Program

Friday, October 19
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Hospitality Suite Open
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Conference Registration Open
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. First Timers & Interest Groups Receptions
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Welcoming Reception - Kendall Wilcox
8:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Hospitality Suite Open
8:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. Choir Practice
Saturday, October 20
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Conference Registration Open
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Light Breakfast & Plenary Session - John Dehlin
9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Workshop Sessions 1
1) The Answer is Love: A More Excellent Way for LDS Families and Church Leaders - Robert Rees, Gary London, Jared Boundy
2) Identifying our Strengths and Blessings as LGBT Children of God, Overcoming Fear, and Celebrating and Sharing our Gifts to Bless Others
3) Working with our Straight Allies for Marriage Equality
10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Workshop Sessions 2
1) Creating Conversations with Church Members to Build Bridges of Understanding - John Gustav-Wrathall, Kendall Wilcox
2) Celebrating Our Stories - Marty Beaudet
3) Dating and Building Healthy and Happy Long-term Gay Relationships - Aimee Heffernan
4) Healing the Relationship Between Mormons and Gay Rights Supporters - Michelle Beaver
12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch - On your own
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Leadership Meeting      Note: All Affirmation Members are Encouraged to Attend
2:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Free time to explore Seattle or if desired, meet as interest groups (Women’s, Gamofites, Young Adult, Allies, People of Color and Transgender), or for chapter leaders to spend more time sharing ideas with each other
5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Choir Practice
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. General Business Meeting      Note: All Affirmation Members Should Attend
7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Awards Reception & Dance - Appetizers Provided
Sunday, October 21
Breakfast - On your own
8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Choir Practice
9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Testimony & Spiritual Story Sharing
10:30 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Devotional
Robert Rees | Tina Richerson | Choir
11:40 a.m. – 12:00 Break/Check-out of Rooms
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Closing Luncheon - Bridey Jensen | Adam White | Nathan Paskett
Conclusion
Workshops

The Answer is Love: A More Excellent Way for LDS Families and Church Leaders

The failure of Latter-day Saint families, church leaders and congregations in regard to LGBT Mormons essentially has been a failure of love. It has also been a failure of understanding, of courage and even of faith, but most of all it has been a failure of love. While some parents and leaders may have been confused over language, contending ideologies, the development of an extensive body of research on sexual orientation over several decades, and different theological arguments about the nature of homosexuality, no one can claim not to have understood Christ’s central message: love is the ultimate response to any situation.

Now, a new widely-recognized and highly praised scientific study conducted by the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at San Francisco State University shows that love is not only the answer, essentially it is the only answer: data demonstrate that, regardless of how they might personally feel when a gay or lesbian child reveals his or her sexual orientation, when parents can respond with love, it dramatically reduces the chance that such a child will suffer severe depression, use illegal drugs and have substance abuse problems, contract sexually transmitted diseases and be at risk for HIV, or attempt suicide. This session presents the findings of the FAP study and the new booklet based on it for Latter-day Saint families and leaders. It includes parents and leaders who have applied these principles in real-life situations.

Session leader: Dr. Robert A. Rees, co-author of Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children (2012).

Participants: Gary London, parent of a gay son and recently released member of the Seattle stake presidency Jared Boundy, Bishop, Aimee Heffernan, Laurel Weed

Identifying our Strengths and Blessings as LGBT Children of God, Overcoming Fear, and Celebrating and Sharing our Gifts to Bless Others

This session will help you identify ways to strengthen yourself in the various dimensions of life (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and social) so that you can use your gifts and blessings to bless the lives of those around you. Learn to identify and reframe thoughts that may be holding you back so you can experience more freedom to be your wonderful self and have more joy in your life. Learn to address those things that get in your way and change them into thoughts and actions that move you forward. Let's be our fabulous selves and bless the world! They don't call us gay for nothing! Allies of course are also fabulous and welcome.

Facilitators: Judy and Randall, who both currently serve on the Affirmation Executive Committee and both share a passion for putting positive life techniques into action.

Working with our Straight Allies for Marriage Equality

As never before, a large number of Latter-day Saints is coming out in support of marriage equality. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, and marriage equality laws were passed, but are not yet in effect, in two additional states.

In this workshop, a member of Mormons for Marriage Equality, along with a representative from Washington State Catholics for Marriage Equality, will provide practical tools to help advance marriage equality in the church and in our communities at a time when the First Presidency continues to condemn same-sex marriage and publicly oppose its legalization.

Kirby Brown is a Northwest Washington native. Now retired, he worked as a lifelong Catholic in pastoral ministry and social services. He served as Chaplain with the grassroots Catholic GLBTQ group DIGNITY when it first started in Seattle (late 1970s). This year he and his wife helped launch Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington State.

Creating Conversations with Church Members to Build Bridges of Understanding

This workshop will discuss how to have difficult conversations related to homosexuality with our family, friends, and ward members. These conversations could be of different types: It could be a coming-out conversation; it could be about a decision to enter a committed relationship; it could be about a political issue such as an anti-marriage equality referendum. This workshop will equip attendees with basic skills to have those conversations in a way that deepens the relationship with the other person and keeps the conversation going. The workshop will include role playing and practice conversations. People will feel empowered to go back home and have those difficult conversations.

Presenters: John Gustav-Wrathall and Kendall Wilcox

Celebrating Our Stories

Members of Affirmation, and LGBT Mormons and former Mormons in general, are living in various stages of our relationship with the official church. For most of us, the relationship with our Mormon-ness is a continuum of experiences, both positive and negative. In recent decades some of us have put pieces of those stories in writing in an effort both to heal our own wounds and to shed some light for others on what it means to be queer and LDS.

This session will discuss some of those efforts and their positive effects, and it will encourage others to do the same.

Presenter: Marty Beaudet

Dating and Building Healthy and Happy Long-Term Gay Relationships

There are “plenty of gay fish in the sea,” but how do you find someone that is a great match for you? Where can you look to find a person that has similar values and goals? How do you stay confident and true to yourself in the world of dating? And once you find someone to love and to love you back, how do you create a relationship that is secure, lasting, happy, and healthy?

In this discussion-type workshop, talk with others about the challenges, joys, and dynamics of dating in the gay world. Get tips on dating as a gay Mormon, process together about what works and what doesn’t, and learn how to be healthy in your dating and long-term relationship. We hope to create a safe space to talk about dating, intimacy, commitment, trust, and all things relationship.

Aimee Heffernan, a LDS marriage and family therapist, with experience working with gay clients as well, will discuss how to have healthy boundaries, strong communication, and how to build trust and emotional connection in your relationships.

Session Leader: Aimee Heffernan

Healing the Relationship Between Mormons and Gay-Rights Supporters

This workshop explores the tenuous relationship between Mormons and supporters of gay rights and offers solutions for how these groups (as well as gay Mormons) can learn to support each other. The speaker, Michelle Beaver, believes that the nation should be more accepting of Mormons and believes that Mormons should be more accepting of gays.

Michelle is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, freelances extensively, and is editor in chief of a medical magazine. She believes that the relationship between Mormons and supporters of gay rights can improve and will explore solutions in this workshop. She’ll also share a non-partisan look into what a Romney presidency would mean for gay rights, and for what the LDS Church should do to improve its relationship with gays.

Session Leader: Michelle Beaver