Coming Out Stories
On May 7, Let's Come Out to Our Wards
Eduk was born in Venezuela and served in the Maracaibo Venezuela Mission from 1991 to 1993. He's currently serving as the leader for Affirmation Seattle. In this article, he shares the experience he had when he came out to a ward in Los Angeles and invites Affirmation members to join him on May 7 to attend a testimony meeting and do likewise.
We invite you to describing your experience.
Los Angeles, May, 2002
Today I woke up, and I felt like never before. My heart was filled with joy,
and I wanted the world to know that I had conquered my fears and overcome my
obstacles. It was the first Sunday of the month, fast and testimony meeting.
On that morning I had the desire to go to church and bear my testimony. It
was a day that changed my life as well as the lives of others.
As I walked into the church, I was surrounded by smiling faces, and the
smell of family values embraced me with memories of the past. The sacrament
meeting was about to start. This was the Los Angeles singles ward. Over 200
members and all the stake leaders, including the stake president, where
present. I later learned they were there to divide the ward. After the
fifth testimony, I walked to the podium, took a deep breath and I began my
"My name is Eduk. The last time I stood up to bear my testimony was over
9 years ago, and at that moment I knew it was going to be the last time for
a long time. A few days after that, I came out of the closet. Many thing
were taken away from me—the right to go to the temple, the right to partake
of the sacrament—and many people turned their backs on me. Many obstacles
came to my path, but no one was able to take away my ability to pray. The
power of prayer guided me to overcome my fears. My testimony, spirit,
dignity, and pride went through fire, and now they are stronger than ever."
"Thanks to my family and the Church, I was taught to be honest no matter
what. Thanks to your teachings about the power of prayer, I stand today and
I can say as a gay man that the Holy Ghost is still with me."
"I know that God loves me for who I am. Because of all the obstacles I have
had to overcome, I'm more humane and understanding of others. I know with
all my heart that God exists, as he guides me every day. The Holy Ghost did
not go away. It is with me more than ever. Amen."
When I finished my testimony, the entire room was looking at me. Their eyes
were saying, "Did he just say he is gay?" The young women next to me hugged
me with so much love. After the meeting was over, I was approached by many
people. The stake president thanked me for my testimony. Men and women came
to me, hugged me, and thanked me for my testimony and encouragement. A few
members came out after my testimony, and others were more accepting.
I know with my heart that if some of us take the risk of sharing our coming
out stories with the church, this will inspire others, as long as we do it
with dignity and pride. Don't be afraid--no one is going to hurt you.
I would like to invite all of you to join me on Sunday, May 7, 2006, to
share your story in some local ward. Do it for yourself and for those who
need to know that everything will be OK—for those who can't see the light.
I know you can be that light that so many need.