EP 568 – How Should Local Leaders Counsel LGBTQ+ Members? | An Interview with Tyler Lefevor and Sam Skidmore

Tyler Lefevor and Sam Skidmore
New research shows us how local LDS leaders can improve the way they counsel with LGBTQ+ members and help them find their path.

The way local Latter-day Saint leaders counsel LGBTQ+ members of their congregation can have an enormous impact on how those members choose to be involved with the Church going forward. Some leaders are accepting and loving. Some offer neutral advice to read scriptures and pray. Some tell LGBTQ+ members to suppress their orientation or identity and restrict who they are.

Tyler Lefevor, a previous guest of the show with this 4 Options Survey, and Sam Skidmore, a post-graduate student studying clinical counseling and psychology, have interviewed 25 LGBTQ+ Latter-day Saints—some active, some not—about their experiences with local leaders. With their research, they hope to help bishops and stake presidents learn how to be more effective in counseling these members to be more emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Questions discussed:

  • What drove you to focus on bishops and stake presidents?
  • How can LDS leaders balance the demands of protecting the Church and teaching correct doctrine with being open and loving toward LGBTQ+ members
  • What are the top reasons LGBTQ+ members talk with a Church leader about gender or sexuality?
  • What did LGBTQ+ Latter-day Saints find most helpful from these interactions with leaders?
  • What did LGBTQ+ Latter-day Saints find least helpful from these interactions with leaders?
  • What are the common impacts of talking with a Church leader?
  • How do you recommend LGBTQ+ Church members interact with their leaders?
  • Do you feel like the Church has progressed as it pertains to LGBTQ+ relations?
  • Can LGBTQ+ members fully belong in their congregations and the Church at large?
  • How can leaders get in touch with you about sharing their experiences from their side of the desk?

Tyler Lefevor, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at Utah State University. Raised as a queer man in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tyler’s research focuses on building bridges between LGBTQ+ and LDS communities. Tyler also operates a small, private therapy practice.

Sam Skidmore, M.S., is a third-year doctoral student of clinical/counseling psychology at Utah State University. Sam’s research and clinical focuses include understanding the experiences of religious LGBTQ+ people and ways in which LGBTQ+ mental health can be improved.

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Transcript

00:00.00
Geoff Openshaw
Everybody how you doing welcome to this weekend mormons very excited to bring you the show this week because we’ve got some interview action happening. We’ve actually had a bit of a lull kind of going through the fall and getting through the holidays we’ve been straight news for a while and I’m really excited to get into that. But. We do though, just want to remind all of you to visit us at this week in http://mormons.com where you can find any notes for this show or any of our regular newscasts as well. As for all our blog content and all that good stuff. What I’m basically asking you to do is show up and boost my Google Adsense score so that the minimal ads we have on there can pay out better. You know we don’t do a lot of ads on here. And keep in that in mind if you want to be part of the family go to http://patreon.com/thisweek at mormons and pony up like 3 or four bucks a month and that helps us keep this whole production going largely free of other intrusions which is kind of nice. You know so and we get a sense of community I love all of the dozens of you who are in there helping us out in that regard. So please do that. And join us on social media and all the all the usual places Facebook instagram sometimes Twitter but personally right now I’m a little so I’m a little cold on Twitter but we won’t get into that on this show. That’s not the purpose of what we’re doing this week ask me offline if you want to hear about that anyway, um, everybody. I’ve got a fever and the only solution is the fever tyler the fever everybody is back with this this week. So if you remember and I’m ah and we’re also joined by Sam Skipmore how sam how you doing so I’ll reintroduce I’ll introduce Sam.

01:14.19
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, thanks Jeff happy to be here.

01:25.21
Sam Skidmore
I’m doing great.

01:29.27
Geoff Openshaw
And Tyler and they can intruce themselves so about eighteen months ago or so Tyler was on the show with us and he spoke about his 4 options survey but he can tell us more about his background a second but he’s a ph d and assistant professor of psychology at Utah State University raised as a queer man in the church of Jesus Christ of Latterday saints and his research research focuses on building bridges between the lgbtq. Plus and latter day saint communities and I believe Tyler still lives in Utah last time we checked in unless you’ve moved or you back in Tennessee. Um, where he operates a small private therapy practice. So Tyler’s here he’s got some new research and findings to share with us. We’re going to talk about some issues pertain to Lgbtq Latterday saints and leadership.

01:53.25
Tyler Lefevor
Yes, he does he lives? Yep, there’s needah.

02:09.20
Geoff Openshaw
And likewise we’re joined by Sam Skidmore who’s a graduate research assistant and at Utah State University would that be correct Sam Dr Le Fever A third year doctoral student which is super super awesome and and Sam’s Research

02:13.22
Sam Skidmore
Um, yep, working with Dr La fever

02:24.62
Geoff Openshaw
And clinical focuses include understanding the experience of religious lgbtq plus people and ways in which lgbt q plus mental health can be improved which you know is a significant issue both inside and outside the church. We know it’s a significant issue somewhere like Utah where a lot of the. The fissures and the social norms and things like that um can sort of come to a fore in a much more dramatic way per se you know anywhere I think where you have ah where you have like basically a large majority rule where you where it’s a little more where you lack. More heterogeneity culturally and that’s not to say Utah exactly has that but because you have a dominant socio-religious element there. You know that affects how things are culturally in the state which is the norm like I serve my mission in Spain and obviously catholicism played a big role in how things are there right? So I’m excited to talk about all these things this week if I missed anything. Tyler Sam any other way you want to introduce yourself for our listeners did we did we touch on everything there for.

03:20.41
Tyler Lefevor
9 you got us Jeff I’m going to put a quick promo for our where you can find us at the start. We’ve got and our website is wwww dot four optionsurvey dot com number 4 options with an ssurvey dot com.

03:25.18
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, oh sure plug it.

03:38.56
Tyler Lefevor
Or http://lgbtqmormonresearch.com both of those sites have links to other work that we’re doing and the collection of work that we’ve already done.

03:45.93
Geoff Openshaw
Do you worry that by not making the domain http://lgbtqlatterdaysateresearch.com you are alienating the the the you know like the people who.

03:50.57
Sam Skidmore
That.

03:54.61
Tyler Lefevor
Half of our participants.

03:58.10
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah I say it in Jess I do wonder like people ask me that a lot given the name of our show I’m curious from your perspective if you think there’s any damage there.

04:03.61
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah I it was this big. It was a big crisis when I was figuring it out and I wanted to Lgb to latterday stmormons dot com but that was way too long.

04:11.37
Geoff Openshaw
That is the url from Hell that’s terrible like that’s ah.

04:12.89
Sam Skidmore
Um.

04:16.13
Tyler Lefevor
I You know the truth though is I Maybe like you we I’ve kind of landed on Mormon as a cultural group and so if I ever have to pick one of them and I’m not speaking to a specific audience I tend toward mormon.

