Episode 73 Lgbtq At Church With Allison Dayton (2) (1)

Being an LGBTQ Family at Church, with Allison Dayton from Lift + Love

Episode 73 – Being an LGBTQ+ Family at Church, with Allison Dayton from Lift + Love
I’m releasing this episode at the beginning of December for a reason. This month as we celebrate the birth of Christ, I think of it as celebrating the greatest gift of Love that God could give us – the savior Jesus Christ. This episode is about how to love better, how to extend that love to those who are having some trouble finding it in the walls of their church building and church communities. 

This topic is close to my heart today and will be very close to the hearts of many special families I know. Allison Dayton, the founder of Lift + Love and I had a conversation about being an LGBTQ family in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s not an easy road we walk as we try to navigate our membership and the reality of our families. 

If you don’t have an LGBTQ child, I ask you to listen with an open mind and an open heart to the experience of two mothers who do. And if our experience doesn’t match your experience in the church, please respect ours as we respect yours. 

There are hundreds, and most likely thousands of families like mine and Allison’s in the church today. So many of us are struggling to feel at home in a place that always felt so much like home and used to be so comfortable, but often isn’t anymore. And because it can be so uncomfortable and feel very unwelcoming at times, many of those families have left. 

The Law of Love written by Steve Young

Lift + Love website

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Full Transcript

I’m releasing this episode at the beginning of December for a very special reason. This month as we celebrate the birth of Christ, I think of it as celebrating the greatest gift of love that God could ever offer to us, our Savior. This episode is about how to love better, how to extend that love to those who are having some trouble finding it in the walls of their church building and in their church communities.

This topic is very close to my heart, and will be very close to the hearts of many special families that I know. Allison Dayton is the founder of lift and love. And I had this conversation with her about being an LGBTQ+ family in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It’s not an easy road that we walk as we try to navigate our membership and the reality of our families. Now, if you don’t have an LGBTQ child, I asked you to listen with an open mind and an open heart to the experience of two mothers that do. And if our experience doesn’t match your experience in the church, please respect ours as we respect yours.

There are hundreds and most likely 1000s of families like mine and Allison’s in the church today. And so many are struggling to feel at home in a place that always felt so much like home. And it used to be so comfortable, but often it isn’t anymore. And because it can be so uncomfortable and feel very unwelcoming at times, many of these families have left. So with that introduction, I’m going to get into this discussion that Alison Dayton and I had. And I’ll see you on the other side.

I’m really excited to have Allison Dayton here with me today. So Alison has been someone that I have been following for a long time, although we just met in person last month at the restore conference in Salt Lake. And I’ve got tell you a little story, Allison, which I don’t think that I have told you this before, because we just talked for a few minutes. When we were at the Restore conference, it was the very, very end, you were packing up to leave packing up all your stuff, because you’d have the Lift and Love booth there. And I was like, there she is, I’m gonna go say hi to her to my husband. I’m gonna go say hi to her. I’m gonna go introduce myself to Alison. And so I just came and I think I told you maybe three or four sentences introducing myself and telling you I have a gay son. He was married to his husband. And immediately you said, “And how were you?” It was so immediate, so just like caring and kind. But I immediately immediately felt like, oh, this woman cares about me. She understands me. She sees me right now. That’s so rare to have somebody do that. But I just want to share that with you. It was meant a lot to me to have you do that.

Allison Dayton 

Well, you know, I’m in the same boat. I have a gay son and you know it. It’s always the question on my heart. How was the mom doing? How is she doing? And I think I’ll tell you when I started, I was worried that moms were you know, that was it? I was worried that moms weren’t supportive of their kids. But what I learned is, you know, this, as moms, we we are connected to our children like viscerally Oh, yes, our hearts connect to them. And when they’re happy, we’re happy when they’re sad, we’re sad. And you can tell a lot from a mom how she’s doing about how the family is doing.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah. I like to tell people that I met my son six years before he was born, it’s a whole story. It was just a really special experience for me to know that he was being this there was this child that was coming to my home that was meant to be in our home that was going to be special in our home and to be prepared for it.

Allison Dayton 

So I love how often the Spirit has given parents kind of a heads up or a runway to embracing the child. Yeah, so and it doesn’t happen all that it all the time, but it’s frequently, parents are given a long runway so that they can be ready, you know, with these ideas of hey, have you thought this child might be gay or trans or whatever, just the Spirit just sort of gently guiding a parent to where they need to be.

Tina Gosney 

This is little cues beforehand to just kind of warm you up and get you ready.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, it helps you protect the way you speak around your children, because we all have in the past, we’re so flippant about LGBTQ things. And when once you kind of get the idea that, Oh, maybe, maybe this is my child, it changes the way you speak and the things you say, and the way you take care of them. And all the things

Tina Gosney 

is the other things that you’re aware of that you might not have paid much attention to, if you hadn’t. Well, would you introduce yourself? I kind of jumped in and told the story before.

Allison Dayton 

So my name is Alison Dayton, I grew up in Salt Lake. And I grew up with a gay brother, who I incidentally, was told by the Spirit when he when I was 14, that he was gay. And I asked my mom, and she confirmed it. And my brother and I had an amazing relationship. We were good friends for a long, forever. He’s nine years older than I am. And we were really close until he started really suffering around the time that the church, he actually had himself taken off the roles of the church when he was in his mid 20s. When he came out publicly, he came out to my parents at 13. And publicly, probably around 23, maybe 10 years later, after he served a mission and tried to cure himself of being gay and all the things that people used to do. And so he wasn’t he actually, even though he took himself off the roles, he did attend church, often, he missed. He loved the church, and he missed it. And he missed the community. And he missed, he missed all the things, he really loved it until he didn’t until the church started fighting against gay marriage. And with Prop Eight, it started, he started to get really angry, and the relationship and our family started to really suffer. And then with the, the, the policy in 2015. He, he essentially, like pushed my hand and said, Either you leave the church or we’re done our relationship, I’m not going to have a relationship with you. And as hard as it was, I just said to him, this is how I understand God. And and, you know, I’m trying, I’d always been a vocal advocate of my brother, I talked about having a gay brother in the 80s in high school. And I was never I was always proud of him and proud that he was out. Anyway, it was was the end of our relationship. He never spoke to me again. And then about just less than two years later, he took his life. And it started me on this journey of kind of I don’t I, unfortunately, I never really understood how terrible his pain was. I think I expected the pain but that he was not reacting the way he should. And why are you so mad, and you’re just angry all the time. And I just never understood how deep the pain was and how deeply he felt. He was crushed that he had to leave the church, he was crushed that the church didn’t embrace Him for who He was and that he couldn’t change it. And anyway, at the same time, right around the same time, actually, when when he died, I knew my son was probably gay. And he came out about a year later to us. And I had started doing some work with different organizations for LGBTQ people before my son came out. And then when he did, I had kind of been disillusioned by everyone, every all the groups I was involved with, because there were they were either identity affirming or church affirming. But none none of them were both. Yeah. And so I sort of started my own thing. And that’s how I got here. Yeah, that’s how I got to I started lifting love just kind of as a inspirational Instagram account that I thought I could send good messages out and it just kind of bloomed from there.

Tina Gosney 

There’s a lot of members there now are there.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, we have. We have 20,000 plus people. And interestingly enough, we have a lot lot of people who don’t follow us because they don’t want their family and ward members to know that they have that they’re like that they’re looking. Okay. Yeah. And then we, we work with hundreds and hundreds of families. Yeah. Usually mothers. But one more. We’re working. We’ve got groups that are working individuals like women, LGBTQ women and trans individuals and, and they all have their own kind of communities within Lift + Love.

Tina Gosney 

I wish that when our son came out to us, it was almost a whole year before he was out to everybody else in our immediate family knew, but it wasn’t our place to tell anybody else. What was that? For him, that was his choice. And so we didn’t share that information with anyone. And I wish that I would have had something like lift + love, because that is so incredibly isolating, to try to figure that out and not feel like you have anywhere to turn.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, that’s a hard phase for parents to be in. Because as a mom, I mean, we crowdsource our information, right? We go stroller walks with our friends, or we’re in running groups, or we are at activities at church, and we talk about parenting, and then all of a sudden, we don’t, we can’t. Yeah, so a lot of times, I mean, finding a group like Lift + Love or, and we have moms groups that meet. And we can you can talk freely there. There’s, there’s, there’s safety there. Or a lot of times I’ll, I’ll tell, I’ll ask Mom, I’ll tell moms to ask the child if they can tell one friend. And even like, work, like say, Would you be okay, if I told so and so. Yeah. Before? And that would be the only person you know, or one aunt or whatever, so that you have someone to share that with?

Tina Gosney 

Yeah. So I don’t even I don’t even know that I was in a place where I could have even shared that with anyone.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, that’s well, and that’s why I love to love, it’s good. Because you can share, you can read it without you can read it without following you can read it what with following you can read it. Or you can get on set one of our you know, you can get on the website and look up all the information, all the different. We have tons and tons of information, resources, webs, you know, stories from different families, just endless information there. Or you can get on our support groups, even you know, you can change your name on Zoom and not have your camera on when you’re not feeling comfortable. And then you can kind of move through the process that way. Yeah, you have lots of ways for parents to engage.

