by Fred Bowers
The Book of Mormon states, “black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons is a welcoming community and welcomes all persons regardless of sex, race, color, age, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons General Charter, Article III – Purpose).
Why have I placed these two statements here? As Mormons, we believe that “All Are Alike Unto God.” After adding the above statement to the Affirmation General Charter last year, Affirmation’s leadership seeks to highlight the many different ways one can be LGBT, Mormon, and an LGBT Mormon ally.
Affirmation’s membership includes many people who vary from our “typical profile,” including people of color, lesbians, younger adults, families with young children and teens, straight allies, transgender individuals, bisexual women and men, immigrants, people from a variety of religious traditions, and people with a range of special physical and emotional needs. These people bring very different experiences, needs, gifts, expectations, and emotions to Affirmation.
To highlight this wide range of diversity in our membership, during the 2012 Affirmation Conference to be held in Seattle we will conduct a panel discussion centered on the experiences of these diverse communities within the Affirmation family. We are planning to have the panelists address the following issues:
- How do we hear their voices clearly and ensure these members do not experience marginalization?
- What attracted you here to the Affirmation family?
- What keeps you coming back?
- What can Affirmation National/International offer you that it is not providing at this time?
- What characteristics can those with a history at Affirmation use to make it easier for different groups to feel welcome in our community?
We are looking for potential members of the following groups to participate in the panel:
- People Of Color,
- Young Adults,
- Military (Active Duty, Guard or Reserve),
- LGBT Families With Young Children And Teens,
- Straight Allies,
- Persons with Disabilities,
- Transgender Individuals, or
- Bisexual Women And Men
If you are coming to the Seattle conference and are interested in participating in this panel, please contact me at fred.bowers at affirmation dot org.
As we look toward a bright future for LGBT Mormons and their allies anchored by groups such as Mormons Building Bridges, Family Fellowship, Mormon Stories’ “Circling Our Wagons” conferences, and Gay Mormon Forum, each day brings us closer to the celebration of our collective journey in Seattle and how we can start a dialogue about how LDS people, LGBT and straight, can stand together and proclaim “All Are Alike Unto God.”
Thanks and best wishes,
2012 Affirmation Conference Chair
P.S. If you are coming to the Seattle conference and are interested in volunteering for the 2012 Conference Committee, please click here for more information.