1998 Affirmation Conference
Friday: Leadership Meeting, Reception and Game Show
Saturday: Welcome Address, Workshops, Picnic, Banquet and Awards, Saliva Sisters-Part II, Dance
Sunday: AIDS Memorial service, Keynote Address, Devotional, Discussion Groups, Dinner & Choir
Monday: Breakfast River Cruise
Open minds and open hearts is where it all begins. Both in life generally and in our relationships, being open is how we learn and grow. The theme of this conference states how we approached the weekend.
A Danish proverb states, "The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it.” Our realities are, likewise, not less real because so many do not see them.
Together, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual or straight, by being open we will learn a little about each other and in this process, learn something more about ourselves.
Mormon Gay Teens "Struggle
in Silence" (The Oregonian, 29 August 1998, C9,
2 pages in PDF format)
Gay Mormons Face Dilemma (The
Register-Guard, August 24, 1998)
Affirmation conference participants were welcomed by the Mayor of Portland, Vera Katz:
On behalf of the citizens of the city of Portland, welcome!|
We are delighted to host the participants of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons International Conference. As Portlanders, we are very proud of our city; and by the time you leave us, I am sure you will understand why. Portland has something to offer everyone.
We have maintained a small community environment, with unique and vibrant neighborhoods and a wonderful quality of life that includes nearby parks, rivers, mountains, and the Pacific ocean.
The people of Portland and of all Oregon are ready to assist in making your visit as enjoyable as possible.
With warm regards,
Vera Katz Mayor
Affirmation conference participants were also welcomed by our own National Director, Scott MacKay:
To all Conferees:|
It is my great pleasure on behalf of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons to welcome you to Portland, Oregon for the 20th Annual Conference with the theme of "Open Minds, Open Hearts."
This annual conference is an opportunity for you to network and fellowship with people from many different parts of the country and world. The similarities that we all share will provide creative discussion in the many workshops and opportunities for fun. The city of Portland and its host committee have done a magnificent job to make this a memorable occasion.
I extend a warm welcome to you and hope your participation in the conference will be one that is educational, meaningful and enjoyable during your stay.
Scott M. MacKay
Affirmation National Director
Day One Friday, September 4
Leadership Planning Meeting
Affirmation Leaders attended this annual planning meeting where they learned about our new programs, such as the youth outreach and public relations efforts, and what was happening in each chapterwhat was effective and what needed improvement. There were also financial and Affinity reports, the introduction of 1999 Executive Director candidates, and a public relations workshop.
Thanks goes to the Seattle chapter and to Rick Bickmore for handling our
conference registration needs. Special care was taken to keep costs down
so everyone could particiapte. Conference scholorships were also granted
to those who needed a little help.
Vendor and Display Room
Also begining Friday, was the Vendor and Display room where products were available for purchase, and many interesting displays could be viewed. Groups represented included PFLAG, Pride Northwest, Cascade AIDS Project, Trevor Southey did a book signing, and both 1999 and 2000 Affirmation Conference committees did displays for their upcoming conferences. Guests browsed through books, gifts and interesting collections of Affirmation materials and displays. Audio tapes of conference sessions were also available for purchase.
Our opening activity included time for us to socialze and participate
in ice breaker games to get acquainted. We were also welcomed by Serena
Cruz, on behalf
of City Council Commissioner, Eric Sten, who outlined the steps the city
has taken to protect the legal rights of gays and lesbians and additional
measures they will continue to take to insure greater protection. Refreshments
had a distinctive Northwest theme and included Apple Fritters, Baskets
of Crisp Assorted Apples, Warm Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce, Chilled
Apple Juice, and Hot Spiced Cider.
You Don't Know Dorothy Show
Modeled after the popular computer game called You Don't Know JackTM, this fast-paced gay-Mormon version tested our trivia knowledge of historical facts. Hosted by Imelda and Dorothy, we were kept laughing as each category and question was attempted to be answered by contestants from the audience. By popular request, here is the complete list of categories and questions from the game.
Night Out on the Town
Free time followed the game show, and guests took advantage of it by sampling some of the night spots around Portland. Thanks goes to Just Out, a local gay newspaper, for providing 200 copies of their publication with maps to the local clubs.
