The Evolution of LGBTQ Latter-day Saint Theology, 2020 Affirmation International Conference

October 14, 2020

This video is only available in English.

Session presented by Bill Bradshaw and Bob Rees at the 2020 Affirmation International Conference, a conference hosted annually by Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families & Friends for the entire LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint community. This year’s conference was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To the extent that Latter-day Saints can be said to have a theology in relation to LGBTQ individuals, that theology had a slow, uncertain and at times painful development, one influenced by the history of attitudes and behaviors toward those whose gender identity and sexual orientation did not conform to the heterosexual norm. As scientific research and psychotherapeutic practice emerged at mid-twentieth century, social, cultural and political understanding of and attitudes toward homosexual, transgender, and other gender and sexual orientation variants began to liberalize, although conservative religions like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been slower to accommodate to these new understandings. In the current century, scholars have begun to examine the Church’s policies and practices toward LGBTQ individuals through the lens of Latter-day Saint theology and cosmology.

William S. Bradshaw is professor emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University. His research interests include developmental biology, regulation of gene expression, science education, and most recently, the experience of LGBTQ Mormons. He served with his wife Marjorie as president of the LDS mission in Hong Kong and South Vietnam from 1971-1974. They also were co-chairs for four years of LDS Family Fellowship, a support group for parents of LGBTQ children.

Bob Rees is Visiting Professor and Director of Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He has been engaged in Latter-day Saint LGBTQ issues for fifty years, including giving keynote addresses at three Affirmation national conferences. He is the author or co-author of various publications, including Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children; LGBTQ Latter-day Saint Theology; and Requiem for a Gay Mormon.

The recording of this session and the entire 2020 Affirmation International Conference was made possible by those who financially supported the conference through registration fees. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Affirmation relies on the support of donors to create communities of safety, love, and hope for the LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint Community. To support the critical work of Affirmation, please consider donating at https://affirmation.org/donate.

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