Affirmation 1988 Conference Report
See Photo Gallery
From the November 1988 issue of Affinity.
At least 150 member from Affirmation chapters and groups from all over the country, their relatives and friends gathered in Hollywood the weekend of October 7-9, 1988, for the 10th annual General Conference. It was also the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Los Angeles Chapter. It was a highly successful and memorable event blessed with much planning and foresight to make it an excellent tribute to all that Affirmation stands for. The conclave was held in the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, across the street from world-famous Mann's Chinese Theatre. The Roosevelt Hotel hosted the Academy Awards in the 1920s and 1930s.
Friday night's reception began with welcoming remarks by General Coordinator Russ Lane, followed by greetings from the Honorable Grace M. Davis, Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.
Steve Evans, President of the LA Chapter Board of Directors made his welcome, followed by the LA Male Double Quartet singing the Conference Theme, "I Am A Child Of God." The rest of the evening was spent renewing acquaintances with old friends and meeting new ones.
The opening session of Conference began at 9:00 a.m. Saturday with the congregation singing, "Redeemer of Israel," followed by invocation and general announcements.
The keynote speaker was the Reverend Malcolm Boyd who was active in the film industry in the 1940s, and in the 1950s became an Episcopal Priest. He is a successful author and a leader in civil rights and peace movements. In 1976 he publicly announced that he is gay and proud of it. Rev. Boyd related that he was alone and unattractive in high school, but he found a close friend in a girl named Virginia. Some years after, this loving friend married. The marriage was dissolved when she discovered she was a lesbian and her husband was gay. Virginia visited Malcolm many times and tried to get him to come out for himself. Eventually she introduced him to a gay friend and helped him accept the inevitable. Today he believes Jesus sent Virginia into his life.
The second session began with the congregation singing "Father In Heaven," followed by the second keynote speaker, Dr. Don Johnson, a professor and therapist at the University of Colorado. Dr. Johnson is a Latter-day Saint and professed homosexual. His address was titled, "The Gay Journey: Burden to Blessing," which recounted his struggles to come out of the closet after the usual gay Mormon experiences, including marriage and children and his ultimate decision to openly profess his homosexuality. The closing hymn was "Now Let Us Rejoice."
The rest of the day was spent in workshops with the following titles:
"Homosexuality and Scriptures from an LDS perspective," "Gays
in the Church - The San Francisco Singles Ward," "Counter
Attack - Standing Up and Taking Control of Your Life," "How
to Lobby and Use the Media in AIDS Activism," "Lesbians &
Gays in Zion: A History of Our Community in Utah 1847-1947," "Relationships
between Parents and Their Gay Children - Unconditional Love," "I
Am A Friend Of God - An Exploration Of A Contemporary Relationship With
Your Heavenly Parents," "New Ideas for Better Groups and Meetings,"
"Two Halves and the Whole - The Dynamics of a Relationship,"
"If It Is to Be, It Is Up to Me," and a Women's Caucus conducted
by Ina Mae Murri.
Saturday evening concluded with a sumptuous banquet. This evening we honored Clifford Barnes of the Los Angeles Chapter as the second recipient of Affirmation's highest award, the Paul Mortensen Award for outstanding Leadership and Service to Affirmation.
Later, there was an outlandish Hollywood Revue called "The Edge of Hollywood! - A Mormon Soap Opera."
The Affirmation AIDS Memorial Quilt
Ricky Gilbert was in charge of the publicity, gathering, assembling, displaying, and introducing the Affirmation AIDS Memorial Quilt. This day we unveil a new quilt: a quilt that says, "We love you, we remember you, we care about you." To the world we also hope we also hope it says that God loves you, God remembers you, God forgives you. May God welcome us all to rest under His heavenly quilt. Many Church members have been among the victims of the AIDS epidemic, but for many reasons they have not been properly remembered. We only require two things for someone to be memorialized on our quilt: 1) they were one time baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 2) they must have died as a result of AIDS or AIDS related complex.
The closing session (Devotional) began on Sunday with the congregation singing "Come Ye Children Of The Lord."
Invocation was by Dave Malestrom, Director of the Wasatch Chapter, followed
by an address by Jim Betz of the Phoenix Chapter. Cliff Barnes directed
the Affirmation Anniversary Chorus composed of various chapters in "I
Am A. Child Of God." Shari Glenn, of the Los Angeles Chapter, spoke,
followed by the chorus singing "Because We Are God's Children. Dan Bromley,
Director of the San Diego Chapter, gave a reading, followed by the chorus
singing, "If God Be For Us." Ken Rasmussen, Director of New York Chapter,
spoke followed by the Director of the Chapter-at-Large. General Coordinator
Russ Lane made his farewell address and introduced his successor for
1988-89, Mel Barber of the San Francisco Chapter. The congregation stood
up and sang the traditional parting hymn, "God Be With You Till We Meet