10437095_10203645631479897_596113473_n“Life has changed quite a bit since I first participated in the FBM project, and only for the better. Looking back at where I was then, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress in my life. For the first time in my life, I’m living a 100% authentic life. I am being the person I want to be, for all the right reasons.

My business is thriving, I moved from Provo to Salt Lake City, and very much am enjoying all that life has to offer me. I have my sons at home during the summers and for holidays, and we are creating memories whenever we are together. My parenting has changed, improved and I feel closer to my children than ever. I still have a great relationship with my stepdaughters, who are living with me while they finish up at the University of Utah.

I’ve been able to build a circle of friends who know the real me, love the real me and who have done amazing things for me. I travel with them, I spend time with them, and in many ways they have become my extended family.

I am no longer involved in the LDS church, and can’t support an organization that is not willing to stand up for Equality. Sometimes I miss the community of friends that the church provided, but I don’t miss the emotionally painful experience that the LDS church often was for me. Organized religion is not part of my life, though spiritually, I am at peace. I have learned that happiness is a choice, not a condition imposed by life’s circumstances.

I still have hopes that one day the LDS church will fully accept it’s gay members and stop treating them as second class citizens. Perhaps in a generation, it will be a very different institution. We can only hope.”

Kurt quickly learned, growing up in small-town Iowa, which traits and expressions were acceptable and which to keep in and put away.  He served a mission, went to college, and developed relationships with women (at their instigation) all while continually putting away the aspects of himself he could not accept.  When his wife eventually grew discontented, and he increasingly understood what he’d held inside for so long, confirming her suspicion lifted a burden.  They eventually separated, and he experienced anger and sadness in the tension between his view of God and statements by church leadership, and between the past version of him and the person he had become.  Now he hurts for others who will go through a similar situation but finds it helpful to accept, learn to seek and enjoy the good in life, let go of what doesn’t work or keeps him from happiness, and use for good the perspective gained from his experiences.

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