I was born of goodly parents. My parents are converts and were baptised while mother was 8 months pregnant with me. So technically I have been baptised twice. At my mother's knee I was taught to love God, Jesus and all God's creatures.
I have always known I am a woman. At the age of 5 I learned there was a mismatch with my body. I was told I had to keep my feelings of being stuck in the wrong body a secret. I prayed and bargained with God every night for Him to fix the mistake. At 8 I was baptised and started to develop deep shame and guilt about who I was, being born evil and an abomination and a sin next to murder. This was not a choice on my part.
At 12 I reluctantly received the Aaronic Priesthood and was made a deacon. I could never feel right or good enough or feel the spirit. I began to develop serious doubts about my spiritual worth and worthiness and God's existence and care for me. I was considering suicide when I was prompted by the memory of a primary lesson to ask God if He was there and knew me. I received a powerful answer that He was indeed there and was aware of me. I tried my best to be perfect and to purify myself with the idea that if I was good enough, these feelings of gender incongruity would go away. I convinced myself that if anyone ever found out, I would be unloved and my life could be threatened. I learned to be a great actor to hide my naturally feminine tendencies and true self. Shame, guilt, and repression developed into a deep self loathing and hatred, so I engaged in very destructive behavior.
By 17 I was completely an addict and inactive, living on my own. By God's mercy I got a roommate who was an older returned missionary. One day he asked me if I had ever considered going on a mission. I totally laughed in his face and told him definitely NO and the whole concept was stupid and a waste of time. He proceeded to inform me that the spirit had impressed upon him that I had a work to do and that it was important that I at least pray about it to know the Lord's will. I agreed I would in order to get him off my back. Days later, haunted by his words, I said a hasty prayer asking if I needed to go on a mission. That night in my sleep I received an overwhelming visitation and confirmation that my life and very existence were dependent upon my decision to go. I went to church the next Sunday for the first time in many years and explained to a very bewildered Bishop that despite my sordid past, I knew I was supposed to go on a mission. He laughed in my face and told me no, definitely not. I insisted we kneel in prayer about it together before I left his office to understand the Lord's will for me. His countenance and demeanor immediately changed toward me when the spirit witnessed to him that I must go and leave as soon as possible. This same reaction happened with the Stake President and Area Authority as well as my home Bishop and Stake leaders.
Due to the nature of my sin-filled past, by policy the matter had to be approved by the Prophet who due to a last minute illness appointed an Apostle to meet with me. The Apostle after a short prayer looked right through me into my soul like I was a clear pane of glass and said yes, the Lord wanted me to go as soon as possible. I received my call and while waiting to leave, lived on the beach where I read and studied the entire scriptures. I prayed for and received a powerful witness of the Book of Mormon, Bible, and D&C. I received my temple endowments and knew I was on the wrong side of the ceremony. I served 30 months in central California, where I was instrumental in bringing many souls unto Christ and to the knowledge of His restored Church and Priesthood. I reluctantly returned home, resolved to be single forever as I believed no one could ever love and accept me.
10 years later, I met the beautiful woman who was to become my wife and mother of my children. I introduced her to the gospel and the missionaries. She took the lessons and accepted the invitation to be baptised. We were married in the temple 18 months later. After many years of significant difficulty in our relationship related to my gender incongruity, I came out to my wife as a transgender woman and lesbian. After 18 months of trying to make our mixed orientation marriage work, we decided to end our marriage.
My acceptance of my gender identity has allowed me to love myself for the first time and has allowed me to feel God's love. I know now He made me this way and that being transgender was not a sin or choice, but who I am. It is a gift that is inseparably bundled with a host of many beautiful gifts and talents that are part of God's great plan for me to teach me faith, charity, empathy, and love and bring me closer to Christ. I still have a lot to figure out and learn about where I fit in the gospel plan along with my priesthood leaders and the church. I love my Heavenly Parents and Their Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. They are the grand architects of the universe. They made me perfect and love me exactly how I am. I know that in spite of full clarity on many matters, in patience His will shall be revealed. I am equally a part of the body of Christ. I know that I personally can accomplish more good in than out of the church and be a voice of reason, truth, love, and correct doctrine. I am incredibly grateful to be a member and serve in His Kingdom by loving others as He loves them.
—Diane (she/her/Warrior Princess)