local PFLAG chapters, and Family Fellowship (a group of Mormon allies) to produce these videos. They are targeted at young gay Mormons, and intended to give them some hope as they work through the conflicts between their orientation and their religion. I know several of the parents in this video, and they are entirely supportive of their gay children who have left the church, and who are dating or partnered. They don’t expect their kids to remain alone and celibate, and they don’t hope to convince anyone else to do so with this video.

    The idea that Kendall is working for the LDS church, and that these videos are intended to soften the church’s reputation as anti-gay, is not entirely implausible—the LDS church is fairly media-savvy, and cares a great deal about PR, and isn’t above that sort of conspiracy. But knowing many of the people who were involved in the project, I’m inclined to doubt it.

    I was Mormon. Because of my religious upbringing I wasn’t even able to admit to myself that I was even attracted to guys until I was 34 years old (and married with children). Over the last four years I’ve accepted who I am, quit the church, separated from my wife (divorce pending) and found a lot of fulfillment and happiness in living authentically as a gay man.

    As @Christen said, Mormonism is far more than a belief system. It’s a culture and a way of life, and it is not an easy thing to walk away from. Those who leave the church are often shunned by family and friends, and they find themselves adrift, without a support system to help them redefine themselves. This is especially true at a place like BYU, where the culture is Mormonism on steroids (and where leaving the church will get you booted).

    I believe, absolutely and completely, that gay Mormons should walk away. The Mormon church and culture are toxic to gay people, and attempts to reconcile the conflicts can never be successful, and will only ensure a life of struggle.

    But I also recognize how difficult it can be. A young Mormon boy who is barely even able to acknowledge to himself that he is gay can’t be told to just walk away. He will dismiss the advice as anti-Mormon and ignore it, because he’s been taught his whole life that happiness comes from participating in the church. He’s scared enough about admitting to family and friends that he has “same-gender attraction” (and facing their disapproval) that the idea of quitting the church entirely (and being cut off) is too terrifying to consider.

    Videos like these help him to understand that he can find acceptance and love within the church. Will he be fulfilled? Of course not, because human nature is to crave love and intimacy, and as long as he’s denied those he’ll feel their lack. But he will figure that out, on his own, if he’s able to accept his orientation as good and normal, and I believe these videos can help him do that.

    I’ve gotten to know literally hundreds of gay Mormons since I came out, and with very few exceptions, they’ve all eventually realized that there’s no place for them in Mormonism, and they’ve created a post-LDS life for themselves, and they are happy. I don’t doubt that the USGA kids at BYU will do the same—that all of them will, in a few years, be happy and healthy and authentic. In the meantime, they’ve found a place that allows them some respite from the conflict, and they’re trying to help others find the same oasis. I think this is commendable.

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