The TLC controversy and Mormons with same-sex attraction

You may have heard that TLC is planning on running a show on Mormons with same-sex attraction, some of whom are happily married to somebody of the opposite sex. As anybody could have predicted, some champions of “tolerance” are intolerantly calling for the cancellation of this show, which simply has these people telling their stories. The show is called “My Husband’s Not Gay.”

I would urge M* readers to visit this post, which has a great summary of the situation. I would also urge charity and compassion for these brave Mormons trying to balance their sexual desires with prophetic guidance. These people truly are modern-day heroes.

Here is the teaser for the show on TLC:

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

26 thoughts on “The TLC controversy and Mormons with same-sex attraction

  1. An interesting time to raise this issue. In the public square, the exutant shouts from homosexual advocates has not diminished, though supposedly their demands for “equality” have been recognized and satisfied. Unfortunate for these, opressive government oversight and regulation will never bring happiness. Allowing people who have discovered the true path to lasting happiness threatens them. The familiar attack mode ensues.

  2. Get this filth off the television, before my children get inadvertently exposed to the straight agenda!

  3. I know a couple in their sixties with four kids and, if I had to guess, I think their marriage falls under this category. I think the husband has struggled with feelings for men his whole life, but he (so far) has been able to harness those feelings. and re-direct them into something that works. I do worry couples will have children, and that eventually, the homosexual partner will throw in the towel and seek divorce. Still, I respect all couples who are struggling with this particular challenge within their marriage and wish them the best.

  4. IDIAT, as I say above, such people are modern-day heroes. It is incredibly heroic for one person to overcome the entire world and say he or she will follow the prophet on sexual issues. And it is incredibly heroic for the partner to stay she or he will stick with the husband/wife who is dealing with these issues. What bravery these people have.

  5. The stakes are high. Key quote from the opposition, “To even give the idea to young people that it is a choice can be very dangerous.”

    What they’re upset about is not someone acknowledging a genetic tendency, or inborn traits. But the choice to act on it or act contrary to it.

    Again, so we’re very clear, there is one group of people who will tell you that you have no agency in this regard, no choice, you must do X. That does not line up with the plan of salvation at all, or at least not the plan that the good guys signed on to.

    A bonus thought for 1-2 generations down the line, dangerous speech has a record of being regulated so that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply. The more this “dangerous” BS get’s accepted and adopted in the cultural mainstream, and even supported by “science” completely compromised by cultural bias, the more the case will be made for regulating this kind of speech in the future.

    To doughnut analogy was rather unfortunate (equating sexual preference with food), but the point stands, just because you internally are attracted to something, doesn’t mean you can’t act contrary to that as a valid choice.

  6. There is nothing mysterious about gay men marrying women, as they have been for millennia. There is nothing mysterious about strait men not being sexually attracted to their aging, imperfect wives either. It is a very modern notion that marriage is supposed to represent the fulfillment of a person’s sexual ideal. Traditional marriage is to marry someone for teenage love (when you are young and stupid), or marry someone you may or may not be attracted to, but supposed to marry.

    But these guys are still gay. That is a god-ordained sexual orientation.

  7. “But these guys are still gay. That is a god-ordained sexual orientation.”

    Nate, could you provide any support from statements from modern-day prophets that being gay is a “god-ordained sexual orientation?”

  8. Support from modern day prophets that being gay (or same-sex attracted) is sometimes a permanent, God-ordained reality:

    “others may not be free of this challenge in this life.” from God Loveth His Children


    “God giveth unto men weaknesses” the Book of Mormon says. In this case, it is a weakness that “may not be freed in this life.”‘


  9. Several of my friends and I have concluded that at least in half of the gay men we know, they were “made”, not born gay, as a result of family dynamics/dysfunction and/or being sexually abused. Over half of our gay acquaintances had their first sexual experience with an older male, like 16 or older, before they even reached their teen years.

    Ask psychologists/psychiatrists over the age of 65 or so, who were trained before political correctness got ahold of the APA. Very few practicing homosexuals are born gay.

