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SecularMusic

Ed Smart is gay and leaving the Mormon church

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SecularMusic

Ed smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, has announced that he's gay. He is leaving the Mormon church because of its doctrine concerning homosexuality. He and his wife are getting divorced; she filed the paperwork last month. https://www.deseret.com/2019/8/15/20807894/ed-smart-father-of-elizabeth-smart-announces-he-is-gay?fbclid=IwAR32mcTOsKqyJxVY5aMWrGIq3bvtohgkKTyUS98hjUkqB7RYjEczpOLUX-Y

Elizabeth has issued a statement saying she will continue to love and support her parents. Ed states that he will continue to love his soon-to-be ex-wife and the Lord.

I can't imagine how hard it was for him to remain closeted for so long.

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Cleopatra7

Doesn’t the Mormon church encourage “mixed orientation” marriages? I remember seeing something about this on Nightline or Dateline or some such show about a decade ago that highlighted gay Mormon men married to straight women who knew about their spouse’s sexuality. I wonder if Mr. Smart was pressured into such a union.

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Howl
Posted (edited)

Oh, my.  So much upheaval that this family has gone through over the years. 

Hope Mr. Smart finds much happiness being his authentic self; deep sympathy for Mrs. Soon-to-be ex-Smart as she navigates the world as a newly single woman and to all their kids who are navigating sea changes in their family. 

Edited by Howl
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MamaJunebug

My heart goes out to all of them. Seriously big-time. IMHO Mormonism is a hamster wheel. I hope Ed finds a faith community if he wants it, and I especially hope for peace and confidence for his ex- , who I kind of imagine will be the subject of a lot of speculation — “why weren’t you enough for him?” kind of thing. 

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Howl
3 minutes ago, MamaJunebug said:

My heart goes out to all of them. Seriously big-time. IMHO Mormonism is a hamster wheel. I hope Ed finds a faith community if he wants it, and I especially hope for peace and confidence for his ex- , who I kind of imagine will be the subject of a lot of speculation — “why weren’t you enough for him?” kind of thing. 

I was reading some of the comments on the Deseret News article linked in the first post.  It sounded as though the original letter was sent to facebook friends as a private post.  

With a marriage of this duration, the finances are an issue, especially if the wife has always been a stay at home mom.  She'll have a lot to navigate. 

Quite a few commenters thought it was incredibly selfish of Ed to bail on his family and wife of 40 years.  Hopefully, she'll have full support from her church community. 

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scoutsadie
Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Cleopatra7 said:

Doesn’t the Mormon church encourage “mixed orientation” marriages? I remember seeing something about this on Nightline or Dateline or some such show about a decade ago that highlighted gay Mormon men married to straight women who knew about their spouse’s sexuality. I wonder if Mr. Smart was pressured into such a union.

TIC did a few episodes of a show about several LDS couples in which the men felt "same sex attraction." Really sad. (That they didn't feel free to be gay and Mormon, not sad that they were gay!)

Edited by scoutsadie
clarification

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VVV
1 hour ago, Cleopatra7 said:

Doesn’t the Mormon church encourage “mixed orientation” marriages? I remember seeing something about this on Nightline or Dateline or some such show about a decade ago that highlighted gay Mormon men married to straight women who knew about their spouse’s sexuality. I wonder if Mr. Smart was pressured into such a union.

I think it is more likely, given Mr. Smart's age, that he was heavily closeted perhaps even to himself, and thought that marriage would "fix" him. I am positive Mrs. Smart had no idea.

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Walking Cat Bed

I'm glad that Ed Smart can live his life without lies.

It's going to be rough for everyone, though -- I hope the Smart parents had already figured things out between them before making any announcements. (Including logistics and finances -- I'd hope that Ed would make sure that his soon-to-be-ex-wife would be financially stable.)

