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Phoenix Conference Promotes Love and Understanding

From left to right: Mitch Mayne, Bob Rees, Wendy Montgomery, and Hollie Hancock at the Arizona event
From left to right: Mitch Mayne, Bob Rees, Wendy Montgomery, and Hollie Hancock at the Arizona event

“Now I have a fire in my heart that there is a place for me in the Church”

arizona_conferenceby Hugo Salinas
May 2013

Over 120 Mormons, LGBT and straight, attended the “All Are Alike unto God” conference held April 27 near Phoenix.

The event was planned by Bryce Cook, of the Mesa Lehi stake along with other Latter-day Saints in the Phoenix area. Cook, a former high counselor and the father of a gay man, observed that many LGBT Mormons “do not actively attend church services because they do not feel welcome or understood.” “There are many of these men and women in our midst who desire to feel the love of the Savior in their lives and who need to be invited back into His fold,” Cook wrote in an invitation he sent to local church leaders. “We hope this conference will be one of the first steps in that direction by reaching out to them with Christ-like love and compassion.”

Speakers included Mitch Mayne and Robert A. Rees. “Our Savior loves us exactly as we are,” testified Mitch as he closed his remarks. “[His love] is ours, freely given, if we will just reach out and accept it.”

In a report posted at the blog No More Strangers, Robert Rees compared the gathering to a “garden in the desert” and quoted a speaker who was recently welcomed into his ward as saying, “Now I have a fire in my heart that there is a place for me in the Church.”

“I think the conference succeeded in accomplishing the goal of bringing understanding to many LDS faithful in a non-political way,” wrote Affirmation chapter coordinator David Douglas. “Thanks to Bryan Hendrickson, Bryce and Sarah Cook, and others for the hard work they put into it.”

A detailed report will be posted later at allarizona.org.

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