I am fortunate to have the opportunity to come out in today’s social environment. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would have been to come out 40, 50 or even 10 years ago. Society has become so much more understanding and more educated when it comes to the queer community. We should thank the growing number of LGBTQ affirming resources for making so much of this possible.
My story feels like the typical ‘Mormon coming-out-saga’.
From a very young age I knew there was something spectacularly different about me. While boys my age were talking about girls, boobs and books, I was fascinated by the idea of holding the hand of another boy, kissing him, or running my hands through his hair. As a teen growing up in the Church I had been taught that the feelings I was having were abnormal. These same-sex-attracted feelings were not of God, but of Satan; and the fact that I couldn’t make them go away was evidence that God did not love me or want me to succeed in becoming more like Him.
Believe me when I say I tried everything to change my feelings and attractions for men.
I read my scriptures EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I fulfilled my callings with an extra level of obedience. I quit two jobs to avoid working on Sunday. I served a mission and probably drove ALL my companions nuts by being hyper strict and obedient. I came home from my mission fully convinced that as a result of my faithful service and dedication to God, that He would take this awful burden, this shameful stain from me.
He didn’t. I was still the stained and ugly failure.
At the end of my rope and after exhausting every option of righteousness I could fathom, I sat down with my single’s ward bishop and told him everything dark and ugly about me. I shared with him my experiences as a 12 year old newly ordained priesthood holder who was regularly viewing gay porn. I told him of my deep desire to please God and as a result how I chose to self-isolate from social experiences and the genuine FUN that I should have been experiencing as a youth. I told him about the countless nights as a missionary that I fell asleep on tear soaked pillows begging God to fix me.
Instead of telling me that I was okay, that being gay was not my choice, my bishop called me as a temple worker and promised that my continued service to the Lord would “heal my infirmities and strengthen my weaknesses.”
My calling in the temple further drove me into depression and despair. Seriously.
Here were all these happy, loving, young college students parading their “normal” relationships through the halls of the temple every day as they made their way to the sealing rooms. Their marriages were witnessed by loving family members who greeted them with love, acceptance, and support for their union. Their marriage and “normal” love for each other would not be questioned by society or more importantly, their religious community. Watching all these straight couples obtain what I couldn’t obtain destroyed me.
Why had God forsaken me? What did I do to deserve this punishment?
My coming out experience (minus my first interview with my singles ward bishop) was the game changer. I had to come to the determination (on my own) that I wasn’t the awful human religion and ill-informed Church members convinced me to be. It took a while, but I changed my thinking from “why was I born gay” to “I was born gay.” I started seeking out other people like me and creating new friendships. I found online groups that mingled the LDS culture with the queer community. Groups like Affirmation, MormonsBuildingBridges, NorthStar and others were the lifeline that I needed.
Within weeks of running towards my sexuality instead of running from it, my outlook changed. I began to hope again. I wanted to work towards a happier future. My life felt like it had purpose and meaning.
Today, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have a boyfriend and I don’t have an “agenda”. I am walking this path one step at a time. However, this time I am not afraid to say that I am gay. I am not afraid to mention my desire to marry a like-minded and beautiful man one day. I am not afraid to look at gay couples and not feel genuinely happy and supportive of them.
My coming out experience was for me. And I hope in time my influence and positive contributions to the LGBTQ community will make my coming out experience beneficial for you too!
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.
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