[Below is a "10th anniversary" revised and greatly exanded version of what was published in 1994 by Signature Books. ]

"The Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature":
A Revised History of Homosexuality & Mormonism, 1840-1980
by Connell O'Donovan
© 1994, 2004

I dedicate this labor of love in honor of Stuart Matis, Clay Whitmer, D.J. Thompson, Carlyle Marsden, Gordon Ray Church, and all the other bright souls who did not survive Mormonism's homophobia.

And to those of us who have survived, that we might bear witness....

B. Morris Young in Drag

Brigham Morris Young (son of Brigham Young)
In drag as Italian opera diva "Madam Pattirini"
(circa 1901 photographic placard advertising "her" appearance
in the Sugar House Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah;
photo by C. R. Savage


In this essay, I attempt to analyze how Mormon leaders have confronted and tried to eradicate first sodomy and later, homosexuality - and conversely, how Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Mormons have responded to their religion. In doing so, it became apparent to me that Mormon women found that the intensity of female homosociality[1] available in Mormon structures created a vital space in which they could explore passionate, romantic relationships with each other. At the same time I have uncovered some of the problematics of male homosociality - its power to arbitrarily defend or exile men accused of entering into erotic relationships with other men. During the early 1840's Mormon founder Joseph Smith deified heterosexuality when he introduced the doctrine of a Father and Mother in Heaven - a divine, actively heterosexual couple paradigmatic of earthly sexual relationships. As Mormon bishop T. Eugene Shoemaker recently posited: "the celestial abode of God is heterosexually formed".[2] Smith also eternalized heterosexuality by extended opposite-sex marriages (heterogamy) into "time and all eternity" and multiplied heterosexuality through polygamy. Historian Richard S. Van Wagoner explains that Smith's "emphasis on procreation became the basis for the Mormon concept of humanity's progress to divinity. All of Smith's...doctrinal innovations fell into place around this new teaching. Smith explained that God was an exalted [heterosexual] man and that mortal existence was a testing ground for men to begin to progress toward exalted godhood. Salvation became a family affair revolving around a husband whose plural wives and children were sealed to him for eternity under the 'new and everlasting covenant'." [3]

Polygamy thus bound together all of Mormon theology and cosmology, while simultaneously defining early Mormon sexuality and setting Mormons off as a "peculiar people" - a separate and elite community of believers and practicants. This separatism, which the sexual deviance of polygamy created, was a highly effective means for the Mormons to gain social and political power amongst their own members. However, while practicing their own sexual perversion (i.e. polygamy), Mormons disavowed other sexual perversities (such as sodomy) - especially if by doing so persecution could be deflected from themselves onto others.


In feminist Adrienne Rich's ground-breaking 1980 essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" she describes her theory of a "lesbian continuum" on which she believes all women exist, whether they identify themselves as Lesbian or not. This continuum is "a range - through each woman's life and throughout history - of woman-identified experience, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman". For Rich, this Lesbianism easily encompasses many more forms of emotional "intensity between and among women, including the sharing of a rich inner life, the bonding against male tyranny, the giving and receiving of practical and political support."[4] This intense female bonding (or homosociality) was present in the parameters of Mormon polygamy. While some critics see polygamy as a form of male tyranny over women, I find that many Mormon women subversively reconstructed polygamy as a means of escaping male domination on many other levels, in what I call heroic acts of Lesbian resistance.

The potential for female homosocial relationships is found among the polygamous "sister- wives" of Milford Shipp.[5] His first wife, Ellis Reynolds Shipp, earned a medical degree at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1878. This was possible only because her sister-wives cared for her three children in Utah while she was studying back east, pooling their resources to pay her tuition. Her sister-wives also wrote her encouraging letters, while she described those of her husband as "harsh", "bitter and sharp". When Dr. Shipp returned to Salt Lake City, she set up a thriving medical practice and made enough money to send her other sister-wives through medical college or midwifery training. Indeed, her biographer claims that her sister-wives' "role in ensuring Ellis's professional advancement stands as a moving testimony to the close relationships possible among Mormon plural wives."[6]

Milford Shipp was almost entirely uninvolved in the lives of his wives. He gave them important marital status and fathered their children. Otherwise, "in polygamy the wives and children learned to fend for themselves".[7] Dr. Shipp recorded in her private journal, "How beautiful to contemplate the picture of a family where each one works for the interest, advancement, and well-being of all. Unity is strength."[8] Given that her husband only nominally participated in the lives of these women, I believe this quote must be interpreted in the context of Rich's Lesbian continuum. Even more to the point is Ellis' statement, also from her journal, about "how pure and heavenly is the relationship of sisters in the holy order of polygamy." That these women not only shared a husband, but also surnames, lives, hopes, education, political views, economic status, child-rearing, etc., indicates a depth of homosocial and homophilic intercourse typifying the "Lesbian" relationships (in Adrienne Rich's definition) of Victorian Mormonism.

Despite the fact that Joseph Smith deified, eternalized, and pluralized heterosexuality through polygamy and temple ritual, early Mormon women found that their bodies, sensuality, and desires were neither tamed nor contained by obedience to the institution of polygamy. I believe that many women found creative, unique, and intensely meaningful ways to confess and express their desire for other women.

Feminist historian, Dr. Carol Lasser, has documented that Victorian women in America, in order to formalize "Romantic Friendships" with other women, sometimes married brothers, becoming sisters-in-law and sharing a surname. She theorizes that marrying brothers "deepened their intimacy, extending it in new directions, further complicating the intricate balance of emotional and material ties, and perhaps offering a symbolic consummation of their passion" for each other.[9] Interestingly, Mormon women had the unique ability to take this even one step further - by marrying the same man, and thus becoming sister-wives. The unique arrangements of Mormon polygamous households provided a potential medium for Lesbian expression among women who could easily (albeit covertly) eroticize each other's bodies through the gaze of their shared husband.

The "David and Jonathan" of the Primary: Louie B. Felt and May Anderson

Indeed at least one Mormon woman went so far as to request that her husband marry polygamously after she fell in love with another woman, so that the two women could openly live together. Sarah Louisa Bouton married Joseph Felt in 1866 as his first wife but according to a 1919 biography, around 1874, Louie (the masculinized nickname she used) met and "fell in love with" a young woman in her local LDS congregation named Alma Elizabeth (Lizzie) Mineer.[10] After discovering her intense passion for Lizzie Mineer, a childless Louie encouraged Joseph to marry the young woman as a plural wife, explaining "that some day they would be privileged to share their happiness with some little ones." Joseph married Lizzie Mineer in 1876. But Lizzie's new responsibilities of bearing and raising children evidently proved too great a strain for her and Louie's relationship. Five years later Louie Felt fell in love with "another beautiful Latter-day Saint girl" named Lizzie Liddell, and again Joseph obligingly married her for Louie's sake. Thus Louie "opened her home and shared her love" with this second Lizzie.[11]

In 1883, 33 year old Louie Felt met 19 year-old May Anderson, and they also fell in love. This time, however, May did not marry Joseph Felt. In 1889 May moved in with Louie, and Joseph permanently moved out of the house Louie had built and bought on her own.[12] Thus began one of the most intense, stable, and productive love relationships in turn-of-the-century Mormonism. These two women lived together for almost 40 years, and together presided over three of Mormonism's most significant institutions: the General Primary Association (for Mormon children), the Children's Friend (a magazine for young Mormons), and founding the Primary Children's Hospital.[13] Louie and May were fairly open about the romantic and passionate aspects of their relationship, as reported in their biographies published in several early issues of the LDS Children's Friend. According to their recent biographer, Felt and Anderson's relationship was a "symbiotic partnership with each compensating for the weaknesses and complementing the strengths of the other". The 1919 Children's Friend biography more bluntly declared that "the friendship which had started when Sister Felt and [May Anderson] met...ripened into love. Those who watched their devotion to each other declare that there never were more ardent lovers than these two". The same biography also calls the beginning of their relationship a "time of love feasting", and makes it clear that the two women shared the same bed.[14] Twice in the Children's Friend, Anderson and Felt were referred to as "the David and Jonathan" of the Primary, which, the magazine explained, was a common appellation for the women. For centuries, the biblical characters David and Jonathan have been classic signifiers of male-male desire and homoeroticism, because in the Hebrew scriptures, it was written in 2 Samuel 1:26 that upon Jonathan's death in battle, David lamented, "very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."[15] That these two women were described as "David and Jonathan" simultaneoulsy masculinizes them and firmly encodes their love for each other in a homoerotic context. (See David-Edward Desmond's gravestone for another Mormon reference to this homoerotic scripture.)

May and Louie

May Anderson and Louie Felt
"David and Jonathan of the Primary"

While polygamy was instigated by Mormon men (but subsequently appropriated by their wives as a powerful source for homosociality), the women themselves created structures and discourses of sorority which allowed Lesbian expression. The all-female Relief Society and Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association, as well as other early expressions of Mormon feminism, are all examples of female homosocial enclaves within the larger, male- dominated structures of power. In the papers of Mormon Lesbian poet Kate Thomas is the clipping of a poem which appears to have been printed in the Young Women's Journal at the turn of the century. The poem, written by Sarah E. Pearson and entitled "Sister to Sister", beautifully describes the intensity of homosocial sorority that Pearson encountered "in the sunlight of the Gospel of Christ". For Pearson, Mormonism did not divide women against each other, but made of them sisters, and

"congenial, life-long friends with like, true aims to bind us;
With a glimpse of a tender heart shown in compassionate feeling
The bleeding scars from the smart of death's pangs half revealing;
The comradeship of the true, the sisterhood of the loving;
The voice of my heart to you and the cry my soul is giving.

Lillie T. Freeze, a fifty-year veteran of both the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association and Primary general boards, recalled in 1928 that "through these [all-female] agencies the women were seeking 'the life more abundant', desiring to bless and comfort each other and to cultivate the longing for higher things than the social pleasures of the day could afford", again recalling Adrienne Rich's definition of the Lesbian continuum.[16]

The "Gay Mask" of Kate Thomas

While Louie B. Felt and May Anderson of the Primary apparently had no troubles reconciling their passionate relationship and their religion, other early Mormon women found it more difficult. For example, Kate Thomas (1871-1950), a prolific, turn-of-the-century Mormon playwright and poet, withdrew somewhat from Mormonism while exploring her attraction to other women. Thomas, who never married, left Utah for New York City and Europe in 1901 but still maintained contact with Mormonism by writing lessons and poetry for the Relief Society and Young Ladies' manuals and magazines while on her extended absences. However, some of her poetry of that same period reflects a growing disaffection with Mormonism. Her father, Richard Kendall Thomas was avidly theatrical, acting as choreographer for the Salt Lake Theater in its early days and then turning the family barn into a professional theater called the Barnacle.

At the age of nineteen Thomas began keeping a private journal of what she called her "love poetry" while attending courses in Salt Lake City at the LDS Business College. This journal consists almost entirely of love poems written to other women. [Click for more excerpts from her love poetry] When Kate moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1901 (already a homosexual mecca), she explored not only Lesbian desire, but also religious and spiritual traditions as diverse as Catholicism and Buddhism. Thomas also became an outspoken peace activist, anarchist, supporter of the very controversial League of Nations, and practitioner of Yoga. Notably, Kate's younger sister, Blanche Kendall Thomas, became a famous New York actress, and her younger brother, Elbert Duncan Thomas, was Utah's US Senator from 1933-1951, replacing Reed Smoot.[17]

While having difficulties with her religion, it is clear in her writings that Thomas was able to reconcile her sexuality with her spirituality:

"This morning how I wished that I might be
Just long enough to write one heart-felt rhyme
To one so nearthat she seems a part of me.
But were I all the bards that ever sung
Turned into one transcendent immortelle
It seems to me I still would lack the tongue
To say how long I'd love her or how well!
Fall on her daily doubled o'er and o'er
When world on world and worlds again shall roll
God grant that we two shall still stand soul to soul![18]

In other poems written around the same time, I believe she used the word "gay" as a double entendre to mean both happiness and same-sex desire. The following short poem is an example:

A scarlet West;
An East merged into eventide. A brown plain
And by my side
The one - the one in all the world
I love the best!
Last night's gay mask -
The outward wildness and the inward ache
I cast off forever; from her lips I take joy never-ceasing.
Brown plain and her kiss
Are all I ask.[19]

The word "gay" was used to describe same-sex male desire in the United States as early as 1868.[20] Five years after Thomas wrote this poem, American writer Gertrude Stein wrote "Miss Furr and Miss Skeen" in which she repeatedly used the word "gay" to signify same-sex female desire.[21] I suspect that Kate Thomas discovered this underground meaning while she was living in Greenwich Village and used it throughout her poetry. That it meant homosexual desire to her is supported by the fact that the only time she used the word "gay" outside of poems written to other women, was in a poem about "Gay Narcissus", who has traditionally signified same-sex (especially male) desire.[22] Another lengthy poem entitled "A Gay Musician" is about Kate's love for a woman named Illa. The following is a brief passage:

That dear white hand within my own I took
"Illa", I whispered, "May I keep it so?"
My eager blood my anxious cheek forsook
Fearing my love that loved me might say no....
She raised her eyes. There looking I beheld
The Sound of Music through the eyes of love.[23]

One historian commented that in this poem "the poet is speaking in the voice of one female to another...and as in many others in the journal, makes clear the sensuality of fantasy and desire."[24]

Cornelia (Cora) Kasius (1897-1984) was another Mormon Lesbian who left Utah for New York City, where she could gain economic security and career advancement, as well as explore her sexuality like thousands of other women who flocked to the anonymity of a large metropolis. A prominent social worker from Ogden, Utah, Kasius was assistant general secretary to the LDS Relief Society as early as 1923.[25] In 1928 she moved to New York and initially lived in a highly-respected all-women's residence in midtown on the West Side. In 1930 Kasius was on the faculty of Barnard College, and by 1945, she also served on the faculties of New York University, Columbia University, and New York School of Social Work. [26] At that time, Kasius was appointed "Welfare Liaison Officer" to aid in the rehabilitation of Holland after its destruction during World War II, and later returned to her apartment on East 72nd Street. She also worked for 17 years as the publications editor for the Family Service Association of America, authored a number of books on social work, and in 1964 was honored by the National Conference on Social Welfare for her leadership role in social work. In the late 1950s Kasius moved to Grammercy Park where she remained until her death in June 1984. Her family still lovingly remembers Cora for her intellect, humor, warmth, and generosity. [27]

These women found avenues for exploring passion between women within official Mormon structures such as the Relief Society. Thus it comes as no surprise that the most radical discourse of Mormon sorority, that of early Mormon feminism, also created vital space in which women could desire other women romantically and sexually. Historian of Mormon feminism, Maxine Hanks, has recovered one of the most important documents relating to Lesbianism in Victorian America: what appears to be the earliest published statement on Lesbianism written by a feminist. In the 1860's Mormon women began publishing an ecclesiastically sanctioned feminist periodical called the Woman's Exponent. The 15 April 1873 issue reprinted from a New York paper an article by the pseudonymous "Fanny Fern", tellingly entitled "Women Lovers".[28] The essay comments on the then current fashion of "smashing" without actually using the term.[29] Smashing involved passionate, sometimes sexual, friendships between women before the turn of the century. To clarify the possibly confusing wording of the document, I should explain that two kinds of "women lovers" are being described: the innocent, victimized pursuer (called Araminta) and the manipulative, passive-aggressive pursued woman (called "the other party" as well as the "conquering 'she'"). The complete text of this brief but remarkable article follows:

Women Lovers
Perhaps you do not know it, but there are women who fall in love with each other. Woe be to the unfortunate she, who does the courting! All the cursedness of ingenuity peculiar to the sex is employed by "the other party" in tormenting her. She will flirt with women by the score who are brighter and handsomer than her victim. She will call on them oftener. She will praise their best bonnets and go into ecstasies over their dresses. She will write them more pink notes [love letters], and wear their 'tin- types,'[photos] and when despair has culminated, and sore-hearted Araminta takes to her bed in consequence, then only will this conquering 'she' step off her pedestal to pick up her dead and wounded. But then, women must keep their hand in. Practice makes perfect. [30]

This significant article colors the women of the Exponent, and indeed of the entire early Mormon feminist movement, a distinct shade of lavender. As Gay Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn explains, Louise L. Greene's decision, as editor of the Woman's Exponent, to reprint this brief essay "indicates her assumption that 'Women Lovers' was of interest to Mormon women." [31] The language is very casual but calculated. The author merely warns women to be careful when loving other women - not to be victimized by exploitive and destructive women. The closing statement "practice makes perfect" indicates that Lesbian desire is complete and perfect in and of itself, and is not a precursor to heterosexuality. ["Araminta" is the famous character in William Congreve's popular Restoration comedy from 1693, The Old Bachelor. It was also Harriet Tubman's name when she still lived in slavery.]

Lesbian Imagery in Anti-Polygamy Cartoons

Newspapers critical of Mormon polygamy also published cartoons of polygamous relationships as salacious and lascivious. Some cartoonists could not resist titillating the public with quasi-Lesbian images of multiple women sharing one bed with their lone husband. One such image, circa 1880, is captioned, "Last into Bed Put Out the Light". As the 15 or so wives clamor to get into one large bed, their husband claps his hands in glee and says, "O let us be joyful" (not legible in the image below). The observer is left to ponder what the obviously sexually-anxious women will do who can't get close to the solitary man in the bed.

Last into Bed
"Last into Bed Put Out the Light," Courtesy Yale University

On the other end of the spectrum of visual images of Mormon women is the so-called "Domineering" polygamous woman, heavily masculinized from the "first wave" of Feminism. While Mormon leaders were generally viewed as firmly in control of the Church, some humorists took the opposite view. In another cartoon from 1904 New York World showed a tiny, feeble Joseph F. Smith flanked by five "formidable" wives, who look like robust men in drag.

Mormon influences
Joseph F. Smith says, "There Are Influences Greater Than the Government in Utah";
reprinted in the Salt Lake Tribune

Another, similar cartoon from 1914 shows a well-dressed Mormon dandy being chased by four angry, masculinized polygamous wives who sport "Feminism" sashes. The humorist observes that thus "Mormonism Is on the Wane in Utah".

On the Wane
Four muscular women attack a symbolic Mormon man, from Life, June 25, 1914

I am endebted to the work of Davis Bitton and Gary L. Bunker for their Spring 1978 Utah Historical Quarterly article, "Double Jeopardy: Visual Images of Mormon Women to 1914", which contains the information on and reprints of these cartoons.

Edith Chapman and the "Casa Lesbiana" in Salt Lake

In 1923, after the death of both her parents, prominent Salt Lake Lesbian, Edith Mary Chapman opened her home just across the street from (and to the north of) Liberty Park as a boarding house for other Lesbians, most of whom were LDS or had a Mormon background. Chapman herself had been raised Episcopalian, although her mother had been a member of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company of Mormon immigrants. [Sarah Ann Briggs Chapman lost her father and many of her siblings during the handcart trek, and her mother had died soon after their arrival in Utah from a scorpion bite. The young, orphaned Sarah Ann was married off polygamously at the age of 14 to the 42 year old George Handley. Sarah Ann was pregnant within a week of her marriage and at the age of 23 found herself the widowed mother of four small children. Embittered by her experiences in Mormonism (especially church-sanctioned pedogamy - adults marrying children), she left the church and joined the Anglican Communion, belying the common Mormon belief that all Martin Company survivors remained faithful to the Mormon religion. Consequently, Sarah Ann's children were taken from her by Handley relatives to be raised Mormon under orders from LDS leaders. Sarah Briggs Handley then married the pioneer dentist Arvis Chapman, and their first child was Edith Mary Chapman. Arvis Chapman's sister, Ann E. Chapman was also a Lesbian, and Utah's first public librarian. The Chapman Branch of the Salt Lake Public Library system is named for the pioneering Lesbian librarian.]

Edith Chapman studied at the Oquirrh School and then the University of Utah, where she became a Critic Teacher and an instructor in Elementary Education. [Click here to see a map Edith drew in 4th grade at Oquirrh- now in my possession.] When Edith opened her home to other professional, Lesbian boarders in 1923, Grace Nickerson, an instructor at the LDS School of Music (in the McCune Mansion) was the first boarder in what I have nicknamed the Casa Lesbiana. A year later, Chapman met Mildred "Barry" Berryman, another Episcopalian Lesbian from Salt Lake (who had converted to Mormonism briefly in her youth, at least long enough to receive a Patriarchal Blessing, as documented by Michael Quinn). Mildred's first female lover had been Mae Anderson, a prominent violin teacher in Salt Lake (who would join the LDS School of Music faculty in 1924, where other prominent Mormon homo- and bisexuals taught). The relationship of Berryman and Anderson lasted until about 1922.

Edith had been in one previous relationship of several years duration with another female school teacher "who was masculine, dominating and aggressive", but the relationship was finally broken by the other woman, who "tired of [Edith's] persistent attention and ceaseless demands upon her time."  For several years after this break-up, Edith had "made no further amatory attachments and devoted her time and attention to study and teaching", but when Edith met Mildred Berryman in 1924, she "fell desperately in love" and Barry Berryman moved into Edith's home. While their romantic relationship only lasted a short time, Barry continued living in the Lesbian boarding house until 1929. Berryman went on to complete her study of the homosexual community of Salt Lake (thoroughly addressed in Michael Quinn's history of homosexuality and Mormonism). After Grace Nickerson moved out of the house, Dorothy Graham replaced her. Dorothy was the Lesbian manager of the Coon Chicken Inn in Salt Lake (a well-known restaurant owned by her family, which featured male drag performers, such as Julian Eltinge, during the 1920s and 30s). Around this time, Carline Monson joined the women, as a live-in cook at the boarding house. This aunt of Apostle Thomas S. Monson never married, although she reffered to herself as "Mrs. Monson" on occasion. In the mid-1930s, Edith Chapman closed the boarding house, leaving the home to Carline Monson, and moved to Berekely, California. [See Berryman's biography for references.]

Julian Eltinge
Julian Eltinge, female impersonator and movie star, circa 1915 -
Slated to appear at the Mormon Tabernacle but was banned,
so "she" performed at the Coon Chicken Inn in Salt Lake instead
[click on image to enlarge]


Sometime around late May or early June 1928, the famous homosexual clairvoyant, George Benjamin Wehner, conducted a seance at the Mormon Tabernacle. Wehner had just spent one year traveling through Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East with his lover, and upon return to the United States had reconnected wtih his longtime patrons, Teresa "Tessy" Phebe Kimball Werner, her sister Winifred Kimball Hudnut, and Mrs. Hudnut's bisexual daughter, Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy (aka Natacha Rambova), the actress, danceuse, and extraordinary movie set designer who was married to silent film star, Rudolph Valentino, allegedly also bisexual. Teresa and Winifred were the granddaughters of the Mormon Apostle Heber Chase Kimball and his first wife, Vilate Murray. The extremely wealthy Winifred Kimball Hudnut, famous throughout the United States and France as a spiritualist and theosophist, had been introduced to Wehner through her daughter, Natacha Rambova.

Valentino & Rambova
Glass plate photograph of Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy (Natacha Rambova) and Rudolph Valentino

The homosexual psychic Wehner (1891-1970) had been a vaudeville actor and singer, and had also composed the very popular Broadway hit, "I Want My Mammy", which had been sung in "black face" by the famous comedic actor Eddie Cantor in 1921's Broadway musical, The Midnight Rounders.

Mammy sheet music
Sheet music from Wehner's Broadway "BIG HIT"

Rambova employed Wehner for quite some time to assist her in contacting her dead ex-husband, Valentino, to receive messages from him in "the astral plane". These messages and her memoirs of their life together were published in 1926 (a year after their divorce and just months after his death) as Rudy: An Intimate Portrait of Rudolph Valentino by his Wife. This was then reprinted in abbreviated form a year later as Rudolph Valentino, Recollections.

Rambova Book

In 1929, George Wehner published his own memoirs of his life as a clairvoyant and stage performer. The very last page of his autobiography tells of his visit with the Kimball family (consistently misspelled by Wehner) in Salt Lake City a year earlier. While in the Tabernacle, Wehner had extraordinary visions of and received "intimate" messages from Heber C. Kimball, Joseph, Emma and Lucy Smith, Brigham Young, various other Kimball relatives, and finally, none other than the Angel Moroni.

Here, on one never-to-be-forgotten day, the Tabernacle was closed to visitors for a while, and Edward P. Kimbal [sic], the grandson of Heber C., gave us a private recital on the world-famed organ. As the noble tones of this great instrument swelled and reverberated about us in the lofty Tabernacle, I became clairvoyant and was aware of the presence of numerous spirits.

And no wonder! For there I sat with Aunt Tessy, Mrs. Hudnut, and others of their relatives, all of them direct descendants of those brave and daring pioneers who suffered almost insurmountable difficulties for the sake of the religion which they felt to be right. It was a soul-stirring moment, and I had never dreamed of "seancing" in the Mormon Tabernacle of Salt Lake City. But after all, what place more suitable for the communion of souls?

A force far stronger than I began to control me, although I was not unconscious, and I began to whisper rapidly the messages of those returned spirits. The messages were of a personal and intimate nature, and came from Heber C. Kimbal himself, and from his friend Brigham Young, and from Joseph Smith, and Lucy Smith (Joseph's wife who later became the wife of H. C. Kimbal), and from Emma Smith; and from Aunt Margaret Judd Clauson, from William Kimbal (eldest son of Heber C.) and from Phoebe Judd Kimbal, the mother of Aunt Tessy and Mrs. Hudnut.

At last these spirits faded away and I saw the whole interior of the Tabernacle shimmering in a glorious blaze of golden light, in the midst of which appeared in the air above the organ, the figure of a young man in blue robes holding a long trumpet of gold. From my clairvoyant description of this radiant being my friends recognized the spirit as that of the Angel Maroni [sic], the son of Mormon who, it is said, led his fainting people across the plains and deserts to ultimate safety by showing his presence to them from time to time, as a beacon of faith and love.

And what more infallible guide can any of us have than love? Angels of Light ever surround us, leading our faltering footsteps along the path of the Christ, ever upward on the spiraling way of progress and evolution to the very doors of God.

Wehner then concluded his memoirs with a two-page epilogue about the death of his grandmother - as a fulfillment of prophecy made five years earlier by Wehner's spirit guide, the Native American spirit White Cloud - on March 10, 1929. [32]



John C. Bennett and his "Buggery" in the Nauvoo Legion

One of the most dramatic events in the history of Mormonism and homosexuality occurred in the 1840s. John C. Bennett, a recent convert to Mormonism, arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois (then LDS headquarters), and immediately began his rise to ecclesiastical prominence.[33] Within months of his arrival, this infamous scoundrel, cheat, liar, embezzler, and walking diploma mill became a chief advisor to Joseph Smith. After Sidney Rigdon's refusal to allow his daughter to marry Smith polygamously, Bennett was given the title of Assistant President to the Church, placing him above either Smith's first counselor Rigdon or church patriarch, Hyrum Smith. Bennett also became chancellor of the University of Nauvoo, mayor of Nauvoo, and a general in the Nauvoo Legion. But Bennett had a mysterious past, for he had risen to prominent positions in other cities, other social circles, only to be cast out and forced to move on. Rumors of Bennett's past began to circulate in Nauvoo. Men were sent by Joseph Smith to other towns where Bennett had lived, and they returned with sober news: Bennett had a long history as a "homo-libertine", according to Mormon historian Sam Taylor.[34] When the news broke in the leading councils of the church, Bennett drank some poison in what appears to have been a carefully planned attempt at suicide. Being a physician, he would have known exactly how much to take to get sick but not to kill himself. This sham suicide attempt brought forgiveness and sympathy from both Joseph Smith and the church at large.