Day Two Saturday, September 5
Frank Mensel, of Family Fellowship, an organization for supportive Mormon parents of gays and lesbians, gave our opening address entitled "Higher Morality-Greater Love," in which he called on church members to show greater acceptance of their gay and lesbian family members.
Workshops Session 1
- Workshop by and for Women
A committed relationship speaks to the deepest needs of many people, but relationships often sink on the rocks of obvious but unrecognized problems. Two long-term female/female companionships identified some of the biggest and most dangerous problems and suggested ways to meet and overcome them.
Susan and Nancy have been together for 17 years, which proves that Mormons and Catholics can co-exist!
Diane Gordon is a retired educator, counselor and Jr. High School Principal in the San Francisco School District.
Dorothy N. Colley is a retired mental health consultant for the SF School District in private practice in the Bay Area as a social worker and psychologist. Prefers being known as a potter and used to own an art gallery in Virginia City, Nevada. She says it's much nicer working with cracked clay!
- Family Fellowship
Every family would benefit from the love and support that Family Fellowship members demonstrate to their Affirmation family. This workshop was facilitated by C. Y. Nelson, Evelyn Christensen and the Berryessas.
- Gay & Gray
Elder gay men and lesbians face issues of isolation and invisibility that are particular to our sexual orientation. But there are decided advantages to being older, and specific advantages to being gay and older. This workshop explored ways where older gay men and lesbians can take personal initiative to make a difference in their senior years.
Bob Smith is a retired accountant who has served as controller for various non-profit agencies over the past 25 years. These agencies were in the fields of child care, mental health, job training and an amalgamation of varied social service agencies including: seven year board member of the Daycare and Child Development Council of America; seven year board member at large to the Friends Committee of National Legislation; 40 year member of Midwest and Northwest Region Executive Committee of American Friends Service Committee; State Treasurer Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation; Board Member Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon representing Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); past member of State Executive Committee Democratic Party of Oregon; former Regional Vice President National Democratic Gay/Lesbian Caucus; and outgoing Chairperson Multnomah County Commission on Aging.
- Supporting Youth: What Can You Do?
This workshop explored why it is important for individuals to support GLBTQ youth in their communities and outlined several ways in which individuals can do so. Drawing from her own experiences as a youth advocate, Sara Jordan led a candid and empowering discussion of the greatest challenges facing GLBTQ youth today, focusing especially on LDS youth.
- Homosexuality: A Psychiatrist's Response to LDS Social Services
We examined popular notions among the mostly right wing, conservative Christian psychotherapists regarding the origin, nature, and "treatment" of homosexual orientation. This included the writings of so-called "reparative therapists" as well as the so-called "ex-gay Christian ministries." We discussed the pro's and con's of their approach to Gay and Lesbian mental health as well as the ethical dilemmas entailed in a mental health professional attempting to follow the "reparative therapy" paradigm.
Jeffrey Jensen, M.D. was born and raised in Brigham City, Utah. He has an undergraduate degree in theatre arts with emphasis on directing. He went to medical school at the University of Utah School of Medicine, did a residency in psychiatry at The Sheppard Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Jeff is Medical director of Dundalk Counseling, a private mental health group practice. He also has a general adult private practice. Jeff supervises psychiatric residents and occasionally gives lectures to local mental health professionals on Gay and Lesbian issues in psychotherapy.
Workshops Session 2
- Massage Techniques
Most of us know what a friendly massage feels like. Esther taught us some new techniques to turn a friendly massage into a great massage in this "just for fun” workshop.
Esther Bell graduated from the Houston School of Massage in January 1987, and has been a practicing massage therapist since. Trained in many different massage modalities, Esther works with individuals to help them reach the highest level of well being, incorporating stretching, exercise, and diet.
Teaching is one of Esther's favorite activities since self-care is the first step toward health and happiness. She will cover simple techniques for self care that enhance your comfort in day to day activities. She will also cover techniques that can be used in work situations when other people are around to work on you.
- Gay Political Activism
This session was not a formal presentation, rather, Daniel relayed his experience in Ypsilanti, (as recounted in a recent issue of the Advocate), responding to questions, and making suggestions.
