This past Sunday and Monday, March 1 and 2nd, LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends gathered in the San Diego and Denver Area for what will become an opportunity for continued support to this community.
Last night we held our first San Diego gathering for LDS SSA/LGTBQ. We opened up the tent as large as we could to welcome friends, family and our SSA/LGTBQ sisters and brothers, no matter where they are in their journey. We really had no agenda for the evening, and didn’t know what to expect or who would come. My husband shared a spiritual thought on the 2 Great Commandments, and I asked a wonderful woman that I had met a few years ago at Affirmation to share a few thoughts, as she felt appropriate. My husband and I provided the home and nacho bar.
We had about 30 people in attendance. We began the evening with everyone introducing her/himself. Half of them were friends and family (mostly mine) and the other half were wonderful LGBT Mormons. Some of us were active LDS; some were former LDS and never planned on going back. Some were living openly as LGBT individuals and trying to stay active, and one sweet young man was just baptized the day before and his ward was in full support of him. One gentleman was married with children and a few were divorced with children. The diversity of our group was amazing and wonderful. We were all just there to listen and care for each other, there was no other agenda.
One sweet former relief society president came with a few LGBT Mormons from her ward, she said that she was there to learn how to be a better Mormon and asked others to be patient with her because she didn’t always know if she was sayings things right or offending anyone, but she wanted to do better.
One woman that had been out of the Church for a long time commented that she felt a little healing when my daughter apologized for her participation in Prop 8 and regretted some of the things that she had done for that. When I asked one young man if his mother would come to something like this, he said, “I don’t know, we don’t really talk about it.” I then asked him how his bishop was and he said, “I feel like I am teaching him.” I thought to myself, “And who is caring for you?”
One attendee stated on Facebook afterwards, “Felt the Spirit so strong at the LGBT Mormon Affirmation gathering tonight. I was so touched to hear allies speak of their love for their gay family members; one woman said she came because she wanted to be a better Mormon; to love as the Savior did…the second great commandment is to love your neighbor and I felt that tonight; it was refreshing and motivating.”
My heart breaks for these woman and men, especially when they are trying so hard to figure this out and they don’t feel much support from their families or wards. We can do so much better. I hope that these types of gatherings will become more common and hearts will soften and we can do a much better job of caring for out LGTBQ brothers and sisters.
by Jody Hansen
Mike and Jody Hansen hosted a first LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends group meeting for the Denver area in their home on Monday, March 2.
We were pleased to welcome 4 new friends to our first meeting. We introduced ourselves. I began by sharing some of my journey of learning more about love, and especially how completely God loves my gay son, after he came out. I invited each of the guests to share what they wished to about their own journey.
Each of them shared from their LGBT or ally experiences. I was so moved by the courage and love and faith expressed. I feel deep love for all of them already.
Last of all, Mike shared his experience, and we talked of some things we are always exploring as we seek to create a safe place at church for all.
We asked for feedback about what would work for future gatherings. There was a request that at future meetings we begin with a prayer, which I thought we had done, but then realized we had forgotten. We will also have a spiritual thought ready, which can expand to its own meeting if that is desired. We agreed that there would be no church bashing and also that there would be no suggestion that anyone was in need of repair, or fixing, or that there was anything wrong with them or their choices.
We scheduled the next meeting for April 6, and plan on having a regular time on the first Monday of each month. We are keeping the general format of this being a safe place, a place for inclusion, belonging, community and support. An opportunity for each to express what they are dealing with, or where they are on their individual journey.
We hope more will come and find this a place and time of love and strength.
For future meetings in these areas, please check the Affirmation Calendar on our website.