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Yet another homophobe realizes the call is coming from inside the house.

To her credit, she rose to the challenge.

Mormon Mom Who Fought for Prop 8, Now Fights for Gay Son By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America

Wendy and Tom Montgomery are devout Mormons from California who pounded on doors in 2008 to support the passage of Proposition 8, the state referendum that overturned the ruling that allowed same-sex couples to marry in California, and is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

They did so not knowing that their now 14-year-old son, Jordan, was gay and would later contemplate suicide because of the church's steadfast belief that homosexuality is a sin that would cut him off from his family not only here on earth but in the afterlife.

"One of core tenets we believe in as Mormons is that the family is eternal in nature," Wendy Montgomery, 37, told ABCNews.com. "Our family units are really strong."

Raised in a conservative community in California, the mother of six children said she often heard things like "gay people are disgusting and immoral" and "AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality."

"To be honest, before my son came out, I didn't know any other families who had gay kids," she said. "It's one of the things that's not talked about in my church, which makes it so much harder to deal with and know who to go to for help."

The Montgomery family's struggle to reconcile its faith with full acceptance of their son's sexual identity is at the heart of the video "Families Are Forever," which premieres at Frameline 37: the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival this weekend.

The 20-minute piece is produced by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, and is part of a planned series of short documentaries that depict the journey of ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.

LGBT youth are more likely to engage in at-risk behaviors, according to the Project, which provides discussion guides and materials for parents, educators and communities. These resources have been recognized as a "best practice" by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

"We have identified 100 ways parents and caregivers can respond and show how that affects their risk for suicide or substance abuse or HIV, self-esteem and sense of the future," said Caitlin Ryan, director of the Project, which has been studying LGBT youth and their families for 12 years.

"What we found across religious groups in conflict with homosexuality is many parents feel like they have to choose between their child and their faith," she said. "We've seen a lot of LGBT kids out of their homes and on the streets. Research shows high levels of negative reactions to homosexuality and risk for suicidal behavior and a sense of hopelessness. Jordan's greatest fear is that he felt he would be thrown out."

Ryan said that LGBT-specific suicide rates are difficult to find but could be as high as 4 percent and perhaps even higher among Mormons. A 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that acceptance, and even neutrality, about a child's sexual orientation rather than rejection, can reduce those rates.

In the short video, Jordan, a dark-haired boy with guileless eyes, explains that before his parents found out he was gay, he had considered taking "lots pills. ..."

"I was mortified at the idea of being disowned by my parents," Jordan says in "Families Are Forever." "I was like, I do not want to be thrown out of my home. I definitely expected to be excommunicated and restricted from church. But I still wanted to be with the church, like, I'd grown up with it, it was my life … until now."

Until about age 13, Jordan had been the "happiest, most exuberant child," according to his mother, but then he began to withdraw from friends and family. Looking for answers, she found an entry in his journal describing his attraction to other boys, though he had never acted on those urges.

The discovery shook his mother to the core.

"I felt like what I saw his life would be – what I expected his life to be – as a Mormon boy was now gone," she says in the video. "I saw him preparing for a mission for our church – gone. I saw a temple wedding – gone. I saw him being a father – gone."

Suddenly their son's conflict and depression made sense to the Montgomerys. But the church's view on homosexuality confused her: "God views it as a sin," she says in "Families Are Forever." "But I looked at a boy who had never done anything wrong, a pure innocent child, no way sinning or choosing this."

After leaving the family for several days, Montgomery said she and her husband, after saying a prayer, sat closely on their bed, and asked Jordan directly "Are you struggling?"

"I could feel him start to tremble and he nodded," says Montgomery. "We sat that way for two hours, and I hugged him and said, 'Jordan, this changes nothing. … You are perfect in our eyes. ... We will figure this out.'"

With what for her was shocking news about her son, Montgomery said she became a "master researcher."

"There were times when I wasn't eating or sleeping," she said. "I needed to find answers to help him."

She first bought books from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was told that her son's homosexuality was a "choice," a "popular thing to do," and a "phase" he would outgrow. "None of that applied to my son," she said.

Finding nothing that would help her, she turned to the medical community and learned that homosexuality was not a choice but an identity. Eventually, she came across research from the Family Acceptance Project and learned she didn't have to choose between her faith and her son.

"It felt like a ray of sunshine in the middle of the darkest period of my life," said Montgomery. "It gave me hope."

Her husband agreed: "You can't just leave some void for a young child to [think], 'God doesn't have a plan for me anymore,'" Tom Montgomery, 41, says in the documentary. "I need to fill him with purpose. And give him, show him, this is not the end of the world, this is the beginning of your world."

Mitch Mayne, an openly gay active member of the Church of Latter-day Saints who currently holds a priesthood leadership position in his congregation in San Francisco, helped develop the Project's intervention kit – films and research materials – for Mormons like the Montgomerys, who were struggling.

"What we are seeing is very much a cultural change within the Mormon faith," said Mayne, who is in his 40s. "Sadly, Prop 8 branded Mormons as a hateful religion for the LGBT community. … We deserve a black eye for that, because it is one of the most un-Christ like things we have done as a religion. But the beautiful thing in the last few years is that we have seen tremendous change of heart."

