Rolling Stone magazine reported Rock band Neon Tree’s lead singer Tyler Glenn’s recent announcement that he was gay. “I was going to learn to drive for my 30th birthday, but I came out instead,” Tyler said. [1]

Early Beginnings and Coming Out As Being Gay

TYler Glen Gay MormonTyler Glenn grew up in Murrieta, California, with Neon Trees guitarist Chris Allen. In 2005, after serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church), both men moved to Provo, Utah, and began performing locally.  Elaine Bradley, drummer, and Brandon Campbell, bassist, joined the band shortly thereafter, and Neon Trees became a global sensation. The band has now released their third album titled “Pop Psychology.” They have also planned a tour of Europe and North America, concluding in Salt Lake City, Utah on 16 June 2014.

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Tyler penned a Facebook post to fans concluding with this advice: “Come out as YOU. That’s all I really can say. That’s what I’d say to me at 21, the scared return Mormon missionary who knew this part of himself but loved God too. You can do both. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.”

Tyler also told Rolling Stone, “I don’t know what the rumors are, but we’re not taught that ‘homos are going to hell’ on Sunday in church,” he says. “Mostly it’s just about Christ and his teachings.”

Mormon Doctrine and Same-Sex Attraction

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though strongly supporting the doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman, recognizes that some of its members are attracted to same sex gender. On its website mormonsandgays.org, The Church of Jesus Christ posted,

Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.

Where the Church stands:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

When asked why the Church doesn’t just let people be, Elder Todd D. Christofferson said,

This is a gospel of change. Jesus Christ is asking every one of us to change, and to become better and to progress and to follow in his footsteps. His ultimate commandment is that we become as He is and as His father. And none of us are at that point. None of us have things, are free of things that we don’t need to change in our lives and to improve. And the standard is always the gospel of Jesus Christ. And every one of us has to measure up to that standard because that’s where our ultimate happiness is going to be found. That’s where our ultimate freedom is going to come. And God being just and loving all of His Children is going to help everyone who wants to progress toward that ideal, whatever they may need to do in their lives to do that.

Conversations About Homosexuality

The Church posted conversations about homosexuality on mormonsandgays.org. Gay Mormons share their stories about being Mormon and gay in the Church.  Some left the Church to live a gay lifestyle and then returned to find spiritual fulfillment.

Ted shared,

There’s so many questions, there’s probably way more questions that there are answers for sure. I certainly don’t know anything, except for this. I know that God loves me. I am His divine child and I know He wants me to come back into His presence. I know that because He’s told me so. The mighty change of heart that’s not just a figurative thing, it’s a real thing, that He takes our hearts and makes them soft and fills us up with light. It doesn’t matter who we are, all can come unto Him. I am His and He loves me.

Ty shared,

I was in a couple of different relationships with people that I really cared about. And it was interesting because I felt more emotionally alive but I also felt a loss of light, and that was clear to me during that time. It was a slow decrease in light but I noticed it. At one point, I was feeling very, very distant, probably as far from God as I had ever felt, and I had this very strong spiritual experience, kind of a mystical experience, where I was almost being enveloped in this feeling of love. There was nothing in that that was ‘what you’re doing is right, what you’re doing is wrong’ it was just this feeling of ‘I love you.’ And I felt like God knew me, that he remembered me. And I needed that more than anything. Again, it wasn’t an affirmation, it wasn’t a rebuke, it was just ‘I love you.’ And so I continued just trying to move forward trying to find reconciliation, to be in places, I mean I kept attending church, and just to try to be in places where I thought the spirit could be present, to teach me. I kept trying to learn, and to read, and I kept trying to figure things out and at one point I was in a kind of a devotional address and the instructor was talking about Isaiah, “But if you take hold of the covenant, you shall have a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters.” And as he was talking about this verse, I just had again like this very powerful spiritual experience, that my place was in the Church, that’s where I needed to be. It was a very clear communication that whether you get married in this life or the next is of no matter, just stay with me. Stay with me. If you take life a day at a time, continuing to seek and cultivate the spirit in your life, every blessing that can be had will be yours. Just trust. That’s what I did and at that point, I resolved myself that I was going to get my life back in order. And I was able to totally release myself from cultural expectation. Like from now on, I was doing this journey in the Church, but this was between me and God. No more pressure to get married, no more timetables, no more anything. No more programs, this or that therapy, it was me and God, taking this a day at a time. If it something works, great, if it doesn’t, great not a problem. I’m with God and that’s all that I need. But that was enough for me to be able to feel a real hope. And to feel a joy in Christ and to feel a joy in the gospel that I had lost years before. And also, the natural desire to want to have companionship. But at this point, I knew I didn’t need that more than I needed God. It was God first, that was second.

For more information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ position on same-sex attraction, visit mormonsandgays.org.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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