Daniel W. Marcum was born in Mt. Gay, West Virginia, converted to the church at age 10, and has served in a variety of church callings including: a mission to Germany where he was a Zone Leader, a Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, Elders' Quorum teacher, and Second Counselor in a Student Ward Bishopric. Daniel now lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a small city abutting Ann Arbor.
- Facing Our Fears
Choosing to come out to family and friends can be one of the most difficult and fearful decisions we gay married fathers (and gay mothers) ever make. And accepting ourselves and overcoming our internalized homophobia may be the most important step in our coming out process. How we view ourselves can have a significant impact on how our family and friends respond to us. Dealing appropriately with our internalized homophobia can help us deal positively with the diversity inside the gay community as well as the supportive and non-supportive straight community.
A panel of men who have explored their internalized homophobia addressed the topic of facing our fears as homosexuals. There was audience participation with the panel.
Moderator: Jeff Jensen, MD, Psychiatrist
- Supporting Youth: What Can Affirmation Do?
Part II of this workshop explored ways that chapters can get involved in their communities to support GLBT youth. Local chapters can act as liaisons between service providers who work in schools and community programs (teachers, counselors, mental health and youth service providers), Mormon-affiliated youth and their families, and the resource network offered by Affirmation and its affiliates.
Duane E. Jennings is a Utah native, current Utah resident and sixth generation Mormon. He served an LDS mission to South Africa, graduated with an English B.A. from the University of Utah and a Secondary Education Certificate. Duane became active in the Wasatch chapter (Salt Lake City) of Affirmation in 1991 and has since served as newsletter editor for five years, co-director for four years, Senior Assistant Director on the National Executive Board for 1 1/2 years and chair for the 1997 Affirmation Conference.
Duane was part of the Fourth Sunday Study Group on Sexuality that organized the first Conference on Sexuality and Homosexuality that was held in Salt Lake City, April 1993. From that group and contacts made at the conference, Family Fellowship was formed.
For the past year Duane has worked with Allision Bingham, Ph.D. to establish a National Affirmation Youth Support Network, that includes dozens of supportive gay and straight Mormons and interested individuals across the United States and Canada.
- Nazis & Jews, Mormons & Gays: Simmering Hate Crimes
Anti-Semitism and anti-homosexuality are closely related. There are striking and disturbing parallels between the situation of the Jews in 19th century Germany and the situation of homosexuals in the Mormon church today.
This paper examined the values, mindset, and historical events that prepared and enticed an entire society to commit heinous hate crimes and, eventually, to implement the Final Solution. This atmosphere was then compared to the contemporary values, mindset, and events in the Church.
The uncomfortable conclusion discussed why the Proc is more than just a croc; rather, the Proclamation on the Family is a very dangerous document.
Cindy Le Fevre, B.A., History, California State University, Sacramento M.A., Education, Behavioral Sciences, California State University, Sacramento. Currently teaching at Heald College, School of Business, Sacramento. Formerly Editor of curriculum materials for The LegiSchool Project.
RM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 1975-77 Former callings: Primary teacher, Primary Presidency, YW Presidency, Ward Librarian, confidential secretary to Stake Pres. Current calling: crap detector.
Overweight Sacramento housewife with four kids, three cats, two guinea pigs, and a peacock in the peach tree, who has given up trying to keep the house tidy but still functions well as the Magic Laundry Fairy.
The picnic at Holiday Park included sandwiches, salad, fruit, chips, dessert, and sodas prepared by the Seattle chapter and our conference committee. It was a beautiful day and a great break to sit in the sun or chat with friends at a picnic table.
Workshops Session 3
- Trees of Portland Walk
We took a walk on the wild side with our local tree hugger who led the group on a walk into nearby neighborhoods and a park to learn of the native flora.
Dan Stutesman, Director of the American Friends Service Committee, Pacific Northwest Gay and Lesbian Program. Dan is a local resident who has a special appreciation of the old trees of Portland and is eager to share his passion for their stately beauty.
- Milestones on My Journey to Myself
Gender issues are simply magnifications (or caricatures) of circumstances that we all deal with in our daily lives. Milestones was Tia's voyage of discovery, celebrating the victory of each stage of her self realization as a healthy, physical, spiritual, integrated, human being.
