Death by His own Hand
Bryan Michael Egnew, 40, spent the last decades of his life building up the courage to come out to his family and Mormon church. Once he did, his life, family and religion were stripped away from him, and he committed suicide within a matter of weeks.
Growing up in the Mormon church as a gay man isn’t easy…. It’s a deep hole that many never escape from…. Egnew went on a Mormon Mission when he was nineteen, was married in a Mormon Temple to his wife Amy and had five children. He served within his local Mormon congregation for years, and outwardly was everything a Mormon man was expected to be. But inside, Egnew fought a constant struggle over whether to continue pretending, or to be honest about himself.
Last month [August], Egnew … came out to his family and his church. The results were tragic. According to [Egnew’s friend Jahn] Curran, Egnew’s wife Amy immediately picked up their children and drove them out of state to Tennessee, refusing to let Egnew see them. His parents and family withdrew, and his church immediately excommunicated him because he refused to denounce his sexual orientation.
Mitch Mayne [is] an openly gay man who currently serves in the bishopric of his local Mormon ward (as long as he remains celibate). His local church leaders are actually supportive of him speaking openly about the fact that he’s gay, and encourage his story to be told. Contrast that with … Bryan’s leaders.
You see, despite the thousands of reported suicides among LGBT Mormons, the Mormon high-leadership still refuse to put into place any official guidelines or provide training to local leaders on what to do when a person chooses to be honest about themselves. The result is a long trail of suicides of individuals who were left to face the wrath of local prejudices.
How long will the Mormon church continue to let their members die before they decide that LGBT people are worth being treated as equals? Calls to the Mormon church for comment have not been returned.
This coming Sunday, we will celebrate our church’s decision, 19 years ago, to become an Open and Affirming Church. Many of our lesbian and gay members have told me how welcomed and comfortable they feel at our church. I am incredibly glad about this, as we all should be. At the same time, we should be constantly aware of the possible discrimination, danger and maybe worse that LGBT people may face in any part of their lives. It is important to stand against hate and discrimination wherever and whenever it happens.
Posted on October 4, 2011 at 10:27 am in Featured Content.