An invaluable resource on the topic of same-gender attraction, this unique volume includes six plenary chapters features notable authors and gospel scholars: Brad Wilcox, M. Catherine Thomas, Camille Fronk Olson, Wendy Ulrich, Robert L. Millet, and Michael Goodman.
In addition, each chapter includes personal essays or first-person stories of faith and commitment from Latter-day Saints who have dealt with same-gender attraction.
Ty Mansfield says, "If you personally experience same-gender attraction, I hope the Spirit will impress upon you the depth of God's love for you, that you will know you belong in His church and kingdom, and that you will know there are many who walk this journey of faith with you."
Introduction: "A Seal of Living Reality" Ty Mansfield
I have given away more than twenty copies of this book -- usually to a friend in crisis who needed answers to help themselves, a friend, a family member or someone over whom they had ecclesiastical authority. Each time, the responses have followed a similar pattern: why did I not know about this book before now and this book was a lifesaver. I had a couple of incidents in which the book literally WAS a lifesaver. The recipients told me they felt they were out of options and that they felt suicide was the only one left. In one case, this book arrived just three hours after a young man had bought a gun. Instead of taking his life that night as planned, he read this book cover to cover and, instead, opted to reach out and tell his family about his same-sex attraction. In another situation, faced with the option of leaving his marriage of 15 years and three children, a man who had been privately struggling with same sex attraction for most of his life, read this book and decided to stay and work on rebuilding his marriage and his life. His wife, who had decided that the marriage was not salvageable, decided that if one of the wives in the book's stories could forgive her husband for his infidelity and rebuild their marriage to a place of wholeness again, she could at least try to rebuild her own. How often can you say that one book saved an entire family? This book did that--in just 24 hours. There is no way that a book this powerful and effective could have been conceived and produced without divine inspiration -- it's just that amazing. I have read it five times, each time to gain additional wisdom and insight to help a particular person at the time. If I could only own ten books, I would want Voices of Hope to be one of them.
I found this book first and foremost an inspirational book for anyone trying to make peace with their individual, unique challenges in an imperfect, uncertain, stress-filled world. I’m one of these people. I took my time reading the book and had several experiences where what was said gave me an idea that helped me with a particular challenge, or I related with a personal story on such a level that I found some peace in not being” the only who’s felt like that”. At one point I was inspired to read in it every day in place of scripture study for a time and had a sweet spiritual experience because of it. You don’t have to experience same sex attraction or even know someone who does in order to be spiritually fed by this book. The principles talked about by loving, learned gospel speakers as well as the life lessons taught by the amazing men and women who live them, apply to anyone trying to make sense of their life and yearning for the spiritual guidance that will help them stay on the path they’ve come to believe they should follow, find a path to follow, or maybe even to just find peace with where they are at right now in their lives.
Secondly, this book is unique, overdue, and I hope, a trendsetter! Voices of Hope couldn’t be a better title and I’m looking forward to hearing more of these “voices” in the future! I’ve often felt that people who are attracted to the same sex, for the most part, are the nameless and faceless in our society, especially religious society. And yet, how can we understand, how can we be of help, if those who are attracted to the same sex feel that they can’t approach us? And, with good reason! We need to be more open, and help them to feel comfortable enough to tell their stories to us. Then, we need to be able to act with love, sincerity, and compassion.
This was the best “church book” I’ve ever read! All my thanks, love, and admiration go out to Ty for putting this anthology together!
I first came across Ty's writings in 2007 when I picked up 'In Quiet Desperation.' Ty's book came to me at a time when I was looking for increased reconciliation between my faith and sexuality. His book gave me a voice and a language to be able to open up about my predominantly undisclosed homosexual orientation within the context of my Mormon community, something I never dared do before.
In Ty's new book, 'Voices of Hope,' more stories of those whose lives have been touched by this important topic are shared. This book is unique because it gives a voice to gay/SSA members themselves. I believe this reflects an important change we are witnessing in the church in which the conversation is shifting from one dominated by clinicians to one in which real people with real experiences are talking and their friends and families and fellow church members are listening and learning and loving.
Some things I liked about the book: Ty mentions the value of listening
to stories that are "not fully solved." I appreciated that since I have often felt a lot of pressure to not contribute to the conversation until I had everything figured out, a notion that can lead to isolation for those who experience dissonance surrounding their experiences with faith and sexuality.
I also appreciate that Ty mentions that there is not a 'one-size-fits-all' solution to approaching this issue. In my experience, the circumstances in which gay/SSA members find themselves are quite varied, and so to assert that there is a single solution for all involved is to undervalue the diversity of experiences of gay/SSA members of the church.
