What Happened When I Came Out To My Mission President

Gay Mormon Faith

We would like to thank Cal Burke for letting us share his story. Cal is a powerful example and disciple of Jesus Christ. He is a gay member of the church. He has a firm testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is on a mission to show love and compassion to all of his brothers and sisters. He hopes to help others who are struggling to feel loved and maintain their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His true church.

The first person I ever came out to was my Mission President.

It happened eight months or so into my mission. I was really struggling. I had never told anyone, and I would barely ever think about it myself.

I was struggling with feelings toward another elder at the time, and I thought that was going to mean I was going to be sent home. I was so nervous. I felt like an abomination. I had prayed and fasted and begged God to change me for years, and it wasn’t happening.

I had poured so much energy into being the perfect kid my whole life (grades, athletics, grooming, seminary, eagle scout, etc) in order to cover up who I really was, in order to not be cast out by family, friends, and church – it only made me feel like I was perpetually dying.

calvin burke gay mormon
One of Cal’s heroes, Richard (Papa) Ostler

I knew that I needed help. I also knew that if my family found out, they would disown me. (My family is a whole other story). But I needed to tell someone. I needed help.

We had our interviews for our zone with our mission president one week and I was really struggling. But I had to be honest.

I walked into the room, sat down across a table from my mission president, and put my head in my hands and said, “President, for as long as I can remember, I have only been attracted to other boys. President, I’m gay.”

I started weeping because I couldn’t believe I had said it out loud.

My mission president darted his hands across the table and firmly grabbed onto mine.

“This is who you are,” he said. “And we love you. We love you. We would never think any less of you. We *love* you.”

I was sobbing, and I couldn’t stop.

I remember not being able to tell if I couldn’t stop crying because I had finally told someone, or because somebody I loved and revered was finally seeing this part of me that I had hated for so long, and this person loved and revered *me* still.

I just kept weeping, and he kept saying that over and over. “This is a part of who you are. And there is so much hope for you. There is so much hope.”

I’ll never forget the incredible amount of love I felt from my mission president. Didn’t wind up getting sent home, obviously.

We love you. We would never think any less of you. We *love* you.

The impact of my mission president’s incredibly warm and positive reaction was important because it prepared the way for me to be able to handle the incredibly, overwhelmingly negative reactions I would get from every.other.priesthood.leader and family member I came out to after.

But that little interview was the beginning of something so much bigger. I had other challenges I needed to face and overcome before I’d be able to completely sort out my sexuality, but my mission president’s positive response saved my life. I know that.

He is still one of my heroes.

This is a part of who you are. And there is so much hope for you. There is so much hope.

Please friends, if any of your friends, or siblings, or family members (ward OR biological) trust you enough to come out to you – please follow the example of my mission president.

You will be remembered by them forever. Please make the decision to love and support them.

You might also be interested in the article by Dallin Steele > A Powerful And Painful Glimpse Into The Heart Of A Gay Mormon


Download our free printable, 10 Tips for Meaning Prayer > http://bitly.com/iPrayerTips

What Happened When I Came Out to My Mission President

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  • I am so proud of you coming forward, i have a doughter a beutifull woman that i admire also for coming forward i felt for her she was crying inside it was painfull. Thank you Elder for sharin YOUare an example for other that are still stragling with there identity. THANK YOU FOR SHARING. GOD BLESS YOU.

  • Well done Ben…
    Love this story…we should all be as loving and accepting as this Mission President. He truly showed this young man the love that Christ has for him.

  • I’m glad he admitted the truth because now he can live with himself. Very sad that his family and other leaders don’t see him for who he is–a beloved son of God. John 3:16 doesn’t exclude gay people. I hope this young man will continue in his quest to become the man God wants him to be.

  • As I read this young man’s story, I was in tears. I know the struggle and have hated myself for many years. I am a convert and thought I found a place to be and even served an honorary mission, but my inner thoughts have plagued me with no relief from prayers or countless days of fasting. Suicide is always close in my thoughts because I feel helpless. I have since isolated myself and have not been to church for a while. I wanted to do what he did with his Mission President, but I thought that I would be thrown out and thrown away. He was very brave and I commend him for his courage. Maybe I can muster some courage now? Thank you for sharing.

  • JE, you are incredible! Thank you for reading the article and for sharing your thoughts. We are behind you and will pray that you have the courage to do what you feel is best.

  • JE- you must talk to somebody. Don’t sell yourself short. You have great worth, God loves you. Find that person to talk to, unburden.

  • being of same sex attraction does not define you, it is a challenge like any other, mine is being severely hard of hearing since birth, one of my sons was born with damaged kidneys, we all have challenges of one kind or another, but we are all loved by heavenly father and can keep the commandments in spite of them, it my be hard at first but if we keep on trying we will be blessed and strengthened, and learn how to be happy with what we are and have, it is true that our weaknesses can become our strengths, i also have a son who is same sex attraction, he has taken the other option to go with his feelings but i still love him dearly.

  • All of has infirmities some are struggling with critical illnesses, some emotional and mental sickness, others are struggling to the hardship of life financially, others like you are struggling with their personal identity etc…but through the love of our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ all of those infirmities can be overcome we just need to be brave to face it and accept who we are and ask help to those who are able to help like Church leaders, family members, trusted friends etc… exercise our faith and keep on striving and giving the very best that we can to overcome those infirmities. Trusting the Lord that everything is in His care. We are all love by our Heavenly Father.

  • I was in awe of the spiritual and emotional maturity of Cal’s mission president. This mission president provided Cal with such a sweet experience to feel loved like the Savior loves. I feel so sad that Cal’s family and other priesthood leaders had such incredibly negative reactions. Thank you for sharing this beautiful example of how we all should love each other.

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We would like to thank Cal Burke for letting us share his story. Cal is a powerful example and disciple of Jesus Christ. He...
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