Transsexual Mormon hopes church will accept her

Transsexual Mormon hopes church will accept her »Play Video
Photo courtesy Leahnora Isaak.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A transsexual Mormon wants the LDS church to accept her new life and allow her to worship as a woman, but how will the church receive that controversial request?

That's what Leahnora Isaak is wondering as she prepares to submit a formal request to the church in the next few weeks.

For most of her life, Leahnora went by the name Bob. She was born without male genitalia, but received testosterone treatments growing up. She was married and raised a family in Ohio.

But Leahnora says she has always been a cross dresser. She got divorced, moved to Oregon and decided to live life as a woman.

Her local stake president has been supportive, even meeting with fellow church members to help with her transition. Leahnora is now hoping that church leaders in Salt Lake City will recognize her as a woman as well.

"I want happiness. I want companionship. And I want to live the gospel. That's what I want. And I want this equal for everybody. I want people to celebrate who I am. Because I'm not ashamed of who I am," she said.

Some of the weekly LDS church services include both genders, but then men and women split up and hold separate gatherings. Leahnora will be writing church leaders and asking them to let her attend women's functions. And she says she's willing to give up her status in the church priesthood, which is reserved for men, in order to help church leaders make that happen.

"God didn't make garbage. He made me transgender. And it's transgender for a reason," said Leahnora, who's been a member of the Mormon Church all her life. "I just want to live the gospel. I want to live the plan of happiness, which I believe applies to all people."

The Mormon Church in Salt Lake hasn't issued any statements about Leahnora's plans to make that request.