1959522_747636709911_136139862_n“Wow. The emotional landscape of my life has shifted so dramatically since my interview. While I was very happy during the time that this video was filmed, this happiness was a struggle. I was living in an environment where I couldn’t easily talk about my girlfriend with anyone except my closest friends. I had a handful of friends in the LGBT community, but they were few and far between. And I was still struggling, daily, with the lingering guilt that I felt for leaving my Mormon roots. I didn’t know if the guilt came from God or if it was a self imposed sadness that I was letting others down, but it was difficult to live with. My relationship with my family was rocky and I was unable to share details about my personal life with them. While I was told by others that I could be gay and still be Mormon, I felt that I was trying to step into shoes that just didn’t fit me anymore. The unboxing process that I had been through prior to this video had left me with the opportunity to completely rebuild my life, and so I tried to do so. With time, I realized that I was stuck. I realized that I needed to follow my gut, and my gut told me, quite clearly, that I needed to move to Seattle.

Short of coming out of the closet, moving to Seattle was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. My initial plan was to find a job and a place to live before I moved, but my gut kept telling me over and over that I just needed to go. So I put in my two weeks notice and I started packing. I fit everything that I could (including my dog and my cat) into my car and I hit the road. I had no job and nowhere to live, but with the help of family and friends, I survived. Before I knew it, I was building a life here. And the life that I’m living today is so much better. I am free to truly be myself here without fearing judgment from others. My brave spirit has helped me step outside of my comfort zone and make a lot of friends. My circle of LGBTQ friends in Utah was limited to about 10 people, and they were spread out across the valley. I now have more friends than I can keep up with! My social calendar is full, and I love it!

Since moving outside of Utah, I have had the time and space that I needed to process my beliefs and feelings regarding the Mormon church. I’ve realized that the guilt I felt when I started dating women was not the product of wrongdoing on my part. It was simply the product of years of learned behaviors and beliefs about the world around me. I’d been programmed to think and feel a certain way. The unboxing process forced me to really examine the Mormon faith from the perspective of an outsider, and this process quickly led to the feeling that I cannot in good conscience support the Mormon faith any longer. This is a departure from the beliefs that I shared in my interview. It took quite a bit of time for me to let go of those beliefs, but since letting go I have felt a great sense of relief. The guilt has left me.

I’ll close by saying that I know great things lie ahead for me. For the first time in a really long time, I can see myself building a home with someone. I have amazing friends and I am completely in love with my city. I am grateful for the values of honesty, diligence, dependability and humility that were taught to me from a young age, for they have helped me excel in the workplace. My mental and emotional health are better than they’ve ever been. And my heart? My heart is really really happy. I’m grateful for the path that led me to this place, and I really look forward to the experiences that are yet to come!”

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