The Annual International Affirmation Conference is fast approaching which includes the important General Business Meeting (Friday, September 18 at 3 p.m.) where candidates for Affirmation President will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Affirmation community and briefly share their vision and goals for their term of office. To be on the ballot, you must submit a statement of candidacy to Olin Thomas no later than the end of the first day of the Conference (Thursday, September 17, 2015). Read full article for details.
“There is a lot of confusing noise out there and it will only get louder as we and fellow church members and leaders navigate the transition to an affirming Zion society that values all families. If we focus on the un-affirming noise or contribute to the unkindness we will quickly lose sight of the sweet peace the Gospel can bring.”
The award is presented each year to a member of Affirmation who has served the organization in outstanding leadership and service during the past year. We ask that you look all around in Affirmation to find those outstanding individuals and then submit your nominations to the selection committee. Please submit your nominations by August 8, 2015. The awardee will be announced at the September 2015 Annual International Conference in Provo, Utah. Read the full article for details.
For decades, the book has been handed out “by well-meaning bishops,” Munson says, “but has caused a lot of pain on the part of LGBT Mormons, their families and allies.”
Kimball’s instruction that “if you pray hard enough, fast hard enough, and are a good enough Mormon, your sexual orientation will change or go away,” she says, “has caused incredible pain and has even cost lives.”
The repetition of the word, “struggling,” may send a message of weakness of self, testimony, self-image, etc; having difficulty in resisting the “temptation” of an LGBT sexual orientation; a second-class status or sense of patronizing; or other such negative images. Based on direction and guidance by the Spirit, this may be an opportunity to explain that LGBT’s really do struggle. But the struggle is not with “same-gender attraction,” sexual orientation, being gay/lesbian, or such. Rather, the struggle is with living in fear of being found out, not because of who s/he is, but who others are; with not feeling loved and accepted by other members without any judgment. with those who let ignorance be their Liahona; and with the fear of being rejected by family or ward, whether figuratively or literally. That is the real struggle so many LGBT members face.
Help class members realize that more important than pre-determined roles, the bottom line is that the married couple be strongly committed to one another and to their shared values, that they put their children as top priority, that they seek to cultivate the spirit in their home, and that they daily demonstrate their love for each other and their children through consistent actions.
By far, though, the most significant question we will face as a Church will be pastoral: how should we as a religious community treat our legally married gay members? Most people I know think that this is an easy question. The problem is, about half of them think it is easy in one direction while the rest think it is easy in the other. Actually, it is a very difficult question. But it is also an extremely important one, as it may determine the nature of our community for the next hundred years.
The Bishop finished reading the letter. Placing it to the side…he wept. Humbly he began to bear his testimony. He spoke of his lack of understanding. He didn’t understand why things happened the way they did. He didn’t know what God eventually had planned for all of us. But what he did know…was that God asked us to love each other. Unconditionally. He bore his testimony of his children…two of which are gay. He said he looked forward to the day when his family could be together at Church. When his gay children could feel welcome to bring their partners with them and feel the love surround them. He spoke of how unfair it is to expect someone who is attracted to someone of the same sex to spend their lives alone. After his sweet testimony he opened up to everyone else to discuss.
Affirmation held a virtual meeting of LGBTQ/SSA Mormons, Families & Friends in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage and the First Presidency letter responding to it. Participants shared experiences of family, friends and Church members and leaders responding to these events. The purpose was to learn from both positive and negative experiences, and to discuss ways to deal with stress and conflict and to engage in constructive dialog.