Several weeks after gay Mormon students at Brigham Young University shared their stories on video as part of the It Gets Better project, Mormon parents and relatives have contributed to a second video.
It Gets Better is a national video project started by alt journalist Dan Savage to reach out to gay teens.
This new video features mostly middle-age church members talking about both the struggles of their gay children and their own battles when it comes to understanding and embracing who their children are and what they are going through. What receives very little, if any, attention is the LDS Church's position on being gay.
Against the background of a mournful cello, parents tell stories of their children's coming out, revealing how far they themselves had to go. One mother expressed fear that her gay child's orientation would "reflect on my poor parenting." A father acknowledged never having thought about "the Mormon standpoint on homosexuality."
Sometimes the views expressed revealed perplexing attitudes. "Nobody in their right mind would choose this; nobody who is LDS would choose to be ostracized by their whole entire family," one mother says. One man appears to be describing the experience of coming out as "a life wrecked and ruined and destroyed; I know it's a terribly lonely, sad, discouraging place to be."
One parent found out her child was gay when her son attempted suicide. A father came downstairs to see his son trying to take his own life. "At the time I thought, 'Why would he do that?'" he says.
The overriding tone of the video is one of understanding, of reaching out. "My job is to love, my job is to accept," says one man. "Society's moving in your direction," says another. "I'm learning how to be the best ally and the best advocate I can be," says a third.
Finally, it seems, the message is that society and, presumably, the Mormon community at large needs to embrace change. "People who don't understand who you are, they can change," one woman says.