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mstee

From what I read, he said he’d known since he was 12 but repressed it after that. He gave a couple of interviews to radar online. I feel so badly for his former wife. That must’ve been such a blow. I believe he’s 65 so that’s a huge life change. I think he’s very brave to be so honest, I just feel badly for the family. He mentioned in the interview that his children have been accepting, which is wonderful.  I wonder if this will change any of the kids’ belief in the Mormon church. I think the kids are all adults, now, though so it may be different than had they been children when he came out. 

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Soulhuntress
Posted (edited)

There was a lot of speculation about him by exmormons and so glad he is being himself.   Living 53 years trying to fit in a box had to be hell.  😥  Lois I think is from an old pioneer family & she might have a less difficult time.  

Edited by Soulhuntress

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katilac

Elizabeth Smart has spoken out against abstinence-only sex education and the way it can make rape victims and others feel worthless (like a chewed piece of gum, to use their lovely analogy). I wonder if this may have started or intensified certain thoughts in her father? Like, if they are wrong about people who have had premarital sex being disgusting, maybe they are wrong about gay people being disgusting as well . . . 

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anjulibai
23 minutes ago, katilac said:

Elizabeth Smart has spoken out against abstinence-only sex education and the way it can make rape victims and others feel worthless (like a chewed piece of gum, to use their lovely analogy). I wonder if this may have started or intensified certain thoughts in her father? Like, if they are wrong about people who have had premarital sex being disgusting, maybe they are wrong about gay people being disgusting as well . . . 

I was thinking the same thing. Once you start questioning some of the doctrine, you start questioning the rest. 

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hasunah
5 hours ago, Howl said:

 

Quite a few commenters thought it was incredibly selfish of Ed to bail on his family and wife of 40 years.  Hopefully, she'll have full support from her church community. 

Well he is . Maybe I'm just not into the mood of celebrating somebody who essentially ruined a woman's life and cheated her out of a real relationship . 

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JermajestyDuggar

I’m sorry but I can’t 100% blame Ed here. He’s absolutely a victim of his religion. Do I think he made poor choices? Absolutely. And those choices hurt his wife and family deeply. But he lived in the closet for many years because his religion told him it was a sin and he would go to hell if he didn’t fight against a part of who he is. The entire family are victims of Mormonism. 

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Hane

I read somewhere that they were considering separation for this reason back around the time Elizabeth was kidnapped.

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katilac
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Howl said:

Quite a few commenters thought it was incredibly selfish of Ed to bail on his family and wife of 40 years.  Hopefully, she'll have full support from her church community. 

Getting divorced does not have to equal bailing on your family. And their children are grown. 

I would be amazed if she doesn't have an incredible amount of church support; that is one thing the Mormons do very well for members in good standing. 

36 minutes ago, hasunah said:

Well he is . Maybe I'm just not into the mood of celebrating somebody who essentially ruined a woman's life and cheated her out of a real relationship . 

 It's not like he did it on purpose. The man is 64 years old. While he states that he was aware of his same-sex attraction at a young age, that doesn't translate into having very many options. Telling gays they are going to hell is a thing that is happening now. Being shunned and told you are going to burn in hell for being gay are things that are happening now. Can you imagine 50+ years ago? Then and now, people are told to repress it, to follow God's rules, to pray it away. He probably didn't even have the words to speak about it, much less deal with it. There is a reason it was known as "the love that dare not speak its name." 

While I'm sure it's brutally tough on everyone involved, I don't think their lives have been ruined. Their lives both have great value and great potential. I think it's much better for him to do this now than to carry the secret to his grave. It gives BOTH of them a chance at leading an authentic life! She may find that 'real' relationship and have many years of happiness. At their ages, they can very easily have 15+ years of an active lifestyle, and that's a great thing imo. 

