When Mormon teens come out to their family or their community, they’re often directed to one specific website.
Titled ‘Mormons and Gays’, the Church’s official advice page states in no uncertain terms that while same-sex attraction is a ‘complex reality’, and is ‘not a sin’, acting on this attraction is wrong.
Now, a group of Mormon mothers of LGBTI children – known as Mama Dragons – have set up a Facebook support group to help each other, and challenge the information currently available for young people in the Church.
Jen Blair, mom to 19-year-old Jackson, explained how isolating it can be for an LGBTI member of the Church in a live webcast with the Salt Lake Tribune.
‘The doctrine is “be more like God”,’ she said. ‘”Get married, have a family: this is how you become more Godlike, this is how you find exultation, this is how you find joy, this is where happiness is”.’
‘Then there’s this little subset of people and it’s like “well, except you. That’s not really going to be an option for you. But it’s fabulous and wonderful and glorious and we want it for everyone. Except, not really you.”
‘That’s never said, but it’s definitely felt, when you’re listening with those ears.’
Now an older teen, Jackson no longer attends church – but his mom continues to fight his corner in the community, reaching out to her son with support and information if he wants it.
‘Regardless of what he chooses, my role as a mom is to help him do it in the healthiest way possible,’ Jen explained.
‘I just want him to be healthy and happy and I don’t think you can do that when you’re not really granted your agency.’
Fellow Mama Dragon Alyson Deussen joined the Facebook group for support after her gay son attempted suicide.
‘This issue almost seems as if it’s taboo,’ she said. ‘For me, I feel very unsupported in a lot of ways by my brothers and sisters.
‘We need to love and support and rally around one another and especially rally around these kids.’
The Facebook group, originally a secret group with ten members, is now swelling daily and has grown to 250 Mormon moms looking for a network.
Currently, only moms who have met another Mama Dragon face-to-face are granted access to the network, but through their outreach work and open conversations, the Dragons are hoping to change the narrative for LGBTI youth in the Church.
‘I think it takes a lot of love, patience and time,’ Alyson explained.
‘That’s one of the ways that we need to love and support these kids, we need to reach out with our arms and wrap them around them, and let them know that regardless of their path, and what direction they’re going, that they’re loved. And that we can help them through it.’
Watch the full webcast below: