me now400Jacob realized he was gay only a few months before he left for me missionary400his LDS mission. He served in the San Jose, Costa Rica mission from August 2012 to September 2013.

While serving in Costa Rica, a zone leader became attracted to Jacob, and as they began to do “splits,” Jacob and his zone leader would occasionally “cuddle” in bed – but did not engage in any overt sexual behaviors.

This is Jacob’s mission story.



  1. Alex August 30, 2016 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Jake, I have so much respect for you. You have always been such a kind guy with a great heart. I wish that we would have stayed closer throughout and after high school. Sounds like you are doing well and I’m so happy for you.

  2. Sharon Jensen August 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I just listened to this podcast. Wonderful Jacob!! I usually have a hard time finding time to listen to long podcasts but I love them and yours really kept my attention and interest. I think it’s so important that you shared your story and were honest about everything. It will help so many people. I loved your thoughts about the things the Church could change to help these situations regarding missions. How about they also get rid of that horrid song “I Hope They Call Me On. Mission”!?!!!
    Our son got called to serve in Argentina in ’96. He came home from the MTC after 6 weeks due to anxiety and depression. It was really hard for him. We picked him up and as we walked out the doors of the MTC, the Branch Pres said “now elder jensen, you realize don’t you, that you can never attend BYU right?” We were so bugged. Our son turned around and said “don’t worry, I wouldn’t want to”. Anyway….he had a hard time coming home although remained active in the church for a long time. He has some very interesting stories regarding the church since then and now has resigned. Stories that would make your head spin….or maybe not! :)
    Thank you again and thanks John Dehlin! Best of luck and happiness to you Jacob!!
    Sincerely, Sharon Jensen

  3. Debbie August 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for having the courage to share your story.
    I’m not LDS myself but I have many LDS people in my extended family – probably at least 100 now because there are three generations involved. I also have friends who are most likely gay but because they attend evangelical churches they are probably afraid to come out to themselves, let alone family or fellow church members.
    I think it is very likely that your video will (literally) save someone’s life.
    I’m glad to hear that you are happier and enjoying life now.
    Again – thank you for your courage and inspiring words.

  4. LumanWaltersMindFreak August 30, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Good, good kid. What a bunch of bs that he had to go through that.

  5. Kim Croft August 30, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Perhaps policy has changed – but back in the 80s I was in a bishopric while living on the east coast attending grad school. I was only in that position for 6 months before we left the area – but I was involved in three different disciplinary councils (I think we still called them church courts then). (I have to say – the bishop was much more lenient than I would have suspected – he was rather hard-nosed about most things, but in these cases, he was extremely kind, caring, and much more lenient than I would have imagined). Two of the cases ended with formal probation – and the third in disfellowshipment. The justification for the disfellowshipment was there was no means of follow-up for probation – which was purely a local matter. The person involved was moving back to Utah, and the bishop wanted to ensure there was some type of follow-up – so the verdict was disfellowshipment.

    It well may be the local authorities didn’t know how to proceed with the imposition of formal probation – because it sounded liked Jacob’s reporting of it was the only source they had. Disfellowshipment is noted on the membership record – probation is not.

    Beyond that –

    Jacob – you sound like a great guy. Hang in there –

  6. Gail K August 30, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Jacob, thank you for sharing your story. I feel that being sent home PLUS 9 months probation was a result of Leadership roulette. I know a missionary who kissed his companion, his companion confessed, and neither of them got in any trouble. Their parents were not informed by anyone other than their own son if and when he chose to reveal it. I only know the one who chose to reveal it. That you were treated so harshly is definitely the choice of the Mission President and perhaps his counselors.

    I am so happy that you are now open and have found joy living the life you were meant to have with opportunities to love and be loved by one you can be truly intimate with as nature intended.

    May you continue in joy and love and happiness.

  7. Ben M August 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Jacob, What a wonderful young man you are. The love your parents have had for you growing up is evident in your story and your present circumstances. Our society is sometimes seen to have so much hate and bad in it, but you are one of society’s hopes for the future. Don’t get discouraged or lost in the negatives around you. Seek out those like John who can see the goodness and light in your heart. Any religion that demeans good people like yourself has some serious if not fatal flaws. Much happiness to you in your future life.

