From TBM to Gay Activist
by Kathy Worthington 

I was Mormon for just ten years, but they were
important years; from the time I was seven until I
was seventeen.  My parents converted to the church
in the 1950s and became TBMs: true believing

I became an extremely religious young woman.  Time
after time I gave talks in Sunday School or bore my
testimony on Fast Sunday. When I was in high school
my life outside of school often revolved around the
church. I was President of my Mutual class, I went
to summer camp and was a leader, I had a book full
of awards.

I would have been the ideal young Mormon woman
except that I was poor and I wasn't beautiful or
well-dressed.  In the Magna-Hunter (Utah) community
I was, however, very much the young Mormon leader. 
People around me KNEW that I would go far in the
church.  As far as a woman was allowed to go, that

During my last year of high school I held the top
post a young Mormon woman could hold: Secretary of
the Seminary. Then a couple of incidents forced me
to see how racist the Mormons around me were and
how racist the church itself was. I had somehow
managed to not turn out racist myself, so I had a
problem on my hands.  Soon I learned that I didn't
agree with Mormon ideas about women any more than I
agreed with the beliefs about differences in skin

My friends were the first to find out that I no
longer believed in the church and one of them
decided it was his duty to tell my parents, which
he did the night of my 18th birthday.  I ended up
leaving home a month later because life at home had
become intolerable. My TBM father couldn't stand it
that I no longer believed in the church and he
would start in on me from the moment I got up in
the morning.  I wasn't budging on the issue and
neither was he, so one evening while everyone else
was at MIA, I packed my bags, called a cab and left.

Thirty-five years have passed.  My family is still
TBM, those that are still alive.  My father was
murdered, a brother committed suicide in prison and
another brother died of melanoma.  Life has been a
true soap opera at times. It would take a book to
tell all the stories.

I've been completely non-religious since 1969. In
1979 I formally resigned from the church because I
could no longer stand to be connected to it in any
way. The church had worked very hard to keep the
Equal Rights Amendment from being adopted and I was
very much a feminist.  Need I say more?   When
someone asked me if I was Mormon, I wanted to be
able to simply say "No."  In those years you
couldn't just resign from the church, though, you
had to ask them to excommunicate you.  I always
thought there was something intrinsically wrong
with the church's refusal to let a person resign. 
Now I help people get their names removed from the
records of the church, which is what the church
calls it.  They don't actually remove your name
from the records, of course, they just stop
considering you a member.  See my website at:

Because of the church's anti-gay crusades in
Hawaii, Alaska and California (New Jersey,
Nevada . . . etc.), thousands of gay people and
many of their supporters have resigned from the
church since 1999.  It's always a pleasure to help
them and to give them support if the church decides
to make the process difficult or unpleasant.

When I figured out that loving women was an option
for me (after years of no relationships at all), it
was not difficult the way it would have been if I'd
still been a member of the church. Coming out and
becoming part of Salt Lake's gay community was a
pretty smooth transition for me.  I had discovered
a whole new community and a new way of life.  I
loved it. 

The hardest part of my coming out was my oldest
daughter's reaction.  She was 14 and she grieved
and was visibly distressed by the fact that I was
gay, but she eventually adjusted and got
comfortable with it.  A few years later Lucy came
out herself.  It turns out she'd had crushes on
girls since she was really small. Nowadays she is
very healthy, happy and well-adjusted.

In 1992 I met and fell in love with Sara Hamblin,
the woman who has been my partner for over eleven
years.  Unfortunately, Sara has metastatic breast
cancer, which means the cancer has spread to other
organs and is not curable.  Sara may live another
year or two or three, (do I dare hope for more?)
but at some point the cancer will take her from
me.  Unless I get run over by a bus before she
dies, that is.  You never know with these things. 
We are living life as fully as we can for as long
as we can.  Despite the cancer, I am really glad to
have had Sara in my life.

I've been a gay activist and an exmormon activist
and Sara and I have been in the news a lot.  Do a
web search with my name and youll get an idea of
what Im talking about. It hasnt been dull.

Cancer affects a lot of our lives, but we manage
quiet times by the fire or on the patio, too.  I
love Sara and she loves me and we have two
wonderful daughters, a beautiful home and two cats
who keep us entertained.   Life is good.

Kathy Worthington

Editor's Note:
Kathy and Sara have both passed on since this story was first shared with me. Like so many others I mourn their passing. I barely knew Sara but did know Kathy and she was a beautiful, engaging and warm-hearted woman who I had immense respect for. I will miss her presence on the scene of gay mormon activism, but more than that I will just miss her.

To both Kathy and Sara, thank you for all that you did to make this world a better place while you were here with us. You cared so much and you put your actions where your passions were. We are all so completely indebted to you and wish you well in your continuing journey, whatever it is and whatever it looks like.


  Oh what a tangled web we weave...