Gay Mormon records coming out to friends and family

Posted at 9:33 PM, Feb 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-22 00:28:57-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The video of a gay BYU student coming out to family and friends is gaining national attention.

When 25-year-old Jimmy Hales told family and friends he was gay, he decided to record their reactions. That video was posted on YouTube on Tuesday and has already gained national attention and more than 85,000 views.

Hales says that he's known he was gay since he was a kid, but as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he kept it quiet.

"I wanted to come out and see me, start living my life and see my potential for the very first time," Hales said. "I was living a lie. I was living a lie entirely. I grew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Straight Saints."

Hales says most of his family and friends have been supportive, and so have many BYU students. He hopes his story can help other gay Mormons struggling with telling family and friends.

"I've had people come to me and be like, 'I'm gay' or 'I'm bi,' left and right on campus and I'm the first person a lot of these people have told," Hales said.

Hales remains an active Mormon, despite their position against same-sex relationships.

"I never once wrestled with whether I was going to stay in the church or not, that's no question in my mind.  I'm willing to do anything it takes to make it in the end," he said.

BYU and the LDS Church say they allow church members from the LGBT community, as long as they remain celibate.