John C. Bennett as General of Nauvoo Legion - and in drag as Napoleon;
Bennett designed his own and Joseph Smith's ostentatious uniforms

Soon, however, more rumors circulated of Bennett's current practices in Nauvoo: that he was courting several women simultaneously, that he had performed abortions on various Mormon women, that he frequented "the brothel on the hill" near the Temple, and that he was giving out high-ranking positions in the Nauvoo Legion for sexual favors with men under his command. Rumors of sodomy even reached non-Mormons. The anti-Mormon Reverend W. M. King accused Nauvoo of being "as perfect a sink of debauchery and every species of abomination as ever was in Sodom and Nineveh". Sam Taylor felt that Bennett's "sexual antics" with men of the Nauvoo Legion cast aspersions of sodomy on "hell knows how many revered pioneers".[35] However, another Mormon historian, T. Edgar Lyon, thought that Bennett could not have been homosexual since he was also accused of seducing women. "From my limited knowledge of homosexuals," Lyon wrote, "it seems to be out of character of the man [Bennett] to be so deeply involved with girls and women in town and at the same time practicing homosexuality".[36]

As Sam Taylor speculated, Joseph Smith could overlook just about anything but disloyalty. And Bennett turned disloyal, publicly espousing plural marriage, arguably Mormonism's best kept secret during these years. Taylor also felt that Smith dared not use accusations of sodomy against Bennett for fear of destroying the reputations of the young men whom Bennett had seduced, as well as not wanting the public to know that their "prophet, seer, and revelator" had put a sodomite in such a high position. Instead, Smith claimed that Bennett had tried to enlist the Nauvoo Legion to assassinate Smith during one of their musters. After this alleged plot "failed", Bennett was publicly humiliated and privately threatened, then given the chance to recant. Fearing for his life, he signed a statement saying that Smith had never taught or practiced polygamy, and left Nauvoo in May 1842. He was immediately released as Assistant President, excommunicated from the church, and lost his university chancellery and mayorship. But Bennett went on to write one of Mormonism's most scathing exposés, The History of the Saints; or, an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism.

Bennett autograph
John C. Bennett's signature as Mayor of Nauvoo, December 4, 1841

Bennett also claimed that Danites (secret Mormon vigilantes) dressed in drag attempted to murder him under the order of Joseph Smith. Bennett wrote that on the night of June 29, 1842, "twelve of the Danites, dressed in female apparel, approached my boarding house, (Gen. Robinson's) in Nauvoo, with the carriage wheels wrapped with blankets, and their horses feet covered with cloths, to prevent noise, about 10 o'clock, for the purpose of conveying me off and assassinating me, thus prevent disclosures - but I was so admirably prepared with arms, as were also my friends, that after prowling around the house for some time, they retired."

Then in July 1842, Joseph's brother, William Smith, editor of a Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo, The Wasp, tried to silence Bennett's accusations by sarcastically writing that Bennett only saw Joseph Smith as "a great philanthropist as long as Bennett could practice adultery, fornication, and - we were going to say, (Buggery,) without being exposed". Two years later a slander suit brought against Joseph Smith by Francis Higbee implied that he and his brother, Chauncey Higbee, had been sexually involved with Bennett through the Nauvoo Legion, where Higbee had been a colonel. During Higbee's slander suit, Brigham Young testified that he had "told Dr. Bennett that one charge against him was leading young men into difficulty - he admitted it. If he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him." Hyrum Smith also testified that Higbee had been "seduced" by Bennett. Other testimony indicated that Bennett "led the youth that he had influence over to tread in his unhallowed steps." Although deleted in the printed version, the original ecclesiastical notes indicate that in addition to charges of sex with women, other testimony about Bennett was deleted from the official minutes as being "too indelicate for the public eye and ear", an allusion to the "unspeakable crime" of sodomy.[37]

Bennett's non-Mormon biographer, Andrew F. Smith, in The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett, found it "surprising that no one has ventured a biography" of Bennett, given his role in and influence on Nauvoo Mormonism (p. xi). Smith found that most biographical information on Bennett "remains highly inaccurate" and he is "needlessly shrouded in mystery." However, I believe that because Andrew Smith was not raised LDS, he failed to understand why the LDS Church needs Bennett to remain obscure and shrouded in mystery. Because of Bennett's "meteoric rise" and "cataclysmic fall" in Nauvoo, Illinois in just 14 months, the church's official line must be that Bennett arrived in Nauvoo an educated, capable, honorable and good-hearted leader and administrator, who was simply led astray by evil temptations and then very publicly apostatized. Otherwise Bennett's almost immediate presence and participation in the very highest councils of the church deeply challenges Mormonism. Bennett was set apart as Assistant President of the church, second only to Joseph Smith, on April 8, 1841, just six months after his conversion. [pp. 56 and 62] This fact brings into serious question Joseph Smith's prophetic and revelatory gifts and calling. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997)

In mid-July 1850, LDS Apostle John Taylor participated in a series of debates with anti-Mormon Christians in Boulougne-sur-Mer, France. During the "First Night's Discussion", Taylor responded to Bennett's allegations as published in The History of Saints. Taylor affirmed that "I was well acquainted with [Bennett]. At one time he was a good man, but fell into adultery, and was cut off from the church for his iniquity....He then went lecturing through the country, and commenced writing pamphlets for the sake of making money, charging so much for admittance to his lectures, and selling his slanders." After Bennett published his expose, Joseph Smith is alleged to have spoken a prophecy that Bennett would live the sad and lonely life of a "vagabond upon the earth", dying a destitute man. Indeed when word was received in Salt Lake City that Bennett had in fact died in August 1867, the Juvenile Instructor, an official church magazine for youth, published notice that Bennett "was despised by every one who knew him....He dragged out a miserable existence, without a person scarcely to take the least interest in his fate, and died a few months ago without a person to mourn his departure". Joseph Rick also wrote to fellow-Mormon Edward Hunter that Bennett had fulfilled Joseph Smith prophecy and had recently died "a vagabond on the Earth". In fact, as Andrew Smith has thoroughly documented, this is completely erroneous. Bennett died just north of Des Moines, Iowa, surrounded by his 2nd wife, friends and neighbors who respected and appreciated Bennett. He also left an appreciable estate behind and has one of the largest tombstones in the Polk City Cemetery. (Juvenile Instructor, 3 (July 15, 1868): 111-12; Rich to Hunter, December 25, 1869, both as quoted in Smith, p.186.)

Also belying the official church line, Bennett arrived in Nauvoo, not "a good man" as Apostle Taylor declared in France, but rather as a confirmed fraud, signature forger, charlatan, adulterer, spouse-abuser, liar, cheat, swindler, diploma counterfeiter and peddler, expelled Freemason, and confidence man, among many other dubious occupations, clearly intent on milking Mormonism and its members for all he could. Bennett forcefully craved power and fame, and found in Mormonism extremely fertile ground for his pretensions; a huge mass of gullible people who swallowed his nonsense without question. Anotehr acquaintance of Bennett, Governor Thomas Ford of Illinois, wrote scathingly in 1854 that, "This Bennett was probably the greatest scamp in the western country. I have made particular enquiries concerning him, and have traced him in several places in which he lived before he joined the Mormons, in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and he was everywhere accounted the same debauched, unprincipled, profligate character. He was a man of some little talent, and in 1840-1841 had the confidence of the Mormons, and particularly that of their leaders." (Thomas Ford, A History of Illinois (Chicago, 1854) p. 263)

[John Taylor, Three Nights' Public Discussion Between the Revds. C.W. Cleve, James Robertson, and Philip Cater - and Elder John Taylor (Self-published, Liverpool, 1850), p. 6; available online at http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1850Tayl.htm]

Other than exhibiting certain stereotypical characteristics of homosexuality (such as his love of music, flashy clothing - he loved to dress up as Napoleon and he designed the extremely ostentatious generals' uniforms for himself and Joseph Smith - and a penchant for theatrical and military drama, as well as personal dramatics that bordered on the masochistic), there is further evidence of Bennett having intimate relations with at least one other man after Nauvoo. Andrew Smith, Bennett's biographer, points out that after leaving Nauvoo and during his brief foray into the Strangite schism of Mormonism (headquartered in Voree, Wisconsin), Bennett "was clearly attracted to" and had a "passionate relationship with" a young physician named Pierce Bye Fagen of Ohio. Apparently the two men had met around 1838 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1846, after Bennett ingratiated himself sufficiently with James J. Strang, he submitted Dr. Fagen's name to Strang as professor of anatomy and surgery at the "Voree University of Wisconsin" (what would prove to be yet another of Bennett's faux-institutions). In fact, Bennett wrote six extremely heated and bizarrely animated letters to Strang about Fagen, claiming Fagen was on his way to Voree and demanding "for my sake and for God's sake, and for the sake of the church, and for your sake, do not let him leave" Voree until Bennett got there himself (emphasis in original).[38]

However, fortunately for Fagen, he had made other plans and was nowhere near Wisconsin. Apparently while living in Rockville, Iowa, Fagen had met another young man (only 11 days younger than himself), a lawyer named Phineas McCray Casady and they decided to move together to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, arriving there on June 11, 1846. The two 28 year old bachelors in fact became "founding fathers" of the new-born city of Des Moines; Fagen is known to have executed the very first land deed in the town and also acted as the first town surveyor, laying out all the plots. According to a 1908 compilation of Polk County, Iowa pioneer biographies, the two bachelor men "roomed, ate and slept together, 'boarding 'round,' first at the tavern of Martin Tucker...then the Martin House and so on. They were firm chums...." (emphasis mine). The two men soon bought a cabin on "Coon Row" (named for the nearby Raccoon River), located on 2nd Street and Vine, and moved their offices jointly into it.

Dr. Pierce B. Fagen moved in with Phineas McCray (P.M.) Casady for two years as bachelor "chums",
rather than moving to Voree to join John C. Bennett in the Strangite schism of Mormonism

A year and a half after moving to Des Moines, undoubtedly feeling social pressure from fellow settlers, 29 year old Phineas decided to marry a 22 year old German native named Augusta Grimmel. The Polk County biographies relate that in 1848 at Dr. Francis Grimmel's newly built house, his "daughter, Augusta, and P. M. Casady (now known as the 'Judge') were married therein. It was a notable, jolly affair. The groom was popular, a lawyer, and [Democratic] candidate for State Senator. The groomsman [i.e. "best man"] was Doctor Fagen, who, for two years, had been a roommate and chum of the groom, and who was the Whig candidate against the groom" (emphasis mine). While Fagen lost to his "chum" in the senatorial election, he hadn't yet lost the relationship, despite Casady's marriage. A year after Casady married Grimmel, the 31 year old Fagen announced his own marriage to the woman who had been Mrs. Casady's maid of honor, 16 year old Melissa P. Hoxie! In what I see as a male version of Lasser's "sororal model" of same-sex relationships of the 19th century, this dual marriage provided the two men with plenty of opportunities to spend time together without raising suspicions, allowing their wives the same privilege. [See footnote 9]

I note here that the word "chum" was used twice in 1908 to describe the relationship between Fagen and Casady. Interestingly Evan Stephens (director of the Tabernacle Choir) also used the word "chum" and "boy-chum" in 1919 to describe his many intimate same-sex relationships with other Mormon youths, from John J. Ward onward (see below). The Oxford English Dictionary notes that from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, the word "chum" (etymologically from "chamber-mate") referred specifically to both prisoners and students who share sleeping chambers. Only after the mid-1800s did the word begin to refer generally to a "friend". Since prisoners and British students are notoriously transgressive in their sexual behavior, "chum" certainly could have had an "underground" sexualized meaning. Dr. John Egan of the University of New South Wales recently wrote to me that "the word chum in Canadian French is used to connotate both a [homosexual] boyfriend or a good mate/pal" among "Queer men in Montréal and Québec City". Furthermore, the former quote emphasizes that Fagen and Casady both "roomed...and slept together", indicating that the bachelor-chums shared a bed, not just a "chamber".

Phineas Casady, besides being a lawyer, later became postmaster of Des Moines, member of the First Baptist Church, an Odd Fellow, district judge, land speculator, printer, and banker among other things. He and his wife, Augusta Grimmel Casady, had three children.

In 1850, losing another election to a Democrat, this time for Polk County Supervisor, Dr. Pierce Fagen, the discouraged Whig, suddenly caught gold fever and left for California with a brother. In July 1850, Fagen went into medical practice for two years with L. H. Cutler of New York, in Nevada City, California. Oddly, Cutler had attended medical school at Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, a school that John C. Bennett had some affiliation with. Fagen soon sent for Melissa Hoxie Fagen but she died at Yankee Jims, Placer County, California on January 30, 1856, probably as a result of giving birth to her second child in 1855. Fagen however made a lot of money, ran for the California state assembly unsuccessfully (also in 1856). Around 1869, Fagen moved to Santa Cruz, California, and after almost 20 years of renewed bachelerhood, the widower then married 33 year old widow Mary E. Perry Jordan in 1873 (who had three children from her previous marriage). The 1870 Census of Santa Cruz indicates that Mary Jordan was the second richest person in Santa Cruz and Fagen was the fifth wealthiest. (She also owned the property that is now the University of California Santa Cruz campus, where I work.) Following the established pattern of his life, Fagen set up a joint medical practice with Dr. Hurlburt H. Clark and the two men built their houses within a block of each other on Mission Street, living near each other for the rest of their lives. Although his new wife was still young and had already borne other children, the couple had no children; Fagen's two sons by his first marriage were raised in his mansion (the largest in Santa Cruz in 1890) by a governess from New York.[39]

Accusations of buggery or sodomy, (and later of homosexuality), have been used throughout European and American history in religious and/or political attacks to malign one's opponent. John C. Bennett was vilified publicly as a bugger because he publicly admitted that Mormon leaders were practicing polygamy. This is an important factor in our understanding Mormon sexuality and Mormon heterosexual panic, as I call it. As stated earlier, Joseph Smith had just begun to deify heterosexuality with his doctrine of the Father and Mother in Heaven. Mormons found themselves in the ironic position of having to protect this deification, eternalization, and multiplication of heterosexuality by exposing Bennett's acts of buggery with men. This is not the only time accusations of homosexuality, whether true or not, were used by Mormons in their political battles.

Bishop Thomas Taylor v. George Q. Cannon and John Taylor

In 1886, Mormon leaders used homosexual accusations to politically destroy the character of one of their own elite. Thomas Taylor, the wealthy polygamous bishop of the Salt Lake 14th Ward, was excommunicated for masturbating with several young men in Southern Utah. In Brent Corcoran's brilliant biography of Thomas Taylor (which focuses on his conflict over business dealings with church leaders and his apparently accurate claim that he was repeatedly "swindled" by church president John Taylor [no relation] and First Counselor, George Q. Cannon), he reports that ironically, prior to Taylor's fall from grace, he and his first wife Elizabeth in fact received their so-called "second anointings" in June 1867.(p.110) This brief but most exclusive of Mormon rituals is generally performed only for qualified LDS couples in sacred space, preferably the Holy of Holies room of a Mormon temple, although other places have been used as needed. The couple later perform a foot-washing ritual on each other in the privacy of their own home to complete the anointing, which, to the faithful, guarantees the eternal exaltation and eventual godhood of the couple.

As Corcoran has documented, Thomas Taylor was made bishop of the Salt Lake Fourteenth Ward in 1872 and a year later an assistant trustee-in-trust for the whole church. Taylor tried his hand at various capital ventures, such as being a hotelier, and then an iron and railroad magnate. But his alleged debt to the church incurred while assisting Mormons migrate to Utah and the ensuing conflicts and swindles kept him regularly in debt or worse throughout most of his life. The main conflict between Thomas Taylor and the John Taylor-George Q. Cannon duo arose over iron properties that Thomas Taylor owned and wanted to develop in Iron County (at a profit to both himself and his church). However church leaders refused both to assist him develop it and to allow gentile (non-Mormon) control of the properties. At the beginning of 1883, Taylor grew "so frustrated with the church president that he offered him $10,000 simply to cease interfering" with Thomas's plans, but John Taylor "did not want the properties to go outside the community" of the faithful. (p. 119) [40]

Bishop Taylor then tried to sell his own share to President Taylor but on April 28, 1883, John Taylor recorded that he received a revelation from God mandating that "it is forbidden my Presidency to go into debt unless I, the Lord, command it." God apparently also told the church president that "My servant, Thomas [Taylor], does not understand fully this matter. Confer with him on this subject, and if he can see these things and follow council he shall assist you in the developments contemplated." John Taylor however was also cautioned that "if he, Thomas, cannot enter freely into this matter without restraint then you shall withdraw from the consummation of the contemplated arrangement". (p. 119)

However Thomas Taylor was sure that this revelation meant "that God wanted him to turn over all properties to the church without consideration of payment." Naturally he resisted it, revelation or not, which "dumbfounded" George Q. Cannon, who then plead with Thomas "to get up some kind of company so as to let Mr. [John] Taylor in." Trustingly (and very naively as it would turn out) Thomas agreed to the formation of an iron company with the Mormon president. John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, and Thomas Taylor signed articles of agreement on June 30, 1883, proposing the formation of the Iron Manufacturing Company of Utah (IMCU).

However, in direct violation of their signed agreement, both John Taylor and his First Counselor immediately sold shares of stock to their sons, George Taylor and Abraham Cannon, "and secured for them directorship in the new company" effectively giving the Taylor-Cannon camp complete control of the company. Still Thomas stayed the course. And yet again found his signed agreement with Taylor-Cannon violated in December 1883 when John Taylor "offered to purchase shares at a 50 percent discount on behalf of the church" in order to finance a railroad for transporting coal to the iron works. (p. 120) Intramural squabbling eventually lead to the dissolution of the IMCU in April 1885. At the final company meeting, Thomas Taylor "abruptly left the room" shortly after it began because he "felt that his presence was not necessary"; it was apparent to the bishop that the First Presidency would do whatever it wished, no matter what Taylor felt about it. Apparently John Taylor had asked Thomas in the meeting to sell his stock in the company. Thomas refused and threatened a law suit against the directors. The church president one-upped him by threatening him with excommunication, our first hint that Taylor's membership in the "kingdom of God" would not survive his business relationship with President John Taylor. (p. 124)

Just over a year after IMCU was dissolved (and Thomas Taylor was threatened with excommunication), "Angus Cannon, president of the Salt Lake State and Bishop Thomas Taylor's ecclesiastical superior, received via church president John Taylor the report of a special investigation by President Thomas Jones of the Parowan Stake where Thomas's iron properties were located" in July 1887, concerning his "lascivious conduct with certain young men" two years earlier. Taylor, who had been arrested the year previous for cohabitation with his polygamous wives, was now facing charges from four young men that he "had taught them the crime of Masturbation". (p. 125)

These accusations of sexual impropriety came from Richard Williams of Parowan, brothers Simeon W. Simkins and William W. Simkins of Cedar City, and a fourth, unnamed teenager (out of the area during the trial) who alleged that Thomas Taylor had on several occasions slept with them and during the night had used their hands to masturbate him.[40] Angus M. Cannon, George Q. Cannon's brother, and Thomas's superior in the church hierarchy, recorded in his diary that the high council of the Salt Lake Stake suspended Taylor as bishop of the Fourteenth Ward without even conducting a hearing and allowed Thomas Jones of Parowan to conduct the formal trial in southern Utah, far from church headquarters. As Corcoran points out, Taylor should have been tried by his own local leaders, rather than those of the area where the alleged homosexual incidents took place and I fully agree with Corcoran that the church leaders surely wanted Taylor punished but with as little public exposure and scandal as possible. Since President John Taylor also had a son (Arthur Bruce Taylor) who was apparently homosexually-inclined and whom had moved to Oregon just two years previously after "coming out" to Taylor's counselor, Joseph F. Smith, I believe President Taylor may have had further reason to keep the topic of sodomitical practices away from public debate in Salt Lake City, thus necessitating the change of trial venue to Parowan. However the anti-Mormon elements of the Salt Lake Tribune were obsessed with uncovering anything scandalous about the church, and soon news of the ecclesiastical proceedings reached the columns of the Tribune. In August 1886, the Tribune went so far as to accuse Taylor of being "guilty of a horrible and beastly sin" and interestingly reiterated that he was "a polygamist" and then i n another editorial asked if Taylor should be "prosecuted in the courts? Or is there no law against sodomy, either, in this most lawless of Territories."[41] Here the Tribune identifies Taylor's "beastly sin" as sodomy (which same-sex masturbation technically was not) and then obliquely compares sodomy to the "lawlessness" of Mormon polygamy.[42] Taylor wrote a letter of apology on June 14, 1886 to James Charles Simkins, the father of Simeon and William, but then at his trial denied the statements made by Simeon and William. However he did admit that he had masturbated with 18 year old Richard Williams, also confessing that was "not the first one I practiced in my life, but was the first since I joined the Church" as a teenager. To confuse things even more, Taylor later called the incidents "trumped up slander". However, in a letter to church president John Taylor and Stake President Angus M. Cannon on September 22, 1886, Thomas confessed his "sins" (altough he does not enumerate them) and asked to be reinstated into full fellowship with the church:

"I am sending consent to day for my [first] wife to obtain a divorce, she never has appreciated the addition of [other] wives to my family, and now I have sinned, her patience is exhausted, and I fear for my children. I am ashamed to think that I have been so weak and I feel to cry God be merciful to me, and I want my brethren to be merciful to me[.] I want to be humble and live so that I can purify my thoughts and words and actions...Oh, help me to come back to [God's] favor. I expect to have offended you greatly[.] I humbly ask your forgiveness. I am suffering terribly. My nerves are unstrung[.] I have such throbbings of the heart, and headache[s]. I cannot sit still, nor sleep, when I doze off to sleep, I wake and see before me ["]excommunicated["], and my wife suffers almost if not quite as much as bad, and I feel for her because it is my doing and I ought to be alone the sufferer, and I will try to endure. I do not want to apostatize[.] I want to return to my allegance to God and his work and I pray you to grant me this favor as soon as you can in righteousness, and I will try to live so as to be worthy of so great a favor." [43]

Despite this plea for forgiveness, none was forthcoming, for Thomas Taylor had committed two unspeakable crimes: he had challenged a church president, and he had dared to desire other men. The church-owned Deseret News announced on August 28, 1886 that Taylor had been excommunicated, although in fact he had only been disfellowshipped and released as bishop by the Salt Lake Stake high council:


It becomes our duty to chronicle the fall of a man who has long been associated with the Church. It is sad that such a useful life should thus have been blighted. The fact is published with deep sorrow. We refer to Thomas Taylor, lately and for several years Bishop of the Fourteenth Ward of this city. It is authenticated beyond room for doubt that he has been excommunicated from the Church....The cause of action was unchristianlike and immoral conduct, and contempt of the High Council. The law of God, which demands that the Saints shall preserve themselves in purity, must be enforced no matter who the guilty parties may be.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on September 15 that John Taylor and George Q. Cannon had "swindled" Taylor in their business dealings and that, in fact, "President Taylor was himself responsible for spreading the 'dirty stories,' planning to replace Thomas Taylor with his son as bishop of the Fourteenth Ward", according to Corcoran. (p. 127) Four weeks later, true to the Tribune's prediction, just two days after Thomas Taylor was formally excommunicated in southern Utah, the president's son, Joseph E. Taylor, was ordained as the new bishop for the 14th Ward on October 11, 1886. (128)

In the meantime, another of George Q. Cannon's sons, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, John Q. Cannon, became central to yet another sex scandal in the church hierarchy. John Nicholson was preaching in the Tabernacle in September 1886 and obliquely referred to the current Thomas Taylor scandal when he spoke of men who misdirect "the use of the powers of life that have been implanted in the nature of man" and who would subsequently suffer "a withering blight" for their sinfulness. John Q. Cannon, apparently pricked in his conscience, then arose and confessed to the congregation that he was guilty of adultery and "resigned his priesthood". His brother, Salt Lake Stake President, Angus M. Cannon then moved that he be excommunicated.

The Tribune on Christmas Eve 1886 reported that Taylor was under investigation by a grand jury in southern Utah "for an unmentionable crime", which had "elicited some disgusting things of Taylor" (apparently his homoerotic experiences as a youth prior to his conversion) yet were unable to find "evidence of the crimes he was accused of" and thus had dropped the case against him.

In 1889, Thomas Taylor fumed that "John Taylor and George Q. Cannon were so angry that I had got the property into my hands again that they encouraged the authorities to excommunicate me from the church upon a trumped-up slander, no charge was preferred, no [secular] trial had....The publication was made by Taylor and Cannon on purpose to damage and ostracise me and has damaged me how much it is impossible to find out." (as quoted p. 133) And a year later he again reiterated in a letter to a southern Utah newspaper that "others in their envy and greed for this property have prevented me from bringing capitalists to develop it, they have slandered me, and brought one of the purest and most virtuous families to shame and disgrace; and God being my helper, I submit no longer." (p. 135) Despite these strong words of accusation and resistance, Thomas Taylor was "restored" to church memberiship sometime prior to 1892, as recorded in Angus M. Cannon's diary. (p. 301, note 67)

The Hunsakers of Honeyville and Homosexuality

Even lay Mormons accused members of their own families of sodomitical practices, ostensibly for political gain. In 1893, Lorenzo Hunsaker went through two ecclesiastical trials in Honeyville, Utah for allegedly having sexual relations with two younger half- brothers. Rudger Clawson, the local LDS Stake President, fortunately left a verbatim account of these trials in his journal. Clawson recorded in 1894 that "One of the most extraordinary cases that ever arose in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was that of Peter and Weldon Hunsaker versus Lorenzo Hunsaker in the Honeyville Ward".[44] He then quotes for the next 150 pages from private conversations, letters, petitions, church court records, and personal testimonials.

Evidently just after October 1893 general conference, Lorenzo Hunsaker told Clawson that recently "Peter and Weldon, his [half-]brothers had circulated a story in that Ward to the effect that [Lorenzo] had been guilty of sucking their penis [sic]...[for] a period of some two or three years....The question, therefore, was what, under the circumstances had best be done." Clawson counseled Lorenzo Hunsaker "that if I were in his place, I should treat the whole affair with silent contempt, and gave as a reason that the charge was so monstrous and ridiculous that he would be degrading himself in the eyes of sensible people to follow it up....My confidence in the purity of Lorenzo's life and faithfulness as a Latter-day Saint," Clawson confided, "was such that I felt it would be an insult to ask him if he were guilty."[45] Had Clawson asked Hunsaker that very question, events might have turned out differently.

Rudger Clawson
Rudger Clawson
Defender of Lorenzo Hunsaker and "the Priesthood"

Lorenzo Hunsaker did as suggested, ignoring the accusations, and found himself quickly excommunicated by the bishop of the Honeyville Ward. Lorenzo appealed the action to the stake presidency and high council. Eventually, other half-brothers as well as male neighbors added their own accusations of attempted or accomplished oral and anal sex and masturbation with Lorenzo. But as Clawson indicated in his journal, Lorenzo was a Mormon in good standing: a polygamist, a full tithe payer, a temple attender, a high priest, and close friend of local church leaders, while his accusers were known to swear occasionally, miss church services, or drink now and then. Thus the question came down to Lorenzo's piety versus the impiety of some ten accusers. But behind all this lay the issue of the family inheritance.

