On April 27, 2013 the ALL conference was held to promote greater love and understanding of LGBT/SSA members of the Mormon Church. Local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Mormons, and those who experience same-sex attraction, were invited to gather together in a spirit of fellowship and understanding with loved ones, family, and fellow members of the LDS Church for a conversation on the experience of LGBT/SSA Mormons. The conference was held at the SanTan Elegante Conference Center, kindly donated as a venue for the event by a local member of the LDS church. Over 120 people attended the event, including many LGBT/SSA members of the LDS church and their families. A number of volunteers helped with designing our website and publicity materials, coordinating registration, donating funds for food expenses, and other hosting activities. Speakers and panel members travelled at their own expense to participate.
This conference was coordinated by local members of the LDS Church whose hope it is to help build a better community of Latter-day saints where LGBT/SSA Mormons feel loved and supported. These members have been hosting regular get-togethers for LDS LGBT/SSA friends and family over the past year in the effort to provide people opportunities to find friendship and support. Out of the positive experiences found in bringing people together affected by these issues, a desire was had to reach out on a broader scale by hosting a conference with the following two objectives.
1. To provide our brothers and sisters who identify as gay, or who experience same-sex attraction, (“LGBT or SSA”) an experience where they could feel the unconditional love of the Savior from fellow members of the LDS church without judgment, condemnation or fear.
2. To provide our fellow members and church leaders who desire to better understand and minister to our LGBT/SGA brothers and sisters an opportunity for learning through shared experience and friendly association with one another.
The program included a variety of opportunities to share and discuss the experience of LGBT/SSA members of the LDS Church and how we can better show love and understanding for them. The first session began with an address by a gay Mormon who has been working to bring together LGBT/SSA Mormons and their families. Guest speakers included Mitch Mayne, a gay Latter-day Saint who serves as executive secretary in his ward in San Francisco and Dr. Robert Rees who has served as a bishop and as a member of the Baltic States Mission Presidency and who currently teaches Mormon Studies at GTU Berkeley. The second session included a panel discussion with LDS LGBT/SSA members who share a common faith and love for the Church, relating their different experiences along the spectrums of relationships and Church activity. Audience members were also given an opportunity to ask the panel members questions. During the last session, an LDS couple with two gay sons spoke about their experience as parents and about what they would hope for their gay children. Time was given at the end for people to share their thoughts and feelings as the conference came to a close.
For more detailed information, please see additional posts here at allarizona.org,
…or download the ALL Conference 2013 Information Packet (PDF)