THE OTHER BOOK OF MORMON The following is a compilation of biographies, each honoring an individual whose struggle with his or her sexual identity was at odds with the views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unable to reconcile the two, each of these individuals, sadly, cut his or her life short. Our hope is to keep their memories alive through this heartfelt tribute, and to demonstrate how terribly destructive the force of misunderstanding can be. Only through understanding and accepting the human dignity of every person can we begin to heal, or have any hope to live together in harmony. All material contained herein has been compiled from information currently available on the website of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. Some biographies, including names and dates, are incomplete. If you have any information concerning the lives of individuals mentioned here, please contact Affirmation. Compiled by Dean M. Harpster Marriage Equality Silicon Valley 2008 Scott Allred ( –1989?) If you have information about Scott, please send us an email . V. Martel Anderson (1970–1991) Bountiful — Vernon Martel Anderson, age 21, passed away October 26, 1991 at his home. Born August 27, 1970 in Granger, Utah, son of Vernon R. and Peggy O'Neill Anderson. He graduated from Bountiful High School in 1988. He attended the University of Utah for 2 years. Was employed by A.R.U.P. [Associated Regional and University Pathologists, Inc. laboratories at the University of Utah] and enjoyed his work very much. Survived by his parents; grandmother, Vera K. Anderson; sisters, Jamie K. Pace and Christopher Baker; Julie Ann Anderson. Preceded in death by grandparents Ilene O'Neill Bridges and Oliver Martel Anderson. Funeral services will be held Wednesday October 30, 1991 at 1 p.m. in the Russon Bros. Bountiful Mortuary, 295 No. Main, where friends may call Tuesday evening 6-8 p.m. and Wednesday one hour prior to the services. Interment Bountiful City Cemetery. William Burton Badger (1925–1988) William Burton Badger was born on October 24, 1925, in Holden, Utah. He was baptized in the LDS Church on November 5, 1933. He married in Salt Lake City on June 6, 1950, and had four sons. Later he divorced. William was a teacher, working in the Alpine, Salt Lake City, Millard, and Davis County school districts. He was a member of the Metropolitan Community Church. William committed suicide on July 3, 1988, in Salt Lake City. He was 62 years old. William is buried at the Orem City Cemetery in Utah. Daniel Adam Britsch (1973–1993) Daniel Adam Britsch was born September 14, 1973 in Ogden, Utah, and was adopted by his parents at six days of age. He was educated in Provo City high schools and attended Utah Valley State College for a brief time. At the time of his suicide he was employed by the law firm of Beus, Gilbert and Morrill of Phoenix, Arizona. Dan was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he received his Life Award in the Boys Scouts of America. He was interested in nature, reading, the German language and European culture. He spent two six-month periods with the Brigham Young University study abroad program in London, England, with his family, and he traveled in Europe two additional times. Dan was survived by his parents, his sister and brother-in-law and their children, his grandparents, and numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins. His close friend Michael Bergin passed away in 2003. Dan committed suicide in Tempe, Arizona, on October 2, 1993. He was 20 years old. He is buried at East Lawn Memorial Hills in Provo. His close friend Michael Bergin wrote the following: "[Daniel was] my best friend/roommate since we became friends in 4th grade at Edgemont Elementary school in northeast Provo, Utah, in the mid-80's and later at the Waterfront/Meridian (a private school)... To be honest, I'm very emotional at the moment… because of the remembrance of his death…. I don't have the [energy] to write anymore at this point without crying… His death prevented mine." Johnson, Mary Lynn. "The Brothers Britsch—Uncommon Loyalty ." BYU Magazine, Summer 2001, pp. 28-33; see especially page 32. Duane F. Catten Jr. (1965–2001) A gentle spirit has left this world September 24, 2001 to reach his highest destiny. Duane was born Dec. 31, 1965. Those who knew him shared his humor, his dedication and most of all his love. He will be greatly missed by those he left behind, but he will be waiting on the other side with his gentle, outreached hand to lead us on our infinite journey. He graduated from Kearns High School, had a Degree in Electronics and was a loyal Honeywell Employee. Duane is survived by his parents, sisters, and dearest friend, along with numerous nephews. He is buried at Valley View Memorial Park in West Valley City, Utah. Mark Coon (1957-1982) Mark Allan Coon was born October 10, 1957 in Salt Lake City to Arnold and Arlene Coon and he died December 31, 1982. Michael J. Green (1961–1986) Michael J. Green was born on June 26, 1961, and committed suicide on January 10, 1986. Tribute by Connell O'Donovan: My Gay LDS cousin Michael J. Green committed suicide on January 10, 1986. He parked his truck outside of a tavern in Clearfield, Utah, where he lived (I don't think it was a Gay tavern), and shot himself to death in his truck. Michael was born June 26, 1961 in Ogden, Utah to Ralph Jay Green and Mary Penman. By birth, he was my third cousin through the Beazer line, but then my grandmother Beazer married his grandfather (Ralph Beazer Green) about 1974, after the deaths of their spouses, and so by marriage Michael and I became first cousins. I remember sitting in our grandparents' new motor home in the summer of 1975, talking about our homosexuality, both of us very confused and terrified. As badly off as I was, I remember he was even worse — he always had huge dark circles under his eyes because he couldn't sleep at night, so tormented was he about his sexuality, and later we got into a huge fight about it. After both our grandparents died (his grandfather in March 1976 and my grandmother in June 1976), we never spoke again. He was buried in the Syracuse City Cemetery in Utah on January 15, 1986. I sincerely hope at last he found the peace he never could find here on earth. Farrell Rollins Hurst (1952–1986) Farrell Rollins Hurst was born on September 23, 1952, in Delta, Millard County, Utah to Elden and Josephine Hurst. He attended East High in Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in music education. He attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. He was an accomplished violinist and organist. Farrell willingly gave of his time and talents to serve in the community. He was skilled at home restoration and refurbishing, and he built and rebuilt musical instruments. Farrell taught music privately and at East Community School. He served an LDS mission in Taiwan. He organized the Yale Ward Strings and was a member of the Bonneville Strings. At the time of his death he was serving as the Yale Ward priesthood and choir organist and as