A student at the Mormon Brigham Young University in Utah, has recorded his experience of coming out in a video which he says he hopes more people to understand what it is like being gay and Mormon.
Jimmy Hales recorded the YouTube video published earlier this week, which shows live footage of him coming out to friends and family.
He describes it as: “Studying at BYU as a closet gay Mormon has been quite an experience. I finally decided to come out and stop living a lie. I’m still, and will forever be, a faithful Mormon, so it looks like I’m not going to marry and therefore live a single life through this mortal existence. Sucks.”
Before showing his coming out experiences, Mr Hales introduces the video, explaining why he made it.
He says: “So what does being a gay Mormon mean? Well it means that I’m going to live a celibate live. Sucks. It has been very hard and frankly, us gay Mormons, we need your help.
“We’re already very lonely. It doesn’t help that people pretend like, or act like, we’re not here. Coming out to people has been very difficult. In fact the hardest person to come out to was myself.”
He then comes out to his mother, brother and sister, and several college and high school friends. Most react by saying they are shocked, but most say they are proud of him.
He concludes: “As a Mormon, I have an internal perspective, and that is what keeps me going. It still sucks. The doctrine of the Mormon Church isn’t going to change.
“But members of the church are changing in that they are becoming more understanding about those of us who are gay and Mormon.
“Ever since I started coming out and telling people that I’m gay, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of me. I think prior to now the biggest problem was ignorance. People had no reason to incentive to think of this.
“People have reached out with love and understanding, empathy. And for you straight people out there, it might be difficult to get your head wrapped around this. It’s not easy.
“To you other gay Mormons out there, just know that you’re not alone. If you choose to come out, come out in your own way, in your own time.
“I hope this video has helped you to understand more about those of us who are gay and Mormon.”
In December, leaders of the Mormon Church launched a new website which, despite saying the church is still opposed to same-sex marriage, encouraged churchgoers to be more compassionate in discussions over homosexuality.