This weekend I went to the Affirmation Conference in Provo,
Utah. Before I get into sharing my experience, I will say that I was incredibly
fortunate to see and meet some truly remarkable people. People like Troy
Williams, Tom Christofferson, Jana Reiss, Peter Moosman, Jen Blair, Jodie
Palmer, Blaire Ostler, Drew Ostler, Amanda Farr, Lindsay Hansen Park, Mica
Nicole, John Bonner, Laura Skaggs Dulin, Augustus Crosby, Jason Michael Walker,
Michael Klein, Heather Deklerk Kester and her brave daughter Savannah and so
many more. For all that you do and contribute, I see you and I truly thank you.
I’ve been debating how to share my experience, so let’s just start at the very beginning, because it’s a very good place to start.
I went in to this conference a little nervous, but cautiously optimistic. I know a couple people who are involved with Affirmation and was told by friends that it would be really good for me. So, I took those things into consideration and went.
Every time I think that the LDS church is making progress or taking a step in the right direction, they do something to undo the “good” that was previously seen. Just last week, The Mormon Channel on YouTube released “The Mackintosh's Story - A Son Comes Out and a Family Loves” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1bgooicLEE&app=desktop). While I have my own issues with that video, like Sister Mackintosh commenting that she should be in the corner crying, but she gave her hurt to the Savior, so everything is ok, when she shouldn’t be crying at all. She shouldn’t be sad that her son is gay. She should celebrate with him and be happy that he is alive and happy and living his truth. I truly believe that being gay is a spiritual blessing. I believe that my existence and my life since I came out has taught people around me patience and understanding, and opened them up to a world they previously dismissed. But alas, I digress… Today, the article "The War Goes On" by Elder Lar…
One year ago today, a policy change from the LDS church handbook was leaked onto the internet. This policy is referred to as “the exclusion policy” by many. Before the policy change, I really believed the church was taking strides in including its LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters; I had seen progress before.
I was a BYU student from 2005 to 2008. Pre-2007, the honor code read as follows: “Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.” This meant that if you were a gay BYU student, you couldn't even admit it out loud without fear of being kicked out of school. There were multiple instances where friends of mine were looked at by the Honor Code Office, and friends of friends would be called in to find out whether or not the individual was gay. When called in, we would deny that our friend was gay to help save their academic standing. I…