  8. Duck August 30, 2016 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    So terrifying about his companion who told him he’d held knives at previous companions throats while they slept. I want to know why HE was not sent home to go to severe counseling??

    Jacob’s story was so poignant and made me weep. I was so grateful that his mission president made things as loving as might have been possible. i do not understand why Jacob was not simply moved to another area and left to be able to finish his mission.

    As a gay member myself, i could certainly relate to a lot of what Jacob said during those podcast. I didn’t figure out i was gay until after my mission, so he is not the oldest to discover this about himself… I am pretty sure i have him beat by a bit.

    Thank you for being so open, and so honest, Jacob, in what you have shared. I am so sorry for all the pain and emotional upheval you endured. I do not know how you managed to keep it together with such a terrifying companion as you described. I am so glad you let someone know what was happening and you got people there to help protect you.

    Sending love, Duck

  9. Timothy Roberts August 31, 2016 at 4:50 am - Reply

    I am so impressed with your story. Being raised Catholic, the experience is so very similar, however, the openness that you have experienced is something that I only long for, After a lifetime of living 2 lives, I find it very freeing to hear your story, thanks for sharing.

  10. Bliss Doubt August 31, 2016 at 7:43 am - Reply

    I listen with fascination to these stories of young men discovering their sexual orientation while on a dual mission to save souls and stifle their own souls. Ever so long ago, my high school sweetheart, whom I was set to marry once he finished college, began discovering his same sex attraction while we dated, a situation which worked itself out painfully as he tried to deny and suppress it, experienced bizarre dreams and physical expressions of anxiety until he went to college, found out he wasn’t the only gay man in the world, and was finally able to accept himself and begin coming out. One of the interviews in which your guest explained that when you try to respond to the opposite sex, your attraction to the same sex just grows and becomes ever more ardent and painful in its unexpressed state. That explained a lot.

    As I listened to Jacob’s story, it came home to me that so much of what we have is being squandered on outdated social mores, with people trying to hammer themselves into an acceptable shape while other countries execute gay people under their laws. You have to grab your freedom before someone else grabs it from you. Jacob and other young Mormon men like him are all too kind to a church that sleeps, in denial of the divine potential in every human, in denial of the tool kit left by Joseph Smith in the form of the law of adoption. The device is there for the inclusion of gay people in the highest realm of heaven, while narrow minded men offer them social damnation and the withholding of spiritual gifts. What a pathetic shame.

    Even with all of the controversy surrounding that rascal Joseph Smith, through thoughtful sites like this one I continue to discover that the breadth and depth of his thinking is not half understood or tapped by his church. Mother in Heaven is in that tool kit too, in an era when women throughout western cultures are thirsting for knowledge of the divine feminine, but she must not be spoken of. Perhaps the men at the helm of things will recognize all of the potential in that tool kit before it’s too late.

  11. beth August 31, 2016 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Really great podcast Jacob, thank you, it was lovely to listen to, hi from England, jon is doing such a wonderful work, helping so many of us struggling individuals here, l so appreciate his hard work in helping us all in the ways he does, thank you so much for sharing your story with such love care and honestly, l pray the church will really start to become more open and honest in every way and more caring and compassionate and understanding of each person’s needs. l am so thankful for these wonderful podcasts and for people like jon who are out there trying to support those in need, great job jon, all the very best Jacob for the future, keep smiling and going forward and making a happy life for yourself, bless you and your family,

  12. Joshua Hayes-Fugal August 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Jacob’s interview gets at the issue of perfectionism that a lot of queer Mormons experience. I saw a lot of myself in his story. Being on a mission for me was an experience in non-stop guilt and shame, which let to an obsession with the rules. It’s really hard not to fall into the trap of feeling like those rules will save you from what you perceive as the darkness inside you (at least that’s how it was for me). I was lucky enough that things didn’t fall apart for me until shortly after my mission, but like Jacob I initially tried to resign myself to the idea of celibacy, again believing that just obeying the rules would make everything work out for me somehow. Of course, that idea quickly broke down. I’m glad it did for Jacob too. It truly is wonderful to get out there and experience relationships with other men and realize that they don’t have to make you feel wrong or impure, like you’re led to believe they will. I’ve been home from my mission for 4 years now, and married to a truly wonderful man for a year and a half; life is good and love is worth the struggle of casting off the fear that growing up queer and Mormon inevitably brings.

