Blake Fowler Obituary, Death – Holly and Jeff Fowler of Orem, Utah, tried their best to be good parents to their son, Alec, and to raise him in the best way possible. Alec was the oldest of four children raised in the church, and all accounts agree that he was a doting son and a joy to raise. He was also the oldest of four children. After completing his high school education in Orem, he went on to serve a mission for the LDS church in the state of New York. Subsequently, he attended the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City before landing a job as an event manager for the Color Run.

Gary and Karen McDougal of Sandy, Utah, who are the parents of six children, made it a priority to instill moral values in their children while they were raising them. Certainly exemplifying that was their youngest child, Blake. Blake was a good boy who followed the rules and did everything he was supposed to: scouts, high school, mission, college, and career. It was never a struggle for his parents to get him to attend school or church, or to pick up good habits from his peers. When the two young men finally did meet one another, they realized it was fated to be that way. And both sets of parents made the decision to do what was best for their sons and give their blessing to the union of their children.

On March 17, 2017, Alec and Blake were each other’s matches on the dating app Tinder. Their first date was a sushi dinner followed by four hours of talking and playing Nintendo, and it took place after they had been talking for a couple of months while Blake was on a travel sabbatical around the world. They quickly realized that they shared a lot of similarities, including having been raised in a similar manner, and that they both hoped to start a family and have children in the future. After that, Alec took his family on vacation to Seaside, Florida, and invited Blake to come with them. Blake accepted the invitation. That endeavor was fruitful, and not long after that, Blake returned the favor by introducing his family to the McDougals while they were out riding motorcycles and Razors together, which is one of the McDougals’ favorite activities.

On June 8, 2019, approximately two years after the couple’s first date, they tied the knot in Park City, Utah, during a stunning ceremony that still brings tears to Holly’s eyes when she thinks about it. The men decided to have a more elaborate wedding after flipping a coin, which resulted in the heads side facing up. Prior to this, they had discussed the possibility of getting married in a short ceremony at the courthouse. A natural consequence of this was that they intended to throw a party in order to express their gratitude to the countless individuals who had cheered them on in their relationship. As part of the three-day celebration, the guests, who were required to wear black tie attire, rode the ski lift up and then descended on an alpine slide.

Not only did Holly’s experience as a wedding planner contribute to the beauty of the event, but she also mentioned that it was the first gay wedding that the majority of the Fowler family had attended, including Alec and Blake. Holly’s expertise was a major factor in the success of the event. Holly was concerned about the reactions of those who attended, even though some of her relatives had decided not to attend the event. However, she claims that she still has friends who talk about how remarkable the event was. The most heartfelt words were spoken at the ceremony by Blake’s father. They presented each other with the most heartfelt vows. It was the most incredible day, and it moved the hearts of many people.

A day that was perfect for love and unity.” After the wedding, Alec and Blake celebrated by hosting a large backyard party at their house the following weekend, and then sometime after that, they went on a belated honeymoon to the Dominican Republic. During that trip, Blake and Alec talked about starting a family, and thanks to a friend who offered to carry their child and act as a surrogate, they are now the proud parents of a handsome baby boy named Halston who is 16 months old.
Alec and Blake are committed to their family and to instilling in their son the strong values of service and kindness that they both benefited from receiving during their own upbringings.

Despite the fact that they have both left the church, they report that leaving their church community as a gay couple was even more difficult than coming out to their family and friends. However, as things stand right now, there is not a place on the pews where families like theirs can feel completely accepted. Both of the men had known their entire lives that they were gay. The first time Blake had a crush on a boy at school was when he was six or seven years old. Alec was probably around 11 or 12 years old at the time. They both spent their teenage years attempting to date girls and thinking that eventually, they would try to marry one of those girls.

They both came to the conclusion that if they served their missions with integrity and took all of the necessary steps, this would most likely be their path. After about three months in the MTC, Blake’s leaders suggested that he go home because of his extreme anxiety issues, which ultimately led to him leaving the program. Blake admitted to his parents that he was gay after he returned home, but he claims that he “quickly put himself back into the closet” after that conversation. He never told his parents, who “would not have supported that,” about his decision to undergo conversion therapy, but he did it on his own accord.

Blake asserts that he “attempted to be perfect and adhered to the program.” My plan was to find a woman, get married, start a family, and continue to be very involved in the church after I settled down.” It was his father, Gary, who encouraged him to put his dating life on hold until he found someone who was a better match for him. He went on a few dates. Gary was Blake’s scoutmaster when he was a child, and during their time together in the program, there were two gay young men in their troop of twenty who graduated from the program. Gary was unaware that his son, about whom he had been told for years that the boy “struggled with anxiety,” was also hiding something from him.

Gary says that it was “a relief” when Blake came out to him when he was 20 years old. Everything was making perfect sense. Blake would be ok. There was nothing that needed to be fixed! I had no idea what was going on, but I felt so free. Gary was aware that it would be challenging for his son because of his deep love for the LDS church and his commitment to his family. He claims that acceptance will never be reached by a unanimous vote and that this would be detrimental to Blake. I didn’t give a damn about what other people thought about me.

To my utter astonishment, each and every member of my immediate family and circle of friends immediately and unequivocally expressed their support. Again: clueless! A lot of people were worried about my behavior. I intend to fly both flags. I am so incredibly happy and proud of Blake, who I adore. I give thanks to God each and every day that I did not have to bury my son. Even though Blake’s father is less involved in the church these days, his siblings and mother are still very much a part of the congregation. Karen has this to say about the church: “I wish the church could see that we all need love and that God does not respect any persons in particular.” I am certain that each of us will give an account to God for the decisions that we make. It is not for us to judge; rather, it is for us to be judged by the one who created us all.

