(March 6, RNS)--Writing that he hoped his death "might be the catalyst for some good," a gay Mormon man committed suicide behind a Mormon church in California.

"I am now free," wrote Stuart Matis, 32, who shot himself in the head and whose body was found on February 25 behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Los Altos. "I am no longer in pain and I no longer hate myself. As it turns out, God never intended for me to be straight. Perhaps my death might be the catalyst for some good."

In his suicide note, which was read during his memorial service last week, Matis wrote of his turmoil over his church's anti-homosexual stance and its backing of an anti-gay legislative proposal, the Associated Press reported.

Two gay activists who said they corresponded with Matis before his death contend that he is the author of a 12-page letter posted on their group's website that describes the Mormon church's anti-gay positions and his opposition to Proposition 22, the California ballot measure that would bar same-sex marriages.

"Thousands of frightened young gay Mormons will dig deeper into the dreadful closet in panic that their parents or friends may discover the truth about them," reads the 12-page letter, which is signed only "Stuart" and addresses a young gay relative. "The church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their calloused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their finger pointed to their head in the form of a gun."

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