049: A Lesbian Mormon Perspective – Part 3

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 3 covers how Lorena and Elmer have attempted to handle their situation: making sense of their mixed-orientation marriage and how they chose to start resolving these types of issues for themselves.  They also discuss their hope that by telling their story they can be part of the process of helping others in similar situations and contributing to the new types of dialogue currently happening in our Mormon culture – including the address of  discrimination, limitations and harmful implications we currently face within Mormonism regarding homosexuality.


Obedience, Integrity and the Paradox of Selfhood

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

5 comments for “049: A Lesbian Mormon Perspective – Part 3

  1. Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff
    December 13, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Wow this is powerful on many levels. I’d like to hear from both of them in a year. What they are doing is so great for the children. I wish more couples could show that kind of love and understanding in the divorce process. I also am rooting for both of them to find partners!!!! They deserve the very best.

  2. A Happy Hubby
    December 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I very much enjoyed listening to these, more than I was expecting. I agree that if they would come back in a year or more it would really be interesting to know how they progressed.

  3. Lorena Tobón
    December 23, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Thank you both for your comments. I have given an update on the thread that is on the first part of the interview if you’d like to have a look. But we are both on new relationships and seem to have found new paths that are not precisely “easy” to walk, but they certainly are more rewarding and meaningful: God-sent, no doubt!

  4. JP
    January 3, 2015 at 2:40 am

    There is a part of your story that I want to ask you more about. Before I ask let me give you some set up. I’ve been married to a man for almost 10 years and have 4 children that are 2, 4, 6, and 8. I’m in my early 40’s. For 30 years I’ve given everything I had to managing my same sex attraction. For 20 of those years I’ve lived as perfectly as I possibly could, including getting married in the temple and having beautiful children. Thirty years of “No! This is not what I want.” and “I’d give anything to be free of this!” and “I’ll do anything it takes to succeed in a heterosexual life.” I’d say that I couldn’t have been more solid in my faith, my testimony, and in my practice if I had seen the Savior himself. However, when I turned 40 and had my last child I found myself traveling a path of finally wanting to live in my body, and coming to a place where I recognized that my sexual orientation is part of my divine creation rather than something fundamentally broken and evil about me. My original intention two years ago was to try to live more authentically and in my body while still living true to the gospel, my temple covenants, and committed to my marriage. However, this has proven to be more difficult than I ever imagined. I now find myself in a place that I could never have believed even one year ago. To say it in as few words as possible, I am now admitting that I actually do want what I’ve spent 30 years telling myself I didn’t want. It’s speaking this want that has created a deep spiritual crisis in my life. I feel like everything I knew and felt about the gospel is crashing down around me. Not that I don’t believe anymore, but more that my face is turning, and as hard as I’m trying to keep it forward it seems that I just can’t. Here is my deep fear and shame, the place that I can’t reconcile–I’ve always wondered about the people in Lehi’s dream, the ones that made it to the tree of life, tasted of the fruit, but then turned away and were lost. I feel like that must be me. It’s terrifying to consider that that is me, because we all know what the end of their story is. Even if I could reconcile this in my heart, I cannot fathom leaving my marriage, breaking the heart of my companion, whom I love, and breaking the hearts of my children. None of whom deserve all the spiritual and emotional damage that would come from such a move. I find myself in an intractable position where I cannot see myself surviving where I am, and I cannot see my self surviving a transition. This is my crisis, and it’s severe, it’s suffocating, it’s destroying me bit by bit. I feel like if being true to my covenants took my total destruction, then that’s the sacrifice the church is asking me to make, and if I don’t I loose not only my family eternally, but my very soul. I did make that offering 20 years ago, and now I am shocked, heartbroken, and terrified that I find myself here today. I feel like I did nothing wrong, committed no sin that would invite this sort of suffering and conflict in, yet here I sit. I am angry that all of my fasting, all of my prayers, all of my scripture reading, temple attendance, service and as perfect living as possible didn’t protect me from being in this terrifying position. I don’t know what more to say, other than I feel so lost, so afraid, and so hopeless. What’s my question for you? I guess it’s how have you reconciled the deep faith you had in the military, including the consequences you were taught for living sinfully, with where you are today? You must not see yourself as one of the people who tasted of the fruit of the tree, but then turned away? How? How have you been able to work through that?

    • Loren Jaeger
      June 16, 2015 at 6:44 am

      JP, I am so sorry to answer this so late but for some reason I had not seen this comment! I would love to answer your question but I think the answer will be longer than what I can post here. Why don’t you write me a note to my e-mail, jaegerloren@gmail.com, and then I can respond to it or we can exchange Skype names or something and be able to talk. For now though, we learn at church that obedience is the first law in heaven. I agree. I think we should be obedient to our conscience. To that voice which GOD gives us. Not the doctrine or policies or practices that men have created or interpreted in so many different ways. This type of obedience is what now brings me the most peace. My life didn’t turn to a beautiful life over night, this I will share with you. But there is no doubt that I feel more peace now and this makes a HUGE difference for everyday life.

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