Russ believes that on the journey to Zion, there’s a place for all of Heavenly Father’s children. After entering a mixed-orientation marriage and having five children, Russ found help in support groups for people in his situation. But when he moved to Idaho and could not find similar support, his marriage eventually failed and he was excommunicated. Although Russ does not blame anyone, he believes that church leaders and members can do more to protect the family–including families like his. He is inspired by the examples of pioneers who left their homes to travel toward Zion, some of them knowing they would never arrive but still believing the journey was more important than the destination. Likewise, he believes no Mormon, gay or straight, should be left behind as we worship God, build Zion, and celebrate and protect all families.

(The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect those of the producers of Far Between but are reflective of some aspects of what it means to be LGBT and Mormon today.)