Grieving Father: Morris Taylor Shares Paintings of His Son

Morris Taylor — 83-year-old musician, artist and professor emeritus at Andrews University — has this week decided to share watercolors painted in memory of his son. Taylor says on his website:

For the first time ever I am sharing watercolors I painted during the month of what would have been my son Leonard’s 50th birthday. The ten original works depict a life well lived. I am proud of my son.

Those who view these images are invited to respond to the tragedy of a life cut short by suicide. The pressure of dealing with his homosexuality in a fundamentalist religious environment figured prominently into the decade leading up to his mental break. Futile attempts at reparative therapy, sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, contributed to his agony and demise.

This pictorial essay encourages individuals to contemplate the relationship between sexuality and spirituality, between doctrine and grace, and between bigotry and acceptance.

A year before his death I said to my son Leonard, “I am more like you than you will ever know.” Little did I realize that he would be dead before I could share with him the truth about my own homosexuality. I do know that I loved him and that he felt my love. Now through these paintings I witness to my truth. The Creator endowed me with my unique personhood which is real, valid and spiritual.

All who thoughtfully want to know about persons with alternative sexuality may use these deeply private glimpses into my family life in a respectful manner. In return I promise to respect you just as you are. I am available for serious conversation. At age 83 I am comfortable with who I am and pleased to share my journey.

See Taylor’s website at http://leonardmorristaylor.wordpress.com and email him at morrist@sonic.net. These paintings have been shared here on the Spectrum blog with his permission.

Happy childhood

Virtuoso musician

Isolation and depression

Leonard the cavalier

Wrestling with spirituality and homosexuality

Manic joy

Rescued by the Coast Guard two miles off shore

Grieving father

New Year's Eve crash, slash and poison

Leonard balanced and brilliant


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5882

Thx to a friend for sharing this with me. Sadly, Dr. Morris Taylor, the dad in this article, just passed away. He’s at peace now. I’d can’t relate to the struggles that he and his son have gone through with their sexual identity, but I hope to see them at the resurrection morning. I believe God’s grace and love is bigger than any of us can imagine or fathom. Till that day, Leonard and Dr. Taylor.

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How I had wished I had read Dr. Morris Taylor confession a year ago. Dr. Morris Taylor deepest conversational paintings of Leonard’s ‘different is lovely’ in all reflection on the colourful person stories brushed on canvas he saw Leonard exactly his creation pass-along to his son. Paintings seeking God’s clarity of forgiveness and guidance during moments of upheaval heart breaks for rebuilding after loss.

May they both found happy reunion.

Rest in Peace.

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