Being gay and Mormon: meet Mel Guthrie, Gays.com’s first Member of the Month!

January 27th, 2012 6 Comments Features, Gay News

Every month we’re going to go indepth to find out a little bit more about you, our lovely members! So please say a big hello to Mel Guthrie, 24, from West Richland in the United States. She’s been with Gays.com since January 2011 (happy first anniversary, Mel!), and here she tells us about her experiences of coming to terms with her sexuality while also being a practising Mormon. Oh, and also about her love of soccer and scary movies!


Mel, you’re a Mormon. How has this worked with your sexuality?
My religion hasn’t worked with my sexuality! The Mormon religion says that people can be gay but they cannot act upon it. Acting upon it is considered a sin. There is no such thing as being gay and being Mormon, unless you choose to be unhappy and someone you’re not. Growing up in a Mormon family and telling your family you’re gay can lead to many problems such as being disowned, ignorance, judgement… My biggest issue was being so confused about my sexuality. I was confused for at least four years. This year I finally knew who I was.

Do you think your confusion from your sexuality stemmed from the Mormon beliefs that you grew up with?
Yes, my confusion with my sexuality had a big part in the fact that I was raised Mormon. I wouldn’t say the Mormon beliefs were necessarily forced upon me; I chose to go to church in my youth, and actually enjoyed the religion very much. It wasn’t until I met my ex-girlfriend that I realised who I was and that I liked girls. I had never had a boyfriend growing up and didn’t kiss a guy until I was 20 (it was terrible, I must say… LOL!). But the fact that I was raised in the Mormon religion, part of me felt that being gay was wrong and it was something I could change. That was not the story; being gay is NOT something I can change, even if I tried.

What are your beliefs as a Mormon and how do these interact with your sexuality?
Growing up as a Mormon, I believed I was to be with a Mormon man and marry him in the temple. There was no other way to live life. No drugs or alcohol and no sex before marriage. Keep the Sabbath day holy by attending church, not purchasing anything, no sports… Also paying ‘tithing’, which is 10% of all earnings. Obviously, being gay I cannot get married in the temple. The church says that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Since I stopped attending the church, I’ve stopped following some of the beliefs. I believe that I can be with anyone who makes me happy. I believe God knew what he was doing when he created me; God does not make mistakes.

AWWWW, cute! Mel with Marley, her golden retriever (and best buddy!)

What is day-to-day life like as a Mormon?
Well, when I was active, day-to-day life meant attending many meetings and events, organising for activities or church callings. In some aspects, I will always be a Mormon. I hold the qualities like treating others as I would like to be treated, not swearing, providing service for others, etc.

Do the Mormons live within a sort of ‘community’? If so, are you still living there?
I’ve never heard anything about living within a ‘community’. We are placed in different ‘wards’ depending on where we live. Your ward attends church at a certain time and people within that ward have different jobs they do. As I’m no longer attending the church, I don’t attend my ward but I was actually part of the ’singles ward’. This is for people ranging from ages 18 to 30 who aren’t married. The leaders put SO much pressure on the young adults to get married and have kids ASAP. It was almost like attending high school all over again. There is drama, fighting over guys and girls, etc. You feel like you are on display and are sorted into categories depending on what people have heard about you, how often you go to church, if you are worthy enough to attend the temple, who you’ve dated, what you do…

“I spent so much of my time trying to make everyone else around me happy,
but finally I realised that I had to do what made me happy.”


And do you have to dress in a particular way?

Yes, we’re supposed to dress modestly. Basically, showing the least amount of skin possible. No low-cut shirts, no skirts above the knee, no shorts above mid-thigh. We’re also meant to wear one-piece swimming suits, not bikinis. And, of course, no shirts that show our stomach area. I don’t follow all of these guidelines. I like to keep myself covered, but I do wear bikinis and tank tops. I respect my body very much and so am not comfortable exposing a ton of skin.

Are you out to your parents?
I’ve been living with my parents for the past year and a half but am in dire need to get out! I told my parents I was gay when I was 21, almost four years ago. Mom saw it coming… she was upset but has never ever treated me differently. My parents don’t agree with the way I live my life, but I know they love me no matter what. All I can do is give them time and distance. Over the past year and a half, I’ve dealt with a lot of confusion, frustrations, sadness, loneliness, and heartache. I felt like my parents were ashamed to have a gay daughter, afraid to tell others. I spent so much of my time trying to make everyone around me happy. I put on an act and pretended to be someone I wasn’t. I was scared of hurting those around me so instead I let myself hurt. But I finally realised that I had to do what made ME happy and know that some people were going to be upset about that or hurt over that.

What a lovely smile (Mel, not Marley!) ;)

Do you have brother and sisters? How did they react?
I have two older brothers. My oldest brother is not active in the church. When I told him I was gay, he told me he already knew. He felt bad that I felt ‘trapped’ in the religion and told me I was lucky to have a brother who loved me no matter what. He’s always been supportive and been by my side. My other brother is active in the church and was married in the temple almost two years ago. He and I have never directly talked about me being gay but he knows. He approached my other brother about the subject and the two of them talked about it. I know that he supports me and loves me, even though we have never talked in person about it.

So, aside from Mormon life, what are your hobbies and interests? Your camp on Gays.com is ‘Tomboy’! ;)
My biggest passion is soccer – I’ve played for 17 years. After college ball, I starting playing on co-ed and women’s leagues. My strongest position is striker. I’m quiet speedy and can outrun most girls I come across. I was also a track and field star in Middle School and High School where I took home five state medals and shattered school records! My other biggest interest is animals. I currently work at a vet clinic as a vet assistant. I plan to someday work with animal control.