'Voices of Hope' is also one of the first LDS-oriented resources of which I am aware that addresses transgender topics, including members of the church sharing their personal stories in this regard. I thought Ty provided a good primer for discussing some of those topics and pointed out some important distinctions between gender identity and sexual orientation.
There is a part of the book where Ty writes "Suppose a gay couple
walks into a LDS chapel..." which I think is something that we, as members of the church, need to think about more--how to help gay/SSA folks feel welcome at church and church activities regardless of their level of compliance with church teachings.
It has been helpful for me, in approaching my own journey of reconciliation, to read many different perspectives on this issue. I would definitely recommend Voices of Hope as required reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the dynamics of what it's like to be both Mormon and gay/SSA. Getting a first-hand perspective on this is critical to knowing how best to reach out to others with experiences that are different from our own.
Honestly, I am still not at a point where I can claim complete resolution with respect to my faith and sexuality. I don't know what the end will look like for me. But I do know that I don't want to do it alone. And having people like Ty and others share their stories in an open and honest way, and in a way that is respectful of those who have differing opinions on the matter, has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement for me.
I personally do not struggle with SSA. I have had little reason to give that specific trail much thought until recently. My very best friend confided in me his feelings of SSA shortly after returning from his mission. I, in my quest for understanding ended up at Deseret Book and purchased Voices Of Hope. Not for my friend but for me. It's amazing how the personal stories and essays have altered my perception of SSA and helped me understand the blessing it has the potential to be. I prayed so hard for understanding and I felt as if I was guided by the spirit to find it, in this book. It has turned my fear for my friend into hope, and I will be forever grateful for the men and women who were brave enough to share there stories.
This book is so needed right now. It seems that all of our lives have been touched by this issue or will be at some point or another...either personally or someone close to us. There are so many loud voices out there, that even as someone who supports our leaders and strongly believes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it easy to become confused! What an amazing book of testimony of people living by the Spirit, taking one day at a time and trusting in the Lord. I am so grateful for those who opened up and shared some of their most personal, sacred, and intimate experiences for us all to learn from. Just like Ty's first book, I think I learned just as much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I did about anything else. Just a great book to show that it is possible to be attracted to the same sex and not only have a place in the LDS church, but to find peace in this life.
Since this is published by Deseret Book and features essays written not only by gay Mormons but also a number of (apparently) church-approved professionals and BYU professors, one should not expect to find any perspective here other than strict adherence to LDS doctrine and orthodoxy, at least in its current version.
LDS teachings about homosexuality have fluctuated drastically over the last century, and are currently driven mostly by theological theorizing in response to a growing body of professional conclusions that previous generations’ beliefs about it (including LDS beliefs) were incorrect.
It is unfortunate that the book perpetuates use of patronizing and often offensive terminology like “suffers” from “same-gender attraction.” Gay people who reach a state of healthy self-acceptance often resent the implication that they are “suffering,” and most Mormons don’t realize that the term “same-gender attraction” is a virtually unique “theologically correct” LDS euphemism routinely scorned outside the church. It is also unfortunate that the book legitimizes the efforts of Evergreen International, the “unofficial” “support” organization that, with tacit LDS sponsorship, promotes to gay Mormons theories and ideas about changing sexual orientation which have been thoroughly discredited by every reputable professional organization in the country not driven to elevate a religious agenda above scientific fact.
Any effort by this book or any other source to reduce ignorance, promote understanding, and increase Christian charity is of course welcome. Readers of this book, however, should not expect to find a comprehensive or objective treatment of the subject of homosexuality. There is one clear agenda here, and one only: insistence that gay Mormons must accept the currently incomplete LDS theology of homosexuality and resist, for the duration of their lives, any indulgence of homosexual attractions. No other alternative or information source is even mentioned. Those interested in a truly comprehensive understanding of the subject should not confine their reading or their trust to this book.
As a bishop in California, I dutifully lead our ward in the Prop 8 fight. A month later my wife and I were stunned to have our wonderful son confide to us that he suffers from Same-Sex Attraction. Deeply stunned, the SSA topic became real and very personal. Although we felt isolated and alone, we were determined to stand by our son and together find LDS based answers. "Voices Of Hope" is the book that we have been waiting for. It has been a real blessing for us as we have been inspired by many successful LDS SSA stories. I am especially appreciative to the author and compiler, Ty Mansfield, for being courageous enough to use his real name and story and to show a successful gospel based path for those looking for hope in living a Christ centered life while dealing with SSA. As bishop, "Voices Of Hope" is already my "go to" book for those who approach me about SSA. It is simply a MUST READ book!
