A few months ago, the Spirit moved upon me to do something to fellowship my transgender and gender variant brothers and sisters. I wanted to provide a safe, non-judgmental, loving way to help my brothers and sisters continue to live a spiritual life, even when circumstances may have closed them out of the circle of fellowship within the church.
Marge and Dr. William Bradshaw were awarded with Affirmation’s Ally Award at the closing luncheon of the Annual International Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at the University Guest House and Conference Center. Affirmation – LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends extends its fullest appreciation and honor for the dedication, love, service and sacrifice of Marge and Bill throughout almost three decades. THANK YOU!!!
I want every Mormon bishop to know what he is asking of the gay youth he counsels. I want him to lead with compassion and put his judgments aside. I want him to support these youth, whether they choose to stay in the Church or not. Don’t crush that youth’s hopes and dreams demanding a commitment to celibacy. Let them find themselves and work through complications that you haven’t even considered. Listen and allow the spirit to edify both you and the gay youth in front of you.
Once I had accepted myself, the self esteem issues melted away. I came to terms with my religion. I realized I could never leave the church. I am a Mormon; being gay will not change that. I am gay; being a Mormon will not change that. I am not some mistake that God made, he knows me and he wants me to be happy.
“That means LGBT individuals are welcome to come to church regardless of where they are in their personal lives — single and living under the confines of the policy as we understand it today, married to a partner of their same gender, or dating someone new every night. There is no Bishop’s interview to sit in the pews on Sunday. There is no test to take to come to Sacrament or any of our meetings or events. Everyone is welcome, just as they are.”
The recent Supreme Court refusal to rule on four appeals in cases where lower courts had struck down same-sex marriage bans (and the subsequent legalization of same-sex marriage in the four appealing states) has elicited strong responses across the country, but especially in the states affected. We asked a few within the Affirmation community to share their thoughts and feelings with us.
We are grateful for the official LDS church response to the ruling, which rejects persecution of people on the basis of sexual orientation, and enjoins respect toward and dialogue with those with whom we may disagree. We are also grateful for Gospel teachings, along with reminders at recent general conferences that the first and great commandment to “love one another” takes precedence over the things that may divide us.
Enjoy listening to or watching the Testimony / Spiritual Story Sharing meeting from the 2014 Affirmation Conference. Almost 400 LGBT Mormons, family members, friends and church leaders attended. Consider sharing with your family, friends and church leaders.
By the Affirmation Executive Committee
Despite the struggles and rejection many of us have experienced in our home wards and stakes, many of us have testimonies of the Gospel and want to participate in the work of building the Kingdom of God both in and beyond the Church.
Many of us come to General Conference wondering if there’s a place for us in the church, and yearning for church leaders to speak to the doubt, pain, confusion and fear so many of us feel. Here are our take-aways from the 2014 October General Conference.