Whenever I tell someone I’m going to BYU,1 I always get that why-the-hell-are-you-going-there-that’s-a-bad-place look. And I suppose it really doesn’t make any sense unexplained, so here’s my justification.
I’ve more or less always known I was gay, and my parents aren’t idiots, but they are Mormon, and they are hopeful. Yes, they love me, but they also think I’m destroying myself spiritually by being who I am. Needless to say, they’ve always wanted me to go to BYU. And truth be told, BYU, by most standards, is a good school.
BYU tuition for LDS students is $2,500 per semester. In case you’ve been living under a rock in Canada, $2,500 per semester is considered to be hella cheap. My parents promised that if I got accepted to BYU, they could cover everything, and I could go to college for free. At first I thought, that’s a pretty generous offer, but then I was like, how many years has it been since BYU stopped using electroshock on gays to ‘cure’ them?
I’m not really looking to be “cured,” and I have a general policy of keeping sources of high voltage away from my genitals.2
Meanwhile, my dad, sensing my growing sexual tension—I hadn’t formally come out to him yet—sweetened the proverbial Mormon pot.4 My dad told me that if I got a scholarship to BYU, he would pay for all my expenses at college, and he would give me half of the scholarship amount in cash. This is how desperate my parents were for me to go to BYU; they were literally willing to pay me5 to go.
Admission decisions rolled around, and I ended up alone on the dance floor with BYU. They offered me a half tuition scholarship. All I had to do was navigate the sea homophobia that is BYU.6
In retrospect, I should’ve applied to more schools. There were definitely other places I could’ve gone for free, and I probably gave my parents too much weight in the application process.
But hey, five years ago you could have been expelled from BYU just for coming out of the closet. Now you can only get expelled if you do anything besides coming out of the closet. No sex, kissing, dating, hand-holding, hugging, or meaningful looks for the next four years…
Anyway, comment, shoot me an email, send me a carrier pigeon, or brush up on your telepathy, because I need some external human contact. I can answer all your deep burning Mormon questions, or send you a killer recipe for Nutella toffee.
1 BYU is an LDS (or Mormon) college in Utah, rated 5th most homophobic in the world.
2 I’m not judging if you do like voltage on you genitals, we all have our kinks.
4 Lol, Mormons can’t do pot; Mormons can’t do anything.
5 So yes, I am a collegiate prostitute.
6 And electroshock therapy.