04:23.47
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

04:31.42
Tyler Lefevor
Um, speaking about active members of the church I go latter-day saints. But yeah.

04:32.49
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and that’s kind of been our play as well. Even though I would say like 95% of what we do on here. Focus is kind of on like the brighamite part of church history right? And so we can say it’s like this week in mormons because every now and then we talk about James Strang or somebody else and like yeah yeah, yeah, it’s a big tent. Um, but.

04:40.60
Tyler Lefevor
Right.

04:46.26
Tyler Lefevor
Um, ah.

04:52.20
Geoff Openshaw
But that works. So for those who were listening about eighteen months ago. Yeah, it was like you know it was like fall of 2020 it was during covid where everything’s been a blur I know that Tyler came on to talk about the 4 options survey that he’d done Tyler can you just refresh us on what that was all about what we discussed last time you were on.

04:54.95
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, yeah.

05:02.97
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, yeah, so we are really interested in following lgbtq plus and same sex attractive Saturday saints over the next ten years to see how they navigate their sexuality ginger and faith. So we collected a data a couple years ago had a bunch of people participate. Thank you for all of you listeners who did. And we just opened the second wave this month actually so we’re looking for more folks, especially more folks who are active members of the church right now and we’re following up with the people who participated two years ago so looking to do this for eight more years see how people’s ways of navigating things changes and see how that impacts. Their mental health and their religious and spiritual health.

05:42.52
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and so you started with the two years ago and you said you got a new group so is that group starting like the 10 year period now. So it we got we go in or yeah staggering. Okay.

05:49.35
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, it will be kind of a staggered thing. Yeah, we’ll have some preliminary data and write-ups in the next few months from the group that was that we started with two years ago we’ll be able to do some analyses to see what’s changed so maybe in a year I’ll have new things to share. But right now we just.

06:08.48
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and this was an interesting survey and obviously we’re not going to go ah into ton of detail about that one today you can listen to the old podcast. We’ll link to it if you want to get into that folks but can you just remind us like what the 4 options were what we’re speaking of when we say there were 4 options for lgbtq plus latter day saints and what that.

06:09.26
Tyler Lefevor
We’re collecting again. We don’t know what’s going to happen.

06:26.49
Tyler Lefevor
Totally so 4 common ways of navigating sexuality or sexual orientation and faith. The first was being single and celibate and the second is being in in a mixed orientation relationship. So I am predominantly same- sex attracted but I’m with someone of another sex.

06:28.22
Geoff Openshaw
Like what does that mean, what are the options for.

06:44.79
Tyler Lefevor
And those are the 2 options that tend to align most closely with the church though. The church officially doesn’t promote any of the 4 options. They they just say like keep a lot of chastity and go figure out the rest option 3 is being single but not sell a bit so looking for relationships typically same sex but could be more broad. And then the fourth is being in same-sex relationships.

07:05.28
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and the 1 thing that struck me that I thought was so fascinating when we spoke before was that the the mixed orientation relationships are a thing that can work and we’ve talked about it since I don’t need to go into detail but that was interesting because at least for me.

07:18.40
Tyler Lefevor
Right.

07:23.35
Geoff Openshaw
As a Latterday saint as someone I feel like I tried to be very open and inviting an understanding of a lot of people in different positions inside and outside of our faith community. But that’s one of those things where I think it’s it’s been so easy for anyone to 0 in and be like yet buddy like that’s that’s not going to work. Like come on but it but it actually does for people and that’s something great that humbled me a lot and I think helps us understand that the church isn’t necessarily saying do that There might have been a time when maybe they would have implied that a bit more strongly but that it works for some people and there’s different walks and like you’ve said you know some of the the options for people would be to not be as directly involved in the church for their own.

07:45.90
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah.

07:59.55
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, their own. Well-being and I and I don’t I don’t want put words in your mouth I know that you’ve you know you’ve you’ve since left the church in the past few years but I don’t think you’re you know you’re not advocating that people leave the church you are looking at the options.

08:01.29
Tyler Lefevor
Sure? yeah. Not absolutely advocating. Find the path. That’s right for them and for some people mixed orientation relationship is right? Especially if they experience some degree of other sex attraction and certainlyling on what you said Jeff I think the important lesson for folks in the church is. Is the openness and the acceptance kind of regardless of path and so because people in mixed orientation relationships can feel a lot of stigma from people in their words and stakes is like now I’m gonna be looked up. Ah yeah.

08:33.85
Geoff Openshaw
I yeah from from from jerks like me who were scoffing at anyway you know, but yeah, it’s true. Yeah, right? Yeah, and so what took us to this new survey is this new survey and outgrowth of the 4 options survey or is this some new just new work that is within your sphere and it’s just a whole new project tell us about what what we’re doing. So.

08:50.36
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, no, it’s a little different I’m actually gonna punt to sam because Sam’s been kind of the front frontline for a lot of this new research.

08:58.32
Sam Skidmore
Yeah, so we actually took quite a bit of a different approach with this study. The 4 options survey is very There’s a lot of different measures so people just fill out I strongly agree with this I disagree with this. But for this other study that we did. We. Found 25 ug btq current and former members of the church and we sat down in thirty to hour long 30 minute to hour long interviews with each of them and really just talk to them and tried to get an understanding of what’s going on here like what are your experiences with church leaders. What’s working what’s not. So I feel like this study felt quite different from others that I’ve been involved with in that it’s very, we’re here with the people like we’re listening to the stories and getting details from individuals.

09:48.19
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, and we’re hoping we’ll expand it eventually and pull a larger number of people that’s going to be part of this next wave of the 4 options Survey. We’ll have question based questions based on what we present but we really just wanted to understand what it is that people are Experiencing. We didn’t want to put words in people’s mouths. Wanted to hear it from them.

10:07.53
Geoff Openshaw
So how did you find the the 25 individuals in question.

10:11.55
Sam Skidmore
Yeah,, that’s a good Question. So I think most of them if not all actually came from the 4 options survey where at the end of wave one. There was an option of if you’re interested in being involved in future research Efforts just leave an email and we actually got. And of an overwhelming number of responses. Um of people who are willing to sit down and talk to us which was very flattering and so given that number we had the opportunity to really I guess choose individuals who represent diverse perspectives so that we could get. About your understanding of a lot of different stories.

10:49.88
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, we picked half about half that were active in the church and about half that weren’t because we wanted the perspective both of people who were still talking with leaders as well as people who had left and then thought a lot about things like sexual orientation and gender identity and race and ethnicity and. Wanted to have people from different backgrounds because it’s probably different to come out as a queer black man than it would be as a white trans woman.

11:16.79
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah I would I would imagine so and and so in conducting these interviews I mean was was there a a standardized template was this more of a discussion and you just kind of took note of what of what went down like I’m thinking a lot right now I’m so I’m thinking of parallel as im I’m sure you’ve seen what Liz Brown Mcdonald was doing over the past few years when we interviewed her you know. Interviewing similar individuals but about parents religious rigidity. You’re focusing on church leadership. But I see some perils to there to what she was doing that same idea of getting a certain group of people asking them about their experiences and trying to find the the commonalities maybe quantify that which is quantifiable that sort of thing but okay.

