by Colby Goddard
I bore my testimony at church this past Sunday. I came out to my ward. I tried to use the least controversial phrasing I could think of at the time. For the longest time, I felt that this was something that didn’t need to be said from the pulpit. After I returned from the Affirmation retreat in Nauvoo this last May, I started to change my feelings on the issue. It took me some time to build up my courage and hearing the Bishop start off the meeting by testifying of marriage and the temple, I knew it was the right time for me to get up and share a brief and authentic testimony. It went something like this:
“Good afternoon, my name is Colby. I used to never let the opportunity to bear my testimony pass me by. However the last few years I have hardly shared my testimony. I have known that I need to do this for the past few months, but have been putting it off…”
“After my mission, I had some experiences where I realized my life was not going to turn out how I had thought and been brought up to think it would go. My whole life I have wanted to be a husband and father. After much prayer and fasting, I came to the conclusion that in my quest for obedience and righteousness, that it would not be appropriate for me to marry a woman.”
“I am not attracted to women. That attraction never came like I had hoped it would. The past few weeks I’ve been working on a couple of weddings. All these weddings and my upcoming 28th birthday have me feeling depressed and lonely. I’m usually a very happy person, but this past week has been a hard one for me. Friday night at the Gunderson’s wedding, I was dancing next to sister Gunderson (she’s the bishop’s wife, awesome woman!). We were having a great time. The song changed to a slow one. Sister G and I danced. While we danced, despite all that was going on with her and her family, she asked me how I was. I expressed my loneliness to her. She listened and was supportive. She mourned with me. I don’t always know why I come to church, but Sister Gunderson is one for me.”
“You all are reasons I come. My calling is a reason I come. The bishop really indulges me and we get to have some really good meals and activities together. Despite all my doubts, the biggest comfort I find is in God’s love. I know that God loves each and every single one of his children. My testimony is God’s love, and that it is available to each and every one of us, even when we don’t think possible. In Jesus name.”
The rest of the day at church went great. More people stayed for break the fast this time than any other time. I was really happy with how the food turned out. I wanted to make a mega meat sauce and a really good vegetable sauce, and I did. There were no leftovers. I came home from church and decided to share my experience on Facebook with a few groups. I was not expecting the reaction I received. The outpouring of love and support I have seen on Facebook this past week has just been amazing! I have received several tender messages from old and now new friends. I have found in my life, that the more I accept both my spirituality and sexuality, the happier I am, and also others are more accepting of me. I knew most of the ward knew I was gay, or they had their ideas. I wear some fun outfits to church, but now I don’t have to think about who knows and who doesn’t, I can just be me.