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Drew's Reviews #19 - "Voices of Hope"

I just finished reading “Voices of Hope” compiled by Ty Mansfield.

Quick Take: I loved the first-person accounts. Very helpful for an ally of the gay community to hear so many varied perspectives.

Longer Take:

Voices of Hope” is a collection of first-person accounts of those trying to live the gospel of Jesus Christ while at the same time dealing with same-gender attraction.

The book is divided into various sections (e.g. Inclusion, Priesthood Leaders, Eternal Marriage, etc.). Each section contains an essay by an LDS author (e.g. Brad Wilcox, Robert L. Millet, Camille Fronk Olson, etc.) related to same-gender attraction. Each section then includes the stories of varied members of the church as they have tried to square their life as followers of Jesus Christ with their sexual orientation.

The essays were a bit of a mixed bag. Some gave me a new understanding of this complicated topic, while others went on for a long time but didn’t seem to say much. So, if you are looking for a doctrinal explanation of same-gender attraction this is not the book.

But if you want to better understand the struggle of those who try and navigate life in the church with the reality of “not fitting the mould”, this is a fantastic resource. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the various first-person accounts. There were major variances in how people approached this challenge and I believe my ability to understand and empathize will be improved from reading this book.

Some of My Favourite Quotes:

“Homosexuality is a sensitive and complex issue that Latter-day Saints are learning to face with increasing openness and candor. Few issues of our time are proving as difficult to respond to in the way I believe our Eternal Father desires of us: with both heartfelt compassion and uncompromising devotion to eternal principles.” -Ty Mansfield

“As more and more voices share their personal experiences and perspectives, the more help we will have in ministering more effectively to the individuals and families dealing with these sensitive issues.” -Ty Mansfield

“The hopeful message I pray comes through this volume is that individuals who experience homosexual attractions can find happiness and fulfillment in the Church and that they can find joy and meaning in their journeys through mortality…” -Ty Mansfield

“Those I’m personally most grateful for are those who, in my own times of ignorance or rebellion, have taken off their shoes and walked with me and loved me. … I hope fervently that this volume will better equip Latter-day Saints to reach out with ever more empathy and compassion—to likewise remove their shoes—to a group who most desperately need to know of the Savior’s love and grace.” -Ty Mansfield

“Other people think that those who might be/are gay are struggling with immoral thoughts/feelings and behaviors. But what you will hear across the board is that the first feeling is that ‘I am different.’” -M. Catherine Thomas

“When Christ’s teachings or life’s demands are hard or offensive, we need special help from the Father to not go back but to continue to walk with the Savior. That help generally comes after—not before—we make the decision to do whatever God requires. We often struggle with this order. We want God to do His part first—to make us happy, cure our ills, bring us love, remove our frustrations, meet our needs—and then we will sign on the dotted line. After all, wouldn’t we be suckers to spend all our emotional savings before seeing the merchandise we are purchasing?” -Wendy Ulrich

“…I recognized that I would not be defined in the end by what tempted me but rather by how well I embraced the power of the Atonement to cope with all my struggles and weaknesses.” -T. S. Richards

“Quiet service is always needed, but sometimes public expression of support is particularly meaningful to those who worry that their personal trials and temptations exceed the reach of God’s love and therefore they may not be worthy to participate in the Church. … This is particularly true in our casual comments around others whose personal struggles are not publicly known. Without intending to be cruel, we can cut off a person’s hope in Christ by a thoughtless attempt at humor or an uninformed judgment. Continually remembering that we do not know who among us may be struggling, we can openly communicate ways to strengthen one another and reflect the Lord’s pure love wherever we go.” -Camille Fronk Olson

“…I have developed great compassion for those who struggle with any unwanted difficulties. I’m not sure I could have developed this level of empathy or compassion without having had this particular challenge. Because of my circumstances, I often feel compelled to reach out to others in an attempt to lift and comfort them in their battles of the soul, whatever they might be.” -Shawn McKinnon


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