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Affinity – November 2013


November 1, 2013

Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons—Serving LGBT Mormons and Their Family and Friends Since 1977

Inside This Issue

Affirmation to Sponsor Gratitude & Service Gatherings during November

Many Affirmation Groups to Participate

Affirmation is sponsoring a number of gratitude and service gatherings to be held during November. LGBT Mormons, families and friends will gather in their cities for a service project and a potluck Thanksgiving dinner, sharing in a thankfulness circle and socializing.

See cities and dates below. If you’d like to host one in your area, please visit our Facebook page or contact Wendy Montgomery.

San Francisco/Bay Area, CA: November 10
Houston, TX: Note: The event has been canceled
Washington, DC: November 16 & 17
Las Vegas, NV: November 17
New York/New England: November 23
Salt Lake City, UT: November 23
Minneapolis, MN: November 23
Raleigh, NC: November 23
Phoenix/Gilbert, AZ: November 23

Affirmation Calendar

Gratitude & Service Gatherings for LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends held across the country

November 7-8
“Families Are Forever” screened in Bakersfield, CA

November 10
Family Home Evening Event in Salt Lake City

November 10
“Families Are Forever” screened in Ojai, CA

November 11
Affirmation Women’s Phone Night

November 13
“Families Are Forever” screened in Ojai, CA

November 16
Houston Gratitude & Service Gathering

November 17
Washington, DC Gratitude & Service Gathering

November 17
Las Vegas, NV Gratitude & Service Gathering

November 17
Family Home Evening Event in Salt Lake City

November 23
Gratitude & Service Gathering in New York/New England

November 23
Gratitude & Service Gathering in Salt Lake City

November 23
Gratitude & Service Gathering in Raleigh, NC

November 23
Gratitude & Service Gathering in Minneapolis, MN

November 23
Gratitude & Service Gathering in Phoenix/Gilbert, AZ

November 24
Family Home Evening Event in Salt Lake City

December 17
One Voice Choir Concert in Salt Lake City

February 7-9, 2014
Affirmation Conference in Mexico City

May 2-4, 2014
Affirmation Retreat in Nauvoo

September 2014
Annual Affirmation Conference in Salt Lake City

Randall Thacker

Annual Affirmation Elections Approaching 

by Hugo Salinas

Later this month Affirmation members will receive by mail a ballot to choose next year’s president. Only Randall Thacker has declared his candidacy. As every year, the election ballot will also include a line for a write-in candidate.

For the first time in our history, the ballot will also include a vote on proposed changes to the bylaws. An advance draft, as well as an explanation of why these changes are being proposed, is posted here. In order to be counted, please return your ballot promptly. If you have questions about your membership status or have recently moved, please contact Corresponding Secretary Olin Thomas by email at [email protected] or by phone at 703-864-5527.

Declaration of Candidacy: Randall Thacker

Dear Affirmation Family,

It has been an honor to work with you during the past year as Affirmation President. In some ways it seems unbelievable that a year has almost passed, yet when I evaluate all that our hard-working Board of Directors and International Leadership Team have done within the last 10 months, it literally seems like a miracle that so much could be accomplished in so short a time!

We have grown tremendously as a community, not only in significantly increased participation, membership, leadership, and financial resources, but also in spirit! We have grown in the confidence that our Heavenly Parents and Savior love us and cherish us beyond what we can ever comprehend; and that we have an Affirmation community that includes literally thousands of accepting LGBT Mormons, family members, friends and allies worldwide with whom we can commune online, at local gatherings, and at our annual international conference.

November is the month when you have the opportunity to vote for your Affirmation President. I look forward to the potential opportunity of serving another year as your President and hope to receive your vote of confidence. Let’s continue to move forward and extend our reach to the many more thousands of LGBT Mormons, families and friends worldwide who are looking for our support.


Randall Thacker
Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends

Tawnya Smith
Tawnya Smith
Robert A. Rees
Robert A. Rees
Tim Weymann
Tim Weymann
Randall Thacker
Randall Thacker
Tina Richerson
Tina Richerson

Affirmation Leaders Discuss Statements Made during General Conference

Tawnya Smith: “The most important thing is your relationship to the Divine” 

On October 9 Affirmation sponsored a conference call to discuss the recent LDS General Conference, which included statements by Elder Oaks and Elder Nelson condemning same-sex marriage. Titled “Revelation, Agency, and Integrity,” the transcript of the call is now available on the Affirmation website.

The five panelists were Tawnya Smith, Robert A. Rees, Tim Weymann, Randall Thacker, and Tina Richerson. John Gustav-Wrathall and other callers also made important contributions to the discussion. The call included a discussion about relying on the Spirit to interpret General Conference messages, how to stay safe in environments that are sometimes hostile towards us, and the importance of using our free agency to chart our personal journey.

“The most important thing is your relationship to the Divine, and that you’ll know whether it is right for you based on what guidance you’re given,” said Tawnya Smith. “What are you called to do? It has really nothing at all with other people and other people’s views or opinions or beliefs about you.”

“It is my hope and deepest desire that people are able to deeply root in themselves their relationship and feel the power of God’s love, and put that above and beyond anything else,” said Tina Richerson. “And to know that love is the answer, love is always the answer.”

Read the full transcript on the Affirmation website.

Affirmation Women to Connect Via Phone Night

Monday, November 11, 6 PM Pacific/9PM Eastern 

Please join us for our very first monthly Women of Affirmation phone conference call. This will be a time to get together and chat. It’ll be like having tea together, just on the phone!

