Since my post a few days ago about the recent Affirmation conference I’ve been in a lively and polite discussion with Affirmation leaders. They’ve defended themselves well regarding my statement that “Affirmation at times seems too focused on helping gay Mormons maintain…their ties to the Mormon Church.” They pointed out that there was only one workshop/presentation that with focus. John Gustav-Wrathal wrote, “There’s been extensive discussion within the International Leadership Team about how to keep Affirmation a ‘big tent.’ We feel that if we don’t provide that role, nobody will…Evergreen and Northstar won’t/can’t…There has to be someone who says: You get to define your own relationship to Mormonism, and you get to figure out what it means to be L,G, B or T, and we support you and are there for you and will walk that path with you.”
I’d like to thank Hugo Salinas Olaiz, Randall Thacker and John Gustav-Wrathal for their responses to me and their willingness to listen to my suggestions. Affirmation’s national conference will be in Salt Lake again next year, and they have added my suggestions to their list of potential workshops. I think post-Mormon worldviews and lives will be addressed even more than they were this year. So many Mormons feel lost when their Mormonism and related beliefs don’t work. Sometimes they need guidance in making healthy choices on their way to a new life.
I’m a gay Ex-Mormon who is planning on being at the conference next year.
The “big tent” idea is a very lofty goal and it’s full of challenges, and will never be as big as they hope for. It’s just the way humans are. Even though I will no longer participate in Affirmation, I do wish them the best in their endeavors.
Hmm… so after Oaks’ words this weekend, this is Affirmation’s response:
This statement is a far cry from previous iterations of Affirmation that would have been like, “Oaks is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!”
Instead, here we have a divisive “to those people who feel sad…” as if there are folks in Affirmation that are just fine with Oaks’ words. Are there really such people in the organization? If so, then there’s something wrong with Affirmation.
I’m having trouble understanding the goal of Affirmation’s “big tent.”
I’m guessing that when they say “big tent”, they mean they hope to be able to sit in the vestibule of the Church tent.