Hi everybody, I'd like to begin with a little background on myself.  My name is James, I have been born and raised my entire life in a strong Faithful Mormon family in Utah.  I always grew up with the understanding that the church was true and that was that, I fulfilled my callings well, was Deacons quorum president, Teachers quorum president, then Priests 1st counselor, earned my "Duty to God" and Eagle Scout.  By all means I was the shining example in my ward for  what a youth should have been.  I never questioned the faith but instead just continued on in ignorant bliss, until I was 18. 

             At that point the obvious pressure to serve a mission came on strong, real strong, and I was getting ready to fill out my papers and all when I had to ask myself, "Do I believe in the church?".  I couldn't bring myself to say yes, I honestly could not convincingly tell myself that I believed in the church enough to try and convince somebody else to join, I don't know what happened, I just never thought about it before.  From there I started reading into all different aspects of the church, and finding things that I disagreed with and eventually finding things in all religion that I just couldn't stand, it has been an incredible journey for me. In the last two years I have changed from the Elders quorum choir director to a free thinking Agnostic twenty year old.   Here is where the true problems and my questions start...

            My parents have an understanding that I have issues with the church and do not want to serve my mission, I have told them before that I do in fact not have a testimony in the church but I would continue to "try harder" like they always ask me too...  I feel as if now, I have gotten myself in too deep, I'm nearly twenty one years old now, I'm almost done with college, but due to convenience and what I think is an inability to confront my parents, I still live with them. I still go to church on Sundays because they ask me too, I don't hold callings, don't say prayers and don't bare my testimony, but I can't stand it anymore!   My sister In-law is about to have a baby, my mom asked me today if I would be able to be in the circle for the baby blessing when it happens....it was then that I realized my parents really don't understand.  I want to move out now, but I feel as if that conversation is the same one that I need to have with them explaining my honest and true feelings towards the church, I need to stop going to church, I need them to know how I feel and I need to live my own happy life...but how do I start?  I don't even know where to go with this conversation without my parents whole lives shutting down in front of my eyes.  Help me out here you guys, how did you do it?  How can I do it and not just crush their feelings? 

            Oh, and to make matters worse, I'm gay, nobody knows it but me, myself, and this forum.  I ignored the fact that I was gay for most of my youth, but about the same time the mission decision came up, I had to confront it.  Where do I even begin? I don't feel ready to mention that to them in the same conversation.  I mean, at this point I really am living the biggest lie ever and have to get out, I'm not the shining Eagle scout teachers quorum president, I'm a twenty one year old, Agnostic, Gay, Liberal....

 I just feel as if I truly am, in too deep...


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First and most important, welcome and know that you are loved just the way you are. God, or if you want to call it Source, loves the tree outside my window just the way it is. It doesn't have to grow a certain number of branches or try to move to a different yard, it's just loved the way it is. And you don't have to do or be something other than what God made you to be. And we love you that way here too.
Second, boy are you in for a hell of ride!! But it's worth the ticket price. I told my wife a couple of years ago that I just couldn't take it anymore, that I couldn't live a lie any more. That the church wasn't what it said it was, and that I had to finally admit to myself and others I was Bi-sexual. She knew about the gay things I did on my mission before we got married, but she accepted me and still loves me for who I am. I don't practice the homo side of my sexuality (much) because I made a commitment to my wife, but at least I've accepted it and I love myself for it. But now at least I can feel those gay feelings and not feel guilty.
As for telling your parents, be ready for the shit to hit the fan, at least for a while. I have a young friend who told his parents his true feelings about the church and they kicked him out of the house, but told the police and neighbors that he was involved with a gang and they tried to have him arrested. They've finally calmed down after a couple of months enough that they could talk and now he's back at home and back at school (he's still in High School).
Bottom line is you just got to do it before it eats at your inside so much you want to give up. Freedom has a price, but boy do you feel good afterwords.
James, you are not alone. Everyone on this site has been there. I'm still there... my wife is a TBM still, damn it!!! But, like we ask others to accept US for who we are, we need to accept THEM for who they are.
Have you looked at the video section here? There's one called 12 reasons why people leave the LDS church. It's done by a TBM, from a TBM perspective. Take a look-see, maybe you could show them the video. Also, take a look at mormonthink.com. These two are not 'in your face' Anti-mormon that would turn TBM's totally off.
You're not alone.
Joy, Love, Peace and Happiness is here for you.
I was the only Mormon in my family, so I'm not much help in knowing how to tell your family. But at 20 or 21 (you wrote both) you are an adult and have a right to make your own life choices. You're hardly in too deep at such a young age though. You haven't married in the temple and had children. That complicates matters greatly.

