This article recounts the experience of Sister Sonia in Argentina. We know that not all inactive members wish to return to Church and that some have very strong feelings against the idea of being active again. We want to clarify that no one is being encouraged to follow the example of Sister Sonia. She was inspired by the Holy Spirit to take this path. That is why we let each member of Affirmation decide these things according to their own conscience and in the spirit of love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
By Roxana López, President of Affirmation LGBT Mormons, Family & Friends in Argentina
We need to share some news that has been very well received and is making its way through the national and international LGBT Mormon community and resulted in a moment of calm and great peace.
For a few months now, Affirmation LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends of Argentina have been working and conducting hopeful discussions with the Mormon Church authorities. The purpose of these discussions has been the possibility of the inclusion of LGBT persons within the religion, in light of the principles and doctrines. In one such discussion with a bishop, we proposed that we attend only the sacrament meeting and to respect the membership, always asking for permission to do this. We shared that it is not our intention to offend anyone or promote anything outside the gospel or against the gospel. It was an incredible surprise to arrive the following Sunday and see that the people there were very loving and understanding. Words of encouragement and solidarity welcomed us. It was intensely emotional for Sonia Conegliano, a transgender woman, who for years remained inactive for reasons related to her transition. It was a great joy to see friends and other members of the Church again.
Through all of this, we have been able to mediate different discussions and learn together that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is needed in our community as well, and that there are cases where some might contemplate returning to full-fellowship as an active member of the Church.
Sunday, November 5, 2017, was the first time in our history here in Latin America, in the Tucumán Province of Argentina, that Sister Sonia, a transgender woman, joined relief society classes with the authorization of leaders, beginning a new phase in her life. We support her as our sister.
Affirmation LGBT Mormons, Family & Friends in Argentina invite parents, children, relatives, friends, leaders and all people who wish to recommend projects or programs to help to do so. LGBT people are also children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. The different situations that arise in our organization deserve sincere solutions that support personal progress and contribute to our solidarity to protect physical and mental well-being. We acknowledge that within our community we also have people who do not wish to return to the Church. They too deserve much-needed support. We are a community of friends that have joined together to encourage and support each other through life’s difficulties, including loneliness, abandonment, depression, suicidal thoughts and acts, abuse, discrimination, and violence.
I am Sister Roxana López, President of Affirmation LGBT Mormons, Family & Friends in Argentina, and together with my team and the board of directors, we express our appreciation in the willingness of the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to open the doors and not abandon us. Thank you for seeing what we do and valuing our effort. We need all the help possible to open dialogues that bring us closer and not more separate.