Paul Mortensen, Affirmation Co-Founder, Dies at 80
by Nathan Kitchen
With a heavy heart and by way of a general announcement, I pass along this news to the generations of LGBTQ+ people who have navigated their personal intersections with the Church for the last 40 years, that the man responsible for the rise and strength of Affirmation throughout the world, the co-founder of Affirmation, Paul Mortensen, has passed away. If you have ever participated in Affirmation’s communities of safety, love, and hope or felt the support of Affirmation’s network of mentors and peers, you have done so in the path that Paul blazed before you with love and as a visionary.
I started getting unconfirmed messages on Christmas day of Paul’s passing and by the time I logged into Facebook the next day, James Kent had published the following announcement Olin Thomas wrote to Affirmation’s Mortensen Award Committee on Christmas eve:
“I have a sad announcement to make. I have only recently learned that Paul Mortensen, a member of this committee and the namesake of the award that we present, has passed away. He died on December 5 in Palm Springs, CA where he and his husband and long-time partner Robert Jacobs had retired some years ago. Paul had celebrated his 80th birthday in July and died after living with a brain tumor in his final months. Robert and Paul had been a couple for 50 years at that point”
Olin, one of the longest-term members of Affirmation who personally knew Paul, is leading out in creating and writing a special memorial. This will be featured on our website and sent out in a special edition of our newsletter so that we can remember Paul and his contributions to Affirmation.
Affirmation wants to ensure that Paul’s memorial reflects what he felt and shows his humanity and personality. Due to vacation schedules and the time to gather and organize people’s thoughts and perspectives, we anticipate this memorial to be published in mid-January.
Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families & Friends