My name’s David Peterson. I’m 26, autistic, and a 2ndYear BYU MBA. I’m the author of (Gay) Mormon Guy. My life is awesome.

This post is a Q&A. Choose the questions you want to know, and read the answers.

Who Are You? Where Do You Live? Work? Go to School? 
This is a picture from last Christmas of me with my family.

I’m on the bottom row (obviously), middle right. Dad is next to me and Mom is on the top left. In age order after me (and spiraling middle-left-right-upward) there’s CJ, Matt, Jessie, Amanda, Emily, Alyssa, Zach, and Kyle.

I grew up in suburban Chicago, where my parents and four youngest siblings still live. Three of us (me, Matt, and Jessie) currently live together in a house in Orem, Utah. Amanda’s at BYU in the dorms. CJ has leukemia. He lives with me in Orem and was a BYU student when he was diagnosed, but is currently in Chicago recovering from round 4 of chemo.

I run/own a natural health company with my siblings. It's called Nature's Fusions. I started the company a few years ago when Jessie got cancer to be an honest, low-cost, extremely-high-quality supplier for essential oils for family and friends. It's grown since then. Today, our oils & blends are carried by a number of health food stores in Utah, including Good Earth, Beehive Health Essentials, and Bountiful Nutrition.

I’m in my 7th year at BYU – 4 for an undergrad in physics teaching, 1 working at the MTC as a training developer, and now 2 in the BYU MBA program. And I love BYU.

So… You’re Gay?
Yeah. Gay, homosexual, same-sex attraction/SSA, queer, and same-gender attraction/SGA are often used somewhat interchangeably, in differing circumstances. Depending on how you use them, they carry different embedded meanings. Some people can function in that type of ambiguity, but autism doesn’t give me that luxury. I use language super-literally. So when describing myself, I use the terms of having same-sex attraction or same-gender attraction because they are clearly associated with feelings, not actions, identity, or goals.
SGA/SSA comes in a number of forms. In my case it means that I’m attracted to some guys and completely un-attracted to all girls.

And You Have Autism?
Yeah. Specifically, my mental diagnoses are Asperger’sSyndrome and Type II Bipolar Disorder. Asperger’s is diagnosed as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in those with average or above IQ, but without a childhood language delay. I was diagnosed a little over a year ago, after breaking up with a girl I was dating. She was kind enough to stay friends with me even after the fact, and our conversations about the difficulties we had faced in the relationship started me on the journey to a formal diagnosis.

You can read about my ASD and its interactions more specifically here:  7Days Left: Autism & Bipolar. Autism is simply a different type of brain chemistry. Externally, it has a host of effects that are viewed as positive or negative based on societal norms.Positively, it appropriates a larger proportion of IQ to fluid intelligence,which means that those with autism are proportionally better at solving complex problems than those with a similar intelligence level. Those of us with savant skills or extreme passions (mine is missionary work/teaching) have another step up when the skills are useful. Negatively, it means that I don’t understand or appreciate sarcasm, use language literally, have to think about everything,can’t read social cues, and am naively awkward in any new or informal environment. And as a warning: having ASD sometimes means that people interpret my openness and candor as arrogance or brilliance (I’m neither).

Internally, it means that I spend most of my life really lonely. I struggle to get emotionally close to people, and even in a room of people who love me, I feel totally and completely isolated. That feeling, coupled with same-sex attraction and suicidal depression, was a triple-threat to my happiness in my teenage years. I thought I was cursed. Thankfully, when I hit rock bottom, I turned completely to God. I gave Him my life and asked simply what I needed to do to find peace. And the relationship that I’ve developed with Him has sustained me for the rest of my life.

My diagnosis with ASD and bipolar was a gift from Heaven. For a decade I had believed that my loneliness, depression, and lack of social grace had stemmed from same-gender attraction or just being not good enough. Now that I realize I’m facing triple demons, it’s a lot easier to put my life, my efforts, and my feelings into perspective.

And You’re Mormon?What Kind?
I attend a young single adult (YSA) ward in Orem. I’m the ward music chairman and teach Sunday School whenever the Sunday School President needs someone to fill in. I also work at the Provo Temple as an ordinance worker on Saturday mornings (when I can get myself up on time – 6am prayer meeting is rough). And I support the Brethren on and off the pulpit: that Church culture is constantly in need of improvement, and that Church doctrine really is divinely inspired and holds the answers to all of life’s important questions – not out of dogma or fear or brainwashing, but because I’ve seen the blessings in my own life.