Tina Gosney 

And you guys have a ton of super helpful, just inspiring and hopeful messages in your content. I just love your content.

Allison Dayton 

Oh, I’m so glad Thank you. Well, you know, I’m on the very same path. I feel like I’m ahead of people a little bit. My parents were faithful members. And every single one of my ancestors came across the plains in the Pioneer migration. So deeply rooted LDS belief, you know, beliefs and, and sacrifice through the years. So, we’re, we were all in but my parents had a, an, I don’t even know how to describe it. But they, because of their lives, they just had a fluidity in being able to kind of look outside of the box. And kind of like reason for themselves. They were, they were big readers. And they were, they studied a lot. They both gone and so I’ve been through their bookshelf, and it was amazing to me, the the thoughtful thinkers that they were reading in the day, you know, the the thoughtful, faithful members who were we’re seeing things a little different than the than the crowd.

Tina Gosney 

But that’s pretty rare. Yeah, I was I was listening to your interview on Faith Matters. Oh, talk to you about how your brother was, this was in the 80s the height of AIDS epidemic.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, he that’s when he came out publicly. He came out to my mom and 73 I mean, my mom was 30 something years old, 32/33 years old, or whatever. And just like no information, no way to know.

Tina Gosney 

Well, just a testament to your parents then because there was not a community there was not information. It was it was very thought of very, very differently. Yeah. I mean, there’s still a lot of misinformation and vilification now, but just times it by how much back then, yeah, your parents affirming of your brother.

Allison Dayton 

They were in fact, I graduated high school in 1987. And I lived with my brother and his boyfriend for that summer. Yeah, my parents wanted to get me out of their hair, I was driving them crazy. And it was a, it was a great, it was a great time. And I realized how ordinary their relationship was. It wasn’t, it was just a kind and loving relationship. But yeah, my parents had a flexibility, I’ve always had kind of a I’m kind of that person that’s like, I don’t I don’t take things for what you like, I’m pretty inquisitive and curious. And so it’s given me an ability to kind of like, bend my knees and be like, Okay, I’m going to figure this out myself. And I, like, deeply committed to the Lord. And I just when I’m, when I’m struggling with some of the things that happen at church, I can always run to the safety of the Savior and just, you know, cry it out, or yell it out, or, you know, get, get the necessary strength that I need to keep going. But that my relationship with him started actually, really in earnest in this process, and I’m so grateful for that, because that’s the thing that’s kept me going.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah, I love that. Which brings us into what we’re going to talk about today is, we want to talk about the law of love. Really taking some ideas from the book from Steve Young, if you haven’t read the Law of Love. excellent book, highly recommend it. Yeah, it’s really a great book. We’re gonna apply that today in how do we help families like mine and families like Allison’s feel welcome in the church that our ancestors gave so much to, like she said, her team across the plains, and so did mine. Yeah. And we have just heritage that is built this church. And when you have a child come out, it almost feels like when that becomes public knowledge, there’s a wall that goes up between you and everybody else. Yeah, you almost feel like, in a way, and this is a strong word, it almost feels like you’re an enemy. If you want to have your have, support your child, and have just express opinions about them, and about how much you love them and support them, you become almost an automatic enemy of people at church.

Allison Dayton 

I know. Isn’t that so? Interesting? Yeah. I mean, it is our divine responsibility to support our children, and to love them, and to keep a healthy relationship for them. And we know that the plan of salvation includes allowing them to make their own decisions. Until to support and love them through that, like our Heavenly Father does for us, our heavenly parents do for us when we make our own decisions, good or bad. Knowing that we’ll learn as we learn with Adam and Eve that will learn the from the bitter from the sweet and that it will be because we make our own decisions. We can’t learn if we’re just following and not doing those things. But yeah, it’s an interesting dilemma. I always say people sort of high dive into a faceplant. Like in right into a pool of faith crisis, community crisis, all the things because there there is sort of a fortress feeling that comes up when you have a gay child. You feel like the church sort of fortresses against you or your ward community or whatever. And it’s, it’s, it’s heartbreaking. I’ve been there, you’ve been we’ve all been there.

Tina Gosney 

Right? Especially in a place where, like community just as human beings community is just so important to us to be accepted. In our spaces with our family and in our faith community. I can’t think of two more important communities to have acceptance that and to feel all of a sudden, like, you’ve been outed, from what?

