Faces of Affirmation

Trevor

TCookShenyang, Liaoning, China

About Me

Currently I am serving a tour in China as a non-career consular office in the U.S. Foreign Service. The work is fascinating, and I enjoy interacting with the locals in an official capacity. When I finish this summer, I look forward to being more involved in the Mormon/religious LGBT community.

I enjoy reading, learning, writing, hiking, and board games! I have a deep desire to invest in my local community, wherever it be, and be a force for good.

My Story

I grew up in an archetypically Mormon household in Arizona. As the oldest of six kids, I participated actively in church meetings, youth programs, and seminary. My deep personal spiritual life of study and prayer led me to gain a strong testimony of the Gospel as I understood it, despite–or, rather, because of–my discovery and process of attempting to make sense of my homosexual experience.

I always felt the Lord’s care and concern for me and felt that his plan for me growing up was just to keep doing what I knew was right. I felt his encouragement and approval as I served a mission in Calgary, Canada, and then continued my studies at the Church school: Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.

As I finished up at BYU, I began to feel a sense of general dissatisfaction and that my life was missing something. I chalked it up to scholastic burnout and looked forward to having a “productive” job that would lift me out of this rut. However, when a post-graduate six-month internship in Hong Kong placed me in a situation that corresponded very well to what I could expect from my post-graduation professional life, I realized that something had to change, that I could not be happy continuing on the path I was of assumed celibacy (i.e. not considering other options but not really addressing the prospect head-on, either) and, most of all, pretending to be straight.

The three years since then have been a confusing, halting journey as I have tried to understand myself, my life, and my role in God’s plan. It has surprised me to realize how much pain I and others in the nexus of LGBT and Mormon have been subjected to and–worse–how much of that has been completely unnecessary. This realization drives me to do whatever I can to make the situation better for current and future LGBT Mormons.

My continued activity in the Church puzzles me. On the one hand, I’ve never felt like I wanted to leave the Church or disagreed with the bulk of its teachings. But, on the other, I frequently feel like I am being pushed out against my will, just because of who I am and the lack of anything the Church seems to be able to offer me, as a gay person, regardless of whether or not I follow its prescription of celibacy. I continue to mostly live the standards of the Church, participate as much as I am comfortable, and try to make a contribution to the establishment of “Zion,” an idea which appeals to me and toward which I am willing to strive, even if the “Celestial Kingdom” is, for now, explicitly barred to me.

I knew about Affirmation for a while, through the internet, but for a long time I had a fairly negative opinion about it. When I was in Washington, D.C., in 2012 for my job training, I happened to meet current president Randall Thacker and everything changed.

Now I am on the national leadership team and try to contribute however I can despite my remoteness and the time difference.

 

One thought on “Trevor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2019 Affirmation International Conference

There’s still time to register for the 2019 Affirmation International Conference being held June 21-23 in Provo, Utah. You won’t want to miss the incredible speakers and workshops we have planned for you this year. Plus we still have special rates for couples and families!

More Info and Registration