Friday, February 26, 2010

I am honored today to remember Henry Stuart Matis (1967-2000)

On February 25, 2000, Stuart Matis drove to the LDS chapel in Los Altos, California, and took his life. He felt that he could not reconcile his religion and his homosexuality. He was 32 years old. Stuart left a suicide note in which he requested that there not be a funeral because he wanted to be remembered alive. But his mother said that so many people came to her home and expressed love and told them that they needed to use the occasion to educate people about homosexuality, that they decided to hold the funeral.

The day of the funeral the chapel was full. The speakers were Stuart's mother, his father, and Robert Rees. Stuart's mother talked about the hurtful things people say about homosexuals. She said that we need to be more tolerant toward all of God's children.

Stuart hoped that greater understanding would come from his death. His suicide letter reassured his parents of his love for them. He said that he was at peace with himself and was freed from the chains of his mortality.

Stuart is buried at the Orem City Cemetery in Utah.

His brother Bill wrote the following: "To those who feel that my brother was no better than a murderer or an adulterer, I would like to say that the murderer and adulterer choose to be what they are. My brother didn't choose to be homosexual any more than you or I chose the color of our skin. Many who knew him say that he was one of the most Christ-like people they had ever met. He was a son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and true friend." *

Words by Stuart: "I implore the students at BYU to re-assess their homophobic feelings. Seek to understand first before you make comments. We have the same needs as you. We desire to love and be loved. We desire to live our lives with happiness. We are not a threat to you or your families. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers and friends, and most importantly, we are all children of God."

I revere this man. I consider his efforts tragic and heroic. May we all refocus our efforts, though admittedly from many different vantages, to prove Gods love through his children.


*Taken from information provided by Affirmation Gay and Lesbian Mormons

7 comments:

  1. Here is to the best in us as sons of god.

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  2. Would that the church would heed his words.

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  3. “Many who knew him say that he was one of the most Christ-like people they had ever met. He was a son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and true friend."

    May we take this personally.
    May we improve and increase our ability to love.
    May we stop trying to assign blame.

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  4. It hurts my heart that anyone commits suicide. the last 10 years I have known far too many people who feel it is their only option. Obviously every situation is unique, and I'm probably preaching to the choir but I think as individuals and as a community we have to pay close attention and offer our love and support to everyone. It may not make a difference but it can.

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  5. Jeff in ColoradoMarch 1, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    It's good to remember Stuart's story. And good to remember that there are many more just like him.

    I have spent many hours counseling with a young man in my ward. Though he has decided that he won't kill himself now, he still considers it a very real option for his future. He views it as the only way of saving himself and his family from the pain associated with him being gay.

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  6. Jeff in Colorado. Please give him our love.

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