Singer David Archuleta said his feelings for other men left him feeling guilt and shame, and made him question both his faith and his desire to keep on living — but that he’s in therapy and learning to be “proud of being who you are.”
The Utah native, “American Idol” runner-up and devout Latter-day Saint appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” on Wednesday, and told reporter Steve Osunsami, “When I started feeling numb and empty, I was questioning everything. I was questioning my faith. I was questioning if God was real because I couldn’t feel anything. And here I’d done everything I can to try and be close to him.”
Archuleta recently posted online that he’s a member of the LGBTQ community, and that he’s still questioning his own sexuality. He said on “Nightline” that he’s “some form of being bisexual because … I’m still attracted to both. Whether I want to or not.” And, he added, “I’m starting to just accept and say — that’s just how it is.”
But it hasn’t been easy. According to Osunsami, Archuleta said “he had a difficult breakup with a girlfriend recently and realized that he may have been running away from his attraction to his same sex his whole life.”
“It just got to a point where I felt so guilty … and I didn’t know why. I was starting to get angry,” he said. “And I’m so frustrated that I’ll be with her and it’s, like, I notice a guy more than I notice my own girlfriend. And I feel a lot of shame in that. And I feel embarrassed.”
But he’s come to realize “that’s something I’m not going to be able to change. … I’m still trying to figure out how attracted I am to people. I think my guilt would get so heavy that I had those same feelings for guys — I was thinking I must be doing something wrong.”
Archuleta said he remains a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — “Nightline” aired a brief clip of him praying with Osunsami before the interview began — and admitted that he tried to pray the gay away. He said that in “Christian culture” and “religious culture in general … you start to believe that just feeling is wrong and is evil and it’s corrupt and it’s a sin. And so you think — I’m a goner.”
“I was praying, like, God, you can do all the things. You are a God of miracles. And I know you’ve allowed the blind to see and .. the dead to rise again. And I thought, you know, if I do everything I’m supposed to, maybe he can change me as well.”
And, he told Osumsami, he felt that “maybe it’s better that I’m not here anymore than to live in a way that isn’t how God would want me to be.”
Archuleta said the first person he came out to was his Latter-day Saints mission president, who “just gave me a hug and he didn’t condemn me. He didn’t make me feel like I was less than. He just let me feel like I was loved.”
He had been trying to keep his feelings “at bay. … I thought I was pushing it away and, really, I was just pushing it down.” And that brought on “a lot of resentment, a lot of anger and a lot of confusion” while he was on his mission.
“I was just, like, why? … All I’m doing is teaching people about God. Teaching them how to pray. And I still can’t get these feelings away. And I’m not doing anything to provoke those feelings. So why do they keep coming?”
According to Osunsami, Archuleta “still believes in chastity, but says he’s not sure if he’s saving himself for marriage with a man or a woman.” And Archuleta told Osunsami he’s in therapy.
“I do love that aspect of being proud of being who you are,” he said. “The point of my post was to help people feel that love for themselves and to be OK with themselves.”