You might want to wait until you're out of the house to tell them that you're gay, because that might be too much to throw at them all at once. Especially if you're not sure how they will react. They may decide that you only think you're gay because Satan has been able to tempt you through your doubts. They may pressure you to conform even more, by taking on callings and getting much more involved than you have been.

But, they already know that you've been trying your best to study what you believe since you were 18, so that's plenty of time to have been able to figure it out. You could gently tell them that you've been working on it for several years now and you've settled into the conclusion that you are definitely an agnostic. Then, judging by whatever reaction they have, you'll know how to proceed from there.

But start with something like that and see how it goes. You just don't want to risk being kicked out unless you're financially able to move out now.
James, as someone else pointed out, you really are not in too deep in many ways. You are not married. You do not have children.

If getting the rest of your education means staying with your parents, then I would say, grit your teeth and hang in there. How close are you to graduation?

Is there any way you (and maybe your parents) can see the movie 8: The Mormon Proposition? You don't really need to see it, I guess, but it might help your parents.

I agree with another writer not to tell you parents you are gay until after you move out. They probably don't need that kind of confusion and distraction.

You know, you do not need to go to church on Sundays even though they ask you to do so. You sound like a really nice young man who has accommodated his parents' feelings all this life. Probably now would be a good time to start breaking away from them, emotionally.

You are amazing actually: liberal, agnostic and gay. You sound terrific!
In my humble opinion, one of the most important things to do before telling your family is just to make the conscious decision to put your own happiness first. I realized I had been going to church most of my life to please other people, and when it came time for me to decide whether or not it was important enough to me to keep going to church alone, the answer was no. The first time I told my mom, I phrased it as I was "taking a break" from the church to figure things out. She cried. She asked a lot of questions and assumed things that weren't true. That night I almost decided to just take it all back and return to church so I wouldn't have to deal with breaking her heart. But I also knew I couldn't live with myself and would never really be happy if I stayed. I stuck to the decision and have been (unofficially) out of the church for over 8 months. I am so much happier with my life now. I was actually living with my mom at the time that I told her too. I would recommend you at least be near the point of being able to move out on your own. I lived with her for about 6 months after I left the church, and it was hard on both of us. I could feel her judging every little thing I did and we would sometimes get into arguments about church topics. I don't know if it's just my mom or LDS people in general, but she was very sensitive about anything I said about the church and would interpret most things as an insult. At a certain point I had to just say I wasn't going to discuss it with her anymore because she couldn't understand how I felt and quite often would treat me like it was a personal insult to her that I had left the church. Like the others have said, it's going to be hard. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done actually, but it was also worth it. Once you stop lying to yourself and others, you will find a new sense of freedom that I'm guessing you haven't felt before. To finally be able to be yourself brings an entirely new sense of happiness. I promise it will be worth it, but it's also not something that will end quickly. Like I said, it's been 8 months since I left, and about 2 months since I moved out. I think moving has helped improve our relationship, but it also just took time for my mother to come to terms with my decision. I wish I had been more understanding of her opinions through the transition so try not to get on the defensive too much. Good luck...I hope you keep us updated!
My heart goes out to you. I am a mother of five. We left mormonism when my oldest was 12. I knew she would never ever fit in. I knew it would crush her, but I didn't now completely why. She came out to us when she was 14, that she was bisexual. She is mostly attracted to women, but has manged to find a really sweet and nice boy. Then a few weeks ago, my youngest son, now 15, came out that he is gay.

I thank whatever every single day that I saved them from what you are going through. I truly hope your parents choose loving YOU over the church. I can't imagine doing anything else. Take care. Be true to yourself. You are in my thoughts.
Welcome James! Sounds like you're going through some rough times. Please use the support of people around you (including the many supportive people here!) who will accept you for the wonderful human being that you are. It's so important to have good support when navigating through such difficult emotional times. With compassionate and understanding people around you, you'll find your way to more authentic living, happiness, and fulfillment. But, it's never easy.
Welcome James! While I don't share the dilemma of coming out as being Gay, it's similar to coming out as apostate. I agree with others that it would probably save you from overloaded grief by not revealing your non-belief and being gay simultaneously. But you know your parents best so you make your own judgment. Only reveal as much as you are prepared to deal with the potential drama that revelation will create. Regardless of how they respond, know that their response will say more about them than about you. In other words, don't take their response personal. Your coming out (non-belief and being gay) will challenge them to their core and likely reveal some of their innermost bigotries or insecurities. Again, how they respond will be more about them than about you.

