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Ex-NFL QB Steve Young to speak at Mormon conference on LGBT acceptance

Friday, September 13, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — Former NFL great Steve Young will be one of the keynote speakers at a three-day conference in Salt Lake City exploring how the Mormon faith is dealing with gays and lesbians.

The 32nd annual Affirmation International Conference begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Affirmation president Randall Hacker says he’s expecting about 300 people at the gathering.

APSteve Young

AP
Steve Young

Steve Young and his wife are scheduled to speak Saturday night. Young is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and played football at Brigham Young University.

The Youngs said in a statement they are happy to be a part of the conference and “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.”

Having Young, a role model for both Mormons and young athletes, speak at the conference is yet another sign of a growing movement among straight Mormons to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brethren, Hacker said.

“That’s what changed things: the straight people coming out in support,” Hacker said. “For years, LGBT members were alone in fighting for their own. We will have more allies at this conference than ever before.”

He said the Youngs already support a project dedicated to helping LGBT youth in crisis and also spoke out against California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure passed by voter in 2008 that banned gay marriage. The Mormon church was one of the main backers of the law.

“He lends another strong voice, especially with Mormons in the inter-mountain west,” Hacker said.

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Benji Schwimmer, an openly gay professional dancer who grew up Mormon, will speak Friday and give a dance performance Saturday night. He is a past winner of the show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The LDS church still teaches its members that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that same-sex relationships are sinful. But the church launched a campaign earlier this year encouraging members to be more compassionate toward gay and lesbian members of the church. The church welcomes members who experience “same-sex attraction” as long as they don’t act on those feelings.

The church also threw its support behind a new policy passed this year by the Boy Scouts of America that opens the door for gay youth to join the ranks, while continuing to ban gay adult Scout leaders.

Several groups have formed around the country to support gay Mormons, and hundreds have marched in gay pride parades to show their backing.

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22 more reader comments:

  1. So what does Steve Young know about being Mormon and gay? Ya, so there’s some Mormons who are willing to stand up and show their support, but the church leadership from the very tippy-top on down preaches homophobic hatred from the pulpit twice a year to the entire membership worldwide. NOTHING will change until the leadership changes. Is it any surprise that Utah leads the country in the number of LGBT teen suicides?

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 9:10pm
  2. The best thing a gay Mormon can do for themselves is recognize that religion is a farce and reject it.

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 9:29pm
  3. How about we show them respect and they show us respect and everybody leave well enough alone with the judgments?

    Replied on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:50pm
  4. really? The Mormons teach about the Lamanites, which are known to us as the Native Indians in America. The mormons teach their members that the Lamanites came to the US after they did, and are dark skinned because God has cursed them for their wicked ways. I was raised Mormon, and stopped going when I was 14 yrs old. I respect everyone's right to freedom of religion, but I do not respect their beliefs. The Christians have been judging and killing people for centuries because of their so called 'beliefs'. They will not be judged by me when they stop lying and killing people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamanite

    Replied on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 11:16pm
  5. I dont judge. I read the facts and let them be what they are, religious war kill and hate people. those are the facts....

    Replied on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 5:07am
  6. Keywords “same sex attraction as long as they don’t act on it” ..so, they’re supposed to stay in the closet their entire life bc Mormons won’t allow them to be out and proud? I understand religion, but as long as an lgbt person still has their faith, no matter what religion, that’s all that should matter.. You shouldn’t care who they love or how they show it..

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 9:29pm
  7. Omg, keep the Mormons out of this please!! We don’t need anything from them!

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 9:34pm
  8. dealy wisely…………accept and bless!

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:20pm
  9. Mormons have one thing right and that’s agreeing with conservative Christianity that gay is sinful

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:20pm
  10. Being gay is not sinful....it's natural.

    Replied on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 1:47pm
  11. Dear Homofacists are out of control if that is your real name – God loves you even though you are a self hating homophobe! Have a great weekend and good luck not getting caught checking out other guys when you’re with your wife!

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 11:12pm
  12. The LDS church is evolving its position, like many other groups are doing. If not, there would not be a group called Mormons for Equality.

    Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 11:20pm
  13. Unless you are Mormon right now in this society or have been with a Mormon long term, keep your negative comments to yourself. Real talk. Quit bashing others when you don’t want to be bashed. Venting is one thing, but bashing? You people sound like the otherside, damn

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 12:24am
  14. I’m not religious at all, and I don’t think I could become a Mormon under any conceivable circumstances. But a lot of LGBT people struggle with their faith and the lack of acceptance from their faith community, so I really appreciate what Mr. Young is doing.

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 3:51am
  15. Listen folks, not all Mormons are against LGBT people. Some are actually advocating for Equality. The Church is evolving, just like the rest of the country. Things will change as the Elders pass on.

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 7:44am
  16. he did play in san francisco…

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 8:17am
  17. Matt Steele

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 11:19am
  18. Good looking out Steve!

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 11:55am
  19. The Community of Christ, or Reorganized LDS Church, is quite LGBT friendly. Perhaps struggling Mormons would consider jumping boat?

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 3:13pm
  20. I agree with Ashley

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 3:58pm
  21. Crazy and idiotic publicity stunt. Sad religious nuts.

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 6:45pm
  22. Do not buy into Mormon lies! They have an agenda of hatred!

    Posted on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 7:39pm