I’m sixty-five, and I’ve been happily married for forty-four years. We have four
children and fourteen grandchildren. I was born and raised in the church and have checked all
the boxes. I served a mission to Sydney Australia, married in the Manti Temple, and served in
most callings within the ward. I’ve lived in Orem, Utah most of my life.

I’m of an age now where memories of my childhood are not many. As best as I can recall, I
knew something was different with me. I wanted to play and associate with the girls. I did not
understand what all this meant for me. But from that age, I knew that this was not something
that anyone could find out about me. So, I buried it.

I was filled with shame, guilt, self-loathing and fear. These were my constant companions for the
next half-century! This battle about who I was took a very long time to figure out. These feelings
would come and overwhelm, and I would battle until I could stuff them away. I would get on with
being the best young man, man, husband, and father that I could be. Until the next battle came.
It has been relentless. As I grew, so would it.

This continued until 2017. I might also add that I was such a terrible person I was not even able
to talk to God about my problem. On Valentine’s Day, I knew Encircle was opening its doors in
Provo. I knew there was a support group for me. I had never met anyone like me. My secret was
still intact. I was beginning to feel the Spirit pushing me to go to Encircle. It was relentless in its
efforts. I know it was from my Heavenly Father. He and I both knew I would not survive much
longer in my very dark closet.

Just one big issue stood in my path. What do I tell my wife where I want to go every Friday night
for three hours? I could not come up with a lie. So, on April 12th I summoned every ounce of
courage that I could muster and came out to my wife. I am transgender! The whole evening is
pretty much a blur. It’s been really hard for my wife and for me. But we have not given up on
each other and continue to work together as we move forward in this journey.

We have both been blessed immensely. My wife received answers to prayers with
overwhelming peace. I was led to listen to others stories, meet people in the LGBTQ+
community (including parents and allies). I have met such amazing and loving people. People
who have loved and accepted me. People that I love and admire. So many of them are no
longer in the church, and I love and respect them. I break as I realize how they have been
treated. Some of the brightest and best!

I, too, have struggled to stay— especially after the past two October conferences. I did leave for
a few months in 2018. The Spirit keeps convincing me that I need to stay. So, I stay.
Last summer, I was prompted to be more visible in my ward. I have not socially transitioned,
and my wife and I are still working through that. Anyway, I didn’t know what being visible
included and I waited. A few days later I had an encounter with a long time friend and ward
member. It included a description of a new member in the ward and how terrible this trans
woman looked— she, I mean he, I mean it.

I tried to calmly explain the importance of pronouns, but no luck. I talked about my work at
Encircle and the Becoming group with trans youth I worked with. Still no luck. So I told him that I
was just like her. I’m transgender as well, and I don’t care who knows! Well, my being visible
had a direction! Go see this other trans woman, who is beautiful. Go see the Bishop and come
out to him. I had already visited with the Stake President and both were really good, positive
visits. I have been slowly coming out to select ward members.

Then the policy change happened in February. I met with the Stake President again to see how
things would work moving forward. As of right now, when church resumes I will be attending
Relief Society. All the leadership in the ward know and are supportive. The Elders Quorum
President wants my wife and I to share our story in priesthood. We are hoping it can be a fifth
Sunday meeting to include a broader audience.

So, this is quite a change from the negative messages from conference to feeling so loved and
wanted in this ward and stake. So, I stay because my Heavenly Father loves me and has work
for me to do. Oh, and we talk now! The shame and self loathing are gone! Such a blessing to
have those burdens removed.

I hope with all of our efforts, we can have a more Christlike church that truly loves and accepts

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