Earlier this month, TLC aired a new reality special entitled My Husband’s Not Gay. It follows four gay Mormon men who are either married or dating women to fight their homosexual urges. In a clip, conversations with the men are shown in which they deny their homosexuality while admitting being attracted to men. One man is shown explaining how he chose an “alternative to an alternative lifestyle,” while another says he and his spouse can “overcome anything” through faith. Further on, it shows a man at a spiritual meeting saying that “homosexual acts are not in line with the gospels.”
While the Mormon Church has been known for some time as being against homosexuality, they have somewhat changed their stance. A website was launched to explain their beliefs. They believe that while homosexuality is not a sin, acting on those desires is. The church gives gay Mormons two options: remain celibate or marry a woman. It is the only way they are able to remain in their Church, and a majority of Mormons are willing to try anything to continue to be a part of their religious community.
An in-depth survey of 1,612 self-selected same-sex attracted Mormons, and former Mormons, from 48 states and 22 countries found that when a gay Mormon marries a straight woman, the marriage is 2-3 times more likely to end in divorce. While that may seem glaringly obvious, their religion believes that homosexuality is something that can be treated, much like alcoholism and drug addictions. The survey was conducted by John Dehlin, a doctoral student of Utah State University, and Bill Bradshaw, retired Brigham Young University professor, with the assistance of Renee Galliher. They solicited responses via sites such as North Star International, and the Mormon Stories podcast.
The survey’s main findings demonstrated that between 51 and 69% of mixed-oriented Mormon marriages end in divorce, and more than 70% of gay Mormons leave their Churches. 80% of participants responded saying that they were working to change their orientation. Of the 80%, 85% use religious and private efforts, 31% underwent personal efforts, 40% used therapy and 21% used a group effort.
Others have provided research to demonstrate similar findings. For example, Kendall Wilcox collected over 300 narratives from LGBT Mormons, as well as their families, to use for his documentary Far Between. He found that many LGBT Mormons whose marriages “failed” were triple-blamed “by their family and faith communities – first for being gay, then for having ruined the lives of their spouses and children by… marry(ing) into the service of trying to ‘overcome’ their homosexuality, and then finally for having failed in the marriage and ‘given up.’”
The couples who are “doing just fine” remained silent, so “we don’t know their numbers and don’t know how their numbers compare to the ‘failed’ mixed orientation marriages.”