Boyd Samuel Paul (1963-1989)
Boyd Samuel Paul was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 29, 1963. After graduating from
Murray High School, he served an LDS mission to Cali, Colombia.
Boyd graduated from Brigham Young University and served in the Air Force Reserve. He was an
Eagle Scout and a member of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons.
One of his former roommates remembers: "I shared an apartment with Boyd and 4 other guys in Silver Shadows while they attended BYU in 1988. He LOVED Cher and Donna Summers! He was happy and high spirited."
Boyd committed suicide in Washington, DC, on February 9, 1989. At the time he was working as a lobbyist in Washington.He was 25 years old.
Boyd was survived by his parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, and some special friends in
Washington, DC. He is buried at the Murray City Cemetery in Utah.
Message by a visitor to our site:
I took a trip to Washington, DC, in 1999. Boyd's younger brother was one of the friends who went on the trip with us. I recall driving over a bridge in the city, and I overheard Boyd's brother whisper to one of the girls with us "this is where my brother committed suicide." It broke my heart. It was the first time I really realized how our little "jokes" at the expense of other people's differences can contribute to such a problem. I made a vow on that day to change my attitude about my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I hope I have been a good friend to them ever since.
Comments by Nelson Bennett:
My name is Nelson Bennett; I live in the DC area. Sam (as he was known to his friends) only touched my life for the briefest of moments. I can't even say that I knew him as a friend. He was actually good friends with another Gay Mormon I knew at the time, Frank W.
It was early February 1989, and my partner and I had invited a small group of friends over to our house to watch "Mommie Dearest" (how terribly Gay of us!) Frank was among the invitees and had asked if he could bring his friend Sam along. I said, "sure!"
After serving everyone some kind of seafood bisque (perfect for cold February weather!), I popped the VHS cassette into the player. The movie generated the usual campy outbursts of laughter from our crowd of puerile 20-something Gay men. Near the end of the film, for some strange reason, I found myself intently studying Sam's expressions. It was on of the final scenes when Christina Crawford is tearfully saying, "It's over... there's no more pain" over the coffin of Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway). I don't know why I was studying Sam so closely as he watched that scene. Perhaps he exuded an overly intense interest in that particular dialog--I don't know. I believe our movie day was a Sunday, February 5th.
The beginning of the week passed uneventfully. On Thursday, after coming home from classes, my partner Peter told me that he had some really bad news. I said, "What is it?" He told me that Frank W. had called to say that Sam had killed himself. The shock almost hit me like an electric current. "But he was just here on Sunday watching a movie with us!" I said, as if that fact should somehow make his subsequent death impossible.
That's the background information. So how did my one afternoon watching a movie with Sam and other friends affect the rest of my life? I still think of him, I still get sad and I still get very angry at the pain that some "religious" people inflict upon beautiful souls like Sam. All religions are guilty of this sin to some extent--even my own. But I feel lucky to have had a parish church (Episcopalian) which did not happen to be one of the bad ones. I also was lucky enough to have a support net of family and friends during the dark times of my life.
All I know is what Frank told me about Sam after the fact. He was virtually disowned by his family for being Gay. He moved to DC to try to make a life for himself. Things didn't work out well. He apparently lost his job with the Bureau of Indian Affairs just before his death. He apparently lost a close relative too (his grandfather?). I guess the loss was too much to bear and he felt all alone. Is it true he was buried with full temple vestments? All too often, survivors try to purge themselves of their guilt by doing nice things after it's too late (here's my anger)
I was born in 1963; the same year as Sam. I am 46 years old now; Sam should be 46 years old. Not a year goes by without that thought. I feel ridiculously guilty at times for not seeing any "signs" during "Mommie Dearest." Did Joan Crawford's coffin scene put any ideas into his head? That notion is, of course, ridiculous. Sam's entire DC experience put those ideas into his head. To this day, I cannot drive across the Taft Bridge on Connecticut Avenue without thinking of Sam. It is such a beautiful bridge overlooking scenic Rock Creek Park. I wonder if Sam contemplated all that natural beauty (God?) just before he decided to jump. I hope that he at least felt he was jumping in the presence of God; maybe he wouldn't feel so alone somehow.
I've since lost touch with all the people connected to Sam. I haven't a clue as to the whereabouts of Frank Weatherford. Jane M., a lesbian friend who went with Frank to the DC morgue to identify Sam from photos, has also disappeared from my life.
But Sam is still here. Sometimes, I'd like to think that I'm living my life for the both of us--speaking out about things, telling people about Sam; people who weren't even born when Sam died.
It's amazing how a casual afternoon spent with someone you don't know can haunt you for the rest of your life.