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Affirmation President to AP: “Musket Fire” speech isolates LGBTQ+ BYU students

people using rifles near trees

by Affirmation

April 9, 2024

Associated Press reporter Hannah Schoenbaum interviewed Affirmation president Fred Bowers before the April 2024 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The subject of the interview was President Russel M. Nelson’s leadership of the Church and whether LGBTQ+ Latter-day Saints have seen adequate support and progress under Nelson.

In the published article titled, “Latter-day Saints leader addresses congregants without a word on racial or LGBTQ+ issues”, Schoenbaum reports that Nelson’s early actions as church president, including rescinding what many refer to as the 2015 policy of exclusion “banning baptisms for the children of gay parents and branding same-sex couples as heretics who could face excommunication,” and supporting the federal Respect of Marriage Act in 2022. The law both protects same-sex marriages and provides carve-outs the Church believes are essential to protect religious liberty.

Elder Jeffry R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, delivered a talk at Brigham Young University in 2021 in which he called for symbolic “musket fire” in defense of the faith, specifically on issues of marriage and family. In this talk, Elder Holland also mischaracterized Matty Easton’s 2019 valedictorian speech at the university, claiming that Easton had commandeered the microphone during graduation to announce his personal sexual orientation. Holland’s speech called for symbolic violence in response to Easton and efforts to be more inclusive and affirming of LGBTQ+ students and the broader community at Brigham Young University.

It was recently announced that Elder Holland’s “musket fire” speech would be required reading for freshmen at BYU. As reported in the AP article, Fred Bowers “pointed to the speech as one of many recent examples of how the faith has made LGBTQ+ members feel isolated.”

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