But until now, Mayne said, there were few resource materials available to Mormons to educate themselves about homosexuality. Mayne said the Book of Mormon makes no mention of homosexuality.

Wendy Montgomery, too, went back to Scripture and said she felt good about her decision to accept Jordan for who he was: "Christ's most basic commandments were 'love god' and' love your neighbor,'" she said.

Today, Jordan is in the Boy Scouts working toward his Eagle Scout badge. The church has accepted a Boy Scout policy to allow openly gay youth. Because Jordan is not sexually active, he holds an Aaronic priesthood in the church, which means he can pass the sacrament in a ceremony akin to a Catholic communion.

He still faces some "rocky" times at his conservative public school, according to his mother. "I am on a first-name basis with the dean and am constantly fighting for him.

"For him, it's a double-edged sword – being open and at the same time he doesn't have the shame and self-hatred that comes with closeted," said his mother. "But he says, 'Mom, I can trust my friendships now. They know who I really am.'"

Others in Wendy Montgomery's close-knit community have reached out to say they are glad she is telling her story. Some gay teenagers who couldn't talk to their own parents have contacted Jordan and his family privately.

Montgomery said she has hope for Jordan's future, and the family is stronger because of its journey.

"I am a better person for having a gay son," she said. "I love differently, and I love more openly. I didn't realize the judgment I had before I realized that having a gay son was a great blessing and not a burden."

by Anonymousreply 2006/21/2013

That was mostly an encouraging story but this paragraph bothered me:

[quote]Because Jordan is not sexually active, he holds an Aaronic priesthood in the church, which means he can pass the sacrament in a ceremony akin to a Catholic communion.

Am i right in thinking that everything will only be "o.k." between him, his family and his church if he never has sex?

Do they think he's suffering from an affliction that he must bear as a cross or do they celebrate him as a blessing of their God's creation and free to express the gift of his sexuality?

by Anonymousreply 106/21/2013

I despise the desperate cringing for acceptance by people who hate us that these articles portray.

While it there is a crumb of silver lining that the parents SEEM to have adjusted their point of view, let's realize what this actually is:

Another hypocrite with no empathy taking a self-serving and narcissistic position.

These people didn't care one iota that someone else's child was hurting or on the verge of suicide. They had not problem trying to rip the right to marry from someone else's child. They had no problem interpreting the bible to justify their bigotry; just like they had no problem conveniently changing their interpretation to "Christ's most basic commandments were 'love god' and' love your neighbor," to support a diametrically opposed position to their previous one.

by Anonymousreply 206/21/2013

[quote]Looking for answers, she found an entry in his journal describing his attraction to other boys

That's says a lot about the homophobe Mom.

by Anonymousreply 306/21/2013

I lol'd at the headline OP. Poor kid though. At least he's still alive, unlike the other fundy family that we've been talking about here all morning.

by Anonymousreply 406/21/2013

So what will they do leave church? Or do what my mom did, still believe being gay is sin and stay in church while still loving me for being her youngest son but not the gay part?

by Anonymousreply 506/21/2013

What will happen when the Duggers discover that two of their sons are gay?

by Anonymousreply 606/21/2013

Which Fundy Family, R4? link?

by Anonymousreply 706/21/2013

They'll probably eventually leave the church. But I imagine it's a journey that isn't going to reach its destination overnight. They seem to be on the right path though.

by Anonymousreply 806/21/2013

R1, You can't be in the LDS priesthood if you admit to engaging in masturbation either. Sex is for procreation, and total celibacy is expected until marriage (no petting). Since most Mormons no longer get married at puberty, you can see the impracticality. Like the fundies, expecting total abstinence of every single person never works.

by Anonymousreply 906/21/2013

[quote]Like the fundies, expecting total abstinence of every single person never works.

It works for Tim Tebow, the virgin football star.

by Anonymousreply 1006/21/2013

LINK?! LINK !? LINK?! LINK!?.....LINK!!!?

by Anonymousreply 1106/21/2013

The other fundies are the wealthy parents with the dad that worked at Microsoft with the now dead gay son. They put him through Exodus Int'l and are now sorry sorry sorry.

by Anonymousreply 1206/21/2013

Expecting celibacy from gays is not acceptance or tolerance.

by Anonymousreply 1306/21/2013

R11, Here you go. Note the comments to the ABC News article.

by Anonymousreply 1406/21/2013

A really moving story about how a religiously conservative family copes. It brought a tear to my eye, although my own coming-out was much easier. I wish Jordan the very best of luck; he's surely not done confronting the religious demons his parents inflicted on him.

by Anonymousreply 1506/21/2013

He needs to run away as soon as he turns 18.

by Anonymousreply 1606/21/2013

I can only hope the parents will continue the questioning and rethinking, once he gets a boyfriend.

by Anonymousreply 1706/21/2013

[quote]"One of core tenets we believe in as Mormons is that the family is eternal in nature," Wendy Montgomery, 37, told ABCNews.com. "Our family units are really strong."

"Until we destroy them by believing in all this loony bullshit, which we like a whole lot better than fags!"

by Anonymousreply 1806/21/2013

Raising children "in the church", any church is child abuse. Period.

by Anonymousreply 1906/21/2013

[quote]He needs to run away as soon as he turns 18.

We'll be waiting.

by Anonymousreply 2006/21/2013
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