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This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally ran in August 2017.
Bennett and Becky Borden are a married couple who both experience same-sex attraction and who were both in same-sex marriages and relationships for many years prior to returning to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and prior to their marriage to each other. Bennett and Becky both grew up in the South in active LDS families. They met about 30 years ago when Bennett was a young man and served his mission in Becky’s ward. Bennett became close with Becky’s family and over they years they have remained friends. In their early 20s, both Bennett and Becky came out as gay, left the Church and went on to live a gay lifestyle for many years.
After many years away they each decided separately they wanted to come back to the Church. They met up at Becky’s family reunion and knew they should get married. Returning to church attendance, they were married and after a time had their blessings restored and were sealed in the temple. A lot can be learned and gained from their amazing journey, their relationships, their faith transitions, their interactions with family and church leaders, and their spiritual experiences.
3:15 Bennett’s upbringing
5:00 Becky’s upbringing
7:30 Bennett’s close relationship with Becky’s family
8:00 After his mission, Bennett’s first marriage to a woman
9:30 Bennett lives a gay lifestyle and stops going to church
10:30 Becky’s journey coming out as gay
13:30 Their relationships with God as they left the church and lived the gay lifestyle
14:30 Bennett’s experience studying other religions
16:00 Becky’s experience joining several other churches
18:00 What can we learn from our crises of faith?
19:00 Every relationship has goodness to them
20:30 “The light and love of God shines everywhere”/Growth can happen even as we are lost
22:00 Becky’s excommunication and the blessing of it
24:30 The thing that brought them back to the gospel
26:00 Bennett’s same sex relationship and what brought him back
28:20 Becky and where she was as Bennett’s relationship ended
31:00 Leaders and family members and how they reached out to Bennett and Becky while they were living a gay lifestyle
34:00 Love within church membership councils
35:30 Bennett and Becky’s friendship as they came back to the church
44:00 How to reconcile thoughts of going back to the church with being gay
45:00 Reading the scriptures assuming it’s all true
48:00 Bennett and Becky decision to get married
50:00 Becky’s experience meeting with her bishop to discuss coming back to church
53:20 Bennett’s experience meeting with his bishop to discuss coming back to church
56:15 How Satan worked to keep them from coming back
57:00 Their marriage by a bishop in Washington D.C.
58:45 Bennett’s ex-husband Richard joined the church
1:02:30 How to pray for a child with same sex attraction
1:08:00 How can leaders use Northstar to help them
1:09:00 Message to individuals wanting to come back to the church
Bennett & Becky’s North Star Conference Keynote
Bennett & Becky would love to connect with anyone who has questions or needs further support. You can reach them at their joint email: Bennettandbecky@gmail.com
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I celebrate this couple and their ability to find their own path, but please know that stories like these are often weaponized against our other lgbtq members who struggle with their own paths.
Absolutely. Thank you for this. It’s hard that the Church is always glamorizing suppression and a rejection of self. Many members do NOT opt to resign themselves to the challenging burden of being something they’re not, and it should NOT be considered the norm or the standard.
I think the greatest thing we can all learn from their experiences is that each person has their own path, and it is through unconditional love, patience, and seeking to connect with God that we each walk our own paths alongside each other. While some people may weaponize the experiences of others, holding them up as examples or mere stories, that does not negate the beauty of the true lessons of love learned through sharing these experiences. Failing to share is more damaging because it keeps the variety of life experiences hidden. It is by sharing experiences along with the valuable lessons learned through them that we can each gain greater insight into how to love each other and how to walk our own paths.
Thank you so much!
This was a very good episode and I was inspired by it. One question that was not addressed which is probably a sensitive topic is that of the sexual relationship. I’m trying to understand how they can say that they had same sex attraction for so many years and then later decide to be in a heterosexual relationship. Are they now attracted to the opposite sex? or both? or still just same sex attraction but the marriage is more platonic or practical?
Ron, I suspect this was not addressed for the simple reason that it is no one else’s business.
My comment comes from a place on genuinely trying to understand. In an effort to be more empathetic…I have no idea what’s it’s like to be homosexual and so I also don’t understand how one can be homosexual and then go back to being heterosexual. It’s the elephant in the room that people understandably are hesitant to address. So maybe I’ll never get it but I’ll still do my best to be compassionate.
Same-sex attraction can exist on a spectrum or even change over time. Some people in mixed-orientation marriages have a platonic relationship. Others do not. Some people in heterosexual marriages have platonic relationships, as well. Some consider themselves bisexual, queer (sexual orientations that don’t fit well into one category or another), or even asexual (uninterested in sex) or gender diverse. The important message from all this is that love lives outside of sexual relationships and sexual orientations.
This topic is actually often addressed around mixed-orientation marriages, but doing so is not necessarily helpful. As others have commented, such couples can be held up as examples of people who “solved their problem”, overshadowing the key messages of love, compassion, and seeking to find one’s own path in partnership with God.
I highly recommend learning more from the folks at North Star (https://www.northstarlds.org) to gain a greater understanding of the complexities of sexual orientation and gender identity.
I heard them speak at a fireside once. Bennett said that he did not feel a general attraction to all women, but that he did for Becky. He said that he had learned an important lesson. He did not need to feel attracted to all women, only 1, in order to move forward with this. Hope that helps answer your question.
This is such an inspiring story! I realize the “happy ever after” ending can be attention grabbing, but the message is so much more than about the physical circumstances these two find themselves in. So grateful for this story’s example of Gods love for each of us regardless of our individual challenges and journeys. Truthful principles can apply to different but equally challenging life circumstances. My heart breaks, heals, and trembles with fear alongside them, but for different reasons. Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom, compassion, and hope. They will not soon be forgotten.