I am gay. I have known this intimate detail about myself since I was 8 years old, probably even earlier than that. I have spent the majority of my life fighting, suppressing and resisting these feelings. Over the past year, God has taught me how to acknowledge, love, accept, and share these feelings.
Growing up, I tried everything imaginable to change. I didn’t want to be gay. I never asked for it. It was something that I pleaded with God to take away from me many times. No amount of hymns sung, prayers said, missions served, or callings held have been able to change how I feel. After years and years of failed attempts to change, God blessed me with a beautiful life changing revelation that initiated much peace in my life. He invited me to take care of my undesired feelings the way I would take care of a child.
When a child is crying and in need of attention, they will cry louder and louder until they are tended to. So, I began to lovingly tend to the feelings I had been tirelessly fighting instead of neglecting them and starving them of the attention they begged for. This revelation worked. I started to find a lot of beauty in my feelings. They are a big part of who I am. They are who I am. This practice turned my hurricane of built up emotions into a beautiful, calm sea of possibilities.
Over the past year, I have opened up to my closest friends and family members about these beautiful feelings. I have been overwhelmed at the amount of love and support they have given me. The conversations we’ve had together have been difficult, uncomfortable, inspiring, and spiritual. I have become increasingly aware of the lack of knowledge and understanding that still exists around homosexuality in general and homosexuals in the Church. It is my deepest desire that if any of you have questions, you will reach out to me and ask. Please do not assume. Please do not suppose. Just ask.
Here’s where I’m at currently…. I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and plan to be for the rest of my life. I’ve known that I was gay before I knew the Gospel to be true. My spirituality has been my choice whereas my sexuality has not. My choice to stay in the Church has not been easy, but I’m choosing to stay because it makes me happy and keeps me focused on God. The truths of the Gospel that I taught as a missionary in Washington are truths that I still very much believe in. I often contemplate what my future will look like, but one thing I know for sure is that God and His Church will always be a part of it. My path back to Father is going to look different than yours and that is okay.
I am actively dating men in hopes to find a companion who shares my values and aspirations in life. Somebody who loves God as much as I do and can be a Christlike example to me and our children. I want to come home to somebody at night. I want to share my victories and failures with somebody. I want to face the difficulties of life with somebody by my side who I love in every way. I am confident that God will continue to bless me with revelation to find such an individual while keeping me close to Him.
Most importantly, I’m still Brayden. The same happy, honest, passionate, goofy Brayden I’ve always been. I respect and value your feelings and ask that you do the same with mine. These specific experiences are unique to me. Everybody has their own unique story to share when they’re ready. Please listen to others, engage in tough conversations, and love as the Savior does. If you have similar feelings, but don’t know what to do or who to talk to, I am here for you. I wish I had more people who could talk to me and relate to me about these feelings when I was younger. There are more people than you can imagine who feel this way. You are not alone. You never will be.
I’m very hopeful for my future. I know that God is aware of me, He is proud of me, He is excited for me, and He loves me infinitely. I am confident in the path I’m creating for myself with God’s help. I’m heading into this new year feeling liberated and inspired. I want to help God’s children feel loved in every sense of the word; to help them know that they are accepted, understood, seen, and heard. This is what Christ does and what He expects from all of us.
We want to hear your story—please 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.
Your story can be shared anonymously.