Please say hello to Jeff Laver and
Elder Petersen's Mission Memories
Steve Petersen has been hoping his homosexual feelings are “just a phase.” But as a nineteen-year-old embarking on a two-year Mormon mission in South America, he realizes those feelings are still there, and he’s attracted to another missionary—the companion he’s been assigned to be with 24 hours a day.
Set primarily in 1972, less than three years after Stonewall, these missionaries have been taught by their church that homosexuality is an abomination, and those who “suffer” from those “tendencies” must repent. Worse, with God’s help, fervent prayer, and mind over matter, they can become heterosexuals. Steve’s conflict is real and heart-wrenching; he’s an official representative of his church, but he’s falling in love with his companion. Can he reconcile his church doctrine and the feelings of his heart?
“Elder Petersen, I’m assigning you to Cali. It’s a big city with about a million people. Elder Evans will be your companion. […]”
I looked at the picture and recognized my new companion immediately.
“I know him. Sort of...”
The President smiled. “Small world. Don’t call him by his first name. Remember, he’s Elder Evans now. I’m sure you’ll make a great team.”
I flew to Cali and gave the cab driver the address I had been given. There were deep potholes in the residential side streets of my new neighborhood. The cab driver found the house, pulled over and turned out the headlights. Elder Evans came out to greet me and help me in with my luggage. He had removed his tie and had undone the top button of his characteristic white shirt. I gulped when I glanced from his face to his Adam’s apple and the dimple below it, then again into his smiling eyes. They were blue and sincere. He had light brown hair and was six feet tall, with a slender muscular build. He had powerful shoulders and arms.
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About the author:
Jeff Laver served a Mormon mission in South America. He has a B.A. in Spanish literature and is the author of a novel entitled Just Call Me Greg and several short stories, one of which is included in the anthology Latter-Gay Saints: An Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction which Jeff also helped edit.
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