I’m a husband, father, and person of faith. Professionally, I’m a therapist and researcher specializing in marriage, individual and relational sexual health, and sexual and gender identity congruence for faith-based individuals. I'm also a mindfulness meditation teacher and teach marriage and family classes at Brigham Young University.
I’m a husband, father, and person of faith. Professionally, I’m a marriage and family therapist, educator, researcher, and author. I specialize in marriage, individual and relational sexual health, and sexual and gender identity congruence for faith-based individuals. I'm also a mindfulness meditation teacher and teach marriage and family classes at Brigham Young University.
All of my experience and research has led me to believe that humans are wired for meaning, connection, and belonging. Most of our struggles in life are intimately tied to how we experience our relationships—including with ourselves—and how we find purpose. I believe God is always inviting us into deeper healing and intimacy with ourselves, the Divine, and others.
It was in doing some of my personal healing work, beginning as a student at BYU and continuing over the next several years, that I fell in love with healing and wanted to “give back,” so to speak. My undergraduate studies were in Asian Studies, Business, and Economics, and while I was working for a Department of Defense consulting company in Washington, DC, I felt moved to change direction and went back to school in Marriage and Family Therapy.
As I was working on my masters degree, I was introduced and felt drawn to principles of mindfulness and started actively studying and practicing mindfulness meditation. Learning how to “practice meaningful solitude” was transformative for me and changed the way I think about how we find meaning, how we experience deeper intimacy with God, ourselves, and others, and ultimately how we understand and develop a true capacity to love—something that too often gets lost in our Western culture in which our conceptions of love too often become more about utility than love as they get entangled with and lost in our drive for romance, passion, and personal fulfillment.
My mental and relational health training, and a blending of Western and Eastern principles of human thriving, fundamentally changed the way I understand and do life, faith, love, and relationships. For a number of years, I wasn’t sure if I saw marriage in my future, but after I moved to start my doctoral work in Marriage and Family Therapy, I reconnected with my now-wife, Danielle, and pretty quickly knew that she was the one I wanted to continue the adventure of life with.
Since that time, we’ve moved to Utah where I have a full-time therapy practice and teach marriage and family classes part-time at Brigham Young University. We have five beautiful little humans that we get to love and watch grow into their own unique personalities and interests.
As a therapist, I’ve been working for over 15 years in various capacities with individuals, couples, and families who have struggled with myriad issues, including anxiety and depression, marital distress and infidelity, trauma, shame, addiction, and various issues related to healthy sexuality and sexual relationships, and more. For the last 10 years in particular, I have been been involved in research, cross-ideological dialogue, and therapy with individuals and families addressing questions around the intersection of sexuality, gender, identity, faith, and relationships.
I’m a member of the Reconciliation and Growth Project, a dialogue group between LGBTQ affirmative and religious conservative mental health professionals who have developed an ethical mental health treatment protocol for working with individuals experiencing conflict between their faith and their sexuality and/or gender identity. Our treatment protocol prioritizes the two premiere therapeutic ethics of (1) client self-determination and (2) do no harm. I’m also part of the 4 Options Survey research team, a similarly ideologically diverse collaborative effort looking at healthy and sustainable life paths for sexual minorities.
All of these efforts ultimatry grow out of my personal story. When I was an undergraduate at BYU and wanting to take the next big life step I had anticipated—marriage—I was forced to confront the conflict I was experiencing between my sexuality and my faith. After I was able to work through that and come to a place of peace, I wrote a spiritual memior of that journey in the book In Quiet Desperation (Deseret Book, 2004).
A short time later, I co-founded the ministry North Star, a faith-affirming support organization for Latter-day Saint individuals and families addressing sexual or gender identity and who desire to live within the framework of the teachings and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve since served as president of North Star and currently serve on the Board of Directors.
Since marrying my wife, we were invited to share some of our story as an LDS Living magazine feature article (May/June 2012), and then as part of the Church website mormonsandgays.org. I also compiled Voices of Hope (Deseret Book, 2011), an anthology of personal essays by 21 other Latter-day Saints navigating journeys through sexuality, faith, and relationships. I subsequently co-directed the Voices of Hope Project, a website extension of the book, and the Journeys of Faith Project, which features the stories of transgender Latter-day Saints.