"'A happy gay Mormon.' That's the shorthand I often use to describe myself," writes Tom Christofferson. "Some of my gay friends—as well as some of the LDS friends—are a little surprised that I think it's possible to be a gay Mormon."
In That We May Be One, Tom Christofferson shares perspectives gained from his life's journey as a gay man who left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then returned to it. After having asked to be excommunicated from the faith he was raised in, Tom spent two decades in a loving relationship with a committed partner. But gradually, the love of family, friends, and strangers and the Spirit of the Lord worked on him until he found himself one night sitting in his car in front of the bishop's house...
This book is about the lessons Tom, his family, and his fellow Saints learned while trying to love as God loves. It is about the scope and strength of this circle of love and about how learning the truth of our relationship with God draws us to Him. For anyone who has wondered how to keep moving forward in the face of difficult decisions and feelings of ambiguity; for anyone who needs to better understand the redeeming power of our Savior, Jesus Christ; for anyone who seeks to love more fully; this book offers reassurance and testimony of God's love for all of His children.
|Book on CD||Unabridged, 4 discs, approx. 4.9 hours, read by Tom Christofferson|
|Size||6 x 9|
|Published||Deseret Book 2017|
This is a hard book to rate. The writing is well done and the story is compelling. I have a deep respect for the author. He has developed a nuanced view of the Gospel and seems to carry nothing but forgiveness and love in his heart when he has ample reason the feel otherwise.
But it is hard to know what moral to draw from the book. Active members of the church will likely feel this is a bold story of acceptance and repentance. Friends or family of gay church members will find an example in Toms parents that shows them they can continue to openly and fully love others even if they don't understand them. These groups will celebrate this book. And they should. The fact that deseret book can publish such a story signals a big step forward.
But what about a person who feels torn between their love of the church and the reality that they themselves are gay? Tom goes to great lengths trying to avoid being held up as an example of the best way to handle this situation. But for many people, he is the only example they are aware of. Is a gay Mormon to follow his example and persue a long term same sex relationship? If so, they will likely find themselves not only excommunicated for thier behavior, but their children will be ostracized from the church as well.
Put another way: the protagonist of this story appears to be Toms family, who loved him despite not understanding him and despite what their environment suggested they should do. But who is that antagonist? It appears to be the church itself. It is the church who continues to uphold the policies that caused the problem for Tom in the first place.
For my part I give 5 stars to Tom for writing a thought provoking and beautiful book. I give 1 star to the church owned deseret book who would publish such a book without a fair and proportionate acknowlegement of the church's role in causing so much pain to this wonderful man. The fact that I would possibly reccomend this book to active lds members with gay relatives but would not reccomend it to gay Mormons themselves speaks volumes about which sheep the church is interested in shepherding.
Insightful book on love, loving and following Jesus Christ. Thank you for being willing to share your experience.
Tom's book is filled with wisdom, understanding, love, and great instruction for all of us. I would recommend all bishops and stake presidents read this book. All those who question or don't understand our LGBTQ brothers and sisters should read this book., too. It's very enlightening. Thank you, Tom, for a great job sharing your inner thoughts, feelings and journey in this well-written book.
This is an awesome book that gave me some wonderful insight and a new perspective.
This book has changed everything i have thought about LBGQT. Beautiful story about unconditional love of a family. Great advice for those of us going thru this or possibly knowing a LBGQT. I think everyone should read it as I am sure every one knows someone going thru this. Love the incorporation of scriptures and doctrine.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I downloaded this Audiobook, however I loved this book! I applaud the author for his openness and honesty. This book strengthened my testimony and I definitely recommend it!
Hands down my favorite book released in the past few years. The authors thoughts and stories are spot on. I had a hard time putting this book down. As someone who has a family member that struggles with the same challenges as the author, this book opened my eyes as a brother and friend. Thank you for sharing your story. This book has the potential to help so many LDS families. I would encourage all leaders within the LDS communities to read this book. The counsel is great, and the book will help you see the bigger picture in this world that we live in.
As I read Tom Christofferson's book there were times when I thought, “Yes! This is how a family should treat their gay loved one! Yes! This is how a ward should respond to a gay ward member!” The book is full of great anecdotes that teach powerful principles. The book is also full of little gems that really made me think. Like this one: “My resolve is that I might see the spark of the Divine in each person I encounter.” While that would make a great Pinterest meme, it’s an even better daily goal.
Tom’s book left me feeling inspired and uplifted. I wish every church member would read it because it gives real life examples of how we can love and care for someone who may be living their life in a way that doesn’t align with our beliefs. It’s a truly beautiful book. It doesn’t read as “how to be a gay Mormon.” In fact, Tom is very clear in multiple places that he doesn’t offer his life as an example, but that each person should seek their own path. I found beautiful principles in the book and was moved by the stories. I see it as a book for the straight members of the church who want to reach out in love to their gay loved ones. I would totally recommend this book to the parents of a kid who just came out. I hope that every straight person in the church will read Tom’s story, especially if they work with youth. Bishops, Young Men's and Young Women's leaders, and other leaders will gain a broader perspective by following Tom and his ecclesiastical leaders on their journey. This book is an excellent resource to better understand one gay Mormon’s journey.
A reminder of the importance of having the pure love of Christ towards all our brothers and sisters. Life changing.
Going into this book, I had three questions:
1) What is Tom's story?
2) What is his relationship with Elder Christofferson—just normal siblings, or does he wield great influence over his brother—say a shadow 13th apostle?
3) What should be my reaction to what I read?
So, number one: His is a powerful and engaging struggle of identity, loyalty, faith, distance, and atonement. I'm not sure he was ever a prodigal, but just someone caught between the riptides of faith and feeling, the dynamics of which changed and evolved over time.
What impressed me most was his doctrinal depth, and scriptural mastery. During his “down time” from the church, we suffered a great loss.
Two: is Tom a de facto 13th apostle? A hearty “No.” Pages 69-70 make this crystal clear. He was out of the loop on the recent policy update vis-à-vis same sex marriages and church relations to children.
And if you want to know the character of both men, Tom and Todd, just look at how they reacted to the announcement:
“In a phone call later that night, Elder Christofferson told his brother he had just taped an interview with the managing director of LDS Church Public Affairs, a position held at the time by Michael Otterson, and added, ‘If you feel you need to distance yourself from me, I will understand.’
“‘You have never distanced yourself from me, and I'm sure it hasn't always been comfortable for you,’ Tom Christofferson told his brother. ‘Of course I am not going to back away from you in any way.’”
That's all you need to know about these two men, two brothers, and two human beings.
Lastly, what should my reaction be?
I'm still divining that.
But I sense many brilliant sunrises on the horizon.
This is such an important topic for everyone to become more educated about. Elder Christofferson's brother Tom takes us on a personal journey as he tells us of his experiences as a gay member who fell away from the church and then later came back. He offers great advice for those who have family, friends or members of their congregation who consider themselves gay, lesbian, transgender etc. Very much worth the read! I would recommend this book to everyone teens and up. I personally found the audio CD (read by the author) a little slow and dry through many parts so I would recommend the book so you can read it at your own speed.
"If you are a parent of a gay child who chooses to marry a same-sex partner, I encourage you to be there, to participate fully with happiness for their happiness. If you choose to not participate in that important moment of your child's life, you may have many years to regret the divide that can be created." Tom Christofferson
"Accepting others does not mean we condone, agree with or conform to their beliefs or choices, but simply that we allow the realities of their lives to be different than our own." Tom Christofferson
"If my circumstances are such that I feel like I cannot do everything I'd like to become like the Savior, at least for today, there are many important things I can do." Tom Christofferson
Love is the answer when approaching any situation:). I LOVED THIS!! Thank you for taking the time to write it!!
I loved listening to Brother Christofferson's insight & perspective as a gay member of the church. His journey back into full church membership is evidence of God's love & care for His children. I have often had questions about issues relating to SSA & gender identity & Brother Christofferson shed so much light on how members of the church should approach our LGBTQ brothers & sisters--it is with love, as our Savior would do. Thank you for a faith promoting, insightful, & spirit filled book to help us all with this complex & important topic.