Virtual Fireside with Ben Schilaty and Sarah and Brandon Langford

February 1, 2021

We were thrilled to have Dr. Ben Schilaty as our guest speaker and musical numbers provided by Sarah Joye Langford and Brandon Eric Langford for our first Affirmation LIVE Monthly Virtual Fireside of 2021! This fireside was held on January 31, 2021.

Affirmation Vice President Rebecca Solen gave welcoming remarks for this fireside, and Affirmation Board Members Francisco Villalobos and Shauna Jones provided the opening and closing prayers.

Be a Part of Upcoming Virtual Firesides

Affirmation is seeking individuals from the LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint community willing to share their stories, musical talents, and provide prayers for upcoming virtual firesides. If you are interested, please email [email protected].

Guest Speaker

Ben Schilaty works as an Honor Code administrator and adjunct professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He holds three degrees from BYU: a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies, a master’s in Hispanic linguistics, and a master’s in social work; he also earned a PhD in second language acquisition and teaching from the University of Arizona. Ben learned Spanish and Portuguese during his mission in Chihuahua, Mexico, and when he lived in Bolivia, Peru, and Portugal. He put his language abilities to good use by teaching Spanish for a decade at middle school, high school, and college levels. In 2015 Ben began blogging about his experiences as a gay Latter-day Saint. During his time in Arizona he created a support community for LGBTQ Latter-day Saints in the Tucson area. He cohosts the podcast “Questions from the Closet” with his friend Charlie Bird and is the author of A Walk in My Shoes: Questions I’m Often Asked as a Gay Latter-day Saint.

Musical Guests

Sarah Langford was raised in the suburbs of South Jersey and had never heard of fry sauce till 2009, when she moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University, there she studied Sociology in the School of FHSS. Sarah is currently employed as a product manager, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, specializing in experience design. Prior to that she worked primarily in Administration within the Missionary Department and the MTC. Since 2013 Sarah has been actively involved in grassroots efforts to build communities and conversation at the intersection of faith and sexuality. She served as the executive Vice President of Community relations for North Star International (2016-2019); prior to that, she served as chairperson of the Fireside committee, serving alongside her husband, expanding firesides internationally. Sarah was also the Circling the Wagons Conferences 2016 Co-Coordinator where she was able to apply her great desire to provide spaces for open, authentic and respectful dialogue for all those who find themselves involved in the LGBTQIA+ conversation along every spectrum of opinion. She is profoundly motivated by her own testimony and considers the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be the greatest blessing in her life. Sarah loves gardening and is the happy co-habitant to 65 house plants and counting (anyone who wants to send her cuttings or plants, please feel free to do so). When she isn’t playing in the dirt, you will find her on the couch reading with her husband of 7 years, Brandon Langford.

Brandon Langford is a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Canby, Oregon. He grew up with a deep love of music which compelled him to find opportunities to perform. He learned to play the piano and the organ and sang in groups ranging from large choirs to small ensembles. After graduating from high school, he attended Brigham Young University, taking a two-year break to serve as a missionary in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. The highlight of his time at BYU was singing for six semesters with the BYU Men’s Chorus, under the direction of Rosalind Hall. He graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2014, and married his sweetheart, Sarah, one week after graduation. Brandon has decided to temporarily trade the forests of the northwest for the mountains of Utah and makes his home in Provo with Sarah. They have found great fulfillment through volunteering their skills and talents for many organizations, including North Star International and Circling The Wagons. After six years in the accounting profession, Brandon returned to BYU in the Fall of 2020 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Accounting, and will graduate in April 2022. When he is not studying, he loves to spend time with his family and friends, watch too much TV on Netflix, try new cuisine, travel when not bound by a pandemic, and attend plays, musicals, and concerts with his wife, Sarah.

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