047: A Lesbian Mormon Perspective – Part 1

Castillo-7251Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Lorena Tobon, who grew up as a faithful and extremely dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colombia.  From an early age she found herself falling in love with other women in her life – something that caused her great consternation as she tried to live the Mormon life she loved.  Serving a mission for the church, marrying her husband Elmer (who joins the discussion for part of the interview) and having two children were all part the choices she made desperately trying to deny her sexual orientation.  Lorena and Elmer discuss how they have come to a point in their marriage where they realize it is no longer sustainable and the pain involved in the decisions they are currently making to keep their family system intact as they begin a co-parenting relationship.  Lorena also shares the difficulties of coming to terms with her love for the gospel while not feeling like her experience fits in the current church culture and policies.

Part 1 covers the early part of Lorena’s life, her parents conversion to the Mormon church, implications church life had on their family life, her own journey into a Mormon testimony, and the recognition she was “different” from a very early age.

mormonandgays.org

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to John Bukenas for audio production of this podcast.

6 comments for “047: A Lesbian Mormon Perspective – Part 1

  1. closer2fine
    November 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I am so glad to find this one. Everything always seems to cover male homosexuality. I’m a married lesbian also, whose life simply is not turning out as planned. Finding stories like this, that I can relate to, is really important for me right now. Thank you for covering this issue. I can’t wait to hear the rest.

    • Lorena Tobón
      November 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      You remind me of myself a few months ago, just listening to podcasts on mormon cases of homosexuality as much as I could! As soon as one came out I would listen to it right away. It seems like this is what you did. –I am so glad that this has been important for you to listen to. I also wished a woman would have done an interview from a married point of view and hopefully with children so that I could relate to her and see that I wasn’t alone.

      This is mainly what moved me to do the interview so bad… because it’s important that this issue comes out and that people in general, especially within the mormon community, realize how real these women–such as ourselves–are, and how we need to re-focus and completely change certain teachings within the church because these are damaging so many of us as well as our loved ones.

      Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you in any way. I will be more than happy to do that. Then the podcast wouldn’t go to waste if it could help at least ONE person. I wish you and your husband the best as you browse your options for a happier, perhaps more peaceful and healthier future.

      • closer2fine
        December 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm

        Thank you for responding. I just finished the second podcast, and can’t wait for the rest. It’s funny, my husband is actually from Colombia. 🙂
        I’m still not sure exactly where your story is going. But I agree that there is a lot that needs to change within the church. My situation is probably a little different. I have recently gone through a “faith transition” (I guess that is what they are calling it now days). After learning about all the controversial issues, I simply wasn’t able to continue to believe in the church the way I had. Which has definitely thrown a big wrench into my life. But Mormonism is what I have built up all around me as my life, and will always be a major part of who I am. It is very tricky navigating all these issues, so thank you so much for having the courage to speak up about it. I too have always searched for anything I could find, within a Mormon context, about this. It’s important to find people and situations that you can relate to. So, thank you.

        • Lorena Tobón
          December 23, 2014 at 3:33 am

          I have also gone through a faith transition and still am. In fact, there may be no end to this transition. -The third part of the interview came out but there is already new information that I’d like to share with you. We were divorced about a month or two ago, time before which we were separated at home. Now both my ex and I find ourselves in new relationships with different individuals, and I am due for marriage in less than a month from today. I found someone in my life and it just feels like we’ve known each other for ages! –A woman, of course!

          We have joint custody of the kids with Elmer, and we have clearly agreed on times when the kids will go with one parent or the other. Some things were very difficult to figure out and we had to each give up personal preferences, but it was all in the benefit of an uncontested divorce. We now notice how much our time together in the last months of still living together helped to the overall relationship we’ve had this time where we’ve actually been physically separated and have needed to let the kids go here and there and especially having to make somewhat lasting decisions we don’t exactly agree on. Some things are very difficult from our new lives, but as many people might rightly guess, this is the case with any major change in life. Overall, though, I will speak for myself and say that my life has turned around a full 360 and now I find myself with a special kind of happiness that I thought had escaped my life forever.

          Best to you and yours! Just remember: Any road you take will be difficult, but only some will be diffcult AND rewarding at the same time. The others will be perpetually difficult, yielding little to no true happiness. Just check within yourself as therein lies God’s bestowed answers and good wishes for us. At least that’s my belief.

          • closer2fine
            December 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

            Congratulations Lorena! That is really wonderful to hear.

  2. Karen
    January 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Lorena, Congratulations. What an incredible journey of evolving. You are a very brave and strong woman, and I appreciate that you shared ypur personal experiences. We live but one life, and if we are to live honestly, then we must be authentic in all areas. I am happy you chose authenticity and happiness. Best wishes.

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