Summary of David Archuleta’s 01/15/2022 video

The Video

The video is about an hour long. it is a very vulnerable and intimate video. David passionately tells about his journey to self-acceptance. I highly recommend you make the time to watch it if you are interested in it.

Here is the video, which is about an hour long:

The Summary

However, I also understand that since the video is quite long people might want the cliffnotes version until they can make the time to watch it. I sat down, watched it all, and wrote out a summary. My summary is no where near as passionate, and I again highly encourage you to watch the full video

Here is the summary:

David was always taught that he was supposed to grow up, marry a woman, and have kids. It was a requirement for both a happy life on earth AND a happy afterlife.

David dated women, but he always felt guilt, shame, and inadequacy in his relationships. He felt like something was wrong with him. These feelings inevitably made him feel bitter, especially towards the girls he was dating, and he eventually would be afraid to even talk to them. He knew that they were looking for someone who was passionate for them emotionally, physically, and sexually. He approached heterosexual marriage more like a political or business relationship, and he felt like this disconnect in understanding was stringing these women along and it inevitably would lead to hurt feelings for everyone.

Make no mistake, though – David tried to stoke attraction for women for many years. He had been taught that if he kept trying eventually it would click. He just had to play the part in this show. In the back of his mind he had always known that he was attracted to men, but hoped that he could be bisexual so he could successfully live an LDS life. After all, he had been taught that marrying a woman is the only thing that would make him happy, and if he was in a gay relationship he would be unhappy and lose the light in his eyes. Being gay would be THE LAST option. However, after many years of playing the part, he realized that that attraction wasn’t there; he just wasn’t attracted to women.

David came to an impasse which only had 2 paths: commit suicide or accept that he’s gay.

He had always been taught that being gay was an affront to God. He had been taught that his gay desires were simply carnal and a temptation given to him that he must overcome. He was taught that to be gay after knowing God would mean to turn your back on God and choose damnation. David very seriously considered killing himself to escape this predicament he was in. However, he also thought that perhaps God didn’t want him to kill himself. He thought maybe there was something he could do to offset the “sin” of being gay. Perhaps that’s what God wanted David to do.

David realized that being gay isn’t only about sex; he want to live a life with someone. He wants to travel, have kids, and enjoy life. He said that there’s a good chance that the only way he would enjoy this kind of a life is if his partner was a man. Ultimately, he had to separate himself from the shame associated with that fulfilling life and God in order to sort things out for himself. One night he prayed to God to turn him straight; he got an answer, but it wasn’t what he was expecting. He said God doesn’t see things the same way that a lot of religious people do, and David was created to be exactly who he is, and he was to stop asking to be made straight because God made him gay on purpose. This was an odd realization for him, and it gave him a lot of confidence about who he is.

David has lived a large part of his life with spirituality as the focal point with an LDS lens to bring it into focus, and it had to be all or nothing with the LDS lens. He felt like this shift in his understanding of himself meant his relationship with the LDS church became unstable, and thus his whole worldview became unstable. He wants to keep this identity and heritage, but is unsure how he will do that or even if he will be permitted to do so (he fears that one day he may be excommunicated if he marries a man).

He is still working through what this tension means for his future. However, he does know that he wants to help others find the grace and self-acceptance that he has found.

My Thoughts

The despair that he conveys in his video is extraordinarily familiar, because I experienced it myself. having your worldview so thoroughly shattered is disorienting and exhausting.

Many people who go through religious transitions like this also choose to create some distance between them and God. Many find the peace they seek when they do this, which is wonderful. Others, like David and myself, have to undergo a deconstruction phase. You have to unpack boxes and boxes of theology, culture, self-hatred, values, heritage, and identity, and with each piece you have to decide if you’re going to keep it, repurpose it, or throw it away. This deconstruction takes years to accomplish for many people.

Like David, I also felt a desire to keep my affinity for my heritage and identity. Eventually I found I was able to best do that in Community of Christ. I am able to passionately dive into history and theology, while not having to compromise on who I am, which is incredibly freeing for me. I hope David finds somewhere where he is able to find this same kind of fulfillment.

David also expressed a desire to help others, which I find is a mark of a truly good person. When you go through something soul-wrenching, and then turn around and want to help others through it, you are a good person. I have noticed that this is a common theme with all of my friends that I respect the most. I know David is talented and one of the best of us, and wherever he feels called will greatly enrich all of us.