    As a side topic, evidence that sexual _behavior_ does not have to follow sexual _orientation_ is prison sex. Ask any case worker who deals with inmates. Most men who engage in homosexual sex in prisons do not consider themselves gay.

  10. Whether it was “family dynamics/dysfunction and/or being sexually abused,” or genetics that made people gay, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a God-ordained reality for them, one that “may not change in this life.”

    God ordained the realities and circumstances of our lives, and allowed the biological and environmental quirks that led to the blessings and curses of our various identities. Some things we do choose, but sexual attraction does not seem to be one of those things. Does it matter whether it is environmental or biological if we didn’t have a choice anyway, and if we are helpless to change it? The prophets have spoken. This is God’s problem, not ours.

  11. Nate, I have edited one of your comments because you made claims of statements from GAs that are simply not true and have been disproven many times. Kindly refrain from such attempts here at M*.

    Sexuality is a continuum, not an either-or proposition. Some people may never have same-sex attraction, others may occasionally have it, others may very often have it, and others may only have it. To call people with same-sex attraction “gay” is inaccurate. Studies have shown that most men with same-sex attraction never act on it. It is simply not true that people with same-sex attraction cannot change. I personally know several people who had same-sex attraction earlier in their lives, and these people are now happily married to people of the opposite sex. People will very often experiment once or twice in their lives and then never do it again for a variety of reasons.

    I would encourage you to get up to date with the actual research on this subject if you would like to continue to comment here. Your information supports a certain political agenda you have promoted but does not represent reality.

  12. Nate, I agree that it isn’t always a matter of choice. But who and what we are is our problem. And it’s our job to seek wholeness through atonement even if its full healing power may not be experienced until the resurrection.

    I don’t feel completely responsible for the PTSD I’m encumbered with because of abuse. Nevertheless, I have a responsibility to (try to) live faithfully according to what I know in spite of the extra burden. We are all, to some degree, victims of our mortal inheritance.

  13. The proposition that something exists and is natural does not entail the conclusion that it must be divinely ordained. Some may be born with an inherent weakness for alcohol, for example, without that weakness necessarily being divinely imposed. It could be, in some cases (see Ether 12:27), but not necessarily.

  14. Ether 12:27 says God gives us weakness, not weaknesses–that distinction is important.

    And He certainly doesn’t intend for us to wallow in it.

  15. I have struggled with sex addiction since I was 17. Much of my sex addiction, as I learned from working Step 4 of the 12-step program I have been working, stems from terrible bullying and some abuse from my parents. I can choose to use that as an excuse for my addiction and continue to indulge in it, or I can choose to turn to the Savior and let Him heal me. As of a couple of years ago, I have chosen to work on letting the Savior heal me. It has been the best decision I’ve ever made. I believe same sex attraction has a lot of the same elements and that a person afflicted with it has a similar choice. They can choose to give into it or they can choose to give it to the Savior and let Him work a miracle in their lives. These men on that TLC show seem to be choosing the latter. God bless them in their desires.

  16. As I’ve been thinking about this, and as I have read the comments on this post 2 scriptures have come to mind:

    1st — 2 Nephi 10:23 “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.”

    2nd — 2 Nephi 2: 26 “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.”

    I don’t know if people are born same-sex attracted, or they become that way thru life experiences (nature vs. nurture). But I do know people choose to act on their feelings (about any number of things) or not. People can choose to overcome their weaknesses, and not to be a victim. People can choose to trust in God, and that he will strengthen them to manage their problems and issues, or not.

    I think these couples and the single man, are very brave to share their stories. Clearly the hate is there toward people of faith that choose a faithful path, by those who preach tolerance, but rarely give it back. What I see is these families have chosen to ACT for themselves and have chosen to follow the Lord’s way. Yes that’s a hard path sometimes, but a good path to be on.

  17. Speaking as an individual who at times has been attracted to individuals (of both genders) other than my spouse, one makes a choice whether your vows are to be honored or not. For what it’s worth, I think I’m now too old to get waylaid by random hankerings for people other than my spouse. So no worries about what might be going on in my head these days.

