Coming out is not always easy, at least not for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Compound that with the fact that I am in my sixties and just starting to come out of the closet I built to protect me. Imagine six decades of lies, shame, guilt and hiding. It overwhelms me to imagine all that I missed out on.
Deep down, I have known I was gay ever since I can remember—ever since I was able to understand what a sexual identity was. I have had this dichotomy. We were taught that homosexuality was a sin very early as I grew up in the fifties and sixties. This teaching has changed gradually over the years and, although being gay is still frowned upon in our Church, it is not looked upon as being a choice. Our actions are still choices but not our feelings. Because of this, I have started to come out to a very few number of people.
I guess the problem is that no one still knows if we are born this way. I know and feel that I was born this way, but how do we get Church leaders to understand what WE KNOW? Is it possible that God opens the Heavens and gives that revelation to our Church leaders? Currently, they continue to frame the topic in a way that still makes gay Latter-day Saints hide in shame. We need to move past that old way of thinking.
I believe there are many things that enter into our sexual identity and I don’t know how early we have any control over any of these conditions. If there were a pill that could be taken to change my feelings, I think I would take it. It would make life so much easier.
I try not to act on my feelings because it would be difficult to reconcile these actions with my faith. I cannot give up my testimony of the Church. I know it will be difficult for any non-LDS to understand this word, “testimony.” It is more than just a feeling. It is a real witness obtained through faith and prayer. I dare not leave my Church, because I know it is true, but I also know that I am not deviant, a contagion, a mistake, broken, or apostate. I am a child of God. I deserve love too.
I will not deny that I have gay feelings, but I have chosen not to act on them. It is hard not to believe that this one trial that has been given to me and I must prove myself worthy. The Church has been clear with that message.
In time I want to be true to more people around me. I don’t want to hide in shame behind these dark closet walls. I guess in the end, I want to be honored and accepted for who I am not, not for what the Church thinks I should be.
Is that too much to ask?
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.