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Singing at church a decade after being told I couldn’t as a gay man

Rance Wright

March 1, 2015

Rance Wright

by Rance Wright

I was asked recently to share my thoughts about being given the chance to sing at church.  And why after 9-10 years of being told by church leaders that I was not worthy due to my openly gay lifestyle was it such a huge deal to me. Here is a small glimpse into that moment for me.

First off, yes it was a big deal to me, for everything about my testimony in my life has been based on music.  I feel God near when I sing.  I know that He exists through this higher talent I’ve been given through voice.  About 9-10 years ago when I was being dis-fellowshipped from the church for living an active gay lifestyle, one of the stake high councilors in the St. George East Stake knew my love for singing and told me that continuing to perform would only assist in me being gay.  He decided that I should not be allowed to sing as long as I was actively pursuing the gay lifestyle.  All the council heard, and I was told, was that I could no longer sing in church. He told me that gay men are mostly found in my choice of career. We all know how that is NOT true.  I knew at that moment that what he was saying was not of God.  So my faith in my church leaders began to dwindle.  I started to lose faith.  And in a way, I started to lose sight of God.

As I child I was molested by my Scoutmaster, so this hasn’t helped the cause at all.  It has confused my very core as a human being. I got involved in drugs, alcohol, and wild behaviors sexually.  I was seeking any form of acceptance and love.  And I most definitely could not find it in the Mormon Church.  I still can’t find it in the Mormon Church sadly.  They have created no guidance or hope for gays.

When I sang two weeks ago at the Single Adults Branch in New York City…it was as if the audience was given a glance into the last 20 years of my life.  The moment I opened my mouth and began to sing (cry/speak) these words “Where can I turn for peace…” I literally asked that of God. For twenty years I have literally been without.  Throughout the piece, it got stronger and stronger, for I felt the support of my friends.  After I was done, there were many eyes filled with tears.  I turned to exit the podium and was asked by the stake councilman to stay and share why this moment touched me so deeply.  I started with,  “Well, I’m gay,” and shared a simple story.

That day, nearly 32 friends of mine from Affirmation and all walks of life came in support of this major moment in my life.  We doubled the attendance at that branch that day.  I can never thank my friends and Jon Pinney enough for sharing this beautiful day with me.  You, my friends, are where I see God’s light.  For like you, God comes with no judgment of me, he loves me unconditionally and loves me for being the beautiful imperfect GAY that I am.  God speed dear friends.


  1. Roger Cazier on March 1, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    I Was raised in your parents home town. Your mother treated me like I was somebody, at a time in my life when I didn’t think much of myself. We have remained good friends over the years here in St. George.
    I was talking to a friend about the anger I was feeling about one of my daughters who has not lived a great life, I realized that I am sinful too, and didn’t want Father in Heaven angry with me, In fact I have felt his love and forgiveness often so I knew that I was wrong to feel angry. This friend explained “Father has a plan for us all, Jesus came to pay all our debt, He will make up where we fall short, we all have faults,that the Celestial kingdom is not the shape of a pyramid but the opposite, that the celestial kingdom will be fuller than the other kingdoms, because Father wants to be with as many of his children as possible. Keep working on your faith. Song is a great tool through which we can feel the spirit. Father will bless you as you exercise faith in him, be prayerful, prayer is the key to Heaven.

  2. Patrick on March 2, 2015 at 12:39 AM

    Amazing experience my dear fella.
    It is really, really good to read such stories as urs.

    Pd. U’ve got the most amazing blue eyes.

  3. John Arnaldi on March 2, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    Thank you for sharing your many gifts. Thank you for continuing to sing out your truth so courageously. Big hugs!

  4. Max on March 3, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    I don’t even know what I am wanting to comment except that I feel the same way. Music is my life. I would sing in church every other month growing up. I love it.
    I feel like such a coward because I am 30 and gay and have only told 2 friends for fear of how people will react. And that has only happened in the last two months.
    I guess I want to say thanks for sharing this story. It makes me feel a little less…alone.

  5. alan on March 9, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    Absolutely touching! I most definitely identify. Any video footage?

  6. Sergio Oscar Alunni on December 16, 2020 at 10:08 AM

    Mi querido Hermano y si me lo permites amigo Rance y todos los que aqui lean mi saludo: he sido bautizado y recibi el sacerdocio de Aaron mis 17 años en Argentina, en lo que en ese momento era el Barrio de Moreno con una unica Capilla…la que vi construirse asi como el Templo de Ezeiza el primero de mi pais…fui traicionado por un compañero de trabajo al que siendo miembros SUD le confese mi preferencia gay y al poco tiempo yo un joven mormon de 19 años el un adulto de mas de 44 fue llamado como Obispo en mi cmunidad…recibi en el lugar de trabajo por parte de el una amenaza de que seria excomulgado de la iglesia por ser gay…por joven inexperto me asuste y deje de asisitir a la capilla y me aleje de la Iglesia hasta hoy 14 de diciembre del 2020 teniendo 54 años…viviendo mi vida de una manera etica y moral….como cualquier ser humanos y de manera Cristiana…pero algo que no puedo saber como explicarlo…llegue a Afimacion y retome contacto con la Iglesia nuevamente….Al dia de hoy estoy en proceso de reincorporarme de manera actvia…pero como desapareci tantos años de la Iglñesia estan investigando mi situacion real: por lo que aun no sabemos si fui excomulgado aunuqe jamas me llamaron a una reunion disciplinaria ni fui notificado sobre nada…en los registros de la estaca no hay datos mios…asique ahora averiguaran en estos dias en la iglesia en el centro de datos geenrales para ver si hay algo sobre mi….Actualemnte vivio hace años en La ciudad de Quilmes (Barrio Quilmes 3 ) mi obispo de 29 años un joven ex misionero con una viison mas moderna y adecuada also tiempos actuales…se ha mostardo muy feliz de ayudarme a regresar…mi relacion con los misioneros es alta y a veces oficio como un misionero de barrio junto a ellos….si bien no hemos alcarado mi persona como un miembro Gay …en la comunidad si lo saben las autoridades…y no he recibido por ahora mas que amistad y muy buena acogida…

    E estos años que he vivido me recibi como Licenciado en Teologia y me especialice en Teologia QUERR-LGTBIQ y comparto estas cosas con mi obispo y misioneros…los que la reciben muy bien y me agradecen les coaprta otra mirada y tambien les comarto mucho material sobre Afirmacion….

    En lo personal me he sentido con el llamamiento a trabajar y luchar desde dentro de la Igelsia para que los cmabios sean favorabes para nosotros los LGTBIQ y para que el actual Presidnete Nelson pueda junto a la demas autoridades recibir esa revelacion necesaria para que los Gays seamos parte del plan divino de la planificacion eterna familiar…y ejerzamos enplenitud nuestra vida afectiva y minsterios o llamamientos como cualquier miembro en la Iglesia …pues trabajndo desde adentro lograremos quizas mas que dejando que otros ocupen los espacios que nos son hoy en su totalidad negados por como se dice lecturas e interpretaciones ambiguas que en palabras del hermano Daniel Beker el lo dice muy claro: basándose en argumentos que, si se quiere estudiar en profundidad, se basan en su mayoría en tradiciones, estereotipos y un carácter muy anacrónico. interpretación de las escrituras.

    asique mi amigo y hermano y demas hermanos de la Igelsia en actividad y no actividad : tengo mucho para contarles de mi vida…y mucho aun por trabajar…

    Te abrazo desde donde tu yo estemos…

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