Affirmation Elections 2012: Statements of Candidacy
Robert Moore Randall Thacker
Note: For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ RobertGayMormonMoore4AffirmationPrez
Vote for Moore in Affirmation
I would first like to send a personal thank you to all past Executive Directors/Presidents, Executive Committee members and Affirmation members for your leadership and dedication to the LGBT LDS Community.
In 2009 I was honored to accept the calling as Young Adults Program Director. A few months in this role Affirmation held a Young Adults Conference in San Francisco which was attended by young adults from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Since then I’ve served as Director of Outreach & Advocacy, Membership Director and most recently Vice President. In these callings I have met people in all different places in their personal journeys, traveled the country speaking my story of being gay and raised LDS, participated in trainings of LGBT clergy/faith leaders and facilitated trainings on various topics.
I have made lasting relationships with leaders in LGBT organizations, LGBT faith based organizations, LDS allied organizations and the LDS church. All these relationships are very essential to help Affirmation grow and stay relevant. These relationships will also help Affirmation stay a safe place for LDS youth just coming out, older members coming to terms with themselves and the straight allies, friends and family members who love and support all us LGBT Mormons.
While I still personally struggle with my own testimony of the church, I do have a very strong testimony that Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons is the LGBT LDS Organization and will be the organization to lead the LGBT LDS movement. We are the experts on LGBT LDS issues, we are not the outsiders, we are the ones living these truths, it is time for us to be okay with this, embrace it and continue to lead the way.
Over the past few months I have thought and even prayed over what direction Affirmation should take. Some say Affirmation cannot be everything to everyone, this is very true but we cannot go too far right or too far left. While I believe Affirmation as an organization should not take any official position on whether someone should stay or leave the church, I do see benefit in having programs for those who have a testimony in the church, those who have left the church or those undecided. We must also partner with LDS allied groups as equal partners to organize events, rallies, dinners and meetings.
I will have a very diverse Executive Committee; they will range from someone who goes to church every Sunday, someone who has not attended church in many years and someone who was excommunicated. The diversity I will bring to the leadership of the organization does not stop there; I will have individuals of all different ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, racial backgrounds and length of affiliation with Affirmation.
I will start an outreach effort/working relationship with college Gay/Straight Alliances across the county (ground work already started). I have talked to several past Executive Directors to serve on a committee to help guide bylaw changes, run new programing by and get their wisdom and knowledge from years past.
Like I said at this year’s conference I have grown up in Affirmation. I have been able to take part in many amazing life changing things. I was in California when Prop 8 passed, I was at the National Equality March in 2010, I spoke for better services for LGBT homeless youth, I was in the balcony when New York passed marriage equality and this past April I sat down and had a very heartfelt and respectful conversation with LDS church leaders at the LDS Office Building in Salt Lake City, UT.
I feel very blessed to be in a place in my life where I am stable in my living situation, health and personal life to lead Affirmation. I truly feel that all my past experiences whether it was me being kicked out a teen for being gay, my activism, my leadership in Affirmation/LGBT LDS community or my ability to have respectful conversation with people who I do not see eye to eye with makes me the perfect choice to be the next President of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons.
Note: For more information, visit www.facebook.com/RandallForPresident
My fellow LGBTQ Mormon journeyers, friends, families, and allies:
I am strongly moved from within and also encouraged by many of you to run for President of Affirmation. 2013 is a pivotal year for this organization. Its image, membership and funds have seen a significant decline over the past decade. Affirmation has not kept up with the shifting landscape in the LGBT Mormon movement at a time when new Mormon allied groups are emerging and an increasing number of people are looking for a space where they can be fully affirmed and supported as LGBT and Mormon.
I live with my partner in Washington, DC, and have been attending Affirmation events since I first Googled “gay Mormon” in 2005. I’ve met some of my closest friends through this organization. I first helped by fundraising for the 2007 conference. I later began hosting occasional gatherings for the DC chapter, including a series of Family Home Evenings. I planned the 2011 Kirtland Temple devotional and this past April organized the DC Circling the Wagons conference. In 2012 I served as Affirmation’s Senior Vice President and on the Seattle conference committee.
If elected President of Affirmation, I will apply my education and professional experience working with leaders on strategic management and organization development (www.principlesource.com/about-us/) to build a strong and sustainable organization for the future.
Affirmation has historically ministered to and helped heal those deeply wounded by homophobia in the Church, and has provided a safe space to explore what it means to be LGBT – within or outside of any context of faith. We need to continue this. However, I strongly believe that Affirmation’s most urgent mission today is to fully reclaim and draw strength not only from our unique experiences of being LGBT, but also from our LDS faith and Mormon community.
LGBT Latter-Day Saints who value their spiritual heritage and testimonies, love their Mormon community, and even the institutional Church need to feel there is a place for them in Affirmation and need to know that Affirmation will support them in their unique journeys of faith; otherwise, there can be no truly meaningful future for Affirmation.
Affirmation is the oldest LGBT LDS organization, and it needs to play an active, central role in the historic dialogue that is going on now between LGBT and straight LDS members and leaders. We must demonstrate our ability to enter into these dialogues without bitterness but with dignity, faith, patience, and empathy. We need to speak our powerful truth, but also show that we are able to listen. We need to persevere knowing there is a place for us at God’s table and that we have a valuable role to play in building Zion. Martin Luther King Jr. said that the “Arc of the Moral Universe is long but it bends towards justice,” I firmly believe that the Arc of Zion bends towards understanding, compassion, inclusiveness and justice.
As president, I will:
Most importantly, I believe “If ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work” (D&C 4:3). I will welcome all LGBT Latter-day Saints, their families and friends who feel called to join in this great work of gathering, support, and dialogue that has never been more important.
- Re-affirm Affirmation as a spiritual refuge where we can be empowered to celebrate and use our gifts in the service of faith, hope, and charity
Create meaningful dialogue by engaging LDS Church members and leaders at all levels to ensure our stories and experiences are heard and considered in deliberations about greater inclusiveness in the Church
- Fully engage and collaborate with the emerging allied Mormon groups
- Increase attendance at annual conferences, by incorporating the social and the spiritual, and ensuring they are very affordable
- Draw into leadership individuals with strengths of organizational experience, mature spirituality, and a record of building relationships across organizations and with people who are racially, culturally, sexually and spiritually diverse
- Fully engage the Board and with their support increase membership and raise the significant funds needed to make a greater impact
- Focus our online presence in light of the additional resources now available
To learn more about me, visit my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RandallForPresident) and read the following: