“I’d Like To Bear My Testimony”: Why I Came Out To My Entire Ward
You know there is always that one testimony every month that makes everyone feel really awkward, avoid eye contact and makes everyone shift uncomfortably in their seat? Well, I decided to get that one out of the way early this month.
I just wanted to let everyone know why I am here.
My entire life, I’ve on some level known that I was gay. Growing up gay in the church was really hard. Living gay and active in the church can be really hard.
But no matter what I want to be true, no matter what I hope to be true, no matter what I think to be true, I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. It’s a knowledge that is impossible to take away from me. (I’ve tried.) I know President Monson is a prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true.
I don’t say all this to solicit pity (although I do enjoy a good pity party), guilt, or to shock. I say this because no matter what our individual situations, the church is amazingly, frustratingly, inconveniently, wonderfully true…so what else matters?
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I walked passed the bishopric and the stake president (of course he would happen to be there) and down the aisle to my seat back in the chair section. A third of the way there, I realized that I was looking down. “Hold your head up!” I forcefully told myself, “You are not ashamed!” I held my head up as I walked back to my seat. When I slid into my chair, one friend put his arm around my shoulders, another smiled at me through teary eyes, and another turned around and gave me a smile and a thumbs-up.
So why did I out myself to my entire ward yesterday?
- To let other gay Mormons know that they aren’t alone.
I don’t know if there are other gay members of my ward, but if there are, I wanted them to know that there are other gay members out there, doing our best to live the gospel. Loneliness and isolation are the kryptonite of the gay Mormon.
- To help remove some of the stigma associated with homosexuality.
I didn’t plan on it, but I was asked to help bless the sacrament yesterday. I wanted to be the first one to bear my testimony (rip off the band-aid) and before I went up, I realized the significance of what was going to happen. I was going to stand up from behind the sacrament table and, in front of the bishopric, the stake president, and my ward, reveal that I was gay. I wanted to help dispel the myths that if you are gay you are a sinner (well, no more than anyone else at least) and unworthy of participation in the church. I wanted to show that gay people aren’t disgusting pervs. I wanted everyone to know that you shouldn’t be ashamed, and I am not ashamed, of being gay.
- To raise awareness.
I’ve had people tell me that they thought I might be gay but dismissed the idea because I was active in the church. I wanted people to know that gay Mormons are out there. It’s a lot harder to hate a group of people when one of them is sitting next to you in Elders Quorum.
- To bear my testimony.
I wanted to come out in testimony meeting because I wanted everyone to know what I believe. Plus, a lot of my testimony was built while I was sorting out my sexuality. It is a part of my testimony like my mission, youth classes, and everything else in my life.
Oh, and by the way, my real name is Clint.
Tags: coming out, gay, homosexuality, openness, sga, ssa, testimony