i’d like to bear my testimony…

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 back to the chair section. A third of the way there, I realized that I was looking down. “Pick 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 on Sunday?

  1. 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.
  2. 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 simply 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

For further reading:

God Loveth His Children
Most recent pamphet of the church addressing same-sex attraction.

Helping Those Who Struggle With Same-Gender Attraction
Ensign article by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (October 2007).

Elder Marlin K. Jensen Interview
Segment on “The Mormons” PBS documentary.

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  1. ashley w.

    There are so many reasons why I love you, and your amazingness is one of them!

    Just so you know :)

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  2. Sara

    Clint. I think you know that I think you’re great, and I feel privileged to know you.

    My sister and I both thought your testimony on Sunday was good — tactful and thoughtful and honest and powerful. I very much appreciated it and was proud to be able to call you a friend. One of these days, I’ll have to tell you in more detail about why I especially respect your testimony . . . So we’ll have to just go to lunch again, K?

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  3. Ashley Aynes

    “The church is amazingly, frustratingly, inconveniently, wonderfully true.”

    Well put. *Tear Eyes*

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  4. sarah

    Awesome, Clint. And yes, I like the same part as Ashley. I’m a little teary too.

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  5. Kim

    Clint, why did you wait for so long? I had my suspicions but if you weren’t ready or didn’t trust me I didn’t push.

    You are a wonderful guy. I know you’ve found it very hard to do that and I respect you. I’m happy that you are who you are. The church has too many bad opinions made of it on this issue and I’m glad you did what you did. I’m sure your shoulder’s feel a little bit lighter.

    I love you Clintster! I’m still waiting for my Clint fix :)! Sorry I couldn’t go with you to see Sarah. The trip would’ve been totally awesome!!!

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  6. Heather

    I love you. I hope you know that. No, no… WE (Me, Ryan & Ben) love you!!! We are so glad you are our friend and I really do admire all that you have gone through, will go through, etc. I know this has been a struggle and i think the way you are dealing with it is amazing, although I know at times you may want to give up. I only wish that other loved ones of mine could see it the way you do. Maybe it’ll just take some time for them, but GO YOU. Seriously. GO YOU.

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Wow, I am so incredibly awestruck with you Clint. What a powerful testimony to give to those who heard you, and for us who read your blog to read. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us Clint.

    I will be in Atlanta Friday and Saturday, if you’d like to do lunch or something. Maybe Kim can come along…

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  8. kim

    maybe Kim can come along…what? she made it seem as though she asked the both of us but I see the truth I see that I was 2nd, an after thought. Haha, just kidding. Just wanted to let you know I won’t be able to go with you guys if you do decide to go, we work at the Temple this Saturday. Seems to be bad timing every time I get to do things with friends…what is that about?

    Posted September 9, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  9. Clint

    Thanks for all the kind words. I’ve felt very loved the last few days (well, before that, too).

    @Elizabeth. I’d be available for lunch Friday or Saturday. Give me a call.

    Posted September 10, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  10. Well Clint-you know how I feel about you. I wish I were there to feel your spirit-but I can feel it reading your post and talking to you. You are doing the work I only dreamed of doing-I hope to serve as a powerful example as you have and are. Love teary eyed Jey

    Posted September 20, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink