To be born queer is to be born into a second family which is only discovered later in life. Just as we don’t choose our siblings but hopefully learn to love them and take pride in our family identity, we don’t choose our queerness but hopefully learn to love it, love our queer family, and take pride in our queer identity.
The 2nd annual Affirmation Conference was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina last month. People came from as far away as 18 hours by bus. The full range of LGBT were represented and parents, family members and friends also came to support those attending. Those attending said the weekend recharged them to move forward with their lives, knowing God loves them and understands them individually.
I marveled at the strength of conviction these friends have in the face of cultural and religious discrimination in so many of their communities and even from their loved ones in many cases. While affirming my admiration for their faithfulness, I voiced my belief that the only real testimony I currently can state with conviction, is my testimony of them.
LGBT Mormons in Brazil began reaching out to Affirmation a couple years ago. They grabbed the attention of Affirmation’s international leadership team last summer when they posted a picture of the word “Affirmation” in Portuguese written in the sand and said “we are waiting for you!” We had been praying to find leadership in Brazil and they were the answer to our prayers. The conferences held these past two weeks in Brazil are the realization of a dream for many. One participant said, “It was like spending 3 days in the celestial room of the temple.”
By Jonathan Adamson
The Church does not deserve forgiveness. I, however, do deserve it. I deserve the healing that comes when I am able to forgive.
The pain can become a part of my healing as I recognize that the equally strong capacity for joy is buried along side it, deep within my being. This is the silver lining that I can and must draw upon for the strength to forgive, because the reality of life is, sometimes the pain never really goes away.
There were so many souls with pain and hurt in our group. Pain that they have been hiding for years. Many still carried that pain with them. It filled my heart to see so many let go of pain and just be at peace with themselves. I have to wonder how many of us do the same thing with our lives? We carry unneeded pain that can be let go.
We desperately need an Affirmation that is united across the Church/faith divide, but just saying that we need it is not enough. If we really want it, we need to work at it. The tensions between folks on the opposite sides of that divide are very real.
By Christie Frandsen
In a family as large and complex as mine, with such a rich and wonderful variety of personalities and opinions, that there are bound to be challenges. We have some whose attitudes and opinions and words are causing tension that is now pulling at the bonds connecting us and could even rip a hole in our family blanket if I am not watchful. There is nothing that I want more than to keep this family of mine together. Read the full article to learn some helpful ideas on how to keep your family knit together in unity and love.
Community and family acceptance are key. Individuals who want to make a difference for LGBT Mormon teens and adults can begin by engaging in conversations. Download some resources here that you can use to facilitate some of those conversations.