Lorenzo's grave
Lorenzo Hunsaker grave (1859-1941) in Globe, Arizona
[Photo by Paul R. Machula]

Abraham Hunsaker, the polygamous patriarch of a family of almost fifty children, had recently died and made it clear that his son Lorenzo was to be the fiscal and spiritual head of the family, even though he was not even close to being the oldest of the sons. After Abraham's death, there had been some petty bickering and power struggles, and the accusations of homosexuality against Lorenzo must be viewed in the context of that power struggle among Abraham Hunsaker's heirs. While Peter, Weldon, and others clearly used their accusations against Lorenzo to erode his familial power and social influence, it seems clear after carefully reading all the testimonies, that Lorenzo Hunsaker was indeed engaging in sexual relations with his half-brothers and perhaps a neighbor or two. However, because of his good standing in the church, Lorenzo won readmission into the church and managed to have Peter and Weldon Hunsaker excommunicated for lying, through the persistent efforts of Rudger Clawson. The other accusers, when faced with similar church action against them, recanted. During this period the local ward structure fell apart as people picked sides in a bitter ward and stake battle. A petition was circulated by the women of the ward, protesting the church's action against Peter and Weldon, but when they presented the petition to Clawson, he curtly replied that the women "could do as they pleased, but if they wished to do right, they would invariably vote to sustain the propositions of the Priesthood".[46] Clearly "the thinking had been done" by the all-male priesthood and the women's voices were ignored. Clawson eventually released all local ward leaders (including Bishop Benjamin H. Tolman) for disobedience and for "humiliating the Priesthood".[47] He then replaced them with men who would follow his counsel, and withheld the sacrament from the ward for several months, as punishment. [Click here for a complete transcription of Rudger Clawson's journal regarding this "extraordinary case"]


Bishop Tolman
Bishop Benjamin H. Tolman
Released because of disobedience in Lorenzo Hunsaker case

One of the most fascinating aspects to the Hunsaker case is the comprehensive first-hand account left by Clawson of frontier homosexuality, and the terminology used to describe acts of seduction and sex. I am always a bit disconcerted at not only how off-handedly Clawson recorded the rather crass terminology, but also at the fact that this terminology was used so frequently and easily in such a conservative environment as church courts. The word "penis" is used 21 times in Clawson's record, and ejaculation is referred to as "discharging" five times. While "masturbation" occurs once, the act was often described by Clawson: twice as holding a penis in the hand, once as catching hold of a penis, and once as playing with a penis. Fellatio is much more frequently mentioned; however eight times it is described as sucking a penis, three times a penis was "found" in Lorenzo's mouth, twice he had his mouth over or on a penis, twice he "got" a penis in his mouth, and once he held a penis with his mouth. Lorenzo Hunsaker was also twice called a "cock sucker" during the ecclesiastical proceedings. Lorenzo's brothers and neighbors also four times described non-specific sex acts (apparently either masturbation or fellatio but not anal sex) as being "monkeyed" with. Once anal sex is referred to when Cyrus Hunsaker testified that Peter Hunsaker had told him that Lorenzo had tried to "ride" Peter when the two had traveled to Mendon, Utah together. Cyrus also testified that Peter had called Lorenzo "the horniest cuss he had ever slept with". We also get one small hint as to how Lorenzo justified his actions in seducing these young men. Once Weldon asked Lorenzo "what good it did him, and he answered that it might keep [Weldon] from bothering the girls. [Weldon] replied that it would make [him] worse rather than better". Here Lorenzo used the excuse of having homosexuality maintain heterosexual chastity! In turn, Weldon Hunsaker felt that homosexual acts with his half-brother would only increase his heterosexual desires. Both views are certainly at odds with current Mormon beliefs.

For Thomas Taylor, secular judicial proceedings and media attention were minimal, while for Lorenzo Hunsaker, no such exposure occurred at all, indicating that the church maintained carefully controlled responses in both situations. In the case Taylor, judicial proceedings were brought against him in the form of a grand jury investigation - but that took place several months after his excommunication. The grand jury convened in southern Utah, where it predictably received a minimum of press coverage. Although Taylor's ecclesiastical investigation found enough "evidence" to excommunicate him, the grand jury concluded that "there was no evidence of the crimes he was accused of" and dropped the case.[48] It seems apparent that Mormon leaders wanted to humiliate Thomas Taylor, while avoiding a full-blown scandal that could damage the church's image if all the details, notably Taylor's business dealings with the church, became too well publicized - especially when the eyes of the nation were turned upon Mormonism during these tumultuous years of anti-polygamy sentiment.

The fear of yet another scandal to feed anti-Mormon appetites perhaps helped keep Lorenzo Hunsaker out of both the secular courtroom and the media, as Hunsaker was a good Mormon polygamist like Thomas Taylor.[49] If a male polygamist could be sexually active with other men as well as with women, then perhaps the hierarchy of gender would be blurred when the rigidity of Mormon gender structures was brought into question. Even acknowledgment of homosexual desire among church members was unthinkable. Little profit then would have come from publicizing these cases in open court with the media filing sensationalized reports on an already battered church.

Sodomy First Mentioned in the Deseret News

As Mormon missionaries left Western civilization to preach to the "exotic other" in non-European countries, they were confronted with cultures, ethnoi, and mores that differed markedly from their own. They often turned to myths and legends to explain these differences. In one such case, Elder Nathaniel Vary Jones (1822-1863) was called on a mission to Calcutta, India in 1852, remaining there until 1855, when he returned to Utah. In a lengthy 1854 letter to Jedediah M. Grant of the First Presidency, Elder Jones explained that there in India, "the women are very singular in their costume," and went on to describe the sari, which was a scandalous and overly sensual mode of dress to the Victorian missionary. Jones noted however that, according to the tradition he heard, the sari was introduced to save India from nearly universal male homosexuality! He wrote to Grant on November 5, 1854:

Tradition says concerning the dress of the women, that about 150 years ago [i.e. circa 1700], the nation was so sunken in vice and wickedness, that they were about to become extinct, in consequence of a national evil, which prevailed to an alarming degree, which was the crime of Sodomy. The then reigning king and queen, enforced upon the females of the nation by decree, the kind of dress which I have already described, the queen herself setting the pattern first, then enjoined all others, with the hope of reclaiming the men, by the exposure of their persons, which it appears has had a salutary effect. (Deseret News, April 18, 1855, p. 6.)

Such sociological nonsense can only be laughed at today but this shows just how gullible Mormons can be to rumor, myth, and outright lies when it comes to sexuality in general and homosexuality specifically.

Joseph F. Smith Confronts Homosexuality

Early LDS leaders generally handled same-sex scandals among their own people with discretion. According to Quinn's research, Second Counselor to President John Taylor, Joseph F. Smith had been a young missionary in Hawai'i and sometimes used Hawaiian words in his diary when writing on sensitive subjects. In November 1879 Smith had a "long discussion" with 26 year old Arthur Bruce Taylor, son of President John Taylor, and wrote in his journal that Bruce was "acane!" (sic), referring to the ancient Hawiian tradition of the aikane - young male sexual consorts of Hawaiian chiefs. While Smith reacted with surprise, there seems to have been no formal action taken against Bruce Taylor, either ecclesiastically or legally. It is also possible that George Q. Cannon's scathing remarks about heterosexual monogamy causing the "crime against nature" in his April 1879 General Conference address had prompted young Taylor to reconsider his relationship to the LDS Church. A lawyer, Bruce Taylor moved to Oregon following his "private conversation" with Smith about his sexuality and after his father's death in 1887, Bruce seems to have lost all connection with his prominent LDS family and the religion of his childhood, remaining in Oregon until his death. Prominent Mormon Democrat and lawyer, James Henry Moyle, lamented in his 1940s autobiography that A. Bruce Taylor had "left the territory and cast his lot in the Northwest among strangers and had nothing further to do with the Church".

2nd Counselor Joseph F. Smith (later President of LDS Church)

Just three years later, First Presidency Counselor Joseph F. Smith was confronted with another case of homosexuality, this time a "ring" of young Mormon men in south-central Utah. Smith instructed the Richfield Stake Presidency to "Get the names of all of them & cut them off the church" for "obscene, filthy & horrible practices" (emphasis in original). Smith here referred to a group of Saints who had engaged in "this monstrous iniquity, for which Sodom & Gomorrah were burned with fire sent down from heaven". 32 year old Soren Madsen (who was married and endowed), another single man who was 30, and four youths (19, 18 and two 15 year olds) were excommunicated for practicing sodomy. Only Soren Madsen is identified with certainty in the available records, although Michael Quinn has tentatively identified the other five men. Note that the men were not reported to the press or to legal authorities; the case was simply handled internally. [49A]

The Murder of Pvt. Frederick Jones

While they kept intramural homosexual scandals from the public sector, Mormon leaders could be merciless when uncovering sodomy in non-Mormons, as occurred when Private Frederick Jones was brought to trial in 1864 for raping a nine year old boy. According to accounts published in the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and the Daily Union Vedette, in October 1864 Jones, stationed at what is now Fort Douglas, raped a boy named Monk (allegedly at knife- point) in a ravine between downtown Salt Lake City and Fort Douglas. The boy then told his father, who pressed charges against Jones. A week later Jones was in the Salt Lake City jail awaiting trial for sodomy. Although the Jones suit actually deals with violent pedophilia (an adult raping a pre- pubescent child), I have included it in this essay because the judicial response shows that many Utahns could only see that the perpetrator and victim both happened to be male and thus they focused solely on the issue of sodomy. As Gay theorist Daniel Shellabarger recently posited, "the homophobia of the Utah territorial judicial system is exposed in this case. How odd that the molestation or rape of a child was not even the primary question. The issue of sodomy between two males blocked their vision of the real crime."[50]

Ft. Douglas in 1868
[click to enlarge]


Jones was initially examined by Justice of the Peace Jeter Clinton, who was also an alderman on the Salt Lake City council, a member of a ward bishopric, and had ties with the secret Mormon Council of the Fifty. Jones pled not guilty. During the hearing a week later, Clinton determined that the "evidence was clear and conclusive against Jones", and the court went into recess to "examine the law on the subject," but then discovered that Utah had no anti-sodomy law. When Jones appeared before Clinton the following afternoon, Clinton was forced to released him. Jones set off for Ft. Douglas but only reached the corner of First South and State Street, where he was assassinated. Although witnesses heard gun shots, saw the flash of pistol fire, and heard the sound of retreating footsteps, no one reported to have actually witnessed the murderer.[51]

Many Mormons felt little sorrow at the murder of Frederick Jones. Albert Carrington, a member of the secret vigilante Council of the Fifty under Brigham Young, editor of the Deseret News, and future LDS Apostle (who would ironically be excommunicated 20 years later for an adulterous affair with his female secretary), editorialized that Jones's murder "should prove a warning to all workers of abominations, for there is always the chance that some one will be impatient of the law's delay in cases so outrageous and abominable." Thomas B. H. Stenhouse, Mormon editor and propiretor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote that, "we have no crocodile tears to shed over [Jones], he is dead, and we have not the slightest disposition to call him back again to change the manner of retribution. To give the details of his crime would be to besmear our sheet with facts so loathsome enough to crimson the face of the most barbarous of the human race. We confine ourselves to narrative, our readers who want more information then we are disposed to publish can seek it elsewhere.” [52]

Albert Carrington - Deseret News editor & later adulterous Apostle,
warned "workers of abominations" after Jones' death

As Michael Quinn has pointed out, even Brigham Young responded to the outcome of the Jones trial, writing in November 1864 that Utah lacked an anti-sodomy law at that time because "our legislators, never having contemplated the possibility of such a crime being committed in our borders[,] had made no provision for its punishment."[53] Jones became Mormon society's scapegoat - not only was he a sodomite but was also a "gentile". In essence, he represented everything Mormons feared - federal intervention and challenges to their own sexual perversities. Carrington was unequivocal: Mormons could do nothing but murder Jones, first to cleanse their community of God's judgment on sodomy, and second, to atone for their own feelings of guilt for deviating from Victorian socio-sexual mores.

Sodomy, or "the Crime Against Nature", became illegal in Utah territory on February 18, 1876.[54] It was then obliquely defined as heterosexual and homosexual anal intercourse. As a felony it was punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years. In 1907, the punishment was changed to three to twenty years imprisonment.[55] In 1923, heterosexual and homosexual oral sex was added to the sodomy statute, thus criminalizing most sex acts regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the persons involved.[56] Sodomy was reduced from a felony to a class B misdemeanor in 1953, while forcible sodomy (oral or anal rape) has remained a felony.[57]

Lovers in the Martin Handcart Company?

While Mormons reacted with various degrees of intolerance when confronting sodomitical practices of both Mormon and non-Mormons men, there was still room in which many Mormon men could safely (and quite publicly) negotiate passionate and romantic relationships with other men without critical or punitive reactions from Mormon officials. In the 1850's, Mormon converts Luke Carter and William Edwards constructed an intimate relationship with each other without any apparent opprobrium from church leaders. Luke Carter, a 46 year old British Mormon, arrived in Liverpool, England in 1856 to emigrate to Utah with his daughter. Carter had been separated (probably divorced) from his wife for some three years. While in Liverpool, he started a friendship with another recent Mormon convert, William Edwards, an unmarried man of thirty, who was emigrating to Utah with his younger sister in the Martin Company.[58] Once this group had crossed the ocean and ridden the trains to Iowa City, they found themselves at least two months behind schedule. 576 Mormons left Iowa City in poorly constructed handcarts on July 26, 1856, having been promised by a Mormon Apostle that God would keep winter at bay so that they could arrive in Zion safely. Within days, the earliest winter on record set in. Fatigue, cold, malnutrition, snow, and poorly built handcarts took their toll. One of the first adults to die in this tragic journey was William Edwards.

Josiah Rogerson, a fellow immigrant, later published an account of this disastrous event in which one third of the immigrants died. Rogerson describes the intimate friendship between Edwards and Carter when recounting Edwards' tragic death:

William Edwards Dies.
About 10:30 this morning we passed Fort Kearney, and as one of the most singular deaths occurred on our journey at this time, I will give a brief and truthful narration of the incident. Two bachelors named Luke Carter, from the Clitheroe branch [of the church], Yorkshire, England, and William Edwards from Manchester, England, each about 50 to 55 years of age, had pulled a covered cart together from Iowa City, Ia., to this point. They slept in the same tent, cooked and bunked together; but for several days previous unpleasant and cross words had passed between them. Edwards was a tall, loosely built and tender man physically, and Carter more stocky and sturdy. He had favored Edwards by letting the latter pull only what he could in the shafts for some time. This morning he grumbled and complained, still traveling, about being tired, and that he couldn't go any further. Carter retorted: "Come on. Come on. You'll be all right again when we get a bit of dinner at noon." But Edwards kept begging for him to stop the cart and let him lie down and "dee" (die), Carter replying, "Well, get out and die, then."

Died in Harness.
The cart was instantly stopped. Carter raised the shafts of the cart. Edwards walked from under and to the south of the road a couple of rods, laid his body down on the level prairie, and in ten minutes he was a corpse. We waited (a few carts of us) a few minutes longer till the captain came up and closed Edwards's eyes. A light-loaded open cart was unloaded. The body was put thereon, covered with a quilt, and the writer [Rogerson] pulled him to the noon camp, some five or six miles, where we dug his grave and buried him a short distance west of Fort Kearney, Neb.[59]

Several details in this story seem to signify what I have called "faggotry". Both Edwards and Carter were unmarried, which is significant in the context of polygamous Mormonism. Although sexual relations between men in England of that era generally or ideally were inter-class affairs, this one was not, for both converts were from the lower class. However, their relationship was somewhat intergenerational - one was thirty and the other forty-six (not fifty to fifty- five, as the 14 year old Rogerson thought) - and that does have "class" overtones. And they not only shared a handcart and a tent, but they also cooked and "bunk[ed] together". Coincidentally Carter died a short time after Edwards, even though he was the "sturdy" one, perhaps in grief at the loss of his physically "tender" companion. Rogerson, despite these "clues", does not seem surprised at all by their intimate relationship. What is of note to him is that Edwards could will himself to die. Whether Edwards' and Carter's emotional and financial partnership extended to sexual intercourse is ultimately unknown, but the image of two men pulling a handcart together, one nurturing the other, is fascinating, especially in juxtaposition to the traditional heterosexual scenes of Mormon pioneer iconography.

Martin Handcart burial
Painting of burial in the Martin Handcart Company
[click to enlarge]

"The Last Flower" - Evan Stephens & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Edwards and Carter however weren't the only Gay pioneers to migrate to Utah before the arrival of the train in 1869. Evan Stephens (1854-1930), Utah's most prominent musical composer as well as the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1890 to 1916, came "across the plains" while a child and is consistently rumored to have been "Gay".[60] Beyond oral tradition amongs the Mormon Gay community, there is a large amount of contemporary, circumstantial evidence to support this claim. Stephens, born in Pencader, Wales and migrating with his family to Utah in 1867, never married, which in polygamous Utah was a difficult status to maintain, especially for someone as prominent as Stephens. Instead of marrying, he filled his life with his two great passions: "love of friendship and music". Stephens's friendships always centered on passionate love and desire for other, usually much younger, men.

Stephens went so far as to publish his autobiography (which amounts to little more than an explicit account of the development of his desire to bond passionately with other men) in a periodical for Mormon children - without any apparent reprisal from the church. In this lengthy autobiography written in the third person and published in the 1919 Children's Friend, Stephens told Mormon children about his youth while in Willard, Utah, where he discovered music through a local all male ward choir - another instance of homosociality fostering same-sex desire. Stephens recounts that he became

"the pet of the choir. The men among whom he sat seemed to take a delight in loving him. Timidly and blushingly he would be squeezed in between them, and kindly arms generally enfolded him much as if he had been a fair sweetheart of the big brawny young men. Oh, how he loved these men[;] too timid to be demonstrative in return he nevertheless enshrined in his inmost heart the forms and names of Tovey, Jardine, Williams, Jones and Ward." (emphasis mine) [61]

A very queer place for Evan Stephens's "coming out"

John J. Ward, the son of the last mentioned man, was the same age as Stephens, and the two young men became friends. However, their friendship soon developed into something much more profound, as Stephens' autobiography attests. For example, when the entire Mormon community in Willard (except for the Ward family) moved to Malad, Idaho, twenty year old Evan refused to go with his family and instead chose to remain with his "chum", John. They eventually built a small cabin and moved into it together. In this same autobiography, Stephens calls Ward the first of his "life companions" with whom he shared his "home life". [Click here for a personal story of how I received more evidence of Evan Stephens' homosexuality.] The phrase "The Last Flower" comes from a poem which Evan wrote in honor of his mother, in which he calls himself the last flower in her garden, being the youngest of her 11 children.

Gay Mormon historian, Michael Quinn, has thoroughly covered the relationships Stephens had with many of the young men in the Tabernacle Choir. Recently however, I discovered yet another possible "boy-chum" of Stephens, Appollos B. Taylor (1854-1936). An online history of the Larsen family recounts that after Benjamin Taylor (father of Appollos) homesteaded in Willard, Utah, "Evan Stephens, who afterward was famous as a musician and choir leader in the Tabernacle for years, was one of the young men who lived with him [Benjamin]. He [Evan] and Appollos herded sheep on the hills for several years. He was so impressed with the grandeur of the high mountains and rugged peaks just east of the farm. One of his beautiful anthems, 'Let The Mountains Shout For Joy' had the Taylor farm for its setting."

Stephens also avidly transgressed Mormon gender boundaries wtih frequent vocal performances in drag as a woman (usually an "old maid"), singing convincingly in a high falsetto. At least two of his drag performances took place in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. [62]


Evan Stephens and Noel Pratt
Evan Stephens (seated), his housekeeper, and Noel Pratt, one of his later "boy chums"

Although I have not found any direct evidence that Brigham Morris Young was a homosexual, he certainly crossed Mormon gender barriers without any negative repercussions, whenever he appeared in public as the Italian opera diva "Madame Pattirini" (see photo at the top of this article). Born in 1858, the 35th child of Brigham Young and the first and only child of Margaret Pierce, he married Celestia Armeda Snow, the daughter of Lorenzo Snow, in the Endowment House in 1875. They had ten children, eight surviving to adulthood. During the early 1870s "Morris" Young drove a horse-drawn streetcar for a living. One popular stereotype of the time was that streetcar drivers were effeminate homosexuals (and in fact, Walt Whitman found many of his male lovers amongst the streetcar drivers of New York City, including his long-time companion, Peter Doyle, who drove a streetcar in Washington DC for many years). Interestingly, Morris drove the streetcar between the Utah Central Railroad Depot and the Wasatch Municipal Baths, which I have documented was an active "cruising" area for homosexual men (who went there looking for anonymous sexual encounters), at least as early as the 1880s. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, Morris appeared frequently in his drag persona. His son, Gaylen Snow Young wrote that, "He would sing in a a high falsetto voice. He fooled many people." Dean C. Jessee notes that Morris was "often called to perform at stake and ward social functions, where he frequently posed as 'Madam Pattirini,' a great female opera singer. An extant invitation lists B.M. Young as manager of 'a Grand Character and Dress Ball' held in the large room of the Brigham City Woolen Factory in 1889." Morris Young also served on the General Board of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA). [63]

Another, even earlier cross-dressing Mormon, was pioneer Almerin Grow, who lived in both Salt Lake and Weber Counties during the late 1850s. In this case however, Grow's cross-dressing was not for entertainment purposes, like that of Stephens and Brigham M. Young before him; and it was definitely viewed as transgressive. Sometime after 1857, Grow became a follower of Joseph Morris, a schismatic Mormon leader who designated himself as the seventh angel of the apocalypse and taught that the Second Coming was imminent. Grow had already been excommunicated and rebaptized so many times that Brigham Young had publicly (yet humorusly) sugggested that the next time Grow be rebaptized in the Jordan River, he be drowned immediately thereafter to ensure he be saved "while in the faith". Around 1858, Grow "gave" his 12 year old daughter, Amy Grow, to Amos Milton Musser. Young then commanded Musser to move south with her and "never return", because he was becoming increasingly mentally unstable, as evidenced by "his acts of extracting all his teeth, wearing his wife's clothing, etc." Some measure of mental stability must have eventually returned, as Grow remained faithful to the Morrisites, even serving on a mission to Turkey in the 1870s, long after Joseph Morris himself was killed.[63A]

Anti-Polygamy and Anti-Gay Rhetoric

While criticism of polygamy became something of a national past-time during the Victorian era, what I find fascinating about this anti-polygamy rhetoric is how similar it is to anti-Gay and anti-Lesbian rhetoric employed later by the Mormon Church and society at large. For example, a non-Mormon living in Nauvoo in the 1840's claimed that polygamy is "a system which, if exposed in its naked deformity, would make the virtuous mind revolt with horror; a system in the exercise of which lays prostrate all the dearest ties in our social relations - the glorious fabric upon which human happiness is based - ministers to the worst passions of our nature and throws us back into the benighted regions of the dark ages." Again in an 1860 debate on the issue of polygamy, one Illinois congressman charged polygamy "to be a crying evil; sapping not only the physical constitution of the people practicing it, dwarfing their physical proportions and emasculating their energies, but at the same time perverting the social virtues, and vitiating the morals of its victims." [64] We need only substitute the word "sodomy" or "homosexuality" to see how Mormons and others took this rhetoric and, in moments of heterosexual panic, deflected in onto Lesbians and Gay men.

Mormon pleas for tolerance of its sexual diversity drew only international ire and further governmental and social contempt. During the 1860's and 1870's, federal laws were passed outlawing polygamy. Believing this was an unconstitutional violation of the guarantee of the separation of church and state, Mormon bigamist George Reynolds was selected by the church's First Presidency to be a test case. Reynolds was found guilty of polygamy, and the Mormons appealed the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In January 1879, in the landmark case Reynolds v. the United Statesthe Supreme Court ruled that the anti-polygamy laws were not unconstitutional, for "Laws are made for the government of actions and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices."[65] This federal judicial decision severely eroded not only the Mormon power base, but that of many other religions afterwards, as well. Ironically, this decision currently keeps pro-Gay religions (such as the Unitarian-Universalists, the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers], and the Metropolitan Community Church) from legally performing same-sex (homogamous) marriages today. Of course many are performed any way, either illegally - which is the case in Utah - or extralegally each year across the United States.

In the aftermath of Reynolds v. United States Mormon polygamists were disenfranchised, children by polygamous wives were disinherited, female suffrage in Utah was abolished, the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dissolved, and all church properties (including the famed Salt Lake Temple) were confiscated. Bowing to such intense coercion, in 1890 church president Wilford Woodruff issued his "Manifesto", ostensibly ending the practice of polygamy in the Mormon Church (although members of the hierarchy secretly sanctioned its continued practice for many years afterward). The Latter-day Saint Church never recovered from this governmnental persecution. The Mormonism of today is so radically different from Mormonism during its polygamous era that they are nearly incomparable. The sexual diveristy Mormons once espoused as a religious obligation is now lost and as the LDS church becomes increasingly more compatible with mainstream Protestantism, it ironically deflects Christian criticism of its sexual past by over-emphasizing its rhetoric opposing other sexualities.[66]

A Wilde Time in Utah

In the middle of this political strife over polygamy, England's most famous sodomite, Oscar Wilde, arrived in Salt Lake City to deliver a lecture at the Salt Lake Opera House on "Art Decoration: Being the Practical Application of the Aesthetic Theory to Every-Day Home Life and Art Ornamentation", sponsored by Salt Lake City's own Home Dramatic Club.[67] On April 10, 1882 Wilde arrived by train from Sacramento and was greeted by a large crowd of the curious. After greeting his well-wishers, he went to the Walker House on Second South and Main Street, where he and his servant scandalously disappeared through the Ladies' entrance. In honor of Wilde being known as the "Sunflower Apostle", his bellboy wore a sunflower in his buttonhole.[68] That afternoon Wilde visited LDS president John Taylor at his official church residence, the Gardo House (also known as Amelia's Palace) the finest mansion in all of Utah, which had just been completed four months earlier.

