When you think about the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a few things typically come to mind. Members of the LDS faith send out their young men and young men to do missionary work around the world. They read a book called The Book of Mormon that was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith. What the LDS faith is also known for very heavily is the travels and struggles of the pioneers.
The pioneers were latter-day saints who were constantly mocked and driven from their homes throughout various states. Because of this constant persecution, these pioneers traveled to the west side of the American continent.
When we talked with Dennis Schleicher about his book Is He Nuts? Why A Gay Man Would Join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he talked about his special connection to the pioneers.
In his early days of learning about the LDS faith, Dennis was introduced to the history of the pioneers and their struggles and persecution. Their experiences brought him to tears because he could relate to the persecution he had gone through in his life for being a member of the LGBTQ community.
My mom wrinkled her nose. “They are all going to hell. This is so disgusting.”
I looked over at her and stopped myself from rolling my eyes. “Really? You think that’s disgusting?”
“Yes, I do. They’re going to hell. It’s in the Bible.” She stopped and stared hard at me. “You’re gay, aren’t you.”
It was a statement, not a question. I hesitated, but I had nothing else to say.
“Yes.” “I knew it!” she burst out. “I always knew it! Your father is going to be livid when he gets home!” I wasn’t there when he got home.
My mother wasn’t the only person to figure it out.
Two weeks later, Dennis was attacked by 5 boys at his school.
Through those experiences and so many others, Dennis was determined. “In so many ways, I decided to be a survivor, not a victim, and to use the journey of my life as a source of inspiration to help others in similar situations.”
In 2014, Dennis, who had grown up a member of the Congregational church, was church hopping. It also happened to be the year that he met members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons) for the first time. In his own words, Dennis says:
I had never met a member of the Church except for the poor missionaries who had my door repeatedly slammed in their faces. So I was shocked that my sexual identity didn’t seem to bother these Mormons I worked with.
From that point on, Dennis learned more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He visited the Sacred Grove with friends, attended sacrament meeting, met with the missionaries, and studied the Book of Mormon.
I had been studying the Book of Mormon for only thirty days. I didn’t understand everything, nor did I need to. It’s not a book you read one time—you read and ponder it every day, and through constant scripture study you will gain further knowledge and insight.
Roadblocks, challenges, trials, tribulations—whatever you want to call them, we’re all going to have them. It’s a fact of life. It’s what we do when we’re faced with them that matters. We can give up and be defeated. Or we can use them to grow and become stronger. I believe and know in my heart that God is there for every one of us.
Dennis now serves as a ward mission leader, assisting sisters and elders throughout New England to better understand how to work with the LGBTQ community, creating a better understating amongst all people.
To contact Dennis or schedule him for a speaking engagement, visit his website (dennisschleicher.net/contact). Purchase his book, Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ, at Deseret Books.
Reviews for Is He Nuts?
“As an active Latter-day Saint mother of an openly gay son, I was moved by Dennis’s story and the pure love of Christ. A must-read for all who are seeking to walk in the shoes of another.” ~ Becky Mackintsoh
“I devoured this book the day after it arrived. I am now passing it on to my teenage children to read.”
“His experiences and testimony are truly a light in this world and I believe his story will help many both in the LDS church and out of it.”
“This book is revolutionary, groundbreaking, transformative and much needed for anyone looking for a great story.”
September Shoutout by Nancy Ayry – Every day in the month of September I would like to give a shoutout to one person that I see is making a positive difference in the world. 🌎 ❤️
Dennis Schleicher – he is everyone’s best friend. You can’t help but love him the minute you connect with him. He’s full of enthusiasm and love, kindness and sincerity. Dennis is a writer, lifestyle reporter, crisis counselor, network marketer, and motivational speaker.
When Dennis was a teenager in the 1980’s, he was brutally attacked by several boys in the men’s room at school because they figured he was gay. They took turns punching his face, jaw, and stomach and calling him a “f****** f***** that should not be allowed to live.” The school administration oddly took the side of the attackers. Shortly after the attack, the media began to contact Dennis and he appeared on seven talk shows, including Larry King Live, and Sally Jessy Raphael. in 1990, Dennis testified in court to help pass a hate crimes bill that included minorities and LGBT individuals.
“Dennis’ life has not been easy. The growing realization that he was gay coupled with his parents’ use of religion to justify abuse and neglect led Dennis to have a very complicated relationship with love, God, and organized religion. After suffering from the violent attack, forced institutionalization, and heartbreak after heartbreak, Dennis was desperate for love and acceptance – he just didn’t know where to find it.”
