Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds says he regrets preaching anti-LGBT messages in his youth.
The recipient of the Trevor Project’s 2017 Hero Award, Reynolds admits his earliest exposure to the LGBT community came from the Mormon church.
As a young adult, Reynolds served as a missionary for the church for two years in Omaha, where he “knocked [on] thousands of doors” and told people that being gay was a sin. “The doctrine is, if you are gay and acting upon it, that is sinful,” he told Billboard.
At the TrevorLIVE benefit on June 19, Reynolds confessed, “I wish I could re-knock [on] all those doors and tell them that I was wrong.”
— Imagine Dragons (@Imaginedragons) June 25, 2017
The 29-year-old musician has come a long way from then, though, and has been a vocal supporter of LGBT organizations like GLAAD, the Trevor Project and the anti-bullying group Stand4kind.
“To be gay is beautiful and right and perfect—to tell someone they need to change their inner-most being is setting up someone for an unhealthy life and unhealthy foundation,” he says. “I know a lot of Mormon youth who are gay and hide it because they feel as though God hates them or God is judging them. In Utah, the number one reason for death among teenagers is suicide.”
Raised in a Mormon family in Las Vegas, Reynolds says he still believes in Mormons and orthodox community, “but I believe we all can be educated on the matter to create positive change.”
Watch Reynolds receive his Hero Award at the 2017 TrevorLIVE gala.