Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
My name is Earl and I’m from Orange, Virginia. When I realized I was gay it actually changed my entire personality, because when I was younger I was really outgoing but when I turned – It was like I was thirteen. It totally changed my personality. I became introverted and painfully shy. I look back at my school pictures and from thirteen back I was this really happy kid, that’s smiling, with a grin on his face and from that point on all the way through high school. Every picture that I’ve got, I’m never smiling in it, and so, I think that tells the story better than words. You know, you’re so engrained with your religious up bringing, it’s almost like you are brainwashed. It’s not that easy to get over, or to get passed, but you just have to take your own path and think for yourself and not just rely on what you’ve been taught. I read this book, well, the book itself wasn’t that good. It mentioned a story from the Bible about Jonathan and David and I just couldn’t believe that this story was actually in the Bible – so I started reading this chapter of Samuels which was referenced in the book, and there’s this beautiful love story in the Bible between Jonathan and David and it really pissed me off cause I had been to church my whole life, several times a week, every week, vacation Bible school – all these things, and I had never heard that story. David who is the ancestor of Jesus Christ himself who is the King of Israel visits King Saul, who is the father of Jonathan and the Bible says, when they saw each other their souls were instantly lit and you have these people who claim to know more about the Bible than anybody else, the religious leaders and they say this is a story of friendship and you know, if you read that with an open mind you don’t say, “two friends they instantly see each another and their souls are lit” and it goes on to say that, “Saul who is Jonathan’s father, want’s to kill David” because he realizes that they are in love with one another and Jonathan goes to warn David and several times that happens. You know, he puts his own life on the line to protect David. Well, eventually Jonathan gets killed in battle and that’s where we have that famous saying David says “Your love to me is greater than that of a woman.” And that’s where that comes from. It’s a beautiful story. I think I felt betrayed because I had never been exposed to that and so that’s when I began to question my religious beliefs and my whole belief system. I reconcile being gay and being Christian as not being mutually exclusive, you know? So, I think for me, just accepting that God made me as I am, and that he’s happy with who I am, and that I’m a good person, and I don’t need to live up to anybody else’s moral standards, whatever they are.