“After years of searching, Dennis unexpectedly discovered a new family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his book, “Is He Nuts? Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ” he shares the story of how he, a gay man, found his home in the church.”
Dennis now serves as a ward mission leader, assisting sisters and elders throughout New England to better understand how to work and deal with the LGBTQ community, creating a better understanding amongst all people.
In his book Dennis explains, “I am many things. I am a people person, a talker, a networker. I am a gay man, a survivor of a hate crime, an advocate for the LGBT community. I am a friend, a hugger, a Christian who has always believe in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am a son, a brother, a cousin. All of this and more collectively defines who and what I am.” ( ”Is He Nuts?” Cedar Fort Publishing, Schleicher)
Dennis teaches me how to love and how to forgive. He teaches me that there are new starts. He teaches me that sometimes you’ll do things you NEVER thought you’d do! And he shows me what true ministering is. In his own words, “Turn up the Love!”
I spent this past week experiencing Education Week at @brighamyounguniversity and I LOVED it! It was amazing! If you have never attended this incredible event, I invite you to put it on your calendar for August 2020!
At first, I was hesitant to attend because I imagined it being college courses to learn
math, business, science, etc. I had no clue that It was a week full of gospel learning that has strengthened my testimony of the @churchofjesuschrist. I would like to share my TOP 5️⃣ . this week:
1️⃣ It serves me to serve you. It serves you to serve others.
2️⃣ Do not ever be afraid of asking God for help. Do not feel guilty asking for the smallest of things, or even the biggest of things.
3️⃣ Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done their part, so now we need to do our part of preparing to receive their blessings. We fulfill our part by reading the scriptures and by studying the gospel.
4️⃣ You would never judge anyone else if you only knew their life story.
5️⃣ We need to always consider ourselves as students. There are “teachers” all around us, who help us to learn and grow.
I remember opening my eyes during the opening prayer to look around the room at everyone who was there to support me: Derek & Shelby Hall, my ward members, many other close friends, and my parents.
I remember the feeling I had while immersed in the water and immediately afterwards. I was lightheaded, refreshed, with a new sense of well-being and a revitalized purpose in life. I felt peace. I had a new start to my life, a second chance to find true joy and meaning in life!
August 19, 2017 forever changed my life!
❓❓ How long ago was it and what do you remember about your baptism day that made it special?
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This week I was studying the New Testament from the study guide, Come Follow Me (provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I was studying about Paul and the horrible persecutions that many of those church members faced anciently.
Today, we as followers of Christ, encounter many of the same hardships that they did. When people say harsh words to me and when Satan attacks, I have found that I forget my own challenges by serving others. This week, the benefits of studying Paul’s teachings is that:
1️⃣ I want to strive every day to provide random acts of kindness
2️⃣ Be more receptive to listen to others
❓What have you found best helps you to manage and tackle your daily challenges? When you get knocked down, what picks you back up again?
I believe in my heart through personal revelation, that our church is by far the most accepting of LGBTQ+ members. Based on what I’ve experienced. This may not be the case for past members or people who left the Church. All churches have experienced a lack of understanding or tolerance for people who are different, that was in the past. I have witness times have changed. Have you?
I understand that a lot of people may not comprehend or approve of me being gay and a worthy temple recommend holder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that a lot of my LGBTQ+ friends will never understand why I became a Latter-day Saint, or will distance themselves from me. It’s okay! I choose to love and care deeply for all my brothers and sisters! That’s the difference between someone who is striving to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ and someone who needs to do a little more work loving and accepting those they may not understand. I’m writing this at the risk of losing friendships and work relationships and upsetting my family for divulging my innermost secrets and struggles. Nothing can change this if it needs to be done.
After years of searching, I unexpectedly discovered a new family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now secure in his relationship with the Church and with God. Now I share the story of how a gay man, found his home in the Church. Determined to be a survivor, not a victim, I use my life’s journey as a source of inspiration to help others in similar situations and to foster a better understanding of God’s many LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the world. I now love serving as a Ward Mission Leader, assisting sisters and elders throughout New England and the world.
“No matter your religion, faith background, sexual orientation, or race, I challenge you to choose love!”
Turn Up The Love Devotional – June 2 at the Pasadena Stake Center from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Join Dennis Schleicher as he shares his story as a gay man that was welcomed into the fold of God with open arms and was taught about the true nature of God’s love for everyone. Follow Dennis’ journey from hate-crime victim to a Ward Mission Leader that helps hundreds of missionaries better reach the LGBTQ community.