Oscar languishing
Salt Lake Theatre

Oscar Wilde languishing -
Notorious aesthete and "Sunflower Apostle"

Oscar's visit to Utah announced in the Salt Lake Tribune
[click to enlarge]

That night, with the Opera House filled to standing room only, Wilde was visibly disconcerted when he walked out on stage to speak and found an array of young men in the front row, all adorned with enormous sunflowers and lilies, in homage to the controversial British dandy and aesthete. [69] Obviously he was not expecting such open adoration from provincial Utahns. The Deseret News subsequently criticized his speech for being absurd and unoriginal, among other things. However, one historian believes that the Mormons disapproved of his speech because of the "indecent morals" displayed in his other writings. [70]

In 1895, five years after the Woodruff Manifesto "ended" polygamy, Wilde again entered the public eye in Utah, but this time because of his trial in England for sodomy with his longtime companion, Lord Alfred Bosworth. Wilde's story made front page head-lines in twenty issues of the Deseret Evening News as if to emphasize the dangers of such deviant practices.[71]

Wilde's Trial
One of many front page headlines from the Deseret Evening News
reporting the the lurid details of Wilde's trial for sodomy
[click to enlarge]

Contemporary Gay historian Richard Dellamora has observed that in the late nineteenth century "masculine privilege was sustained by male friendships within institutions like the public schools, the older universities, the clubs, and the professions. Because, however, continuing dominance of bourgeois males also required that they marry and produce offspring, the intensity and sufficiency of male bonding needed to be strictly controlled by homophobic mechanisms" such as public, anti- homosexual scandals - Wilde's trial being a prime example. Dellamora also states that these anti-homosexual scandals in England in the 1890's "provide a point at which gender roles are publicly, even spectacularly, encoded and enforced."[72] This applies as well to the willingness of the church-owned newspaper to publicize the details of Wilde's trials. The Deseret News could well afford to do so, because Wilde, being a non-Mormon in England, could easily be scandalized as a warning to other sodomites, without "tainting" Mormonism's own image. Because the United States placed so much negative attention on the sexual deviance of Mormon polygamy, Mormons returned the favor to Lesbian and Gay people with the assurance that their perversity was at least heterosexually (and procreatively) centered. And two years later, the lesson in homophobia was "spectacularly" reinforced when George Q. Cannon, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in October General Conference 1897 about Oscar Wilde (who remains nameless throughout the speech) and his "nameless crime":

"In England a short time ago a man [Oscar Wilde] who had posed in society as a man of culture and of taste, and who lectured upon esthetics, was found to be guilty of a most abominable crime - a crime for which under the old law the penalty was death; a crime which was practiced by the nations of old, and caused God to command their destruction and extirpation. This crime was proved against this man, and some of his associates were what are called noblemen. He was sent to prison. His term of imprisonment having expired, he comes from prison, and is now engaged, it is so published, in writing a book, and, we suppose is received into society, though guilty of this nameless crime. And is this common; If we may believe that which is told to us, without going into researches ourselves, it and other kindred wickedness, is far too common. The same sin that caused the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah! This and other abominable crimes are being practiced. How will these be stopped? Only by the destruction of those who practice them. Why, if a little nest of them were left that were guilty of these things, they would soon corrupt others, as some are being corrupted among us. In coming to these mountains we hoped to find a place where we could live secluded from the abominations of Babylon. But here in this secluded place wickedness intrudes itself, and is practiced in this land which we have dedicated to the Lord as a land of Zion! How can this be stopped? Not while those who have knowledge of these filthy crimes exist. The only way, according to all that I can understand as the word of God, is for the Lord to wipe them out, that there will be none left to perpetuate the knowledge of these dreadful practices among the children of men. And God will do it, as sure as He has spoken by the mouths of His prophets. He will destroy the wicked, and those who will be left will be like the Nephites after the wicked were all killed off; they were righteous men and women who lived for over two hundred years according to the law of heaven." [emphasis mine]

This statement leads me to query if Cannon would have been so egregiously hateful, vicious, and murderous in his condemnation of "sodomites" if he had realized his own adopted son, the famed musician and Tabernacle organist Tracy Young Cannon, would later become a leader of the homosexual Bohemian Club in Salt Lake (for which see Michael Quinn's treatment), and would be at the center of a network of homosexual and bisexual musicians at the LDS School of Music (headquartered in the McCune Mansion)?

George Q. Cannon
George Q. Cannon, 1st Counselor in the First Presidency
Demanded the destruction of sodomites in Utah

Tracy Young Cannon, bisexual son of George Q. Cannon;
leader of the Bohemian Club and faculty member of LDS School of Music with many homosexuals

When public figures make such statements filled with fearful anger, criticism, and condemnation, they are often projecting their own personal turmoil onto others, scapegoating their own problems and short-comings. Indeed, the larger context for Cannon's homophobic speech reveals two possible motivations for his vitriolic attack on sodomites. First of all, during the period between Wilde's visit to Utah and his imprisonment for sodomy, Cannon himself was embroiled in bitter dissension among the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency. It was discovered after President John Taylor's death in 1887 that Cannon had been secretly acting as the de facto head of the church for the last five months of Taylor's life, due to the president's deteriorating health, something which Cannon had kept hidden from the Twelve Apostles and other church leaders. Cannon's ineptitude and mismanagement of the Church, and deception about his role in its governance, left some members of the Quorum of the Twelve angry. In particular, Cannon's mismanagment of the church's involvement with the Bullion Beck silver mine in Eureka, Utah (where Michael Quinn has discovered the existence of an all-male brothel frequented by miners) could have financially ruined Mormon investors, including fellow Apostle Moses Thatcher (an outspoken Democrat and a morphine addict who suffered intensely from a stomach ulcer). Cannon's inept management of and continued involvement in the Bullion Beck remained the sharp dividing line between Cannon and Thatcher for many years to come.

Apostles Moses Thatcher, Francis Lyman, and Heber J. Grant were questioning Cannon over "conduct unbecoming a witness of Jesus Christ", especially with regards to his handling of the Bullion-Beck mine, his "meddling in the case of his son John Q.'s adultery", and also mishandling the Thomas Taylor venture. Even Wilford Woodruff publicly expressed doubts about the First Counselor's "mining schemes". Exacerbating the situation, it was then discovered that the church auditing books that Cannon was in charge of were missing; Cannon defended himself by declaring he had conveniently lost them on purpose in order to keep them out of the hands of anti-polygamous Federal authorities (as well as from fellow church leaders who had no clue about the current financial state of the church). Woodruff also stated his distaste for the way George's son, Angus M. Cannon was presiding over the Salt Lake Stake. In March 1888, Woodruff recorded in his journal that George Q. Cannon stood accused by other church leaders of "using church money for his son John Q., for embezzling church money. Then of paying large sums of church money on the iron mine" of Thomas Taylor's. However Cannon was able to provide sufficient defense to these accusations, assuaging Woodruffs concerns and the new First Presidency was formally organized a year later with Woodruff as the new president and Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as his counselors. [72A]

Still contention between Cannon and Thatcher increased dramatically over the next several years, with Cannon hiding coyly behind the skirts of the newly-reorganized First Presidency, while drug-addicted Thatcher became more and more alienated from the Quorum of the Twelve, until eventually Thatcher was released as an Apostle in November of 1896. With Cannon's main scapegoat securely out of the way, it is possible that in 1897 he was casting about for further "criminal" scapegoats, onto whom Cannon could project his own failings as a "spiritual leader". Secondly, Cannon was closely tied to Thomas Taylor, and in fact, as noted above, had assisted Mormon president John Taylor in "swindling" Thomas on several occasions over a period of several years. Perhaps, feeling guilty over what he had done to Thomas, Cannon was exceptionally virulent in deflecting attention away from his own actions. Given Cannon's prominent role in the excommunication of Bishop Thomas Taylor for masturbating several young men, and since Cannon was almost certainly aware of both President John Taylor's son being a homosexual aikane and Lorenzo Hunsaker being accused of masturbating and fellating his half-brothers, Cannon could turn his fire towards those Mormons who had been practicing "this nameless crime" which "is practiced in this land which we have dedicated to the Lord." [73]

I point out here that this is actually the second time that Cannon spoke about "the crime against nature" in General Conference. In 1879, long before the appearance of Oscar Wilde in Utah, Cannon was vigorously defending his own polygamous orientation against the perils of mongamy, one being homosexuality. Cannon solemnly testified in April General Conference that monogamy shortens a nation's existence. He claimed that, "[i]t is a fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome...was a monogamic nation and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her." Cannon also said that, "crimes against nature were justified by some of the best and most noted of Greek philosophers, and were practiced by Sophocles, Socrates, and others; and yet this is the philosophy that has come down to us."

He continued that the "false tradition" of heterosexual monogamy is "one of the greatest evils at the present time", passed on by Greeks and Romans, and ultimately leads to "crimes against nature", as well as prostitution, courtesanship, and early deaths of said courtesans. Thus, for Cannon, socio-political, religious, and cultural pressures to be monogamous are the cause of homosexuality, prostitution, and venereal disease! This is the first attempt by an LDS leader to come up with some sort of authoritative causality for homosexuality, no matter how bizarre or ignorant the theory. Four years later, Elder James Henry Hart wrote a lengthy rebuttal to Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage's anti-Mormon and anti-polygamy tirades for the pages of the New York Times. Although the Times refused to print Hart's rebuttal, the Deseret News did so in November 1883. Ignoring the fact that when Hart wrote his letter there were a number of Mormon men (some of them polygamists) who were in jail for the crime of sodomy, Hart described the current monogamous, Christian "civilization" as nearly choking itself "straining at the polygamic gnat, while it follows the Cyprian and Sodomite camel almost without an effort." Hart believed that many men were of the opinion that "the condition of [monogamous] Christendom is fast approaching the civilization of Sodom," focusing particularly on New York City, which "would soon be as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah, in fact it was nearly so bad now." Regardless of whether polygamy or monogamy were the lifestyle choices of the dominant culture, male homosexual acts were just as prevalent in "Zion" at the time as they were in "Babylon".[74]


Reynolds v. United States dealt a serious blow to the Mormon hierarchy. An 1885 article in the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune explored "a more basic opposition" to polygamy. "The essential principle of Mormonism is not polygamy at all, but the ambition of an ecclesiastical hierarchy to wield sovereignty; to rule the souls and lives of its subjects with absolute authority, unrestrained by any civil power."[75] In other words, what had seperated Mormons as a distinct people - the sexual politics of polygamy - had collapsed, severely weakening male religious prerogative. In order to reconstruct its power, the Mormon hierarchy created a power- consolidating institution called "Priesthood Correlation" in 1908. Following the end of polygamy, the dynamic "gifts of the spirit" (speaking and singing in tongues, etc.) were frowned upon and eventually terminated. Women's organizations became auxiliary to the "priesthood". Women were commanded to stop performing healing and blessing rituals, which thereafter were only to be performed by male priesthood holders. To set them off again as being a "peculiar people", Mormons emphasized strict enforcement of the Mormon "health code" (the Word of Wisdom), the development and maintenance of their Welfare Program, and renewed emphasis on the monogamous, heterosexual family as the basic unit of society.

The "Illness" of Homosexuality: Patriarch Joseph Fielding Smith

During the early part of the twentieth century, as Mormonism slowly but steadily grew, problematic issues surrounding isolationism versus universalism arose. Confrontation with homosexuality (which was itself becoming more and more publicized) and what to do with "out" homosexuals was inevitable. For example, in 1945, as reported by D. Michael Quinn, church leaders realized that there were quite a number of Mormon homosexuals who were meeting for sex at the Deseret Gym in downtown Salt Lake. ("Cruising for sex" had been going on there since at least 1930, as personally reported to me in the late 1980s by Spencer Kimball's Gay first cousin twice removed, Jack Pembroke [1913-2000], who began cruising there that year. Homosexual activities were constantly occuring in the showers and steam room at the Deseret Gymnasium in Salt Lake throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when I had a membership there. Several members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one Tabernacle organist, and at least two General Authorities were participants in the sexual activies there, as personally witnessed by me or by a Gay employee I knew who worked there.) Quinn claims that First Presidency member, J. Reuben Clark, asked former Bishop Gordon Burt Affleck "to organize a surveillance for possible homosexuals in the steam room of the church-owned Deseret Gymnasium." [75A]

The church's first major challenge on this issue came from a man whose position had historically rivaled that of the church president himself. When Joseph Fielding Smith was ordained Patriarch to the Church on October 8, 1942, many Mormons were stunned because it was well known that the Drama professor at the University of Utah was a practicing homosexual, and it was even rumored in his own family that he had an arrest record for sexual vice. One of his favorite Drama pupils, Cynthia Blood, told me in a 1989 interview that "everybody on campus knew" that Prof. Smith was "queer" and that he often "flitted amongst the boys". Evidence indicates that he had sexual relations with Norval Service and with another young man named Wallace (which could be a first or last name). However, should any of the Mormon faithful question whether a married, homosexual Drama teacher with a police record for having sex with his students was "called of God" to be Patriarch to the Church, Pres. David O. McKay affirmed earlier that week during October General Conference that, "Elder Smith's right to his office...is not only by [patriarchal] lineage but by direct inspiration to the President who holds the keys of the Priesthood". With this full assurance from a member of the First Presidency, the Mormon faithful are only left with two options: either God in fact did not care that Joseph Fielding Smith was an adulterous homosexual, or the presiding prophet at that time, George Albert Smith, was in fact not receiving "direct inspiration" from God in the governance of the Church, despite what McKay said.


Joseph Fielding Smith
Patriarch Joseph Fielding Smith
Released (but not excommunicated) for homosexual affairs

In April 1946, President George Albert Smith (a distant cousin of the Patriarch) was informed that Joseph had had an intimate relationship (whether it was overtly sexual is not known) with yet another young man named Byram Browning, some time prior to March 1943 (which is when Browning entered the Navy during World War II). On April 13, Byram's maternal uncle, LeGrand Chandler, met with the church president to discuss this relationship. Various journals and office diaries from that time mention that the Patriarch was "ill", and in fact, Smith's own diary entry for June 29, 1946 referred to the "problems" he was having at that time as only "a recurrence of his old trouble in his back." While it is true that he did have recurring physical problems with his back, no doubt these were extremely exacerbated by and psychosomatically related to the public revelation of his homosexual activities to his ecclesiastical peers and superiors.

The church president, after private conferences with those involved, their families, and the Twelve Apostles, decided to quietly release Smith from his duties. [76] That October, Smith's name was simply omitted from the roll of General Authorities sustained in General Conference. When questioned about the omission, the LDS First Presidency responded by having David O. McKay read a letter allegedly written by Patriarch Smith himself, indicating that he was suffering from the so-called "extended illness". [77] Interestingly the former patriarch was neither excommunicated nor disfellowshipped, although he was not allowed to perform any church duties. [78] Instead, he was exiled from Utah by church order to anywhere else in the world of his choosing. Since Joseph had been a missionary in Hawai'i, that is where he chose as his place of exile; the church paid for his family to move there. Eleven years later, Smith was reinstated into full participation in the church after he had "confessed to his wife and wrote a full confession to the First Presidency." [79] Despite his "repentance", it is known that Smith continued to acknowledge his homosexuality to other Gay Mormons who lived in Hawai'i in the late 1950s, including Dr. John Reeves, who was interviewed in 1988 for this essay. [Click here for a comprehensive chronology on Patriarch Smith's homosexuality and the Church's response.]

It seems to have been church policy at this time that church members who were involved in homosexuality were not to be excommunicated, but merely released from church callings. For example, in September 1950, John M. Anderson, chairman of the Music Department at church-owned Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, was fired from his position for having sexual relations with several male students. It seems highly likely that Anderson's firing was part of a Madison County (Rexburg), Idaho investigation into "allegedly widespread homosexual practices" there in the fall of 1950, as reported in the September 14, 1950 issue of the (Pocatello) Idaho State Journal. The "case has rocked the community", said Mormon Leonard O. Kingsford, the Madison County prosecutor. Kingsford confirmed that "two of the leaders have lost their positions after admitting sodomy practices involving men" and promised that E.A. Hansen, the county sheriff, had been conducting "an extensive investigation in an effort to prosecute". When a Rexburg stake presidency counselor asked President J. Reuben Clark whether John M. Anderson should be disciplined through a church court, on September 11, 1950 Clark said no, because "thus far we had done no more than drop them [homosexuals] from positions they held", indicating that homosexual activity was not an excommunicable offense. This is also supported by the events of a case of homosexual pedophilia that unfolded in the California Mission one year later. According to Stephen L. Richards' office diary, Bryan L. Bunker, president of the California Mission, called Richards because one of his missionaries, Elder Morgan K. P******, was in jail for having sexually molested three 12 and 13 year old boys during his mission. Richards asked Bunker, “was there any proof of his actual penetration?” Bunker replied that P****** had "not admitted that nor was he charged with that. He was charged only with fondling the boys through their clothes." Richards replied that “in many respects that’s a superficial charge and we must assume that it was not a completed act”. They both agreed that he was only “guilty of a great indiscretion” and was not to be excommunicated. I suspect that the policy of non-excommunication had more to do with denial and maintaining an "untarnished" public image in the face of certain scandal, rather than a show of compassion or a lack of homophobia. Even into the late 1970s, church leaders were very slow to excommunicate even radical homosexuals who had long left Mormonism behind. For example, in a 1978 interveiw, Rev. Ken Storer, a returned missionary who was then serving as pastor for the Metropolitan Community Church in Boise, Idaho with a special outreach to homosexuals, told the Idaho Statesman that he hadn't been excommunicated yet, even though he had joined another church. "They just keep asking me to sign papers requesting it [excommunication]. It doesn't matter to me - I excommunicated them a long time ago." Rev. Storer also recounted that when he was still a young man "in conflict over being gay" and Mormon, he had a very supportive meeting with LDS president David O. McKay at church headquarters in the late 1960s. Storer reported that, "After our conversation, as I was walking out the door, he put his arm around me and said 'Your road's not an easy one. Stay close to the Savior'. I told him I was still in the Mormon church. He said, "I didn't say the church, I said the Savior.'"[80]

Two years later, J. Reuben Clark became the first Mormon general authority to use the words "homosexual" and "homosexuality" in public. In a 1952 address entitled "Home, and the Building of Home Life", which he delivered at the all-female General Relief Society Conference, Clark pointed out that with regards to "the person who teaches or condones the crimes for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed - we have coined a softer name for them than came from old; we now speak of homosexuality, which it is tragic to say, is found among both sexes....Not without foundation is the contention of some that the homosexuals are today exercising great influence in shaping our art, literature, music, and drama." Then in 1954, Clark issued a warning to the all-male priesthood to avoid "that filthy crime of homosexuality." [81] This was during the "McCarthy era", in which anti- Gay rhetoric almost reached a national hysteria. As will be seen, Mormon attitudes concerning Gays and Lesbians came not by "revelation from God", but by revelation from the popular press.

Commie Pinko Queers: The "Boys of Boise" and Salt Lake Scandals

Some five years after the Rexburg, Idaho homosexual scandal "rocked the community", beginning on Halloween night 1955, Gay men in Boise, Idaho were caught in what has rightly been called the "nation's most infamous homosexual witch hunt", partially instigated and aided by local Mormon Church members. Local LDS congregations heavily pressured authorities to investigate, acting under the auspices of a very right-wing political organization, which was then called the Idaho Allied Civic Forces but is currently known as the Idaho Allied Christian Forces; LDS congregations in Idaho are still heavily involved in this organization, as listed prominently on the masthead of the group's newsletters. Ten years after the scandal first broke, author John Gerassi wrote a book about it called The Boys of Boise: Furor, Vice and Folly in an American City, exposing the unsavory machinations of Mormonism and anti-Communism in the interrogations of nearly 1,500 Boise men and youths. The Mormon probation officer who scandalously initiated the investigation and handled all the cases was Emery Clarence Bess (1919-1984). Boise's mayor at the time, Russell Elmer Edlefsen (1906-1986), who was actively involved in the ongoing investigation, was also LDS. The secretary of the Board of Corrections, who was involved in the investigation, was a Mormon named Herman Fails. Some of the men caught were also Mormons, such as Ralph Harley Cooper (1921-1980) and Charles Herbert Gordon (1917-1980). Ironically, one of the lawyers who defended the homosexuals, Sylvan A. Jeppesen (1922-1991), was also a Mormon. Morris Dee Foote (1925-1998), a Gay Mormon working as an elevator operator at the Capitol Building, upon hearing of the massive criminal investigation, fled Boise immediately out of fear for his life; some 100 other men followed suit. Foote later returned to Boise and became very involved in the Gay Christian movement of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in the later years of his life. Another Gay Mormon, 15 year old Ken Storer, was profoundly affected by the unfolding scandal. Storer recently informed me that at Boise High School that Autumn, the older boys were saying that "the only way to be safe in Boise is to wear a girdle". When Ken asked his father about the scandal and the upperclass men joke, his father "responded with pure rage" and Ken knew that "in some way I didn't understand, they were talking about me. That was my first step into the closet." Ken would later become an instructor at BYU, and then leave the school and church in 1977, becoming a member of the Metropolitan Community Church in Salt Lake, and then a Reverend for MCC back in Boise in 1978. The memories of the scandal still haunt him as one of his earliest memories. [82]

Click on image to purchase a copy from amazon.com

As part of the larger McCarthy crusade against Gays, these men were seen as part of an alleged "communist plot" in the United States. Making national headlines, including a lenghty notice in the Deccember 12, 1955 issue of Time magazine, the story became known as "The Boys of Boise" scandal, a play off of the popular 1940s Broadway musical, The Boys from Boise. Evidence was manufactured by police and private investigators, witnesses were either intimidated or coached and paid, their testimony was contradictory, and defendents were often interrogated with counsel being present, but mass hysteria was in the air, so heads had to roll. Those convicted of "the crime against nature" or "lewd and lascivious conduct" were sentenced anywhere from a few months to life sentences in the Idaho state penitentiary; a handful of others were put on probation. Mormon Ralph H. Cooper, a career criminal and repeat pedophile, was promised by his fellow Mormon probation officer, Emery Bess, that if he pled guilty, he would only receive a light sentence of psychiatric treatment. Testimonies against Cooper were fabricated by Bess and the police and then conveniently "lost", witnesses (who were known sociopaths) had been coached, and Cooper was not given legal counsel during the whole trial; he simply pled guilty. Then Judge Merlin S. Young sentenced Cooper to life in prison without any psychiatric treatment as promised. Judge Young is thought to to be LDS also, but he is still alive and will not grant interviews regarding this case. Frank Anton Jones, one of the homosexual youths caught in the investigation, was expelled from West Point and later commited suicide. Jones, born in the Mormon community of Rexburg but not believed to be LDS, was the son of prominent Boise City Council member Harold "Buck" Jones, who had been one of the most vociferous in beginning the investigation. The personal toll on dozens of men is inestimable, with ruined families, ruined careers, and ruined lives.

Gerassi documented the fact that this homosexual scandal actually had three layers to it. The first layer, the most covert yet most political, was a group of very wealthy, powerful men in Boise who had realized that "one of their own" was a practicing homosexual, so they hatched a plot to bring "the Big Queen" down, using the Idaho Allied Civic Forces as a front for their operation. (The identity of the "Queen" has never been publicly revealed.) To oust their target from power, this group of men orchestrated a massive witch hunt for homosexual pedophiles, whipping the Boisean public into a hysterical frenzy of "save our children" in order to cover up their true motive, a political assassination. However, since there were almost no pedophiles to prosecute, the third layer came into play: run-of-the-mill homosexual men, who only had sex with other consenting adults, got caught up in these horrific political machinations which ruined many lives. Making front page headlines, Mormon probation officer Emery Bess made his first public announcement to the press on November 2; he reported that while only three men had been arrested so far, there was partial evidence against several other adults and "about 100 boys" and he insisted that his investigation had merely "scratched the surface". He went on to say that the arrests had been made as the result of investigations by a private detective "at the request of a client". Over the course of the following months, 1,472 men were interviewed, almost all without being given legal representation. Eventually sixteen men were arrested and nine went to prison in what one city councilwoman called "a bloodletting". Boiseans were so terrified of the pedophile "monster" among them (a newspaper editorial called homosexuality "a cancerous growth"), that the police ordered a strict 11:00 pm curfew for all youths under 16. Rumors spread that there was such a "widespread homosexual underworld" looking for young boys in Boise that United Airlines had scheduled "special flights" to handle all the pedophiles during the summer. Despite all the hysterics, in the end only three "young boys" involved were actually minors (not the 100 as estimated), and those three 16 and 17 year olds were known liars, sociopaths and "sexual psychopaths" and had long been sex workers before the scandal broke out in Boise. One of the youths, William Harvey Baker, murdered his own father six weeks after his first interview. These were not the innocent victims of pedophiles that the media and public rumor portrayed, yet their extremely dubious testimony was allowed to stand. And through it all, the targeted "Queen" was never even vaguely implicated.

The fiasco of the witch-hunts later influenced Idaho law makers to be far more compassionate towards homosexuals. In an article appearing in the June 22, 1971 issue of The Advocate, it was reported that Idaho governor Cecil D. Andrus had signed into law Idaho's new penal code, which eliminated "all penalties for private homosexual acts between freely consenting persons 16 years old and older and reduces solicitation for homosexual acts where no money is involved to a petty misdemeanor carrying a 30-day penalty." The principal architect of this new penal code was William Roden, a Republican senator who had been a deputy prosecutor in Boise during the witch-hunt in 1955. Horrified by what his fellow prosecutor, Blaine Evans, did in destroying so many lives, Roden drafted the new code because he felt that the laws in Idaho had been "rather archaic, and I frankly don’t care to see the so-called crimes against nature made criminal." Thus in 1971, Idaho became the third state in the nation to legalize homosexual acts between consenting adults.

The Idaho Allied Civic Forces' "success" in exposing this alleged "homosexual ring" apparently inspired John Birch Society member and rabid anti-Communist, W. Cleon Skousen, to begin cracking down on Gays in Salt Lake City, where Skousen was Chief of Police from 1956 to 1960. In February 1958, the Salt Lake Tribune announced that a vagrant man had been arrested by police, who was the head of a ring of "about 100 boys" (perfectly mirroring the initial press report from Boise). Then followed the arrests of Gay men (not pedophiles) for cruising bars and parks. For example from February to April of 1958, Salt Lake police arrested 25 homosexuals. Then in the month of May alone, they arrested another 23. Sgt. T.W. Southworth of the Salt Lake "anti-vice bureau" informed the Salt Lake Tribune that, "We have a detail of three men assigned to patrol and police the known sexual deviate hangouts". Skousen's attempt to whip Utahns into a frenzy over the "homosexual menace" failed however. While Sgt. Southworth recommended that the state's judicial system be especially hard on homosexuals by giving them a six month jail sentence (with a reduction in sentence for those willing to submit to "psychiatric treatments") in order to "slow [homosexual] activity", the newspaper noted that only one Gay man arrested so far had been to court and he had received a sentence of either a $75 fine or 15 days in jail. Also, while the Idaho Daily Statesman article screamed from the headlines of page one, the news in Salt Lake City barely whimpered. Long desensitized to the variant sexual practices (polygamy and pedogamy) of the state's Mormon majority, the miniscule notice of an alleged homosexual ring in Salt Lake City was relegated to page ten.

Also in 1958, Cleon Skousen first formulated his list of "Current Communist Goals" and number 26 on the list of alleged goals was to "Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as 'normal, natural, healthy'". On January 10, 1963, US Representative A. S. Herlong (R-Florida) had Skousen's "Current Communist Goals" officially added to the Congressional Record. Cleon Skousen was fired as police chief in March of 1960 by the new Salt Lake mayor, J. Bracken Lee, who allegedly called Skousen "an incipient Hitler". [83]

In 1963, homosexual scandal returned to the Ricks campus in Idaho when Howard Earl Salisbury (1911-1977), professor of Journalism and English and chair of the Humanities Division at Ricks College, was fired from his job when it was discovered that he was the "center" of a group of about eight Gay male students and faculty at the Mormon-owned junior college. He then moved to San Francisco. Salisbury is probably one of the "belligerent" homosexuals who went to a large city "to hide", referred to by Spencer Kimball below. Salisbury later co-owned a large river-side resort for Gay men called the Willows in Guerneville, California. Upon his death, he left his half of the resort to his lover, Cloy Jenkins, author of Prologue, which Salisbury had proofread and edited before its publication. [84]

John Rousselot, Public Relations Director of the John Birch Society
For Mormon audience, criticized ministers who sympathized with homosexuals

Mormon political activists in Boise also formed the Treasure Valley Freedom Forum. This conservative group, in February 1965, was addressed by John Rousselot, Public Relations Director of the ultraconservative John Birch Society, concerning Communism. In his speech, "United Nations - Instrument of the International Communist Conspiracy", Rousselot told his Mormon audience that he was scandalized to discover that some Christian ministers had begun to sympathize with homosexuals, which he found to be a clear indication that Communism was infiltrating even conservative Christianity.