Allison Dayton 

Yes, it’s heartbreaking. Being in a community is a life saving, like, that’s our life saving instinct. If you know, like 1000s of years ago, a few or even hundreds of years ago, if you weren’t in community weren’t going to make it. You just were going to die. Yeah, you were going to die and our instinctual desires are to be surrounded and protected and community. But that’s saying as they say you’re too much But good thing is the bad thing or too much of your personality, it can be with too much of your your strong traits can be your worst traits. Because we are such a good community church that sometimes we also can push people outside of the community fairly easily.

Tina Gosney 

If we don’t feel like they fit anymore, yeah, and become a threat, it’s almost like we’re a threat in a way.

Allison Dayton 

I think I think it feels like that my gut feel is that we’ve decided what it means to be gay. And of course, there’s a weird narrative going back around that it’s a choice when we’ve known for, since the mid 70s, that it isn’t a choice, it’s something that actually happens in the body, and that we cannot just choose, there’s no legitimate studies that show that somebody can change their orient their sexual orientation. So we’ve known for decades, that it’s not a choice. But we we tend to some of the things we say in the church, sort of are members of the Church, say, sort of act like it’s a choice, like, Oh, if they choose that lifestyle? Well, it’s not choosing the lifestyle, it is who they are. And then they have to decide how we’re they’re going to go forward in a church, you know, are they going to stay celibate and then stay active in the church? Or are they going to find someone and marry and then likely be excommunicated? So these are, those are the choices? It’s not a choice to be gay. Right. You know, but we phrase things in way that that might make people think that. So what happens is, people, don’t we, it’s easier just to say the old phrases than to actually think about what we’re asking.

Tina Gosney 

I already know what phrases you’re thinking of, even though we haven’t talked about it,

Allison Dayton 

Well, and there’s so many like, you know, I mean, I was talking to a bishop the other day, so I want all the kids in the ward to feel in my ward to feel the LGBTQ kids to be he was away as a bishop, actually, I want them to feel supported. And even though I don’t approve of their lifestyle choices, and I was like, do you know these kids? And have they made choices? Are you sort of running ahead of the the cart, right? Like? We do we do these things, but we don’t really want to think about what we’re asking these kids to do. Are we ready as wards to support the LGBTQ kids in celibacy? Meaning Are we ready to, to bring these families, individuals into our homes for Sunday dinner? So they’re not alone? Or, you know what I mean, we, we, we say things, really the glib things that we say, so that we don’t have to think through it, what we’re really talking about, which is a big deal.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah. And I don’t know that until you’re put in that position of having a child that is in that in that spectrum, the LGBTQ spectrum that you truly go through, like, what does this look like in an actual 80 year lifespan for this person? Yeah. Do you really want to tell this child? You will, you can’t date you can’t ever hold somebody’s hand, you can’t get married, you can’t have a family, you’re just going to be alone. And like we said before community and being a part of a group is such a life, a basic life instinct, that being alone feels like life or death.

Allison Dayton 

Well, and not only that, but we’re talking about parents trying to teach this to a child who’s come out at 13.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah, they’re coming out younger and younger now.

Allison Dayton 

Right? They’re coming out when they should when they’re feeling those experiences. They’re talking to their parents about it, which is good. It’s helped me. So the question is, can parents teach two different paths to their children? Can they look one child in the eye and say, Hey, we want you to marry, find someone really great and get married in the temple. And we’re so excited for you to have grandbabies. And then can you look another child in the eyes and say, Hey, you don’t get that. You don’t get to do those things. You don’t get to progress in that way. And you will have to find ways to you know, keep you know, I can’t even imagine what you would say to a child when you are, are so excited about your other children being able to do that. Like an able bodied child. To say, you can’t have what your brother and what your sister have, right? I mean, and for, for members of the church to actually, until that’s presented to you at something that you’re supposed to do or that the church has asked you to do or that are that we believe you’re supposed to ask your kids to do until you have been presented with that you can’t hardly imagine what that would feel like.

Tina Gosney 

It still feels like a abstract concept to people until it’s literally in your family, in your lap. Let’s just take a look at the reality here. Yeah, the next thing that people say, you already know this is, well, it’s just like a single woman who never gets married, isn’t it? What’s the difference?

Allison Dayton  Yeah. And that was so hard for me. Because it’s it’s a little bit like saying to someone who is in poverty, well, why don’t you just go get some food? You’re it’s such an unkindness to

people like we have. Now, I mean, let me be really clear, I believe that we should wait till marriage to have sex. I mean, that’s the law of chastity that we won’t have sex outside of our marriage or marital relationships. But to compare someone that has all the opportunities and the blessings of the church, and the the their friends and their family, to marry and date and all the things and they get lined up all the time to compare that with someone that you have to, from the young age of 13/12, 13/14, is told that they can never date and never find love, and never marry. That is a real unkind and unthinking thing to do.

