A Gay Mormon. That is what just about any active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would call an oxymoron (or an oxymormon, pardon the pun). Trust me, I totally thought the same thing growing up.I remember seeing google images of protesters outside the Salt Lake Temple with signs saying, “I love my gay mormon husband” and thinking to myself that obviously they weren’t good Mormons, or at least didn’t understand what it fully entailed. How could someone be Mormon and
I was in the closet then. I was in the closet for about 8 years. I remember the very first time I had a crush on another boy. I was in 4th grade, in elementary school. Those were the days boys were just hitting puberty and making dirty jokes at the lunch table–not really knowing fully what that meant, but that they enjoyed it.
I didn’t enjoy it. I hated it actually. It made me uncomfortable, and I shunned it. I told myself it was because I was mormon. And that I was raised to think dirty jokes were wrong and to avoid them. And I kept thinking that.
I remember how my heart fluttered when he sat next to be on the bus one day.
I have no idea who he was, but I remember thinking to myself, I’m only admiring him; he’s really popular and I admire that.
It wasn’t hard to miss that I was gay. I was pretty effeminate compared to most guys. Luckily, I went to an academically advanced Middle school, so those typically awful years of social growing up were actually pretty easy for me, seeing as how my grade was mostly composed of what would be called nerds. I didn’t really have to think about what made me different until High School.
Long story short, I knew I was gay. I never admitted it in so many words to myself, and I never put that label on me, but I knew I was.
Then I saw this video:
It was God. At that moment every shadow of doubt that I had felt in my life of whether God knew me, or why would He make me like this, or if He was even there disappeared. He loved me. He knew me.
And furthermore, I felt so powerfully that He loved me for exactly who I was.
I can’t explain that to you. So far, it was the single most powerful spiritual experience I have ever had. I wish so much that I could explain it to you, but I can’t. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was loved for being Aaron Sebright, the boy who was gay and loved his Heavenly Father.
And as wonderful as this revelation was, it made life really confusing.
In retrospect, I think that is one of the reasons I was in the closet so long. I knew coming out would make life complicated, and I didn’t want to deal with that.
April 8th, 2012. That was a little over 9 months ago. That is when I came out to the first person, an old friend in North Carolina. At this point I faced a cross roads. What do I do with my life? After coming out to friends and parents, it was clear that a lot of people, especially if they were LDS, expected me to know what my life plan was. After all, growing up LDS, your life plan is relatively outlined. Was I going to stay in the church following all the church teachings, or was I going to leave the church to try and find happiness on my own?
But I didn’t want to do either of them. I was just starting to come out to people, and it was the most liberating feeling you could imagine. No more lying. No more faking interest. I was myself. I couldn’t imagine going back in the closet for another month, let alone for the next 60+ years of my life.
And imagining myself alone for 60+ years. That more than anything was heart crushing and overwhelmingly depressing.
But at the same time, I couldn’t imagine myself following the status quo of gay mormons; I had no desire to dissolve all my ties to my religion. I may have been a little ignorant of church policies and practices, but the Gospel had never offended me. It had never caused me heart ache. It never caused me grief or loneliness It made me happy. It made me joyous. How could I ever give that up so easily?
I made my mind up a few months after coming out. I didn’t know what my future would look like. I had vague ideas, and hopes and aspirations. But I didn’t know what it would look like. And I still don’t. After days, weeks and months of praying on the same subject, It came to me that it was ok not to know. It was going to be ok if I wasn’t sure. What I needed to do, and what I’ve always needed to have done is to live as Christ-like as I can. To love my neighbor and my enemies. To give charity and make my brother’s burden light. If I did that, I would find the best path to happiness.
That was a little scary to accept. But I went with it.
I openly date boys. There are some really great guys who I really care about. I never felt spiritually disenfranchised when I was with them. Rather, I felt more sure than ever what love can feel like. And if all love comes from our Heavenly Father, then he must feel this sort of love towards his children. I never felt unworthy, or like I was succumbing to some sort of temptation. I wasn’t falling in lust after these guys. I wasn’t being tempted to hug them or hold their hands. I sincerely cared about them, which turns to liking them, which inevitably turns to love.
I’ve never broken the law of Chastity, or made myself unworthy according to the guidelines of a Temple recommend. I do hold a limited Temple recommend, and my ecclesiastical leaders are aware that I am gay and that I am open about it.
There are finer points of doctrine that I still don’t understand, and some current teachings that I may disagree with. I am not very vocal with these, unless people specifically ask me about them. I don’t know if every teaching of the Church is true, but I do have a testimony that Joseph Smith restored the Priesthood to this modern era. I believe so strongly in the articles of faith.
1. “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost”.
11. “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may”.
9. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”.
I’m only 17. There is plenty that I don’t know about life yet. And that is the purpose of life, to learn, to grow, and to become more like God. If I knew every Gospel answer now, what would be my purpose for the rest of my life?
I considered writing this post anonymously. I considered writing it with minimal mentions of me, or who I am. But I want this post to be real. I don’t want you to read this as some hypothetical person living in a vague location under vague circumstances. I am Aaron Sebright, a 17 year boy who is a senior in High school, a cashier, living in Davis County, Utah. I’m from North Carolina, I have 3 siblings, I do debate in school, and I am as real as you are going to get.
I know God lives. I know Chirst lives, and that he atoned for our sins. I know that through him, all mankind can be saved. I know that the Priesthood has been restored to this earth. I know that I was not made attracted to men by chance or circumstance, but rather I feel so strongly that there was a distinct reason for my position in life.
Thank you for reading this. It means the world to me.
Here are some fantastic links that I would highly recommend; I don’t agree with everything on every page, but they are lovely places to start.
If you want to add me on facebook or follow me on twitter, I’m not hard to miss. You can message me in either location if you would like to email or chat about what I have said or about my life experiences.
Aaron Browne Sebright is now an 18 year old living in Centerville, Utah. He will be attending the University of Utah this fall to study Architecture and Urban Planning.