These kinds of testimonials help me keep on keeping on.

This man, Michael Budge, brought more joy to my heart about the work in which I am involved than any other person whom I had yet encountered before I met him—whose life was completely transformed and renewed because of the work of the Real Illuminati®, a Marvelous Work and a Wonder®.

Also, a shout out to Joe Haws, son of Hawley Haws, who is also gay, whose story motivated me to keep doing a job that I often hate to do.

These kinds of testimonials help me keep on keeping on.

Michael Budge

October 11 at 6:11 PM

I came out of the closet on Facebook 10 years ago today with this letter. It took a lot of courage for me to post it. It got some positive reaction, but it also brought out a LOT of critical comments from my LDS/Mormon friends at the time. You can go back and actually read all the comments on the original post and see just how contentious it became.

I grew up reading the Book of Mormon and loved it with all my heart. It was really difficult for me when I came out because the LDS Church leaders made me feel like I wasn't welcome there anymore there as an openly gay man. So I left the Church and I wasn't sure what to believe until a few years later when I found the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon, and read this passage in it:

"And now, I Moroni, have been commanded to expound upon these things that I have already written unto you. For I have already written unto you that we all have our choice of happiness, according to our individual desires of happiness.

And those of our brothers and sisters who desire to be with another brother or sister who is of the same gender are justified in this thing according to the flesh.

And if a man loveth another man, in which way doth he disobey the words of Christ? Did Christ not teach us that we should love one another? And why should we think that these men who desire to be with each other shall be condemned for that which they do, when we sin in becoming angry at them and persecuting them contrary to the words of Christ?

And again I say unto you, search the words of Christ. Wherein doth he command a man that he shall not lie with another man? I say unto you that he doth not"

-The Sealed Portion, Chapter 39: 84-89

When I read this I was overcome with joy. I had felt in my heart back when I came out that If there was a God, that he would accept me for who I am. And now reading this book gave me the confirmation I'd been looking for my entire life. I realized that the LDS Church had the "lesser portion of the word" and had "hardened their hearts" until they "knew nothing concerning the mysteries of God".

I'm so glad that I came out, accepted myself, found a wonderful man to marry, and left that evil church. I know now that I never would have found happiness there if had stayed in it.

Michael Budge

October 11, 2011

I'm coming out!

Today is national coming out day. So naturally, I thought that this would be an appropriate day to inform you that I am coming out today. I’m attracted to men. That’s right, I’m gay. So if you are wondering why I’ve started dressing better lately, now you know!

Honesty and integrity have always been important to me, and recently, I’ve felt that like I haven’t been honest with those closest to me. I’m writing this in an effort to be as honest and open as I can about myself with everyone. No more hiding.

That being said, I’m not out to prowl the back streets of Utah like some creeper finding someone to prey on. I’m still the same good guy I’ve always been, and I still value the same things I always have.

Being gay is not a choice. It’s a part of who I am. Once I stopped fighting that and embraced it, a profound shift happened within me. Since I have opened up about being gay to those closest to me, I’ve been surprised by how much better my life has become. A few friends have commented to me that I seem to be genuinely happier, friendlier, and more positive. I’ve noticed how my relationships have become more authentic.

Through all of this, I haven’t felt like I’ve become an evil person. In fact, I’ve had experiences where I have powerfully felt God’s love and of His approval. I believe that I am His son. I believe He made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.

As long as I can remember, I’ve had feelings of attraction to guys, although I repressed those feelings for many years. Recently, however, I realized that I could no longer push this issue away. Situations arose where I began to see that my orientation would affect my relationships, and I began to doubt I would ever find happiness. I struggled within myself, searching for who I was and what I wanted. I spent countless prayers pleading for God to make a way for me to live the life I had been taught to live.

But God did not take away my attraction. It was difficult, but I finally accepted myself. Now, I do not feel like I “struggle with same gender attraction”, like it’s a curable disease, or a trial to be overcome. I don’t need to pretend anymore to be someone I’m not and it’s been absolutely wonderful. There are times where I am overcome with gratitude for blessings God has given me.

Of course, I still go through hard times and I know I still will. I don’t think there is a path in life that is not without challenge. I used to be so afraid of my future but I am not afraid anymore.

The thought of living my life alone scares me to death. I want to live my life with the same blessings I see others enjoy- and I did not feel like I would find that happiness marrying a woman. I don’t owe any woman heartache that would surely come in a mixed orientation marriage, let alone future children that would be affected too.

So I’m dating guys now, looking for someone to spend my life with. My goal is still marriage. I’ve discovered so much joy and peace and love over the past months in this process. Not only that, but I have met new friends who have so much goodness in their heart and have taught me a lot.

Growing up in the church has given me a foundation of so many good things in my life and has taught me so much. I am not giving up my faith, but rather, I am continuing my spiritual journey.

I hope that have been able to communicate what I feel in my heart, and I want to thank those that have already shown so much love and kindness to me as I’ve come out. I am an open book so I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks for reading!