Tina Gosney 

Right. I think I heard Ben Schillaty talk about this once. And he said something because he does have an older single sister doesn’t he? That he does. And he was talking about the difference between him and her. And how she can go out on dates. She could get on her knees every single night and pray to find someone to love in her life. And he has to get on his knees every single night and pray to not find someone else in love with.

Allison Dayton 

Right. And that’s the only way that he can stay. And he’s really wanting if you’re not familiar with who he is, go look him up. He’s amazing. But he is actively trying to stay an active member of the church. And then he is and he has decided not to date. And that has been his decision. And he and he is amazing. He has amazing.

Tina Gosney 

He wrote a book “In His Shoes”

Allison Dayton 

It’s a beautiful book, you can find a lot of podcasts, including questions from the closet with Ben and Charlie Bird. They are amazing men trying to do the best they can. And they’re very open and vulnerable about their life situations and their choices. So yes, they are. Yeah, I think that is it an incredible unkindness to do to say to people really, just, it’s so hard. I mean, if we, if we actually are going to show the law of love to people who are gay, and that we will be who we consider it needful for them to be celibate, then the love what love would really say that we need to help them carry that burden. If we believe that that’s what the Lord asks, then it would be our responsibility to give good to them, to invite them for Sunday dinners and out to movies with us so that they’re not alone, to to carry the burden with them and to mourn with them the loss of what we hold the most dear. That’s the law of love. And I think if our members who hold those truths tightly, they should be the first to love and support and carry the burden with our LGBTQ members who are in their midst.

Tina Gosney 

Right. That’s not usually what happens.

Allison Dayton 

Now, unfortunately, I know really great people. And I think the tide has changed. And there’s so many good people that are there feeling this, whether they have family members, or whether the Spirit has moved them. I can’t tell you how many people just are like, in fact, I’m met with a support group last night. It was a Sunday night meeting that they had in someone’s home and there were so many people there. But I asked them to raise their hands who not the people that were LGBTQ or had a child, but they’re there just to say or I’m like, Who here felt called to this? All of them raise their hands. I mean, they felt they felt called by the Spirit to start supporting and loving and being there.

Tina Gosney 

I was talking with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago, and he was talking about how his sister, his wife’s sister, has a daughter who I think left her marriage, and went and moved in with her girlfriend, and how her sister, his sister in law, I guess, was and her husband were like, we can’t we don’t have anything to do with you. We don’t want to talk with you. We don’t agree with your choices. Your we just don’t want you in our family anymore. You can’t bring your girlfriend to our house, you know, all the things that are so damaging to someone after they come out. And this went on, I think he said for a couple of years. And then it was just heartbreaking to them, that that’s where they were in their relationship with their daughter. And they he said they went into the temple really wanting and seeking answers, like how can we repair this relationship? And they both had independently had the same answer, walked out and shared the same answer with each other. And that was, you just need to love her and welcome her back into your family. And I told him, I said, if you ask just about any LGBT family, especially the parents who are trying to understand isn’t earnestly seeking for answers and to how to know how to navigate this in their family. That is always the answer. That’s the answer that everybody gets. No one ever gets the answer of. Yeah, you should cut this child out of your home, you should not leave them, you should not let them come in.

Allison Dayton 

Well, I mean, let’s look at scripturally. What mean, even like, how did the Lord act when Eve chose to eat the fruit? Did he cut her out? Did he? Did he send her? From his view? No. I mean, as part of the process, she needed to be out of the garden, both of them did, but he sent with them protection and enmity and and he sent those he sent apostles to teach them, right isn’t leaders to teach them He loved them. He stayed with them. And he, he, there was a plan for that. But yet, in our own families, we don’t follow the Lord’s plan. Understanding that our children have choices that they have to make, and that they, I mean, I always say to parents, like, we can’t tell our kids what to do. But we can hope that they will go to the Lord for their, for their guidance, for guidance and to know what to do in this situation.

Tina Gosney 

And hopefully, that’s where we’ve been pointing them all along. Yeah. Not to us, but to him. Yeah. And to our heavenly parents.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s, that is because most LGBTQ people will leave the church, right. That’s the I mean, if they can stay close to the Lord, then then we know that there’ll be protected because there’ll be listening to him. Yes, it listening to the Spirit.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah. Let’s talk about some of the challenging things that come from being a church and being an LGBTQ family.

Allison Dayton 

What would you start with?

Tina Gosney 

Let’s just throw out one, what’s been hard for you? Or in your experience that you’ve seen? Difficulties with?