A man I respect quite a bit astounded everyone by filing for divorce  (for very different reasons, lol). This was over 30 years ago, I was barely out of my teens, but I remember with great clarity how he explained it to me. He said that was raised to believe, and his church taught, that divorce was a great sin and unacceptable, and that is why he stayed in the marriage for so many years. It wasn't always terrible, there were some good times and there were kids they both loved, but the marriage itself was always a struggle. He said that one day he was struggling along as usual when he was hit with the thought, this is the rest of my life. I am going to wake up every day with someone I don't love, I am going to live in a way that isn't true to me, and this is how things are going to be until the day I die. He couldn't bear that thought, and I don't blame him. Many people do just struggle along with very little happiness until the day they die, and I don't regard that as the better choice. 

 

Edited by katilac
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formergothardite
47 minutes ago, hasunah said:

Well he is . Maybe I'm just not into the mood of celebrating somebody who essentially ruined a woman's life and cheated her out of a real relationship . 

It is more their religion cheated them both out of the relationship. And while the life she knew is over, that doesn't mean her life is ruined. They can both go on to have very fulfilling lives.  It would be worse for him to continue the farce and continue the cycle of hiding such a huge part of himself. Now she knows who he really is and he can finally be himself. A marriage where one spouse must hide who they are isn't a marriage that needs to continue. 

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Dreadcrumbs
41 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

It is more their religion cheated them both out of the relationship. And while the life she knew is over, that doesn't mean her life is ruined. They can both go on to have very fulfilling lives.  It would be worse for him to continue the farce and continue the cycle of hiding such a huge part of himself. Now she knows who he really is and he can finally be himself. A marriage where one spouse must hide who they are isn't a marriage that needs to continue. 

Exactly.

I have more respect for Ed Smart than those gay Mormons that crow about their "mixed marriages".

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Marmion
1 hour ago, hasunah said:

Well he is . Maybe I'm just not into the mood of celebrating somebody who essentially ruined a woman's life and cheated her out of a real relationship . 

From what I have read marriage within the LDS Church holds a special high significance .  http://mit.irr.org/mormon-marriage-beliefs-and-practices   And while I do not know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will ever come to the same position as that of the related Community of Christ ( formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints )  https://www.kcur.org/post/community-christ-oks-gay-marriage-and-clergy#stream/0  , https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/01/women-lgbt-mormons-community-of-christ  , but there are still steps that even now the Mormons can take to be more inclusive of gay and lesbian church members https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/08/17/wake-ed-smarts-coming/  . 

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NakedKnees

I echo a lot of the above that divorce isn't necessarily bad. This particular divorce, like many, is probably difficult to weather but I'm getting the impression that all parties are on board with it being the right thing for them.

Personal perspective/experience time: I honestly painted divorce with a wide brush until I met Mr. Knees, who was years separated at the time we met (eventually divorced, but we were living in a Catholic country where the legal process was easier said than done compared with much of the world). He truly thinks it was vital that their son be raised by happy parents, and that their divorce was crucial to that. The first two years were sad and difficult, but like so many things in the world, it got better. It may sound like an edifying thing you tell yourself, but I think it's true. For what it's worth, we both enjoy a good relationship with his ex-wife. This really isn't that uncommon, but I truly believe that no lives were ruined by this divorce, and to the contrary, three lives may have been ruined by them staying together. Obviously, it's not all fun and games that led here- they both had divorced parents and were determined to do divorce more ethically than their parents did.

Back to Ed Smart- I'm surprised to learn about this, but as much as I enjoy listening to and following Elizabeth Smart, I don't know as much about her parents. I hope this all goes as well as it can for everyone. What remarkable life experiences this whole family has had.

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Caroline
3 hours ago, formergothardite said:

It is more their religion cheated them both out of the relationship. And while the life she knew is over, that doesn't mean her life is ruined. They can both go on to have very fulfilling lives.  It would be worse for him to continue the farce and continue the cycle of hiding such a huge part of himself. Now she knows who he really is and he can finally be himself. A marriage where one spouse must hide who they are isn't a marriage that needs to continue. 

I agree with this.  They both grew up with the extreme purity culture and anti-homosexuality 'rules' of Mormonism. Maybe she knew something was not right about their relationship and was also powerless to change it.  With the strong belief that marriage is for eternity drilled into them from the beginning, I can't imagine how difficult it is for serious Mormons to do anything out of the ordinary - like be who they really are.  

