The Young, Closeted, Gay Mormon's Guide To Thriving

08/29/2017 10:49 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2017

1. When your dad notes in no uncertain terms that he did not enjoy the 2006 animated film Happy Feet because of its “overt” homosexual agenda, remember he is talking about penguins and not you.

2. When your scoutmaster talks about gay people and remarks “animals have figured it out, why can’t they?” Don’t mention that one YouTube video where two apes hump in the wild. But please remember you are not an animal; that kid in the backseat playing Magic and eating cheese puffs is.

3. When someone explains to you that you’re only feeling attraction to men because you’ve jacked off and when you masturbate it’s just you and your penis, so of course you’re going to be attracted to men, remember that if this were true all men would be gay. And when this realization brings you hope, remember it is simply not true.

4. Upon leaving for your mission, when your ecclesiastical leader asks you if you’ve ever looked at porn and you tell him “Yes….but it was gay porn.” and he responds, “…but you’re not gay right?” Respond, “Oh no…that would be crazy!” This will make him respect you as a good-hearted kid with some spunk.

5. When in college, avoid sharing that you’ve never kissed anyone, and when you do have a first kiss, avoid sharing that information as well.

6. When your bros are talking about women they think are hot, avoid focusing on women whose personality you love (Tina Fey and Adele) and remember it’s all about features. Men commonly enjoy breasts and butts. But don’t ever give away that you know too much about that woman’s love life, nor her successful lifestyle business ventures, nor what she looked like on the red carpet last weekend. Shouting a simple number will often do, “10! …She is a solid 9 in the back.” Remember shouting out any number less than a 7 about a woman you’re supposedly attracted to will be met with quizzical stares.

7. When your therapist assigns you the homework assignment to go home and google female celebrities to find out which one you’re aroused by, avoid googling Jennifer Garner because you will be distracted by Ben Affleck’s boyish grin. To be safe, it may be best to stick your Google search to lesbians: Anne Heche, Portia De Rossi and Jared Leto…actually, this exercise might be too slippery of a slope.

8. At a dinner party, when a cute housewife rolls her eyes about Pride Day and laments loudly why there isn’t a Straight Pride Day, do not engage. Refrain from teaching her about the immense shame gay youth grow up with. Instead, ask who else wants more ice and return to the kitchen so you can get an early start on dessert.

9. When a fellow student asks you, “How did you know you were gay?” Refrain from detailing the disorienting arousal you felt upon watching You’ve Got Mail for the first time and instead admit you don’t know if you’re gay but that you’ve just never “felt your engine rev” for the opposite sex. Your straight friend will appreciate the motor reference and see it as a hopeful sign that your heterosexuality is still intact.

10. When your roommates complain of dating problems, don’t remind them that they are lucky to be able to date openly. And when they remind you that you are lucky that you don’t have to go through the trials of dating, nod your head and acknowledge that you are blessed in ways you don’t even know then return to your room and masturbate responsibly.

11. When someone asks, “What are you going to do about it?” refrain from letting them know you’ve already done something about it.

12. Upon the tenth time of someone reminding you that some people never marry and mentioning Sheri Dew as a wonderful example, refrain from googling her. She is not the most exciting person for a million young gay men to look up to but also don’t direct your anger towards her. For it is not Sheri Dew who asked to be the poster bachelor for a generation of gay men.