Chris


I joined the church when I was 18. Faith in Jesus Christ has always been a part of who I am. I’ve always believed He’s my Savior, and I’ve never doubted that there’s a God who created me. I know that I’m a child of a Heavenly Father that cares about me and wants me to live a life of joy and happiness. But I also believe that life on earth comes with experiences that we can’t explain and that require more faith than we sometimes feel we can muster. To be honest, I don’t enjoy doing difficult things.

One of those things that’s been a challenge for me is reconciling my faith with the fact that I experience same-sex attraction. For most of my adolescent and adult life, I struggled to reconcile my desire to live a Christ-centered life and to become more like Jesus with these feelings that I didn’t choose to have. Growing up, I didn’t see a way to be a believer in Christ and to have these feelings. Being gay was something I would never tell a soul and I would die with that secret. I didn’t think it was possible to be Mormon and gay. So, I suppressed those feelings and any thoughts associated with them until a few years ago.

I met my wife a few years after serving a mission. We were married in the temple 17 years ago and are the parents of four sons. Being a husband and a father is the greatest joy of my life. Service in my family and in the Church has helped me grow closer to Christ. I served as a bishop, and through that experience, my witness of the atonement and my faith in a loving, compassionate Heavenly Father was strengthened. I spent countless hours sitting with church members who came ready to lay their troubles at the Savior’s feet. However, I didn’t think it was possible that I could ever lay my trouble, my biggest secret, at the Savior’s feet because I perceived same-sex attraction to be an unreconcilable issue within the context of the gospel. I never imagined there were others like me in the church. Thankfully, I know now that there are many.

While coming to terms with my same-sex attraction has not been easy, and I have my fair share of difficult days, my faith continues to grow. I’m learning things about empathy, compassion, trust, and self-forgiveness that I don’t think I could have learned any other way. In that sense, I’ve come to see this part of me as an opportunity to learn from Heavenly Father, not something for which I should feel shame. Having Christ-like love for people and trying to see them as God sees them has always come easy for me. I now recognize that many parts of my character associated with being gay are those things that help me become more like Christ.

Sharing my story is still a vulnerable thing, but I share it because I know there are others in the church who are experiencing what I experience. I want them to know that it’s not something to fear even though I know it can feel that way. The Lord knows us, and He loves us for who we are, not in spite of what we experience. He wants to succor us in our difficulties and times of doubt. It is entirely possible to live true to Him within the context of His plan and be our authentic selves. It is possible to be Mormon and gay and to rejoice in the goodness of this life.

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About Chris

Chris works in Marketing for a global company and loves to travel for work and pleasure. Chris was raised Catholic and intended to be a Priest. However, a high school friend shared the gospel with him and he joined the Church at 18. A year later he left on his mission to Japan which sparked in him a love of service to others. Chris and his wife are the parents of four sons and live in the Midwest. He strives to live by the principle of “kindness begins with me” and believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the key to living a happy, authentic life. He considers his experience of same-sex attraction a gift that has helped him learn to treat others with greater empathy and compassion. It’s also the cause of his indoorsy-ness, much to the chagrin of his outdoorsy wife and sons.

Discussion

  1. Stephen Jacobs Says: Jan 10, 2017 at 6:35 PM

    Thank you for your testimony to marriage after / during SSA.

  2. Chris Staggs Says: Jan 17, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Thank you, Stephen!

  3. Rebecca Morgan Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    Thanks for sharing your story which I’m sure must be so very difficult. You are no doubt helping so many. Your strength is inspiring.

    • Chris Staggs Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 11:53 AM

      Thank you, Rebecca. You and your family have taught me so much about love and compassion and living the gospel which is inspiring to ME!

  4. Mark Buckley Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 11:33 AM

    So nice to hear your perspective Chris. I thought that the Atonement applied to others but not to me and my secret totally resonated with me. Thank you for being such a great witness of truth. I honor your courage.

    • Chris Staggs Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 11:53 AM

      Thanks, Mark! I really appreciate hearing that and have been honored to learn from your journey, as well.

  5. I’m really having difficulty trying to reconcile my homosexual desires and still wanting to be a part of a church that punishes you for acting on those desires that Father gave me. How can he give me this burden and then punish me for it.

  6. Heidi Fackrell Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Sharing your story is very courageous! I too what it’s like to have a secret you don’t want anyone to know, albeit not the same kind. Thank you for your willingness to help others realize they are not alone.

    • Chris Staggs Says: Jan 26, 2017 at 2:21 PM

      I’ve learned so much about authenticity and applying the atonement from you, Heidi! Thank you for being a true friend.

  7. One of the finest, most genuine people I know. Thank you for sharing Chris.

  8. I just joined the Church after my 18th birthday after waiting for a few years and I also experience same-sex attraction – this story just makes me smile! Thanks for sharing!

    • Chris Staggs Says: Jan 27, 2017 at 2:56 PM

      Kyle, congratulations on that decision. I’m glad that the conversation about same-sex attraction is so much different and open in the church now than when I joined. Keep smiling!

  9. Charlotte Maughan Says: Jan 27, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Chris, you are a wonderful example of the things you share here. My life has been blessed as I have come to know and love you and Jenny. Thank you for being willing to share this very personal part of who you are, and for being someone that others who share this experience can look to for strength.

  10. Richard I’m also having a hard but a little different. My beautiful daughter came out as transgender. I fell away from the church before he came out but still had faith. I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to return to the church BUT then how can I go to a church that does not acknowledge my son but punishes him? I love my Heavenly Father and still have faith in him but I cannot and will not abandon my child who is also child of Heavenly Father. I dont believe that’s what He also wants. How can he turn his back on one of his child.

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience! I am so glad I got to know you! Thanks for your friendship!

  12. Chris Staggs Says: Jan 27, 2017 at 2:58 PM

    Thanks, Charlotte! I would say the same about you and your family. You’ve been more instrumental in my own journey than you probably realize. So blessed to know you.

  13. Joel W. Says: Jan 27, 2017 at 9:06 PM

    Thank you for sharing. I have a deeper respect for you and your ability to stay true to the Savior despite the pulls of the adversay.

  14. Elizabeth Blesie Says: Jan 29, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Chris, I am so proud of you! Like Heidi I also have a secret, not the same as yours but one that I am very ashamed of.Actually I have a few things I’ll never share because I am so ashamed of them. I look to you and Jenny as examples of two people that I wish I could be like and live my life the same way that both of you do. Thanks for
    being the shining example that you are! Liz Blesie

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