Welcome to the Far Between website

 

The purpose of this site is simple — to better understand what it means to be homosexual and Mormon. Please know that this site is neither “anti-Mormon” nor “anti-homosexual”. It’s just a place to listen and consider, for a moment, what it’s like to be someone else. We hope the experience will move you to engage in constructive conversations about reconciling your empathic responses to the videos, with the doctrines and policies of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.

We have spent over three years in production on the project, gathering information and filming interviews with those who have been touched in some way by the experience of being homosexual and Mormon.While compiling the footage, we have felt compelled to break from the typical practice of sequestering the wealth of information and first-person interviews until after the film debuts.  We feel it important to share them now with the hope that it will help to improve the conversation about homosexuality and Mormonism sooner rather than later.

Our intent is to provide, through Far Between and its sponsor, Empathy First Initiative, a space for people to share their story, holding equal space for people of all stripes to share their lived experience, no matter the differences, without judgement. We hope to show that, no matter how they may choose to react to their experience, the people featured on this site have conscientiously engaged in their own journey of moral reasoning and are worthy of love and understanding.

We’re presenting many faces and many stories, and since it can feel overwhelming to contemplate the entire issue of homosexuality and Mormonism, we suggest you focus on one face and one story at a time. As you listen to the diverse experiences, we invite you to allow open compassion to precede reaction as you exercise empathy on an individual basis.  Through this process, we’ve seen conversations become more productive and relationships more harmonious, which is especially helpful when finding resolution with deeply challenging issues.

A word about the title: Far Between is a reference to what feels like an enormous gulf that has emerged between the experience of homosexuality and Mormonism.  It is also an invitation to help fill that gulf with love and empathy born of compassionate communication and accurate information.

 

Mission

 

Our mission is to improve the conversation surrounding homosexuality and Mormonism. We hope to do so by providing first-person accounts of what it’s like to be homosexual and Mormon, tips and tools for how to sustain generative conversations within ourselves, with our loved ones, and in our communities, about how to navigate the tension brought on by the lived experiences of homosexuality and membership in the LDS Church. It is our hope that as we commit to holding space for people’s opinions, beliefs, and life experiences that may differ from our own and put empathy first, we will create safety and peace for all who choose to engage in these important conversations and, in turn, heal hearts, homes, and communities.

 

The Project

 

The Far Between project (film, website, community conversations, etc) is about improving the conversation about homosexuality in the LDS Church by shifting the focus away from dogma and politics and onto increased empathy for all individuals on all sides of the perceived divide. We believe in empathic conversation as a means to improve relationships and bring peace to individuals, families and communities. We recognize that unconstructive conversations (debates and diatribes) have failed most of us over the years, resulting in frustration, dissolution, and heartache.  We ask you to take a bold step and re-engage with this conversation, but in a more constructive way, focused primarily and principally on empathy for others. We believe that conversations are improved when everyone is invited to the conversation, has equal voice, and feels safe and understood as a vital part of the conversation. And again, we believe the conversations most likely to be generative and sustainable are those where empathy is the primary and central focus.

 

The Film

 

With an intimacy never before seen, Far Between invites all of us to contemplate the question, “What is it really like to be homosexual and Mormon?” At its heart, filmmaker and former BYU adjunct professor, Kendall Wilcox boldly opens the door to his life as he optimistically engages – for the first time – with the expansive and often paradoxical space between his homosexuality and religion with the aim of engendering understanding and constructive dialogue.  Kendall’s goal of personal wholeness and authenticity guides him as he seeks, finds and shares the candid stories of real people representing the vast scope of realities and choices that make up the experience of being Mormon and homosexual. Throughout the film, Kendall’s own story unflinchingly exposes the viewer to the heartrending process of reconciliation while moving beyond the polemics that often dominate the discussion. Hence the net effect of the film will neither be anti-Mormon nor anti-homosexual. With roots in the non-profit Empathy First Initiative, Far Between challenges viewers to seek first to understand and then join the conversation.

The film will avoid the common temptation to devolve into simplified polemics and instead conveys the myriad nuances and complexities that make up the experience of leaning into both aspects of a life simultaneously.  Admittedly, this is a well-trod subject area; however, we feel strongly that the approach (non-polemic) is new and much-needed.  The story of the film takes shape around filmmaker, Kendall Wilcox’s personal journey to find healthy and sustainable reconciliation between his experience of sexuality and faith. This format is a vehicle to introduce the audience to the many thoughtful and conscientious individuals whom this issue has touched and whom we have come to admire for their process of reconciliation. The film is not an attempt to cash-in on a “hot topic” but an effort to engage a wide audience in conversation about universal questions of love and faith.

 

Far Between will:

 

  • encourage viewers to see individuals as whole and deserving of respect
  • encourage viewers to empathize with what it’s like for all who have been touched by the experience of homosexuality and membership in the LDS Church
  • seek to bring peace to individuals and relationships by engaging in respectful and constructive conversation about homosexuality and Mormonism built on empathetic understanding
  • seek to create a supportive environment of love and empathy to empower homosexuals to approach their myriad choices without fear, guilt, or shame
  • encourage viewers to see the intersection of homosexuality and Mormonism as a positive opportunity for growth
  • encourage religious homosexuals to own their experience and not retreat from or circumvent the opportunity to engage the tension between seemingly conflicting aspects of one’s self
  • extol the virtues of spirituality for those to whom it is meaningful

 

Far Between will not:

 

  • engage in vitriolic polemics nor seek to become a divisive tool
  • take sides or seek blame in a political or religious culture war
  • dictate or denounce individuals’ spiritual or sexual choices
  • advocate for change in Mormon doctrine or practices regarding homosexuality
  • exploit or wallow in victimhood
  • exploit individuals or their stories by de-contextualizing them

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