Hi, my name is Dorene. I joined the Church in 1986 and went on a mission to Atlanta, Georgia in 1988. I lived in Utah and went to Salt Lake Community College before my mission. I am from Ohio, and that is where I live now.
I am 58, a mother of a 27 year old, and over the past couple of months I have accepted a truth.
My truth. My reality.
Over the years I went into intensive therapy to address some trauma I faced as a child and teenager and through the therapy group I peeled back some layers that no one was expecting to see. I never acknowledged my sexuality which resulted in a repression of many healthy and important feelings inside of me. My story is much too long to share in a message like this, but it includes a crush on a mission companion which led to me becoming suicidal and leaving my mission early. Friends in the Church told me that my feelings for women were not real, and a product of the Adversary.
Often, I didn’t want to believe those feelings were real either.
My friends and church members told me that I just needed to get married and these “feelings” would go away.
I tried to date. I felt that I could have dated any number of returned missionaries that I knew from home in Ohio or that I met in Utah, but I always found a way to not let anything ever go far. I became pregnant as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. This experience was emotionally and spiritually draining. I had my son and felt responsible to repent for something that I had no control of.
I threw myself into the Church and became a “Molly Mormon.” I used service and church callings to find acceptance with members and hopefully greater favor with God. If I could immerse myself in serving the Church, maybe God would take away the feelings and attractions that were still very much a part of my life.
No amount of church service took away the natural and beautiful feelings inside of me.
Regrettably, it took decades for me to accept my truth….and as a woman in the Church it was very difficult. It is only now that I am at a place where I can happily accept who I am. I am gay. I have always loved the Church, but it was necessary for me to step away from it. I still have a difficult time not coming to Church but I do not feel there is truly a place for me. I cannot accept that if I ever found someone, I loved I can’t marry her.
I have lived as someone who I am not for decades, it’s time that I no longer live in fear!
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This In My Own Words story is dedicated to helping people learn to better share love, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding. When we know better, we do better.