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by Soulforce Admin
This article was reprinted with permission from Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. Affirmation is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are members and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Robert Moore is the Vice President of Affirmation, as well as a 2012 Equality Rider.
To read the full article, please follow this link: http://affirmation.org/news/2012_001.shtml
by Jason Conner
I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about my recent assignment to attend the 2010 Affirmation conference in San Francisco. Affirmation is a group that caters to LGBTQ folks who have or have had a connection with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church is one of the fastest growing religions in the country, and has been for some time. Additionally, they are an outspoken critic of LGBTQ identities and are openly against extending equal rights and protections under the law to LGBTQ individuals. There are nearly 13 million members of the Mormon Church, and just under half reside here in the United States. Most recently the church has come under fire for being a major financial contributor to the passing of Proposition 8, which repealed the right for same sex couples to marry under California state law.
I was most nervous about attending this conference because of my own history with the Mormon Church. I was raised Mormon. I served a two year mission for the church from December 2005- December 2007. The Mormon mission is a rite of passage in the church and a commandment for all healthy young men between the ages of 19 and 26. I served my mission in Orlando Florida where I was required to learn and teach in the Spanish language.
The mission is hard. For two years you work 16 hour days with no vacation time or even a full day off each week. I believe I was a good missionary. I worked hard, I was obedient, and I led others in the mission to do the same. I held the highest leadership position a missionary can hold in the mission field, that of Assistant to the President.
by Guest Author
Sometimes there are nights where I wake drenched in sweat, heart pounding, horrified by the dreams that had seconds before been playing out in my mind. These are the nights where I relive my days in high school. These are the nights where I relive the shame, and the embarrassment, I felt over not speaking out—over not standing up for another when they most desperately needed it.
Too many times to count I witnessed those who were brave enough to have come out in high school, or those who simply didn’t seem to fit the mold of their heteronormative gender expectations, be mocked, bullied, and outcast. Oh how badly I wanted to speak up! And oh the shame I felt for staying silent out of cowardice and fear of my big gay secret being found out. I stayed silent. I didn’t stand up to the bullies.
I am silent no longer.