Affirmation Launches Facebook Group for Individuals in or Seeking Same-sex Relationships, Who Wish to Stay Active in the Church
by John Gustav-Wrathall
As understanding of and empathy for LGBT individuals grows among active members and leaders of the Church, more LGBT Saints are deciding to stay active in the Church or return to Church, even in situations where their relationship status prevents them from being able to participate fully. We also recognize that the Spirit is at work among both LGBT and straight Latter-day Saints, “extending the Saints’ understanding” and showing us ways forward that previous generations were not able to discern.
Several communities exist to support same-sex attracted individuals who remain active in the Church and choose not to pursue a same-sex relationship. However, many LDS LGBT individuals, through a personal discernment process that sometimes includes personal revelation, decide to seek a life partner. Historically, that has forced a choice between a loving companion or their Church.
Affirmation would like to announce a new Facebook community that will provide support and fellowship for people who: 1. Are active or desire to be active Latter-day Saints, and 2. Are in or seeking a same-sex relationship or are affirming of such relationships. This group will provide a safe place to discuss the experiences of staying in or returning to church, free from ridicule and judgment. We will be able to support each other and provide resources to help in difficult situations. To maintain confidentiality of membership and conversations, it will be a private (secret) Facebook group.
We’re calling it the “Prepare Group,” because in thinking about the purpose and goals of the group, we’re inspired by the lyrics of the hymn “The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare,” which remind us how God cares for and protects us very personally when we exercise faith. But it also reminds us to “prepare” for the Spirit’s work in our lives and in the Church.
To read more about Affirmation’s Prepare group, please visit: www.facebook.com/TheLordWillPrepare. To join, please friend the group moderator who can be found here: www.facebook.com/prepare.groupmoderator. To discuss options for joining that are not visible to your other Facebook friends, please send a private message to the moderator.
We know that to many it seems illogical for LGB people to desire activity and involvement in the LDS Church. Folks in this situation often take criticism both from members of the Church and from the LGBT community. In spite of this, if you have the desire to stay or return and are able to do so in a healthy way, we are here to support you. We believe that all Saints, gay and straight, need each other in order for the Church to be complete, and in order for us all to progress and build Zion.
We are inspired by President Hinckley’s advice: “Every one… needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things.” A goal of this group is to work to build wards and stakes that welcome their LGBT members warmly, include them in their ward and family activities, and give them opportunities to serve.
We love the gospel of Jesus Christ and all the beautiful truths that Joseph Smith restored. We have testimonies of God’s love for us and of our place in the Church of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. We hope this new Facebook community will strengthen our testimonies and provide us resources to accomplish the callings God has in store for each of us.