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Keeping the faith

BACKSTORY | One parent’s struggle to cling to Biblical truth as her child embraces gender lies


Illustration by David King (from photo by Sharon Dominick)

Keeping the faith
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Last year, Mary Jackson wrote about the movement pushing evangelical churches to accept homosexuality and transgenderism as immutable. Her story, “Wide is the way,” in this issue shows the progression of that trend, driven in part by parents whose children are standing in opposition to Biblical orthodoxy. Over the course of her reporting, Mary has met other parents standing firm against the emotional and social pressure. One mom and WORLD reader kept up her correspondence, giving Mary a window into the struggle to love a prodigal while clinging to the truth of God’s Word.

Tell us a bit about this mom’s story. She and her husband have two young adult daughters. Two years ago, one informed her parents that she is no longer a “she” but a “they.” This daughter planned to legally change her name. She was already taking testosterone. When Mom and Dad expressed concern—and said they could not call her by her new name and pronouns—she cut off all contact with them. Since then, she has had a double mastectomy and gone through with the name change. She’s had limited contact with her parents, even as her father battles cancer.

Initially, this mother asked me for Biblically based resources on transgenderism. She has since become quite well read. In one of her last emails, she wrote: “Parents need to know (beforehand) what they could face and (afterward) that they are not alone! Pastors and elders need to be equipped. This is a rampant epidemic, and it’s not going away.”

What did you find most striking about this family’s situation? I kept hoping the story would take a turn for the better. In a short period of time, it only grew worse as the daughter ­pursued hormones and surgical procedures. When her mother spoke with her over the phone, her voice was unrecognizable. Putting myself in this mother’s shoes, I imagine her excruciating pain. I’m reminded of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. The father let his wayward son go. When the son was disillusioned and repentant, the father welcomed him home and celebrated.

Her stand for Biblical orthodoxy has had real consequences for her family, and yet she remains faithful. What made the difference for her? In the midst of this, their pastor retired and their tiny church dissolved. But a new congregation opened doors of support, prayer, and encouragement—a true lifeline. In every email message, this mother asks for prayer. In her last email she asked me to pray for reconciliation, something she considered unlikely without heart change. But then again, that’s God’s specialty.


Leigh Jones

Leigh is features editor for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD News Group. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.

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