There was recently a video published for BYU students for the It Gets Better campaign.
When I was a kid, I felt really alone.
I remember being attracted to boys from a young age. I had crushes on boys. I had a friend named Kenny when I was little and I always thought he was so cute. I was in kindergarten.
When I went through puberty, the crushes developed into sexual thoughts and attractions. I tried to fight them. I tried my best to turn them into attractions for women instead of men. I would pray for change. I read of miracles in the scriptures and in church history. I hoped I would be chosen for a miraculous healing. I thought "Am I next? Is this the only way for my life to get better?" But I never changed my orientation.
I heard of gay men and women in the church. But the only kinds I ever heard of were those leaving the church in huge numbers. I wanted to be in the church as it was all I'd known. However, I didn't know if members could stay. I thought "Am I next? Is this the only way for my life to get better?" I didn't want to leave. How could I ever live both?
I remember reading about the death of Stuart Matis who was a faithful member of the church who also had depression issues and took his life far too early. I used to think "Am I next? Is this the only way for my life to get better?" Did I have to end my life to make it better?
Then I turned 18 and wanted answers. If I didn't get answers, I'd likely leave the church. I contacted organizations like Evergreen who told me I didn't have to leave the church. I was told that life could improve for me and that I could remain in the church.
I went to college. I saw all my friends get married and begin families. I even met some married men who were attracted to other men. I met an amazing girl. I thought "Am I next? Is this the only way for my life to get better?" I thought that to be happy I'd have to fit in and be heterosexual to stay in the long run.
She and I broke up. I then went rebellious and went inactive for a time at school. I still wanted a family though. How could I balance those two desires---to be a father but not deal with the extra baggage of a marriage to a woman I wasn't attracted to?
Now I'm out of college. I've graduated. I've moved on with my life. I have gone through periods of life where I was inactive. I don't date women. I choose not to. But now I'm active as much as I choose to be right now---I go to church and keep the gospel in my heart. I believe in the Prophets and the Savior.
Is my life better? Yes. It's a far cry from that 5 year old boy who had a crush on Kenny and wanted to be just like the other men in college. Is my life perfect? Nope. But its better.
I don't have to seek out changing my entire life to someone I'm not in order to be happy. I can be me. I can be happy. I can be whatever I want without conforming.
I'm sarcastic at times. I make inappropriate jokes and love when I find people who'll laugh with me. I have a testimony of the gospel. I love pop culture references. I don't fit a mold. I want to adopt and have a family. I want to remain in the church. I live with a really great friend who, although inactive, is a companion who helps to keep me company and help me from feeling lonely. When I have a family someday, my life will just continue to get better. Am I a typical Mormon? Nope. But I'm a Latter-day Saint. And I'm gay. Those two labels can be in harmony.
I can testify that It Gets Better.