    The other thing that resonated strongly with me was what he said about feeling like he was going to disappoint his parents by not continuing the family line. I had that experience as well, and still do to some extent. Although we’ve had some rough patches since I came out, I enjoy a mostly positive relationship with my parents now. However I do sometimes consider how devastating the idea of not having me with them in the Celestial Kingdom must be for them. Although I don’t regret the choices I’ve made, it does cause me grief sometimes to think about what my reality means for theirs.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jacob! It’s an important one.

    • glenn August 31, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      “sometimes to think about what my reality means for theirs”
      This breaks my heart, sadly they are not living in reality and no one knows what is beyond the grave.
      I think you could view being gay as special like the flowers on a tree. Why would you want to be a leaf?
      Your unique in this way please exploit your opportunity.
      From one of the leaves : )

  13. Veronika August 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    One of the cruelest things about a mission is the mandate against normal expressions of physical and emotional affection. Cutting these adolescents off from family and old friends, forbidding them to date, etc., is oppressive and wrong.

    What’s horrifying to me about this missionary’s story is that whether the cuddling was for sexual or platonic comfort, the ultimate reaction of those in charge was punishment.

    When you step back from the missionary program, church schools, and other exclusionary and draconian LDS practices, it’s clear to see why some portray the church in such a negative light, even going so far as to call it cultish.

  14. Sam Young August 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Dear Jacob,
    I’m an active member. Congratulations on serving an HONORABLE mission! Thanks for so unselfishly serving my church. You made it work for over a year. Navigating the issues you faced during that time was obviously a daunting task. I would have been a miserable failure. I’m so happy that you have landed on your feet. It looks like you have chosen a good an proper path. All my best to you and Godspeed.

  15. Debbie August 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply


    I’m impressed with your honesty and integrity. I too thank you for serving an honorable mission in an honorable way. Best of luck to you! I too believe kindness is a perfectly wonder thing to build a life upon. In my opinion, kindness is more important then goodness. I enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing it.

  16. Kathy August 31, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    This story reveals how different Church leaders (e.g., your mission president versus your subsequent bishop) hold vastly divergent interpretations of what is considered confession-worthy sin or transgression: one pronounced dishonorable discharge and a nine-month probation for same-sex cuddling, while the other thought same-sex kissing didn’t even need to be confessed?! This disconnect within leaders’ interpretations of “sin” is confusing for members young and old, but for missionaries who are striving with all their might to live all the rules, it’s nothing less than crazy-making. Gail (above) mentioned “leadership roulette”–great term for this serious issue within the Church. I wish you all the best, Jacob.

    • Veronika September 1, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

      i often experienced this in singles wards–especially wards for those who were older. One bishop might consider passionate kissing sinful (as Spencer W. Kimball was known to say) while another bishop would openly say that he had total compassion for straight single people sleeping with each other while unmarried because the law of chastity was “so difficult, especially if you’ve been married before.”

    • Doubting Thomas September 2, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Confusing to say the least Kathy. Considering they claim to be acting on behalf of God I’d use the word inconsistent which takes you down the path that leads to the determination that Mormon leaders have no real connection to God. The worst scenario I’ve seen is a liberal bishop/stake president followed by an ultra-conservative bishop/stake president. Talk about confusing! Now these men can’t help who they are and will react how they choose to situations like Jacob and the others in this series. I think that is forgivable. Men and women make dumb decisions every day. It is the assertion that THEY and other Mormon leaders make that they speak for God… That is NOT forgivable

  17. Jated kitchen August 31, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply


  18. Tracey August 31, 2016 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Brave, Brave Boy. I hope others are inspired to be true to themselves so that they can be happy,,,,for heaven’s sake. After all it is called the plan of HAPPINESS! Good luck to you in all your endeavors.

