5/27/2016

‘I’m not brave enough to show my face but I’m brave enough to speak up about something I live every day to try to fix, even though it’s too late. I served a mission in Virginia and had a companion who turned out to be gay. At that time in the 80s, gay meant that he was a predator. Gay meant that he just wanted to get in my pants and that he’d have no respect for my standards. In those days, we were taught to fear gay people and I was definitely afraid. So, I reported him and had him sent home. I disowned him and tossed his friendship into the garbage. Sending him home wasn’t enough, though. I lied about him…I told stories about what he said he wanted and how I had to fight him to keep him away from me. None of that was true. I heard, a few years later, after I’d come home and gotten married and started my family, that he killed himself. If he were alive today, I’d tell him how wrong and sorry I was and am. To this day, I don’t really know why he killed himself. But, to show that there really is justice in this world, my son has just told me that he’s gay and all the old ghosts have come up again. I will not disown him and I’ll never throw him away…he’s my son and I love him more than anything. But, it just goes to show that old sins sometimes come home to haunt. I pray every day that my old companion will somehow forgive me even though I know I don’t deserve it. I now live every day watching out for people when they’re being mistreated for who they are. The old fears and prejudices are gone…I still have my standards. But I also know that I have a responsibility to uphold standards of kindness and tolerance for everyone, even though that’s not easy sometimes…and I’m going to carry that with me for the rest of my life.’

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