← Back to Prince’s Research Excerpts: Gay Rights & Mormonism Index

Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “22c – Mixed-Orientation Marriage”

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “22c – Mixed-Orientation Marriage.” You can view other topics here.

Search the content below for specific dates, names, and keywords using the keyboard shortcut Command + F on a Mac or Control + F on Windows.

22c – Mixed-Orientation Marriages


“Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip to such practices again.”  (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference address, April 1987; Ensign, May, 1987, p. 47.)


Do not pressure your child to marry, hoping that this will resolve his or her struggle with same- gender attraction. Marriage, in and of itself, will do little to deal with the challenge. While many persons with same-gender attraction can and have changed, marriage must follow change, not precede it.…” (Alexander B. Morrison, “Some Gospel Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction,” 10th Annual Conference of Evergreen International, Inc., September 16, 2000)


“In a 1987, President Gordon B. Hinckley renounced Kimball’s teachings in Ensign, the church’s official magazine: ‘Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or behavior.’…” (“Mo’s vs. ‘Mos: The battle between Mormons and Gays,” Q Salt Lake, September 14, 2009)


“A turning point might be best characterized by the 1987 statement of Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor in the First Presidency of the largely non-functioning President Ezra Taft Benson: ‘Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices.’” (Alan Michael Williams, “Mormon and Queer at the Crossroads,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44(1):62, Spring 2011, quoting Gordon B. Hinckley, “Reverence and Morality,” Ensign, June 1987, p. 45)


“[p. 4] Marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems. The lives of others should not be damaged by entering a marriage where such concerns exist. Encouraging members to cultivate heterosexual feelings as a way to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement. However, some people have reported that once they are freed from homosexual problems, heterosexual feelings have gradually emerged.… (Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems.  Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders (Salt Lake City: Church, 1992))


Thank goodness that recent church publications no longer explicitly encourage heterosexual marriage. The 1992 brochure now states: ‘Marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems. The lives of others should not be damaged by entering a marriage where such concerns exist. Encouraging heterosexual feelings as a way to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement.’… (Gary Watts, speech at B. H. Roberts Society meeting, May 18, 1995)


“President Hinckley has stated that homosexuals are welcome in the church so long as they do not engage in homosexual behavior or pursue a same-sex relationship. I am glad that the church has progressed to the extent of acknowledging that homosexual human beings exist in the church. He has stated multiple times ‘Marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems.’ This is one official statement that I agree with completely. The Doctrine and Covenants clearly defines that a person must enter into the covenants of eternal marriage in order to obtain the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom. As I consider these two injunctions together, a large discrepancy exists that I am unable to reconcile. A prophet tells me that I should not marry, for I am a homosexual. Consequently, I have already eliminated myself from the highest kingdom for being unmarried.  In essence, I am automatically damned for being a homosexual, regardless of my faith in Jesus Christ or my good works.  Thousands of times have I asked myself, would a fair and just god impose such an unreasonable contradiction?” (Clark C. Pingree, “Stages of Trepidation,” Reunion: The Family Fellowship Newsletter, Fall 2007, p. 3)


“Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.…

In doing so, recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness. But other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes.…” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction,” Ensign, October 2007)


“[Linda Schweidel, Berkeley Ward] We divorced, and for a long time afterwards remained friendly.  It was a very difficult time and I felt very conflicted.  On the one hand I still loved him and wanted to help him.  On the other he had cheated on me, and with a man, and that was very weird.  It took a long time and some counseling, but eventually I came to terms with it.  In subsequent conversations, I asked him lots of questions, including when he knew he was gay.  This was tricky, right?  But he was honest with me.  He said he knew from his earliest memories that he was different; that he had felt physically attracted to men.  These feelings were always associated with horrible guilt and shame.  It was the last thing in the world he wanted to acknowledge.  He didn’t want it to be true.  He thought he could change it.  He thought if he went on a mission, God would reward him with heterosexuality.  That didn’t happen.  Then he thought if he got married, he would change.  That obviously didn’t work either.  He wanted to do what was right and was committed to staying in the church.  He felt he had no hope of happiness or success in this life if he left it.  It was only after 8 years of marriage that he realized that his feelings were not going away and he had to acknowledge that part of himself.  There was no place for him to be ‘authentic’ within the church and so he left.