11:52.17
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, we we came up with I think maybe it was 10 questions on the interview sheet. We’ve we’ve summarized it into 6 questions that we’ll probably end up talking about in our discussion today. We kind of said why is it that you talked with a church leader. What made you talk about gender and sexuality. We. We asked what counsel were you given what did you find helpful. What was unhelpful what how did it impact you and then what were your reactions to talking to church leaders. We were kind of just interested in zoning or honing in on each of these.

12:26.72
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, well let’s get into those in a second I mean what? what made you want to focus in on the relationship with church leadership whose idea was that where where did this main research question come from.

12:28.10
Tyler Lefevor
6 areas.

12:36.42
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, that was me I was working with ah of an agency called the Louisville Institute that funds a lot of research on religion and they’re really dedicated to increasing the vitality of the church in North America kind of looking over their mission statement and thinking about my experience as an lgbt q latterday saint and I thought about interactions I had with church leaders and how the ones I had good bad and ugly and thought one of the things that’s closest. Nearest and dears to my heart is wanting to work within a faithful lds framework to create change for lgbtq latter day saints I think working with church leaders is a really clear entry point to how we can make some change for folks.

13:20.23
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and what about you Sam What have your what what have your experiences been similar.

13:23.51
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah I’ve had like wildly different experiences with church leaders throughout my own life. Um, and I kind of got that sense from the people that we interviewed as well. But so coming into the project. Was really important to me actually to be able to understand these diverse experiences because some people have great experiences and it’s really helpful and then some have really bad experiences and it’s really damaging and I think it’s it’s cool to be able to elucidate I Guess what’s going on on both ends.

13:57.10
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, well so you’re you’re kind of both hinting at the the oft call the bishops roulette right? and and and whether and whether it’s lgbtq plus issues or a litany of issues for church members. There’s a lot that can happen based on what kind of leader you have that has absolutely nothing to do.

14:01.24
Sam Skidmore
Um.

14:14.73
Geoff Openshaw
On what the handbook says or what’s said in general conference because we are humans and we we channel our spirituality through the person that we are I think that you know that’s okay, that’s part of the mortal experiment. Um, but in talking to these people. Do you have any insights and like what we can do to move.

14:16.85
Tyler Lefevor
Hip. Wow.

14:31.42
Geoff Openshaw
Past Bishop Roulette is like do you feel like Bishop Roulette is enough of an issue in this vein that that it can make it so challenging for people that it’s obviously like unfair like what can we do to somehow I don’t know like codify positive change or do something to make some of these experiences at least a little more uniform and predictable while still maintaining you know, kind of the. The local unique individual nature of church church.

14:51.91
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, absolutely That’s really the end goal of our research is we’ve created a 1 ne-page flyer that we’re we’re sharing and we’re wanting to actually do presentations for board and state councils about what we found to kind of help make things more uniform. So we have a few concrete takeaways that we’re hoping can at least make it so bishops and state presidents can be more on the same page but 1 of them is that there are a lot of different reasons. Why people talked with church leaders. We found that some people wanted like comfort or guide. Emotional comfort some people wanted spiritual guidance. Some people wanted to repent. They felt like they’d send others just wanted to be open about what was going on. They didn’t want anything. They just wanted to share and then others were just coming for part of like bapt school interviews or temple recommend interviews and so one of the.

15:39.41
Geoff Openshaw
The.

15:47.98
Tyler Lefevor
The first takeaways that we found for church leaders is that it’s is so important to understand why someone’s coming to you for counsel and get them the counsel according to the reason that they’re sharing about their sexuality or gender.

15:58.87
Geoff Openshaw
So you seem to be implying like is they are often a disconnect there with with people approaching for 1 reason but then bishops just kind of operating from I don’t know like whatever, whatever toolkit they think they should be operating from like do you feel like they’re they’re not lining up and hearing each other is that what you’re kind of getting up.

16:11.51
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, yeah I think so.

16:14.57
Sam Skidmore
Yes I think I got the sense in talking to these individuals that a lot of the times church leaders. Maybe just don’t know what to do in the situation and in that context they just kind of fall back on. Oh this is what the handbook says.

16:32.35
Geoff Openshaw
4 now.

16:33.63
Sam Skidmore
Like hey you know what you should do is you should keep the commandments and you should pray and it’s so like I don’t know I guess what Tyler is saying is that if someone coming in because they want to be more open and want to come out will look quite different from someone who’s coming in seeking to repent.

16:37.23
Tyler Lefevor
That.

16:53.10
Sam Skidmore
And those people would likely respond quite differently to you should just keep the commandments and you should keep reading your scriptures.

16:59.70
Tyler Lefevor
And if you’re a bishop and you forget what to do? The answer is to be a human and not rely back on the handbook that we found that empathy and like listening goes ah a much longer way than reiterating the church’s doctrines and stances on the subject.

17:16.38
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah.

17:19.60
Tyler Lefevor
This folks already know this the stances but what they want is to be seen and heard.

17:22.33
Geoff Openshaw
Well and then this is interesting because um I’m thinking a little bit of our friend. You know Richard Ostler whose whole brand is is listen learn love and we’ve had he on the show before talk about that and what’s so fascinating to me is you will see him get review bombed for his books. For example.

17:29.49
Tyler Lefevor
So here.

17:38.93
Geoff Openshaw
People saying his approach is not aligned with what church leaders would would say which I’m like okay um, because he says yeah listen to people empathize with them understand them and be their friend First be someone they can talk to and you’re obviously suggesting the same thing based on your research and what and what and what you’ve seen.

17:49.31
Tyler Lefevor
Ah.

17:54.73
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah.

17:58.17
Geoff Openshaw
But the question I want to put to you is. It’s 1 people people think whatever they want to think about brother Osler and people might hear this from from you and also think like yeah, but these guys I hate to be crased but they like but what these guys have left the church right? Like what do they what do they know what do we what do you say to that to try to mollify the concerns of the the broader.

18:07.92
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, ah.

18:17.29
Geoff Openshaw
Latter-day Saint Populace who might be like yeah but whatever there are rules. There are there are handbooks and you’re just kind of basically preaching to sort of look the other way and not care about another term that I hate but like you know the the gay agenda or something like and you know and I know you’ve heard that I think it’s a horrible term. But.

18:28.56
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, yeah, stop hardening your hearts and opening open your eyes. No I that’s a really good question Jeff and it’s something that ultimately i.

18:33.57
Geoff Openshaw
Like what do we say to people like that to get them to be a little more open minded and yeah.

18:37.10
Sam Skidmore
Um.