Allison Dayton 

You know, it’s interesting I was I raised my family in a really, I had no idea how open minded and how embracive and loving this ward and stake was, until we moved just two years ago. And I mean, I adore the people in this ward, but they’re in the stake, but they are. They’re absolutely close to any ideas of LGBTQ people and and unfairly unaware that there are many in our midst. And it’s been a it’s been an eye opener for me because I was kind of in this like, relative, like peaceful place where my child was just totally supported. Not that the people here wouldn’t support but they won’t talk about it. And there there are talks that happen in church that are just they they make me want I mean, I come home and I’m in tears a lot of times because of the way LGBTQ people are spoken about, you know, like, a week ago it was oh there. What was said? They are Satan’s way of distracting. Are those LGBTQ issues. And just coming from the background I come from and the devastation caused in our family by having a brother who loved the gospel, but could never claim his home in the Gospel.

Tina Gosney 

Right.

Allison Dayton 

It’s just so much deeper than a distraction and, and to have someone say that it’s just, I mean, it gets me, it gets me, it’s hard, it’s hard for me to come back, it’s hard for me to come back week after week. And even though I love the person who said it, I just think the world of them. It’s hard. And and I understand it comes from a place of ignorance. And they just haven’t learned yet. But it nonetheless, like, it takes me a long time to recover from comments like that, and recovery, and not just in like, oh, it made me mad, but like, I’m deeply wounded. Right? So and I’m, I have I’m, I have a really strong position. Like, I’m really confident in this. I do this night and day. And I know that the Lord is with me in this and that this is, you know, this is an important calling that I have, I can’t imagine moms that are just brand new with this.

Tina Gosney 

That was, that was my guide in their heart. Yeah. And that was my thought when you said that is that I know how strong and confident you are, because I’ve seen, I’ve seen it in you for so long. And to have you come home and be devastated.

Allison Dayton 

It happens a lot. To me, it’s hard. And as, as confident as I am, it also is like, this is my baby, you’re talking about my baby. And gratefully, my son is no longer in the youth program. This was in a youth meeting. Because we talked about it, my older my daughter and her husband and my husband and I talked about it after like, I couldn’t bring my son to meetings like that, because of the sense of who he is. And his worth to God is diminished with comments like that. And I, and this is the problem, Tina, that you know. So in my mom’s day, she just they didn’t talk about it, they love my son, my brother. A lot of people, in fact, a lot of older people still can’t talk about their children being gay, they get so uncomfortable talking about it, right. But now when you have a 13 year old come out to you. And you you, combine that with any sort of spiritual just in the Spirit teaching you that this child is who they are, they are this way and that the Lord gave them to you this way. You’ve got a mom, who’s all of a sudden, like, so protective of this child.

Tina Gosney 

Oh, the mama bear comes out.

Allison Dayton 

And while I try and keep my mama bear in check, if I will not have my child sit there and have somebody tell them that their divinity is less than another child’s divinity. I will absolutely never permit that to happen. Whether we have to have a talk after whether I’d have to have a talk with the bishop. When I was the Relief Society President when my son came out, and my bishop said to me, he was so great. And then he said, Just don’t let him hang around the primary room. Meaning that he might, because he got you know, he had this old perception that they were predator he was be a pedophile. That’s what I thought which by the way, is absolutely not backed in any sort of research, in fact. I mean, LGBTQ people are less likely to be abusers than LGBTQ men are less likely to be abusers by a longshot than heterosexual men. So and so we’ve got this fake villain, right, that we’re pointing out when really the villain is tends to be people that live close to the child who might be abused. But and I, I was so taken aback. I didn’t say anything. And I talked to him about it later, but I and he never said anything like that. Again. It’s been just nothing but supportive. But, but there’s these things, these ideas, and they are really hard. This is my child. There’s not a thing wrong with my son. He’s a perfectly healthy, perfectly spiritual and guided child. He’s not really even a child any longer. He’s 23 There’s nothing wrong with him. He just happens to be gay.

Tina Gosney 

I think that, there’s this group of kids that are coming down, that are gay, that are LGBTQ that are coming to families like ours, to help us learn how to love and to become more Christ like people

Allison Dayton 

Totally. And I think they might be teaching us more than that I think the Lord might need us to expand our views of heaven and human. And I’ve been all over the world and a lot with work. And I’ve met human beings in all parts of the all corners of the world and, and masculinity and femininity do not look the same in the United States, as they look in Thailand, or in Nepal, or in Senegal, I mean, they are in England, they just, it looks different. And we need a more like an open idea. I don’t know, I don’t know what we’re supposed to learn. But I agree with you, Tina, that we are, we are meant to learn. And these children are our teachers.