This was a guy who had done absolutely everything asked of him – by his parents and by the church – everything he was supposed to do, when he was supposed to do it – his entire life.  He was a golden child, who had never caused his parents a single moment’s worry or concern.  He was extremely bright, conscientious, honest, dependable, hardworking and honorable in every way.   But deep down he was tormented and convinced that he was unworthy and was going to hell simply for feeling what he felt.”  (Carol Lynn Pearson, “On the Important Work in the Oakland Stake Toward Better Understanding and Loving Our Gay Brothers and Sisters,” www.clpearson.com/oaklandstake.htm, September 2009)

 “ABC’s Nightline interviewed several of us in connection to a recently aired segment about Josh Weed, a gay active Mormon man, happily married for 10 years to a straight woman. The problem with the story is it paints an entirely misleading picture about mixed-orientation marriage.

At 10 years, my former wife and I, like Josh and his wife, Lolly, were confident, idealistic and devoted. We believed with all our hearts that we could make our marriage last. The simple truth, as so many have sadly experienced, is that it becomes impossible to sustain confidence and commitment as time passes.

It’s interesting that the two poster boys of Mormon mixed-orientation marriage, Josh Weed and Ty Mansfield, are both young and relatively inexperienced. Where are the men and women who have been in MOMs for 20, 30 or 40 years? Most of us are divorced and readily acknowledge that our devotion was misspent.

My former wife knew I was gay from nearly the beginning of our marriage. We built what appeared to others to be the perfect Mormon relationship despite the fact that we were in a MOM. In the end, our marriage wasn’t perfect and the pain and heartache we endured to maintain the charade was unbearable. We do not want that for anyone else.

Since coming out I have met countless men who tell the same story, even more men who continue sham marriages while engaging in promiscuity and deceit. I’ve met heartbroken, faithful women who wonder, ‘why me?’

This is the real story of mixed-orientation marriage that should be told. For every happy Josh and Lolly who are still at the beginning of their lives, there are hundreds of men and women who, burdened with pain, anguish and loneliness, wish they would have done things differently.” (Allen Miller, “Mixed-orientation marriages are inherently flawed,” Q Salt Lake, August 23, 2012)


“TLC’s reality programming has always boasted an impressive pantheon of gay men: the ever dapper Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear, former Miss Gay America Randy Fenoli on Say Yes to the Dress, the illustrious Vern Yip on Trading Spaces. On January 11, we can add to that number the men on TLC’s new reality special My Husband’s Not Gay, which showcases Mormon men who are open about their attraction to men even as they date and sometimes marry women.…

Across the board, My Husband’s Not Gay has been cited as a new low for both the network and the stubbornly homophobic Mormon religion.…

If we dig deeper, we might also see the show as a painful portrait of a religion stuck at a crossroads with respect to its official policy on homosexuality. Although the Mormon Church, as it is commonly known, has long opposed homosexuality—most notably playing an influential role in California’s since-overturned 2008 ban on same-sex marriage—its official stance toward its own gay members has softened over the years. But the plight of the men on My Husband’s Not Gay demonstrates that Mormonism is not changing quickly enough to prevent another generation of sham marriages.…

But the modern Mormon Church has taken several steps back from Kimball’s fire and brimstone attitude. In fact, the central premise of My Husband’s Not Gay—that gay Mormon men should date and marry women while still feeling attraction to men—has technically been against church counsel since 1992, when a new handbook entitled Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems instructed Mormon leaders that “marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems.” The handbook cited the deleterious effects of this policy on both gay men and “the lives of others,” referring, of course, to the women who spent years locked in marriages with them. Gay church members were also told to remain celibate in order to avoid church discipline and this requirement has been official Mormon policy ever since.

On this point, Randy [a 50-year-od ex-Mormon gay man] wrote: “‘We will accept you if you are celibate for life’ seems to be the new message but this is not a workable answer, it’s a hopeless answer.”