18:47.40
Tyler Lefevor
Think we have very little to say toward the people. The people who will listen to the things that we have to say need to be open to it and we hope Sam and I and the work that we do try really hard to build trust with communities. So if you look at our history of work. You’ll see that we really engage. Deeply with faithful communities and try and produce work that is fair to everyone involved so we aren’t looking to grind any axes and trying to pull people away from the church but I think ultimately it’s a matter of trust and we hope that we build enough trust with people over time that they can see that we are. We are trying to help.

19:23.95
Geoff Openshaw
Did you find any ah particular distinctions in the results between those you interviewed who are who identified as Lgbtq Plus who have left the church and those who are still trying to maintain their allegiance to the church as far as they’re either. The reasons they want to talk to the bishop or their experiences with their bishop. Did you see any like. Any clear cut distinctions between the experiences that different groups had or was it across the board and just wild.

19:48.22
Sam Skidmore
Yeah I think a lot of our big findings actually were across the board and that’s what makes them so interesting I think it’s specific kind of the counsel that people were given and then that related to what the Alga Bt Q Plus individuals found to be helpful was fairly consistent. Between people who are inactive less active and fully active in that like it seems like church leaders are saying similar things and it seems like regardless of what is being said that Lgbtq Plus people are really just saying. It’s so helpful like it’s the most helpful when I’m just listened to. And I’m validated like yes I hear you and tell me more about what’s going on like let me be here with you.

20:32.31
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, and Jeff sounds right with only 25 folks it was really hard to distinguish and if you ask us that question in a year we’ll have some really clear answers because once we have a couple hundred folks. We can do really quick comparisons on these kinds of things to see if there were differences.

20:38.94
Geoff Openshaw
Sure.

20:51.70
Tyler Lefevor
But mostly it really seemed like people spoke with one mind and they one of the biggest things that they said that we keep referencing is just just listen empathically and be open which I think there is a really easy way to do that as a faithful latter-day saint that believes in commandments and. Gospel I think it it involves stepping into a really human space of saying this is someone who’s struggling I covenant to to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who need comfort and what I’m doing right now is fulfilling that part of my baptismical covenant. I’m gonna like leave the judgment to the lord for a few minutes and I’m going to mourn and comfort and then when we finish if there’s a need I can remind invite her a pen and and yeah, encourage people to be better.

21:39.14
Geoff Openshaw
What do we say to church leaders who might be I don’t know like I don’t envy a lot of bishops for being in some of the positions you’re in like you you just you know you said some of them. You know they don’t know what to do So they default to the handbook. Okay, and then and that alone right there like I don’t envy bishops because they get.

21:54.82
Tyler Lefevor
After that.

21:57.10
Geoff Openshaw
They get faced with situations where they don’t always know exactly how they should how they should react and I imagine especially because these are these are individuals who are who are set apart in a certain capacity. They are both spiritual leaders. They are judges in Israel you know if you’re you believe they’re in these very important roles. And they also have a job as as they’re often told to defend the church to defend the doctrine to do things like that. What do we say to leaders then to help them also sort of I don’t I don’t want to say like they should have to feel like they have to walk a certain line to kind of balance everything because I you know I don’t know if that’s necessary but at the same time I think you are balancing the demands of.

22:17.60
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

22:30.86
Tyler Lefevor
In earth.

22:35.50
Geoff Openshaw
Perhaps leaders above them people who are saying this and that to them and even what might be their own innate desire to be welcoming and hospitable but they might feel the pull of something else to try to like protect the church I Hope that makes sense like ah, there’s ah, there’s a lot of expectations to balance there like what do you tell the leaders then.

22:45.92
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah, totally. Ah.

22:52.37
Geoff Openshaw
What do they do? yeah.

22:54.34
Tyler Lefevor
I’ve got 2 different ideas and Sam’s probably got even more because we found 2 really contrasting findings in our interviews one is that these interactions deeply matter for folks that the impacts of interactions with leaders. Lead people to disengage from the church. They lead people to nuance their faith and they lead some people to engage more fully with the church so on some level. It’s actually a super high stakes situation. Ironically We also heard a lot of people say um.

23:19.89
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

23:27.34
Tyler Lefevor
I I know that my leaders are human and that they’re doing the best that they can and I am going to honor that and so we heard a lot of grace and forgiveness from lgbtq plus folks. So I think for leaders. Holding that it’s ah, an important conversation but not getting swept away in the like overall implications is helpful I’m going to layer on top one more layer that we know that most lgbt q plus Latterday since will leave the church and I think it could be really helpful for leaders to step back. To give themselves a little bit less responsibility for governing someone’s life and to allow people. The agency to make their own decisions and to think of themselves as ah like on the road to emmaus as ah, a walker width. Rather than someone who’s always using to guide.

24:23.34
Sam Skidmore
That was really nice second.

24:23.95
Geoff Openshaw
Can you ah can speak to that for a second you said you know we know most lgbtq letter day saints will leave the church. That’s I don’t necessarily doubt that assertion but I would be curious to know what? what is the research what what points you to saying that.

24:37.64
Tyler Lefevor
yeah yeah I did I did talk a little beyond the data there Jeff so thanks we call out I i.

24:44.47
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, and you call yourself a doctor I of philosophy. No less kind but no.

24:47.74
Sam Skidmore
You can.

24:49.35
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, you know that is so we we haven’t done any longitudinal studies that’s which is why the 4 options study is so important so that we can actually track and quantify numbers and percentages and.

24:56.66
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah.

25:06.82
Tyler Lefevor
But we do know from like national data that is about 2 thirds of Lgpt Hu folks who are not religiously affiliated compared to one third or who are not compared to 1 thirdd of heterosexual andisgen folks who are not religiously affiliated. So it’s almost double the rate and so if we.

25:23.38
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, yeah.

25:26.74
Tyler Lefevor
If can we kind of just project that on latter-day saints and it’s probably about two-th thirdds of latter day saints people who are born Latterday saints that ultimately leave the church and I I guess I think that it’s so really helpful to understand that many people. 1 of the common routes is to leave the church and that creating more resistance and barriers can actually make it heart big their life much worse as they’re leaving and probably wouldn’t make the people stay who are going to stay.

25:59.22
Geoff Openshaw
Well I guess you can almost sum it up. Um, it’s very easy to kind of preach the fear angle I think people like if you leave the church. This is what you are leaving. You are you will lose everything and it’s funny because it’s actually um, just tonight there was something going around social media of a prominent beloved church figure who was saying this at a fireside over the weekend.

26:04.70
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

26:18.90
Geoff Openshaw
Um, and we can talk offline if you want to go to our Twitter feed and you might see what I’m talking about but but that can be like counterintu. It can be counterproductive I mean and it’s not to say at least for active latter day saints that it doesn’t mean you don’t try to protect the institution and what what you believe to be doctrinally correct. But.

26:20.68
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, yeah.

26:36.92
Geoff Openshaw
At the same time you’re not going to like brow beatat people into exaltation by just tell them you know right? I just I just want to like if you leave you will be damned. This is bad. Bad bad bad bad stay where you are I like is that the path for everyone I.

