SALT LAKE CITY — In the summer of 2008, Sarah Irish Nicholson’s well-ordered Mormon life was unraveling.
Her husband of 13 years, whom she’d loved since high school, told her he was gay. Latter-day Saints in her suburban neighborhood west of Salt Lake City kept saying gay-rights advocacy was Satan’s work.
Though they remained together at first, several local Mormon leaders were not only unsympathetic, but openly hostile.
Nicholson, still clinging to her LDS faith, wanted a place to share stories, cry and laugh. She finally turned to straightspouse.org, an umbrella organization for some 55 groups.
But she felt many of those posting there were bitter and just wanted to vent. So she launched straightspouses.org, which invites people to join a private Facebook support group.
Last fall, there were 14 members. Today there are 45, mostly Utah Mormons, but some in other states and other faiths.
Now the rest of the world is taking note of Mormon “mixed-orientation marriages,” as they have become known, thanks to a recent blog post in which another couple, Josh and Lolly Weed, spoke out.
Weed, a marriage and family therapist in the Northwest, has known he was gay since his teens. Lolly was the first person he told. They’ve been married 10 years and have three daughters.
Weed’s post went viral, generating more than 3,000 comments, and he was inundated with media requests.
Yet if the Weeds have become the LDS’ best-known “mixed-orientation marriage,” the stories of others have illuminated the range of experiences and arrangements of such couples.
Ty Mansfield, a gay Mormon married to a woman, believed he’d never marry. Six years later, he met his wife.
“Sexuality is more fluid than we think,” said Mansfield, a therapist in Texas. “Everything fell into place, and we took that step. It continues to feel like it’s the right move for me.”
While some guard their
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