Mel (left) on the pitch demonstrates her soccer skills (and lovely legs!)

Talking of which, on your profile you say your best friend has four legs!
My best friend does walk on four legs! His name is Marley, and he’s my golden retriever. He’s my buddy and always happy to greet me at the end of the day.

And you also like films, too?
I LOVE scary movies. I will pay to see any kind of scary movie, even if it’s been dubbed the worst movie of all time! I am very much a kid at heart so I love going to animated films and kids’ films too. You’ll often see my Mom and I on a date seeing Rio or Smurfs!

How sweet is this pic?! Answer: VERY! Mel loved soccer, even as a kiddie!

And lastly, do you have a lovely lady in your life?
I’m currently single. The past few years, I have taken the time to focus on myself. I was so confused and had so many unanswered questions about the church and my sexuality. Back then I was lost and confused, but today, I’m confident and happy! It was a LONG road… but well worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing! I’m ready now to find that one person I can’t live without; I’m ready to share the rest of my life with someone!


What do you think of Mel’s story? Please leave any thoughts or comments below. And if you fancy dropping Mel a message or a cheeky wink, check out her profile on Gays.com! Not a member? Scroll back to the top of the page and register for free!

If you’re interested in being a Gays.com Member of the Month, please send us an email telling us a bit about yourself (including any interesting or unusual hobbies you have) to blog@gays.com and we’ll get back to you. Thanks!

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6 Responses

  1. Michele Antoine

    January 27th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Hi, Wow..I thought i was reading parts of my life there. I too was born into the mormon church, so coming out was hard for me to extent of marrying a man and having a child, I was so confused and wanted to please everyone else so much. But now that I have come out I’m the happiest I have ever been. I dont regret my daughter one bit, just wish I didnt waste so much time pleasing everyone else. My mum and dad have slowly accepted that im gay, I have three younger brothers, we dont really speak about it. The way I think is god made me this way! Life is too short to please others. :D

  2. jamie

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:39 am

    i tried mormon – i found the people there not even trying to be what christians and even their own missionary promo claimed it to be – they think you can just ignore autism just by wanting to and only people willing to talk to me was the missionaries to keep telling me have to follow jesus – problem was i actually do follow teachings and a lot in doctrines like no coffee or tea or other stuff like that was never part of the origional teachings and jesus would never do things that hurt other people and things these people went around doing because prophet says so and doctrines say so does hurt people – so i quit and went to buddhism and since no center here i go to the unitarian where a lot of people there do practice buddhism – i tried ignoring my disability to make others happy and all it did was make things worse so i refuse to do things other than be realistic and if this means being in the youth stuff just to be around people at least willing to try accepting me for who i am then that is what will have to happen – better to be around people wanting to accept you as you are than those not willing to try just to make others happy

  3. Devin

    January 30th, 2012 at 6:56 am

    I am a LDS convert, just over a year actually. When I joined the church was when I really started to struggle with my sexuality and I knew they churches opinions on being gay. I thought as time went on and I kept my responsibilities within the church that the Lord would help me through this trial. I’ve come to realize how vagrantly backward that is. I am what I am and there is no changing it. I’m tired of lying to others and to myself. I will no longer put up a mask for the sake of keeping face and hiding. I will not live my life in fear. Despite all these awesome outward resolutions I am just going to keep being me, because that’s all I’ve really ever been, with a small hidden quirk. I need to come out as a gay man; I’m twenty-one in March, but I don’t want my ward to shun me. I am talking with my Bishop this week and I hope he is understanding. I hope that if the ward find outs and is disgusting and ostracising that I can bow out with dignity and retain some semblance of faith.

  4. Josh

    February 6th, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I was born into the Mormon church. I came out a little over a year ago and since then people have treated me as if they didn’t know. I told my Dad whilst at church and he said that he wouldn’t be able to accept it but he would support me. The most annoying thing people have said is “It might just be a phase”. I don’t see how feeling this strongly can be a ‘phase’. My whole Stake knows that I’m Gay so far no one has made fun or said anything against it. I am planning to leave the church though. I’ve been told I can either got to church and not act on it, act on being gay and not go to church, or marry someone in the church and tell myself I’m not gay. I doubt the first or last one will be chosen. I want to leave but I don’t want my parents to be disappointed in me and I don’t want to lose my church friends.

  5. Cameron

    February 9th, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Josh, and Mel. Everyone Hi!

    I was born into the mormon faith too. I came out around 16 to my family and now we are all back on speaking terms. 10 yrs later my family too is disappointed as well. If they really and truely love you then will come around. Friends of mine from elementary school have known all my life. They accept me for me. Though it is awkward at times. Have faith in karma or what you may believe for it seems and will be hard to over come what is laid before you.

    I can say that take your life and make it yours. There fears and worries. It will make you stronger and smarter than you are now. Thanks for taking this time for reading this!

    Thanks

    cam

  6. Connie S

    March 1st, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Mel,

    I’m can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of you and the incredible growth I’ve seen in you in the past year. You are such an amazing person with the kindest heart and best sense of humor. I know you have lost some “friends” this past year, but your family will always be there for you. You are source of inspiration and guidance for other gay people who are not accepted by their religion. Continue to spread your story and share with others. I’m blessed to be your almost sister-in-law and can’t wait to share the rest of your journey with you. You will always have our support and we love you.

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