26:42.70
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah.

26:46.34
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah I think there were I’ll go ahead I just thank you I will um like 1 specific story comes to mind for one of the interviews that just stood out wildly to me because I’d never heard anything like it before.

26:48.60
Tyler Lefevor
A and no go ahead down.

26:52.63
Geoff Openshaw
No Sam you go ahead, you you.

27:06.23
Sam Skidmore
But 1 individual had gone in to speak to their bishop and come out and essentially they were saying I think I’m going to be distancing myself from the church. They were already kind of in that process and it was just so interesting that the bishop. When the person told me I remember thinking like this is gonna be a bad story now but they were like no and the bishop got up and gave me a hug and said obviously we’d love it if you stayed but you get to make your own choices and I want you to know I’m going to support you regardless of whatever you choose and I’m always gonna be here if you want to. Talk about coming back to the church or need support in your next steps and it was just like such a beautiful example of like compassion and love and highlighting agency of like at the end of the day you get to choose your own journey and we’d love the church to be involved. But if it’s not I’m still going to be here for you. As a human.

28:02.66
Tyler Lefevor
Sam if I can piggyback on that that was that was my experience leaving the church at the end of the day that when I had several interactions with church leaders leading up to that that weren’t all up as positive. But once I kind of understood where I was I I talked to my bishop and I told him I told him that and. He was very much of like Tyler. We’re so glad that you’ve been with us and it’ll be sad not to have you but we want the church to be a positive place for you and if it’s not going to be I can respect that decision and I had a member of the state presidency call me in and like in the process of having my name removed and I was so scared to go talk to him. And he had the same energy. He’s like look It’s so important to me for you to know as you’re leaving that we want to make a place for you that if there is a time you want to come back. You want you to feel comfortable and free coming back and it was really refreshing. Not to feel challenged and leaving because that would have. Made my defenses go way up, but just to feel seen and heard and loved as I was doing something that must have been really hard for these priesthood leaders to watch me. Do.

29:11.33
Geoff Openshaw
No I can I can I can only imagine and and did you feel at least Tyler in your experience when we talked about kind of the the fear angle of it and because having your your records removed from the church is a big deal. That’s a lot different from just being on unlike the do not contact list or something like that right? like you know you’re essentially.

29:28.54
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, yeah.

29:31.45
Geoff Openshaw
You’re renouncing covenants and things you have done and and and doing a lot That’s a very big step but I know a lot of leaders of course will say I get where you’re coming from but you understand like this this is a big deal. This is not just saying leave me out of it for now. This is literally saying you’re you’re throwing this aside and that’s.

29:42.35
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

29:48.97
Tyler Lefevor
Um, it’s hard. Yeah, and I think that’s what made it feel so positive for me at the end of the day because if my bishopper state President had had really pushed me and questioned me that would have implied that I hadn’t thought through all of the things beforehand and the truth is.

29:50.30
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, that’s sorry, go ahead? yeah.

30:09.10
Tyler Lefevor
I’ve been thinking about it for a decade you know like that has been all I had been thinking about and leaving was ultimately what I felt like was the only way for me to move forward. It was the choice that I didn’t deeply didn’t want to make and avoided making for that whole decade and so. When I hurt when my church leaders responded by saying like we love you. It’s gonna be so sad for us to see you go are you sure This is what you want to do we will respect your decisions that was I don’t know for me that was a really beautiful parting parting message and I think has allowed me to keep a. Positive relationship with the church after leaving.

30:47.76
Geoff Openshaw
And this isn’t exactly part of the research but given all that you both of you have done in your academic research. What do you find are the the main factors for Lg B Two Q Plus latter-day saints that caused them to decide to leave and leave could be either have records removed or just. You know, just just be out of it Even if the records remain is it more just the fact that we’re so we struggle to find whatever the correct balance and relationship is between the Lg B Two Q Lgpd Q Plus community and being Latterday saints is it truth claims by the church. You know like is there a dominant thread there that really.

31:23.53
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

31:25.56
Geoff Openshaw
Causes people to finally say yeah I think I’m I think I’m stepping back I think I’m done and I’m and I’m sure it’s and I know you’ve had your own personal experiences too and those refined too. But I’d love to know whatever you have to share.

31:30.14
Tyler Lefevor
I’ve got some thoughts and I know so I see Sam does too right? there. Yeah, you know I can’t believe I’m going to say this on air. But I I think that ultimately the church’s position leads a lot of lgbt q folks to so that there isn’t room in the church for lgbt q folks because of the church’s position. And people can say otherwise and try and make room but doctrinally there is very little room and what I’ve seen especially as a therapist is that it hits people as they go through to their development. So. It’s fine until you’re 18 if you’re a sexual minority and are starting to date after your mission. But people between 20 and 30 are like well I want to have sex or actually not even that they say I want to have a relationship and someone that I love and if you’re trans it happens earlier and because they say like to live as in a gender and a body that doesn’t belong to me is going to make me kill myself. And so I think there’s this piece where there isn’t space and then people go through development and that as they just hit these really typical developmental milestones that everyone hits of wanting to partner up and wanting to feel authentic and gender. They have to look at the facts and like oh this this just. Really doesn’t fit for me.

32:52.76
Sam Skidmore
Yeah I would just echo tyler I don’t know from the research if there’s like any 1 thing that has clearly been found is like wow when someone feels this specific thing. They’re going to leave the church. Um I think there are quite a few things but at least anecdotally for myself. It’s kind of a mix of there are these church teachings and I’m grappling with them and I really want them to fit but the more I try and make them fit the worse I feel about myself the less hope I have for my own future now and for a lot of people I think it gets to this point of. If I’m gonna keep like espousing this belief like I have to face the idea that I’m gonna be alone forever or that I might like actually harm myself which is yeah you know, go ahead.

33:40.26
Tyler Lefevor
Which is well sorry Sam which is why I think the people who works for are the people in the middle of this continuum with respect with sexuality and gender people who say like there’s enough of me that can be attracted to people of another sex that I could partner up. Or I may be trans but I I am like there are enough pieces of the sex assigned to birth in me that I can live okay with the gender that I was I’m total live and so there’s just less like distress because of that because I think. What Sam said root that really resonated with me is that people want to stay like most that’s a most or a lot of lgbt q latterday saints don’t want to leave the church and they find after years or months of wrestling that it it can’t or it doesn’t work for them.

34:32.96
Geoff Openshaw
Kind of a square peg round Holele thing at the end of the day. Yeah, which makes what? um so when when people are meeting with leaders I know one of the main things we we talked about you hinted at a little bit but like what counsel is frequently given by if I can use passive voice. What counsel is frequently given by.

34:35.60
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

34:49.00
Sam Skidmore
Um.

34:51.88
Geoff Openshaw
Sorry I’m an editor and I’m I’m bad but what council do leaders often give to Lg Bt Q latter-day saints when they go to meet with them and um, obviously they’re coming from across the across the spectrum. But what’s the most common counsel they seem to receive.

