• Leslie Jordan said he "firmly" believes that God made him gay
  • The 66-year-old actor-singer said he never walked away from the church but just "quit going"
  • Jordan shared that he and collaborator Dolly Parton "hit it off" immediately during their first meeting

Leslie Jordan is opening up about his relationship with the church and what it was like to be gay growing up in a religious family in a new interview.

Jordan, who recently released his album "Company's Comin'," and Shania Twain bonded over their religious upbringing in the latest episode of her Apple Music Hits show "Home Now Radio," which is celebrating its first anniversary.

During their conversation, Twain said that music was her "savior" and the "safe zone" where she "wasn't judged." She shared that "growing up in a family that believed very much that God was going to be there to help you through things and then also having the music" was an "inspiring way to grow up."

"Exactly," the 66-year-old actor, writer and singer was quoted by People as saying. "When I'm being very dramatic, I say, 'Well, I grew up in the church, but I walked away,' because the whole gay thing came around. I firmly believe that God made me this way. I'm not a mistake."

Jordan continued, "This is not my cross to bear. It's part of what I am and I want to celebrate that, but when you grow up and you're just so scared… But I never walked away from the church. I just quit going."

While discussing his album "Company's Comin'" — which features several gospel songs and country hits — Jordan said these were the types of music he grew up with and connected to.

"I had no ax to grind. It used to be, I would say, 'Oh, well, the Baptist church, they did this and they did that to me.' That's not true," he said. "That's not true. You know what I mean?"

Jordan's album features collaborations with Brothers Osborne's TJ, Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder, Tanya Tucker and even Dolly Parton. According to him, he and Parton, who he described as "adorable," hit it off immediately because they were both Tennesseans and of the same height.

Jordan recalled Parton suggesting that they feature some of her family members on their track. "When you hear the choir at the end of that, that's Dolly Parton's family... Oh my gosh, it was really something," he shared.

During his conversation with Twain, the "Call Me Kat" star recounted turning to comedy to "keep the bullies at bay" growing up. When they would start to bully him, he would make them laugh as his "defense mechanism."

Jordan also remembered the moment he told his parents he no longer wanted to go to Sunday school because the other kids would laugh at him.

He said his father got down on one knee and told him that there was a difference between people laughing at him and people laughing with him. It was during this time when his dad helped him realize he had the "gift" of making people laugh.

"So, I think over the years I've thought of that and... What a gift," Jordan continued. "What a gift to be able to make people laugh, to have a talent for that because you can tell a joke and somebody else can tell that same joke, and if they don't have the rhythm, whatever it is that comedians have... It's like music. We hear the music. It's the rhythm."

The full "Home Now Radio" episode featuring Jordan was released Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on Apple Music Hits.

Leslie Jorda
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 12: Leslie Jordan attends the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for GLAAD