Alone No More, Singing with Gay Men’s Chorus at Washington D.C. Temple
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. performed at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center for the first time in 2019 as part of the center’s annual lineup of holiday concerts. That year, a group of Affirmation community members attended, and A.J. Jano shared his experience attending the concert. Gregory Stowers grew up as a Latter-day Saint and sang with the choir at the temple this year on December 6, 2022. He had the opportunity to speak about his experience growing up gay and Mormon during the concert.
Hello, my name is Gregory Stowers, and this is my first season with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. When I found out that we were singing here at the Washington D.C. Temple, I knew that I wanted the opportunity to be able to voice my own thoughts and experiences growing up in the church.
Growing up as a Latter-day Saint in Williamsburg, Virginia, I was given two gifts. The love of music and the love of Donny Osmond. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are growing up singing in primary, learning all of the hymns, and also singing in the church choir. I learned how to read music, how to listen, and how to blend with an ensemble because of the church. I do have the church to thank for my being here tonight. I think so many of us have memories of listening to the tabernacle choir sing at Christmastime.
As for Donny Osmond, my first exposure was to watching him in the recording of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. When I saw him dressed in that loincloth, singing “close every door,” I knew there might be something different about me. I think my mother, sitting next to me, could tell something was up too. I had the pleasure of being able to see Donny Osmond in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra when I was 16, which felt full circle, combining my love of musical theater and Donny Osmond.
Life is full of full-circle moments.
My relationship with the church is complicated, as any gay Mormon’s relationship is. I came out at 19 when my parents asked if I was going on a mission. In fact, the last time that I was here at the D.C. Temple was to sit in the lobby while the rest of my family got to see my sister and her husband get married and sealed in the temple, wondering why I had never felt more alone after failing my temple recommend interview. I wondered what I did to deserve this exclusion, and I’m sure there are many people here and all over the world that have felt the same feelings. I am, however, fortunate enough to be able to recognize the irony in my being back here, surrounded by 80 or so people who maybe have had similar experiences, and now I am able to share the gifts the church gave me for that same sister and her husband here tonight.
This article was submitted by an Affirmation community member. The opinions expressed are wholly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Affirmation, our leadership, or our staff. Affirmation welcomes the submission of articles by community members in accordance with our mission, which includes promoting the understanding, acceptance, and self-determination of individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and our vision for Affirmation to be a refuge to land, heal, share, and be authentic.
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