the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake organist. Farrell committed suicide on January 9, 1986. He was 33 years old. Farrell is buried at the Mountain Green Cemetery in Morgan County, Utah. Tribute prepared by his family Farrell R Hurst was born on September 23, 1952 and died on January 9th, 1986 at the age of 33. He is survived by his parents, 4 brothers, 5 sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews. Farrell loved the Lord and served Him through music. He attended church regularly and played the organ for Sacrament and Priesthood meetings. He was also a member of the Yale Ward Strings, Bonneville Strings, and the Mormon Youth Symphony and served as Stake Organist at the time of his death. He organized and played in string quartets throughout his high school and college days. We often asked him to provide some of the music for family weddings and social events. Farrell was also a very talented craftsman who spent hours restoring the wood in his parent's home to its natural beauty. He and a brother restored several player pianos while still in high school. He also restored a reed organ for his parents and kept the ward pipe organ in tune and in good repair. He built several musical instruments, including a harpsichord. They all stand as monuments to his attention to the finest details. Farrell loved the Chinese people and served a full-time mission in Taiwan. Years later, he spent a month touring Mainland China and auditioned for the Chinese symphony. Farrell married the love of his life, Mary, on the first grade playground during recess. We moved away two years later and they remained good friends throughout his life. It was in letters he sent her during high school, shared with us before his funeral, that he first described having symptoms of depression. At times, he seemed distant and sought solitude or the company of friends instead of family. We cannot imagine what feelings or thoughts he may have had. Farrell was a very private man who also loved his moments in the spotlight. We did not recognize the depression. We saw the happy times, the performances of "Swine Lake" in his living room, his Annual Spring Soirée, the Pizza Party sleepover for his nephews and nieces, the Hawaiian Luau in his backyard canyon, the "Birthday Funeral" delivery messenger in tuxedo tails and striped shorts, and the pot luck funeral for "Hitler's Revenge" as the tow truck hauled it away. He brightened our days, but at times, he pushed us away. His death ended whatever earthly pains he was experiencing at that time, but left many unanswered questions for those he left behind. We miss him. A part of us died, too, on that cold, hazy day in January. We are thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, through which we can all be resurrected. When we meet again, we have a lot to talk about. In loving memory, His family Jon Michael Inman (1969–1995) Jon Michael Inman was born on June 12, 1969, in Salt Lake City. He graduated from Woods Cross High School, where he sang in the school choir and served as the manager of the basketball team. Jon was an Eagle Scout and served an LDS mission in Houston, Texas. He worked in the telephone industry. He had many friends and was loved by all who knew him. Jon's parents knew he was gay since the age of four, and when he came out to them they were supportive. Jon was a member of Affirmation, a member of the Metropolitan Community Church, and a volunteer at the Utah Stonewall Center. Jon committed suicide on November 12, 1995, in Bountiful. He was 26 years old. Jon is buried at the Bountiful Cemetery in Utah. Scot A. Jensen (1975–2005) Scot Jensen was born August 30, 1975. A returned LDS missionary, Scot flew the rainbow flag at his home. He was known for his huge heart that had enough room to fit the entire world in it. He was a compassionate and caring individual, who was a true gift to know. He had a laugh that will never be forgotten and a smile to match. He was a great friend to everyone and deeply loved his family and friends. He was a loving brother and will be sorely missed by each of his nieces and nephews, whom he spoiled rotten every chance he had. He was taken from us far too soon, but we all take comfort knowing he has moved on to a better place, where he can be at peace with himself and watch over and protect his loved ones. Scot was the fifth child, the youngest brother of six children. He committed suicide on June 6, 2005 at the age of 29. He is survived by his parents, sisters, brothers, 14 nieces and nephews, one great-niece, and countless friends. Funeral services were held June 11, 2005 at Larkin Sunset Gardens Mortuary in Sandy, Utah. Tribute by Patricia Scotty was a missionary in France, where I live. He had a nice smile and a beautiful personality. He was so sweet. I loved his laugh. He was so funny and so "cuddly"—like a teddy bear. He was always ready to help you. I have many good memories of the good times we shared. He was at my home for Christmas and for New Year's Eve, and his companion was sick. I remember how we cried when he left for a new town. He loved Alanis Morisette (I bought him her last CD) and Elie Kakou. In August 1997, we celebrated his birthday and mine together. It was the last time I saw him. He was a good missionary and a nice companion. My children loved him, too. The last time I hear from him was in 2004, when he called me and gave me his email address. But my whole life was a real mess at that time, my husband was leaving me and I lost his address when I moved on. For his birthday I gave him a book by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry—Le petit prince (The Little Prince). I wrote something for him on it—a quote of the book about friendship taken from the dialogue between the Little Prince and the fox. I have a lot of gay friends and when I met him as a missionary I thought he too was gay, but I never talked to him about it. Now I'm so sorry I didn't. When I read about his passing, I was heartbroken, and cried so much I couldn't even see the keyboard. He was loved and cherished by our family and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for him. Brad Lauritzen (1947–1971) The son of Gilbert Fay and Lucy Pettingill Lauritzen, Brad G. Lauritzen born in Brigham City, Utah on October 26, 1947. In 1966, Brad registered in Brigham Young University's Study Abroad Program and spent a semester in Grenoble, France. While a student at BYU, Brad became affiliated with a social group for gay people in 1967 and early 1968 that met regularly in the ―step down Brad Lauritzen, circa 1965 lounge‖ at the Wilkinson Center. Brad was outed by Donald Attridge, another gay student, in the early spring of 1968. Attridge had turned in a lengthy list of names to Apostle Spencer Kimball after receiving assurances from both BYU's head of Standards Office, Kenneth Lauritzen (no relation to Brad), and Kimball that those on the list would be ―helped‖ by Kimball. Instead, Brad was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of a mental institution by his family. He later escaped and ran away to San Francisco, where he committed suicide just before Christmas, on December 18, 1971. He was 24 years old. Carlyle D. Marsden (1921–1976) Carlyle Davenport Marsden was born on December 9, 1921, in Parowan, Utah. He was the son of William and Della Jane Marsden. He was survived by his widow, three sons and two daughters, 10 grandchildren, two brothers and four sisters. He had been a music teacher at Eisenhower Junior High School in the Granite School District in Salt Lake, and also taught at Brigham Young University. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Army in the Pacific Theater. He attended the College of Southern Utah in Cedar City for two years, and received his bachelor degree from Brigham Young University and his masters degree from the University of Utah. He also did graduate work at Claremont College, Occidental and Cal State in Los Angeles, California. He had filled an LDS Mission in the New England States and had been a member of the bishopric and high council in Pomona, Calif. He had been music regional representative, stake and ward organist, and stake choir director. He had also been Sunday School superintendent in Salt Lake City. Carlyle was outed in March 1976. This led him to take his own life on March 8, 1976. He was 54 years old. Carlyle is buried at the Kaysville City Cemetery in Utah. Carlyle's grandson Douglas Stewart was a gay Mormon and sadly committed suicide on March 8, 2006, exactly 30 years to the day his grandfather committed suicide. Tribute by a Former Student I recently came across the information in your website listing Carlyle D. Marsden as one of the LDS members that committed suicide back in 1976 after he was outed as a homosexual. I am writing to tell you that in 1963-1964 he was my music teacher at Fremont Junior High school in Pomona California. I am now 56 years old and living in Salem, Oregon but I will never forget that man. He taught the best vocal music class I have ever attended. He had written an arrangement for a song called ―Master, the Tempest is Raging‖ I have a recording of our choir singing it with him directing, somewhere deep in my garage. Mr. Marsden was a great believer in the use of the diaphragm when singing and I have since taught this method, just as he did, to my students. I was horrified that this gentle, wonderful, talented, man ended his life feeling so alone and ashamed of himself. I have remembered him so well and so long because of his dedication and talent as a music teacher. He was caring, and nurturing. He gave us strength just by his presence. I can recount far too many wonderful things that he said and did for us as a class to even begin to put them here in this letter to you. I just though you should know that what you have done on your website is a wonderful memorial to these people. There is not a week that goes by that I have not thought of Mr. Marsden since my junior high school years. I always wanted to be just like him, calm, cool collected and kind to all. I hope his family knows how many lives he touched in a good and gentle way, yet with the strength of a great leader. So very sad to hear his life ended this way. Thank you for your excellent work in making this horrible truth known. Jeff Clifford Warren Martell (1951–2000) Clifford Warren Martell was born November 20, 1951, in Provo. He graduated from Provo High School and received a B.S. and M.A. from Brigham Young University. He served an LDS mission in Thailand. Before his death, Ciff was teaching sixth grade at Timpanogos Elementary School where he was Teacher of the Year for several years and was in Who's Who Among American Teachers. Cliff married in the Manti Temple on August 6, 1976, and was blessed with six beautiful children, who were the joy of his life. Cliff was a blessing to the world, spreading sunshine and love. He was active in the Mormon Church and was the executive secretary in his Hillcrest 6th Ward, in Orem, Utah. He helped people before they asked and will be missed by all who knew him. When he died, his family and colleagues helped set up the Cliff Martell Memorial Fund to benefit Timpanogos Elementary School. Cliff was survived by his wife and their six children, his parents, his sisters, and his brother. Cliff committed suicide in the Western Desert, near Tooele, on March 4, 2000. He was 48 years old. Cliff is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah. Source: "Beloved Teacher's Death a Suicide," The Daily Herald, Wednesday, March 15, 2000, p. A2. Henry Stuart Matis (1967–2000) On February 25, 2000, Stuart Matis drove to the LDS chapel in Los Altos, California, and took his life. He was frustrated by the efforts by the LDS Church to pass Proposition 22, and he felt that he could not reconcile his religion and his homosexuality. He was 32 years old. After high school, Stuart enrolled in BYU and served a mission in Italy (where he met Clay Whitmer). After graduation, in 1996, he started to work for Andersen Consulting in California. Stuart left a suicide note in which he requested that there not be a funeral, because he wanted to be remembered alive. But his mother said that so many people came to her home and expressed love and told them that they needed to use the occasion to educate people about homosexuality, that they decided to hold the funeral. The day of the funeral the chapel was full. The speakers were Stuart's mother, his father, and Robert Rees. Stuart's mother talked about the hurtful things people say about homosexuals. She said that we need to be more tolerant toward all of God's children. Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons held a service in Salt Lake City. On March 19, 2000, in the middle of a raging snowstorm, 200 people and the Salt Lake Men's Choir gave tribute to Stuart and to DJ Thompson. Stuart hoped that greater understanding would come from his death. His suicide letter reassured his parents of his love for them and talked about what wonderful parents they were. He said that he was at peace with himself and was freed from the chains of his mortality. Stuart is buried at the Orem City Cemetery in Utah. His brother Bill wrote the following: "To those who feel that my brother was no better than a murderer or an adulterer, I would like to say that the murderer and adulterer choose to be what they are. My brother didn't choose to be homosexual any more than you or I chose the color of our skin. Many who knew him say that he was one of the most Christ-like people they had ever met. He was a son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and true friend." Words by Stuart: "I implore the students at BYU [Brigham Young University] to re-assess their homophobic feelings. Seek to understand first before you make comments. We have the same needs as you. We desire to love and be loved. We desire to live our lives with happiness. We are not a threat to you or your families. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers and friends, and most importantly, we are all children of God." Marshall Jacob Myers (1983–2008) During his brief 25 years, Marshall loved, inspired, challenged, and cajoled us to love him unconditionally. We will always remember him for his loving nature, his creativity in art and words, his generosity, and loyalty to family and friends. Marshall had eclectic taste in music, was working towards a degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah, enjoyed gardening, hiking, seeing the world, and spending time with his friends. He spoke Latin, dabbled in oil painting, was an experienced tarot card reader, and loved experimenting with spices and flavors in the kitchen. A deeply spiritual person, Marshall sought enlightenment from religious and philosophical traditions from around the world. His was not the easiest journey through life. He confronted challenges many people twice his age have never seen. We wish him peace and joy in the next phase of his soul's journey. He is survived by his parents and his two sisters. Preceded in death by his brother Jeremy. Marshall Jacob Myers committe suicide on April 28th, 2008. Family and friends gathered shortly after to celebrate his life. No formal funeral services were held, but a commemorative headstone will be placed in Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah. Jacob Lawrence Orosco (1980– 1997) Although Jacob Orosco wasn't a Mormon, he lived in Utah, a state where the teachings of the LDS Church profoundly influence public policy and the atmosphere in the schools. State law forbids Utah's public school teachers from saying anything in the classroom that would imply acceptance or advocacy of homosexuality. When Jacob and nine other friends tried to form a Gay/Straight Alliance, a group of students at West High, across town, formed SAFE—Students Against Fags Everywhere. A state legislator talked of "serious concerns about the group's moving into recruitment of fresh meat for the gay population." Jacob was out of the closet, not just to friends and family but to the entire community. He had helped found a gay club at his high school, a move that had prompted the Salt Lake City school board to shut down all extracurricular activities rather than grant the club official status. Jacob was highly regarded by his friends and peers in the East High School Gay/Straight Alliance. He was gentle, funny, and warm-hearted. He was slated to be the Alliance's president in the 1997-1998 school year. When he took his life in his mother's home on September 3, 1997, he was 17, a senior in high school. In his final days, Jacob had been busy reorganizing the club. Despite the ban on extracurricular clubs, the Gay/Straight Alliance had held evening meetings last spring at his school, East High, which is required by law to rent space to community organizations. In his final days, he had been dealing with a new obstacle, finding $400 to buy a $1 million liability insurance policy demanded by the school before the club could resume its evening meetings. "Jacob stood out as a dynamic, funny and seemingly confident young man," wrote Jeff Dupre and Eliza Byard, two documentary filmmakers who interviewed Jacob and others involved in the club for their film, Out of the Past, on the history of gays and lesbians in the United States. "He was an accomplished athlete, a talented gymnast and an inspiration to the fellow members of the [Gay/Straight] Alliance... a vibrant and impressive young man who turned handsprings on a sunny lawn to the applause and admiration of his friends." Words by Jacob: "To me, taking clubs from us is like putting a gun in our hands and waiting for the trigger to be pulled." Boyd Samuel Paul (1963–1989) Boyd Samuel Paul was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 29, 1963. After graduating from Murray High School, he served an LDS mission to Cali, Colombia. Boyd graduated from Brigham Young University and served in the Air Force Reserve. He was an Eagle Scout and a member of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. At the time of his death he was working as a lobbyist in Washington, DC. Boyd committed suicide in Washington, DC, on February 9, 1989. He was 25 years old. Boyd was survived by his parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, and some special friends in Washington, DC. He is buried at the Murray City Cemetery in Utah. If you have information about Boyd, please send us an email . Jay Lynn Peterson (1966–1998) Jay Lynn Peterson was born on January 23, 1966, in West Valley City, Utah. He was baptized in the LDS Church on May 3, 1975. After high school, Jay served in the US Navy. On January 31, 1998, Jay was involved in a violent altercation at the Exchange Place, downtown Salt Lake City, with a man who made a derogatory statement about Jay's sexual orientation. After the altercation, Jay drove to his apartment in the Avenues and committed suicide. He was 32 years old. Jay is buried at the Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Riverton, Utah. If you have more information about Jay, please send us an email . Jared Pomroy (1968–1998) Jared Pomroy was born in Lihue, Kauai, on October 27, 1968. Jared was his middle name. His first name was Hawaiian: Kamakanaho'oulualohao'kalani. Jared grew up in Kauai in a Mormon family. Later he moved to the continental United States. Jared attended Brigham Young University in both Provo and Hawaii. He served an LDS mission in Hokkaido, Japan. At the time of his death, he was working for an engineering firm in Tacoma, Washington. Jared committed suicide in Tacoma, Washington, on August 27, 1998. He was 29 years old. Jared's body was cremated and his ashes scattered in Hawaii. His partner Brian wrote the following: Jared lived a happy life. He was an optimist in every situation. He loved to play volleyball in the sand. He loved to watch the sun set into the ocean. Jared was stunning to look at—a giant of a man, physically and metaphorically. He always kept his body in great physical shape. He loved weight-lifting. Most of his college days were spent in the gym—right where he wanted to be. He was an intelligent man. He earned a degree in engineering, though his passion was political science. Jared led a happy but troubled life, due in large part to his own (and others') expectations of a person that he was not. Ultimately, he was not able to cope with that and felt he could not go on. Many times when I think of and remember him, I remember the seemingly "little" things. He loved butterflies. He loved to listen to music. He enjoyed swimming. Since his death, I also think of this quote almost every time I think of Jared: "I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?" —Herman Hesse. I was fortunate to have known Jared. I am a different, and hopefully better, person because I knew him. I miss him. Jared's favorite poem: Jared and his partner first heard this poem in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. Jared left him a copy of this poem when he died with a note that stated, "I love you..." and he signed it with his given Hawaiian name. Stop All the Clocks By W. H. Auden Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with the juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let airoplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good. Emery L. Prickett (1948–1985) Emery Lee Prickett was born August 23, 1948 in Torrance, LA County, California, to Leroy and Norma Prickett. He committed suicide on January 14, 1985 in Covina, California. Emery lived much of his life in the LA area, California. He was a convert to the LDS Church at age 18. Emery was married in 1971 in the Los Angeles Temple and he and his wife had three children. Later he divorced. Some time after his divorce, Emery was given custody of his three children, whom he raised with his partner Richard. Emery became involved in Affirmation in Los Angeles in its early years. He held a variety of positions including assistant Los Angeles chapter director. He served as general coordinator of Affirmation (the equivalent to an executive director) in 1983-1984. He was very well liked by everyone and had an undeniably enthusiastic spirit. He and his partner Richard contributed much to the organization. The greatest achievement in Emery's life was the way he bettered himself. He was born into a ghetto family situation and he lifted himself to achieve professional status in his occupation and life. He became controller of Ameriton Paint Co. and then went on to work in prominent positions in Xerox and in real estate. Emery committed suicide January 14, 1985, in Covina, California. He was survived by his partner Richard and his three children. A garveside service in memory of emery was held January 18, 1985 at the Loma Vista Memorial Park. Emery is buried in the Loma Vista Memorial Park in Fullerton, California. Quote by Emery: "I know without a doubt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I also know that even though I am Gay, I have not lost my testimony of the Gospel. I really appreciate belonging to Affirmation" ("Working for What You Believe In", Affinity, March [April] 1984, p. 1). See also: A Tribute to a Star: Emery Prickett Sources: "Comments from a Candidate for General Coordinator." Affinity, September 1983, p. 2. "From Our General Coordinator." Affinity, November 1983, p. 1. "From Our General Coordinator." Affinity, December 1983, p. 1. "From Our General Coordinator." Affinity, January 1984, p. 1. "From the General Coordinator." Affinity, March 1984, p. 1. "Working for What You Believe In." Affinity, March [April] 1984, p. 1. "From the General Coordinator." Affinity, May 1984, p. 1. "In Memoriam: Emery L. Prickett (1948-1985)." Affinity March 1985, p. 3. "Our Tenth Year: A Gay Mormon Reunion of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons" (Conference Program). The Salt Lake Sheraton, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 15-17, 1987, pp. 17-18. Christopher Paul Ricksecker (1982– 2003) Even though Christopher was not LDS, his mother is. Chris's death moved the gay and lesbian Mormon community in Salt Lake City, where he resided. Many Affirmation members participated in the vigil held in his memory. Christopher was born in San Diego on January 22, 1982, and attended Highland High School in Salt Lake City. Life was not easy for Chris; he felt overwhelmed with emotional problems and suffered depression. He committed suicide in Salt Lake City on June 16, 2003. Christopher was cremated at his request, and his ashes were later scattered on the Pacific. A vigil for Chris was held on July 1, 2003, in Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake. The service was conducted by Chris's step mom, Sheri Young; Chris's dad, David, also said a few words. Through a candlelight ceremony, the audience remembered not only Chris but all gay and lesbian people who have taken lives. Charles Milne, GLBT advisor for the University of Utah, helped conduct the candle lighting ceremony and made some remarks. Kristine Clifford said a prayer. These are some experts for the remarks made by Chris's dad: "I went to several churches for answers. The answers that they gave me were that gay people are evil and bad. One pastor in a local church told me that gay people are possessed with demons—-that they are bad and that they are going to hell." "Chris wanted to be accepted for who he was, but he could never accept himself who he was and how he felt." "We don't need special groups for gays or anyone else. We cannot judge gay people and put them in special groups. What makes us better than gay people? We need to save our children." "We can change the world by accepting people for who they are. I've been very intolerant and judgmental of other people in the past, but I will not be any more." "Help people stop killing our children," echoed Christopher's step mom. Sources: Family Speaks Out in Remembrance of Son Bryan Jordan Smith (1983–2004) Bryan Jordan Smith was born March 27, 1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from American Fork High School and LDS Seminary. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served an LDS mission in Omaha, Nebraska. Bryan was a loving son and brother who enjoyed the outdoors, scrap booking, animals, and gardening. He loved cars and especially, his white Ford convertible Mustang. Bryan worked for Alpine School District at the Pony Express Elementary School. He planned on attending Joseph Patrick Academy of Hair this fall. Bryan committed suicide on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 in American Fork. He left a suicide note stating that he could not handle the fact that he was gay and that was at least one of the reasons for his suicide. He is survived by his mother, sister, brother, grandparents, and numerous other relatives. Funeral services were held August 24, 2004 in the American Fork LDS West Stake Center (700 East 500 North). Bryan is buried in the American Fork Cemetery. If you have information about Bryan, please send us an email . Steve Excerpt from "Not Faceless," by Adam Shayne (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 21:1 [Spring 1988], pp. 5-6). Gay people are not an abstraction. We are real people with a distinguished history living authentic lives. We love, we work, we play, and we contribute enormously to the good of society. But many of us suffer, particularly those gay Mormons who will despise themselves until their homophobic Church accepts them. My friend Steve was such a gay Mormon. Entrapped by BYU security, he "voluntarily" underwent aversion therapy at BYU and was later pressed into marriage by a zealous stake president who convinced him that prayer, laying on of hands, and "commitment" had cured him. It hadn't, and a few years later Steve was sexually active with other men, estranged from his wife and children, and overwhelmed by guilt—the product of a good Mormon upbringing that had carefully taught him to hate himself. Despairing, Steve turned to the Church for help and was eventually excommunicated by a "court of love." Two weeks later he took his life. Steve's is not an isolated case. While Stout and his profession debate whether gay people are reliable witnesses of their own experience, and the readers