Dropping by The Daily Show on Wednesday night (June 20), Reynolds explained that his friend growing up was both gay and Mormon. Watching him deal with the pressures to remain closeted mixed with Reynolds own experience in the community, and the high-rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth served as the inspiration for the film.
[My experience at BYU] on a very small scale is what our LGBT youth feel every single day in orthodox religion,” said Reynolds. “They are told something that is beautiful, something that should be celebrated — their sexuality which is unchangeable — is sinful.”
Reynolds was raised Mormon and briefly worked as an LDS missionary until he was expelled from Brigham-Young University for having sex with girlfriend. To this day he still considers himself part of the faith.
Believer is set to premiere on HBO on June 25.