Even though it was an adjustment for some members of the McDougal family when Blake came out for the first time, they are all very loving and supportive of Alec and Blake. Because he placed such a high value on his family, he was anxious about telling his relatives about the situation because he didn’t want to risk losing the love of his siblings. And he didn’t. The McDougal siblings all live within a short driving distance of one another, making frequent and significant opportunities for family gatherings possible. The same thing can be said about the Fowler family. Holly Fowler says that a few years before Alec came out, she had begun a personal reflection with the church.

During this time, she was able to concentrate on the aspects of her faith journey that are successful and to take what felt right to her from the experience. As a result, there was not a significant moment of impending doom when Alec came out. “As a mother, I simply felt that if he is happy, then that is great. When it comes to happiness, a mother is only as content as her most miserable child. Jeff’s journey toward greater self-awareness began with his son Alec’s decision to come out. When Jeff’s son came home and told them he was gay, it prompted additional inquiries on Jeff’s part because he had always been a subscriber to the scripted model of the church.

Prayer, a personal conversation with Richard Ostler, and other resources are some of the things that Jeff credits as being instrumental in his faith journey. Jeff maintains that he is firmly rooted in the LDS faith and is looking inward for the answers he seeks. He also says, “Because of my time spent with Alec and Blake, I feel like I’ve grown as a person.” My favorite part about it is that they don’t force us to make decisions but instead give us the freedom to live our lives with grace and respect. They’ve made the conscious decision to become a member of our family, and now we want to do the same for them. They’ve made me a nicer, kinder, and more tolerant person overall, which is all thanks to them.

Since Alec has nothing to lose, he continues to think of himself as a spiritual person and maintains his faith in the existence of a “higher power” as well as an afterlife with the people he cares about. In light of the fact that he will be bringing up his daughter Halston outside of the same religious community that he was raised in, Alec admits, “I’m not at all upset about how I was raised; I recognize the good.” But I’m also thankful that Halston won’t have to go through some of the same cycles of guilt and shame that I did when I was growing up. Rather, Alec is excited about the prospect of creating a secure environment in which he and his children can have open conversations about anything and everything.

Blake asserts that he has experienced additional religious trauma, which has caused his mindset to change. He states, “I most certainly do not consider myself to be a Mormon any longer.” When it comes to my spirituality, I move back and forth across the spectrum; there are some days when I am more atheist than others. Even just entering a church building has been enough to bring on Blake’s panic attacks, so this particular setting continues to be one of his triggers. But the couple is thankful to the many people in their predominantly conservative neighborhood in Riverton, Utah, who have made an effort to make them feel at home there.

There are now some who are flying rainbow flags alongside them. The daughter of their bishop is Halston’s go-to choice for a babysitter. And after Halston was born, Holly relates that she and her husband were moved when the president of the Relief Society brought over a very generous gift basket for the new family. In the Salt Lake area, Alec and Blake have a friend group of about ten other gay couples who have all become parents through adoption or surrogacy. They get together with this friend group on a regular basis. They can’t help but laugh at the confused looks they all get when they go out to dinner together with their friend group and their toddlers, as they watch passersby try to figure out who is dining with whom.

After Alec and Blake made the decision that surrogacy was the best option for them, they registered with an agency to find an egg donor and a carrier for their child. However, shortly after registering, one of Blake’s closest friends from high school contacted them. It turned out that after hearing of their plans to pursue surrogacy, his wife felt called for the role and volunteered (well, more like insisted) that she be the one to help them out, despite the fact that she had previous difficult pregnancies with her own biological children. Despite the fact that she had prior difficult pregnancies with her own biological children, she insisted that she be the one to help them out.

The words “Accept it or you’ll have to be the ones to break her heart” came from her husband to Alec and Blake. To this day, they all continue to be very good friends with one another. As a result of the pandemic, Alec and Blake were unable to be present for the surrogacy appointments; however, they were able to be present for the OBGYN appointments as well as the delivery of the baby. When they think back on their lives, Blake and Alec both believe that they entered the world at the precise moment that was meant for them. They acknowledge that high school was a very different environment back then, but they say that nowadays, “You can have whatever life you want to live.” It is more possible than ever before at this point.

Blake claims that if he could go back in time and tell his younger self anything, the one thing he would tell his younger self is “not to do conversion therapy.” The program that he was a part of is still being run by a stake president who enrolls people in the program using the excuse that they have “sexual addiction.” Holly responds that she would like to feel more love behind the sign that says “All are welcome here” that hangs at LDS church buildings. This is in response to the question of what she would like to see improved in the church in relation to LGBTQ members.

As a parent, there are no instructions or manuals for people in Jeff’s position; he is doing the best he can and would appreciate some understanding and support from the leaders. Jeff would like to remind some of the leaders that there are no directions or manuals for people in his position. In the meantime, as a result of the marriage of their two sons, the Fowler and McDougal families have each experienced growth in both size and love. According to Karen McDougal, “Families can take on a wide variety of forms, sizes, and types.” Both Blake and Alec have assisted me in becoming more accepting of others and more sensitive to the people in my immediate environment. I could never stop loving one of my children, and I don’t get how other people can give up on their kids just because they don’t measure up to the standards they’ve set for themselves. Perhaps this is the test that God has set before us: to show more love to those who don’t think like us or understand what we believe.