of fret about the "homosexual problem," thousands of gay Mormons must endure an unremitting assault on their integrity and self-esteem from a church that preaches love but practices hate. This hate makes it impossible for my family to accept both me and the Church; it tells me the love I have for my lover is born of sin; it would isolate me from my rich friendships with other gay people; it would excommunicate me for claiming more from life than furtiveness, loneliness, and frustration. And it is this hate that would place Church authority between me and God. Maybe Stout, his colleagues, their liberal friends, and perhaps even a few apostles might get it right some day, but how many more Steves will there be in the meantime? Douglas Cornell Stewart, Jr. (1973–2006) Douglas Cornell Stewart, Jr., was born July 5, 1973, in Provo, Utah. He committed suicide in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 8, 2006, exactly 30 years to the day his grandfather committed suicide. Douglas was 32. Douglas was a gifted cellist, and was a Utah Sterling Scholar in music. He served an honorable mission for the LDS Church starting in the Hamburg Germany Mission and finishing in the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission. Shortly after his mission, he married in the temple, but after a year of marriage he divorced his wife, came out to his family and friends, and became actively involved in the fight for homosexual rights. Doug received his BA degree in Philosophy from Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington. He loved history, art, politics, animals, and nature, and was an avid reader. He is remembered for his sense of humor, his keen intellect, his compassion, and his winning smile. He is survived by his parents, four sisters, and three brothers. In 1998, Doug was one of the presenters at the Affirmation conference held in Portland, Oregon. At that time he was 25. Doug's maternal grandfather was Carlyle D. Marsden, a gay Mormon who took his life in 1976. Doug was dearly loved by his family, and will be missed greatly. A graveside service, for family and friends, was held March 14th, 2006, at the Tonaquint Cemetery. If you wish to post a tribute, please send us an email . Lynn E. Stewart (1957–2005) Looking out into space, I can see beyond my mind, And into my universe within. Our dear and gentle friend Lynn Stewart, born November 6, 1957, went nova on July 24, 2005. An avid astronomer and birder, she gave all of us a new perspective on stars, birds and the universe. A graphic artist by trade, she was a quality control supervisor in electronic pre-press and worked at Hudson Printing in Salt Lake City for over 20 years. Lynn was a member of Wasatch Affirmation and attended the First Unitarian Church. She loved hosting "star-b-ques" in the canyon and at her family's cabin—events that were often attended by Affirmation women. An accomplished pianist, she shared her original compositions with small groups of friends gathered around her keyboard. Her kindness and courage touched countless lives in our community. She never missed an opportunity to speak her love. Lynn is survived by three children Kirt, Vanessa and Cami and a grandson, Gerrit. On July 29, 2005, relatives, Affirmation members, and friends gathered for a graveside service in the Salt Lake City cemetery. On that evening, Mary and Cela hosted a gathering for Friends gathered to celebrate Lynn's chosen family, also attended by some members Lynn's life of her biological family. Affirmation friend Michelle Hardgrave traveled from California to celebrate Lynn's life. A memorial fund for transgender awareness and resources has been established in Lynn's honor at the GLBT Community Center of Utah. Friends may donate to: GLBT CCU 355 N. 300 West, 1st Floor Salt Lake City, UT 84103 We invite Lynn's friends to send us emails with tributes that we will be posted permanently on this page. Brian DJ Hyer Thompson (1967–2000) Brian David James Hyer Thompson was born on June 22, 1967. During his life he was intensely involved in the LDS Church, Affirmation (Gay and Lesbian Mormons), and the community at large. He graduated from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah. After serving a Mormon mission in Seattle, he returned to Utah, where he was elected president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans and participated in several gay and lesbian organizations. DJ had a strong connection with Mormonism, especially through Affirmation, Reconciliation, and his Salt Lake City singles ward in the Avenues. Years after coming out, he was still attending that ward and discussing gay issues with his bishop. DJ was a strong advocate for gay rights. He was proud to be gay and proud to be Mormon. DJ lived in many places and tried very hard to find happiness. He loved French culture and once traveled to Paris as an artist's assistant. He loved movies, paintings, and art. He loved hiking, nature, and animals—especially cats. He loved to grow flowers and was a talented cook. At the time of his death, DJ was living with a gay couple near Kingman, Arizona. He was very frustrated over the LDS Church's involvement with Proposition 22 in California and the recent suicide of Stuart Matis. DJ committed suicide near Kingman, Arizona, on March 9, 2000. He was 32 years old. On March 19, 2000, in the middle of a raging snowstorm, Affirmation held a memorial service at St. Mark's Cathedral in Salt Lake City. Some 200 people and the Salt Lake Men's Choir gave tribute to DJ and Stuart Matis. Friends played some of the songs that DJ requested in his letter. DJ was survived by his parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and his Affirmation friends. He is buried at the South Jordan Cemetery in Utah. Words by DJ: "It is unfortunate that the lives of good people such as Stuart Matis, Matthew Shepherd, and many others go unnoticed. I see Proposition 22 as a last straw in my life-long battle to see peace in the world I live in." Sources: DJ Thompson's Final Goodbye Creating Lifelines of Love: Helping Youth Who is Responsible? Stuart and DJ Remembered Local and National Religious Organizations Join with the Gay/Lesbian Mormon Community in Responding to Recent Suicides Gay Mormon Suicides Mourned in Prop's Wake (Sunstone 118 [April 2001]: 90-91). Joseph Timpson (1965–2007) Joseph Michael Timpson was born February 8, 1965 in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from Graduate Skyline High School in 1983. Joe earned a degree in English from the University of Utah and completed an MBA at Brigham Young University. He was employed by the US Postal Service for almost 20 years in the Regional Remote Encoding Center. Joe enjoyed books, movies, politics and his cat Gertie. He was active in his church service activities. Joe committed suicide on May 1, 2007—two months following the suicide of his co-worker and lesbian activist Kathy Worthington. He was 42 years old. He is survived by his parents, his brother, his brother-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews. Joe is buried at