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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)  
 
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In 2000, David Hardy, a Salt Lake City attorney and former LDS Bishop, and the father of a gay child, accused the Church of "engendering fear and loathing" toward gay men and lesbians and of "destroying real families" by driving "our gay children to self-loathing, despair and suicide."

In response to the rejection they feel, glbtq Mormons have come together in a variety of support groups. One of the largest, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, got its start during the 1970s in response to a perceived increase in the number of suicides among gay and lesbian Mormons. Originating from small groups of gay Mormons who had been meeting quietly since 1962 in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and at Brigham Young University, Affirmation was founded by activists such as Matthew Price and Paul Martenson, who began to challenge the notion that queerness is inherently sinful.

Sponsor Message.

Affimation describes its mission as follows: "Its purpose is to provide a supportive environment for relieving the needless fear, guilt, self-oppression and isolation that LDS gays and lesbians can experience in an era where willful ignorance about human sexuality is too often a reality. We believe that a same-gender orientation and same-gender relationships can be consistent with and supported by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We affirm that we are children of Heavenly Parents who love us the way they created us and will judge us, as they do all, based on what we make of our lives here and how we have treated our sisters and brothers."

On its website, Affirmation declares that "We are an organization of people who believe in the worth of every soul regardless of their sexual or gender orientation. We rejoice in life. We reject the tyranny that would have us believe that who we are--gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender--is evil. We view our sexual and gender orientation as a blessing, not a curse. Although many of us are no longer members of the LDS Church we celebrate being part of the great Mormon tradition."

Affinity, Affirmation's newsletter, began publication in 1980. By the early 2000s Affirmation counted around three hundred official members, with hundreds more still in the closet.

In 1979, a gay Mormon presence appeared for the first time in the Los Angeles Pride parade, and in September of that year, a gay Mormon contingent joined the Washington D.C. March for Gay Rights.

The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ offers another kind of support for queers who still feel connected to their religious roots. Founded in 1985 by Antonio Feliz, a former LDS Bishop, and other members of Affirmation who had been excommunicated from the LDS Church, the RCJC professes belief in benevolent Heavenly Parents who do not condemn homosexuality.

Following a long LDS tradition of belief in personal revelation of the word of God, the RCJC have their own holy book of scripture, titled Hidden Treasures and Promises, accept women in all church offices, and teach that gay sexuality is not sinful in the context of a loving relationship. The Church is believed to have about 500 members, with one ward (congregation) in Salt Lake City and members in California who have not yet been organized into wards.

Other Mormons find that their negative experiences within the Church compel them to make a complete break. These ex-Mormons may gain support from such websites as http://recoveringmormons.tribe, http://www.postmormon.org, and http://www.exmormons.com.

E-mail lists, such as TGI Mormons and Qsaints, offer gay, lesbian, transgender, and intersex people from Mormon backgrounds a space to connect with others who understand their issues.

The response to this queer activism from the LDS Church and its more uncompromising members has been predictably negative. While the official church position is one of compassionate censure, individual incidents demonstrate an atmosphere of intolerance.

In 2004, for example, gay photographer, and ex-Mormon, Don Farmer had several prints stolen from a Salt Lake City Community College Gay Pride art show. The photos, which showed pairs of young suit-and-tie-clad Mormon missionaries in erotic poses, had enraged many in the local LDS community and had been the subject of physical altercations before the theft.

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