I knew from a very early age (around 8 years of age) that I was “different.” I had a fascination for boys and masculinity, but didn’t know what that meant. Coincidentally, that was the age at which I was baptized.
Over the years that followed, my fascination for boys only grew stronger, which caused deep internal conflict. I had heard what the church taught about homosexuality. I had read For the Strength of Youth.
I felt bombarded.
It taught me that my feelings were wrong; my mind was broken.
My teen years were wrought with denial, embarrassment, confusion, and self hatred. I did all the things I was supposed to. I went to church and seminary, read my scriptures, paid my tithing, and prayed. I wanted to believe it would all somehow “fix” me. It only deepened my self hatred to the point where I considered suicide at age 16.
That same year, I learned what bisexuality was. Finally! There was a name for it. That name made my feelings okay because I could still date girls. So that’s what I did. Through the remainder of high school, I almost always had a girlfriend, even up until my mission.
At the time, I viewed a mission as another way to fix myself. Although my feelings for boys continued, I would tell myself that everything would be fine once I got home and married a girl. After my mission, I got married and told myself, “Okay, that’s all in the past.” Or so I thought.
Throughout my 16 1/2 year marriage, little things would pop up that would hint to my “same sex attraction.” I would constantly reassure my wife that it was all in the past. Apparently, it wasn’t. The little things turned into big things, and I eventually started leading a double life, which came to light in early fall, 2016. I subsequently had a nervous breakdown and landed in the local hospital psychiatric ward on suicide watch. During my hospital stay, I came to the realization and acceptance that I wasn’t bisexual; I was gay. Four days after being released from the hospital, I came out, first to my wife and kids, then to the rest of my family and friends.
I was 39.
To say it was liberating would be a gross understatement. I felt a lightness that I had never experienced. Of course, this signaled the end of my marriage. My ex-wife could have taken me for everything. I could have lost my kids. I don’t know that anybody, me included that would have blamed her. Luckily for me, she’s a firm believer in the power of forgiveness. My coming out not only freed myself, but also freed my ex-wife to find a man who could be the husband she deserves. We have both been fortunate to find loving partners who understand and support our situation. Although I have since parted ways with the church, I hold no malice. I owe it to my pioneer ancestors to respect my heritage. For the first time in my life, I am truly happy.
For the first time in my life, I am truly me.
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.