the Holladay Memorial Park in Holladay, Utah. We invite Joseph's friends to send us emails with tributes that we be will posted permanently on this page. Randall Dean Watkins (1962–2005) Randall Dean Watkins, 42, committed suicide on January 13, 2005 in St. George, Utah. Randy was born September 21, 1962 in Ogden, Utah. He grew up in Ogden, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada. When he was seven years old the family moved to St. George, Utah. Randy graduated from Dixie High School and attended Dixie College. He managed family motels throughout Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming before moving back to St. George in 1996. Randy and his partner in life, David Ulibarri, owned and operated Guest Room Services and David's Designs Floral and Gifts. They loved to escape to the mountains, ocean or to Snow Canyon. Randy loved his animals which included cats, horses and chickens. He found a great deal of enjoyment spending time with family and friends. His greatest gift was his great sense of humor. Randy is survived by his companion David; also by his father, mother, brothers and sisters, and other relatives. Randy is buried at the St. George City Cemetery, Utah. If you have more information about Randy, or wish to write a tribute, please send us an email. Steven Larry Wheeler (1949–2000) Steven Wheeler was born on October 22, 1949 in Blackfoot, Idaho. He graduated from Snake River High School and continued his education at Brigham Young University. He served a mission for the LDS Church in the northern Japan mission. After his mission he continued his education at the University of Utah, where he received his Masters in Business Administration. He worked for 20 years for the Utah Retirement Board as a market analyst and internal audit director. Steve committed suicide on May 23, 2000. He was 50 years old. During the funeral a friend said, "Nothing can bring back Steve's laugh; nothing can bring back the glory of his mind, the brilliance of his wit." Words by Steve: To Everyone: I cannot fight depression any longer. I have had to fight depression all my life, although for most of my life I had no idea what was wrong. Nothing works. Anti- depression drugs, counseling, mood enhancement drugs, supplements—nothing lifts the darkness. Churchill called it the "Black Dog." It is more like the black death. Fifty years is long enough. The depression grows deeper the older I get. I can see no way out. I am going to a place where there is no darkness, no pain, and no sadness. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. —Steven L. Wheeler Clay Douglass Whitmer (1965- 2000) Clay Douglass Whitmer was born May 21, 1965. He was an incredibly intelligent person. He had an M.B.A. and a J.D. He could pick up just about any subject matter with complete ease. He was someone who had very high aspirations. Clay had been involved with Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons as a member of the San Francisco Clay Whitmer, left, chapter. His family lives in Kansas City, Missouri. with friend Stuart Matis Clay had a very complicated relationship with his parents, and they have decided not to memorialize his life or death. Clay committed suicide in the San Francisco Bay Area on March 20, 2000—three weeks after his friend Stuart Matis. Stuart was Clay's very dear friend. They went to Brigham Young University together and served Mormon missions together in Italy. The death of his friend Stuart may have been the last straw in Clay's life. He wrote in his suicide note that he wanted to say good-bye to all his friends and to apologize for the pain he knew he would cause them. He also chose a place to commit the suicide which he knew none of his friends had any particular connection to. Peculiar as it may sound, even in contemplating his own death, he thought of others. This was the type of person he was. Sources: Gay Mormon Suicides Mourned in Prop's Wake (Sunstone 118 [April 2001]: 90-91). Miller, Mark. To Be Gay—And Mormon. Newsweek, 8 May 2000, pp. 38-39. Kathy Worthington (1950–2007) “This is a watershed time. Now when leaders move on, there is not only one person, but several people awaiting to take their place. People used to think it was frightening to be a gay or lesbian leader. Now more people are coming forward and saying, „I‟ll do that.‟” —Kathy Worthington, 1995 We regret to announce the passing of Kathy Worthington, a well-known Utah activist who made tremendous contributions to the GLBT community in Kathy Worthington (left) and Utah and across the country. Her passing comes one wife Sara Hamblin year and one day after the passing of her wife Sara Hamblin, who died of breast cancer on February 21, 2006. Even though Kathy left the LDS Church many years ago, she was supportive of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons and on one occasion came to an Affirmation meeting to speak of her experiences attending the 1993 March on Washington. She also helped Affirmation prepare an article with information for Mormons who want to get their names removed from the rolls of the Church. At around the time when the LDS Church tried to conceal its involvement in fundraising for anti-gay causes in California, Kathy wrote several articles for The Pillar, the local gay paper in Utah, showing proof of the church's involvement. She also organized a campaign to help disenchanted Mormons, straight and gay alike, resign from the church and ―send a message to the church that its manipulation of California politics... is objectionable and offensive to many people, including members of the church.‖ Kathy's contribution to the GLBT community are many. Between 1991 and 1995 she edited the Womyn's Community News, a monthly newsletter for lesbians. Over the years the publication attracted 1,000 readers from Seattle to Bridgeport, Conn. She spent 15,000 of her own money and thousands of hours working on that project. Between 1992 and 1999 she facilitated a women's peer support group, first at her home and later at the Stonewall Center. After 1999, she organized a similar group at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (today the Pride Center). Kathy met her wife Sara Hamblin in 1992. They had a commitment ceremony a year later. In 1997, two years after Sara was diagnosed with cancer, Kathy fought the U.S. Postal Service to be allowed to take open-ended leave to care for Sara under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. Kathy's request was denied twice, but she tried one more time and won approval. Kathy and Sara were legally married in Canada in 2003. Family and friends were hesitant to say how she died at first, but on Thursday, Kathy's daughter, Lucy Juarez, said her mother committed suicide. After losing her partner of 14 years, Kathy had fallen into a deep depression, stopped participating in the community, and let her friends fall by the wayside. Kathy still worked full time at the U.S. Postal Service, but she was lonely and struggled to wake up most mornings without Sara. Kathy had contemplated suicide throughout the year, and family and friends tried to get her help and support her. ―I’d rather just be up front about it because that was the way my mother was,‖ Lucy told The Salt Lake Tribune. ―We are in no way ashamed about her depression or the way she died. We wish we would have been able to save her.