Gay doctor Jake Jacob has reflected on the “life-altering” moment he decided to cut ties with the Mormon religion in a powerful Instagram post.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon church, is notorious for its anti-LGBT+ views, and discourages queer people from “acting” on their attraction to others, effectively urging them to remain celibate.
Jake Jacob, a doctor, opened up about his decision to leave the Mormon church behind in a heartfelt Instagram post in which he reflected on the moment he stopped wearing his temple garment, a type of underwear worn by Mormons following their endowment ceremony.
Sharing a photo of himself wearing a pair of white briefs and a tight t-shirt, Jacob said he was reminded of “a lifetime ago” when he still wore his Mormon undergarments, which he refers to as “magic underwear”.
“It’s been 12 years since I decided to stop wearing them,” Jacob wrote in the Instagram post, shared on 30 November.
“It made no sense since I was having sex with men which is a mortal sin against the Mormon church’s teachings.
“The conscious decision to take my garments off was life-altering physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was my last physical reminder, for good or bad, of my ties to childhood religion.
“It was liberating for my body to finally remove the oppressive clothing that insisted I always stay covered instead of celebrating the body God gave me.
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“It was also liberating to eliminate the constant reminder of childhood guilt and trauma, like shedding unnecessary shame I’d been carrying for years about who I am and my God-given orientation that I can’t and shouldn’t change.”
Jake Jacob shed years of ‘self-loathing’ after leaving the Mormon church.
He continued: “It was a necessary step in overcoming years of conversion therapy that taught me I was broken and somehow God was supposed to fix me if I was righteous enough, an ever-moving impossible goal post.
“I shed the self loathing and disdain engrained into myself with a lifetime of being told I was the equivalent of a paedohphile and a murderer single for wanting the same love heterosexual people enjoyed so naturally in the culture at the time.”
Jacob went on to describe the incredible moment he got into bed for the first time without wearing his temple garment, saying he felt a sense of freedom he had never felt before.
“I could choose how I presented my body to the world, not a corporate religious organisation. It started a journey of loving my own body, embracing my flaws, of actually looking in the mirror and choosing to like what I see without guilt or forced ‘humility’ which I now know was the quest for impossible constant perfection of body and mind.”
After leaving the Mormon church behind, Jacob learned how to love himself for who he is.
Closing out his post, Jacob said he has “good and bad days” but that he is grateful he took a step into the unknown by living as an openly gay man.
The Mormon church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but that acting on that attraction is unacceptable to God.
The church used to also teach members that same-sex attraction could be “cured” – a dangerous and harmful idea that has been debunked by most major psychiatric bodies across the world.
However, the Mormon church now teaches that “individuals do not choose tho have such attractions” and that conversion therapy is “unethical”.