  19. Marni September 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m not Mormon but I grew up and still live in Mesa, AZ so I guess you could say it’s always been a part of my life.
    I’m so glad you are doing well! The best advice for families was the example that yours set at your homecoming… especially your mom expressing how happy she was to have you back. That is love!
    I was a little surprised your companion wasn’t sent home for mental/legal issues. Seems that your superiors took a huge risk letting him stay. And on top of that he had either committed crimes against other people, was having thoughts of continuing these harmful acts or he was lying about it to scare or coerce you and that is acceptable missionary behavior?! hmm…
    Thank your for your honesty and advice. I’m sure you will help so many people.
    Love and happiness,

  20. Emma September 2, 2016 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Jacob you’re only 23 and you’re still in your journey learning to think for yourself
    I think the more you realize the roots of this church are lies you come to realize that the present policies and doctrines are also
    The reality is members and leaders of the church can sound loving –smile and even hug you–and yet still reject and judge you-extremely hurtful

    It has been so ingrained in you to respect and honor the church that you immediately blame yourself and think you are wrong
    The fact that you still say your mission president was a good kind man shows you don’t recognize how the church worked through him to reject you
    His decision to send you home was hurtful and cruel
    As well as his decision to keep you with a crazy dangerous companion

    You have suffered so much guilt and Remorse and pain and even fear needlessly!! you have experienced so much rejection and judgment needlessly! As you come to realize this you will able see what your religion has done to you more clearly

    Your religion was a culture and all consuming way of life and it affected you in ways you don’t realize
    Members of the church and leaders may have good intentions …..But the culture and core beliefs put great pressure to conform and be judged
    Whether you realize it or not your whole life you have been pressured and given guilt trips to make you conform even if it is camouflaged by outward appearances of love and concern
    I think for those raised in a that environment it’s going to take many years to separate yourself and feel completely independent inyou’re thinking and choices–

    The truth is they don’t have all the answers –their opinion of what is right and wrong is just man’s opinion it is not based on revelation from God (actually most of it is based on lies) therefore you’re opinion is just as valid as there’s
    Thank you for sharing your journey
    You’re a good Man Charlie Brown😀

  21. Emma September 2, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I forgot to thank John for spending some time asking questions about doctrine and history that contributed to your decision that the church was not true
    I also want to encourage Jason to move to Oregon where he will feel accepted and appreciated for who he is and not judged. it would be a much better environment for you and your future companion and possibly children you adopt🌲🌲🌲

  22. Emma September 2, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Sorry Jacob not jason😊

  23. Frank September 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Jacob’s interview was incredible. Thank you for sharing it.

  24. Anonymous September 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Was it cuddling, or cuddling with benefits aka levi-loving?

  25. Ken September 2, 2016 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Jacob, I was a gay missionary many years ago. I was too scared & “closeted” to cuddle with anyone, let alone confess my attraction to men. But you served your mission well. And in my book, you have an honorable release from your interview on Mormon Stories. Good that you learned early how to think critically, and to be true to yourself. Good luck in whatever you decide to do with your life!

  26. Janice September 3, 2016 at 10:55 am - Reply

    What a wonderful young man you are. I am sure your parents are proud. Thank you for your honesty which was shared though such compassion to both others and yourself. Sounds like you are evolving solutions to some huge challenges of the heart and soul Well done!
    Your thoughtful suggestions for other young people considering a mission are powerful. May you create love and happiness in your life.

  27. Ron September 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Jacob, you indeed served an honorable mission. Even if not by the LDS view, more truly and importantly in the eyes of life. You were true to yourself, which is the measure of a man. You are a hero and deserve a hero’s welcome home. Like the Vietnam War American veterans, who never received a ticker tape parade on their return, but instead general shame for their innocent part and sacrifices in the War–you too were (many still are) embattled for the soul “God” gave you–something we hated ourselves for, but now beyond acceptance we love. Though being gay doesn’t make life easy (what does?), like in the above comment by Ken I too agree…you deserve that parade, nothing less. Besides the value of your own esteem and searching for who you are in this cosmos, I think will be the esteem you instill in others. Indeed, as Debbie said above, you will help save some of our family of “investigators” in life, as all the other Missionary and other interviews by our good brother Dehlin do. May you, the others, and fellow viewers, keep shining…in the light.

  28. Bak Irish September 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I attended the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Provo Canyon last week. They had two pairs of sister missionaries helping out at the venue. I watched as one of the pairs walked up the sidewalk hugging shoulder to shoulder. I could definitely describe it as “cuddling.” There were lots of people around but no one appeared to even notice. I thought of this podcast. I guess there are two differences here: 1) public vs private, 2) sisters vs elders. In our culture, women showing affection is more accepted than men doing so?

  29. RLeeG September 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Great story. Good luck going forward Jacob! I was happy to hear how great your family was at handling everything and how hard they tried to make you feel okay. The whole airport part was pretty heartbreaking, but I just thought, man, your family really tried to make sure you knew they were proud.

  30. Paul September 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    This was such a powerful story. I admire you Jacob and you’re courage. I wish I could be so strong.

  31. LK September 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Hey Jacob, thank you for your courage and for sharing your story. Interestingly enough, my father baptized the first member of the church in a river in Costa Rica while serving his mission there.
    I didn’t come out until I was nearly 51 and now have a husband of three years. I wish you all the best!

  32. JW September 11, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Dear Jacob, I can relate to your story very much. Even though I am not gay, I also struggled as a young man and missionary with guilt and shame, and have felt the fear and trepidation of confessions as well as the irrational terror later on of coming out to my Mormon family as having removed my membership from the church. Your statement about being ok with not knowing what you believe about God really resonated with me. One of the comforts of being a True Believing Mormon is “knowing the truth” because then you feel like you have all the answers to life. Taking those first steps of letting go of that false knowledge and going into that realm of not knowing is really scary at first. That said, it is also liberating as you’re finally able to really think about what *you* want to believe in and do of your own will, just like you said. Thank you for sharing your story.

  33. gaymobro September 12, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Jacob, thanks so much for sharing your story! I love your call for LGBT members struggling to not think in all or nothing extremes. And for everyone to find their own path. Love it.

  34. Paul September 19, 2016 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Jacob, you are a wonderful young man, honest and kind and more Christlike than those who judged you. It is common for us to lose all our faith when we leave the church but I hope you will still come to know the Christ that loves you unconditionally. Thank you for your honesty and cantor. I wish you all the happiness in the world..

  35. Matthew E Tuttle January 14, 2020 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I watched the whole video. I was very impressed with how open he was with such a private subject.
    I told one extended family member that I was gay, only after I turned 56. People knew but never said anything.
    It was easy to listen to Jacob’s story because he was so clean-cut. He talked about important matters with ease.
    He looked into the camera almost all of the time. I think that he wanted the viewers to know that he was serious about the subject. I respect him for that.

    I hope that God blesses him.

  36. James Lieberman March 7, 2020 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Hello, Jacob,

    I’m James and am a gay Saint. I’ll admit that the way I ran into your story is that a video popped up in youtube on the subject of gay missionaries with a _really_ cute face on it, so I went in for a closer look. [Hey, at least I am honest about it :) ] I am glad that I was able to hear your story and give you kudos for your willingness to be so honest and vulnerable to an anonymous, online audience. I imagine that such a thing cannot be easy. Males in our culture are so quick to equate vulnerability with weakness.

    I was struck by your suffering and am grateful that you are doing much better now. The most important aspect of all of this is that when the thoughts of checking out came, you chose life. Thank you so much for that!

    I elected to stay in the Church and live a celibate life, so we obviously disagree on a few things, but I still appreciated your story. I spent a long while last night thinking about your being sent home and put on probation. Since I don’t know the intricacies of your situation, I started thinking about my mission and what my mission president would probably have done if I had cuddled with another missionary several times. My president wasn’t as outwardly loving as yours sounded like, incidentally, and I imagine him responding with anger. He usually did when something affected another missionary (i.e. if one had resisted temptation, he wouldn’t be losing two). In any case, he would have definitely told me that if he had an elder cuddle all night with a female even once, he would send them home. I would be stunned if doing it four times wouldn’t have also gotten me on probation. And this was 20 years ago, before they “raised the bar” on acceptable behavior from missionaries.

    Let me hasten to add that I am not telling you that you shouldn’t feel the way you do about the consequences. Your feelings are your own and are informed by a multitude of factors I could not even possibly guess at. I am trying to provide a useful perspective by telling you what I think my mission president would have done if I had done the same thing.

    There is nothing wrong with the simplicity of saying that you believe in being kind and good to people. The Dalai Lama has remarked that, “My religion is kindness.”

    All the best!


  37. James Lieberman March 7, 2020 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    P.S. I didn’t accept that I was gay until about six months after I got home (at the age of 23), so I got you beat in the last to face reality competition ;)

  38. John Cubbidge June 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Jake,
    Just found your story on you tube and it really made me resonate.
    I was 23 when I went on my mission and had an idea about my sexuality but thought that would all go away if my mind was focussed on doing the work.