Dr. Joel Dorius: The Mormon "Porn Professor" and Accidental Activist

In May 1960, Massachusetts governor Foster Furcolo had established the “Pornography Squad”, with Sgt. John J. Regan as head of this notorious unit charged with “ferreting out, investigating, and prosecuting” pornography cases in the state – especially those involving the US Postal System.  With an election coming up in November and polls showing failing support, Gov. Furcolo needed a good pornography scandal in the papers as a way to indicate an effective public administration, to help him get re-elected.

With information obtained from a US postal inspector, on September 2, 1960, three state troopers, a town police officer, and the postal inspector entered and searched the Northampton apartment of Dr. Newton Arvin, a Gay professor at Smith College.  Arvin, who had been Truman Capote’s first lover after they had met at at a retreat called Bread Loaf many years earlier, had several beefcake “physique” magazines and photos in his possession that he had received through the mail (some from Capote when he vacationed in Greece), as well as 20 volumes of journals detailing his homosexual life back to 1940.  These were seized by the state troopers as evidence to be used against him (and others) in court.

Plagued by guilt and thoroughly confused by the sudden tempest surrounding his personal life, Arvin tragically “ratted”, breaking the unwritten “code of silence” then dominant in Gay circles, and named the names of his Gay colleagues and friends.  He informed police that at a private party, he had shown a group of men some of the physique and mildly nude male photos he had in his possession.  Two of the men Dr. Arvin identified, Edward “Ned” Spofford and Mormon Joel Dorius (1919-2006), were untenured faculty at Smith College.  While the two were eventually acquitted of the “possession of pornography” charges on appeal, the Smith College Board of Trustees immediately fired Spofford and Dorius, and retired Arvin on half-pay simply because they were homosexuals.  (The "pornography" which Dorius allegedly had in his possesion were photos of 600 B.C. Etruscan murals, some with nudes. Still the Massachusetts police confiscated every single family photo he had and all his meticulous journals - none of which were ever returned to him, permanently destroying his sense of place and personal history.) Dr. Arvin was charged with “lewd and lascivious conduct” and received a one-year suspended sentence.  Tragically he suffered a mental breakdown during the course of the trial and committed himself intermittently to a mental institution, where he died two years later.

Joel Dorius [click here for the longer biography I wrote on him] was born in 1919 on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake to Raymond Dorius and Clara "Claire" Parrish Dorius. He attended West High School and sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1936 until around 1939 (although the official Choir roster website incorrectly says from 1937-1946). He had one sexual relationship with his 52 year old LDS piano teacher, Sterling Carlsberg, who died around 1938. While an undergraduate at the University of Utah Dorius was in a social circle of mostly homosexual students there, when he became "agnostic". From a very early age he also regularly "cruised" the all-male naked swimming hours at the Deseret Gymnasium, an extremely popular place for Mormon men to meet for brief sexual assignations from at least the 1910s until its closure in the 1990s. However other than Carlsberg, Dorius had no sexual contacts with males until he began his graduate work at Harvard in 1941. While at there, he was the research assistant to Wallace Stegner for his 1942 work, Mormon Country. At Harvard Dorius socialized with a circle of homosexual graduate students (some of whom were Mormons like himself) and finally found a lover among his peers, Phillip Holster.

Dorius home on Capitol Hill, Salt Lake, 1930s
Joel Dorius, Gay graduate student, Harvard, early 1940s
Dorius ca. 2002


In 1960 after being caught in the chaotic center of the "commie-queer" baiting scandal at Smith College and dubbed by the press as one of  “the porn professors”, Joel Dorius could only find work teaching in Europe, far removed from the media scandal in the U.S.  He taught at Hamburg University in West Germany during his trial and subsequent appeal.  While teaching there, mishap followed misfortune when he was again arrested under Paragraph 175 (instituted by the Nazi Party to persecute homosexuals), simply for having coffee with an elderly homosexual German man.  Dorius was forced to hire a lawyer, who was only able to get the case dismissed through bribery.  In 1963, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the search warrants were unconstitutional since they did not properly define “obscene materials” and the convictions of all three men (including that of the then-deceased Newton Arvin) were overturned.

In 1964, Dr. Dorius joined the San Francisco State faculty, where he remained until his retirement.  Although the “porn professors” scandal was nearly forgotten as a mere historical footnote, in 2001 Barry Werth published a biography, The Scarlet Professor – Newton Arvin: A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal (Doubleday) detailing the rise and tragic fall of this brilliant pioneer in American literary studies; Dorius and Spofford are also featured inthis biography.  A television documentary on the scandal, The Great Pink Scare, was also broadcast on PBS, followed by articles in The New Yorker and Out magazine.  In 2004, Dr. Dorius released his own memoir, My Four Lives, which was available on joeldorius.com (but this website is currently down).

With increased publicity on this tragic event, in 2002, Smith College held a conference honoring the three "porn professors" entitled "Homeland Insecurity" and created a lecture series and a small scholarship – the Dorius-Spofford Fund for the Study of Civil Liberties and Freedom of Expression, as well as an annual stipend for the Newton Arvin Prize in American Studies.  However, the Smith Board of Trustees refused to issue a formal apology to the surviving men, and also never formally admitted the men were fired for being Gay, despite outraged protests from faculty and the student body alike.  Neither Dorius nor Spofford returned to Smith when the lecture series and scholarships were announced (Dorius did send a video taped message); a close friend of the two men, Jesuit priest Paul G. Crowley of Santa Clara University, told the press that they two professors were “relieved and vindicated” by the minimal gesture.  Crowley confirmed that “Joel was deeply touched.  It really did bring this whole ordeal to a close, and freed him to enter his final years.”  While Crowley called Dorius “an accidental figure in history for Gay people” he also acknowledged him as “a brilliant teacher….That was much more important to Joel in many ways.  He touched hundreds if not thousands of students’ lives as a teacher”.[84A]

2002 Smith College conference program,
honoring Drs. Arvin, Spofford, and Dorius

"The Lord's Program": Kimball and Petersen Attack

Acknowledgment of the presence of Gay and Bisexual Mormons became so significant that in 1959 church president David O. McKay assigned Apostles Spencer Kimball and Mark E. Petersen, to "help" Gays overcome their "homosexual problems".[85] This assignment for the two Apostles came about because "quite a number of [Mormon] men were being arrested" at that time for being "'peeping toms', exhibitionists, homosexuals, and perverts in other areas" (no doubt referring to the recent arrests of Gays in Rexburg, Boise, and Salt Lake). It should be acknowledged that this assignment was only a reinforcement of what Kimball had already been doing for many years. Four years after Kimball was made an Apostle in 1943, Elder Charles A. Callis died and J. Reuben Clark "asked Elder Kimball to fill the gap. There began a disturbing flow of interviews with Church members involved in fornication or adultery or homosexuality, cases which formerly had been directed to Elder Callis." Callis, born in Ireland in 1865, was a "hell fire and damnation" speaker, as his daughter Kathleen recalled, and became an Apostle in 1933; apparently he then dealt with sexual deviancy among the Latter-day Saints for several years until his death in Florida in 1947. [86]

Charles Callis
Apostle Charles A. Callis
Handled cases of sexually deviant Mormons until 1947

Besides being formally assigned to deal with homosexuality in 1959, Kimball decided that year that the church was in great need of "an extensive treatise on repentance" and thus began "jotting down scriptures for people to study...[and] developed some lists for recurring problems", including homosexuality.[87] These general notes became the basis for The Miracle of Forgiveness, while his notes on homosexuality eventually resulted in four major works (as well as numerous minor works or statements): "A Counselling Problem in the Church" (1964); "The Crime Against Nature" chapter of The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969); "Hope for Transgressors" (1970), which was written for church leaders; and a year later Kimball wrote a pamphlet directly addressing the Gay Mormon as "New Horizons for Homosexuals" (1971) which was then reprinted as "A Letter to a Friend" in 1978. [88]


Spencer Kimball
Mark Petersen

Apostles Spencer W. Kimball (left) and Mark E. Petersen
Assigned in 1959 to eradicate homosexuality from the Mormon Church

The earliest of these four major homophobic texts was originally a speech Kimball gave to a group of LDS psychiatrists, but I can find no transcript of it. However, a few months later, on July 10, 1964, Kimball gave an almost identical speech to a conference of the LDS church's Seminary (high school-level) and Institute (university-level) religion teachers assembled at Brigham Young University (BYU). Although dealing with various problems in Mormon society, the largest portion of "A Counselling Problem in the Church" [CLICK HERE TO SEE SCANS OF EXCERPTS] deals with homosexuality and became the basis for all subsequent homophobic discourse in the Mormon Church.[89] Just five months earlier, on February 12, 1964, the First Presidency of the LDS Church (probably upon recommendation from Petersen and Kimball) issued a letter to all congregations indicating prospective missionaries "found guilty of fornication, or sex perversion, of heavy petting, or of other comparable transgressions should not be recommended until the case has been discussed with the Bishop and Stake President and a visiting Authority" (usually Kimball or Petersen). [90]

Spencer Kimball culled most of the information for his grossly-misinformed, homophobic speeches from popular tabloids and magazines, such as Life magazine and Medical World News (and even from a "circular" published by the Bank of Montreal!) Anti-Gay articles had appeared in both of these magazines during the month before Kimball's speech at BYU.[91] As the historian John D'Emilio documents, "the notion of homosexuality as mental illness was receiving greater dissemination during the early 1960s" and for Gay radicals and activists in larger cities like New York, this negative "medical model of homosexuality hung like a millstone around the [homosexual] movement's neck".[92] Both Irving Bieber's 1962 psychoanalytic study Homosexuality and the New York Academy of Medicine's 1964 report, which argued that "homosexuality was an acquired illness susceptible to cure", received extensive media attention and gave Kimball fodder for his negative attitude toward and teachings on homosexuality. (Kimball, for example, echoes the medical model when he writes that "this disease is curable", and even briefly quotes from the statement made by the New York Academy of Medicine.)[93] While these reports promulgated homophobic views built on "loose reasoning...poor research...[and] examination of non-representative samplings", it broke the media's (and church's) silence on homosexual issues.[94] Kimball's homophobic ideas went on to influence fellow church leaders and hundreds of thousands of followers. Thus Kimball, like Mormon leaders before and since, was affected by mainstream homophobic views, which he then intensified through his ecclesiastical authority. It is also in this speech that Kimball first used the phrase which I take as a title for this essay: "We are told that as far back as Henry the VIII, this vice was referred to as 'THE ABOMINABLE AND DETESTABLE CRIME AGAINST NATURE,' and some of our own statues [sic] have followed that wording." (Emphasis is Kimball's.) [95]

On January 5, 1965, Kimball again spoke at BYU, this time to the studentbody, harshly condemning homosexuality in "Love versus Lust", later published in BYU Speeches of the Year. This talk drew heavily from his "Counselling Problem" speech of the previous year. The following is a brief quote from the address:

"Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere... denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons of God; and Christ's Church denounces it and condemns it so long as men have bodies which can be defiled. This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it. It was tolerated by the Greeks, and found in the baths of corrupt Rome. In Exodus, the law required death for the culprit who committed incest, or the depraved one who had homosexual or other vicious practices.

This is a most unpleasant subject to dwell upon, but I am pressed to speak it boldly so that no student in this University, nor youth in the Church, will ever have any question in his mind as to the illicit and diabolical nature of this perverse program. Again, Lucifer deceives and prompts logic and rationalization which will destroy men and make them servants of Satan forever....Let it never be said that the Church avoided condemning this obnoxious practice nor that it has winked at this abominable sin. And I feel certain that this University will never knowingly enroll an unrepentant person who follows these practices nor tolerate on its campus anyone with these tendencies who fails to repent and put his or her life in order." (Emphasis is mine.) [96]

"Hope for Transgressors"

"Hope for Transgressors" [CLICK HERE FOR SCANS OF THE PAMPHLET] begins by addressing church "Brethren" (apparently bishops and stake presidents) who will have the "privilege and responsibility to assist [homosexual Mormons] to effect a cure and bring their lives back into total normalcy". Kimball (and possibly Petersen) informed lay church leaders that "[e]xpressions of homosexuality...range from petting and love making to sodomy with its degradation". Kimball then calls homosexuality in both men and women a "despicable practice which is "difficult to dislodge" (p. 1). "[R]eformation...can come only by kind persuasion", Kimball says, since the lay leaders are not trained social workers, psychiatrists, or psychologists. However, lay leaders were told that if they were "dedicated and in total attunement with [their] Heavenly Father, [they] will be able to find solutions", despite their utter lack of training in dealing with "extremely lonely and sensitive" homosexuals. Leaders are told to gain the confidence of the Gay members, to use a "scriptural approach", "reason" (emphasizing the reproductivity of heterosexuality and the "barrenness and desolation" of homosexuality), and convincing them that "only futility and disappointment and loneliness lie ahead" (pp. 2-3). The homosexual "should abandon all places, things, situations and people with whom this evil practice has been associated." The homosexual "should purge out the evil then fill his life with constructive positive activities and interests". Gays should cease "reading articles about homosexuality and will substitute therefor the scriptures and worthy books and articles" and should chart the use of their time. Prayer is encouraged, along with frequent interviews with priesthood leaders. When the lay leader feels that the homosexual is ready, "he should be encouraged to date and gradually move his life toward the normal" so that "[m]arriage and normal life can follow" (pp.4-6). This ecclesiastical encouragement to marriage completely ignored the needs, well-being, and, with the advent of AIDS, the physical safety of the heterosexual spouses of those homosexuals who married. Kimball then reminded lay priesthood leaders that "the sin of homosexuality in its degraded aspects is as serious as adultery and fornication", so if the homosexual being counseled does not recover, does not cooperate, ever if he becomes belligerent, "appropriate action must be taken". Kimball then reiiterates that: (1) homosexuality "CAN be cured"; (2) it "CAN be forgiven"; (3) it is not "the fault totally of family conditions"; (4) God "did not make people 'that way'; (5) bishops have "power and resources far beyond the university training"; (6) Satan will thwart all efforts "to change a life which has already turned to him"; (7) prayer is encouraged; (8) scripture reading is encouraged; and lastly, (9) abandonment of everything associated with homosexuality is "important". Kimball then deceivingly concludes the pamphlet with a list of 73 scriptures which "historically" condemn homosexuality! However, even a cursory examination of this enormous list indicates that only four of the 73 could be possibly construed to condemn homosexuality (and the two from the New Testament are challenged by modern biblical scholarship as not refering to it at all).

I must point out that the LDS priesthood leader is not once instructed to feel or demonstrate love or compassion for the homosexual. In fact the only time the word love occurs in this entire pamphlet is when the leader is promised that homosexuals "will love your for all eternity for your help to them"!

"New Horizons for Homosexuals" (later aka "A Letter to a Friend")

A year after "Hope for Transgressors" was distributed to bishops and stake presidents, Kimball published "New horizons for Homosexuals" through Deseret News Press, for distribution throughout the church to all members who were dealing with homosexuality. Written initially for a close relative of Kimball's, either on December 12, 1965 or sometime during 1966, it was revised in 1971 for a more general audience, but retained its "letter" format and saccharine, ingratiating paternalism. [97] [CLICK HERE FOR SCANS OF "NEW HORIZONS FOR HOMOSEXUALS"]

Kimball first informs the homosexual reader, "I am your friend, your real friend, for I am trying hard to help you save yourself frompitfalls, which I am sure, you do not fully realize are gaping wide to swallow you, the victim". He then indicates that while each homosexual has free agency and "may do as you please", "the Lord did not waive penalities and it is an unalterable decree that every man shall suffer or enjoy the due rewards of his deeds." Heterosexuals may "begin the ruinous practice of perversion through curiosity and then become entangled in its tentacles (p. 3). Yet for even those "deeply entrenched, there is hope". Kimball warns that "[s]ex perversion is a hidden menace at first but eventually undermines and destroys its victims" (p. 4). Because sexual impurity is "[n]ext to the crime of murder", no "rationalization can really neutralize the pollution". Kimball then almost wistfully reminds the reader that the "death penalty was exacted in the days of Israel for such wrong-doing" (which both he and Petersen repeat several times throughout the coming years, perhaps to manipulate Gays into believing that the torturous programs the church will promote in the coming decades are nothing in comparison to capital punishment, for which "compassionate leniency" we should be grateful). However, "[t]hese sins are forgivable and can be overcome if there is adequate restraint and repentance" (p. 5). Finally in this pamphlet Kimball does state that "[t]he Lord, His Church, and we, His leaders, love you." However this single affirmation of ecclesiatical "love" rings completely hollow when compared with the rest of the 34 pages of condemnatory language in which Gays and their desires are described as utterly despicable and completely controlled by Satan.

With such increased attention directed at homosexuality, it soon became evident that there were a surprising number of homosexuals in the Church. Kimball's biography mentions several episodes of his counseling homosexual Mormons during the mid-1960s, including four Mormons in the northwestern United States, two of whom were college teachers. After two hours of meetings with them Kimball recorded in his journal that "they claim they see no sin in the matter, but that it is merely a new way of life....I was weary. I had worked so hard and put so much of myself into it trying to persuade them in the very few moments they gave me." Kimball also vistied an excommunicated homosexual engineer in Los Angeles and told him "that we loved him, the Lord loved him; we knew that basically he was a good man; and his eyes dimmed with tears and he said, 'This is the first time anyone from the Church has ever been kind to me in connection with this.'" Kimball also recounted another interview with a young Mormon who was "very curt and almost insulting" to Kimball. The young Gay man told Kimball that he "was not qualified to handle his case or to understand it or to help him, and that it was his problem and that he did not wish to be pressed or hurried or pressured." Ignoring his wishes, Kimball insisted that "as long as he as a returned missionary and held the priesthood and was a member of the Church that we did have jurisdiction and that we did not intend to let him continue on with his sin; unless he was willing to cooperate, he would need to be immediately excommunicated from the Church." Bowing to such incredible brow-beating and ecclesiastical pressure from an Apostle, Kimball smugly reported that the young man "finally began to yield and was willing to cooperate to some degree." When Kimball "personally reported" to President David O. McKay in 1968 on his and Petersen's work in counseling male and female homosexual Mormons, McKay "agreed to an enlarged committee". Kimball then lamented, "We have lost some who did not cooperate and were belligerent and went to the large cities to hide, but I feel there are many happy people today because of the work that Brother Petersen and I have done through the years".[98]

However, it must be pointed out that many (if not all) of the "testimonials" that Kimball oft quoted and used as proof of a homosexual cure were in fact lies, signed by people who were tired of the ecclesiastical harassment, and found escape only by deception. For example, in the early 1970s, Cloy Jenkins met a Mormon man who was engaged to a female friend of Cloy. This man confidentially disclosed to Jenkins that "he was homosexual, that he had received counseling from the church, but that it had had no effect. He had, however, told his counselor that he had changed. After moving away from Utah, he had received what appeared to be a form letter sent by President [sic] Kimball, stating that he had, through his counseling, been cured of homosexuality. He was asked simply to sign his name at the bottom and return it to the church offices, which he did. He felt it was the only practical thing he could do, although he knew full well it was not true. He was and is [homo]sexually active. Yet, through the years, his letter has been held as proof of the 'miracles of forgiveness.'" Several other Gays I have interviewed also told me that they had been sent or personally given similar letters to sign as "proof" that they were "cured" of homosexuality. All signed them in order to decrease ecclesiastical surveillance and punishment. [99]

After ten years of preparation, Kimball finally published in 1969 his classic treatise on sin and repentance, The Miracle of Forgiveness. In chapter six, "The Crime Against Nature", he detailed his absurd theory that masturbation leads to homosexuality, which in turn, can lead to bestiality. He also claimed that "the sin of homosexuality is equal to or greater than that of fornication or adultery," effectively placing homosexuality next to murder in the Mormon hierarchy of sins. As Kimball's biography states, while preparing the text of The Miracle of Forgiveness for publication, he believed that homosexuality "would yield to consistent prayerful exercise of self-restraint. He pointed out that homosexuals rarely were excommunicated for their past acts but usually only for their unwillingness to make the effort to change" their sexual orientation.

Kimball and Petersen were formally released in 1972 from their assignment to "assist" homosexuals in changing their sexual orientation and repenting of their "sinfulness". The assignment was turned over to the "Personal Welfare Service of LDS Social Services". By 1978, the "church director" in charge of working with homosexuals in LDS Social Services was a man named Kent Petersen. However, Kimball continuted to make homosexuality a priority and went out of his way to counsel LGBT Mormons. In 1977, Victor L. Brown Jr. (of the Values Institute) told Duane Jeffrey, BYU Zoology professor, that as of 1976, Kimball had extensive files on some 1500 homo-, bi-, and transexual Mormons. [100]

During the October 1977 General Conference Kimball gave a speech called, "The Foundations of Righteousness" in which once again he severely attacked homosexuality. Kimball told the faithful that "Homosexuality is an ugly sin, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved with it, it must be brought into the open. It is the sin of the ages....There is today a strong clamor to make such practices legal by passing legislation....We do not hesitate to tell the world that the cure for these evils is not in surrender....As we think back upon the experiences of Nineveh, Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah, we wonder - will history repeat itself?"

Desmond's "Homosexual Church of Jesus Christ"

While Kimball and Petersen were vociferously attacking homosexuality, Gay Mormons began to dissent and resist. Michael Quinn has documented that in 1966, 26 year old David-Edward Desmond founded a break-off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in Denver, Colorado. "The United Order Family of Christ" was founded specifically for young Gay men only, ages 18 to 30. Because they practiced a uniquely Mormon form of communalism in which they held "everything in common", Desmond affirmed that the Family was "not for the great majority of the Gay LDS". This Mormon schismatic church thus became the second Gay Christian church founded in the United States, the first being a Catholic schism founded by Father George Hyde in 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia and called the Eucharistic Catholic Church, which later moved to New York City. Desmond's "homosexual Church of Jesus Christ" lasted at least until 1973, when Desmond was still corresponding with David C. Martin (then editor of the Restoration Reporter). David-Edward Desmond was born in 1940, in Spokane, Washington to 19-year old Joyce Betty Grasty and her husband named Desmond (first name unknown). David-Edward Desmond died on 11 May, 1983, in Pullman, Washington. Grace Lutheran Church's Rev. Vernon Johnson held the funeral and he was buried in Fairmount Memorial Park, Spokane.

Desmond Grave
David-Edward Desmond's gravestone, Fairmont Memorial Park, Spokane WA
Photo courtesy of Nat Wall, Queer History Project, Spokane
[click image to enlarge]
Sibling names blacked out
The Hebrew scripture engraved on the stone, 2 Samuel 1:26, reads (per KJV):
"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women." (see David & Jonathan above)

In 1985, a group of six Gay men in the Los Angeles Chapter of Affirmation formed another Mormon schismatic church for Gays, called the Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter-day Saints (later the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ; not to be confused with the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Antonio A. Feliz (a former Mormon bishop) was named the first president but he was ousted eight months later because of changes he was making to the church without consent of its members. Controversy and dissent have marked its history since and its membership currently is almost non-existent. The Restoration Church's book of modern scripture is called Hidden Treasures and Promises.[101]

Restoration Logo
Logo of the Restoration Church

Ironically, Kimball's "definitive" statement against homosexuality in The Miracle of Forgiveness came out just as the "Gay liberation movement" gained national attention with the watershed "Stonewall Riots" in New York City, beginning on June 27, 1969. That night, tens of thousands of Gay men had packed New York City to attend the funeral of the greatly loved Gay icon, Judy Garland. The New York Police Department, used to ignoring homosexuals' constitutional right of freedom to assemble, raided the Stonewall Inn to harass and arrest customers. The normally docile Gays there were in no mood to be shoved around during this time of communal grief, and for the first time in the United States, decided to fight back against this injustice. Led by drag queens and bull-dykes, Gay Liberation activists participated in three nights of rioting in the streets of New York, ushering in a new era for homosexuals to grow beyond their culturally- and religiously-induced shame into a profound sense of human dignity and self-worth. June 27th is now regarded and celebrated internationally as "Gay Pride Day".

The LDS Church responded vociferously to the new homosexual militancy. In March 1970, the First Presidency sent a letter to the church at large, stating that "homosexuals can be assured that in spite of all they may have heard from other sources, they can overcome and return to normal, happy living."[102] A month later, Victor L. Brown Sr., then second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, gave a speech during General Conference on morality in the family, and addressed homosexuality in the context of pornography. "The chief psychiatrist at one of Washington's largest hospitals says, 'A normal 12- or 13-year-old boy or girl exposed to pornographic literature could develop into a homosexual". Brown added, "Some are even saying, 'What is wrong with becoming a homosexual?' In one church, a leader recently performed a marriage between two male homosexuals. As a matter of fact, some of the world news media made quite a story of it. And yet who is responsible for this moral decay?" Church President Harold B. Lee then delivered a speech on eschatological signs during the Priesthood Meeting of October 1972 General Conference in which he stated,

"I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery, which, as you know, was the name used by the Master as he referred to unlicensed sexual sins of fornication as well as adultery; and besides this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world, of which Church members must not be a part."

Harold B. Lee
Mormon President Harold B. Lee
The "grievous sin of homosexuality" is a sign of the "last days"

The circular letter of 1970 and Lee's comment of 1972 were but precursors to the more official (and ecclesiastically binding) First Presidency statement of 1973 which declared that "homosexuality in men and women runs counter to...divine objectives and, therefore, is to be avoided and forsaken." Gays and Lesbians who refused to find their sexuality evil were promised "prompt Church court action."[103] Excommunication to faithful Mormons means eternal exclusion from the "Celestial Kingdom" - a hell in and of itself.

In 1973, Victor L. Brown, Jr. of LDS Social Services wrote the twenty page Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet I for use in counseling Lesbians and Gay men throughout the church. The packet indicated that "an essential part of repentance" was to disclose to Church authorities the names of other homosexuals, in order "to help save others". The packet also stated that the Lesbian "needs to learn feminine behavior" while the Gay man "needs to learn...what a manly priesthood leader and father does." It also explained that "excommunication cleanses the Church....There is no place in God's Church for those who persist in vile behavior."[104] Ironically, church leaders concluded that the Packet was so "weakly" written that the church could only use it on a very limited basis, only for the simplest of orientations to the controversial topic. In 1980, Gay Mormon bishop Antonio Feliz recorded in his journal that he had found evidence that the Packet had been written in response to the founding of an "apostate group", which he incorrectly identified as "Affirmation" (the support group for Gay ande Lesbian Mormons, founded in 1977 - see below). However Affirmation wasn't an "apostate group" (i.e. a schismatic religion) but merely a support group, and it wasn't even organized until 1977, so it is possible the Packet instead was a response to the 1972 and early 1973 articles that appeared in David C. Martin's Restoration Reporter on the formation of David-Edward Desmond's "homosexual Church of Jesus Christ". [105]

Leonard Matlovich Makes Time

On September 8, 1975, Latter-day Saint Air Force Sgt. Leonard Phillip Matlovich Jr. appeared on the cover of Time magazine, declaring "I am a Homosexual" to the nation and hurling him into the national spotlight as "poster boy" for Gay rights. In a watershed moment for the Gay rights movement, the Gay Mormon was the first openly Gay person ever to appear on the cover of Time or any other major US news magazine. Matlovich was featured in the magazine because he was suing the US Armed Force for discharging him for being Gay, despite the fact that he had an impeccable record, having served three tours of duty in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and an Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. Matlovich, initially raised Catholic, had apparently converted to the LDS Church during his tour of duty in Vietnam. He was ordained a Mormon Priest in 1970 and then an Elder on January 19, 1971 while in Vietnam, by W. Brent Hardy.

