Tyler Lefevor, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at Utah State University where his research focuses on understanding how LGBTQ+ latter-day saints can flourish. He was raised LDS, served a mission in the New Jersey, Cherry Hills mission, and served as an Elders quorum president for 4 years. Tyler has since left the church to marry his husband, Brock. He also operates a small therapy practice.
Sam Skidmore, MS, is a third-year doctoral student of clinical/counseling psychology at Utah State University. He was raised in the church and served a mission in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sam’s research and clinical focuses include understanding the experiences of LGBTQ+ members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ways in which LGBTQ+ mental health can be improved.
Sam and Tyler are researching the experiences of LGBTQ+ latter-day saints with their church leaders. Their goal is to help leaders improve how they minister and interact with LGBTQ+ individuals.
04:00 Introduction to Tyler and Sam and their research on LGBTQ Latter-day Saints
09:00 The study was focused on LGBTQ experiences with their church leaders. Their goal is to help leaders with their interactions with LGBTQ individuals.
10:20 Tyler and Sam share their own experiences coming out to their leaders and why they decided to come out
13:15 Sam tells his story. Sam goes into details of interactions with leaders, church members, and his family.
22:30 Tyler’s story and experience of coming out. He also shares stories of experiences with family and leaders.
33:00 Sam’s negative experience with his bishop and his feelings for the church and leaders now
35:45 Tyler shares his feelings on where he stands with the church and leaders.
38:15 Tyler shares findings from their research and gives suggestions to bishops and other leaders. Leaders need to understand why individuals are coming out to them so they can respond appropriately with what that individual needs.
40:50 Sam talks about what LGBTQ members found helpful in interviews with their bishop when coming out. Their research revealed that it wasn’t what the bishop said but how he acted that was the most impactful.
42:00 Skills that leaders should learn are empathic listening skills. It’s so much more about listening than saying the perfect thing.
43:45 When you know more you can do more. The more leaders know about LGTBQ individuals the better they can help them. Bishops should be open to talking about it and asking questions.
47:45 LGBTQ individuals’ message to leaders
49:50 Stepping into the bishop’s office can be an intimidating or even shameful experience but by changing the environment or moving out from behind the desk can make people feel more comfortable.
52:50 An important question that leaders to ask is, “tell me what it means to you to be queer?”
53:10 Meetings with the bishop can be very impactful to an individual that is opening up about their sexuality. One meeting can help them feel more included or lead them out of the church.
53:50 Tyler and Sam have a mission to get in front of ward and stake counsels to talk about their experience to help leaders improve how they lead and interact with LGBTQ members.
56:40 Tyler and Sam need leader’s perspectives on how to counsel LGBTQ members and their feelings on it
57:40 Advice specifically for youth leaders. Youth leaders need to stop avoiding the topic of LGBTQ but begin to have open conversations about it on a yearly basis.
1:00:00 Kurt shares his own personal experience as a bishop and they discuss how a bishop should help LGBTQ members
1:07:30 What Sam and Tyler want to say to their previous church leaders and where they are at right now with their lives and happiness
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