Tianna Whitney Owen (Tia), was born in Butte, Montana, raised in Scottsdale and Mesa, AZ. She is a "Part-time Observer of the Human Condition, Itinerant Philosopher, and International Marketer, Inventor, and Entrepreneur-at-Large." "When it comes to gender," she suggests, "both or either, your choice."
"Typically, people with my physiology are sterile on both sides, but one of the blessings of my life is that I fathered five children (even though I also produce normal ova) as well as raising several others along the way."
"Educated in the sciences, I have spent most of my life in management and marketing consulting. I have been everything from the town sign painter in Heber, Arizona to the founder and CEO of a computer business that functioned in 68 countries (10 years before the Internet)."
"My relationship with the church has always been a roller coaster, including interaction with three Prophets. Twenty years ago I developed a relationship with God that has given a wonderful spiritual animation to my life."
- RLDS Perspectives
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has supported gays and lesbians for years, both in policy and practice. In this workshop we learned some of their secrets for healthy gay/straight relationships as they reviewed current RLDS developments, gave an overview of the Temple School Courses, favorable activity by gay RLDS at the April 1998 World Conference, and speculation on possible movement to a more accepting and inclusive ministry in the RLDS church.
Donna and Forrest Swall are both social workers, retired. Donna was with the Lawrence KS public schools from 1972 to 94. Forrest has been on faculty at KU, the School of Social Welfare.
They have 3 children, one of whom is a lesbian. She and her partner have been together for 14 years.
Forrest and Donna are both third generation RLDS members. They are graduates of Graceland College, sponsored by the RLDS church.
Forrest held the office of elder and both have held leadership positions in their local congregations and district/stake organizations. In recent years they have participated in the Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship while maintaining active contact with the RLDS faith community.
- Youth Coming Out
Gay and lesbian Mormons have no place in the mindset of traditional Mormonism. It seems a gay or lesbian Mormon must decide between his or her sexuality and their LDS beliefs. Many simply cannot choose between these two important assets of their lives. During this workshop, presenters shared their personal experience of trying to combine their LDS beliefs with their sexuality to develop a new, personal spiritual path outside of LDS tradition.
Doug Stewart, (25) is currently finishing his bachelor's degree in English Literature at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. He was born and raised in Utah by devout Mormon parents. His father, Doug Stewart, Sr., is best known as the author and lyricist of Saturday's Warrior. He served an LDS mission starting in the Hamburg Germany Mission and finishing in the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission. Shortly after his mission, he married in the temple, but after a year of marriage he divorced his wife, came out to his family and friends, and has since been actively involved in the fight for homosexual rights.
Ryan Nay, (23) was raised in a small central Utah town. He served four years of active duty service in the U.S. Army which took him to Germany and Kansas. He was honorably discharged and returned to Salt Lake to pursue a degree in secondary education, which is what he is currently doing. Ryan's paper is entitled "A Process with a Purpose: My Coming Out Story."
- Screening of Video: Out of the Past
A film by Jeff Dupre
Winner-Audience Award for Best Documentary
1998 Sundance Film Festival
Winner-Bronze Apple Award from the National Educational Media Network (NEMN)
Out of the Past traces the emergence of gay men and lesbians in American history through the eyes of a young woman coming to terms with herself and her place in the world. The hour-long film explored the critical link between knowledge of history and knowledge of self.
The film tells the story of Kelli Peterson, a teenager from Utah who founded a Gay-Straight Alliance at her high school in 1996. Her efforts provoked a statewide backlash as the school board and, ultimately, the state legislature tried to find a way to keep the group from meeting. Kelli was thrust into the national spotlight as she and her friends waged an intense public struggle to secure the right to meet on campus like any other student group.
Jeff Dupre, director/producer, was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1969. He graduated from Vassar College in 1992 with a degree in philosophy. He was production coordinator on Ken Burns' The West, an 8-part documentary film series directed by Stephen Ives, which aired on PBS in September, 1996. Out of the Past is his first film.
Eliza Byard, co-producer, was the associate producer for the Bill Moyers' series Genesis: A Living Conversation; and was a field producer on School Colors, a FRONTLINE documentary on multiculturalism in public education.
Byard is a Ph.D. candidate in American History at Columbia University.