    Though not mentioned yet, the very fact that a righteous Mormon man is more likely to refrain from inappropriate intimacy before marriage can be quite frightening to a woman who is concerned about marrying a closeted gay man. In my case it didn’t help that he was in his thirties and I was only the third woman he’d ever kissed. It definitely didn’t help that we mutually agreed to refrain from kissing after we got engaged (we had an imaginary kitty where we’d add a dollar for each “kiss” that occurred – I think we got up to $14, and that included the air kiss that I swear never actually touched his lips). Was I afraid I was marrying a man who wasn’t adequately “red-blooded?” You better believe I was afraid.

    But I decided to not be afraid. And I learned that my spouse is a fabulous child of God with great goodness and treasures to share.

    Ultimately I determined that my fear was not that my beloved might be gay. My fear was that my beloved might be lying about himself and at a later point might decide to be “true” to his nature.

    I think it’s great that these folks are deciding to live an intentional life, where they plan to be faithful to the one with whom they covenant, even knowing that a marriage ceremony doesn’t end one’s occasional natural-man desire to get hot and sweaty with someone other than the spouse.

    We now live in a world where so many feel that an intentional life of rectitude is a silent sermon against the free love/polyamory/self-indulgence so many believe is their “right.” How dare we act as though the health of children, spouse, and community is more important than stoking the fires of illicit passion!

    It’s interesting to watch that trailer again, but instead of the guys admitting they are gay, imagine them admitting that they have heterosexually-oriented sex addiction, or an incessant desire to masturbate, or a health condition that constantly prompts them to want to do things that could hurt the marriage (like Tourette’s syndrome or Anorexia or Pica or Prader-Willi Syndrome).

    If this were the case, would we not unilaterally celebrate the strength of a person attempting to overcome something that bars them from having the life they wist for themselves? Would we not similarly admire the spouse or prospective spouse who stands by the sufferer and helps them overcome?

    Then why should we feel differently merely because the “challenge” is same-sex attraction?

  18. “We now live in a world where so many feel that an intentional life of rectitude is a silent sermon against the free love/polyamory/self-indulgence so many believe is their “right.””

    Every person striving to live a virtuous life is a standing rebuke to the world. More power to them.

  19. Thanks for covering this! I love that your post matched the spirit of the Church’s official statement–even before they made it.

  20. Thanks Kevin L. Here is the official Church statement on the TLC program:

    A new program on the TLC cable channel to air later this month, titled “My Husband’s Not Gay,” has generated significant news media coverage this week. Several journalists have asked the Church questions about the program because it features three Mormon couples. While the Church has no connection to the program and rarely comments on commercial productions, Church spokesman Eric Hawkins gave the following statement to the media regarding the issues being discussed:

    “The decision for a woman and man to marry is deeply personal. While the Church does not promote marriage as a treatment method for same-sex attraction, couples who are trying to be lovingly supportive of each other while being true to their religious convictions deserve our support and respect.”

    Official information regarding the Church’s position and teachings on same-sex attraction can be found here:

  21. It was obvious to me that when I divorced I would be celibate until I married again. That was about 25 years ago and remarriage is unlikely. The world would say I am a fool to forsake something that offered such pleasure, but I cannot regret my decision. It has only one real negative. I am impatient with anyone who pleads the primary importance of honoring the demands of their gonads. Whatever the temptation, be it porn or same sex attraction or plain old philandering, I feel a certain contempt for those who let themselves be separated from ideals by ‘doing what comes naturally’.

  22. I had an interesting conversation with my brother awhile ago who has a doctorate in family counseling. He told me of a man he knows that never had a same-sex attraction thought in his mind until his wife of 40 years died. For what ever reason, he now struggles with this in his 60’s. If one can develop these feelings, then there is the possibility of them going away. Was he born gay from birth? I don’t think so. I agree with Geoff that there is a spectrum and it varies with time and attitude.


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