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 was frustrated by the efforts by the LDS Church to pass Proposition
22, and he felt that he could not reconcile his religion and his homosexuality. He was 32
After high school, Stuart enrolled in BYU and served a mission in Italy (where he met
Clay Whitmer). After graduation, in 1996, he started to work for
Andersen Consulting in California.
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. Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons held a service in Salt Lake City. On March
19, 2000, in the middle of a raging snowstorm, 200 people and the Salt Lake Men's Choir gave
tribute to Stuart and to DJ Thompson.
Stuart hoped that greater understanding would come from his death. His suicide letter
reassured his parents of his love for them and talked about what wonderful parents they
were. He said that he was at peace with himself and was freed from the chains of his
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 [Brigham Young University] 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."
California Vigil to Mark 10 Years since Stuart Matis's Suicide February 2010
New Play Focuses on Gay Mormon Suicide February 2008
Bishop Rees Reviews "In Quiet Desperation" December 2005
"In Quiet Desperation": An Open Letter to Marilyn Matis
Gay Mormon Kills Self on Church Steps. The Salt Lake
Tribune, 3 March 2000, p. A11.
Gay Mormon Suicides Mourned in Prop's Wake (Sunstone 118 [April 2001]: 90-91).
To Be Gay--And Mormon. Newsweek, 8 May 2000, pp. 38-39.
Letter to a Cousin
Don't Stereotype Gay People
Activists Cite Gay Man's Suicide
Gay Mormon Hoped Suicide Would Help Change Church
Gay Mormon Kills Self Over Prop. 22
Stuart Matis Remembered (Letter by his brother Bill)
Requiem for a Gay Mormon: In Memory of Henry Stuart Matis
Stuart and DJ Remembered
The Consequences of Condemnation
Creating Lifelines of Love: Helping Youth
Who is Responsible?
Local and National Religious Organizations Join with the Gay/Lesbian Mormon Community in Responding to Recent Suicides
Vigil Pays Tribute to Gay Suicide Victims.
Remembered in Newsweek