‖ A memorial service for Kathy will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at I.J. and Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center, 2 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Utah Pride Center (www.utahpridecenter.org) or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (www.bestfriends.org). A tribute to both Kathy and Sara may be found at www.geocities.com/kathywut/homepage.html. Kathy's passing was noted in the April 10, 2007 issue of The Advocate (see page 19, ―Transitions‖). Tribute by David Nielson: Kathy's contribution to the Mormon world has shaped many, many pieces of policy and viewpoint, even if TBM's refuse to acknowledge it. While it was possible before for an individual to have their name removed from Church rolls, it was difficult and required a lot of guesswork. Kathy created resources to make it an easy, definite process. She and her partner were also the greatest test case, before or since, for FMLA-style leave within the Postal Service. At her insistence, management of our postal facility set a precedent for gay couples to get the same treatment as straight couples, when caring for ailing partners. She was a friend to me at the Postal Service, and I am still very sad and incomplete because of her passing. Joe Timpson, who worked with me and with Kathy at the Remote Encoding Center here in Salt Lake City, was also a gay former Mormon. These two people both took their lives within weeks of each other. The reasons for suicide are never simple—there's never just one reason—but looking at these cases, I have to stand up and say, as I have said before, WE ARE STILL LOSING TOO MANY GAY MORMONS TO SUICIDE. Who are we being that will bring GLBT Mormon suicides to an end? David Nielson David ( -1982) [The following is taken from Postlewaite, Richard E., Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Lambda News, San Jose, 22 January 1982.] Recently we received word from Affirmation United Kingdom about one of our people named David. David told his family he was gay at the age of 15. His father, a local church leader, made him an outcast in his own family. David's family would walk the other way if they met on the street. He was told never to try to contact the family. David was rushed several times to the hospital for emergency treatment after having mutilated his body with knives and razor blades. Within the last month, David committed suicide. In sobs, Affirmation was thanked by a friend of David's for the help and support provided. But David is dead. David was but another victim of the injustices of the church and its attitude towards Gay and Lesbian people. We of Affirmation San Jose/South Bay hope the church one day understands. Until then, we fight their ignorance and try to heal and help our own. Richard E. Postlewaite President Affirmation, San Jose Suicides of 1965 [The following is taken from McQueen, Robert I., "Outside the Temple Gates—The Gay Mormon," The Advocate, 13 August 1975, p. 14.] It was a year of suicides, a rather harsh introduction to the gay society I discovered in 1965, hidden beneath Salt Lake City's placid sheen of righteousness. The details were gory and unsettling—a strong, athletic neck snapped by a homemade noose, a beautiful head blown apart, a body smashed like delicate porcelain in the concrete conclusion of a seven-story leap, and two quiet overdoses on begged and borrowed drugs. Homosexuality was, of course, the immediate scapegoat. After all, the waspish voices inside cried, suicide and homosexuality go hand in hand. But there was something disturbing about these particular deaths, something unnecessary, something these men shared which was as much and possibly more to blame. Risking blasphemy, I concluded, after a long and bitter struggle with my own beliefs, that it was their inability to reconcile in a livable harmony the opposing forces of a rigidly homophobic religion and homosexuality that destroyed them. Those five young men I met in 1965 were all in their early 20's. They were Mormons. Three of them had recently returned from missionary service for the Mormon church. They were all students at Brigham Young University (BYU), the Mormon-owned university well known for its arch-conservative standards of conduct and dress. Months prior to their suicides, four of them had been trapped in the on-going homosexual witch hunts at BYU and subjected to the church's disciplinary program. The fifth had sought help his own way by contacting church authorities and admitting his problem to them. As an initial step in their "counseling," each of them was interviewed by the counselor to homosexual problems at that time, Spencer W. Kimball, now president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... My friends from 1965 were good people. They wanted to be better people, but they believed in their church more than they believed in themselves. When their church rejected them because they were gay, it destroyed them. I doubt the Mormon church will ever accept even a portion of the blame. Suicides of 1976 [The following is taken from O'Donovan, Connell, "The Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature": A Brief History of Homosexuality and Mormonism, 1840-1980.] As the purge continued into 1976, BYU security sent officers and volunteers to Gay bars in Salt Lake City to record the license plate numbers of cars with BYU parking stickers on them. One student who got caught during this purge attempted suicide. When taken to the hospital, medical personnel reported him to BYU security, who in turn informed his bishop and his wife of the situation. In a joint effort between Utah County Sheriff's officers and BYU security during March 1976, fourteen men were arraigned in Pleasant Grove (near BYU) on charges of 'lewdness and sodomy' at two freeway rest stops. One of these men shot himself two days after his arrest. During surveillance of these rest stops, officers documented more than 100 men, many of whom were from BYU, who were "believed to engage in homosexual activity" there. Suicide of 1984 [The following is taken from Taylor, Mark A., "The Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name: A Day in the Life," Utah Holiday, September 1986, pp. 35-51.] [Bruce] Harmon says job discrimination can be devastating, but when a person's family turns away, it's tragic. "A couple of years ago, a young man called our hotline and told us his name. He said he had just told his parents he was homosexual. There was hollering and an argument going on in the background. The father said, 'I'd rather see you dead than be gay,' and then the line suddenly went dead. Someone hung the telephone up. The young man didn't give us a telephone number, so we had no way of calling back. One week later, we read his obituary."