AIDS Victim Excommunicated by Mormon Church Court Dies

From Times Wire Services

Clair Harward, an AIDS victim whose story of remorse, loneliness and excommunication from the Mormon Church created a national response, has died alone in a bed at St. Benedict’s Hospital here.

A spokesman said he had asked for a private funeral service before he died Sunday of complications of the nearly always fatal acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Harward, 26, gained national attention when the Standard-Examiner of Ogden published his story, including an account of his excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But Mormon Bishop Brent S. Farr said Harward worked during the past few months to regain a closeness with the church.


Farr, who helped Harward after he was excommunicated by a bishop’s court in another Ogden ward, said Harward had no regrets about making his story public.

“A number of people from the LDS Church and people from all different denominations were very sympathetic,” Farr said. “It was an unfortunate situation that he was caught up in, and I feel sorry for him and his family.”

Harward was diagnosed as having AIDS in August, 1984. He went to his Mormon lay bishop for counsel but he said the bishop told him to give up his gay friends and identify his past sexual partners.

Harward said it would have been “unethical” to identify his gay friends. “When I need my friends most, they’re asking me to be alone.”


The Mormon Church views homosexuality as a sin in the same degree with adultery and premarital sex, church spokesman Jerry Cahill said.