Bryan Egnew, a 40-year old gay Mormon man who had a wife and five children, lost his family, his place in his church, and ultimately his life by suicide, after being excommunicated, according to a report in Pride In Utah. “How long will the Mormon Church continue to let their members die before they decide that LGBT people are worth being treated as equals?,” Eric Ethington, who writes about gay life and politics in Utah at Pride In Utah — especially stories revolving around the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) — asks. He adds, “despite the thousands of reported suicides among LGBT Mormons the Mormon high-leadership still refuse to put into place any official guidelines or provide training to local leaders on what to do when a person chooses to be honest about themselves.”
Bryan Michael Egnew went on a Mormon Mission when he was 19, was married in a Mormon Temple to his wife Amy and had 5 children. He served within his local Mormon congregation for years, and outwardly was everything a Mormon man was expected to be. But inside, Bryan fought a constant struggle over whether to continue pretending, or to be honest about himself.
One of Bryan’s friends, Jahn Curran, tells us that he has known Bryan since they attended college together at BYU. and like Bryan, Jahn was also hiding the fact that he was gay. Years later, Jahn would find the courage to come out of the closet, but Bryan was too afraid of what the consequences would be.
But last month, Bryan found that courage and came out to his family and his church. The results were tragic. According to Curran, his wife Amy immediately packed up their children and drove them out of state to Tennessee, refusing to let Bryan see them. His parents and family withdrew, and his Church immediately excommunicated him because he refused to denounce his sexual orientation.
Zack Ford at Think Progress adds that Egnew died on Sept. 10, but, “news only came out this week, because his obituary and Facebook page were scrubbed of any details of what led him to take his own life. The Church of Latter-Day Saints still has no official guidelines for how to respond when someone comes out.”
Chelsea Hoffman at Gather calls the scrubbing, “a final act of cruelty of someone who found the courage to come out as being who he is on the inside.”
Egnew’s Facebook page lists him as “separated.” On Facebook, Egnew wrote of his profile photo, “Pic of family on vacation in Florida. Laissez rouler les bons temps!”
Editor’s note: The aforementioned photo was removed from this article after a request by someone who says she is a family friend.
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