Are You Authentically Happy? Or Deluded, Inauthentic, Repressed, and Afraid?
I’ll be honest. Autism, bipolar, and same-sex attraction mix together to make a perfect storm. And for some of my teenage years I was caught in that storm and had a hard time really being happy. Like many people, I wore a façade on the outside to fool the world into thinking my life was good, when in reality I felt like I was drowning. 

But the answer to making life better wasn’t “finding myself” in homosexuality or “coming to terms with reality” on that measure. It was finding God, realizing how completely He loved me, and then surrendering my will to Him. Not assuming that He made me to be stagnant, or defining for myself what happiness would look like, but giving Him everything and being willing to suspend my own dreams, hopes, desires, fears, sins, and everything else in exchange for peace. It worked, and I’ve found happiness ever since. When my brother and sister fought cancer. When my cousins died of genetic disease or tragic accident. When I felt completely abandoned and forgotten by the world. God gave me the happiness and peace I needed. I’m truly and authentically happy with who I am because I embrace who I am – a son of God – and in following God’s path I find far greater happiness than I ever could find outside. True and lasting happiness isn’t something that comes from the outside, or even from optimism within. Happiness is a gift from God, cultivated in the furnace of affliction and bestowed upon those courageous enough to think it possible.

This Is Long. And I’m a Visual Learner. Do You Have a Short/Visual Version?
No. Sorry about that. But you can watch this YouTube video. It's my story set to Laura Story's Blessings.


What’s it Like to Be Gay, Autistic, and Mormon?
Perfect? Complicated? How much time do you have? I started writing here at (Gay) Mormon Guy over two years ago. There are almost 400 posts, and most of them talk about what it’s like to have same-sex attraction and be Mormon. I can’t talk for anyone else. But in my case homosexuality doesn’t really play a big part in my life. I’m a faithful Mormon guy and, except for being eligible and unmarried at 26, look completely normal from the outside. Except for the struggles with addiction and understanding epic moral quandaries, having same-sex attraction has been a mostly positive experience… and made me a more loving, caring, and authentic person as a whole.

Having same-gender attraction means that I’m physically attracted to guys (Kissing Guysis a good visceral post that conveys that reality) and need to connect emotionally with them more than most other guys (you can read about that in Homosexuality Isn't Just About Sexuality). That’s frustrating, because most guys don’t have the desire/need to engage at the emotional depth I need for a valuable relationship. But honestly autism impacts relationships much more than just that. It puts a massive divide between me and everyone else in the world, and I feel like I and everyone who wants to be my friend has to put in a huge amount of effort just to keep a relationship alive. Together, it’s like being thirsty enough to drink a lake and having to use a 5-foot straw. 

In addition, neither autism nor same-sex attraction are visible from the outside, which means that people assume that I’m normal and don’t have different needs. If I were in a wheelchair, then people would offer to open the door for me. But when you have different social needs, there aren’t many people who are able to see what you lack and help when you’re in distress. And even those who know may not understand what it means. 

It also complicates things that I look like I’m in control of my life. Enough so that many people don’t really believe or understand when I talk about the depth of the problems I face.

Being Mormon, though, has made all that worth it. Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a community of people who love me. A place to serve and be a part of other people’s lives. A connection with God. Knowledge and inspiration from people in my community. The opportunity to lift others and bring them peace and happiness. Priesthood power to call down miracles from Heaven in behalf of the people I love. The ability to change and become better, cleaner, happier. And miracles that happen every single day in my own life… with promises of many, many more to come. The doctrines of the Church, when I finally understood them and how they apply to me, personally, gave me so much faith and hope and peace… something I was never able to find outside. More than anything, being Mormon makes me incredibly happy. It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning, and fills my heart with gratitude each night that God was willing to let me find the secret to eternal joy and also trusts me enough to let me share it with others.

Why a Blog in the First Place?
About three years ago, I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the Church with same-gender attraction. Up until that point, I had honestly thought that I was. 

I know. I’m socially clueless. Get over it. 

I had the impulse to reach out to help others and made a posting on Craigslist written to guys who wanted to be faithful members of the Church. I offered to be a friend to talk to.

