Orem’s Sue Bergin has always been an activist. In the 1980s, she marched against the MX missile. When she was a 30-year-old Relief Society president in an LDS singles ward, she told the bishop they were going to replace Homemaking with activities that fit their interests better.
Now, she’s a retired chaplain and her life involves “solitude punctuated by pride parades.” With two gay brothers, she advocates for love and understanding of the LGBTQ within the LDS community and beyond.
Sue’s compassion and passion stem from her life’s journey, which includes a six-year bout with depression.
“I was miserable and I couldn’t find God or direction,” she says. “I was longing for children and a companion, and I was watching the end of the realistic possibilities for those desires.”
With the help of a good therapist, she learned to be more gentle with herself and to do things she enjoyed, as well as to love and live more freely.
“Getting a dog helped to teach me these lessons,” she says. “I adored him, and he adored me back. He got me out walking, and kids always wanted to pet him so it helped me connect with others. I poured my affection into my dog, and he gave it back one hundred fold.”
She also had an LDS bishop who called her to be a choir director.
“Music got another part of my soul coming back to life,” she says.
Sue’s wholeness became a godsend for the families she helped during her decade as a chaplain for Encompass Hospice where she helped patients who were on the verge of dying, as well as the grieving families by their bedside.
“I would be with people in a deep way and help them reach their own strengths,” she says. “I used my whole being and everything I’ve learned during my intense experiences. I would tell them they are surrounded by so much love — whether they could see it or not.”
Sue is surrounded by a loving family where she is the second of nine children. She cares for her brother and aging parents — in between teaching advanced writing in the Marriott School of Management and writing for BYU Magazine.
“As I turn 60 this summer, this birthday matters a lot less then turning 30, 40 or 50. I am finding joy in gardening, caregiving, reading and a lot of quiet time with God,” Sue says. “I’m not scared of anything.”