Be true to yourself through it all. There is vast and brave community here and elsewhere to find support and fill in the gaps that may be vacated by family. Come here as often as you need for validation, support and advice. Take it slow and be easy on yourself and your family. Don't feed their possible need for drama by responding in a similar dramatic way etc. Good luck!
Hey James,

Let me try to give you a little perspective. What you are going through now is normal, natural, common, and right on schedule. You are actually lucky that it's happening now instead of later in life. I know that doesn't make it any easier to go through but it can help give you a little peace of mind knowing you are not crazy and this is kind of how it is supposed to all play out.

I was also raised in the most devout of mormon families and came out of the gay closet when I turned 30. Then through about 10 years of diligent study I have landed comfortably in the role of Atheist.

Even if you were not Gay or Agnostic, you are still at the age when being at home makes you antsy. My advise to you is simply step away from your current environment and take on each issue one at a time in a place of safety. You are at the age when you can move out, go to school, get a job, travel abroad, or make any number of big changes in your life. You stand on the brink of a magnificent new adventure, a new era for James is about to begin. It can be a little scary but thats part of what makes it so exiting. Being Agnostic and being Gay are like gifts really. Just think about how these things have helped to shape you into who you are. You have the freedom to really open your mind and heart to a much wider range of people and experiences. You can identify with the underdog and not be afraid to make up your own mind about what is right and what is wrong. You can have a clear conscience and real freedom for the first time in your life. Things may seem bleak now but I promise you that as the next few years come and go you will see your life getting better and better. Write a letter to yourself about how you feel right now and once you have been away from home for a year or two compare how you feel then to how you feel now. I was lucky because in my work I traveled around the world and I notice that the longer and further away I was from Idaho/Utah and the church, the happier, lighter, and more at peace I felt. The difference is so distinct it will amaze you.

As far as telling your family, I don't think there is a right or a wrong answer to that one. Only you can feel that out and know what is going to be the most appropriate for your situation but I can tell you what I did. I just slowly became less and less carful about hiding who I was and gave everyone else time to get used to the idea that I was gay. Then when the time was right I had "the talk" with my Dad and I was very, very clear in my language explaining that I was gay and that I did not believe in the same things that they do. I made sure my parents knew that I loved them and I always try to set a good example and stay open to my family if they ever want to talk about it. Most of them don't, but still.

I have posted the letters that I wrote to the church and to my family on my FaceBook page if you are interested in reading them. I also have a youtube project where I interview gay mormon/ex-mormons. They have a lot of great advice and have gone through exactly what you are going through. The channel is called MorMenLikeMe. You'll find it if you search for "gay mormon'. I also have a face book group of the same name. Join that and you'll be able to find other guys who you can identify with.

Look me up on FaceBook and make sure to attach a note explaining who you are so I can add you as a friend. My Name is Don Alden and my life is really good. Keep up the good fight, It's worth it.
Hey James,

Here are the letters I was talking about.
Here's the other one.
James: Bottom line: You deserve to be happy and to be loved as you are. You sound like you've weighed your options carefully but feel you're in "rock vs. hard place" territory. Understandable. Coming out is hard. Every one of us who's had to announce our change of heart to our families feels your pain right now. So now you have to decide if you rip off the Band-Aid in one quick motion and get it over with, or do you use a soft-pedal approach. I'm not gay, so I don't know how to advise you on this, though, unless your parents are completely clueless or completely in denial, they may already suspect you are anyway. It will be painful to get this out in the open but I think it will be relieving as well. I don't know your folks as well as you do, so I'm afraid you'll have to choose the approach you take. Good luck and know that many of us have survived the upheaval and are happier for leading more authentic lives.
As for the baby blessing, I wish this church weren't so damned hierarchical so that anyone who wanted to stand in a circle to bless a baby could do so without the phony authority. It will hurt, but I think honesty is the best policy here. You'll feel as if you're "in deeper" by living a lie. Wishing you peace, and offering support for whatever makes you happy.

Hugs, Lynne
I would like you to understand, that you are the shining Eagle scout, you are the quorum president, you are your parents child. These things you are. How you define yourself is who you are; be true to yourself. I do not know when you will know, but at some point, you will know, when it is right to talk to your parents. For the time, until you know; just take life easy. Keep things quiet and only be open and honest with those you trust.

I feel this is the only sage advice I can give you at this time.

thank you very much for being open with us.


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