    I didn’t complete my mission and came home after a tough year in my head, didn’t tell the Mission President anything but didn’t want to risk being outed by companions

    I left the Church which left a big hole in my life, but eventually came to like myself by realising that Heavenly Father had sent me here as a gay man, and as the Church didn’t allow me any love, that wasn’t the God I had come to know.

    That was about 50 years ago when it really wasn’t cool to be gay, but like you I live a life that I hope people will judge as good.
    I still stay in touch with a few LDS friends but am no longer religious.
    I’m sorry you had to go through the pain you did, but it seems you have used it to your advantage.

    Take care Brother
    John in Australia

  39. David Good June 16, 2023 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    God loves everyone!

    God creates LGBTQ+ but humans deny it. Know that God’s love is as plentiful as sunshine.

  40. Dwight Cook June 19, 2023 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Hi Jacob
    Thank you so much for having the courage to be so transparent and honest. While there is 40 years difference in our ages, I feel many similarities in our stories. I barely made it through my mission (Spain, late 70s) and got married because the church then was telling people that getting married would “make everything right.” As you described, I felt devastated as I came out as I lost my complete world moral view, sense of self, and community. It took me many years to build my own life. I continue to build.
    The lost young man I was then could have no idea of the wonderful life I have now. I have a moral ground that is my own. I have a huge community of love that is based on an assumption of equal worth and a shared journey through life. I am doing what I love with people I love and, I believe, having an impact.
    I am excited to see more of your journey and experience. I hope there is another Mormon Stories podcast 10 years from now where you relate where you are at in your life then.

  41. Rob June 26, 2023 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Jee, I watched this on June 26, 2023. I wonder how and where Jacob is today! He must be all grown up by now. Well, how beautiful it was to watch this video and Jacob, I hope you still have that cute smile you had when you made this video. I really believe that you still believe in God and Jesus Christ, maybe you were angry when you made this video and I don’t blame you because I still feel it to this day, but I’m very happy that you got over all that and you were very happy at that moment you did this interview. The funny thing about the church is that they kept that the social path guy but let you go due to cuddling. Well I have a long story and maybe I share one day with all of you. Jacob, I hope you are happy today, maybe married to a handsome guy and maybe with kids because we “gay people” can also build a beautiful family. 😘 Rob

  42. BRENT July 1, 2023 at 12:40 am - Reply

    how brave of you to share your story when sharing intimate de tails can be so intimidating. having made it through my mission with out incident, l will say I also had a crush on a couple Elders, and I can’t imagine what I would have done if I was sleeping with one of them.

    Being the only boy with 3 sisters in my family not being able to carry on the family name for my Father is still a sad thing for me.

    I’m 44 years older than you but find there is always the hesitations about chruch standards that still give me pause. I have been able to compartmentalize these things and give them pause.

    I had many friends who hated the Church because of their life style but I could just never go there. I do have my questions about things but I still find the Church means a lot to me. I am one of those members who just find such good councel from the brothern at conference time.

    Hang on to all good counsel, live your life in a godly way for a gay man.
    our heavenly father will tell us one day…Why… it was our lot to have to deal with this very difficult part of our life. things can really go down the rabbit hole in this life. hang on to your life lessons. Your parents sound great.

    I know that the Lord loves us and one day we will understand why this is our lot in life. Believe me it will be a question I will ask when I cross over.
    Every one of us gay members of
    the Church of Jesus Christ have our stories, hold on to those things you know to be true. one day maybe we can talk. We do have a lot in common even after all these years.
    All the best to you.

    I certainly get it.

    Your Pod cast touched me


  43. Douglas Hughes July 3, 2023 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Wow! What a fascinating and gut wrenching series of experiences you shared. I myself am not LDS, though I’ve been “with” LDS guys (shhhhhh…). The questions and your responses were great! I appreciate your vulnerability, authenticity and willingness to be honest with us. I sent you a Facebook friend request because you said one thing specifically that caught my attention. You mentioned that when you were 19 you had a moment, an epiphany about your sexuality, a moment of acceptance. You described it a peace, a Holy Spirit moment. Anyway, I’d love to talk with you about this because that same thing happened to me twice (Holy Spirit moment). Once when I was 15 and again when I was 22. I never would have come out but for those experiences. I didn’t know what laid ahead for me, I didn’t know that my mother would have our pastor stop the service and have me escorted out of the church forever for defying his orders to not take communion. I didn’t realize that my family (except my father) would all disown me… I didn’t know I would lose all but one high school, church and university friends… but in the end, I couldn’t ignore those powerful Holy Spirit moments. It kept me going. The one thing I learned is this. Religion is mankind’s attempt to wrap God into their boxes. Such arrogance that anyone would think they know the mind of God. It’s best to let God be God and let God reveal Gods self to each of us as God see fit. I’m not going to let churches, religious institutions etc ruin my personal and private relationship with God. Anyway I’d love to chat…

