“The gospel has given me a new perspective about eternity.”
by Jamison Manwaring
“If you move to Utah, just make sure you don’t convert to Mormonism,” Nicolle remembers his uncle telling him before he left Los Angeles to attend school in Salt Lake City.
From the time he was young, Nicolle Huang knew he wanted to be a pilot. He also knew he was gay, but he kept that to himself. His parents were both born in Hong Kong and moved to the U.S. separately, where they met in Los Angeles and married in the early 90′s. His Dad was a Buddhist while his mom was a Buddhist/atheist, which gave him ample flexibility to decide for himself what he wanted to believe.
The LDS church’s involvement in prop 8 left a negative taste in his mouth for the religion. But as he sorted through the recruiting packets from aviation schools across the U.S., Westminster College in Salt Lake City stood out. The school had a strong aviation program and Nicolle believed the smaller student body and intimate campus community would be a good fit for him.
During his senior year of high school he saw a video on his Facebook newsfeed from USGA at BYU called “It gets better.“ Nicolle was touched by the video and didn’t know that a person could be gay and Mormon.
When he arrived in Salt Lake City, he wanted to attend one of the USGA meetings. He found a group on Facebook called Mormons Building Bridges and found the location and time when USGA met in Provo.
While at the USGA meeting he met a few friends who we also gay and Mormon. He also began visiting temple square in Salt Lake City where he started talking with the sister missionaries.
A turning point came when Nicolle watched a video on the Mormon’s Building Bridges Facebook page from President Uchtdorf’s talk called “What is Truth?”
“I watched it several times. It got me thinking about what is real truth?” After that, he began meeting with the missionaries regularly and attending church.
“I decided that I would find out if it was true. If it was, then I would get baptized. If it wasn’t then it would at least be a good cultural lesson,” he said.
About a month later he decided to get baptized. A few weeks before his baptismal date, he decided to come out as gay to the missionaries. The missionaries were somewhat surprised by his honestly. But Nicolle told them he was still interested in learning more. The missionaries didn’t address the topic of homosexuality directly but discussed the law of chastity and the baptismal interview questions. They also told him he would need to meet with the Mission President for an interview.
In the interview with the Mission President, Nicolle told him he was gay, that he felt he was a child of God and that God wanted him to be baptized and involved in the church. They discussed the law of chastity and the Mission President granted Nicolle authorization to be baptized.
Since his conversion, Nicolle has opened up to a few members of his YSA ward about his being gay. But he remains hesitant about coming out to everyone because he knows some people may not take it that well.
While attending church he has heard some disheartening comments such as ward members comparing gay people to child abusers. He also recalls hearing a girl say she felt guilty for liking the gay couple on the TV show “Modern Family.” But he feels comfortable in his ward and believes it is the place God wants him to be. He is currently serving as the assistant ward clerk.
As he looks forward, Nicolle plans to stay active in church and to remain celibate until he finds a partner who he decides to share the rest of his life with.
“The gospel has given me a new perspective about eternity. I used to believe that you just live and then die. Now I know there is more to life then that. I can’t see myself not being active in the church.”