An Affirmation conference attendance program serving LGBTQ students and financially disadvantaged adults — enlarging the tent of Affirmation fellowship.
Last year almost 75 students and individuals with limited financial resources attended the Annual International Affirmation Conference on scholarship. Their ability to attend was made possible by donors like you who gave to the annual conference scholarship fund. This year, with the conference being held in Provo—near BYU and other schools—we are expecting this number to double.
We have anonymous donors with a matching grant challenge: if we raise $10,000 by August 31 every dollar will be matched. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Affirmation to extend our reach to those who need it most.
Read below the heartfelt thanks of a few of our Scholarship Awardees from last year… then make a donation to bring young and disadvantaged individuals into the community.
Annabel Jensen, Ogden, UT
Attending the Affirmation Conference helped me realize that I wasn’t alone. I had no idea that there were so many other LGBT people who were still holding to their LDS heritage. I am so grateful for the scholarship program, because without it, I wouldn’t have been able to attend — and I’d never have known that there were so many people traveling this road with me.
Francisco Villalobos, Querétero, Mexico
Me siento muy agradecido por esta gran oportunidad que tuve de asistir a la Conferencia Internacional de Afirmación, nunca pensé conocer el Templo, el Centro de Conferencias, el Coro del Tabernáculo y la maravillosa gente que es parte de este gran grupo. Amo mucho al Salvador y su Iglesia y me maravilla la oportunidad que tengo de conocer más de ella a través de ustedes, estoy feliz de ser parte de ustedes y les agradezco infinitamente la ayuda que nos brindan para cumplir parte de nuestros sueños.
Nicolle Huang, San Gabriel, CA
The Affirmation Conference last year meant a lot to me and the scholarship made it possible. Attending the Conference allowed me to meet and connect with a lot of wonderful people who continue support me and my faith — as well as those who have similar journeys to me.
Christina Padilla, Orlando, FL
I had the opportunity to attend Affirmation conference on scholarship last year, and it ended up being one of the most important things I could’ve done after coming out to myself as a queer woman. I had a lot of important conversations with people there who are now some of my really good friends. Looking forward to next conference!
Dallin Weiyang Chen, Changhua, Taiwan
Affirmation has helped me realize that I am loved by many and by my Father in Heaven, regardless of my sexual orientation. The Irwin Phelps scholarship was a great help in coming to this realization.
Melissa Tatiana King, New York, NY
This year I was able to attend the Affirmation retreat in Palmyra, New York. My attendance was made possible by the selfless donations of many wonderful individuals. The experience of attending is something that has forever changed my life. The retreat gave me strength and hope by listening to the stories of all the GLBTQIA+/SSA attendees. Being at the retreat helped to fortify my faith and gave me the opportunity to build many wonderful bridges of support that I would otherwise not have had.
Being a women of color, lesbian, and a Mormon is not easy — and I find it difficult to find a place where I belong. It is even more difficult to feel like I have a voice. By joining Affirmation, I found a place to belong. By attending the leadership retreat, I found my voice. The experiences were life changing and I look forward to passing the torch and helping others when I am able. Thank you so much for your gift; it was priceless and I will never forget it.
There’s a saying that says: “To the whole world you may be one person… but to one person you may be the whole world”. Thank you for being that “one person” for me.
Josh DeFriez, Logan, UT
In my process of navigating faith and sexual orientation, few things have been as important as a community of friends thinking through the same issues in their own lives. Prior to my first Affirmation conference, I knew almost no gay Mormons. The connections I made at my first conference led to life-changing, long-lasting friendships that have deeply altered my approach to being a gay Mormon. As a student running a tight budget, none of that would have been possible without the generous scholarship funding from Affirmation that enabled me to attend the conference.
Christina Wilson, Idaho Fall, ID
I was able to attend the Affirmation Conference last year on a scholarship. I was so grateful for this opportunity as I could not have afforded to go, otherwise. The Affirmation International Conference was an amazing, life-changing experience. It helped me realize that there was still a place for me among church members and that I could engage with the church on my own terms in a way that was healthy for me. The Conference was one of the first times in my life where it felt okay to be me and was what really started me down a path where I was excited and hopeful about my future. In a lot of ways I feel like the conference saved my life. I am so thankful for the life-affirming experiences that I had there.
Miguel Garduño Urrea, Provo, UT
Attending the conference last year brought me a step closer to reconciling my sexual orientation and my relationship with God. The scholarship meant a lot to me because I didn’t want to miss out on this great opportunity of learning and growing.
Lowell Villacanas Acorda, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Being able to attend on a scholarship for the Affirmation conference gave me a chance to do something about being physically isolated from the LGBTQIA LDS community. It gave me many opportunities to serve and be involved, which in turn gave me a chance to make friends and find a community where I belonged and feel valued.
Tara Denkers, Fishers, IN
Being able to attend conference last year allowed me to open my heart to greater understanding of myself and others. I wouldn’t have been able to attend without the scholarship, and will never forget the life-changing seminars I attended and the feelings of peace I felt.
As an Affirmation team, we’d like to thank you in advance for your support. Please click here to donate to the 2015 Irwin Phelps Affirmation Scholarship Fund.