  44. Ed Fruscello July 6, 2023 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Jacob what a wonderful and inspiring story! You are a remarkable man and it’s sad that LDS lost
    such a devout and committed follower because of some ancient, puritanical rules. What you did
    (cuddling) to me is a manifestation of being a really good and loving person. I truly admire you and
    enjoyed hearing your story, and I’m especially pleased that you have managed to survive your “ordeal” and come out with such a healthy and seemingly happy attitude.

    I know your post was old when I just read it, but I hope that your life has continued to be happy for you. I have such admiration and respect for you.

  45. Keith July 7, 2023 at 9:22 am - Reply

    A very brave guy to grow personally without the guidance of your community.
    I’m not sure of all the acronyms in your church mentioned here. I came out at 30 when it was illegal to be gay in Australia in my state.
    In the end honesty of your trueself is rewarded hopefully.
    You should be proud as a mentor to others.

  46. michael July 7, 2023 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I recently found it on Youtube. For a young guy, you had not only amazing courage to tell your story and to follow your heart and conscience, but incredible insight into what you wanted and who you are. I hope your journey will continue to be amazing. I’m a 70-year-old Catholic priest, and obviously not a member of LDS – and have heard few stories more inspiring.

  47. Ike M. July 16, 2023 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Dear Jacob,

    It is almost 7 years since you told your story with such profound honesty. If there is a way for you to tell us the “rest of the story,” it would be so helpful. I’m sure you have learned a lot about yourself, life, love, God, etc. in these years. I can’t help but wonder how you are really doing these days.

    I was raised in a different, very conservative “minority” church. I was also a missionary, in Latin America and Asia. I am also gay, which affected my mission experience and certainly my relationships with the church and God.

    Unlike you, I was raised in a different time, and was very late to admit to myself who I was. At 60, I am still not really able to come to terms with my sexuality and am very selectively out. I have never had a long-term relationship and doubt I ever will. So your bravery to tell your story in such a public forum is awe inspiring, and probably very healing in many ways.

    I certainly wish you all the best and hope your life and faith has found a stable, grateful place to live.

  48. "Dutch" Emler July 22, 2023 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Dear Jacob,
    Thank you so much for telling your story. Many parts remind me of my struggles. What got to me at the end was when (I’ll give him the respect of) “Dr. John” asked you if your belief of “be kind and loving to others” was enough. That sounds more than good enough for me. After all the “Golden Rule” from Matthew 7:12 “do to others what you would have them do to you” sounds like the same thing to me. And that is just about all it takes. Plus maybe the Serenity Prayer. And it only took me 35 years to get their and stayed with me till by current age of 66.

    My journey of faith, no faith, and finding God and faith again; has been a long and diverse path.

    How did a 17 year old Elder of the Presbyterian, Eagle Scout, Bronze palm, Senor Patrol leader, Order of the Arrow – Brotherhood, God and Country Award wining, virgin until 22 . . . become the Gay, drunk, broke, HIV+ mess I was by 32. I like to joke that I followed my mother’s advice. “Anything worth doing is woth doing right,” and “Practice makes perfect.”

    In the end I had to forgive my self for many short commings and realize that I “faith” was the goal, not Fact. So I faked it until I made it. Relied on simple prayers like “God please bring my my Greatest and Highest Good Today” and “God thank you for keeping me sober today. Please show me your Greates and Highest Good.” and it worked in less then one year. I learned that hope with a track record leads to faith with a tract record, which leads to belief. I learned that religion is too easily corrupted. No wonder surveys have shown a constant drop in those that are “religious” (Morman, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu). But a constant rise in “Spiritual”

    God still love you Jacob. After he needs queers like me to make everything “Fabulous”!

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