Within hours, I had over 70 people who wanted to talk. Over the next few days I shared my story and listened as men and women told me theirs. Often they’d ask me similar questions, and I found myself writing down the answers, copy-pasting them into chat windows, and wanting to put the information someplace accessible. I had blogged already for a few years, so I started another one – (Gay) Mormon Guy. The blog has shifted dynamics and readers over the years, but the main focus had endured – to be the story and resource that I wished were available when I was going through my own formative years.

What Else Have You Written?
Until two years ago I wrote every week at – it includes all the letters from my mission, plus a copy of the letters I sent to family and friends each week, every week after I got home from the mission.I’ve blogged a few other places; a poetry blog called www.peacemakerblog.blogspot.comthat hasn’t been updated in a long time, SEVEN – a now-defunct blogging group with some friends, and Northern Lights – a blog with Ty Mansfield, Josh Weed, and other faithful Mormons who write about homosexuality.

I’ve also written and published a couple of books. The first was my thesis: Quan’da’ry: The Story – Creating and Modifying Games for Use in Education. It had a total run of about 5 copies. The next was called Watching Cookies in the Oven and is about finding symbolism in everyday life. It was self-published, so if you want a copy, just email me and I’ll send a .pdf version. 10 Days Until Forever (excerpt in the link) is a children’s picture book that was real-published by Cedar Fort and carried by Deseret Book in March of2011. It follows a little boy whose family is preparing to go to the temple. Then there was (Gay) Mormon Guy, the Blog which was a rough compilation of the first 100 posts of (Gay) Mormon Guy and published as a free e-book.

Why is Your Blog Called (Gay) Mormon Guy? Why Choose That Label?
My blog’s name is (Gay) Mormon Guy because of search engines. When people are searching for answers to their questions about homosexuality and its intersection with the gospel, they don’t usually use the terms “same-gender attraction.” On the same line, people search for “Mormon” more than they do “Latter-day Saint.” For more info on my choice of words, see The Title (Gay) Mormon Guy.

Why Broadcast it to the World? And Why Now?
I never intended to share this part of my life with anyone. I’m temple-worthy, and it doesn’t influence my everyday life. Everyone has problems. Why should I shout this one to the world?

There are dozens of good reasons to openly share who I am, and dozens of good reasons not to. But, at the core, the reasons why I began blogging in the first place, why I told my parents, why I told Church leaders, and why I’m telling you today stem from one thing. I felt spiritually guided to do so. God has been actively involved in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned over time that following the promptings I get from Him lead me to greater happiness and the ability to help more people find peace. A few weeks ago, I felt prompted to share this with the world, and so I’m sharing it now.

How Are You Different? How Do You Stay Faithful? Happy? And Why?
I’ve met a lot of people who don’t choose my path. Many tried to live according to their beliefs and spent years slowly degrading into turmoil. For some reason, they weren’t able to find lasting peace and happiness in the gospel, and ultimately many of them decided to subjugate their beliefs to their homosexual desires.
I don’t know what’s different about me. Maybe having autism and depression forced me to develop a relationship with God before same-sex attraction could present its moral paradox. Maybe having a family and community that thinks the world of me and tells me that I can do anything makes me believe it. Maybe I’m not that different at all. I don’t know.

Either way, I’ve learned something, with time, that has changed my life. All things come from God, and God only gives blessings.

God is omnipotent. All-powerful. All-knowing. Which means that everything that happens in the world is under His jurisdiction. Sometimes He acts Himself by putting the causes in motion, like stirring up the winds in the sky to bring down rain or answering personal prayers with feelings of peace. Sometimes He lets others do His will, like when a classmate at school stops, put his arm around me, and asks me about life. But everything that happens is under God’s jurisdiction. “Whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38).

In God’s eyes, everything He gives is a blessing. An ingredient in the recipe He knows by heart. Sometimes, the recipe calls for sugar, and life seems sweet as I learn to use the gifts He’s given me to bless others. And sometimes it calls for salt, cups at a time, to change me into the person He sees in me. Tasted alone, salt is awful. But even sugar cookies need salt to taste right. And, in His eyes, sugar and salt are the same. Both are necessary. Both improve the whole. Both are simply ingredients in a recipe that will ultimately give me the best opportunity to become better, happier, and to return to Him someday.

With that understanding, life makes sense. Why do bad things happen to good people? They don’t. If you’re good, everything that happens in life is a blessing. Temporarily painful? Frustrating? Stressful and tiring and exhausting? Yes. But so are the best rafting trips, the best group meetings, the best relationships, and the best mountain hikes. Because each experience also brings the opportunity to make the stumbling block into a stepping stone… and to gain perspective, hope, happiness, and joy that last far beyond the time when the pain is gone.

