In the following years, I found myself feeling distinctly uncomfortable to the point of fearfulness around the homeless in Salt Lake City, whom the Smart family had tried to help by offering money and work around their home.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called "Mormons," are peculiar Christians, to be sure. For example, they don't have any crosses on their buildings yet they emphatically believe in Jesus Christ.
No matter what you have seen on television or what you've heard about "Mormons," it's not true that the mainstream LDS church promotes the practice of polygamy as part of its religion.
At least Trump is honest about his misogyny. You? You're a woman trying to convert women to your man by tearing down another woman. I can't decide whether that's masochism, sadism or a hearty serving of both.
Today, a conversation between Mette Ivie Harrison and Kendall Wilcox, cofounder with Erika Munson of Mormons Building Bridges.
What dismays many is that Mormon leadership have had the opportunity to become informed and educated about the risk factors for LGBT youth -- and they have chosen not to act.
It was a disheartening shock to my soul when an institutional policy revision was made to the handbook in regards to gay members of the Church and their families.
As humans, we always want more than what we have, and so we will suffer. We will always want to change our circumstances for the better. And as we reach beyond our grasp, we will fall. We will have pain. God doesn't have to make that happen. It simply does.
I think that just as I want other Christians to work toward understanding and accept that Mormon worship is valid, I need to do more work to understand how other religious observance is different and equally valid.
Despite what it sounds like on the campaign trail, Americans of all religious backgrounds are opposed to curtailing freedoms for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
I don't think that it's helpful to point out other people's problems to them from an imagined place of superiority. The truth is, I'm not sure that I often see what other people's problems are anyway.
Here in the state of Utah our 2016 legislative session is in full swing. Only lasting a mere 45 days the session is one of the shortest in the nation. Despite being such a short length Utah legislators pass hundreds of bills every year, oftentimes with many bills being passed on the final day of the session.
I recently interviewed noted photographer Kimberly Anderson about her new work, The Mama Dragons Story Project, a photographic and essay project about Mormon mothers who are fiercely defending their LGBT+ children.
Questions about living in a cult are among the first that I often get when I am asked to speak to book clubs or at conferences. How can I, a highly educated woman who has spent many years living outside of Utah, defend such a cult?
I love the fact that Mormon doctrine denies no one resurrection, not even the worst of murderers, and I love the idea that God is so generous and loving to His children, that He wants to grant us as much of His own estate and knowledge as He possibly can.
Today, the message to LGBT Mormon youth is clear, and it's a bleak Sophie's Choice: either resign yourself to life of celibacy, or be ejected from your church and family -- for all time and eternity. Regardless of which option Mormon youth choose, they lose.