SALT LAKE CITY – A legendary professional football player spoke last week at a Mormon conference designed to unite and support homosexual Latter-day Saints (LDS).
“Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons” is an organization whose goal is to “help LGBTQ people reconcile with their spirituality within the context of a common Mormon background.” Not only does the group believe that homosexual “orientation and identity” are irrevocable, but they also state that it is “compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation.”
Earlier this month, members of Affirmation marched in a “Las Vegas Pride” event, touting signs that said, “Pro-Gay Mormon,” “Jesus Said Love Everyone—Treat them Kindly Too,” and “I am the Rainbow Sheep of My Family.” One participant advised that the group wanted to show “love and acceptance to all our brothers and sisters wherever they are and let them know they belong!”
Last weekend, Affirmation held their “Affirmation Annual Conference” in Salt Lake City to promote the normalization of homosexual behavior among Mormons. One of the keynote speakers at the event was Steve Young—former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who achieved widespread fame during the mid-1990s. A descendant of Brigham Young and graduate of Brigham Young University, Young has a long history of involvement with LDS.
According to Affirmation’s website, Young and his wife want to bring “more understanding and love” to the homosexuals nationwide.
“Both committed members of the LDS Church,” the site explains, “Barb and Steve are happy to be part of Affirmation’s International Conference, where they hope to lend their voices to the healing work of making our families, our society and our church more welcoming places for our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
Young is also an outspoken supporter of the Family Acceptance Project and the Trevor Project—two organizations which exist to support homosexual youth. In addition, he publicly denounced California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman until the courts overrode the public vote, stating that the measure was unconstitutional.
Randall Hacker, president of Affirmation, said Young’s involvement in the conference shows how quickly many Mormons’ attitude toward homosexuality is changing.
“That’s what changed things: the straight people coming out in support,” Hacker told the Associated Press last week. “For years, LGBT members were alone in fighting for their own. We will have more allies at this conference than ever before.”
At one point during the conference, Barb Young called the Mormon shift in opinion on homosexuality “beautiful.”
“One of the most beautiful things about this church is that it can evolve,” she said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “It may not go as fast as everyone wants, but it is evolving.”
Following the weekend event, one participant said that he is glad to see Mormons increasingly accept homosexuality.
“I was at the Affirmation conference last night and it was a very moving evening for those of us who have two seemingly incompatible parts, Mormonism on one hand and homosexuality on the other,” he commented. “[C]hange is happening in the LDS church, hearts are being softened and changed as people’s children, family and friends come out and they have first hand experiences with what homosexuality really is.”
Although the official website for the LDS still labels homosexuality an “abomination” by quoting from Leviticus 18, some Mormons desire to seek compromise on the matter. As previously reported, some LDS leaders endorsed the recent Boy Scouts of America policy change that opened the doors for homosexual young men to join the organization.