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Caroline
3 hours ago, katilac said:

Getting divorced does not have to equal bailing on your family. And their children are grown. 

I would be amazed if she doesn't have an incredible amount of church support; that is one thing the Mormons do very well for members in good standing. 

 It's not like he did it on purpose. The man is 64 years old. While he states that he was aware of his same-sex attraction at a young age, that doesn't translate into having very many options. Telling gays they are going to hell is a thing that is happening now. Being shunned and told you are going to burn in hell for being gay are things that are happening now. Can you imagine 50+ years ago? Then and now, people are told to repress it, to follow God's rules, to pray it away. He probably didn't even have the words to speak about it, much less deal with it. There is a reason it was known as "the love that dare not speak its name." 

While I'm sure it's brutally tough on everyone involved, I don't think their lives have been ruined. Their lives both have great value and great potential. I think it's much better for him to do this now than to carry the secret to his grave. It gives BOTH of them a chance at leading an authentic life! She may find that 'real' relationship and have many years of happiness. At their ages, they can very easily have 15+ years of an active lifestyle, and that's a great thing imo. 

A man I respect quite a bit astounded everyone by filing for divorce  (for very different reasons, lol). This was over 30 years ago, I was barely out of my teens, but I remember with great clarity how he explained it to me. He said that was raised to believe, and his church taught, that divorce was a great sin and unacceptable, and that is why he stayed in the marriage for so many years. It wasn't always terrible, there were some good times and there were kids they both loved, but the marriage itself was always a struggle. He said that one day he was struggling along as usual when he was hit with the thought, this is the rest of my life. I am going to wake up every day with someone I don't love, I am going to live in a way that isn't true to me, and this is how things are going to be until the day I die. He couldn't bear that thought, and I don't blame him. Many people do just struggle along with very little happiness until the day they die, and I don't regard that as the better choice. 

 

My sister is Gay and didn't come out to our family until she was 35 years old.  She's 68 now.  We weren't even raised in a repressive religious environment and no one had a problem with her lifestyle, but it really was different when we were growing up. No one even talked about homosexuality in the bigger society, let alone in religious circles. .  Times have fortunately changed and we had the perfect opportunity to reinforce to our daughter that her aunt marrying another woman was perfectly fine.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

I couldn't remember if the LDS church still had the policy that kids over 18 have to repudiate an openly gay parent, if they want to remain in good standing with the church. I found a good website:

https://www.hrc.org/resources/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saint

Quote

In November 2015, the LDS Church took formal steps to define marriage equality as a form of apostasy in its “Handbook of Instructions,” a guide for Mormon leaders. The policy not only describes Mormons in same-sex couples as apostates of the faith, it also establishes disciplinary actions that Mormon leaders can take against same-sex couples, including excommunication. The new policy also took aim at the children of same-sex couples. It barred them from baptism and from joining the LDS Church unless they denounce their parents by the age of 18. This policy, commonly referred to as the "November Policy," marks the first time a Christian church has enshrined a baptismal ban on children of same-sex couples. By June 2018, the LDS Church quietly cemented the "November Policy" by reaffirming its opposition to same-sex relationships in its recently updated manual for missionaries, Preach My Gospel.

(my bold)

However,

Quote

In April 2019, a stunning announcement by the LDS Church reversed the controversial November 2015 policy. But President Oaks made clear that the Church was not revising its doctrine on homosexuality, which teaches that having same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.

So, I'm glad to hear that the "kids" don't have to choose between their dad and the church. (Assuming that Elizabeth and her siblings are still LDS, that is.)

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raspberrymint

Are there rules pertaining to grandchildren of gay people?

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
2 minutes ago, raspberrymint said:

Are there rules pertaining to grandchildren of gay people?

I can't find anything, so I doubt it? As always, I'd be happy to hear from anyone who knows more.

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