by Joel McDonald
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Affirmation President Nathan Kitchen discussed the impact of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reversing their 2015 policy that defined church members in same-sex marriages as apostates and prohibiting the children of same-sex couples from being blessed, baptized, ordained, or serving missions. This policy was leaked publicly in November 2015 and reversed on April 4, 2019.
In the interview, Kitchen acknowledged the impact that LGBTQ church members who remain active in the Church can have, but also the understanding of why many leave the Church behind, saying that LGBTQ Mormons who say in the faith, “find themselves being bridge builders and having some really good constructive interactions with church members. But those that go, I salute [them], I understand, I know why that needs to be—there’s no reason to hang around and wait for happiness at some distant point in the future.”
Speaking about Affirmation’s ongoing dialogue with the Church, Kitchen stressed “lobbying the church does not work. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. But what we’re doing is just saying, ‘See me, hear my story.’” In response to the policy reversal, he invited members of the Affirmation community to submit stories and reactions, telling the community that he wanted “to be sure Affirmation does not hide you or your stories as we move forward.” Over forty stories were submitted and published on the Affirmation website, and they can be read here.
“We can never go back as a community,” Kitchen said, “because this event changed us. We move forward, I think, stronger and more resilient and more aware of ourselves because of what we lived under in the past three and a half years in the church. I think that we need to be proud of what we’ve endured and what we’ve been through,” Kitchen continued, “and realize that we can move forward personally regardless of what the church says.”