I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Alicia’s story firsthand at the SALT LDS Retreat a couple weeks ago. I talked to her during the retreat and asked if she’d be willing to share her story and I’m so grateful she said yes because same-gender attraction needs to be talked about more.
Alicia Young, the youngest of eight, loves living in Calgary, Canada. Her job is to care for three incredible adults who have physical and mental disabilities. There’s nothing else that she would rather be doing. Her family is everything to her, and she is lucky to live by some of them. In her free time she enjoys playing soccer, or writing and recording music. She believes in the power of vulnerability, living wholeheartedly, and owning her story (thanks to her favorite author Brene Brown).
I used to wonder if I might be bisexual, but I let go of that idea after I was baptized. I had an extremely hard time struggling with same-gender attraction during and after my mission. I came out as a lesbian after my mission. I totally intended on being an ACTIVE gay Mormon, but I slowly kept taking steps into darkness, and I became further and further from God and the church. It came to the point where I didn’t know if good and evil existed, or if God and the adversary were even real.
I slowly returned to using weed. One day, I ate a morsel of a weed brownie and it had an effect on me for months after. I suspected that it was laced with something. I experienced a drug-induced psychosis (which means losing touch with reality). I was absolutely convinced that I was about to die. I wrote out my last words because I didn’t think I’d get to say goodbye.
I had an experience where my life flashed before my eyes, and I knew perfectly that the life I was living was against God’s plan for me. I had the strongest feeling that if I didn’t change my life immediately that God would take me from the earth. I literally ran to the church to find missionaries. They were so kind and understanding and the Branch President eventually brought me to the hospital, because I was experiencing psychosis (meaning, I lost touch with reality).
There I believed that my body was dead and that I was in the spirit world. I recorded my testimony on a sheet of paper I got from the nurse because it was the last time I thought I’d ever be able to. I was surprised that I did still have a strong testimony. It was always in the back of my mind, but I would just numb it away with drugs or alcohol.
I met an amazing woman, and we considered each other soul mates. I had everything I could ever want, but I knew something was missing. We became girlfriends. She came to the psych ward to see me, but before she got there I got a very strong feeling from God. Like a spiritual magnetic opposition about her. I knew that I couldn’t be with her anymore. I broke both of our hearts, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew I couldn’t be with any woman.
I started meeting with missionaries and tried to bring more peaceful things into my life. One night I watched this Christian movie that absolutely changed everything. It answered many of my questions that I never thought I’d ever have answers to. I learned that God is the one who made the commandments and I simply get to choose to follow them or not. I don’t get to create or abolish them if I disagree. I felt the most incredible peace about the law of chastity that I never had before. I also learned in a new way that faith is always a choice, so even though I was so far gone, I believed that I could just choose to move in the direction of believing again, and regain my testimony.
I was readmitted to the hospital for my Depression and Psychosis and was taken to a room with security guards outside the door. This was the darkest and most terrifying night of my life. I felt completely alone, except for the evil spirits that I felt there. I almost lost control over my body. The nurse was extremely worried about me, as I was almost in a state of catatonia. It was physical and spiritual at the same time.
That moment was pivotal to me because as much as I didn’t feel I could trust anyone, I realized at that moment that I couldn’t get through this life or this moment without trusting another person and without trusting in God. The nurse came in and offered a pill to help me relax and sleep. She told me that I could trust her, and pleaded that I take the pill. I took it and finally trusted that I would be okay.
Taking my medication now reminds me of the Savior’s Atonement every day. I need them for my mind to be at peace, and to let me be myself. Just as the Savior brings me peace, and allows me to be my best self.
It took almost a year of suffering and looming darkness to fully come back to God, the gospel, and the church. I was amazed at how scriptures I had long forgotten, just came back to me perfectly at the exact time that I needed them. I learned again that Jesus is my personal Savior and he doesn’t want me to dwell in darkness, but he wanted me to forgive myself so that I could move on and have light in my life again.
I am putting my trust into my patriarchal blessing, that I’ll be able to get married in the temple and have a family. I know that with God all things are possible. I know that The Family: A Proclamation to the World is true and that it’s from God. I no longer identify myself as a lesbian or bi or any other title, but only as a daughter of God.
I was elated, and so blessed to have been able to take the sacrament again after nearly 4 years. I am joyful living this life, and I will never look back. I now have the privilege of working in the temple, and to feel the Holy Ghost so strongly.
It is almost unfathomable to understand how much the gospel of Jesus Christ really changes a person. I know that if it wasn’t for the divine intervention I experienced, I’d still be living the same life. I believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it is my everything. It’s my life and my future. I know and I believe that Jesus Christ is real!
If you feel like it’s impossible to reconcile your faith with your own thoughts and emotions, or if you are lost in darkness and anger, I want you to know that your heart and soul truly can be whole and one again. And to those of you who haven’t come out and who feel alone and afraid of what people might say or think; to those of you who have come out, and have been received with anger; to those of you who have been kicked out of your home or disowned; to those who have felt so alone that they wanted to commit suicide; to those of you who have left your faith, because you thought there was no other option, and to the friends and the family of someone struggling with this, (who have cried in prayer for the damage done by people who don’t understand), I express my love and concern for you.
I write this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
You can find Alicia’s full story here. And if you want or need to talk to someone you can find her on IG @liciayo.