Leonard Matlovich on cover of Time
Sgt. Leonard "Mat" Matlovich - Gay Mormon and
the first out Gay person ever to appear on the cover of Time

Although the Time article did not mention that Matlovich was LDS, when the publicity on his case against the Air Force broke, the Mormon Church conducted a series of trials against him. On August 1, 1975, the Norfolk Virginia Stake High Council met with Matlovich to investigate "alleged wrongdoing on [his] part involving infraction of the standards and rules of the Church". During this meeting, Matlovich "made a strong and convincing plea for time to think and consider the course of action [he was] pursuing, and to decide whether or not to abandon it and to seek professional help", which the Stake Presidency had "offered to help arrange". Matlovich was disfellowshipped at that time, meaning he could attend church meetings but was not "entitled to speak, offer public prayer, partake of the sacrament, or otherwise participate in these meetings". Of course his first charge was to "continue to pay [his] tithes and offerings" to the Church. Matlovich stopped attending church services and declined further "invitations" to meet with the Stake Presidency. Then after his appearance on the cover of Time a month later, the Norfolk Stake leaders decided a more severe punishment was warranted. Stake President W. Boyd Lee (who in 2004 is the president of the Memphis Tennessee LDS Temple) and his two counselors, Kirk T. Waldron and Mark J. Rowe wrote him on September 12, 1975, requesting another appearance before the Stake High Council on September 27, because of his "expressed decision to make no effort to change or correct" his homosexual activism. Matlovich was unable to make that meeting because of "the demands on [his] time by the United States Air Force". However, the High Council ignored his plea to reschedule. They met without him on October 7, 1975 and "took action to excommunicate [him] from the Church". They cited his "intention to continue activism in a practice which is abhorrent to and in direct violation of the laws of our Heavenly Father. We cannot accept that you cannot change or be helped. It is our prayer that you may come to realize that you can indeed be changed and that you will seek such help as is necessary to accomplish it." They informed him that excommunication meant "complete severance from the Church and denial of all Church priveliges [sic] and rights". He was welcome to attend public meetings as a guest but he was "not to pay tithes or other contributions, but [was] encouraged to keep them on deposit until such time as [he] might be readmitted to the Church." Getting money from even ex-members is definitely a priority for the Church. They concluded in their letter to him that they urged him "study the scriptures and pray, that [he might] come to know the truth, and to ignore the rising popular clamor for liberal practices in conflict with God's laws and eternal purposes".

Scanned images (200 dpi) of correspondence regarding Matlovich's various church courts, copied from the Leonard Matlovich Collection at the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

W. Boyd Lee (of Norfolk VA Stake) to Leonard Phillip Matlovich, July 13, 1975
W. Boyd Lee and Counselors to Leonard Phillip Matlovich, August 27, 1975
W. Boyd Lee and Counselors to Leoanrd Phillip Matlovich, September 12, 1975
Leonard P. Matlovich to Mr. W. Boyd Lee, October 6, 1975
W. Boyd Lee and Counselors to Leonard P. Matlovich, October 7, 1975
Jonas J. Heaton (of San Francisco CA Stake) to Brother Leonard Phillip Matlovich, October 12, 1978
Jonas J. Heaton to Brother Leonard Phillip Matlovich, November 20, 1978
Jonas J. Heaton Western Union Mailgram to Leonard Phillip Matlovich, January 16, 1979


After his court victory against the Air Force (which ultimately ended in Matlovich resigning with a large settlement in hand) he moved to San Francisco, and then appeared on the Phil Donahue television show in 1978. On October 12, 1978, "Mat" Matlovich received yet another summons from the Church, this time from the San Francisco Stake President, Jonas J. Heaton of Daly City, to investigate "conduct in violation of the law and order of the Church"; his second excommunication trial was scheduled for November 15. Matlovich was unable to make that trial date and Heaton wrote an identical letter on November 20, 1978, requesting a trial on January 17, 1979. In January 1979, both the California Sentinel and the Bay Area Reporter published stories of how the LDS church was shortly going to excommunicate Matlovich yet again. Metropolitan Community Church Elder James Sandmire, an excommunicated Mormon “high official” said in the media interviews that he had “had seen or heard of hundreds of these cases where gays have either been ‘disfellowshipped’ or ‘excommunicated’” once, but not twice.

President Jonas Heaton also told the reporters that there “is a move to drop the upfront Gay activist because of ‘conduct in violation of the law and order of the church’- namely his homosexuality.” Leonard in turn vowed, “that the attempt to remove him from Mormon rolls will be a media event.” Leonard admitted he "[was] confused on how he [could] be removed twice from the same church. When Heaton was asked about the double excommunication, the official said, ‘This is a private matter within the church - I know a great deal about Mr. Matlovich that I am not going to discuss.’” Matolovich was then excommunicated a second time from the Mormon Church. As of 1978, due to the unethical treatment he received by the Mormon Church, his faith was crushed and he considered himself somewhere “between an agnostic and an atheist.”

The publicity surrounding him was enormous, and he received thousands of letters from all over the nation and even Europe, praising his courage and bravery for coming out. Of the many letters I read in his archived collection, only two were negative; the rest were heart-wrenching expressions of gratitude. For example, Joseph Allen, a native of Vienna, Austria, wrote him to say, "I saw your picture on the front cover of Time and cried. It is, indeed, a new awakening for us....I feel it happening because of people such as you who are unafraid." Matlovich also befriended and corresponded with several other Gay Mormons. For example, C.R. "Joe" Smith, corresponded regularly with "Mat" in 1978 and 1979, encouraging him in his activism, and frequently mentioning their bond as ex-Mormon Gays. Smith had been raised in Utah but then excommunicated. He had moved to Yucca Valley, California where he and his partner lived for many years together, running an animal shelter in the high desert. Eventually the media circus around Matlovich exhausted him and he grew weary of being at the brunt of the Gay rights movement. However, he did continue to speak out against homophobic crusader Anita Bryant, and in June 1977 was a featured speaker at a large Gay rights convention held in Salt Lake City, during which Affirmation: Gay Mormons United was founded. In 1980, a federal judge ordered the Air Force to reinstate Matlovich with back pay. The Air Force, disgruntled that their policy was found to be discriminatory and illegal, pressed Matlovich to drop his case and settle out of court, or they would appeal the case to the US Supreme Court. Finally Matlovich gave in and accepted $160,000 tax free, and explained to angered Gay rights advocates that "he believed it to be less likely to win a government appeal in front of an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court." Leonard Matlovich announced that he had HIV on "Good Morning America" television show in July of 1987 and died from AIDS in West Hollywood at the home of a friend on June 22, 1988. His famous epitaph at the Congressional Cemetary in Washington DC reads, "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one". [106]

Boyd K. Packer Floors Gay Missionaries

During the priesthood session of October LDS general conference in 1976 Apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a speech entitled "To Young Men Only", that discussed situations in which young men are "tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another in unusual ways." He commented that "such practices are perversion....Physical mischief with another man is forbidden." Packer also essentially advocated anti-Gay violence in his speech when he recounted the story of a male missionary who had "hit" and "floored" his mission companion, apparently for simply revealing his sexual orientation. Because Packer does not specify the reason for the violent response, he leaves the interpretation up to the reader. Packer told the missionary, "Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way." Packer told his audience, "I am not recommending that course [of violence] to you but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself".[107] I myself was present at this speech in the Tabernacle as a 15 year old Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. His missionary story left me with the harrowing sense that any future violence directed at me for my sexuality was justified by "God and His servants". This antiquated, homophobic speech was later made into a pamphlet by the same name and was distributed worldwide by the LDS Church for use in counseling young men until quite recently. As of 2011, Packer's speech has been deleted from both the "Conference Addresses" and "Ensign articles" of the LDS church's official website, lds.org. While it is good that Packer's toxic and uneducated statements are no longer accessible to the vulnerable, still he has not apologized or been held accountable for his statements in any way. It is as if he simply never gave the speech.

Boyd Packer
Apostle Boyd K. Packer
Advocate of Anti-Gay Violence

Young Men Cover
Young men 1
Young Men 2
Young Men 3

Cover and excerpts from Packer's homophobic pamphlet, "To Young Men Only"
[click on images to enlarge]


The Rise of the "Mormon Mafia" at The Advocate

Radicalized Gay and Lesbian Mormons in the late 1970s turned to the publishing world to help bring a voice of liberation to the stifling oppression of homophobia. A year after millionaire David Goodstein purchased the small "Los Angeles Advocate" Gay newsletter, he moved it to San Francisco, called it simply The Advocate, and hired Gay returned missionary (and son of a Mormon bishop) Robert Isaac McQueen as editor-in-chief. McQueen had worked at the University of Utah and as a journalist for the Salt Lake Tribune previously. Robert had known both Brent Tommy Harris and Ray Larson (Gay Mormons) from his days in Salt Lake City and hired them as associate editor and art director respectively. Pat Califia, a lesbian from a "blue collar Mormon family" in Salt Lake also joined the Advocate staff soon thereafter, mainly as the sex advice columnist. These four formed the nucleus of what would jokingly be referred to as "the Mormon Mafia" of the Advocate.

Below are scanned images of the 16 articles by or about Robert I. McQueen and Mormonism
which appeared in The Advocate from 1974 until his death in 1989 (scanned at 200 dpi for clarity)

"Mormon President Raps Homosexuals", November 6, 1974, p. 15
"Mormons Show Fear", June 18, 1975, p. 15
"Outside the Temple Gates - The Gay Mormon", August 13, 1975, p. 14
"BYU Inquisition", August 13, 1975, pp. 14-15
"Dogma According to Kimball", August 13, 1975, pp. 14 and 16
"Gay Mormons Talking Back" (5 letters from Gay Mormons in response to August issue), October 22, 1975, p. 23
"Robert McQueen Appointed as New Advocate Editor", December 3, 1975, p. 9
"Gay Mormons Organize", November 2, 1977, pp. 30-1
"The Heterosexual Solution: A Dilemma for Gay Mormons", Robert I. McQueen, ed. of Cloy Jenkins' "Payne Papers" (aka Prologue), February 22, 1978, pp. 10-15
"Opinions: A Matter of Choice" (musings on editing the "Payne Papers"), February 22, 1978, p. 22
"Mormons Excommunicate Editor of Advocate", August 9, 1979, pp. 10-11
"Mormon Campus Cops Get Statewide Bust Power", December, 27 1979
"Isn't There a Mormon Tabernacle Queer?", May 15, 1980, p. 12
"Short Takes" (on David Chipman case), June 26, 1980, p. 11
"What Hath Gay Wrought? The Progress and the Promise", June 26, 1980, p. 19
"Robert McQueen Dies", November 7, 1989, p. 13


This core group catapulted the Advocate into international success and it is still considered the pre-eminent Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered newsmagazine in the world. They also made sure that Mormon treatment of homosexuals received extensive coverage over the years that they were on staff (for which see below). In June 1981, 42 year-old Brent Harris became the first Advocate staff member (and likely the first Mormon) to die from what would later become known as AIDS. Robert McQueen also died of AIDS in October 1989 at the age of 47. [108]

McQueen pic________Califia pic
Robert I. McQueen (left) and Pat Califia (right; now "a bisexual transgendered person")
Members of the "Mormon Mafia" at The Advocate in the 1970s

1977: The Summer of Our Discontent

The late spring and early summer of 1977 (especially the month of June) was a momentous and explosive time for Gays and Lesbians both in Utah, as well as nationally.  Mormon politicians refused Gays the constitutional right to assemble on state property, Anita Bryant’s homophobic and heterosexist “Save Our Children, Inc.” crusade based in Florida was gaining national attention and momentum resulting in increased violence directed against Gays (including one brutal murder), the ERA was under attack by right-wing extremists using homophobic tactics, a support group for Gay Mormons was formally organized as a reaction against increasing Mormon homophobia, the Mormon-dominated Utah state legislature made homogamy illegal in the state, and it was Gay Pride month nationwide, celebrating the 8th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, drawing hundreds of thousands of Gays into the streets of the nation in previously unseen numbers.

In April 1977, a formal dance for the Salt Lake "gay Christian community" had been scheduled for the Utah State Capitol Rotunda. However, Lt. Governor David Smith Monson (a Mormon) canceled the dance, disingenuosly citing the safety and security of the dance attendees as his concern (thus blaming the "victim"). Monson said "he was afraid that since the [Metropolican Community] church [sponsoring the dance] admits homosexuals there could be trouble from onlookers." The Metropolitan Community Church filed a suit to force the governor to allow the dance but despite the constitutional guarantee to freedom of assembly, the Third District Judge Dean Conder "wrote a minute entry saying permission was discretionary with Monson and he wouldn't force him to allow the dance." [109]

Also that spring, Gay community members Kenneth A. Kline, Rev. Robert Waldrop, Paul Larson, and Dorothy Makin (all former Mormons) helped organize a convention for the "Salt Lake Coalition for Human Rights" to discuss the plight of Gay rights in America. Kline scheduled the convention to be held at the Mormon-owned Hotel Utah across the street from the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. Ken Kline allegedly informed hotel staff that same-sex dancing would occur at the "Grand Ball" scheduled as part of the convention's activities. (Bob Waldrop, no longer a reverend in MCC, in a recent email to me, admits that he "only had Ken's word for it. My gut feeling was that he had NOT told them, but...I was not about to break ranks on something like that given the way everything was coming down" and Waldrop told the press conference that the Hotel Utah staff had been informed about the convention.) At the beginning of June, the board of directors for the hotel grew alarmed at the advertising published around the city for the convention, making it clear that the "human rights" in question were in fact Gay rights.

In the meantime, voters in Dade County, Florida overwhelmingly repealed its Gay rights ordinance after heavy-handed crusading by orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant on June 7, which was greatly lauded on the front page of the Deseret News. According to Gay ex-Mormon historian, Ben Williams, just two weeks earlier, on May 24, 1977 conservative LDS Utah Senator Orrin Hatch addressed the listeners of Salt Lake radio station KSXX stating, “Well I can tell you this, I think if you take what she [Anita Bryant] says as truth, that she is not prejudiced against the homosexual, but she realizes what they have done, that she does not want them teaching her children. I tell you this — I don’t want them teaching my children, and I don’t want them teaching your children either, and I think they are becoming too blatant in our society, and I don’t want to take other rights away from them, but I sure as heck don’t want them teaching, and I don’t want them in sensitive areas around children.”

The board met on the following day, Wednesday, June 8, and canceled the reservations for the convention's facilities, just three days before the large convention was to begin. Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church and president of the Hotel Utah Company claimed that "Hotel officials...were unaware of the nature of the convention when it was first booked". Brown wrote a letter to organizer Ken Kline saying the booking had been dropped by the board of directors. "When you made arrangements for booking space at the hotel, no mention was made as to the nature of your organization nor the cause it seeks to advance," Brown wrote. "According to the organization's advertising of the convention, those attending will be encouraged to follow homosexual practices contrary to the laws of the state of Utah and prevailing standards of public morals and decency," Brown continued. On Thursday, June 9, 1977, Shirley Pedler, director of the Utah chapter of the ACLU issued a statement to the press "condeming the hotel's action". Pedler cautiously avoided the issue of whether or not the hotel management knew that "human rights" really meant "Gay rights", and instead focused on the fact that the "convention is being held for purposes of discussion and association only and the refusal of the Hotel Utah to make good its commitment to provide facilities violates the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, if not the letter of the law." The convention planners quickly switched venues to the nearby International Dunes Inn (the only hotel in Salt Lake that would take the controversial group) and the convention proceded as planned. Recently excommunicated Leonard Matlovich (see his biography above) and Gay professional football player David Kopay were the keynote speakers. (Although Matlovich had been LDS, he never mentioned this at the press conference in Salt Lake, nor did he tell any of the conference organizers, according to Bob Waldrop. Despite his notoriety, Matlovich was a very private person.) Symposia held at the Dunes on June 11 included "parents of gays discussing their attitudes towards their children, Salt Lake City Police Dept. Vice Squad officers discussing the legal treatment of gays and a former LDS church Stake President, Rev. [James Earl] Sandmire, discussing the religious implications of homosexuality." [109A]

David Kopay ___Leonard Matlovich

Bob Waldrop____James Sandmire___Kenneth Kline
From Top Left: David Kopay and Leonard Matlovich
From Bottom Left: Rev. Bob Waldrop, Rev. James Sandmire, and Ken Kline

Some of the speakers and organizers of the 1977 Salt Lake Human Rights convention

During the June 1977 convention members of the "gay Christian community" in Salt Lake City asked Gov. Scott M. Matheson (a "liberal" Mormon Democrat) to appoint a commission to "study the problem of gay rights in Utah". However Michael Youngren, the governor's press secretary said it was "doubtful Matheson would form such a commission" and added that the governor had declined even to meet the group of petitioners.

Most importantly of everything that happened at the convention, Gay and Lesbian Mormons formally organized a support group called "Affirmation: Gay Mormons United, on Saturday, June 11. As Rev. Waldrop recently recalled to me, the Mormons at the convention "had a separate meeting, like a caucus meeting, at the hotel" to found Affirmation. (See Affirmation section for details.) Note that it was also in June 1977 that Gay BYU student, Cloy Jenkins (assisted by Gay Mormons Jeff and Lee Williams, Howard Salisbury, and Donald Attridge) wrote his infamous rebuttal, Prologue, as a response to the homophobic lectures at BYU by Dr. I. Reed Payne. (See Prologue section for details.) His well-reasoned essay remained undisputed by BYU faculty (despite several attempts) and eventually brought an end to the anti-Gay "Values Institue" on campus.

In ever-increasing press coverage of homosexuality that summer, a homophobic article entitled "Hollow Homes" appeared in the Mormon-oriented magazine Sunstone by Bruce Steed, referring to "sodomy and self-abuse" as a "disease" caused by the machismo of "the mythical male role" and a lack of "genuine intimacy" in the home. While Steed didn't agree with Spencer Kimball that masturbation leads to homosexuality (which Kimball had taught in The Miracle of Forgiveness), he did feel that "all who are homosexuals masturbated seriously".[110]

Mother Jones reporter, Bill Sievert, in a comprehensive and thoughtful contemporary investigation into anti-Gay violence, documented that within days of the Dade County, Florida vote repealing anti-Gay discrimination there, "several gay men suffered beatings as they strolled the streets of San Francisco....A number of gay businesses along Castro Street [the predominantly Gay district of the city] became targets of anti-Gay violence.  The windows of a gift shop and the headquarters of a local gay politician [Harvey Milk] were blown out by oversized cherry bombs taped to the window panes.  One man was slightly injured when someone tossed a cherry bomb through the doorway of...a popular Castro Street bar." A history of homosexuality in San Francisco also reports that at the end of the month of June 1977, "firebombs exploded in five gay-owned businesses" and the annual Gay Halloween street celebration that year was tear-gassed by assailants.

The violence culminated on the night of June 22, just three days before the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, a San Francisco city-employed gardener and religious brother in an Orthodox order, 33 year old Robert Hillsborough, and his on-again-off-again boyfriend, Jerry Taylor, were assaulted by four knife-wielding young men just outside Hillsborough's home in the Mission district.  Taylor escaped with severe injuries, but John Cordova and Mike Chavez cornered Hillsborough and while their two friends, Tom Spooner and an unnamed 16 year old, watched, Cordova brutally stabbed Robert 15 times. A neighbor testified that Robert's last words before dying were, "Oh my god, oh my god!  What are you doing to me?" All the while, the four men shouted anti-Gay epithets like “faggot”, “queer”, and (allegedly) “this one's for Anita!” Neighbors awakened by the ruckus immediately rushed to the aid of the well-liked man and his partner, but were too late to save Hillsborough. (Cordova was later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10 years.) [111]

Robert Hillsborough
33 year old Gay gardener, Robert Hillsborough;
murdered in the wake of Bryant's victory in Florida

This heinous hate-murder galvanized Gays and Lesbians in the city and they turned out for the march in unexpectedly massive numbers (estimates run between 100,000 and 300,000 strong), turning it into a protest and “massive Civil Rights March” against Hillsborough’s murder and Bryant’s incendiary homophobia and bigotry.  The steps of City Hall at the end of the parade route became an impromptu memorial site where marchers laid photos and flowers in Hillsborough’s honor.

Hillsborough memorial________Crowds at Hillsborough memorial
Impromptu memorial for murdered Gay man, Robert Hillsborough, San Francisco City Hall
and view of the Gay demonstrators from the steps
(click for larger images)
Photos from Uncle Donald's Castro Street website, used with permission

For the San Francisco Gay Pride march, Larry Agriesti created a series of large posters representing historical bigots, including Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Adolt Hitler, and the Ku Klux Klan – and at the very center, a large poster of an angelic Anita Bryant singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic". 

Anita Hitler
Anita Bryant at the center of "Bigots on Parade", June 1977
(click for larger images)
Photo from Uncle Donald's Castro Street website, used with permission

Agriesti writes, “The response from the crowds and media was overwhelming; something I hadn’t expected…” and his entry won a “Cable Car” award from the Parade Committee for best parade entry called “Bigots on Parade”. 

The Deseret News alarmingly reported that the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco that year was even larger than any of the anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s.  Just one year earlier, the parade had drawn between 12,000 and 90,000 people.  It was becoming apparent that Anita's campaign and the subsequent rash of anti-Gay violence in San Francisco and elsewhere- especially Robert Hillsborough's murder - brought Gays out of the closet in record numbers. (I myself came out to my high school Mormon religion teacher, Robert Woods, in June 1977, spurred by these national events, even though I was only 15 at the time. Woods then had me immediately contact my bishop, Sheldon Childs - a 2nd cousin of my mother and now a General Authority - and I was put in the church's "program" of fasting, prayer, weekly interviews, and "therapy" to make me heterosexual.)

Robert’s mother, Helen Hillsborough, told the press that her “son’s blood is on [Bryant’s] hands”.  The mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, accused "demagogues" like Bryant and other prominent homophobes of the day of creating a "climate of hate and bigotry" against Gays, then offered a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpitrators (who were soon caught), and ordered the city's flags lowered to half-mast on the day of Hillsborough's funeral.  (Note that one year later, Mayor Moscone himself and Gay city supervisor Harvey MIlk would be assassinated by fellow supervisor Dan White, in a brutal anti-Gay hate crime at City Hall.) Anita Bryant was later named as a defendant in a $5 million civil law suit which contended that her “Save Our Children” campaign against homosexual equal rights had inspired the fatal assault on Robert Hillsborough.  By the end of November 1977, however, Bryant had been dropped as a defendant. [112]

In October 1977, 27 year old Thom L. Higgins, a Gay rights activist posing as a journalist, hit Bryant in the face with a banana cream pie during one of her anti-Gay rallies in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Bryant gets pied
Bryant learns "in your face" politics from Thom Higgins in Iowa
[click for larger image]
copyright 2004 by Des Moines Register

Humiliated and forever tarnished by the image of the pie dripping from her face, a stunned Anita finally bowed her head and prayed in front of a national news audience that Higgins “be delivered from his deviant lifestyle”.   After sobbing briefly she then quipped, “At least it was a fruit pie”.

Gay rights activists successfully retaliated with an important moral victory when a Gay-lead nationwide boycott of Florida orange juice resulted in Bryant losing her job as spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Growers' Association.  And Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign ultimately failed, as one activist wrote, in that she "provided a focus for the [Gay] community and a platform for presenting our case.  'Gay' became a household word.  We became front page news." An August 1977 report by Mother Jones on the effects of Bryant's campaign agreed, noting that she "has done more to politically energize American homosexuals than anything since the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York's Greenwich Village launched the modern-day gay liberation movement." The magazine also interviewed Robert McQueen, former LDS editor of the Gay newsmagazine The Advocate, who stated "It's really more significant than Stonewall....Bryant has crystallized the issue. She's declared war, and she's got a lot more people coming out of their closets to fight back. Gay people are being politicized like never before." The article concluded by understating that "there is a growing sense of outrage among American homosexuals - an anger that is expected to be felt increasingly in the political arena in the months to come."

Just two weeks before the devastating International Women's Years conference in Utah (see section on the Equal Rights Amendment), Barbara B. Smith, general president of the LDS Relief Society, sent a telegram to Bryant, saying,

"On behalf of the one million members of the Relief Society...we commend you for your courageous and effective efforts in combatting homosexuality and laws which would legitimize this insidious life style. We congraulate you on the overwhelming victory of your forces in Florida's Dade County elections. We stand with you in your worthy efforts to strenghten the family and the home, the cornerstone of America's strength. Thinking men and women across our nation, concerned about the moral fiber of our country, will join also in the fight against the disruptive influences to our homes such as pornography, homosexuality and growing permissiveness."

Adding fuel to the fire, Utah State Fair director Hugh C. Bringhurst announced on June 28 that Anita Bryant, "songstress and antigay rights publicist" would be singing and holding a rally at the Fair on September 18, 1977. Outraged by this choice, the Salt Lake Coalition for Human Rights began in June to organize a counter protest at the Fair. Barbecues, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and posters were used to raise money for the protest. The Coalition received official support from the Salt Lake Metropolitan Community Church, the Gay Services Coaliton of Utah, the Gay Student Union (at the University of Utah), Women Aware (a Lesbian-feminist organization in Salt Lake) and the Socialist Workers' Party of Utah. As a result, over 100 Gay activists turned out to form a picket line at the Fair. Some of the picketers were spat upon by attendees and some people were escorted out of the stadium, but no violence broke out. The protesters later circumnavigated Temple Square chanting slogans against oppression of Gays. Some 500 Gay rights supporters attended a vigil that night at Memory Grove in downtown Salt Lake, partially as a memorial for the murdered Robert Hillsborough. Waldrop also reports that at the vigil, "somebody hiding up above the group on a hill tossed a canister of tear gas down on the crowd. It fell into an open space and everybody drew back even more when they smelled what it was." (Waldrop also remembers that during that same month, he was outside a Salt Lake Gay bar handing out invitations to attend the Metropolitan Community Church when four youths wielding bats drove up to him to assault him, but then hastily departed upon seeing he was dressed in his ministerial shirt.)

In response to Gay organzing against the former "beauty queen turned fruit-juice peddler", on July 9, Mormon Apostle Mark E. Petersen claimed in an editorial in the Church News that "every right-thinking person will sustain Miss Bryant, a prayerful, upright citizen, for her stand", which Petersen hoped would "keep this evil from spreading, by legal acceptance, through our society." In November of that same year, Spencer Kimball, now church president, told reporters that Bryant was "doing a great service" because church leaders feel that "the homosexual program is not a natural and normal way of life." Yet when asked if Kimball fully "endorsed" Bryant's campaign, Kimball felt that he would not go that far. [113]

On June 29, 1977, House Bill 3 (HB3), by LDS Rep. Georgia Peterson, R-Salt Lake, fresh from her controversial victory at the IWY Conference, passed the Utah State House of Representatives by a landslide vote of 71 to 3, making "homosexual marriages in the state of Utah...illegal".  The Deseret News noted that "the issue of homosexual marriages was not even discussed on the floor of the House", there being no question of voting in favor of the homophobic bill.

