‘For a long time, I didn’t want to go on a mission. When I did go, I was one of the first eighteen year olds to go after the age-change announcement. I remember thinking I’d have another year to say I don’t want to go. I asked myself, ‘why should I go? I’m gay like everybody knows. I’m out. I didn’t think people would expect me to even consider going on a mission.’ My family knew…everyone knew…but church leadership did not. I was outed in my sophomore year of high school so I’d been out for a while when people started asking me ‘when are you going to go?’ I remember being shocked because when I’d say I didn’t want to go, they’d ask me why…and I’d say, well, I’m gay and as I’d wait for their response, the unspoken question was, ‘how do you think I could go? People in and out of my family would say they thought I could still go. So, I started thinking, well, maybe I could go and then I’d think things like ‘what happens if I fall for somebody or even a companion? That would be catastrophic…you’re with each other twenty-four seven for two years and you never know what could happen.’ So, over a period of about six months, I told everyone no, I’m not going to go. My mom kept coming to me and asking me why I didn’t want to go. She knew I was gay…my whole family knew. But she was heartbroken and she still wanted me to go. I was shocked that my parents and family still wanted me to go. It was kind of scary to imagine going on a mission because, even though I grew up in the Church and we went to Church every Sunday, I didn’t really know much about the Gospel. I had never read the Book of Mormon and so I wondered, ‘how am I supposed to go and teach people when I don’t really know it myself?’ After a while, I decided, ‘I guess I could go. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.’ So, I put in my papers and got called to serve in Rome, Italy.’

Part 1 of 4

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