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…
In 2012, the Mormon Church launched a website called “Mormons and Gays.” I saw that as HUGE progress. It asked for members to have love and compassion for their LGBT sons and daughters. Sure, I didn’t love everything about the Mormons and Gays site. The Mormon Church still believed that marriage was only between a man and a woman, so those of us who are gay should either remain single and celibate or be in a mixed orientation marriage. Neither of which felt authentic to me. After the site launched, I finally came out to my family. While they weren't necessarily thrilled by the news, they weren't shocked either. I was happy with myself. I was fine with where the church was. Eventually, I believed it would not merely tolerate its LGBT members, but embrace us. And that overall sentiment of love was a win in my book. That feeling of gratitude did not last long because then came the “exclusion policy.” In a nutshell, the “exclusion policy” labels “homosexual relations” as “Serious T…