But the church’s current handbook for gay members, God Loveth His Children, certainly tries hard to make it seem like a hopeful course of action. This pamphlet takes an even gentler tone, referring to “same-gender attraction” as a “challenge” that can be dealt with by remaining celibate and “fill[ing] your spiritual garden with good seed.”…

Even though the church officially stopped counseling gay men to marry women in the 1990s, Mormon culture now does the same work that Kimball’s old injunctions used to perform.…

But the fact that the men of My Husband’s Not Gay refuse to label themselves as “gay” is just as worrying. Although the Mormon Church has superficially scaled back its stance on homosexuality since Spencer W. Kimball’s death, it at least used to acknowledge the existence of a population of people with a well-defined (if also maligned) sexual identity. Church leaders used to rail against “homosexuals” but, in a 1995 sermon, then-Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley traded that descriptor for the following euphemistic mouthful: “those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender.” 

Across all contemporary Mormon rhetoric, Church leaders refuse to legitimize homosexuality by referring to it as a concrete thing. As Dallin H. Oaks said in the above-quoted 2009 interview: “I think it’s important for you to understand that homosexuality…is not a noun that describes a condition. It’s an adjective that describes feelings or behavior.” True to form, none of the men on My Husband’s Not Gay refer to themselves as gay, opting instead to claim “attraction” to men—a phrasing that conforms with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ official term for homosexuality: “same-sex attraction.”

It would definitely be wrong for TLC to encourage us to gawk at these men but their story is worth investigating nonetheless. As Randy notes, “Maybe there is a value in shining a light on this and asking the questions.” The Mormon Church may have traded electrodes for euphemism and excommunications for loving leaflets but in so doing, they have also created a culture in which members cannot even admit to themselves that they are who they are. My Husband’s Not Gay is not so much a straightforward indication that Mormonism is homophobic as it is a sign that Mormon homophobia has taken an even subtler and perhaps more pernicious turn.” (Samantha Allen, “Your Husband Is Definitely Gay: TLC’s Painful Portrait of Mormonism,” www.TheDailyBeast.com, January 1, 2015)


“A new program on the TLC cable channel to air later this month, titled ‘My Husband’s Not Gay,’ has generated significant news media coverage this week. Several journalists have asked the Church questions about the program because it features three Mormon couples. While the Church has no connection to the program and rarely comments on commercial productions, Church spokesman Eric Hawkins gave the following statement to the media regarding the issues being discussed:  

‘The decision for a woman and man to marry is deeply personal. While the Church does not promote marriage as a treatment method for same-sex attraction, couples who are trying to be lovingly supportive of each other while being true to their religious convictions deserve our support and respect.’”

(“Church Responds to Questions Regarding Upcoming TCL Program,” LDS Newsroom, January 7, 2015)


“Our review of the literature found that in the United States, the overall ‘ever-divorced rate’ rate is 23.3% for males and 27.8% for females — meaning that between 24% and 28% of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.  U.S. Mormons have similar divorce rates — males = 22.0%, females 28.1% (Heaton, Goodman, & Holman, 2001).

Studies of divorce rates for Mixed-Orientation Marriages (MOMs) range between 50% and 85% (Buxton, 1994; Buxton, 2001; Wolkomir, 2004) — meaning that MOMs in the U.S. are up to three times more likely to end in divorce than are heterosexual marriages.…

This represented a minimum MOM divorce rate of 51% for our sample. However, since the average duration of these persistent MOMs from our study was 16.6 years, it is reasonable to expect that at least some additional MOM divorces will occur in the future. For example, since 37% (n = 99) of the MOM divorces in our sample occurred after the 16 year mark, a flat projection based on the entire sample would estimate the eventual divorce reach to reach at least 69% for our study.  We have noticed, for example, that many mixed-orientation marriages end after the children have left home (often at the 20-25 year mark).…

An even starker finding from our study is that 85% of the men who rated themselves as exclusively homosexual on the Kinsey scale reported MOM divorces.… This strongly suggests that bisexuality is an essential ingredient to preserving a mixed-orientation marriage…” 

“(John Dehlin, Things You Should Know When Watching TLC’s ‘My Husband’s Not Gay,’ Joining North Star, or Considering a Mixed-Orientation Marriage,” www.NoMoreStrangers.org, January 9, 2015)


Prince: I’m going to ask you one more question off the record.  I have heard enough from some of my gay friends back here that I want to get a cross-check on it.  Has Ty cheated on his wife?