35:04.72
Sam Skidmore
Yeah, by far the most common was focusing on the Gospel. So what we might call church are primary answers of keep the commandments like kind of keep coming to church. Read your scriptures. Sometimes there were blessings involved from the church leaders which were typically positive experiences and then behind that there was more of like focusing on restricting same sex sexuality or gender expression. So like yeah so like.

35:32.30
Geoff Openshaw
What what would that mean like to restrict it in that sense. So.

35:38.56
Sam Skidmore
Don’t come to church as like the gender that you are essentially like don’t dress as a man you know in terms of same sex sexuality restricting that I guess. Aside from keeping the law chastity would be perhaps like stay away from other lgbtq people. Maybe avoid queer spaces because that’s not going to be helpful for you. Try not to consume too much Lgptq media with.

36:06.33
Geoff Openshaw
Is that I just I just want to say is that insulting for people in your shoes because it would almost assume the flip side of it like I as a heterosexual male am I imperilled by consuming heterosexual media and being around heterosexual people like does that make me more likely to.

36:11.54
Tyler Lefevor
Ah.

36:16.82
Sam Skidmore
Um, yes.

36:18.99
Tyler Lefevor
Ah.

36:24.19
Geoff Openshaw
And of course the doubt like the the issue of this is like but ah if I express my heterosexuality I’m I’m totally like above board and and and cool as far as church stuff goes but is that like is that counsel that you receive being being gay men like ah it’s not. It’s like the I don’t know it makes to think it’s the class thing like people think that.

36:31.83
Sam Skidmore
Right.

36:44.50
Geoff Openshaw
Like um, that ah that like pet game and or pedophiles like that kind of a thing too right? like you can’t be around places like this because you’re going to be tempted and to act a certain way and I have to assume you’re like well I’m an adult like I mean I’m not going to like just because I’m around other gay people like be more gay or less gay and.

37:00.38
Tyler Lefevor
And as a therapist I just want to screen the more you hold it down the bigger. It comes up in other places So the more you avoid lgbtq spaces and people the more you’re going to masturbate honestly or the more that you’re going to do like.

37:02.59
Geoff Openshaw
Please please forgive me if that sounds rude I’m not right? I’m um.

37:03.80
Sam Skidmore
Um.

37:18.12
Tyler Lefevor
The bigger things that you’re trying not to do so That’s ah, it’s a really terrible idea for most people.

37:23.80
Geoff Openshaw
Okay, and what what are some of the other ones I know I know we’ve got the list here I’m following along the but you know because all those are very different things. There’s focus on the gospel which for some that I Hope that’s like a comforting thing be like hey you’re okay, like keep doing the good things you should be doing. Don’t don’t give up on that then it flips around to restrict.

37:26.16
Tyler Lefevor
A.

37:27.40
Sam Skidmore
Yeah.

37:32.94
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah, um.

37:41.23
Sam Skidmore
Um, right? Yeah, it’s fascinating because the next common after restrict same sex sexuality and gender expression was except yourself like learn to practice being okay with who you are some people even went.

37:42.75
Geoff Openshaw
Yourself Restrict who you are What are some of the other common outcomes.

37:59.40
Sam Skidmore
So far as to say like God made you this way. So like this is this is you and then the next most frequent was um I guess highlighting agency like that experience I shared earlier of the church leader basically saying I’m here to respect whatever choice you make. Like ah, use me as a sounding board if you’d like but this is your choice.

38:24.81
Geoff Openshaw
And so and so from all of this I mean what? what things did those who have had their experiences. What did they find most helpful from their leaders at the end of the day and what? what? what? kind of council was like the least helpful as well. So.

38:37.35
Sam Skidmore
Um.

38:37.65
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah I can this one because we’ve talked a lot about the most helpful pieces. So the empathic listening and openness and the least helpful was a lack of empathic listening which is not surprising but there was a piece of the least helpful that was about.

38:41.51
Geoff Openshaw
So yeah, yeah.

38:55.25
Tyler Lefevor
Lack of knowledge or experience with Lgptq individuals and the way it came up was lgpt q folks would say something like my leader seemed to just really not get me or like not get my worldview like they had a limited world unit experience and because of that they had a hard time understanding the experiences. Challenges of the folks in their offices. So I made for a really clear takeaway that as a leader one of the best things that leaders can do is simply hear stories so going to podcasts like this or gay mormon stories or voices of hope and listening to the stories of lgbt q latter day saints. But help you get like a range of understandings of the different paths l g b t huue out a savings take.

39:37.50
Geoff Openshaw
So do you think? Award leaders should be more like they can listen to that should they be more proactive perhaps and and engaging in programming lessons. Whatever you want to call it like talking about these issues in church or just doing that like.

39:49.10
Tyler Lefevor
Hello.

39:54.47
Geoff Openshaw
Uncomfortably single out those among our flock who are working through these issues and make them feel like like they’re a cause if that makes sense. So.

40:01.41
Sam Skidmore
Who I love the idea of that happening of those trainings or meetings taking place, especially if they happen without the bishop then being like we’re doing this for this member who is gay. Yeah.

40:04.42
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

40:13.71
Geoff Openshaw
Right? Yeah, let’s get the whole ward together for Jerry a whole ward.

40:17.82
Tyler Lefevor
Ah, and.

40:20.78
Sam Skidmore
Because I think everybody can benefit honestly from kind of hearing these stories and expanding this worldview of making movement. Yeah.

40:27.14
Tyler Lefevor
Um, and everyone’s thinking about it already.

40:31.10
Geoff Openshaw
And that’s what I found like I’ve I’ve been in in leadership meetings or I’ve witnessed where ah where like youth have been pulled an award and said like basically so like we’re coming into a new year what are things you like to talk about like we have our regular lessons what are issues you’d like to discuss. And a lot of youth brought up not saying that even they were necessarily working through same-sex attraction but saying like I want to like talk about this and understand it better and I I’ve seen this pretty strongly like from all this say like I just want to kind of know how to how to navigate the space how to talk to my friends who experience this or or what I should say about it and then I’ve seen.

40:52.19
Tyler Lefevor
Ah.

41:02.41
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah.

41:06.50
Geoff Openshaw
Youth leadership right? afterwards say like no, we’re not going to do that like we’re not going to focus on this because they’ll say something like you know because we are all latter-day saints like to kind of paraphrase that talk elder bednar gave a couple years ago and I thought to be clear Alder Benner’s remarks were worthwhile. He was saying just don’t like restrict the label of yourself to like the couple of things that distinguish you from.

41:13.69
Tyler Lefevor
The.

41:24.38
Geoff Openshaw
Um, others I got that but a lot of people took it to me and like no no, no, we’re not supposed to focus on our differences on these sorts of of things and I just this is just me but I thought that seemed so damaging because the youth clearly are aware of things that are going on. We don’t give them enough credit.

41:29.45
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah.

