I had an enlightening weekend attending my first Affirmation Conference in Provo Utah. After 12 years of being an out gay ex-Mormon I was invited by friends to attend this conference because of the powerful affect it has had upon them and the friendships it had fostered.
For those who don’t know, Affirmation is a gay organization for Mormons and former Mormons. It’s not too hard to imagine that getting gay Mormons and gay ex-Mormons together is an exercise of epic proportions where each side maintains vastly different ideas of how one should approach Mormonism. The similarities that bring them together in Affirmation is that, unlike North Star, Affirmation recognizes and affirms all life paths as valid and worthy regardless of church affiliation. North Star is faith-based which really only validates 2 options for gay Mormons:
- Mixed orientation marriage
Affirmation also includes folks living those two life choices, but it further encompasses divorced gay fathers like me, young gays who are actively dating and hope to marry one day, currently married gay couples, single sexually active homosexuals, trans and bisexual folks as well as other folks representing all the initials in LGBTQ+ acronym.
While North Star is primarily faith affirming, Affirmation is primarily LGBTQ+ affirming.
I had the good fortune of meeting some pioneers of Affirmation and learning a bit of the history of that organization. These are people who paved the way for homosexuals with a Mormons background and who lived life on their own terms. I don’t think enough is said about gay history in general, but Mormons and ex-Mormons certainly know very little homosexuality in their culture. I’m hoping to change that by posting a little of that here.
If you are interested, you may want to start out with some important primer information:
A History of Mormons and Homosexuality A Radio West interview with Mormon historian Greg Prince
An Examination of the LDS Church’s Position on Homosexuality What Do We Know of God’s Will For His LGBT Children? By Bryce Cook
Future posts will explore unknown gay history both in Mormonism and in society at large. Stay tuned!
And study the two articles above!