Same-sex attraction, autism, depression, and everything else in my life are blessings. Not because they bring me instant joy/pain or gratitude/frustration, but because they enable me to become happier in ways that no other experience would allow.

In that design, my solution to finding the greatest joy in life is understanding God’s hand in all things, and seeing how my goals can be aligned with His. I can always find happiness and peace if I’m doing the right thing, for the right reason, in the right way. If the gospel, the recipe that God is following in my life, and the eternal Plan of Happiness aren’t working for me, it’s not a problem with the Plan. It’s a problem with me.

How is This Post Different From “Coming Out”?
Well… that’s sort of complicated. Most of the “Coming Out” stories I’ve read have been about a guy who has been living two different lives. Slowly, the tension gets worse and worse until it finally explodes. So he tells everyone he’s gay, leaves his faith completely, and expects the world to treat him differently because of his newly declared homosexuality.

My story doesn’t involve two different lives. Just two different aspects that have never met one another. And this – my merging worlds – is my effort to simply combine them into one. One reader put it well: I’m introducing people to connections and aspects of my life that they hadn’t seen before, on both sides, with the hope that both groups can learn and grow from having a more developed understanding.

So… You’re Still Planning to Get Married. How Does That Work?
I’ve written multiple posts on this. The most cogent is The Place of Attraction.

There are a lot of strong feelings about marriage in the world of same-sex attraction. Some people feel that pursuing the hope of getting married to a girl is delusional or repressed or (insert degrading moral epithet here) because the only “right” thing to do is follow your natural inclinations. Others, usually drawing from failed personal marriages, anecdotal evidence from people they know, or statistics drawn from skewed subjects, claim that marrying a girl is ethically wrong, as it will most likely not work, and probably result in (insert the epically worst thing you could imagine here).

I wholeheartedly disagree with both. God didn’t give me autism and depression with the hope that I would always feel depressed and alone… even though that’s exactly what they do naturally. Following my natural inclinations would have led me to suicide, not to happiness. And even though people without both autism and same-sex attraction may bristle at this metaphor, same-sex attraction is largely the same. SSA, autism, and bipolar are all simply variations in brain chemistry. All of them grant amazing, seemingly supernormal benefits – autism grants a higher fluid intelligence and an effective barrier to peer pressure, bipolar lends itself to extreme creativity and laser-focused goals, and SSA makes me into a far kinder and more loving person and often gives prowess in the arts & music. At the same time, each also predisposes me to dramatically non-normal effects. Autism distances me from society and changes the way I interact with others. Bipolar brings depressive episodes that can lead to suicide. And SSA deletes the physical, emotional, and intellectual attractions to women and supplants them with attractions to men.

From my own personal relationship with God, I know that true and lasting happiness comes from being good – from following the principles He has revealed and becoming the person He wants me to become, regardless of the situation in which I find myself. ASD, bipolar, and SSA included. I also know that He’ll fill in the parts of my life that I can’t do myself. And part of that plan, at least before eternity comes, is getting married to a woman.

That’s complicated. And this answer is getting long, so I’ll try to get to the point. I will only marry a girl if I’m completely and totally in love with her – the same level and type and depth of love that a heterosexual guy has for his wife. That has never happened to me, and in order for it to happen, there will have to be a miracle in my behalf. Until that miracle comes, and I and she fall totally in love, I’m not worried about marriage. Do I hope for it? Yeah. Pray for it? Yeah. Plan for it? Definitely. But I let God worry about it. He’s the only One who can make it happen anyway.

Were You Ever Attracted to Me?
If you’re a girl, then no. If you’re a guy, then maybe.

Doesn’t Blogging Make it Harder?
Yes, and no. Part of moving on from addictions is leaving behind the people, places, thoughts, and triggers that keep you connected. Writing about same-sex attraction sometimes makes my life harder, and there have been times when I’ve thought about just dropping (Gay) Mormon Guy altogether.

But in those moments, when I turn to God and tell Him I’m dropping out, He shows me the impact that I’m having. A guy sends me an email about how his life has been changed. A woman tells me that my blog somehow helped her marriage. A man shares his story about wanting to suicide and then finding (Gay) Mormon Guy. And in the depths of my heart I realize that writing here is part of my personal calling.

