Thu, 11 August 2016
Mike Woodruff knew that he was attracted to men by age 14. After consulting with his LDS bishop, he was told that his “same-sex attraction” would “resolve itself” once he served an LDS mission. His LDS patriarchal blessing also assured him that he would serve a complete LDS mission.
After being called to the Leeds, England mission, Mike was physically and emotionally abused by his first companion. Suffering with severe PTSD symptoms, he tried for two months to remain in the mission, but did not receive appropriate mental health care. Instead, his mission-assigned therapist focused primarily on encouraging Mike to read his scriptures and pray more, which only reinforced his feelings of shame/blame as an abuse victim. In addition, Mike’s abusive companion was never punished for the abuse (to his knowledge), and was simply reassigned to other missionaries.
Mike ended up returning home early from his mission (after 3 months of service), and spent several years trying to reconcile the shame/guilt that he felt, heal from his PTSD, and reconcile his same-sex sexuality. Mike consulted North Star LDS to help him manage his sexuality and remain faithful LDS, but this approach ultimately led him to a suicide attempt.
Mike ultimately found peace and mental health by leaving the LDS church, and coming out as a gay man.