This is a must-read book for any Latter-day Saint. At the very least, we all know someone who struggles with same-sex attraction or a gender issue. This book gives guidance and hope for those who want to live the gospel and be valiant in their testimony of Jesus Christ but are struggling with these challenges or with those of someone they love, which can be almost as overwhelming. Because I don't struggle with this challenge myself, this book gave me very helpful insight into understanding others who do and what I can do to "bear one another's burdens." It also gave me inspiration in dealing with my own challenges -- any challenge where you feel isolated in the Church -- infertility, being single or if you struggle with any kind of mental health issue or addiction, including with food, this has a wealth of fantastic information for you. I can't wait to buy this for friends with struggling family members and friends who serve in Bishoprics who deal with these issues. Thank you for this amazing resource!
Voice(s) of Hope is an insightful book; I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with unwanted SSA (same sex attraction), anyone dealing with trials of any kind, and all the members of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Undoubtedly, this book will help those in leadership positions understand this particular issue better. It is a helpful tool, which will educate members of the church, on the challenges of being a member that is attracted to their own sex; as well as the attitudes of some LDS people with unwanted SSA. The book equips us to understand other and ourselves better. The contributors in the book bring hope to LDS wanting to live a life in harmony with the restored gospel while dealing with SSA. It show it is possible to live the gospel and fulfill our purpose on the earth no matter the innate or learned sexual nature. The experiences of those in the book touched my heart and brought me a better understanding of the trials and issues members of the church are facing. Whether, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender this book helps and shows us there is a way to hang on to the gospel in the midst of turmoil. The authors 'voice' reminds us of the power of the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. It shows the successes of some who are striving to live a life in harmony with and according to the gospel of Jesus Christ- while dealing with unwanted SSA; it shows us the hope of remaining faithful to that gospel no matter the level of difficulty. Within its pages, the reader is brought to remember that it is possible for ALL the children of God, to enjoy ALL the promised blessings reserved for those that overcome the tests, temptations, and trials of earth-life. No matter which trials we have we can come out victors through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by taking hold of the atonement and living the gospel. There are a great many members who deal with unwanted SSA and none is alone in their trial. I hope by reading the book many will recognize themselves, find truth, and gain the courage to be among those who overcome the world and themselves and are counted among those who are full of truth, light, and charity. I also highly recommend the book by the same author, "In Quiet Desperation" also a 5 Star read!
I love this book and am so grateful for everyone that contributed. It is a must read for every latter-day saint that wants a better understanding of how to help those who are affected by same gender attraction. Not only is it an inspirational voice of hope to all those who are affected by SGA, but it is a message of the atoning power of Jesus Christ for all people, no matter what they are dealing with. It is a great resource for family, friends and church leaders that want to help as well as those who deal with it firsthand.
My wife and I first read "In Quiet Desperation" a number of years ago and commented to each other at the time, that it was the finest treatise on the Atonement that we had ever read and have recommended it to family and friends regardless of the nature of their struggles and challenges in life. It was, therefore, with great anticipation, that I began reading Ty's latest work, "Voice(s) of Hope." It flows so well...each chapter setting forth doctrines and principles followed by the real-life experiences of those whose lives lend such authenticity and personal application to the doctrines being taught. I was so moved, often to tears, at the depths of despair that some had reached, and at the same time, felt to rejoice with them at the hope and assurances they had found in being true to their divine nature and to covenants made. As I finished the book, I felt lifted...a better person for what I had experienced...willing to walk arm in arm with my brothers and sisters the world over, no matter our individual trials or thorns in the flesh. I felt inspired by the hope discovered by these men and women of faith, not unlike those described by Paul, who "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off...were persuaded of them, and embraced them...wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city"...which city the Savior described in modern times as "a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety." My hope for this book is that all who struggle with same-gender attraction might find in it the voice(s) of hope they need, but that it might also be read by millions of others the world over who face demons of other kinds. In all of life's challenges we have a very real and living hope, even the Hope of Israel, our Savior and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Of Him this book bears a sure and certain witness. My sincere gratitude to the compiler, the contributors, and its publisher.
I love this book! I love the frank, compassionate voice that comes through in all of the writing. I love the courage with which the authors teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wish everyone I know would read this book. Individuals who experience SSA, my family, friends, priesthood leaders, everyone can benefit from the principles discussed and the love shared in this book.
I can say that for myself, a single reading is not going to be sufficient. There is so much truth and valuable insight packaged in there, that I will study and re-read. Thanks to all those involved in this moving work.
As a 24 year old who struggles with SSA personally, I know first hand the pain, loneliness, self-hatred, and feelings of inadequacy that come with this struggle. After reading Voice(s) of Hope, I now know that Im not alone in all of this. Ty has truly been guided and directed in compiling this masterpiece that allows new venues of hope, peace, self-love, and competency. For the first time in my life deep, deep wounds are starting to heal. Although I know its just the beginning, and many, if not most, of my feelings of anger and inadequacy reside, it was this novel that has sprung me on the road to recovery. A sense of worth and purpose, although still a seed, has finally been instilled in my soul, and for the first time, I have heard a Voice of Hope.
