I have four children–three girls and one boy. Last week our family enjoyed a beautiful experience. My oldest daughter, a returned LDS missionary who served in Chile, married a wonderful young man in the temple. As a father, I cannot express how much joy I felt seeing my daughter experience so much happiness.

Her younger sister, Rebekah, shares her same birthday. Bekah is an almost 19 year-old gay Mormon.

I know that a lot of Mormons have expressed offense over Tyler Glenn’s new music video. Some have even blamed podcaster John Dehlin and Mormon Stories for pushing Tyler towards such pain. I want to go on record stating that I’m not one of those people. As the father of a gay, LDS daughter, for me, Tyler’s video felt especially personal.

Last week my wife was cleaning up the basement and she found a box full of Rebekah’s keepsakes. One of the items was a beautiful plaque she had made at girl’s camp with a picture of the temple and the words, “I’m going there someday.” Rebekah was sincerely happy for her sister. The two of them have always been very close. But it was also a difficult experience for her. In one tender moment, she broke down crying as she told me, “Dad, of course I wouldn’t want to marry a man in the temple, but the fact that I can’t have what I grew up believing was the ideal is really, really painful.”

The pain that gay Mormons and their families are experiencing is very real.  And it runs very deep.  It breaks my heart; and it’s neither John nor Tyler’s fault.

Rather than looking for scapegoats, a true Latter-day Saint will seek to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. Tyler’s powerful video reminds us that there are a lot of people out there who stand in dire need of that comfort, Tyler included.

 

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Dr. David Bokovoy holds a PhD in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East and an MA in Jewish Studies from Brandeis University. He is currently an online professor in Bible and Jewish Studies at Utah State University. David has published articles in a variety of academic venues including The Journal of Biblical Literature, Vetus Testamentum, and Studies in the Bible and Antiquity.

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