Michelle Ferrari, script writer and co-producer was script writer and coordinating producer for Margaret Sanger, a 90 minute documentary scheduled to air on PBS in the Fall of 1997. She has worked on numerous documentary films including The West and Calling the Ghosts; A Story about Rape, War and Women.
Workshops Session 4
- Faux Painting for the Home
A little dab here, a little splash there and even the dingiest hole-in-the-wall can become a palace. This workshop was an introduction to basic decorative techniques that can be used on walls and furnishings. It will outline the products and preparation needed, and will explore through demonstration, various ways of achieving unique painted surfaces, including glazing, stenciling and choosing colors.
Randy Hillam's first exposure to decorative painting came ten years ago as an Interior Design student at Rick's College in his home state of Idaho. He went on to work in store display and visual merchandising for the Bon Marche, high-end residential painting, and then paint sales before striking out on his own as a decorative painter in the Seattle area.
Randy is a divorced father of one and makes his home with roommate and fellow Affirmite David Johnson in Seattle's Capitol Hill.
- Male/Male Relationships
A committed relationship speaks to the deepest needs of many people, but relationships often sink on the rocks of obvious but unrecognized problems. This long-term male/male companionship identified some of the biggest and most dangerous problems and suggested ways to meet and overcome the obstacles.
Ernie Horstmanshoff and Mark Packer have been a couple for 5 1/2 years, and live in Long Beach, California. They are members of the Los Angeles chapter of Affirmation and are long active participants in Gamofites (Gay Mormon Fathers).
Born and raised in Smithfield, Utah, Mark is the fourth in a strong Mormon family of six children (four boys, two girls). He attended BYU where he served as Student Attorney General. Mark served a mission in Japan. He is the father of four children, the oldest currently serving a mission in Nebraska. Mark works as a computer software consultant and trainer. One of Mark's trademarks is his love of singing, something he has done frequently in choral, church, funeral, wedding, Karaoke, and other settings.
Ernie, a native of Holland, is one of eleven childrenfive of whom are gay! Ernie served a mission in Upstate New York. He is a graduate of BYU Law School and clerked for the Nevada Supreme Court. Ernie is the father of three driver's licensed teenagers, one of whom is gay. Ernie is currently employed as an Arbitration Specialist in the public transit industry. He enjoys writing and public speaking.
- Internalized Homophobia
This was a facilitated discussion of the impact of cultural and family homophobia on the individual. The discussion focused on the development of individual shame and how it gets internalized as hate of self for growing up gay in a homophobic society. The results of internalized homophobia can lead to lowered self-esteem, depression and numerous personal addictive behaviors.
Lori Whittaker was born and raised in Salt Lake City, a third generation Mormon. She attended BYU, graduating with a B.S. degree in Child Development/Family Relationships (they used to call this the "MRS. Degree”). Lori later graduated from Portland State University with a Master's degree in Social Work (June 1998) and is currently working as an adoption specialist with the Washington State Division of Children and Family Services., as well as doing some private practice therapy. Lori and her partner Marnie, and their two adorable cats, currently live in Vancouver, Washington, and have been in a committed relationship for over nine years. Lori and Marnie are currently training to run the 1998 Hood-to-Coast relay run and are finding several new (sore) muscles.
Del Thornton was born and raised in Kona, Idaho in a sixth generation Mormon family. He served a mission in Hawaii 1972-73. Upon returning he married in the Logan temple and has been actively involved in raising four children. He has served in a variety of positions in the LDS church, including Elders Quorum President, until coming out to his bishop in 1988. Del became involved in Exodus and Evergreen for five years, serving as Evergreen Chapter Director in Portland. He later "switched” to Affirmation and Gamofites, where he remains an active participant in the Portland area. Del graduated this year with a Masters of Social Work, and works for ASAP Treatment Services, where most of his clients are gay and lesbian.
- My Dad is Gay
This session provided an open and frank discussion by children of gay men. They spoke about what it is like to have a gay father, the "coming out” experience, the impact and difficulties of dealing with this while being raised Mormon, and what their relationship is with their father at present.