Writing also helps me work through my own difficulties. As I write, things become clearer, and I’m able to get feedback from people all over the world. Sometimes the feedback makes me laugh – like when people suggest I have more NCMO (non-committal make-out) sessions with girls to spark passion. But sometimes it’s exactly what I need. Writing about it may not be the best solution for everyone. But it’s been a blessing in my life and an opportunity to share my life with others.

Do You Have Any Other Pictures of Your Family?
Definitely! (I put this question in because this picture is awesome. We’re all doing yoga poses, and Zach looks like he’s about to box the photographer. And I wanted to reward people who have read this far.)

How Did You Tell Other People? How Did They Respond?
I told my parents about a year and a half ago in person. I describe what I told them in Dear Mom and Dad, and their response in I Told Them.

I told my close family by phone a few weeks ago. Their responses, and how I told them, are in Phase1: Family - Results.

Then I told other family and friends. I write a regular newsletter/email and included it there. Their responses were almost universally supportive.

I’ve had a number of experiences talking with Church leaders. My first, meeting with a friend and member of my stake presidency, is In Real Life. My second and third were less ideal, so I’ll leave them without links in the blog archives. My most recent, telling my current bishop, is under"Nothing Has Changed."

I Need Help Changing My Life. What Should I Do?
I could list dozens of strategies to overcome addiction, cope with depression, become more social, understand the gospel, or find happiness. And I probably will once I talk with my professor who has written world-famous books on influence. 

But the best way to find the solution to your own problems, no matter what they are, is to turn to God… and listen. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). Hopefully as you read here, you can feel inspired to turn to the scriptures, to the words of the prophets, to personal prayer… and to learn how to make your life better from God Himself.

What Else Do Mormons Believe? Can You Direct Me to More (Reputable) Information?
While I believe everything the Church teaches and try to make (Gay) Mormon Guy a place where people can receive inspiration, I’m not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I gave that up with my black missionary name tag 6 years ago. But there are official representatives who’d love to answer any question you have, whether about homosexuality or any other topic, right now

You can click here to open a new chat window
It’s actually pretty cool. Inside the button on the sidebar of my blog, you click the Chat tab, enter in your name and email (You can be anonymous, but they’re missionaries. You can trust them), click Start Chat, and you’re talking with a missionary. 

Last week I tried it out to determine if it actually worked, and two guys – Josh and Ryan – responded within just a few seconds. I told them to expect questions on same-gender attraction, and asked them if the system had the capacity to handle lots of people. It does. So go ahead. Ask the missionaries.

You can also find official Church doctrine and information at and

I Want to Read More of Your Blog. Where Should I Start?
Just click the Start Here button. Or, if you have a lot of time, try the Post Index.

Can I Contact You?

My gmail address is afriendtotalk2 – feel free to email me about whatever.
Or you can friend me on Facebook at - send me a message so that I can put a name with the friend request.
Or add me on LinkedIn; my LinkedIn is

Why Doesn't the Facebook "Like" Button Work? Or the Share Button? When Will it Work?
It got fixed! Facebook had banned as an "abusive or spammy" site, but enough emails to the developer team means that it's no longer banned. So the Like button on the sidebar works again, and you can write "" anywhere on Facebook - personal messages, status updates, anything.

What Can I Do to Help/Support You or People Around Me?
I have a really hard time asking for things in my life. I’ve always believed that I was self-sufficient… and that has alienated people from my life. And, in a twist of fate, developing solid relationships with people is the one thing that I can’t do for myself. If you know me just find ways to let me know you care. Realize that the mixture of autism and same-sex attraction makes me totally awkward. Push yourself into my life even when I push back. Give me a hug for no reason at all and then don’t let go. Stop me when you see me, and push me into being a part of your life. That’s how you can support me.

To help those around you, learn to love people unconditionally. Learning to love people and show that love will give you a greater ability to help them in their lives than studying the problems they face. Everyone knows someone who lives with difficult circumstances, whether same-gender attraction, autism, depression, or anything else. But very few know who they are. Most of us go through life without sharing our deepest needs with the world. No matter who you are or who you know, I invite you to share the message, invite others to come unto Christ, be willing to help them along the way, and then let them find their own way to happiness.

Share the truth with everyone, and someone – your own friend, or the friend of a friend of a friend – will find what they silently need.

I love you guys.
David (Mormon Guy)

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