I grew up in an inactive Mormon family. My parents and siblings have. It been active during my lifetime. I was baptized when I was 8, but didn’t begin to really come to full activity until I was 13 years old. I started attending because of other family members and friends. I received the Priesthood, served in many callings in quorum presidencies, etc. I received the Melchizedek Priesthood and served an honorable mission before returning home with a serious mental health crisis. This is when I believe my OCD actually came to surface and presented fully.
I always knew from a young age that I was different and that I found guys to be very attractive. It was something that I just swept under the rug and buried deep with a “macho” facade and religion. It took me nearly 10 years after my mission to finally come to terms that being gay was not something that was going to change. No matter how often I prayed and fasted, or the more obedient I tried to be. My depression and anxiety only got worse. Watching my friends fall in love and have a family was excruciating. Going to church and seeing families, knowing that I would never have that almost ended my life. I knew I was gay and I so badly wanted to fall in love with a man.
November 1, 2017. I had just returned home from SLC for training for my job at that time. Coming out had been on my mind for a long time. I had not planned on coming out on any specific day but that day I knew I could not bare it any longer. My buddy was the first person I reached out to. In the back of my mind I didn’t believe that our friendship would change. But after I hit the send button, I lay on my bed and sobbed. I had no idea what to expect. Would we still be friends? Would he treat me any different? Then I hit the send button to my Mom. Even more tears.
It wasn’t long after that Caleb, my friend, replied. My worries were for nothing. He said nothing would change. And to this day, I still consider him one of my best friends. He helped bear my secret for several months.
Caleb helped me through one of the darkest moments of my life only a few months later. I faced discipline by a church that I gave my life, heart and soul to. I wanted to die. I turned my guns over to him after a very dark night. I came so close to pulling that trigger!!! I begged myself to do it.
My Mom replied shortly after Caleb. She said that her love for me was something that would never change, that she had always loved me, and that she just wanted me to be happy. Our relationship and love for each other has only become stronger. I can talk to her about anything. My father, siblings and step father have all been supportive. My coming out was a long process. It happened over several months, as I was also navigating my relationship with the church.
Since coming out I have felt a huge burden lifted from my soul. Yes, there are still times I struggle A LOT!!! I hate that I feel like I have to come out to everyone that I meet. Why is heterosexual the default? I struggle with OCD, anxiety and depression. These battles I will fight for the rest of my life. But life is worth living!!!!! Life is short! This is my story, I’m still writing it;
Growing up Mormon and gay was difficult. There were things my priesthood leaders would say that made me feel like I was disgusting, broken or damaged goods. Not to me directly but in general. I think there is SO MUCH room for improvement for the Mormon church. I myself have resigned my membership, but there are still young children, teenagers and adults that hear these harmful things. It makes you question your worth, your life, and your very existence. I would ask that leaders, teachers, and ward members in general, just take a step back. Really think about it. Did you wake up and decide to be attracted to the opposite sex? I know that I did not make a conscious decision to be attracted to the same sex. It’s part of who I am as a human being. It’s in my DNA. The world needs more love! Just LOVE!!!!!
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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.