Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds finally feels comfortable speaking publicly about Mormonism after years of shame.
The singer and his band shot to fame with the release of their debut 2012 album Night Visions, but Mormon Dan felt he had to hide his religion in the early days of his stardom.
"If you asked me (about Mormonism) five years ago, I would've been very uncomfortable," the 30-year-old tells USA Today, revealing counselling with his therapist helped him resolve the issue. "Now, there's parts about Mormonism that I love and appreciate. And as far as things that I was embarrassed about, I just don't feel it anymore.
"Maybe because I'm speaking my truth about the things that I'm upset with, I just feel secure in myself. If it offends or upsets people, there's nothing I can really do about that. It's taken me 'til 30 to stop caring that much."
Dan is using his voice to highlight the plight of Mormon members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community, who often have to hide their sexuality from other churchgoers.
The musician explores heavy subjects such as the rate of suicide among LGBTQ Mormons in his new documentary Believer, which premieres on U.S. network HBO on Monday (25Jun18), and reveals he was inspired to make the film after getting kicked out of religious college Brigham Young University for having sex with his girlfriend.
"It was a shaming experience that sent me into the first depression I experienced in my life," he recalls of the expulsion. "That, on a very small scale, is what our LGBTQ youth feel every single day, which is that within homes of faith, you have to choose between what you believe and who you love. No one should be forced to choose that."
However, Dan has fond memories of growing up as a Mormon as well, especially of his stint doing missionary work in Nebraska.
"All my friends were drinking and partying in college, and I was shoveling s**t at somebody's house," he laughs.
"When a Mormon knocks (on someone's door), they say, 'Can I teach you about Jesus Christ?' And if you say no, they'll say, 'Then how can I be of service to you?' So anybody who was smart would be like, 'You can take out my trash and mow my lawn.'"