Moderator: Steve Dunn
Kaira Nani, age 13, student from Cedar City, Utah
Kendal Nani, age 18, student from Cedar City, Utah
Jennifer Ward, age 25, biologist from Portland, Oregon
David Olsen, age 29, computer programmer from Portland, Oregon
- Dealing With Differences
This panel of three family members shared very personal poignant views on how to maintain loving relationships while seeking respectful treatment for each other. Dealing with the Mormon church's theology and beliefs on homosexuality was also addressed.
Joseph, Chauncey C. and Bertha A. Riddle shared their experiences being Mormon and dealing with homosexuality within their family. This continues to be a difficult issue for them, as is the case with many Mormon families. Chauncey and Bertha met in the 1940's at BYU. Chauncey received advanced degrees at Columbia University, and then returned to BYU where he taught Philosophy for 41 years.
Joseph is the youngest of 13 children, and currently lives in Washington D.C. He has a degree in psychology from the University of Utah and hopes to start a job with the Human Rights Campaign this month.
This was our chance to enjoy a little free time by visiting some of the sights in Portland at OMSI, the park, ice skating at the mall, and movies across the street at the theaters, or by relaxing around the hotel at the pool, jacuzzi, weight room, or by playing card games and watching our favorite gay TV show episodes in the Hospitality Suite. Gary & Larry entertained us with their musical variety act in place of the scheduled piano concert (our pianist, sadly, was trapped in Arizona because of a cancelled flightperhaps next year we can hear his performance).
Dinner & Awards
Our annual Rainbow Ball banquet followed by the annual Paul Mortensen Award, given to an outstanding individual within Affirmation deserving special recognition, was enjoyed by all. The menu consisted of Mediterranean Salad, Grilled Mediterranean Chicken with Olive Crust, Peppered Cous Cous, Seasonal Vegetables, Fruit Cone filled with Bavarian Cream, topped with Fresh Fruit and Seasonal Berries, Coffee, Tea, Decaf, Rolls and Butter.
Saliva Sisters, Part II
They came back! The highlight of last year's conference, the Saliva Sisters had us roaring once again with their hysterical music and razor-sharp wit. By popular demand, these three over-the-top ladies returned for another round of fun. We loved their energetic blend of satire with a Mormon twist.
Imagine going to a church dance where all the couples on the dance floor were same-sex. A dream-come-true for many Mormon gays and lesbians! And that's what it was like as we danced till midnight to some of our favorite tunes and music styles including disco, western and 50's.
Day Three Sunday, September 6
Continental Breakfast menu included assorted breakfast breads, butter, preserves, fruit juices, and fresh fruit with honey yogurt dressing. Apparently our group had a hungry appetite because they had to bring out another round of portions.
Our AIDS Memorial service caused a few guests to exclaim amazement as they walked through the doors. It was a little overwhelming. The walls of the ballroom were lined with panels from the AIDS quilt that appeared at the Mall in Washington D.C., and our own Affirmation quilt and banners. Tears flowed
freely as guests shared a few comments in memory of our many friends lost to this disease. Music provided by soloists and a gay men's choir from L.A. added to the mood.
Our keynote speaker was Chris Kimball, a former law professor at Northwestern University. Chris is a multi-generation Mormon whose genealogy includes past church president Spencer Kimball. He has been involved with the church all his life. At the same time, Chris describes himself as Christian Mormon and semi-observant, and his various heterodox views included strong support for same-sex marriage.
Chris shared his views on sexual ethics where a "legal and lawful" marriage is not possible or not chosen. "Whatever your personal belief about the importance of marriage," Chris stated, "we all recognize that many people reject the legal definition of marriage as a defining requirement for an intimate relationship. The discussion of what is better relationship or worse, healthy sex or damaging sex, does not have to begin and end with 'outside legal marriage is bad.' Many of the people wrestling with these questions in the 1990's are homosexual, in a world where the law does not (yet) recognize same-sex marriage, but the issue is not limited to gay men and women."
Chris Kimball was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1955, and grew up in Missoula, Montana, and Madison, Wisconsin. He studied at Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He is a lawyer, having practiced law for ten years and taught full-time for five years. He was baptized at eight, served a mission to South Korea at age 19, and has served as a Ward Clerk, Elders Quorum President (twice), High Councilor (twice), and Bishop. He and Linda Hoffman have been married since 1977 and have three children.
