Gay, ex-Mormon Utahn is glad to tell his story on ‘The Voice’

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EJ Michels is thrilled that he got to perform on NBC’s “The Voice.” He’s excited that two of the judges wanted him, and that he ended up on Blake Shelton’s team.

But the 31-year-old Draper man, who grew up in Sandy, is also pleased that he was seen. That his story was told. That viewers might understand that you can grow up as a closeted gay man in Utah — as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and come out happy on the other side.

“I feel like a lot of coming-out stories, there’s a lot of pain and trauma there. Which, obviously, I’ve been through myself,” Michels said. “And sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in that and live the rest of your life in that pain, that anger and that rage. But I think it’s really important for me to heal and to heal the people in the world around me.”

He was quick to point out that he “grew up in a very loving family” and “didn’t really have a crazy hard life,” he still had a “really hard time loving myself and finding myself” and living up to “expectations” about how he should “believe and think and behave and act.”

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