Toward the end of the month, two non-Mormon anti-Gay editorials appeared in the pages of the Mormon-owned Deseret News, one by a nationally syndicated reporter and conservative Catholic professor of religion at Syracuse University, Dr. Michael Novak, and the other by Jewish professor of child development at the University of Utah, Dr. Elliott Landau.

Lauding the triumph over Gay rights in Dade County, Florida, Novak admits that "the state should not intrude on the private life of citizens".  But distinguishing between "the state" and "society", he claims that society "has not only the right but also the duty to make moral distinctions".  He appeals to Freudian views by listing the narcissism of homosexuality as the first of "two basic deficiencies in the homosexual way of life".  Heterosexuality, unlike the easily shattered "shell" of homosexuality, is to be privileged by society because it "is rooted in the cycle of the generations, that long prosaic realism of familial responsibilities which is the inner rhythm of the human race."

The second deficiency "follows from the first": homosexuality is "structurally" transient and restless, while the affections that homosexual feel is merely "seasonal".  Heterosexual unions on the other hand are "difficult" and to "help them succeed is of indispensable priority" to society.  Finally, "only a repressive society would try to punish homosexuals.  Only a decadent society would grant them equal status." [114]

Dr. Landau also penned a lengthy piece attacking homosexuality, this editorial exclusively for the Mormon paper, despite the advise of many of his colleagues to the contrary.  Landau began by carefully, almost thoughtfully explaining both points of view, pro-Gay and anti- (as stated in the article's title).  But then he quickly admited that he "could never go along" with the belief that homosexuality is a "viable, acceptable and psychologically healthy sexual preference" and considered "homosexuality undesirable behavior".   Despite the promised varying opinions, Landau merely regurgitated a very Freudian and Oedipal view that "most importantly, the family seems to play a vital role" in sexual orientation, especially "negative childhood interaction with...fathers".  He then, in a bold anti-feminist tactic (designed to keep women in their place), blamed matriarchal homes, where the father is "less dominant than the mother", as being the ideal breeding ground for homosexuality.  "While having the proper kind of father [described earlier as warm, nurturant, yet dominant] is no guarantee of a male growing up heterosexual, the odds for normal development are better."   Ultimately, Landau believed that only through heterosexuality can a person have a "happy, healthy, normal kind of life in adulthood".  Obviously the leadership at Deseret News felt it important to have non-Mormon (and even non-Christian) religious and educated voices that perfectly harmonized with their own, shoring up important alliances in defense of their misinformed bigotry. [115]


"Affirmation: Gay Mormons United" Founded

The sharp increase in homophobic discourse, policy, and politics in the mid-70s rankled Gay Mormons. Informal social networks were effective on an individual basis, but as a few strong and courageous people gave up their "Gay shame", they realized that something more formally organized and lasting was needed in order to respond to the misconceptions and disinformation being spread by LDS and BYU leaders. In early 1977, a group of Gays started meeting quietly on the BYU campus. However, "after hearing about all the suicides taking place" among Gay Mormons (especially the suicides of Gay BYU professor Carlyle Marsden, and of two men who had gone through electric shock "therapy" at BYU the year prior with Ford McBride and Dr. Eugene Thorne), the group decided to take more formal action. One of this group, 22-year old Gay convert from Davis, California, Stephen James Matthew Price (going by first by Matthew Price and then a later alias of Stephan J. Zakharias), "became very enthused at the idea of a national organization of gay LDS people and began to promote it with gusto." As Zakharias told The Advocate in the November 1977 issue, "We have said 'We've had enough.' Gay people are not second-class citizens. We are children of God. We are important people and we have just as much worth as our heterosexual brothers and sisters in the church."

Stephan Zakharias
Stephen J. Matthew Price (alias Stephan J. "Zak" Zakharias), Founder of
Affirmation: Gay Mormons United, 1977
photo by Jay Bell, 2003

A new national organization was then formed at the Human Rights Conference held in Salt Lake City on June 11, 1977. Zakharias was made National Director of what was then called Affirmation: Gay Mormons United. (The name would later change to Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons.) Zakharias decided to move Affirmation's national headquarters to Denver that fall "to avoid church oppression." As he explained to The Advocate, "There is a lot of paranoia in our group right now....Each one of us is still in love with the church and we still adhere very strongly to its teachings. But at the same time we cannot deny what we are....[I]t's time we started meeting our own needs, because the church hasn't provided a positive atmosphere in which to do this." Members were so paranoid about being discovered that the mailing list was kept in a safe deposit box in Denver, and members wer encouraged by Price/Zakharias to go by their middle names plus their mother's or grandmother's maiden names, and in fact his own grandmother's maiden name was Zachares. [115A]

After the November 1977 issue of The Advocate came out, membership in Affirmation tripled within a month, and members from 8 foreign countries joined, making it an international organization. Two women named Mary and Kathy joined the "international official board" and headed the "sisterhood wing" of Affirmation, "the first gay organization with a wing specifically designed to meet the needs of the lesbian community within any church". Besides Steve, Mary, and Kathy, other international officers included Rick (assistant director), Gary (secretary), and David W. (treasurer). Affirmation was founded because "Mormon gays have been the most oppressed and guilt-laden group, as well as the most misunderstood, within the Church". However, Lesbian and Gay Mormons were "oft-times...the most contributory, stalwart, creative, service-oriented, and industrious members in our wards and stakes". Therefored Affirmation's mission was to (1), "provide a positive and supportive atmosphere where LDS gays and lesbians can meet each other", (2) "lessen the paranoia and guilt, fear and self-oppression that LDS homosexuals experiencee", and (3) "educate and strengthen each other through conversation, dialogue, and correspondence among ourselves". Steve Zakharias also noted in the December 1977 Affirmation newsletter that "due to the increase of our membership and the need for a central locale", the now international offices of Affirmation had moved to Dallas, Texas. Chapters were then forming in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Dallas, and one was possibly starting in Seattle. Despite the location of the international headquarters in Dallas, it was the Los Angeles chapter, under the brilliant leadership of Paul Mortensen, that sustained Affirmation during its early years.

Mortensen, after reading the November 1977 article, contacted Zakharias about Affirmation/GMU. On January 28, 1978, six Gay Mormons met in Paul's West Hollywood apartment and formally organized the Los Angeles Chapter of GMU, and membership there "skyrockted". Paul's financial, counselling, and leadership contributions to Affirmation and all LGBT Mormons cannot be underestimated, literally saving an untold number of lives through his dedication to improving the status of Mormon homosexuals. [115B]

Affirmation Paul Thumb Affirmation DC Thumb

Affirmation's first Gay Pride March
June 1979 in Los Angeles
Paul Mortensen (white t-shirt) with Rev. Troy Perry,
Founder of Metropolitan Community Church
[click on image to enlarge]

Affirmation at the Labor Department
October 14, 1979, Washington DC
[click on image to enlarge]

Affirmation LA card
Affirmation LA pamphlet  Affirmation pamphlet cover

Affirmation GMU - Los Angeles business card, circa 1978
From the Leonard Matlovich Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
[click on image to enlarge]

Affirmation GMU - Los Angeles Pamphlet, circa 1978
Also from the Leonard Matlovich Collection
[click on image to enlarge]

Lee Williams organized the first Salt Lake Chapter of Affirmation: Gay Mormons United in 1978, after placing flyers in the Gay bars and cruising areas of Salt Lake, as well as on the BYU campus. A year later, the Salt Lake Chapter disbanded but then was reorganized soon thereafter by Alma Smith, John Cooper, and Mel Barber. It later withdrew from official affiliation with the national organization because its leaders were more radical and less accommodating to Mormonism's anti-Gay stance than the national leadership.

In both 1979 and 1980, Affirmation's national leaders requested audiences with the First Presidency but their requests were denied.

Politics in Utah...and Beyond

From July 1977 to July 1979, Apostle Mark E. Petersen wrote six extremely harsh editorials for the Mormon Church News attacking the national Gay rights movement. For Petersen, homosexuality was "a menace to the population at large". According to him, Lesbian and Gay pleas for tolerance and legal recourse for discrimination "should disgust every thinking person". The following are quotes from five of Petersen's editorials, highlighting his homophobic viewpoint:

Petersen, like Kimball, actually drew the "expert evidence" for his editorials from popular media sources, such as Newsweek, Time, and the Sacramento Bee newspaper.


1. Throughout this essay, unless quoting others, I capitalize "Lesbian", "Gay", and "Bisexual", as one way of affirming my belief that we have constructed an ethnic identity: a social and cultural system which includes, but is not limited to, a history, a language, and a political sensibility, and which drastically differs in many ways from that of the "Straight" community. By homosocial, I am referring to the spectrum of beliefs, attitudes, loci, signs, desires, and practices of the many aspects of Queerness. Homosocial specifically means the dynamic of a group of people of the same sex who socialize together. "Male bonding" is a form of homosociality. Other aspects of this "homo-continuum" include the homopolitical, homospiritual, homointellectual, homophysical, homoemotional, homophilic, homoerotic, and ultimately, the homosexual. Homophobia is literally an irrational, unfounded fear of homosexuals and homosexuality, while I define heterosexism as the assumption that all people are heterosexuals or ought to be. Both engender such practices as anti- Gay legislation, "reorientation" therapies, or passive, but debilitating silence.

2. T. Eugene Shoemaker, "Human Sexuality in Mormonism: Reflections from the Bishop's Couch; an Essay on Understanding," submitted for publication to Sunstone Magazine, Sunstone papers, b. 26, f. 20, no date, Special Collections, University of Utah Marriott Library.

3. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), p. 56.

4. Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence", reprinted in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 239 and 242.

5. The term "sister-wife" interestingly combines two intensely sensual, emotional and personal concepts: conjugality and sorority.

6. Gail Farr Casterline, "Ellis R.Shipp," in Vicky Burgess-Olson, ed., Sister Saints (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), p. 371.

7. Casterline, pp. 369-70.

8. Ibid., p. 371, italics in original.

9. Carol Lasser, "'Let Us Be Sisters Forever': The Sororal Model of Nineteenth Century Female Friendship", Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1988, Vol. 1, no.1, p. 161.

10. "Louie B. Felt", Children's Friend, 18 (18 Dec. 1919): 410.

11. Ibid., 411.

12. "Mary and May", Children's Friend, 18 (18 Dec. 1919), p. 421.

13. While Aurelia Spencer Rogers actually founded the first Primary organization, Louie Felt organized the second branch of it a month later in September, 1879. On June 19, 1880, Felt became the first General President of the Primary, and in 1890, called her lover, May Anderson, to be the General Secretary. May Anderson first suggested in 1893 that the Primary have its own church-sponsored publication, and in 1901, the Primary General Board finally received permission to begin publishing the Children's Friend with Anderson as editor. Felt and Anderson together conceived of the idea for the Primary Children's Hospital after seeing a disabled boy on the streets of Salt Lake City. In 1925, when Louie B. Felt was released as the Primary General President, her parttner May Anderson succeeded her in that position. For further details on the relationship and accomplishments of these two remarkable women, see their biographies in the following issues of the Children's Friend "Louie B. Felt", vol. 18 (December 18, 1919), pp. 404-417, "Mary and May", vol. 18 (December 18, 1919), pp. 418-422, "The New Presidency", vol. 24 (November 1925), pp. 21-23, "Louie B. Felt: A Tribute", vol. 24 (November 1925), pp. 422- 425, and "A Friend of the Children", vol. 39 (April 1940), pp. 146- 152; as well as Susan Staker Oman, "Nurturing LDS Primaries: Louie Felt and May Anderson, 1880-1940", Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol 49, no. 3, pp. 262- 275.

14. "Mary and May", 420-1.

15. See I Samuel 18:1-4, and II Samuel 2:25-27. For discussions on David and Jonathan as historical signifiers of male- male desire and sexuality, see John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 105, 238-39, 252, and 299; and Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 221.

16. "Veteran Worker in Primary Recalls History for Jubilee", Deseret News, 21 Apr. 1928.

17. For biographical information on Thomas, see "Biographical Note" accompanying the register for the Kate Thomas papers, donated to the Utah State Historical Society by her brother, U.S. Senator Elbert Thomas (D-Utah). Included in the Kate Thomas papers is another biography written by LeNae Peavey for a university class, entitled "Kate Thomas (1871- 1950). However, Ms. Peavey went to great lengths to avoid the Lesbian desire of Thomas's poetry.

18. "To _________", Record Journal of Love Poems, Kate Thomas Papers, Utah State Historical Society, Box 3, (Folder 5, p. 34.)

19. "A Scarlet West", p. 36, Thomas Papers.

20. See commentary on the 1868 song, "Gay Young Clerk in the Dry Goods Store" in Jonathan Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac (Cambridg, MA: Harper and Row, 1983) 315. Male dry goods clerks were stereotyped by Victorian America as effeminate and what we might today call "homosexual".

21. Katz, Almanac

22. "Narcissus", p. 80.

23. "A Gay Musician", p. 79.

24. "Biographical Notes", Kate Thomas Papers.

25. See Polk's Directory for Salt Lake City, 1923 and 1927, and for Ogden, Utah, 1919 and 1925.

26. Interview with L.H. on August 8, 1988, and interview with J.B.B. on January 7, 1990. Cora's niece, Juli Dulmage, also emailed me on May 29, 1999 to let me know that in the 1960s one evening she was having dinner with her aunt Cora when Cora started to explain why she had never married but stopped mid-sentence and never told her niece why. The possibility of lesbianism had not crossed Dulmage's mind until she read an earlier version of this essay and now admits that her aunt may have been a Lesbian although any Lesbian relationships she had must have been "excruciatingly discrete". See also emails to me from Peter Kasius dated May 6, 7, 25, and 26, 1999 for more biographical data and family anecdotal material.

27. For biographical information on Cora Kasius, see "Utah Woman to Join Dutch Welfare Group", Deseret News 1945.

28. D. Michael Quinn identifies Fanny Fern as non-Mormon feminist Grata P. Willis Eldredge Parton and claims that this brief essay was originally published in the New York Ledger (see D. Michael Quinn, Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1996) p. 108. Coincidentally, "fern" is an archcaic, somewhat derogotory word for a Gay man, similar to pansy or fairy.

29. See the December 31, 1877 letter from Alice Blackwell to her sister-in-law Kitty Blackwell for an almost identical description of the painfulness of manipulative "smashing" at an eastern women's college, in Katz, Almanac, p. 176. For another amazingly similar non-Mormon description of "smashing", see Yale University student newspaper of 1873, quoted in Nancy Salhi, "Smashing: Women's Relationships Before the Fall," Chrysalis (1979), 8:21.

30. "Women Lovers," Woman's Exponent, vol. 1, #22, April 15, 1873, p. 175.

31. Quinn, Same-Sex Dynamics, p. 108.

32. George Wehner, A Curious Life, Horace Liveright Press: New York, 1929, pp. 397-400 and Michael Morris, Madam Valentino: The Many Lives of Natacha Rambova, New York: Abbeville Press, 1991, pp. 191 and 195-197.

33. For information on John C. Bennett, I am indebted to the Sam Taylor Papers, ms. 50, (Special Collections, University of Utah Marriott Library. On all his villainy, see his brilliant biography by Andrew F. Smith, The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett, University of Illinois Press, 1997.

34. Samuel Taylor papers, handwritten notes on typed page of rough draft of Nightfall at Nauvoo unnumbered first page of Chapter VII, "Every Species of Abomination," ms. 50, Box 29, Bk. 3.

35. Taylor to Lyon, February , 1969.

36. T. Edgar Lyon to Sam Taylor, Taylor papers, February 4, 1969, p. 2.

37. For Danites in drag, see The Wasp, July 27, 1842, as quoted in Andrew F. Smith, The Saintly Scoundrel: the Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett (University of Illinois Press, 1997) p. 94. "Bennettiana: or the Microscope with Double Diamond Lenses," The Wasp, July 27,1842, on microfilm at the University of Utah Marriott Library, emphasis is in original. Sam Taylor to Dr. T. Edgar Lyon, Sam Taylor papers, January 31, 1969.

38. As quoted by Smith, Saintly Scoundrel, p. 148.

39. L. F. Andrews, Pioneers of Polk County, Iowa, Vol. I (Baker-Trisler, Des Moines, 1903) pp. 27-31 and 87-91; online at http://books.google.com/books?id=c3kUAAAAYAAJ&pg. J.P. Munro-Fraser, History of Alameda County, California (Myron W. Wood, Oakland, 1883) p. 871; Smith, Saintly Scoundrel, pp. 12 and 27; 1870 Census of Santa Cruz CA, Santa Cruz Public Library. For "chum", Dr. John Egan email to Connell O'Donovan, January 24, 2005.

Note also that my own 3rd great grand father, Robart Cooper, who was about 10 years older than John C. Bennett and from Westmore County PA, was an early settler of Byrd, Ohio in the 1820s, where he met Alexander Hill and according to a love letter currently located in a library there, became lovers. Throughout their lives, where one moved, the other followed. They also promised to name all their male descendants after each other so Robert Cooper's eldest son was named Alexander Hill Cooper and Alexander Hill's eldest son was named Robert Cooper Hill; indeed, some 175 years later, my father's and my middle name is Hill in honor of their love for each other.

40. William H. Holyoak to John Taylor, October 9, 1886, quoted in correspondence of Raymond W. Taylor to Samuel W. Taylor, 7 June 1972, 2-3, Taylor Family Papers, box 20, file 3.

41. Salt Lake Tribune, 2 August 1886.

42. For Taylor's excommunication notice, see Deseret News, 28 Aug. 1886. For rumors published in the newspaper see "City and Neighborhood" column of the Salt Lake Tribune, 22, 24, 29 August, and 2 September, 1886.

43. Thomas Taylor to John Taylor and Angus M. Cannon, September 22, 1886, Taylor Family Papers, p. 5.

44. Rudger Clawson Journal, January 30, 1894, bk. 4, p. 83, Special Collections, Marriott Library.

45. Clawson Journal, bk. 4, p. 84.

46. Clawson Journal, bk. 4, p. 151.

47. Clawson Journal, bk. 5, pp. 30-31.

48. Salt Lake Tribune, 24 December 1886, p. 4.

49. Taylor had three wives, and Hunsaker had two. Both lost plural wives in divorce proceedings immediately following revelations of their sexual contact with other men. Christopher Cramer, Salt Lake's "Pioneer Florist", was another polygamist who was also a "queer", as one elderly informant called him in my interview with Cynthia Blood in 1989.

49A. For Arthur Bruce Taylor's "coming out", see Quinn, pp. 40-1. For the Richfield "ring", see Quinn, pp. 276. James Henry Moyle, "My History", as quoted in Gene A. Sessions (ed.), Mormon Democrat: The Religious and Political Memoirs of James Henry Moyle, as excerpted at http://www.signaturebooks.com/

50. Daniel Shellabarger, written comments on the Frederick Jones trial in my possession, April 23, 1994.

51. For accounts of the Jones trial and aftermath, see Salt Lake Daily Telegraph, "A Heavy Case", 27 October 1864; "That Case", 28 October 1864; "The Death of a Sodomite", 31 October 1864; Daily Union Vedette, 1 November 1864; and Deseret News, 31 October 1864 and 2 November 1864.

52. Deseret News 2 November 1864.

53. Brigham Young to Daniel H. Wells and Brigham Young Jr., 18 November 1864, in "Correspondence", Latter-day Saints Millennial Star 27 (7 January 1865): 14, as quoted in Quinn, Same-sex Dynamics, pp. 273 and 296.

54. "The Crime Against Nature," Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876, p. 598.

55. "The Crime Against Nature", Compiled Laws of the State of Utah, 1907, c. 28.

56. "The Crime Against Nature", Laws of the State of Utah, 1923, c. 13.

57. "Sodomy," Utah Code Annotated, 1953, 8B, title 76 (76-5- 403).

58. For biographical information on these converts to Mormonism, see passenger lists for the Mormon emigrant ship "Horizon" (microfilm no. 025,691), International Geneaglogical Index entries for Lancashire, England (for Carter) and Sussex, England (for Edwards), and Family Group Sheets for their families, all at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City.

59. Josiah Rogerson memoirs, Salt Lake Tribune, 4 January, 1914.

60. Prior to beginning any research on Stephens, I had heard from four unrelated sources the oral tradition passed down through other Gay Mormons, that this famous Mormon and Horace Ensign of the Tabernacle Choir, were Gay.

61. "Evan Bach: A True Story for Little Folk, by a pioneer", Children's Friend 18 (October1919) p. 387.

62. "Evan Bach", p. 389. See also the accompanying intimate photograph of the two young men, ca. 1875, when both were about 21years old, on p. 388. On Stephens' impersonation of the "old maid", see "Yesterday's Concerts," Deseret News, 30 September 1882; Evan Stephens, "To the Choir Members," Deseret Evening News, 31 August 1887, p. 5. Ray L. Bergman, The Children Sang: The Life and Music of Evan Stephens (Salt Lake City: Northwest Publishing Inc., 1992), pp. 6, 83-86.

63. Dean C. Jessee, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons (Deseret Book Company, 1974); Quinn, Same Sex Dynamics, pp. 135, 230-231; Improvement Era, "In Memory of Three", (April 1931).

63A. Ronald W. Walker, "Raining Pitchforks: Brigham Young As Preacher", Sunstone, 39 (May-June 1983); for Grow's cross-dressing, see Karl Brooks, “The Life of Amos Milton Musser” (M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1961), p. 71.

64. Both are quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, pp. 67 and 106, respectively.

65. United States Reports, Supreme Court, 98, pp. 166-68, as quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygramy, p. 110.

66. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygramy, pp. 133- 139.

67.See advertisement in the Deseret News, 5, 6 Apr. 1882.

68. "Art Decoration: Oscar Wilde Enlightens a Large Audience on the Subject," Salt Lake Tribune, April 11, 1882.

69. Alfred Lambourne, A Play-House (Salt Lake City: n.p., n.d.) p. 28.

70. Helen L. Warner, "Oscar Wilde's Visit to Salt Lake City," Utah Historical Quarterly 55 (Fall 1987): 333-334.

71. Deseret News 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 19, 24, 26, 30 April; 1, 3, 4, 7, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 May 1895.

72. Dellamora, Masculine Desire, pp. 301-302.

72.A. See Quinn, p. 131 and note 99.

73. Report of the 68th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (October 1897), pp. 65-66; for contention amongst the Twelve Apostles, see Edward L. Lyman, "The Alienation of an Apostle from His Quorum: The Moses Thatcher Case", reprinted in John Sillito and Susan Staker (eds.), Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002).

74. Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p. 200. Interestingly, early Anglican theologian John Bale wrote in "Apology against a Rank Papist" (London, 1550, xxvii, xii [v]), that the celibacy of Catholic clergy had set marriage and virginity "at variance" and replaced them with "two unhappy gestes, called whoredom and buggery", making celibacy the cause of homosexuality. Bale later wrote in "The Pageant of Popes" (London, 1574, p. 36) that in his visitations to English Catholic monasteries, which had been ordered by Henry VIII, he found "such swarmes of whoremongers, ruffians, filthie parsouns, giltye of sinne against nature, Ganimedes [young, effeminate homosexual men]...and unmarried all, so that thou wouldest thincke that there were a newer Gomorrah among them"; at Battle Abbey he found some twenty monks "gilty of sinne against nature" - which sins included homosexuality, prostitution...and polygamy!

75. Tribune 15 Feb. 1885, quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p. 133.

75A. D. Michael Quinn, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002) p. 191 and p. 488, note 55; and D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997) p. 307.

76. Eldred G. Smith, who replaced Joseph F. Smith as Patriarch to the Church, claimed that the young man was named Norville Service. George Albert Smith diary, 10 July and 16 Sept. 1946; Joseph F. Smith diary, 10 July 1946; J. Reuben Clark office diary, 30 July and 16 September 1946; typescripts in my possession.

77. See conference report in the Improvement Era, Nov. 1946, pp. 685 and 708.

78. George F. Richards diary, December 6, 1947, typescript in my possession.

79. David O. McKay office diary, April 10, May 9, and July 10, 1957; First Presidency files, 1959; typescripts in my possession

80. "Rexburg Investigates Moral Practices", (Pocatello) Idaho State Journal, September 14, 1950, p. 8. I have thoroughly reviewed all issues of the weekly Rexburg Standard newspaper from July to November 1950, and I could find no article announcing this anti-homosexual investigation. However, in the microfilm copy that I used (borrowed from "Ricks College", now BYU Idaho through interlibrary loan), two articles had been blacked out with duct tape before being microfilmed, so it is possible those referred to this investigation and had been censored by Ricks. I did note that every single issue had at least one (and sometimes two or more) article or opinion piece rabidly opposing Communism. Both the Ricks College and the Rexburg High School studentbodies were widely involved in the "Freedom Crusade" to raise money for a "shrine to freedom" in Berlin. Most of the anti-Communist articles had a paranoid, almost hysterical tone to them, as if huge numbers of Communists were poised just outside Rexburg, ready to invade and conquer this Mormon bastion of Capitalism and "liberty". J. Reuben Clark diary, September 11, 1950. Stephen L. Richards office diary, October 29, 1951. For Storer, see "Homosexuals find understanding at Boise church", Idaho Statesman, September 2, 1978, p. 5B.

81. Clark, "Home and the Building of Home Life," Relief Society Magazine 39 (December 1952): pp. 793-4; Conference Reports, October 1954, p. 79.

82. John Gerassi, The Boys of Boise: Furor, Vice, and Folly in an American City, (New York: Macmillan, 1966). Ken Storer email to Connell O'Donovan, September 16, 2004.

83. "Police Nab 23 in 27-Day Morals Drive", Salt Lake Tribune, May 29, 1958; see also "Suspect Held in Boys Morals Ring", Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1958, p. 10; http://historytogo.utah.gov/jblee.html; Congressional Record, Vol. 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix pp. A1-A2842.

84. Connell O'Donovan interview with "Farris", August 15, 1991, notes in my possession.

84A. My main source has been the online autobiography of Dr. Dorius My Four Lives, formerly online at joeldorius.com; however since his death that web domain no longer exists due to unpaid fees. I have obatined some legal rights to its material and hope to upload it on the web in the future. Other sources for this biogrpahical material are: "Joel Dorius - gay professor in '60s porn scandal", San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 19, 2006, p. B8, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/obituaries/20dorius.html and http://familysearch.org.

85. Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977), p. 381.

86.Spencer W. Kimball, "A Counselling Problem in the Church", July 10, 1964, LDS Church Archives. For Callis's early role in dealing with homosexuality among Mormons, see Kimball and Kimball, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 271. For arrests of Utah homosexuals published in newspapers at that time, see for example "Suspect Held in Boys Morals Ring", Salt Lake Tribune, 13 February 1958, and "Police Nab 23 in 27-Day Morals Drive", Salt Lake Tribune, 29 May 1958.

87. Kimball and Kimball, Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 383-384.

88. Spencer W. Kimball, "A Counselling Problem in the Church"; The Miracle of Forgiveness, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), Chapter Six, "The Crime Against Nature,"; "New Hope fo Transgressors", 1970, "New Horizons for Homosexuals," 1971, and "A Letter to a Friend," 1978, all published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Minor works and speeches of Kimball against homosexuality include "Love versus Lust," January 5, 1965, LDS Church Archives; "Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future," Ensign, 1 (June 1971); "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign, 4 (Nov. 1974); "The Foundations of Righteousness," Ensign, 7 (Nov. 1977); and "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality," Ensign, 10 (Nov. 1980).

