Let’s All Love Boldly – Embracing Your LGBTQ Friends
Others outside our church feel I don’t fit the mold to be a full temple holder. Others assume I don’t deserve holding a calling working with missionaries. Others believe I am not going to last-leave our church.
I’m exhausted with people questioning my worth, I’m exhausted justifying to others that I am worthy to be a full temple holder. I’m exhausted with people who have left our church constantly questioning my motives. Questioning why would you join the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? My answer is simple; I couldn’t imagine living without this gospel.
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.”