Affirmation Venezuela’s voice is important and a blessing as we work through positive actions toward change in partnership with REDHEZ. We will continue building a brilliant path along which all colors of creation are recognized.
“It’s not a choice” no longer has to be a defense of queerness and can instead be one of many ways of coming to and explaining a sexual and/or gender identity. This linguistic and conceptual shift is not only more inclusive and affirming of those who frame their queer identities in more agentic and experimental ways, but it also makes the question of whether a sexual or gender identity is “chosen” increasingly irrelevant.
While those within Affirmation Venezuela celebrate friendship every day as an invaluable gift from our Heavenly Father, we recognize that this was a unique opportunity to celebrate this transcendent gift, as friendship is the salt of life.
A recent training and devotional hosted by the Surrey Stake in British Columbia, Canada, featuring Ben Schilaty and Charlie Bird, garnered some addition, some even calling it historic. Similar meetings have been happening in various stakes of the Church for quite some time, as leaders and members of the Church seek to better understand, love, and minister to LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saints.
Snelling takes you on his over-six-decade journey of self-discovery, faith, sacrifice, loss, and affirmation, blending his memory with excerpts from letters, church talks, and other materials. Dean lives a double life, where, on the surface, he is a beloved teacher, family man, and worthy priesthood holder serving in various callings. However, below that surface is a man desperately struggling to hold it all together, seeking satisfaction in dark places and not understanding why this struggle was not being taken from him.
I did ask in my prayer if God accepted me as a gay man and if it is a sin to be gay, as I was excommunicated from the LDS Church. An overwhelming presence of the Spirit of God fell upon me. No, I didn’t have a vision or anything like that, but I did feel extremely at peace and felt a warm sweet love present.
The last time that I was here at the D.C. Temple was to sit in the lobby while the rest of my family got to see my sister and her husband get married and sealed in the temple, wondering why I had never felt more alone after failing my temple recommend interview.
This was another unforgettable activity hosted by Affirmation Venezuela that focused on recognizing that we are children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us.