Whether or not you are someone that struggles with SSA, this work is an absolute MUST READ.
As an LDS man who struggles with Same-Sex Attraction, I have felt isolated most of my life. The struggles were difficult to talk about with anyone, but I knew there had to be others who were going through the exact same internal battle as I was. I just couldn't find it.
I had the opportunity to read the manuscript not long before publication. Every single story was completely unique from mine, but every single one resonated within me and I heard the trials and joys that other people experiencing SSA went through. This is the book I needed while growing up and feeling alone and never had. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone experiencing SSA or to anyone who knows somebody who does. It's very literally exactly what I had been praying for my entire life.
One does not need to experience same gender attraction to read and relate to this book. Whether it's a spouse, child, or friend, one can read this book, understand the trial that is same sex attraction. One can feel the spirit testify of the simple Gospel truths that are born testimony of again and again in this book. True stories are told by real men and women who experience this attraction. I encourage all to read this book, if only to soften your heart or achieve a greater understanding of this issue. Come unto Christ and reflect on your own life as you read Voices of Hope. You will find an increased vigor to better yourself and judge a little less, and love a little more. God Bless.
I happen to know the compiler of Voices of Hope...in fact, I married him. This book has been a long time in the making, so I had the opportunity to read most of the manuscript before it went to press. I read all of the essays when Ty and I were engaged. I thought I understood a lot about same-gender attraction, especially as experienced by those of the LDS faith, but this book totally changed the way I understand this issue and so many of our friends.
Reading the personal essays humanized and personalized the issue of same-gender attraction for me, so that any lingering questions I had about SGA dissipated. My testimony of the Savior and the Atonement were strengthened as I read about the peace and healing experienced by so many whose lives have been touched by this issue.
This book changed my life. I am so grateful that it exists for the way it helped me understand this issue on a much deeper and more compassionate level.
As I was sitting in a Seminary Room this Scripture was on the wall Moses 6:63. I had just given this book to a good friend whose brother deals with SSA. My friends brother called me three weeks prior saying he was planning on taking his life. He felt that SSA was a curse God had sentenced him to live with the rest of his life alone and without hope. I told him that my SSA is a gift and blessing from God and that I cherish it with all my heart. Through reading of this book, I have learned how others have been blessed as well. While reading this book I have come to meet many if not all of these authors both in word and in person. I have felt their spirit and know that they do have a testimony of Christ and the wounds which he bore so that all our wounds can be healed. May Christ's voice of hope come to you while reading these words as they have to me. I hope many, like my friend and his brother, can come to find the peace and gratitude I have felt by reading these words. May all who read this book learn how have the courage and compassion to share His Love with those who feel all alone in this world. ForeverSTRONG!
'Voices of Hope' is a must read for Latter Day Saint members facing same gender attraction either in their own lives or the lives of those they love. These "voices" brought so much clarity, understanding and love toward not only those who struggle with same gender attraction but toward all people. As these contributors shared thier insights and testimonies I was lifted and strengthened in my own testimony of the Savior and his infinite love for all of us. I am so grateful to have read this book and recieved the blessings that have come to my life through understanding this sensitive topic more fully. Those who have shared their own personal stories are true heroes and will bless the lives of those who read this book. It is my prayer that those who are searching to understand same gender attraction will read this book and find the "hope" they are looking for.
We are each called by the Savior to testify and bring the Gospel to all peoples. Too often, those who experience Same-Sex Attraction, like myself, can feel that we are not worthy of the redeeming love of Christ and the blessings contained through membership in the Lord's Church. "Voices of Hope" has the power to change that. Each author bears their testimony of how Christ works in each of our lives, and that those who experience SSA are no different in the need and fulfillment the Gospel brings. The structure of the book moves from doctrinally sound articles, to personal narratives of how Christ, who bore all things for our salvation, extends his love and redeeming power to those in need, and calls for those who are a part of His kingdom to do likewise. This book isn't a mellowed out description of the Gospel, but a clarion call to all of the Lord's children that there is a place for them in his kingdom. I will be the first to admit that I haven't always lived in accord with my covenants as a Latter-day Saint who experiences SSA, but "Voices of Hope" extends just that--Hope--that I too, if I willingly submit myself to the Savior, will one day too be worthy of His inheritance. And that is one of the great blessings of my life. "Voices of Hope" is highly recommended for all those experiencing SSA, who are in a leadership position and called to council individuals experiencing SSA, to family and friends, or anyone who has a desire to familiarize themselves with a sound, Gospel centered understanding of the challenges of SSA.