How David Archuleta Left Behind the Mormon Church and Is Now Flourishing As An Openly Queer Person 

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When David Archuleta returned to the “American Idol” stage on Monday night, he knew that singing his latest single, “Hell Together,” which he wrote about his mother’s show of unconditional allyship after he came out in 2021 and left the Mormon church (so did she, in solidarity), wouldn’t be embraced by everyone. But he sang it anyway, his pro-queer message heard loud and clear by those who are closeted and afraid, like he once was, and who still need it most — LGBTQ+ youth.Archuleta wasn’t even close to being out in 2008, during the seventh season of “American Idol,” when his kind smile and puppy-dog eyes told a very different story than the open and honest one he’s been sharing through his candid thoughts and personal music. He told People magazine in 2022 that he would pray to God to “please take this away from me because I don’t know what else to do.” He only got frustrated when he spoke to church leaders about Mormonism’s views on the LGBTQ+ community. And then, at 30, after spending most of his life as a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he has since abandoned, he came out publicly.With years of severe anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts behind him, Archuleta is doing what so many of us feel compelled to do when we’ve been condemned and felt betrayed by our faith communities: sharing his story with authenticity and vulnerability and standing as a beacon of hope and empowerment for those who are still finding their way to their truest selves. He’s giving his voice in more ways than one, too. As a singer, he’s hopeful that “Hell Together” — inspired by an exchange he had with his mother who texted him and said, “If you’re going to hell, we are all going to hell with you,” he explained in an Instagram post — will inspire other parents to be wholehearted allies to their queer children. Recently, I spoke with Archuleta, 33, about performing the emotional song on the “Idol” stage, his advice for queer youth torn between authenticity and religion, and why he identifies with his younger self now more than ever.

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