Kevin Was a Mormon, an Ex-Mormon Profile Spotlight

Kevin’s journey is a touching story about resilience, identity, and being a gay man in the context of Mormonism. With deep ties to handcart pioneers and a family history linked to Joseph Smith, Kevin experienced the challenges of being a gay Mormon in a community struggling to understand. His turning point, voting for gay marriage in 2012, becomes a trigger for coming out, not just to others but most importantly, to himself. Through doctrinal differences and personal discoveries, Kevin’s tale shows the powerful transformation that comes from embracing one’s true identity, even when it means questioning lifelong beliefs. His story is a brave exploration of self-acceptance. He discovered that he is true, and the church is not.

I am a gay man married to another gay man who was also Mormon. I have five adult children, fourteen grandchildren, and I finally found how to love myself for who I am. I was a Mormon.

Handcart pioneers, and regular, covered wagon pioneers, and even later railroad pioneers, and close associations with Joseph Smith by progenitors, all form my ancestry, culture, and experiences in Mormonism. Like so many of those pioneers, though, there comes a time when I had to pioneer for myself, creating my own experiences and journey.

It is almost beyond comprehension what gay Mormons have to endure, as the Brethren have not been very prophetic in understanding what it means to be gay. Just look at the many mistaken “doctrines” surrounding homosexuality from the era of my youth (1970’s). I lament further the outright transphobia that occurs right now in Mormonism, when transgender people aren’t even acknowledged as real.

I went through hell to get where I’m at in accepting myself for who I am, and I encourage any LGBTQIA Mormons to pull their own handcart on their own journey, even if it takes them to places far away from Utah, like, say, Palm Springs, California!

In November, 2012, I was living in Washington state and a ballot measure was before us. Like happened in California with Prop 8, the Mormon church started a campaign to stop legalization of same-sex marriage. I researched what had gone on with Prop 8, and then read more and more about the issue. I then voted FOR gay marriage in that November 2012 election, and felt, for the first time ever, that my 49 years in the gay closet might finally come to an end. I had to come out not only to my then-wife, but to myself, and that was the most difficult of all, being true to myself.

As 2013 approached, I saw the Ordain Women movement take some positions, like wearing purple to Sacrament meeting, and I decided I would. Heck, I love colors, and so why not? Well, it didn’t go over well, and suffice it to say, coupled with a few other events in January, 2013, I realized how many other things were wrong in Mormonism besides just their stance against gay marriage.

Doctrinally, I think the statement from the introduction to the Book of Abraham was the most significant to me. “By his own hand upon papyrus,” I’d read so many times before as a believing Mormon, and I thought how very special Abraham and this Pearl of Great Price was, only to find out that it wasn’t Abraham’s hand upon the papyrus, at all. I was devastated, again and again, by so many hidden history, that I couldn’t deny that there was something wrong with the religion, something horribly wrong.

And so, after coming out gay, I then resigned from the LDS Church officially, and started pulling my own damnable handcart, on my very own journey. I went through hell to come out of the gay closet whilst being a Mormon, and it took years of cognitive therapy to learn how to be happy. I’m at peace with myself and my being gay, and with both the good things I learned while being raised Mormon, as well as the bad things. Learning how to understand nuance versus the black-and-white thinking of a religion like Mormonism is very valuable to my happiness.

I devoted all of my time, talents, and everything with which I had been blessed to the LDS church. I left because not only was I gay, and gay and Mormon don’t go well together, but because Mormonism isn’t true in the sense of how it was portrayed and taught to me.


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