Episode 125: Erik Kokkonen, Mid 30’s, Gay, Active Latter-day Saint, Dermatologist, EQ Presidency
Summary: My friend Erik Kokkonen shares his journey growing up in Hawaii, knowing he was gay in his teens, coming out to parents and his Bishop, serving a mission in New York, Med School in Hawaii, Residency in Springfield Illinois (with a wonderful Stake President) and then starting his dermatology practice in Salem Oregon. Erik has never stepped away from the Church (it has been very difficult at times) and has never (until recently) talked openly about being gay. However, that all changed in his Oregon Ward as Erik listened to Brother Eric Huntsman’s BYU Devotional (Aug 2018 https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/eric-d-huntsman_hard-sayings-and-safe-spaces-making-room-for-both-struggle-and-faith/) and heard kind things said about LGBTQ people and read Tom Christofferson’s book https://deseretbook.com/p/cd-that-we-may-be-one?gclid=&variant_id=155907-paperback. Erik sent the talk to his Bishop who ended up using it as an EQ lesson. Erik then came out to his whole EQ during the lesson and felt love, understanding and support. Erik later come out to his whole ward during a sacrament meeting talk and has recently been called into the Elder Quorum Presidency. Thank you Erik for sharing your story. You are a great man, doing wonderful things and are changing hearts. Honored to have you on the podcast.