I am Gay. I know, not much of a shocker there, huh? I mean I work really hard to look this gay. The hair, the clothes. Not just any 41 year old woman can pull off a Justin Bieber haircut.
I am Mormon. Ok that one may be a shocker. I mean I don't look Mormon. I think it's kind of amusing. When I say I am from Utah, the most usual response is "how did you stand it with all those Mormons?".
It seems funny to me that people automatically think the two are mutually exclusive. You are gay so you can't possibly be Mormon, let alone have friends and family who are, right? Um, no. Wrong. I am gay, my brother is Mormon (or LDS for those of you not cool enough to say Mormon), my nieces and nephews are Mormon and yes, believe it or not some of my best friends are Mormon. Wow. Who woulda' thunk it? Love and acceptance from people who are fundamentally opposed to my lifestyle? Yep. What can I say, I have awesome people around me who love me just because they know I am a great person. No really I am. I'm one of those people that opens doors for old people, says thank you always and until my wife broke me of the habit (after explaining to me "this isn't Utah") I would pull over and offer my help to anyone on the side of the road.
"But how can you be Mormon, isn't your church against gay people?". Well, ya. It does get a little sticky there. You see being Mormon to me stopped being about my standing in the church and more about just my belief system a long time ago.
When I first came out about 15 years ago or so I had a really hard time. I was attending church regularly and was planning on going through the temple. I really love my church. It was actually during a meeting with my bishop where he explained that in order for me to go through the temple I had to be completely and utterly honest — with myself and with God. After much soul searching and anguish I decided that if I was to be honest with myself then I had to admit that I was gay.
Believe me I didn't want to be. I spent years denying it. I squashed it down, I denied it to myself, my family and my friends as over and over again they would ask me, assure me they would be OK with it. I would say no every time. I was so far in denial. I just wanted to be married in the temple and pop out 3 or 4 kids and live a nice quiet life. If I had done that it would have been Hell. Because I would have denied who I am as a person. I would have lost myself and never found the true happiness that comes from loving someone completely — mind, body and soul.
So technically I can now be excommunicated for admitting I am gay. Not that I was hiding it, I just stopped going to church so it never came up, as far as I know I am still on church record. Doesn't matter to me. Doesn't mean I won't still tell people I'm Mormon. I still believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yes, I believe in Joseph Smith. I'm totally down with there being a prophet in modern times. I think it's cool. I think Teancum was the first Rambo. I think garments are awesome and I'm bummed I never get to wear them. I'm totally going to practice family home evening with my kids. So regardless of what people say or believe, in my heart I am Mormon.