053: Matt Salmon Pt. 1 passes through reparative therapy and ecclesiastical abuse, before finally confirming God’s acceptance

In part 1 of 2 Matt Salmon discusses his Mormon upbringing in a political family in Arizona, his intense efforts to conform to his religion, the ecclesiastical abuse that included disqualifying him from serving a mission due to his homosexuality, his surprising benefits from reparative therapy, and his experience of taking the issue to God which helped him finally accept himself. ¬†Also check out Matt’s ‘It Gets Better’ youtube video.

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Matts ‘It Gets Better’ video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsHmKNIf-aI

Link to part 2 here

Part 1:

11 comments for “053: Matt Salmon Pt. 1 passes through reparative therapy and ecclesiastical abuse, before finally confirming God’s acceptance

  1. Ritchie
    September 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    When did Daniel’s interview questions get so pedestrian? Why does he always have to ask about porn and masturbation as if it is the gateway to coming out of the gay mormon closet? Its almost as if these very long interviews have to touch on the same questions and then we predictably hear the same answers. What about varying it up a little? Like are you glad you went on a mission? Would you have gone knowing what you know now? Maybe even press Matt with the question as to whether he really wanted to go on a mission apart from sparing him from future social ostracism. I would also like to know if they went on a mission or considered it if they had a testimony of the atonement and if that attitude changed. Are you going to interview anymore gay mormons who stayed mormon? It seems to be unbalanced if you are trying to find viewpoints of the whole gay mormon experience. It is fine that you do not allow this post but I feel the comments should be considered. Please feel free to email me.

    Thanks.

    • Daniel Parkinson
      September 14, 2013 at 4:38 am

      I will try to ask more of those kinds of questions Ritchie. I ask about masturbation and porn, because it is an extremely common factor that is relevant in the lives of all young Mormon men, and unfortunately is not dealt with in a healthy way in our society, so I simply want to bring attention to the role the issue plays in the journey of the Mormon adolescent. However, there are some interviewees who don’t want to talk about that in which case I leave it out.

      As far as interviewing Mormons who stay in the church, I hope you will listen to Sam Noble’s interview, as well as Adam Allred’s, David Baker’s, Josh Weed’s, Tina Richerson’s and Berta Marquez’s all who are still in the church, as well as John Gustav-Wrathall who is active in the church in spite of his excommunication almost 30 years ago, and Peter Van der Walt who would like to join the church, but does not see that as making sense since it would lead to his excommunication. I also have several interviews waiting for editing of active LGBT Mormons as well as several others waiting to be interviewed. I have actually been unbalanced in sharing the stories of so many LGBT people who are trying to stay in the church, since studies have shown that the vast majority of LGBT Mormons leave the church. However, the stories of those who are trying to stay in the church are particularly relevant to the purpose of the podcast, so I do try to basically alternate between ex and current Mormons (more or less).

      • Ritchie
        September 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        Thanks for you response. And I am glad that you are making a more balanced approach at who you interview. Yes, I do need to listen to those other interviews.

        With regard to porn and masturbation, yes I did hear in the interview that you did give the person the option of not talking about it. Most boys have dealt with porn and masturbation and are mostly shamed by it. I am not sure if the Mormon experience is any different in the added shame and if there is a big difference that it has shaped that person differently. Do you ask all men you interview about this issue or just the ones that had to deal with coming to terms with their sexual identity? Though I do agree that in the Mormon church that there is a common thread as to how these people deal with the shame, I do wonder if it is any different than those out of the Church anymore? Maybe you should address this. Also, I am not sure that an underage kid (the age that most of those you interviewed started viewing porn) can view porn (that is mostly explicit) in a “healthy way”. Is there an actual “healthy way” for those underage to use porn?

        • Daniel Parkinson
          September 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm

          Probably all mormon men had issues with masturbation and in my interview with Nathan Cloward who is straight he talks about the guilt he had. I do not think that porn is healthy for teens so I do not think there is a healthy way for teens to view porn. However, we must recognize that all teens will eventually use porn, and it isn’t the disaster that it is painted to be for most of them. I do feel masturbation is a healthy a normal part of adolescence, and adulthood.

          • Ritchie
            September 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

            I see your point. I think we all recognize that all teens use point especially how easy it has become to access it. Unfortunately most kids are even younger than their teenage years when they first see porn. I don’t know what you mean by it isn’t “a disaster.” Unless you that people go overboard as concerned adults. But I think that depends a lot on the parent and/or the Church leader.

            I am also surprised you didn’t question Matt further about when his Stake President wouldn’t let him go on a mission. Don’t you think that was probably the right decision? It sounds as if Matt was falling into the same trap as many who go on a mission because every else is going. And it doesn’t sound as if his heart was really in it. Plus what was left out of Matt’s story if it was not explained to him that you can’t serve a mission if you have had sexual contact with someone of the same gender. I would be interested to know if his Bishop knew that or if Matt left it out. Sounds like it was the former.

        • Daniel Parkinson
          September 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

          I think you are hearing Matt’s attitude/tone reflecting where he is now. He has come to a place where he sees that he is better off not going on a mission because he was able to move forward with the issue of his sexuality and his education. But at the time he was extremely motivated to go on a mission. He is describing that his single focus was to serve a mission.

          His situation highlights several issues. More parents of LGBT people are now discouraging their children from serving missions because they don’t see them having a place in the church afterward. Meanwhile, more young men are serving missions after having come out as gay……
          In a couple of years we will have more stories to compare about how that worked out.

          It is hard to determine if there is a rigid church policy about gay people serving missions. It is pretty clear that many people have been discouraged or not allowed as Matt describes. However, it also appears to depend on the local leader (an example of leadership roulette, you might say). Take note that Matt’s bishop did not even want Matt to tell his stake president about his past. He felt that Matt was worthy. IF Matt had followed this advice he would have be called. There is clearly a lot of individual discretion going on in how this is handled.

          • Ritchie
            September 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

            You say he was extremely motivated, but it sounds as if he was motivated primarily to avoid a social stigma.

            You are probably right that some are serving missions after coming out. I think the distinction is that if you have had intercourse with someone whether it was with someone of the opposite or same gender, the application is almost always denied.

            My Bishop told me that I was ready to go and then my Stake President told me to wait. That happens. Call it “individual discretion” or revelation but I think in his case and in mine (I eventually went) it probably worked out for the best.

        • Daniel Parkinson
          September 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

          Social stigma is thick in Mormonism, and I don’t fault him or anybody for being impacted by it. Virtually no young man is immune to its influence. By talking to him and hearing all his efforts, I got the impression he was pretty motivated though…. but in the end we can’t really judge his motives, so I tend to take what he says at face value.

          Matt says that he is glad, in the end, that things turned out like they did. He was a great guy to interview and I have a lot of admiration for him and where he is going.

          • Ritchie
            September 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

            You are right. Social stigma is thick, and it is unfortunate that people are ostracized in predominately LDS communities just because they don’t go through the specified list of benchmarks.

        • Daniel Parkinson
          September 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm

          Really glad to hear that things turned out for the best as you as well Ritchie

          • Ritchie
            October 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

            Are you familiar with the Reconciling Faith and Feelings Conference next month with North Star? Have you considered doing an interview with Ty Mansfield? That might be an interesting interview. Just a thought…or two thoughts. lol. Have a nice day.

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