41:39.28
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, we we think they’re extremely innocent and don’t know what’s going on in the world and they do more so now than ever I mean from the time I was in high school when it was frankly, totally socially acceptable to use just the word gay as a pejorative and like just tease people and just like dude that’s gay. Oh man, you know? Yeah like it’s terrible that was totally normal in the ninety. S. That’s not as normal nowadays not that we’re still not dealing with hate crimes and things like that. But um, the kids see a lot of this and so I just talking to both of you I have to imagine like I I wish ward leadership would just say it’s it’s safe for us to actually engage on this. We don’t have to make the whole word about this about this 1 thing. All the time but why would we not open this up and talk about it.

42:19.88
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah, um.

42:20.32
Tyler Lefevor
And Jeff I would even posit that this is critical to keeping you think gauge with the church who are heterosexual and cisgender that we live in an age of social media where they will know lgbt q folks and they will have to answer like how is it they’ll have to have a solid answer for themselves of why is it wrong. Even if I’m straight or cisgender in a way that maybe yours or even my generation growing up didn’t have to because there was less fewer stories around so talking about it in church makes it something that can be talked about so people can find answers and and stay in the church.

42:55.32
Geoff Openshaw
No well. How do you recommend? I mean we talk about sort of the leaders’ reactions. What should lg b two q plus latterday saints. How like are there things they can do to differently or to be even more effective with their leadership because like it said bishops roulette you might try to open up to a bishop but it might say it doesn’t. Go as you’re hoping at at 1 point in time fully acknowledging that sometimes we all meet with people and things don’t go as we’re hoping because the lord works in different ways and things don’t always go as you’re hoping that’s fine. But like if you’re trying to build this relationship and maybe it doesn’t really work. The first time. Are there approaches those on the inquiring side can embrace to perhaps be more effective and and draw more out of these leaders as well.

43:37.52
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah, we to be fair, we didn’t focus on that in this study So This is perhaps more anecdotal. Um, one thing we did find in this study as a preface is that almost all of our participants had this really essentially. They all have this thought that if I go in and talk to a church leader. It’s gonna go really really poorly and even people who shared like horrific experiences in the interview would then say but I feel lucky like I’ve heard so much worse and so I think maybe even part of it is recognizing that there might be. Ah, bit of the story of talking to church leaders equals bad and that might not be the most helpful way to approach a conversation with someone.

44:26.14
Tyler Lefevor
And what I would add onto that is that we we saw in the data that people that leaders kind of reacted based on how participants came to them So there’s something developmental about being a sexual or gender minority that people often start. And a confused space and then kind of a scared space and then they accept and start to tolerate and then share their experiences and so when the more that an Lgbt Q plus person can understand and figure out for themselves before telling a. Church leader the better because then they’re not going to come in this really scared place of saying like how do I do this which maybe church leader isn’t the best person to talk to that in that space like maybe mom or dad or friend is the best person and instead can be like hey look this is what’s going on for me this is where I am. Need your help to figure out how do I do this as a member of the church and so it’s like a little further along in development which makes it less I don’t know impactful less volatile some of those things.

45:30.42
Geoff Openshaw
It Yeah, it makes sense and it’s implying a level of trust with your leader as well like saying like I am coming to you for this guidance to like help me like and I think you’re laying the groundwork saying like I’m not yeah like I’m I Want to be here help me be here like what can we do as you continue your research because you’ve interviewed.

45:36.80
Tyler Lefevor
Right.

45:50.22
Geoff Openshaw
Those who have gone to leaders and then they’ve kind of reported on their experiences with it. Are you trying to reach out and actually find leaders either present or past and talk to about their experiences on their side of it and what they’ve what they’ve learned from everything.

46:03.67
Tyler Lefevor
Funny that Bret Jeff we we absolutely are. That’s what we’re starting to do right now and our entree is that we’re trying to reach leaders by sharing these messages with them. But then after doing that or separately we’re wanting to get leaders by takes on this. We want to hear what leaders feel is most helpful or unhealth.

46:04.51
Sam Skidmore
Look mad.

46:13.21
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah.

46:23.62
Tyler Lefevor
And here are the struggles that they’re having So we we have a survey that you can link to in the show notes that for folks to sign up for to put their names on if they’re interested in having us present or in sharing their experiences as leaders with us.

46:38.11
Geoff Openshaw
That cool that’d be huge I’d be fascinated to learn about leaders. Both those who have said I’ve had these experiences that I want to share them or some who might say like if they could be open about it like I’m deeply uncomfortable addressing these issues as a leader which I have to imagine is a a sizezable portion of our church leadership sure especially in North America um and do are you interviewing like is it international component is it pretty much restricted to I mean if you’re doing interviews pretty United States movie Utah okay I’m excited I’m sure it’s a whole different ball game if you’re interviewing members in like Belgium or something like that very different thing.

47:00.40
Tyler Lefevor
This is restricted to the United States

47:12.68
Geoff Openshaw
Belgium and you know Europe where we don’t wear white shirt to church and no one cares. That’s that is that? Yeah yeah, oh you, you know you know Sam you’re mancuuney and you know how it is in the aisles right? right? there there were times there’s times I’ve gone back to provost camp as I mean I went to be away from my undergrad.

47:15.26
Sam Skidmore
The promised land.

47:21.65
Sam Skidmore
Um, thank you.

47:23.43
Tyler Lefevor
So.

47:31.94
Geoff Openshaw
And like I want I’ve got I’ve had a beard for a while now and like I want to walk around campus and like hoping people will look at me like I’m annna postate and wonder what I’m doing there and it never quite pans out that way I really am like looking for the les and they don’t show up. It’s kind of it’s It’s ah it’s unfortunate before we go I just wanted to ask both of you. Um.

47:43.70
Sam Skidmore
Release this hook.

47:50.43
Geoff Openshaw
Especially you know Tyler since we last spoke obviously there have been continued developments as it pertains to the church to lg b t q plus issues within the church and outside of it. You know I mean there’s a lot of things that have popped up like you know, but you know Byu. Of course there was the light the y and now they’ve banned protest and there was a. Um I don’t know if you saw Arizona’s compromise bill that just hit the news this week which is they call it the the church just backed it like today on the day of recording and it’s the and it’s the idea to protect lgbtq plus people in terms of housing and and work discrimination but still allowing ah having allowances for religious bodies to have other things. Um, you know you have David Archaltta being a lot more frank about things things are things are evolving but I would just love your take both as researchers and as former church members and as as as gay men like how do you see things going so far in terms of the relationship between all these parties.

48:43.33
Sam Skidmore
Yeah I I find that I have so much hope Still um I I don’t know sometimes it’s easy to look at the church as an institution or as an organization and to kind of be like ah.

48:44.64
Geoff Openshaw
How are we doing.

49:02.21
Sam Skidmore
Nothing’s ever going to happen but the more I’m actually talking to people in the church. The more hope I get because people like people care and people are learning more and more and having experiences with Lg B Two Q people and I think there’s so much power in that and power of. Just like people showing that they love and support one. Another. So I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But I like I’m quite excited to see what comes next.

