Author of Out of the Bishop's Closet: A Call to Heal Ourselves, Each Other, and Our World.
Antonio (Tony) Feliz was a High Priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A graduate of BYU, he worked for the Church in various capacities including service in the Church Welfare System. He had a lovely wife, three children, a nice home, and a good position in his ward teaching young people. But he is also gay. He knows it. No one else does. And thus began his struggle.
It seems that others saw his sexual orientation early on, including one priesthood leader who confronted him directly. Of course, Tony denied the charge, but knew inside himself that he had to finally discover his true identity. After years of struggle, he extended a business trip to San Francisco and hooked up with a gay man with whom he had a sexual relationship. In this encounter, he claims he discovered who he really is. He yhen had sex with members of his ward too. He made it a practice to "interview" men and women searching for any sign of homosexual tendencies. He preyed on the members of the congregation.
Hethen must face the fact that his entire life was about to change. His marriage is finished, and of course he had resign his Church callings and his employment with the Church. But he's willing, although not happily, to do all this in order to be true to himself. On August 23, 1985, Feliz - who had been excommunicated from the LDS Church for his homosexual activities - and five other members of the Los Angeles chapter of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter-day Saints, which was later renamed the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. Feliz served as the first president of the church for only eight months, when he was ousted for making changes to the church without the consent of its members.
In the process of doing some research in the Church archives, he runs across some information concerning Joseph Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and others, that bothers him. He begins to read the early documents to support the idea that same sex unions can be blessed as well as heterosexual unions. He also reads in the early documents the idea that women were ordained to priesthood during Joseph Smith's years. Both practices were discontinued after Joseph's death.
He finally leaves his family behind in Utah and moves to California to start his new life. His journey leads him to Kansas City, where he is confirmed in both the Roman Catholic and RLDS Churches, within weeks of each other!