Joel was raised in an orthodox Mormon home, where rules were king—he never met a rule he didn’t follow. His upbringing was one of “exact obedience”. PBS and KBYU were the only TV shows they were allowed to watch. He knew he was different, but didn’t have words to describe what that difference was.
Family life for Joel was tenuous, to put it kindly. While serving a mission he was released early to come back to Utah for conversion therapy. His parents refused to pick him up at the airport.
Joel shares his story navigating his religion and his sexuality. He was a former member and employee of the Mormon church, held stake callings and served as an early morning seminary teacher. After doing all the “Mormon” things, like serving a mission, getting married in the temple, having kids, and serving the church, he still couldn’t reconcile an intrinsic part of who he is.
This is his story.
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