Tina Gosney 

And if we just shut ourselves off to them, you refuse to look at their divinity, like you said, the maybe that maybe things aren’t as black and white as we thought they were, then we’re also shutting ourselves off to learning anything, and developing and growing through that experience of having them in our lives.

Allison Dayton 

Yeah, I mean, we’re shutting ourselves off to further light knowledge. There’s a reason that your bishop, I don’t know about your bishop, but that bishops, state president, General Authorities, apostles, even the Prophet have LGBTQ family members, there is a reason we are meant to learn. Yeah. And we are meant to, I think in I think it’s amazing that these kids are coming out and they’re coming out. And they’re embraced by their friends. But their, the trouble is, is they are embraced by their friends. And if they aren’t embraced by church, and if they hear things at seminary, like they’re an abomination, or they are Satan’s. tool, or, I mean, can you imagine sitting through a more than one meeting, or somebody calls you Satan’s tool? Like, how many meetings would you show up for?

Tina Gosney 

I’m not going back,

Allison Dayton 

Alison Dayton, you are Satan’s Hand, you know, whatever I, it’s like, I’m not coming. I’m not coming anymore. And the trouble is, is once a child is hurt, or, you know, and says to the mom, I’m not, I can’t go to young woman’s anymore. Do you know what they say about me? Do you know? Do you know how they talk about me? Well, so then what do you leave that child at home, take the rest of the family to church? Like moms don’t do that.

Tina Gosney 

So you’re likely to lose the whole family,

Allison Dayton 

You’re going to lose the whole, you are going to lose the whole family. And you probably bishops probably don’t even know what happened by the time that that’s happened. Because moms or dads are like, look, we’re we’re not subjecting you to the idea that there’s something wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. You were beautiful and amazing, and holy, and God loves you. And God can’t love you. If you’re the tool of Satan. I mean, I cannot believe

Tina Gosney 

Well, once you once you’ve lost the whole family, then that family is labeled by those that are still there. And when we talked about this before, it’s the sifting. There’s the wheat and the tares. Oh, I guess they were just tares. Because if they weren’t weak, they would still be here. Right? These are families who desperately want a home in the church. Well, and they’re struggling, it’s the struggle of their lives to find that home and just don’t feel like there’s accepted. Wanted. I did a podcast interview with Tom Christofferson last year. And he said, you know, we have these signs out in front of our buildings that they visitors welcome. But how often our own members are not welcomed. And they said I wish we could change that sign to say something like, you’ll find mercy here. But said I don’t really think that’s always the case.

Allison Dayton 

No, I definitely. I don’t think are the, the part of the body of Christ is finding themselves in, in our our buildings. And it’s not unique to us as as LDS people. But we should know better we are. We are called to gather. And I think one of our biggest challenge is going to be gathering LGBTQ people back to the body of Christ while there is this narrative out there that is so disruptive, destructive to them. I mean, it will be an important job, I think that the Savior is asking of us, but the hand or the I cannot say to the hand, I have no need for the, and our LGBTQ people are the hand. And we can’t, we might we have to learn this, these individuals are part of they’re in our midst. And they’re going, it’s going to push all of us to understand better, it’s going to be hard. But there’s there are no wheat and tears in this. We are some of the wheat is being trampled. Right. You know, there’s the wheat is a really important symbol in our church. And it’s a really important symbol for the women of the church. I went to the releases site, it was the library, the new when it opened the library down at BYU or in Temple Square. And one of the women was like, oh, some it was something about the Relief Society and their symbol of wheat. And I was like, Oh, please, you just like the whole idea that women are supposed to make bread. And she’s like, No, no, that’s not why it’s this. I’m like, well tell me and she said, Brigham Young asked a bunch of the elders to store wheat. It when they were in the valley in the Salt Lake Valley. And most they were doing their harvesting. And and they didn’t. And he kept asking them, hey, we need you. We need to start storing up some wheat and they wouldn’t do it. So he finally asked the women, and the women essentially went and gleaned the fields as an Esther’s time. And it was Ruth. No, it was Ruth, and Ruth, not Esther, but as an and they gleaned the fields and they got what was like left over from the threshing right. And then they would plant that, and then they would have harvest, and they would save that and they would plant what was there and have more harvest. And it ended up being the beginning of the welfare program with the church, the women were able to buy to start hospitals. For children, they sent part of the wheat over to Europe, during the Second World War, to help with the famine there. It was the women who picked up those that had been the criminals that have been left behind. And I believe strongly that it is the women of today, the moms of today who will protect their children, and who will force in the most loving, motherly way others to really see their children differently, and to embrace and love and protect their children, because that’s what moms do. And we’re called to do this by the Savior. That is our, that is our most divine calling is to protect our children. And we will do it and and we’ll hopefully do it within the church. But if not, we’ll have to do it outside. And that it’s it’s super painful to even for me to even think of that.

