When Alex Cooper told her Mormon parents back in 2009 that she was a Lesbian, they did what every good Christian parent does when facing that situation:
They kicked they fifteen-year-old daughter out of the house. And then they asked her to move back in because, you know, she needed fixing and stuff. So they took Alex to see fellow Mormons Tiana and Johnny Siale and there she stayed for eight months, held captive and tortured because she’s gay.
Alex Cooper has written of her ordeal in Saving Alex. In the book she talks about how the Siales — who are neither trained nor licensed to be counselors of any kind — would force her to stand facing a wall holding a backpack full of stones so she would "feel the burden she was carrying by choosing to be gay."
But the Siales made a huge mistake; they allowed Alex to go to a local high school where she found a Gay-Straight Alliance [GSA]; through that group she found a lawyer, Paul Burke, who fought for over a year to obtain a court order barring Alex’s parents from forcing her into reparative therapy.
Alex Cooper became the first openly gay teenager to win such legal protections in Utah, and now, some seven years later, she lives, openly, happily, in Portland and is, surprise, no longer a Mormon; and says she chose not to prosecute the Siales:
“As long as I was sitting in a courtroom looking at them I couldn’t move on with my life, and that’s what I needed to do.”
She’s a better person than I am, because I would have faced them in court, and I would have happily testified against them, and grinned broadly as they were lead off to jail. But we each have our own ways of “moving on” and Alex chose the right path for her.
She has also moved on with her parents, having reconciled with them, because she believes they were only doing what they felt was right, and following the tenets of the Mormon faith.
"I think that's what a lot of parents are under the impression of, that they're doing the best thing for their child. I don't blame my parents. I am able to share my life with them, and it's awesome."
And while I know it must have been hard, and I wonder if i could have done so, I love that Alex forgave her parents for what they did to her; I love that the girl that would have been shunned as a Mormon for being gay, by her Mormon parents and her Mormon torturers, can forgive. It's a tenet of most religions.
And so I imagine it’s what God would have wanted, though it’s too bad her parents and the Siales weren’t listening to that God when they subjected Alex to all that abuse.