I am gay and I am currently serving a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve been out in the field for a little over a year and I really struggled a few months ago with my sexuality. As I was growing up I always knew I was gay, but I did just about everything possible to hide or deny it. The only person I told before my mission was my dad. I told him about my feelings for guys when I was 16. He was my priest quorum advisor and one Sunday he taught us the lesson about the law of chastity from the Come Follow Me manual. There is a section in there that talks about same sex attraction. So at home that night I brought up the topic and came out to him. He took it really good but told me that if I dwelt on the topic too much I would probably become more gay so he basically told me to forget that I had those feelings and focus on other productive things like graduation, my mission and getting married to a really hot wife.
I could tell that having a gay son was disappointing to him, but he tried to help me see that marrying and having kids would complete me as a man and give him and my mom the grandkids they prayed for.
I was happy to get that off my chest, but how do you get over the feeling that you let someone you love down? I gave in, followed dad’s advice and didn’t talk about the topic again. I felt like that is exactly what he wanted and it really did put the topic to rest forever.
I thought I did a pretty good job at not thinking about being gay until my mission. I’d be lying though if I said that those few years between high school and entering the MTC were not filled with lots of emotions and hormones. It was really tough and I made some personal mistakes. I guess it all worked out because here I am on my mission.
The “gay feelings” came back pretty hardcore about four months ago. My comp and I started teaching a guy who told us he is gay. We didn’t really know what to do, so we reached out to our mission president and he told us to teach him just like any other investigator and when we felt he was ready for baptism, our mission president would conduct the baptismal interview for us.
The more we taught Chris the more we found compassion for his life. When he talks about his future, its with a husband. He is so genuine and loving. His heart is the purest I have ever seen. My brother told me that when I got to the mission field I would have the opportunity to find one or two “golden investigators” those were people who were completely prepared for the gospel. They were just waiting for you to baptize them! Chris is my golden investigator.
As we started teaching Chris, we found that so much of the gospel and much of current talks from our leaders do not mesh well with the feelings that Chris has (that I have) or what the Holy Ghost is telling us as we teach him. It is so frustrating to feel like we have to battle our Apostles and Prophets on a subject that is core to my life. On his own study, Chris found a few talks from President Oaks and others that really bothered him. To be honest, they bothered my companion and I too. So we started researching this topic from the Churches Mormon and Gay website and other places. That is eventually how I came across the Latter Gay Stories podcast (props for the name! Genius!!) At night I would listen to your podcast episodes and sometimes just weep at how exact they fit into my situation.
About two months ago I listened to Sarah and Madison’s podcast episode with Latter Gay Stories. Their love and their individual stories changed my life. How could you deny that God created all of us exactly as we are? Why would a loving God choose to make us gay and then punish us for it? How are we as disciples of Christ supposed to invalidate the love that people like Sarah and Madison have for each other? How can God’s special witnesses, the Apostles, be so wrong about so many things they’ve said about the LGBT community? These questions and so many more bothered me so much.
So a couple weeks ago we had our interviews with our Mission President. I came out to him. We sat knee to knee in the chapel and I told him my feelings about men, about other gay people and how I think our Church leaders are doing damage to the well being of other Latter Day Saints in the way they are teaching about this topic. I explained to him that the “special interview” that gay investigators have to go through prior to baptism was wrong and bigoted. There was a lot I had bottled up and I vented hardcore on him.
I feared that my mission president would immediately want to send me home and chastise me for doubting the messages of the Apostles. Well, the exact opposite happened. He bore testimony to me that God loves all of his children, including me. He told me about his own brother who is married to a man. He confessed that it was really hard at first to love him for the “bad choices” that he was making, but in time he was happy to get to a place where he loved his brother and his husband unconditionally. He said he no longer sees their marriage and love as a “bad choice.” He told me about a couple of experiences where the spirit testified to him that God knew his brother and his husband as His sons and they were just as welcome in the Kingdom as any of His other children.
I cried so much because it was such a blessing and to have my mission president tell me these things.
My whole life changed that day. My mission president completely changed my future. I don’t have a lot of time left on my mission, but I want to finish it and not return home early. I want to find every gay person in my area and tell them that they are loved and wanted by God. The Church might struggle, but God doesn’t. God loves them and I love them. In the two opportunities that I have had to come out and tell someone that I was gay, I had two opposite experiences. Coming out to my dad made me resent and feel guilty for being gay. That never felt whole and happy to me. Coming out to my mission president felt so empowering and has given me the ability to start the path forward. I want to marry a man when I get home. I want to date and I want to feel of God’s love. I wouldn’t have gotten to this place today without my mission, without your podcast, without Sarah and Maddie’s story and without the love I feel from my Father in Heaven.
If you are reading this and feel like I did, know that you are perfect just the way God created you and God doesn’t make mistakes. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
We want to hear your story–here’s how to share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy–but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.