By Carson Tueller
There are only a few experiences I have had in life that have changed me in deep and lasting ways. Most of these experiences are painful at first, but eventually grow into something positive. Learning to reconcile being gay and Mormon has been one of those experiences. I grew up in an Air Force family that was led by two of the most fantastic parents this world has known. Regardless of where the Air Force sent us around the country, our faith in God and the restored gospel was always a central part of our lives. The gospel was very important to me and I had planned out my life to be just the way I wanted it. I would serve a mission, marry the woman of my dreams (though for some reason I never dreamed of women), have kids and live happily ever after. I had no reason to believe that things would be any different.
From childhood to high school, my attraction to men seemed to solidify more and more, despite all my best efforts to keep it from doing so. It was only after my mission that I faced the reality of my feelings and thus began a spiritual learning process that would challenge everything I thought I knew. I lived in a world of assumptions, and when it came to being gay, I assumed I knew how God felt about gay people, and I assumed I knew what he would want me to do with my life. I was not in the habit of asking God questions, or questioning any aspect of his plan.
As I went through the reconciliation process, I received spiritual insights that changed my perspectives. These came bit by bit, each one teaching me a great lesson and providing me with more peace and understanding. One example of these bits was feeling that being gay would not keep me from becoming the man God wanted me to be. Prior to this, I believed that I could not reach my potential if I were gay. I now believe that it is only the gay Carson, not some imaginary straight one that will be able to do and become what he is supposed to in this life.
This is one example of many where a previous belief was modified by an experience. After repeatedly having this nature of experience, I learned to adopt a more humble attitude regarding revelation. No longer do I assume to know what God will expect of me, nor do I assume to know exactly where he is leading me. While learning to reconcile being gay and Mormon has been a challenge, being gay has been also been a gift in many ways. Among other blessings, I now have a more realistic relationship with God than I did before. How was I supposed to personally know a being I never had to consult regarding any truly personal decisions?
Since coming out and having learned so many things about the intersection of my faith and sexual orientation, I have become passionate about changing the environment surrounding LGBT Mormons. The lessons I have learned have impacted me so positively that I feel compelled to share them and my experiences with LGBT people and non-LGBT people alike. I truly believe that an understanding and involvement in LGBT issues, regardless of orientation, provides an optimal environment for all to love and live more as the Savior did.