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Affirmation President to Speak at UVU Humanities Symposium

UVU Humanities Symposium 2022

by Affirmation

January 29, 2022

by Affirmation

Nathan Kitchen, president of Affirmation, will give an address at Utah Valley University on Thursday, February 17th at 11:30 am MST during the University’s Humanities Symposium. You can attend the address live at the Fulton Library Auditorium on the UVU campus in Orem, Utah, or watch it via live stream. The presentation will also be available as a recording after the event.

The Symposium is an annual event where the Humanities Program engages the campus community and the general public in interdisciplinary and up-to-the-moment discussions on art, culture, and theory, demonstrating that the Humanities are an important lens through which we interpret our lives and the events that are happening in the world right now.

Introducing this year’s Symposium, Dr. Kim Abunuwara, UVU Humanities Program Director, writes, “The Humanities Program is very proud to present our eleventh annual Symposium! For years, our program has been producing exceptional courses as well as top-drawer extra-curricular events like this one to challenge and stir the imagination. I’m sure you’ll see this year is no different. Enjoy!”

The theme of this year’s Symposium is “Transgression.” Wendell Nielson, Professor and Symposium Organizer, shares that the concept of “transgression” is important to understand and explore because, “most innovative art, philosophy, religion, and other cultural shifts are inherently transgressive; they break rules, and are usually, at the least, persecuted before accepted. Transgression has historically been an inherent part of social life…[and] seems to be a necessary and sometimes enlightening (the epiphanies of Walt Whitman, for example), yet potentially dangerous part of the human experience.”

Nathan’s speech will be 50 minutes followed by a 20-minute Q&A. If you are joining via live stream, please scan the QR code on your phone or use this link to join the live stream via YouTube. The entire Symposium will be held February 16th-17th, 2022, and is open and free to the public.

The title and abstract of Nathan’s presentation is:

Unashamed Authenticity: Unapologetically Navigating the Queer/Latter-day Saint Intersection during an Ongoing Restoration

Part of our inalienable human rights as delineated in the Book of Mormon is the declaration that we exist to have joy and that we have the God-given right to act and not be acted upon. In stark contrast, the lives of Queer Latter-day Saints in their spiritual home are structured by prejudice, harassment, and discrimination, causing harm as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints struggles to manage its Queer population during the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Management mechanisms are specific obstacles and restrictions dropped into the Queer/Latter-day Saint intersection and when identified, can be called out and successfully navigated.

Today, such mechanisms include:

  • conducting anti-Queer politics in the pews,
  • the pressure of being “othered” in an age of belonging,
  • the existence of the powerful LGBTQ story marketplace in the Church, and
  • the expectation to patiently and indefinitely endure prejudice and “acts of prejudice.”

Queer people are not defined by human prejudice or “acts of prejudice.” With unashamed authenticity and in the godly act of claiming joy, they will unapologetically navigate their faith to stand in places that feel safe and healthy for them. The question is, do you want to stand with them, together in “the place which God for us prepared?”

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