We will take time to get to know each other, have a little spiritual thought, and then have time for group reflection. All who identify as women are welcome. Please join us!

For conference call dial-in number and access code, please contact Tina Richerson: [email protected].

The Nauvoo House

Revisiting Nauvoo: A Retreat

“To arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

LGBT Mormons, their Families and Friends are invited to a spiritual/leadership retreat in historic Nauvoo, IL, during May 2-4, 2014 (stay may be extended Thursday May 1 to Monday May 5). This retreat is not just for LGBT people, but for all those who desire to serve in the LGBT Mormon community.

Why Nauvoo

Nauvoo was a formative place for the church. As the last gathering place before the divisions that followed Joseph Smith’s death and the trek West, Nauvoo is key to understand our history.

The concept of returning to one’s place of origin is expressed in one of T.S. Elliot’s most famous poems:

The end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

In the same way as many LGBT Mormons are exploring their spirituality on their own terms -discovering a new place in the Church or outside of the Church, and perhaps finding new meaning and interpretations to things they once believed they knew- returning to Nauvoo will be an opportunity to beginning to understand all the diversity in the Restoration that traces its origins back to things that happened in Nauvoo.

Registration & Lodging

Lodging in the historic Nauvoo House will be cost $15 per person per night. The registration cost for the retreat, which will include meals, will be announced next month.

For this event we have reserved the Nauvoo House, owned and operated by the Community of Christ. Located in the center of Historic Nauvoo and mere yards away from the Mississippi River, this is the home where Emma Smith lived till her death in 1879. The upstairs bedrooms and attic of this old house have been converted into simple, dorm-style rooms. Downstairs, we will cook in Emma’s kitchen and share meals in her parlor.

Note: For those wishing to have more privacy, we are holding a block of rooms at the Nauvoo Family Inn, with rooms with 2 queen beds at $81 per night.


Those flying to this event will carpool from St. Louis International Airport to make the 3-hour drive to Nauvoo. Attendees will have to share the cost of renting cars. More details will be announced later on. There will be some flexibility for those wishing to fly in on Thursday or to return on Monday.

Nauvoo is 4½ hours from Chicago and 6 hours from Minneapolis.

Tentative Schedule

Thursday evening
or Friday afternoon:
Meet in St. Louis and carpool (3 hours)
Friday evening: Opening Sessions & Dinner
Saturday morning: Breakfast & Workshops
Saturday afternoon: Historic Tours
Saturday evening: Dinner and Evening Program
Sunday morning: Devotional, Testimonies & Lunch
Sunday afternoon
or Monday morning:
Carpool to St. Louis

Lismarie Nyland

Affirmation Group Gathers in Seattle

By Lismarie Nyland

Note: If you live in or near Seattle, please join the Seattle Affirmation Facebook group.

This past Sunday evening, I was finally able to make the trek over to Wendy and Scott Reynolds’ home for an Affirmation potluck. What a fun time! We all gathered around their table, ate chili, talked, and laughed. I find that at every Affirmation event I have been to, despite everyone’s different backgrounds, we come together in a spirit of common understanding. This was no different.

When everyone was finished eating, Geoff McGrath took charge and we all moved to the Reynolds’ family room to do a little future planning. Justin and Matt Keyes (brothers) stepped right up to head up the next two events: a holiday party on December 7 at a more central Seattle location (to be decided), and an event at the North Seattle Stake Center in January or February.

A big thank-you to the Wendy and Scott for hosting all of us and to Geoff for making sure we planned more gatherings. I’m excited for the future of our small, but growing Affirmation group here in Seattle.

Wendy Montgomery

Wendy Montgomery Appointed to the Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that Wendy Montgomery, of Bakersfield, CA, has accepted an appointment to Affirmation’s Board of Directors. Wendy was born and raised in Southern California. She has always been a member of the LDS Church. She and her husband Tom were married in the Los Angeles Temple in 1995, and they have 5 children.

In January of 2012, Wendy and Tom found out that their oldest son (who was 13 years old at the time) was gay. “It has at times been unbearably painful,” says Wendy, “but it has also been an enlightening, spiritual and joyful journey.” Today she has many new LGBT-supportive heroes in the LDS community.

Wendy is a voracious reader, loves history, and is doing everything she knows how to make the LDS Church more welcoming and inclusive of its gay members.

For a full list of Board members, please visit the Board of Directors Page.

Recent Stories and Articles

Posted on the Affirmation Website and Blog:

Why My Straight Mormon Friends and Their Families Should Support ENDA

Religious Freedom Not at Stake

“Families Are Forever” to Be Screened in California

  Sam Fullmer: “I Support Marriage Equality in Hawaii”

Randall Thacker Featured in No More Strangers

Revelation, Agency, and Integrity: A Discussion of Comments Made in General Conference

Posted on the No More Strangers Blog:

To a Sister in Need — Thoughts on the Gay Mormon Question

Missionary Work Within Our Own Wards 

Dear 21-yo RM BYU Mormon Me – 46 (Provo) 

Who We Really Are–How I Learned About Love And Acceptance By Failing To Follow The Spirit And Supporting Yes On 8 

It Is No Mistake to Be Gay

Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom: Let’s Set the Record Straight

My Wrestle With The Issues Surrounding Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage 

The Heart of the Matter: Capstone Address at the Compassionate Care Conference 

Drunk Nurses and Scantily-Clad Men

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