Hi! My name is Laura Root. I am 47 years old. I grew up in an active LDS family and loved going to church. I developed a strong testimony of the gospel at a young age and always enjoyed praying and reading the Book of Mormon. 

I remember feeling different from my friends while I was growing up. I couldn’t figure out why they all had crushes on boys and spent so much time wanting to date them and talk about them. I had only a tiny curiosity about boys at that time and focused, instead, on sports and living the gospel. As an older teenager I really wanted to go on a mission and eventually did so when I was 21. I loved Brazil, the people there, and preaching the gospel to them. 

I wanted nothing more when I got home from my mission than to continue to live the gospel and do what we do as Latter Day Saints, which is to say, I wanted to marry in the temple and have kids. I spent the next 20 years dating and trying, desperately at times, to fall in love with a man. I fasted for it. I begged Heavenly Father to make this righteous desire happen for me. I had inklings that I might be gay but pushed those crippling thoughts aside to focus on my work, church service, and hobbies. Eventually, at the ripe old age of 44, I could no longer deny what I suspected might be true. In an instant, the crushing fact that I was gay hit me like a 2×4 to the head. It was one of the most gut wrenching moments of my life. How in the world could I ever be happy as a gay Latter Day Saint? How could I ever find love, companionship, and the happiness that comes with being emotionally connected to another human being while also being an active member of the LDS church? These questions plagued me. The next several months were full of nearly constant prayer, studying, and pondering, about how to manage these 2 equally important, but seemingly incongruous parts of me. I sunk into a deep despair, believing that I would never be happy again for the rest of my life. 

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I felt led by the spirit to come out to my family and friends about a year after I began being honest with myself about being gay. My biggest worry with this was the sorrow my family, and especially my parents, might feel. When I came out to my family all of my family members told me they loved me but they struggled very much with this, especially when I started dating a woman. I received a few hurtful comments. My brother would not bring his family to my parents’ house for Christmas since I was going to be there with my then girlfriend, who later became my wife. It was painful. My friends and ward family were mostly kind and supportive but kept a distance. I had been released as the Relief Society President in my ward only 2 years prior to this. I believe many people were just frankly surprised by what they believed was my sudden lack of faithfulness and sinful behavior. Luckily I had a few friends who remained close and supportive.
I continued to pray. I knew with absolute certainty that Heavenly Father loved me. I knew He knew I was gay and that, in fact, it was an eternal part of who I am. A loving and merciful Heavenly Father began to teach me line upon line and precept upon precept that part of His plan of happiness for me did not include being alone. He showed me that I could make the best use of my mortal probation and reach my potential as a child of God if I entered the ennobling, uplifting, and refining commitment of marriage. 
I began to date women. I dated one in particular and we fell in love. We eventually got engaged and then married. I had hoped to get married before my parents left on their mission so they could attend if they wanted to. As it turned out, my parents and siblings all attended my wedding. They were still not comfortable with me marrying a woman and would not bring their children to the wedding, but they loved me and wanted to be there with me on that important day. Also in attendance were several friends and ward members, a few of whom actually did the hosting and decorating for the wedding reception. What a blessing those friends were!

Today, I have been married to my wife for 14 months. We have our ups and downs like all couples do. I am learning SO MUCH! I am changing and growing and becoming a better person. Marriage is challenging, but it is also wonderful and beautiful. I am relying more on Heavenly Father than I ever have in my life and I believe, by doing this, I am becoming more like Christ. What a blessing to be able to commit to love and serve another human being. I continue to attend church, which I have always loved and still do. It is difficult at times. I do it because it helps me stay focused on strengthening my relationship with Heavenly Father and trying to always follow Him. Church reminds me to be humble, to be charitable, to love and to serve others. And, perhaps surprisingly, at church I feel Heavenly Father’s love for me.

I don’t know, of course, what the future holds for me. Some of my family are still not in agreement with the choices I have made but they welcome my wife and me to all our family activities and treat us well. What I do know, is that I will continue to attend church as long as it remains a place where I feel safe and spiritually nourished. I will continue to do my best to learn to be a good wife and partner. I will continue to strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and do my best to seek and follow the spirit as it guides and directs my life.

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This In My Own Words story is a contribution from Let’s Love Better, a Facebook group dedicated to helping people learn to better share love, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding.  When we know better, we do better.  

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