49:30.76
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah I agree with with you Sam I think I’m pretty hopeful too I encouraged that discussions about lggptq faults are happening in the context of the church now that it’s we used to have the website right? game was it? ah.

49:46.53
Geoff Openshaw
So gay and Mormon was the one that yeah no.

49:49.58
Tyler Lefevor
And more. Yeah yeah, and the idea that there are Lgbt He folks in the church is still relatively new and I think that we are grappling better with that. There’s a long long long long way to go and I don’t know I don’t even know If. Ah, solution will Emerge. You know I’m not sure that I feel confident that there actually is going to be a great solution but I am so hopeful that there’s conversation and dialogue because I think that’s all that we can do as humans at the end of the day is be able to talk about where we’re at and our differences and come to an understanding of each other and that will get us to the best place we can.

50:22.86
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah I’m gonna like Ho and again real quick I have to shout out my thesis because it was all about like church belongingness and how that’s so protective against depression suicidal ideation.

50:26.60
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, hop in.

50:38.34
Sam Skidmore
And so I think a lot of my hope comes from like I don’t expect there really to be this big like revelation or answer that makes church engages work. Um, but I’m really hopeful that the more people talk about this and the more that this like it becomes normal to talk about U B to Q issues and. Stand up for them within religious spheres that Algebet Q people won’t feel so isolated in religion and some of those really harmful effects. Um, that can happen will start to decre.

51:10.38
Geoff Openshaw
So do you feel like we can mitigate all the harmful effects and things we’ve talked about today is there any way to achieve that without the church actually having a doctrinal change that just opens up the doors for just you know, normal completely completely. Um. Sanctioned you know homosexual relationships within the church up to and including the temple like is that what it would can’t can we get to and you kind I don’t know what else I’ll call it de taunt. It’s not like we’re like this isn’t the civil the cold war. But um, you know what? I mean like like like can we get there where where we stop.

51:41.94
Sam Skidmore
Yeah, you know.

51:46.98
Geoff Openshaw
Having to worry about and the same issue about all these things and and with the repercussions the ramifications without that because obviously I think there are many who assume that that will never cross that line. There’s a lot who would assume that So do you think it can be done and.

51:55.50
Tyler Lefevor
Um, yeah I.

51:58.72
Sam Skidmore
My reaction honestly is not fully in that I think things for sure can get a lot better. Um, but and this is just speaking for my own experience. But I feel like being in the church One of the really. Big difficult things for me was like I can never be fully active in the church like go to the celestial Kingdom and Marry a man and like have a family and those are both like they were both so important to me and so if that’s not possible. Like I can feel happy day to day and I can feel like oh I belong in this church and that’s great. Um, but I think there will always be a piece of like who this feels weird. This is uncomfortable for me this conflict.

52:46.10
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah I I agree I’d say no, but but I would follow it up by saying that I think we can get to a place with the church that same sex sexuality or gender expression is treated like other things that the church disapproves of.. There are plenty of people who have a lot of sex before they get married and smoke weed and gamble and do a lot of things that the church doesn’t like that are still active members of the church and I think that may be a more feasible model of what this may look like that many Lg B 2 two folks ultimately maybe Active less active members of the church where it’s still important. They want to be there even if they’re not keeping all the commandments. Yeah, thanks.

53:30.95
Geoff Openshaw
No okay well I appreciate those insights? Thanks well Well I’ve really enjoyed this a lot Tyler and Sand Thank you very much for offering all of your expertise and sharing your research with us we can I think we we can link to your little spread your little one pager you shared with me is that fair or is is that for public consumption at this stage. Okay, so well.

53:47.43
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, it is yeah.

53:50.52
Geoff Openshaw
We’ll link to that over this week in http://mormons.com and once again Tyler you want to do? We’ve got the ah 4 options survey number 4 Yeah, just just give us the yeah urls again. But.

53:55.73
Tyler Lefevor
Yeah, ww ww yeah a http://wwwwwdot four optionsurvey dot com and that’s the number 4 and then options with an s and survey and then lg b t q mormonresech dot com.

54:08.39
Geoff Openshaw
And is the latter The one that people should go to if they are leaders and they want to offer participate. Okay.

54:12.93
Tyler Lefevor
Right? The latter is for leaders. The former is for the 10 year longitudinal survey.

54:18.46
Geoff Openshaw
Right? right? right? Great Well everybody if you go that or if you know anybody especially a leader who could be involved in this I think this is a very valuable way to spend time if you’re a leader in the church offering your insights. So so both so you we can help others and so you know we can all learn along the way like I’m not a bishop I’m a lowly executive secretary. So I don’t really count.

54:35.83
Tyler Lefevor
Chamber them.

54:37.37
Geoff Openshaw
Um, I’m like quasi bishopricck right? But there’s there’s a lot we can do here so I appreciate all you guys are doing and able to share this with all of us. So I once get her but this has been a tyler of the fever who’s the you know ph d over there at that one of those schools in Utah Utah state university doing some great research along with Sam Skidmore who’s doing his. He’s a thirty year doctoral student.

54:43.97
Tyler Lefevor
Then do you tell.

54:57.35
Geoff Openshaw
Clinical psychology at usu do they call it usu is that a thing people say they just say Utah state I don’t know I grew me I I went to BY you that’s all we care about right? just the cougars or die I I am the least patriotic by why you alum on the face of the earth. So I never even went. Did you ever.

54:59.19
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah.

55:04.92
Sam Skidmore
Um, that’s that’s true. Oh no I think I rival you.

55:15.76
Geoff Openshaw
Can you say you never went to a football game because I can say that I I never ever went to want I think it speaks more to just like I don’t know I’m socially offputting and nobody invited me. It’s probably something like that. But anyway Tyler and Sam thank you very much. It’s been great to have you on the show.

55:16.78
Sam Skidmore
Who I went to woman.

55:17.94
Tyler Lefevor
I I can say that I’ve also never been to a full game.

55:28.80
Tyler Lefevor
Ah.

55:34.84
Geoff Openshaw
Um, we wish you? Well we hope to follow up to you. You know in a year if you got more research, please come back and tell us what you learned from the leaders as well. Thanks guys and everybody thanks for listening once more to this week and mormons we hope this is worthwhile for you join us at our website this weekend http://mormons.com subscribe to this pod if you haven’t done so leave it a review wherever you get podcast apple podcast give it 5 stars on Spotify.

55:35.93
Sam Skidmore
Um, yeah, thanks you.

55:38.10
Tyler Lefevor
Absolutely thank you Jeff.

55:53.80
Geoff Openshaw
Yes, you can listen to Spotify I don’t care about Joe Rogan and all as well. So thanks for listening to everybody until we speak again for Tyler and Sam I’m Jeff and we hope you have a good one. We’ll talk to you next week. But bye bye.

 

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