Affirmation’s highest honor is the the Mortensen Award. The award is presented each year at our annual conference to a member of Affirmation who has served the organization in outstanding leadership and service during the past year. Anyone can nominate a potential recipient. The Mortensen Award decision committee is composed of all former Mortensen Award recipients. The award is named after Paul Mortensen, one of the founders of Affirmation.
In 2014, John Gustav-Wrathall was selected as the recipient from the following nominees, all of whom have made significant contributions throughout the year:
Adryán Sánchez Román
Peter van der Walt
About the awardee: John Gustav-Wrathall
John has been serving the LGBT Mormon community ever since he started his Young Stranger blog almost a decade ago. Hundreds, if not thousands, of LGBT Mormons, family members and friends, have read this blog and as one LGBT Mormon put it, “reading it has saved a lot of lives!”
John became more actively involved in Affirmation as a keynote speaker in the 2011 conference in the Kirtland Temple. He then served in a back-up capacity to the Executive Committee in 2012 and served on the 2012 Seattle conference committee. He became Affirmation’s Senior Vice President in 2013 and has continued in that role during 2014. John also led the planning for this year’s successful Nauvoo Leadership Retreat.
As Senior Vice President he has been a constant and reliable leader and doer for Affirmation, from developing press releases, website content, corralling a variety of writers to write for us, and developing other communications. He has made an endless number of phone calls to have one-on-one conversations with individuals on Affirmation’s purposes and strategies and to ask for money.
He has led workshops and spoken at other LGBT or Mormon related events and has represented Affirmation on national news networks. He has traveled across the country to San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Mexico to support Affirmation events. He has organized multiple marches in the Twin Cities Pride parade.
John has also built important relationships with LDS Church officials at the local and headquarters level. His trips to Chicago included helping support the chapter with their dialogue events with the Chicago Stake leadership. His activity in his ward and stake has shown various local LDS leaders the value of having gay Mormons in the pews.
Probably John’s greatest contribution is how he has boldly proclaimed his belief that a person can be gay and Mormon, if they choose, and then has been a powerful living example of how that can be done. Thank you John Gustav-Wrathall for your tremendous service to Affirmation and LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends!
Former Mortensen Award recipients:
Ina Mae Murray*
Terri LaGuisa & Jackie Riedeman
Bruce Leguas Contreras
James Morris & Aaron Vinck