Mike Ramsey lives in Burley, Idaho, with his wife and four children (ages two to nine years). He is president of Nifty Marketing, an internet marketing company, an author and speaker, and currently serves in his stake young men presidency. He was raised in a single-parent home with a lesbian mother, and his experience coming to terms with his his mother’s sexuality has taught him tools that other leaders can use to better connect with and support the youth they lead.
8:00 Mike’s mother’s struggles with the Church, dating his father, and acknowledging her same-gender attraction
11:30 How Mike finally connected with his father
14:30 His experience as a youth, learning about and dealing with his mother’s same-sex attraction
18:00 His mother’s struggles with religion and living in a spiritual but inactive home
21:00 Why he moved to his grandparents’ home, struggling with shame, and not knowing how to handle his mother’s sexuality
23:10 How he started going to church with his grandparents and friends
25:25 Wanting to belong: it’s hard to be different and no one was willing to talk about Mike’s experience growing up with a gay parent. Leaders need to be willing to talk with youth about what they are experiencing, and just listening. It’s not about the answer, but about the conversation.
29:15 Most youth want to learn how to live their lives and need leaders to open the door for conversation by sharing their own genuine life experiences. Youth need to hear the vulnerable experiences about how adults struggled as they were growing up. Shame is eliminated when we talk openly about our own lives.
34:45 The cultural experience in the Church where no one is willing to talk about mistakes or transgressions they have experienced, and how that creates shame. This is changing as the Church is embracing transparency, but the transparency of sharing difficult life experiences hasn’t yet been embraced by everyone.
38:05 Example of Alma the Younger and how approaching the Atonement that way facilitates trust between leaders and youth
39:10 Trusting the bishop: Kurt’s experience as a bishop with a young man who only went to see him because his mom told him to
40:30 Building trust as a bishop
42:00 How youth leaders can help youth who are afraid to open up to their bishop
43:40 Mike’s mission experience and creating connections of trust with his mission president, who was open and willing to love his missionaries. Experiencing sanctification through the Holy Ghost when he was finally able to connect to a leader who was willing to be vulnerable and accepting.
50:50 Finally coming to terms with his shame and struggles about his mom’s sexuality, her difficult choices, and finally accepting who she is
55:45 We are all broken in big and little ways, and fall short of the perfection of God. Asking questions, listening, and seeing people through the Savior’s eyes can help us be accepting of each other.