Tina Gosney 

I have not heard that story before. But what a perfect example. We can just go pick up the ones that are left, the ones that got left behind,

Allison Dayton 

Right, beautiful view, we glean the fields for what’s leftover, and we protect them. And you know, it’s really interesting, we taught our kids to do the same thing. We all taught our kids to love and support and take care of and we sang primary songs about how, you know, we’d walk with them and our kids are doing this. The adults aren’t doing it, but the kids are right, I should say that we get some adults are so good at this, but some of them aren’t. But we did teach our kids and they will teach us how to do it.

Tina Gosney 

Right. I know our time is short, but if you had one thing that you could tell people, leaders, people who don’t have an LGBTQ child, how can you help those families that are struggling at church? What would you say?

Allison Dayton 

Okay, I had an interesting conversation with a bishop on Saturday night about this thing, same thing. And I got kind of backwards in the conversation because he had some of the phrases and he was like, Well, I just I you know, some people have challenges and I’m like, so my son being gay is not a challenge for him coming to church is a challenge right? So what I would I finally said to him is you, you as a bishop Young Men’s president, young women’s president and neighbor, a friend, all of us need to pray about it. And ask the Lord what you need to know and what you might be missing in this, in this situation and with LGBTQ people, I said to him, because he said, What should I know about him, and I should say, you should know that they are divinely sent here to teach, just like you brought up and that you have a lot to learn from them. And that you need to ask the Lord because as much as I want to tell everybody exactly what I know. And then what I’ve learned, and how I love this child, and how I know that he is divine, until we each ask the Lord, what we need to know, I think, I think we will keep falling back on the old sayings. And we, we need to search for our own knowledge in this instead of relying on the knowledge that exist, or the things that have been said. So right, that would be it, I would ask that people would search and, and ask the Lord what they need to know.

Tina Gosney 

And isn’t that what President Nelson is directing us to do, in so many ways is to seek for personal revelation examined looking with that with the law of love in mind, seeking personal revelation for these kids, and for these families that are struggling, and just try trying to stay home, trying to stay

Allison Dayton 

Trying to stay in their religious home. I mean, we want we, we the whole idea of the Body of Christ. And I mean, it’s repeated in all scripture, this idea that if we are not one, we are not his. That’s what the body of Christ is. And it’s at the very end of the Book of Mormon as well. But the reason that we need everybody is because that we we each bring our own gifts, and without, without my gifts, without your gifts, without the gifts of LGBTQ people, without the gifts of gay people without the gifts of people who gender identity, like, there is much to be learned and understood. And those gifts make us whole. And the Lord has shown has shown this in Scripture many times that that is his goal for us is that we are all one that were his that were in his body, that we know the value and that we treat, it even says in the body of Christ, right. Will all of them talk to that the lowest, the least seemingly or the least commonly, I think it is be treated the better than other parts of the body. Yeah. So like, I think that’s our job.

Tina Gosney 

Yeah, that’s, I think, perfect ending to this podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.

Allison Dayton 

You are so welcome. I love what you do, and the way you do it and the strength that you have. Pretty amazing.

Tina Gosney 

Thank you, Alison, it’s been so fun to talk to you.

Allison Dayton 

It’s been great, thank you.

Tina Gosney 

In this podcast, I usually end by giving you two takeaways and a challenge. And I’m not going to give you two takeaways. Today, I’m going to ask you to find your own takeaways. And maybe write down two things that stood out to you.

But I will give you a challenge. I’m going to challenge you to do what Allison said, when she asked all members to get on their knees and ask the Lord what you need to know about LGBTQ people in their families. We are privileged to have the opportunity to seek further light and knowledge. So take advantage of that gift. You can find a link to the left and love website in the show notes. And I’ve also included a link to the book that we referenced the law of love by Steve Young, which is an excellent book and is very applicable to everything that Allison and I talked about today.

Thank you for listening today. And thank you a special thank you to Allison Dayton for being so giving of her time to come and talk with me and to help so many struggling families and people.

Have a great day and I will see you next week.

If you are wanting help applying the things you’re learning in this podcast into your family relationships, but you’re not sure if coaching is right for you. I have great news. I offer a one time coaching call for only $25. This is the perfect opportunity for you to experience coaching without the commitment or investment. This call it’s like you and me having a conversation about how the tools I talk about in this podcast and work in your life. You’ll find a link to schedule your call in the show notes.