Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Stuart Matis story

In my web surfing, I've come across the story of a gay Mormon who committed suicide on the steps of an LDS Stake Center in California on February 25, 2000.

Our Book of Rememberance > Suicide Memorial
Henry Stuart Matis (1967-2000)

To Be Gay — And Mormon

Alone in the fold: Many LDS gays struggle to cling to faith despite their yearnings

Requiem for a Gay Mormon

To Be Mormon and Gay

The last link is an excerpt from a letter Stuart Matis wrote to his 18 year old cousin. A statement in that letter haunts me:

The church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their calloused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their finger pointed to their head in the form of a gun. Every waking moment of every day they must be on constant alert not to divulge any clues that will identify themselves to their peers. "Was my glance at that boy too long? Does he think I'm gay? Will he now publicize my secret and beat me up?" They are afraid of their parents. They are afraid of their bishop. They are afraid of their friends. They have nowhere to go but to lay on the floor curled in a ball and weep themselves to sleep. ...

I relate to this so much. Reading the The Stuart Matis story makes me want to cry. It just seems that there isn’t a place for gay Mormon’s in this world. We are forced to hide our gay selves from church members; but, we aren’t accepted in the general gay community, especially if we haven’t totally renounced the church. It’s no wonder to me that so many of us feel so lonely and, sometimes, just want to end our lives. I hope that I am able to find a place in this world so that I don’t reach a state of total despair.


DRDRWMD said...

I shouldn't , but I used to publish before this brave kid expired. I wish I could help him. Somewhere I would be proud to be be near him, and hate myself for writing against him in byu news I wrote to hurt him. Things a few years and life teach me. Learn and go on in life, I'm really sorry.

DRDRWMD said...

I wish he were here.

DRDRWMD said...

My comments were lost.

Liz Ahlstrom said...

I was raised in the Church, and the Matis family was a close family friend... Stuart was much older than I, but I remember him so vividly... I remember the day I heard "he'd passed." Not once did anyone mention homosexuality, let alone a gun. Only a couple years later, I told my parents I was gay. My mother told me I was basically "flipping off" her bible and disowned me. It was only a couple years ago I learned the truth of Stuart, and was beyond heartbroken. I knew this guy, we'd shared family/church moments together, and apparently the same dark secret: being gay. The fact my parents reacted to me the way they did, only serves to show just how little has changed in the Church. My mother may as well have told me to stick a gun to my head as well. When I tried to speak to a childhood friend from the Church about Stuart (after finding out the truth), I was met with a defensive testimony being blurted out. Clearly, I had challenged her belief system. The loss of Stuart is not just tragic, it is a disgusting example of how people use religion as a weapon.