Journey to Moriah
(book, 1999)

a short autobiography
Mother Phoenix

1995 Press Conference
Bruce's Statement
Rhea's Statement
Phila. Daily News

1999 Speech at the Indiana State Capitol
The Answer is Love

Rhea fights burnout
Tragedy in the Heartlands

Christmas 1997
another bashing
A Mother's Tears

Rhea's husband

A friend's witness
Dixie Writes

March, 1996
Mrs Murray goes to Washington

 Nov. 1996 letter for the Chrysler Campaign
No More

Seymour PFLAG

Rhea's Face Rhea Murray
proud and eloquent mother
of a gay son
A Journey to Moriah

Amazon Customer Comments:

A Journey to Moriah is unequivocally the finest book I've ever read by the mother of a gay child. This is a story of a mother who takes responsibility for her own feelings, faces her demons, and grows as a woman. Too often parents of gay children project their own fears onto their children. Rhea Murray is clear from the start that she loves her son unconditionally and any demons she faces are her own demons - not her son's. Her turmoil over facing the church, facing family, facing her son's school, facing her small suburban community in Indiana, is her "own" turmoil - not her son's. To watch Rhea unfold as a human being as she faces these demons, is to watch a woman with a capital "W" come into her own strength and wisdom. The book’s title refers to the biblical story of Abraham who was tested by God with the command that he sacrifice his son Isaac. . . .more-- go to Amazon

Mother Phoenix

Bruce was in his late teens when Rhea began her college education. In a writing course her Mother Phoenix essay won an award. It begins:

I was born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, the "Small Town" that is distinguished in song by John Mellancamp. Surprisingly, up until a few years ago, the city limits of this town comprised the dimensions of my entire world. I lived in a safe, comfortable environment as a wife, mother, and Sunday School teacher, a very predictable, milk-toast way of life, never challenging my self-imposed boundaries. more...

A Press Conference

In Decmber 1995 Rhea and her son Bruce went to Washington D.C. to speak at a press conference prior to the "Lou Sheldon Hearings."

Bruce spoke of physical torture by children and verbal abuse from adults

I will never forget the first time I was gay bashed; I was alone in a park when three larger guys jumped me. Two held me, while the third continuously punched me in the stomach. After my attackers left, I slowly and painfully got to my feet and gathered my books. I was a third grader walking home from school.  more...

Rhea's speech  included a religious dimension.

I prayed incessantly for God to spare me this journey. Nonetheless, a crushing silence was my answer.

Then unexpectantly, God whispered to me, "Child, you are hurting because you are trying to put the negative images you have of gays on your beloved son. You need to put the face of your son on the gay community. After all, you know what a gay person is like. You have lived with a gay person for 13 years. He is the same child in whom you have always delighted."more...

Bruce Murray's  story appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News

The Answer is Love

Text of Rhea's speech at the September 18, 1999 Prayer for Justice Gathering, held on the steps of Indiana Capitol State Building.


We came here today to pray for justice. Our prayers rise up like a question? "What can I do to make sure that everyone is recognized as being a unique and precious breath of God, including our gay brothers and sisters?" We have the answer. Love. Let us leave here with that answer so graciously spoken through us that it leaves no room for questioning its Source.

I would like to conclude with a quote. Unfortunately, I do not know who authored it. But it is one that should be remembered as we work for Justice for our gay citizens. "The task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you." I say to you that power is God. That power is Love. ... more

On Burn Out  (Tragedy in the Heartlands)

When PFLAG moms started talking about burnout, Rhea's Tragedy in the Heartlands message gave us a clearer picture of her own life's work and continued inspiration for our individual efforts.

Their faces, their eyes, their stories haunt me. They build a fire in my belly . . . a fire so intense that it threatens to consume me, if I do not take action. These are our children, our brothers, our sisters. They are bleeding. They are dying. And they are bleeding and dying in a world that does not give a damn about them. They need us. Oh, god, how they need us. more...

A Mother's Tears
December, 1997.  email to pflag-talk

December 15, 1997

Today his boss called him and told him that they wanted him to come in three hours later than scheduled. She was lovingly  trying to protect him. For you see, the store had been horribly trashed and faggot was painted on all the walls. They wanted to paint all the walls before he arrive to save him the humiliation of seeing the hatred of him so graphically on display

December 16, 1997

Thank you, my dear friends, for my holding my hand last night, while I sat here waiting for my son Bruce to come home from work. They had security escort him to his car. His boss has given him the day off today and has reworked his schedule so he would not be closing the store alone this week. But that can only be a temporary solution


Rhea writes about her husband

... Butch's philosophy is very simple and very pure. He said he learned when he was in Vietnam, that people are people. Everyone loves, needs to be loved, cries, hurts and bleeds. He may not be much of a tiger, but he is one hell of a bear with one hell of a big bear's heart. And I am one hell of a lucky lady who gets to curl up beside that sleeping (snoring) bear at nights. more...


Rhea's friend Dixie Beer writes about Seymour Indiana and the church they once belonged to

The hostility shown to the Japanese who were moving into town after having built factories that literally rescued Seymour's economy was very hard for me to understand. This was probably the first real indication I had of the attitudes of the area in which I was living.

Mrs. Murray goes to Washington

Rhea's second trip to Washington, DC. was in March, 1996 as part of the PFLAG Moms and Dads Go to Washington lobby day. In her report to pflag-talk, she compared the hate in Seymour to the love she found on her trip to DC.

...The day-to-day living in such a hostile community made my spirit grow tired and weary. I had a huge emotional lump in my throat most of the week. Here old friends shun me; there I was embraced by strangers, as if I was a long lost family member. This coming together of people from all regions of the country in a single mission was, indeed, empowering. However, the blending of the many hearts into one was truly a God-touched moment.  more...

No More!

Rhea's "No More" letter to Ron Woods, written for the Campaign for Equal Rights at Chrysler

Ron, you do not stand alone. Feel me take your hand and hear my first cry of "No more!"

Coyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 by Rhea Murray.
Rhea Murray can be reached by email at
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