Episode 118: Bob Verstege, Convert, RM, Same-Sex Marriage for 25 Years, Husband Died, Active LDS
Summary: My dear friend Bob Verstege (in his early 60’s) shares his remarkable life story joining the church at age 14, serving a mission in Chicago, breaking off an engagement to a women knowing he is gay, finding his husband Jay (also a RM and a world renowned cardiologist) and spending 25 years together. Bob also shared the tender story of Jay dying from Alzheimer’s, caring for him all those years, being at his bedside during his passing and their close relationship with Heavenly Father. It’s a beautiful love story. After Jay died, Bob continued to feel impressions from Heavenly Father including to return to the Church where he is a member in good standing and serves as the Ward Clerk in his ward. Bob wanted to add a few comments below that he had run out of time to say. "Strength lies in differences, not in similarities." Stephen R. Covey I want listeners to know this is my journey and path I took, it isn't a path or an example that people should emulate or feel that I'm dictating to others. I appreciate and respect everyone's journey. Though I'm a big advocate for the Church and the blessings that come along with it, I do realize there's paths that are joyful, satisfying and spiritual without being a member. I'm grateful for anyone that receives love, joy and peace through other avenues. Another point I would like to make is when you listen to the podcast, I would have you focus on the teachings of Christ, because that is who I tried to emulate and the others who were involved tried to emulate Christ's teachings as well - we tried to show empathy, charity and love for each other. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 32:3. Lastly, I brief recognition for some others; my former bishop in Linwood, Bishop Darrin Bird, a great servant of the Lord. The wonderful brothers and sisters of Fountain Hills and Linwood wards, who support and love me. Then a special appreciation for two cherished friends, Brother Jorgensen and Brother Dean. They became my first friends as I return to the church. Each of them loved, supported and encouraged me. Even though they had no stewardship over me, and they personally don't understand my story, they allowed me to share with them without their judgement. I look at them as an example of faithful members of the church who inspire me to do better, much love to them both. "Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death...Love, like faith, is a gift of God. It is also the most enduring and most powerful virtue." Gordon B. Hinckley Thank you Bob for sharing your journey. It brings honor to your good husband Jay and helps us better understand a loving Heavenly Father.