89. Kimball, "Counselling," p. 12.

90. A similar policy was still in place in August 1980, when I was required to meet with General Authority Paul H. Dunn before I could proceed with receiving a mission call. Dunn met me in his office in the Church Administration Building for approximately one and a half minutes total, proclaimed me "clean and worthy", and commanded me to marry "one of the righteous daughters of Zion" upon my return from my mission. He bore solemn witness to me that the experience of "normal sex" with a woman would "cure" me. As a memento of our extremely brief meeting, I asked him to autograph my Triple Combination, which I still have.

91. Life, 26 June 1964, and Medical World News, 5 June 1964.

92. John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), p. 162.

93. Kimball, "Counselling", p. 13.

94. D'Emilio, Sexual Politics p. 164.

95. Kimball, "Counselling", p. 13.

96. Spencer W. Kimball, "Love versus Lust", BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964-1965 (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1965), pp. 1-30, esp. 24.

97. Edward L. Kimball indicated that "Horizons" was based on a 1966 letter, but a brief quote from the "12/20/65" letter on p. 274 is also found in "Horizons"; see p. 632, notation for item 71-19; The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Edward L. Kimball, editor, (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1982).

98. Kimball and Kimball, pp. 381-3.

99. Cloy Jenkins in The Advocate, February 22, 1978, p. 11.

100. David Buerger interview with Bill Marshall interview, March 22, 1978, copy in my possession. Duane E. Jeffrey interview with Victor L. Brown, Jr., December 21, 1977, copy of notes in my possession.

101. D. Michael Quinn, Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1996) p. 382 and footnote 81; and http://familysearch.org for vital statistics on Desmond. Obituary in the Spokesman-Review, May 12, 1983. For the Eucharistic Catholic Church, see their 1972 pamphlet online at http://www.lgbtran.org/View.asp?ID=BLD&Page=1; for the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, see Rosemary Winters, "Gay Mormons find acceptance in Restoraion Church", Salt Lake Tribune, June 5, 2004, available online at

102. First Presidency Circular Letter, March 19, 1970, LDS Church Archives, typescript in my possession.

103. Priesthood Bulletin, February 1973.

104. Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet I (Salt Lake City: Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973), n.p. In versions of this prior to 2015, I incorrectly identified Dr. Allen Bergin as a collaborator in authoring this pamphlet, for which I apologize.

105. Interview with Bill Marshall, March 22, 1978. Copy of notes in my possession. Antonio A. Feliz, journal excerpts for June 1980, copy in my possession.

106. See:

107. Boyd K. Packer, To Young Men Only (Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976) n.p.

108. Long Road to Freedom: the Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement, Mark Thompson ed. (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1994), pp. xxiii, 214-5. The day before Harris died "from a rare form of cancer", he told another staff member, "The quality of my life has been reduced to such a miserable level that I don't think it's worth going on", (p. 215).

109. "No dance at rotunda", Deseret News, April 23, 1977.

109A."Gays will sponsor rights convention", Utah Daily Chronicle, June 3, 1977; "Convention for gays canceled by Hotel Utah", Deseret News, June 9, 1977; "S.L. Hotel Cancels 'Rights' Convention Sponsored by Gays" by Roger Bennet, Ogden Standard Examiner, June 9, 1977; "Hotel Utah Cancels Homosexual Parley", Salt Lake Tribune, June 9, 1977; "Speaker Arrives for Gay Confab", Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 1977; "Gays get place to meet", Deseret News, June 10, 1977, B-5; "Gays open S.L. convention, Deseret News, June 11, 1977, p. A-4; and "Homosexuals Open Symposium", Salt Lake Tribune, June 11, 1977. For the Dade County victory, see "Heavy vote on gay issue", Deseret News, June 7, 1977, p. A-7; and "Voters repal gay rights law: Vindicated, singer says", Deseret News, June 8, 1977, pp. A-1 and A-6. For Senator Hatch's confusing statement about Bryant, see Ben Williams, "The Anita Bryant Fairgrounds Affair", online at http://slmetro.com/2005/6/williams_ben.shtml <accessed July 18, 2007>.

Note the hypocrisy in the fact that just two weeks after canceling the Gay rights convention reservations, a large convention of "born-again Christian" businessmen, under the auspices of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, met undisturbed at the Hotel Utah, even though the vast majority of those in attendance bore immense animosity toward Mormonism, which they view as a non-Christian, indeed Satanic cult. See convention report as politely covered in "Get to know Jesus, ex-grid star says", Deseret News, June 24, 1977, p. B-6.

110. For the governor's refusal to study Gay rights issues, see "Local 'Gays' Ask for Utah Study, Salt Lake Tribune, June 9, 1977. Bruce Steed, "Hollow Homes", Sunstone, no. 6, pp. 7 and 48.

111. Bill Sievert, "The Killing of Mr. Greenjeans", Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 1977, pp. 39-56. Rev. Malcolm Boyd, "As An Advocating and Practicing Homosexual", Integrity Forum (for Gay Episcopalians), vol. 4 no. 4, April-May, 1978, available online at http://www.integrityusa.org/voice/1978/AprilMay1978.htm. Susan Stryker and Jim Van Buskirk, Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, 1996), pp. 76-78.

112. Larry Agriesti, as quoted in Donald Eckert, "Bigots on Parade: Gay Parade 1977", available online at http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/paradebigots.html; Sukie de la Croix, "A Very Personal Gay and Lesbian History", online at http://www.outlineschicago.com/archives/current/outlines/archives/112697/history.html; "Gays Parade: 100,00 in S.F.", Deseret News, June 27, 1977, p. A-7. Sievert, "The Killing of Mr. Greenjeans", p. 42.

113. Various websites have accounts, photos, and downloadable film footage of this humorous and historical moment, including: http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/archive/speech_327.html
http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/99999999/ENT/502270313 http://www.bbcmotiongallery.com/customer/common/search/searchDetails.jsp?catRefId=sku50612&clipItemId=prod60612

For Bringhurst's announcement about the State Fair, see Ben Williams, "The Anita Bryant Fairgrounds Affair", online at http://slmetro.com/2005/6/williams_ben.shtml. On effects of Bryant on homosexuals, see editorial "Anita's Squeeze Play", Mother Jones, August 1977, p. 56. On the Memory Grove vigil and on almost being attacked, Bob Waldrop email to Connell O'Donovan, June 29, 2005.

On Mormon lauding of Bryant, see "Relief Society Leader Hails Anita Bryant's Homosexual Stand," Salt Lake Tribune, June 11, 1977; "LDS Leader Hails Anti-Gay Stand," Salt Lake Tribune, November 5, 1977; and "Relief Society commends Anita", Deseret News, June 11, 1977, B1. "Unnatural, without excuse," Church News supplement of the Deseret News July 9, 1977; see note 117 about Petersen as author.

114. "House opposes marriage of gays", Deseret News, June 29, 1977, p. A-5; Michael Novak, "A 'Gay' moral claim?", Deseret News, June 22,1977 p. A-5.

115.Elliott Landau, "Opinions vary on the explosive topic of homosexuality", Deseret News, June 29, 1977, p. C10.

115A. See http://www.affirmation.org/history/in_the_beginning.shtml

115B. Affirmation/G.M.U. Newsletter, December 11, 1977 [here as a PDF]

116."Unnatural, without excuse", July 9, 1977, "The strong delusions", January 14, 1978, "On the safe side," February 4,1978, "Calling the kettle clean," March 18, 1978, "Is it a menace?," and "Sin is no excuse", July 29, 1979, all in the "Church News" section of the Deseret News.

117. Rev. Robert Waldrop, "An Open Response to a Nameless General Authority Who Wants to Call Some Kettles Clean", Salt Lake Open Door, April 1978, p. 20; note that this was written six years before it was disclosed in the Church News on January 15, 1984 that Petersen "had written the editorials since the beginning of the weekly publication in 1931".

118. Gunn McKay, as quoted in The Open Door (Ray Hencke, editor), September 1977, vol. 1, no. 9. Ellett's opinion is found in Salt Lake City v. James D. Piepenburg, Supreme Court of Utah, 571 P.2d 1299 (1977). This opinion is found online at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/obscenity.htm and http://www.outlineschicago.com/archives/current/outlines/archives/111997/history.html

119. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 7, 2004 and pp. 3-4 of Castle v. State [PDF]

120. Willy Marshal (former records clerk at the Salt Lake City Police Department) email to Connell O'Donovan, August 12, 2004; Salt Lake Tribune, January 12, 1978, p. 14A, and New York Times, January 13, 1978, Sec. 4, p.13.

121. "Anti-Gay Leader,” Sunstone Magazine, May-June 1978, p. 7, citing Christianity Today; Jay Bell email to Connell O'Donovan, Arpil 18, 2000 and http://www.historylink.org/output.cfm?file_ID=1403

122. Why Mormon Women Oppose the ERA (Salt Lake City: Relief Society, 1979) n. p. and The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue, (The Ensign Magazine 1980), 9 and 22. "Women's Rights", Sunstone, Issue 16, July 1979.

123. Debra Burrington email to Connell O'Donovan, August 21, 2004.

124."Mormon Media Image", Sunstone, issue 8, January 1978.

125. "Standards of Morality and Fidelity," First Presidency Letter to All Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 14, 1991. Emphasis is mine.

126. Spencer W. Kimball, "New Horizons for Homosexuals," (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1971).

127. Kimball, Mirace of Forgiveness, pp. 80- 81.

128. Shoemaker, "Sexuality in Mormonism", pp. 5-6.

129. Duane E. Jeffrey interview with Victor L. Brown, Jr., December 21, 1977, p. 2, copy of notes in my possession.

130. Ibid., p. 2.

131. "Gays Parley Discusses Homosexuality", Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1978, p. 6.

131A. Anonymous letter to the editor, The Open Door, September 1978, vol 2. no. 9, p. 5.

131B. Ray Henke (editor), "Gays Unite Against Harassment", The Open Door, vol 2. no. 10 (October 1978) p. 8.

131C. Mark Thompson, "Singing the Gay and Lesbian", The Advocate, December 27, 1979, pp. 24-27. Pearson, Goodbye, pp. 147 and 156. See also the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus memorial for those who have died from AIDS, including Gerald Pearson.

131D. Victor L. Brown Jr., DSW, "Truth, Sin, Guilt, Punishment, and Redemption", AMCAP Journal, Vol. 1, iss. 1, Oct 1975, p. 44.

132. "The Unquiet Life and Death of Kristi Independence Kelly" at http://www.transhistory.org/history/TH_Kristi_Kelly.html. Kay Brown emails to Connell O'Donovan, July 5 and 6, 2005. For Kimball's anti-transsexual speeches, see them quoted in Edward L. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 278 and 634-5. Besides the murder of Frederick Jones in October 1864, recorded above, Mormon Eagle Scout Lance Wood tortured Gay Mormon Gordon Ray Church to death on November 23, 1988 in southern Utah (receiving a life sentence) and Mormon Russell A. Henderson assisted in the torture and murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming on October 6, 1998. Henderson was later excommunicated for Shepard's murder. I have been unable to find out if the LDS Church disciplined Lance Wood in any way for his part in the murder of Gordon Church. On the Hawker gay-bashing, see Miriam Rand, "Cache gay-bashing incident a decade ago similar to Laramie case", The Herald Journal (Logan, Utah), October 15, 1998, as quoted at http://listserv.unl.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9810&L=lmw-l&T=0&P=43949

Russell A. Henderson
Mormon Russell A. Hendrson in court for the murder
of Gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie [click to enlarge]

133. ***** Crockett email to Connell O'Donovan, April 2, 2002.

134. Ernest L. Wilkinson (ed.), Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years (BYU Press 1976) vo. 3, pp. 269-70; for LAPD treatment of Gays, see John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970 (University of Chicago Press, 1983) and Long Road to Freedom: the Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement, Mark Thompson ed. (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1994). The following is drawn from Long Road to Freedom:

In Los Angeles, Gays were harasssed by police under city code "647A", lewd conduct. The LA Police Commision's "Rule 9" also forbade drag performances on stage, which was overturned in January 1969 under growing public pressure to treat Gays better. During the 1950s especially, the LA newspapers published the names of all gay bar patrons that the police had arrested. (p. 17) Lesbians were particularly susceptible to police harassment. One Lesbian woman in the 1950s was raped by a cop and then arrested by him. (p. 18)

In the early months of 1967, the LAPD led a crack down on the Black Cat bar. Ten more Gays were arrested for "lew conduct" (simply for being in a Gay bar) in Silver Lake in August. Gays organized large protests in the wake of these arrests. Things grew more sinister when in February 1968, a 60 year old man from Pasadena named Jack McQuoid killed himself after being entrapped for "lewd conduct" by members of the LAPD. (pp. 3,4, and 12)

The very first issue of the Advocate (September 1967) asked, "Will the day come when law officers will not be allowed to vent their hatred of homosexuals...? That day will come. We do not ask for our rights on bended knee. We demand them, standing tall, as dignified human beings. We will not go away." Follwoing issues included cautionary articles on how to deal with entrapment, bar raids, and being arrested. (pp. 1 and 3) The January 1969 issue reported that police had quotas to fill at gay bars and parks. (p. 18)

Troy Perry founded the Metropolitan Community Church in October 1968 in Los Angeles "after witnessing police repression". (p. 19) The situation turned lethal when Howard Efland, a small, timid male nurse was arrested on March 9, 1969 by LA vice officers Lemuel Chauncey and Richard Halligan. Chauncey claimed that Efland groped him so the two arrested him, drug him out into the street, and in front of several witnesses the two police officers beat the unarmed, unresistant Gay man to death. The LAPD at first informed his parents that their son had merely died of a heart attack. The nominal jury ruled Elfland's death an "excusable homicide" and the story was withheld from the straight press. However the Advocate responded by calling the LAPD "psychotics" and Rev. Troy Perry led 120 marchers in a rally at the site of Efland's murder to commemorate his fatal beating. In the 1970s, Gay relations with the LAPD drastically improved.

135. David C. Martin to 7th East Press, July 21, 1982, copy in my possession.

136. Wilkinson private journal, May 21, 1959, copy in my possession.

137. Ibid., September 12, 1962.

138. Deseret News, "Church News" supplement, November 13, 1965, p. 11. Emphasis is mine.

139. Martin to 7th East Press, 1982.

140. Robert I. McQueen, "Outside the Temple Gates - The Gay Mormon", The Advocate, 13 Aug. 1975; and Vanguard, student newspaper at Portland State University, October 28, 1975.

141. "Annual Report/Summary of Cases," BYU, 1 September 1967 to 31 August 1968, copy in my possession.

142. Brigham Young University Bulletin: Catalog of Courses 1968/70, pp. 39-40.

143. Erick Myers interviewed by Connell O'Donovan, August 14, 1991, transcript in my possession.

144. Donald R******** email to Connell O'Donovan, April 26, 2002.

145. Earl Donald Attridge, We'll Find A Place, 1997, online at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Column/5252/, Chap. 8.

146. K.A. Lauritzen to E.L. Wilkinson, June 18, 1969, copy in my possession.

147. Donal Attridge (writing anonymously), "Mormon and Gay...One man's tale of bloody knuckles", Daily Utah Chronicle, Jan. 31, 1978, p. 1. Those who responded on February 2 were Charles F. Hunt, "Wisdom of the ages"; Pink Triangle (Anon.), "Chrony does service"; Larry Dean Hardison, "Old sinful nature"; Dominick Carson, "Timely article"; on February 3, Douglass R. Hunger, "Lack of validity"; James Allen, "Purely fictional"; on February 6, Rev. E. John Langlitz, "our walls of paranoia"; Frank Eddings, "Hard up for news"; Claude Warner, "Being a member"; on February 7, Wall Earl, "A Chrony chuckle"; Scott H. Naegle, "Conform with rules"; on February 8, name withheld, "I can sleep well"; Michael C. Cress, "$30 burial plot". For the response from the one who had been blacklisted at BYU, see "The misery and suffering of homosexuals at B.Y.U.", Daily Utah Chronicle, February 7, 1978.

148. Minutes, BYU Board of Trustees, May 2, 1973, copy in my possession.

149. Ibid., December 6, 1972.

150. Ibid., May 2, 1973.

151. David C. Martin to 7th East Press, July 21, 1982, copy in my possession.

152. Dean Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU" p. 2, 7th East Press, April 12, 1982, pp. 1 and 12; BYU's Monday Magazine, March 24, 1975.

153. Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU" p. 2, pp. 1 and 12; Jerold and Sandra Tanner to the New York Times, Feb. 1975; Ben Williams interview with Connell O'Donovan, August 15, 1991, notes in my possession; regarding Security surveillance of Gays, see "Gays Protest Power - BYU Security Personnel Can Operate Off Campus", Salt Lake Tribune, October 23, 1979, p. D2; regarding the T-shirts, see Lee C. email to Connell O'Donovan, July 13, 2004. I personally recall being on BYU campus in the summers of 1976 and 1977 for the World Conference on [Genealogical] Records and noticing that the men's restrooms in the Wilkinson Center were highly used for sexual activity. Large holes were cut through stall walls and extremely graphic graffiti covered them. I was a naive farm boy in my mid-teens and this was my first experience with such a blatant "public sex environment", all the more disturbing to me at the time because of it's location at the heart of "the Lord's university". I noticed many years later, after the rennovation of the Wilkinson Center, that all the flimsy stalls had been replaced with thick brick walls, floor to ceiling.

154. Interview with Sgt. Kal O. Farr, February 3, 1978, copy of notes in my possession; Provo Daily Herald, March 22,1976.

155. Ben Williams interview with Connell O'Donovan, August 15, 1991. Carlyle D. Marsden obituaries, Ogden Standard Examiner, March 10, 1976, pp. 11A and 10B.

156. Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU", pt. 2, p. 12; Larry M***** email to Connell O'Donovan, October 5, 1995, copy in my possession.

157. Minutes, Combined Boards' Meeting, September 1, 1976, copy in my possession.

158. Dallin H. Oaks to Thomas S. Monson, September 13, 1979.

159. Ibid.; Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, November 14, 1978, p. 1, Dallin H. Oaks to J. Richard Clarke, March 7, 1979, and Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, September 11, 1979, copies of all in my possession.

160. Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, November 14, 1978, copy in my possession.

160A. Allen E. Bergin, "Bringing the Resoration into the Academic World", BYU Studies 19 (1979), pp. 463-4. Bergin,"Psychotherapy and Religious Values", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 48, no. 1 [1980], pp. 95–105. Alan P. Bell and Martin S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: a Study of Diversity Among Men and Women ( New York: Simon & Schuster) 1978, p. 196. For LDS response to Bergin's paper, see Mary Lynn Bahr, "Against the Current", BYU Magazine, Summer 1999, vol. 53, no. 2, available online at http://magazine.byu.edu/g/?act=view&a=224 <accessed May 10, 2010>.

161. Copy of Lauritsen's "The Role of the Father in Male Homosexuality" in my possession.

162. Michael R. Bergin email to Hugo Salinas and Connell O'Donovan, January 13, 2003.

163. Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), pp. 83- 84.

164. Gary Bergera interview with Gerald Dye, February 1, 1978, pp. 1 and 2, copy of notes in my possession.

165. Bergera-Dye interview, p. 2.

166. Max Ford McBride, Effect of Visual Stimuli in Electric Aversion Therapy, PhD Dissertaion, BYU, August 1976; John Cameron email to Connell O'Donovan, June 30, 1999.

167. Transcript of Legacies at http://www.lds-mormon.com/legacies.shtml.

167A. Carol Lynn Pearson, Goodbye, I Love You (New York: Random House, 1986), pp. 98-99. For Sam's "gay-bashing" see p. 175.

168. "Gay Activists To Picket LDS Temple", Salt Lake Tribune, October 2, 1981, p. D6 and "LDS Stand Chided - Group Marches for Gay Rights", Salt Lake Tribune, October 5, 1981, p. B6.

169. The Open Door, August 1978, p. 17, Daily Utah Chronicle, July 20, 1978, p. 1, and Sunstone Review, Sept. 1982, p. 8. As of 2003, the KQED archives in San Francisco has the audio tape of the 1978 documentary, but the archivist is unable to locate the video images.

170. For the law suit against D. Eugene Thorne and the Provo Canyon School, see http://familyrightsassociation.com/bin/title42sec1983/milonas_v_williams.htm and http://www.beyondbusiness.net/provotruth.htm. Merrill J. Bateman to Connell O'Donovan (email sent via Brent Harker, BYU Director of Public Communications), April 9, 1997, copy in my possession. Bateman incorrectly assumed that I was a "professor" and addressed me as such in this email.

171. Connell O'Donovan interview with "Farris" (colleague of Howard Salisbury), regarding Salisbury's role in editing Prologue, August 15, 1991, notes in my possession; BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977, copy in my possession; Prologue: An Examination of Mormon Attitudes Towards Homosexuality, (n.c.: Prometheus Enterprises, 1978), reprinted by Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons.

172. The Open Door, September 1977, Marriott Library, University of Utah.

173. Buerger-Marshall interview (see note 100).

174. Ibid.; Dean Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU", pt. 2, Seventh East Press, April 1982, p. 12; and BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977.

175. Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU," pt. 2, p. 12.

176. Buerger-Marshall interview.

177. Anonymous, handwritten statement on frontispiece of one copy of Bergin's "Reply" in my possession.

178. BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977.

179. For Packer turning down Kimball, see Lucile C. Tate, Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1995), p. 300. Dallin H. Oaks to Boyd K. Packer, February 14, 1978, copy in my possession; The Advocate, February 22, 1978.

180. Dallin H. Oaks to Jeffrey R. Holland, November 9, 1978, copy in my possession.

181. Boyd K. Packer, "To the One", (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978), March 5, 1978. Ironically, the Greek philosopher Plato took an opposite point of view, theorizing that selfishness causes homophobia, not homosexuality: "Thus whenever it is accepted that it is shameful to value same-sex lovers, this is due to malice in the legislature, selfishness in the rulers, and cowardice in the governed." Plato, Symposium 182-D, my translation). Larry M***** email to Connell O'Donovan, October 5, 1995, copy in my possession.

182. Buerger-Marshall interview.

183. Salt Lake Open Door, Apr. 1978, p. 5.

184. Anonymous letter, Salt Lake Open Door, April 1978, p. 11.

185."Gays at BYU", The Open Door, November 1978 (vol. 2, no. 11); classified section, The Open Door, December 1978 and January 1979; "Provoan bound over in sex case", The Daily Universe, March 28, 1979, p. 3; BYU Board of Directors' minutes, p. 2-3, copy in my possession; Minutes of the President's Weekly Meeting, p. 3, copy in my possession; "Other Minorities", Sunstone, Issue 15, May 1979; "'Mormon Militia' of Morality - Attorney Challenging Arrest by Y. Campus Police", Salt Lake Tribune, September 8, 1979; "Stanger and Child Protest Utah Law - Lunnen, Oaks Refute Critics of 'Y' Security Powers", Daily Herald, September 3, 1979; "Y aide clarifies harassment story" and "Court day set for Oct. 25 in felony trial", Daily Universe, September 28, 1979, p. 1; "Trial in BYU Gay Arrest Postponed", Ogden Standard Examiner, October 18, 1979, p. 11A; "Gays Protest Power - BYU Security Personnel Can Operate Off Campus", Salt Lake Tribune, October 23, 1979, p. D2; "Groups Protest Power of BYU Police", Sunstone, Issue 17-18, December 1979;"Y sexual abuse case, decision forthcoming", Daily Universe, April 1, 1980, p. 1; "Chipman found guilty of attempted abuse", Deseret News, April 8, 1980, p. 1; "Salt Lake will appeal conviction in Provo case", Deseret News, April 12, 1980, p. A7; "Provoan Sentenced On Morals Charge", Daily Universe, April 13, 1980, p. 27; "Former Y student's conviction upheld", Daily Universe, January 12, 1982, p. 3. Ballantyne and Whiting interview in "BYU-Witch Hunt", The Open Door, May 1979, p. 1.

186. Lee C. emails to Connell O'Donovan, May 27 and July 13, 2004. Virginia Lawyers Weekly, July 14, 2001; see http://www.valawyersweekly.com/barpassjul01.htm; "BYU-Witch Hunt", The Open Door, May 1979, p. 1. Chipman's case has a similar repeat 10 years later when two Gay BYU students met at the Richards PE building, began to fall in love, and one evening went for a drive up Provo Canyon. They pulled into a state park and began kissing and some heavy petting. A Utah State Trooper intervened, asked if they were BYU students, to which they lied, and he merely took down their driver's license numbers and left. Five days later, Daniel H----- was called into Burton Kelley's office at the Standards Office. The police officer had filed a report with Kelley that he had seen Daniel and his partner having anal sex, which was patently false. Daniel's ecclesiastical endorsement was withdrawn and he was forced to withdraw from school. Daniel's partner was nearly finished with his bachelor's degree so he was allowed to stay in only after a psychiatrist had treated him until he claimed that his sexual orientation was "normal and heterosexual", although he was lying just to get out of the difficult situation. They consulted a lawyer, who told them they had a really good case against the police and BYU, but decided to forego any legal action to save their families from the scandal of publicity. Daniel H------ to Connell O'Donovan, email, May 27, 1991, copy in my possession.

187. Mark S------- interview with Connell O'Donovan August 11, 2004 and Mark S------- email to Connnell O'Donovan, August 22, 2004, copy in my possession.

188. Jeffrey Holland to William Rolfe Kerr, October 7, 1980, copy in my possession.

189. Phone interview with David O**** on April 17, 1991; his Brigham Young University transcripts, copy in my possession.

190. "Evergreen International's Principles and Programs", (n.c.: n.p., 1993). For Russ Gorringe's story see "Ex-Gay. Evergreen's Promise, One Man's Struggle". He is also the subject of a film documentary called Marriages, Hopes, and Realities.

191. For one example of Byrd 's viewpoint, see Byrd, Cox, and Robinson's "Homosexuality: The Innate-Immutability Argument Finds No Basis in Science". Packard, Packard, and Schow then responded to Byrd et al. with "There is No Evicence Homosexuals Can Change, Only Evidence of Deception". Mormon clinical social worker with LDS Family Services, G. Allen Gundry (a dear friend of mine) also more cautiously disagrees with Byrd's claims in his 2003 pro-marriage "Counseling with Homosexual Latter-day Saints". For official church view, see Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems: Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders, (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1992).

192. "Apostle Packer Says 'So-Called' Scholars, Gays, Feminists Are Leading LDS Astray," Salt Lake Tribune, July 24, 1993, p. B1.

193. M. Russell Ballard to Mike Triggs, August 10, 1993, copy in my possession.

194. Hugh B. Brown and First Presdiency statements of 1963 and 1969, as quoted in Leonard J. Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illionis Press, 1998), pp.180-1. First Presidency statement, February 13, 1994, copy in my possession. See Richley H. Crapo's 1997 "Chronology Of Mormon / LDS  Involvement In Same-Sex Marriage Politics" and 1999 "LDS Doctrinal Rhetoric and the Politics of Same-Sex Marriage".

195. See Sam Clayton, "Winning and Losing: One Kid's Best Shot at BYU" at http://www.affirmation.org/learning/winning_or_losing.shtml


© 1994, Connell O'Donovan, revised 2004
Please do not copy without my express, written permission.