Schwimmer: Here is what I know for sure, and I think that’s the only thing that I can give you.  I liken it to the story of the Gadianton robbers and their secret combinations.  I call a group of people in Utah “the secret combination of Gaydianton robbers.”  It’s basically Ty Mansfield, Jeff Bennion and a few of their closest acolytes.  The funny thing is that they cycle in a couple of groups.  They call themselves the “Book Club,” and they usually met on Thursday nights, when Ty still had an apartment somewhere in Utah.  He had a loft, and four or five gay guys lived there.  There was a lot of cuddling and lot of needy, physical gratification that they used to “fight off the urges,” so to speak.  I think that just breeds more desire and urges, but whatever.

Prince: That’s like putting out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.

Schwimmer: Absolutely!  It caused a lot more confusion for me when I actually witnessed that.  They tried to include me in that, and I was just like, “I’m sorry.  Maybe I’m weaker than you all, but that just seems like it would be more tempting to me.”  I was trying to resist that kind of temptation at the time.

But I do specifically know that this “Book Club” where the upper echelon, the cabinet members of North Star.  What they would do is that they would all meet at Gold’s Gym in Salt Lake.  They would get naked and go into the men’s sauna, wear towels around themselves, and wait until they would get what they called “canteen fillers.”  Basically what they were saying was that they would see naked men and have enough thought process to fill their canteens of sexual charge so that they could actually have sex with their wives that night.  This is something that I know Ty was a part of.  I know, for a fact, that it is something that Jeff Bennion was a part of.  Jeff was also a propagator in telling me, “It’s OK.  If you feel that you can’t get it up for your wife, just watch a little gay porn.  It’s better than having an unfulfilled wife.”

I’m seeing all these stories.  I don’t know if you know of Pret Dalhgren, but he is also on the board of North Star.  He did that “My Husband Is Not Gay” television show recently.  It’s really sad, because I think there is such a duality in his psyche and his personality.  I know for a fact that there was an older gentleman that was in love with him.  I know that did cheat on his wife, even though in that interview he said that he was always faithful to his wife.  I know, for a fact, that he had sex with somebody.

With regards to Ty, I personally don’t know if he has had sex with his wife [he probably meant with another man].  But he did tell me that the only way that he was surviving marriage with his wife was because he was getting his double doctorate in something, and she was teaching and working as well.  So both of them had fulltime jobs, both of them were fulltime students, she was raising the kids with parental help, I believe.  But he said, “I literally see my wife and have to be in bed with her maybe two to four hours out of the week.  Benji, it’s the best way to be productive.  We are setting a great example publicly, and it’s enough.”

However, I will say when he was married—and this was before I had left the Church—I started to go on a physical fitness kick.  I started working out and building a little muscle.  He would ask me what I was doing about it.  There were times when he would ask me for shirtless photos.  I was thinking, “Hmm, this is weird.”  It just reminded me of that politician, Andrew Weiner.  It just seemed like he was trying to get anything and everything that he could without actually dipping into the cookie jar and stealing a cookie.  He was eating as many residual crumbs as he possibly could.

So I don’t know.  I know that he told me a couple of times that as he has been married, he has fallen for certain guys, and apparently I was one of them.  What was the website where he released a miniature video about he and his wife?  I think it was mormonsandgays.org.…

Ty was becoming really backhanded to me.  He said, “Benji, I just got an email from another reality TV star who is not out and who is LDS.  He is a returned missionary and he wants to stay strong, and I know that you had told me when you were on your television show that you would sneak out, call a taxi and go to church, even if you guys weren’t allowed to.  I am wondering if you can give him some advice.  I said, “Absolutely!”  Even though I had left the Church, I would respect somebody if he wanted to stay in.  I would have given him information on how to navigate reality TV and keep one’s spirituality preserved.  I was a good boy when I was on a reality TV show, and I lived a very fulfilled spiritual life during that time.  So I said, “Absolutely.  Give him my number.”  He said, “Well, I would probably have to set up a private number, because I wouldn’t want him having your number afterwards.  Also, I have to ask, are you worthy enough to give him inspired advice?”  When I heard him ask me that, I thought to myself, “Where do you get off, Dude?  I know who you are making out with.  I know whose penis you were creating fellatio with when you were writing In Quiet Desperation.  How dare you do that to me!”  So I didn’t respond to him thereafter.

(Benji Schwimmer, March 25, 2015)