PHOENIX (FOX 10) - A policy that banned baptisms for children of gay parents and made gay marriage a sin worthy of expulsion is now eliminated by the Mormon church. The rules were unveiled in 2015. We spoke to families around the Valley who are affected by the change.
A shocking announcement made today by LDS leaders just two days before the General Conference. Some say the reversal of a controversial policy is progress being made. But pain lingers for the families impacted three years ago.
"My whole life, I was trying harder to be somebody that I thought I wasn't good enough to be," said Dust Heal. He remembers the struggle to come out while growing up in the Mormon church - through marriage and becoming a father.
"I finally came out because I couldn't do it anymore," Heal said. "I had to either come out or I had to end my life."
But he says life became harder when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints banned baptism for kids of gay parents and made same-sex marriage a sin in 2015.
"I was worried that for them, on the ned part of the police they were gonna have to denounce me as their father in order to get baptized," Heal said.
Three years later - the policy is repealed. LDS leaders say the big move is to show understanding, compassion, and love.
"My religion didn't teach me how to love," said Wendy Williams Montgomery. "It was my son that did that."
Montgomery says her son came out in 2012 as a young teen and went through a suicidal period. She says he it was linked to the philosophies of the Church and then the controversial policy came three years later.
"In three months after the policy hit of Nov. 5th, 2015, by early February, I knew personally of 32 suicides of Morman LGBTQ youth and adults," Montgomery said.
The reversal is a progressive step for LGBTQ youth, Montgomery says.
"But for the ones who have been affected and for all of us that love them, it feels like a slap in the face," Montgomery said.
Montgomery has one simple message she hopes the Mormon church can spread.
"Just say we love you, period," Montgomery said. "Full stop, end of sentence."
Montgomery helped start an organization called "Mama Dragons" three years ago, a community supporting mothers of LGBTQ children - now 3,000 strong.