Walking A Spiritual Path
MCC Church, 2400 NE Broadway
Affirmation members were privileged to gather at this quaint historic chapel for our devotional, the only church in Oregon dedicated by a US President.
Opening Song Come, Come Ye Saints (including gay verse)
Organist Eric Youngberg
My Spiritual Path Chela Whittacker
Solo Scott Osburn
My Story Dorothy Colley
Solo Here I am, Lord
Performed by William T. Badgett
Gay/Mormon/Father: All in One Del Thornton
Closing Hymn I Have a Dream
Performed by LA Choir
Pianist Bob Mensel
Closing Prayer Allen Blodgett
Afternoon Discussion Groups
Guests chose topics from list in Hotel Lobby and went to appropriate hotel rooms to participate in these open, small group discussions. Topics included: Coming Out, Parent Speak, Finding a Mate, Handling Relationship Problems, But is the Church Still True?, Can I Be Gay & Mormon?, Overcoming Internalized Homophobia, Married & Gay (Mixed Marriages) Can It Work?, Understanding The Scriptures Used Against Homosexuality, Understanding Sexual Addiction, The Homophobe Agenda, The Who's Who list of Famous Contemporary Gays & Lesbians, Alternate Paths to Spirituality.
This was our final meal together and a delicious finale that included Caesar Salad, Rigatoni & Alder Smoked Chicken with Hazelnuts, Spinach, Sundried Cranberries and Parmesan Cheese, Seasonal Fresh Vegetables, Rolls and Butter, and Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake.
The Portland Gay Men's Chorus performed Prayers for Bobby, a true story about a young Portland man who chose suicide rather than continue living with the overwhelming hostility and rejection of his religion.
On Living the Gospel. Eugene England shared his views on homosexuality, which ran pretty much in line with tradtional Mormon thinking, a message that is unusual at conferences, but a view that was challenged and softened by the end of the evening. It was a unique opportunity for Bro. England to see the faces behind the sterotypes.
The Monday river cruise was optional, but was attended by most of our conference guests. It was a great way to finish off the conference and a fun opportunity to say goodbye to old and new friends. We were greeted by a very handsome (and gay) Cruise Director named Jeff, who fell instantly in love with our group. We kept him and and the rest of the crew busy as we lined up for the scrumptious buffet breakfast. The menu consisted of Croissants, Bagels with Cream Cheese, Fresh Fruit display, French Toast with Maple Syrup, Black Pepper Bacon, Apple & Honey Sausage, Scrambled Eggs with melted cheddar, Hashbrowns with Bell Peppers and Onions, Caramel Apple Grannies, Coffee, Hot Tea and Fruit Juice.
"This is beautiful," was the most often heard comment from guests sitting on the upper open-air deck as we floated past beautiful scenery along the Willamette river. The "perfect weather" cruise lasted for two hours.
During our adventure we were entertained by Mr. William T. Badgett, who performed his one person show called: Waiting for my Stripling Warrior. This musical theatre revue captured the moments of his coming out. From the happy discontent of wedded bliss to the obssessive psychosis of "first love" to the wholeness of knowing and believing who you really are.
Songs from the musicals Jekyll and Hyde, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls and others were bound together with an engaging and sometimes witty monologue on life, liberty and the pursuit of beautiful . . . er . . . uhm . . . happiness.
William is from Mesa, Arizona and is currently working toward a master's
degree in Music Performance Opera/Musical Theatre at Arizona State University.
An Arizona native, William has studied music and theatre at Northern Arizona
University and Brigham Young University as well as the local community
college. A countertenor (male alto), he has among his extensive performance
credits Godspell (BYU and ASU), Hamlet (BYU), Marriage
of Figaro (ASU), Mystery of Edwin Drood (ASU) as well as
one of the few "drag" roles for male mezzo-sopranos in opera
repertoire, The Witch in Hansel and Gretel (ASU).
William was also in the original cast of the Southwest premiere of the Broadway hit Pageant (Herberger Theatre, Phoenix, AZ) in the role of Miss Texas. William served in the Curitiba Brazil mission from 1985-1987. He currently resides in Mesa where his few moments of spare time are lavished on his four year old son Andrew.