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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Affirmation Gay and Lesbian Mormons

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Christianity, Civil Rights, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ, Religion

Mission: • Affirmation supports LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families, friends and Church leaders in seeking to live productive lives consistent with their faith or heritage. • We provide a loving, inclusive community for all LGBTQ/SSA people, regardless of how they identify in their sexual orientation, gender identity, or faith. • We encourage spirituality and empower LGBTQ/SSA Mormons to make valuable contributions within and outside of the Church. • We organize local gatherings and international conferences, provide informational resources, and work for dialogue within the Church.

Results: • Developed materials that allies can use to work w/ local level leaders and to train other allies • Engaged LGBT Mormons interested in attending church and provide support •Developed allies network and partner on activities (socials, service activities, Pride marches, etc.) and include families/youth • Developed and shard best practices across groups/chapters (e.g. FHE, potlucks, story-sharing, sports, competitions, service, etc.) • Streamlined, standardized, and improved outreach and membership processes • Helped coordinate Pride marches, visibility at Pride festivals and related communications • Created “Faces of Affirmation” that models happy gay Mormons and families living full lives and serves as mentor network • Partnered w/ other orgs. or media to improve visibility in LDS & LGBT communities

Target demographics: support LGBT Mormons, their families, and allies by encouraging spirituality, providing information resources, and working for inclusiveness and equality.

Direct beneficiaries per year: LGBT Mormons in 32 chapter/groups around the world.

Geographic areas served: United States, Mundo Hispano (Hispanic World), Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa

Programs: our Annual Conference, activities for our local chapters/groups, and internet forums to support LGBT Mormons.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Suzi3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am on Affirmation's ally committee. I love seeing the hope and spiritual strength Affirmation brings to LGBT Mormons. It's challenging to be both LGBT and Mormon, and Affirmation brings these beautiful people together, online and in person, all over the world, so they can support and buoy up each other. I love how inclusive Affirmation is and I love that the current leadership is concentrating on making a space for LGBT in the congregations. I volunteer with Affirmation to help bring information and understanding to straight Mormons. There is much work to be done, and Affirmation has the history and resources to accomplish it.

Andrew76

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a friend go the year before and love it so I decided to go this year. It was far better then I imagined, so grateful I went and was a part of it. Would recommend it to any one and week be there next year!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a queer saint, and adult educator, I have watched Affirmation grow in excellence these last 10 years. Not only grounded in purpose, not only reaching out for more and more diversity within its scope, but now coming to understand the significance of this annual gathering, I can state that this is an important non-profit organization whose has matured to the point of being a powerful voice far beyond the assumptions that people might make. From diversity to inclusion, from the young to the old, from the faithful to the deeply questioning, the tent has been broadened, the spiritual nourishment deepened. This is a conference, even better than college reunions, that I now plan on attending as a regular habit to steady my diet, to better understand my own growth. And above all, to share and support the power of this story.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i'm a gay Mormon BYU student in Utah, and I first learned about Affirmation a year ago, in summer 2012.

One of my favorite things about Affirmation is the work that they have done to provide safe soscial spaces for young GLBTQ Mormons to express themselves and to meet other people who are in their situation. Affirmation partners with other groups, like Mormons Building Bridges, to organize monthly socials along the Wasatch Front for GLBTQ Mormons and allies.

Some of these socials have been in Salt Lake City, while others have beeen in Highland and other points south. Usually, at the ones that I've attended, there have been big groups of several dozen people there.

The socials are a fun opportunity to build friendships within the local GLBTQ community. They also are a good chance to help build or rebuild connections with one's personal spirituality and with the LDS Church. There is usually a spiritual thought from the scriptures, a guest speaker with an uplifting message, and a fun group hymn-singing session where anyone is welcome to join in.

Even at times when I've felt personally disconnected from the Church because of my sexuality, Affirmation has always remained in my mind as a helpful community resource where I can always go to be uplifted and supported.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Affirmation early in 2013 when I was asked to serve on its board. From my initial conversation, I have found each interaction with Affirmation to be positive, encouraging, accepting, and inspiring. I have enjoyed up close and personal the impressive dedication, devotion and hard work this high caliber group directs toward improving relations between the LGBT community, family and friends, with the Mormon church. Accomplished professionals in their work lives, the sterling quality leadership team brings to Affirmation keen intelligence, creativity, and tireless energy.

I joined Affirmation to become part of their cause; I never imagined becoming deeply connected with its individuals. My relationships with Affirmation members have helped me examine and question my own thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. If I can be so positively influenced, I believe other individuals can be, along with small groups and then large groups of people. I love knowing that humans all over our world can have growing experiences through Affirmation’s honest compassion, love and acceptance. I am terribly proud to be part of Affirmation. Surely one of the Great Nonprofits, Affirmation exerts astonishing power for good.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a member of affirmation because I have a gay son. Rubbing shoulders with these tremendous people, giving service and attending gatherings and socials has become a highlight in my life. I know other mothers like me with gay children, and see successful gay men and women who have spouses, partners, families and careers and are breaking the myths often associated with gay Mormons.

This organization is run with intelligence by amazing individuals who have love as their primary motivation. Affirmation is incredible! They are a light ti many gay Mormons who otherwise would have no hope of finding love and support within the Mormon community.

Peter38

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Affirmation provides much needed support and assistance to a great deal of people - all different and unique in both what they require and where they are in their journeys. The organization has been around for more than 3 decades... but, recently, it seemed to have gained renewed energy and powerful focus. I have seen the consequences of Affirmation on people's lives... not just my own. I have seen people who would ordinarily not cooperate or work together join forces for the greater good. I have never seen - anywhere else - so many different kinds of people come together. Young and old, male and female, LGBT and straight, believing and non-believing... Affirmation confirmed in my mind the ability of people to work beyond borders and categories.

Michael203

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with Affirmation was about 4 years ago and it was such a bitter place. Just a lot of members or former members speaking ill about the church - not any longer! The is a renaissance happening within Affirmation.

By far the most spiritual and uplifted conference I have attended in a very, very long time. It was a safe place welcoming of so many in different stages of their journey. So many loving people who are striving to be who they are - Both LGBT and Mormon!! It really felt like THE PERFECT ward conference teenagers running around, straight and LGBT couples sharing stories and testimonies.

Tina47

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first exposure to Affirmation was when I attended the 2011 in Cleveland Ohio. Before then I felt an island unto myself. I had no LDS LBGTQ associates to share my struggles, fears, questions, happiness or spiritual insights with concerning this enormously conflicting part of my life. Becoming involved in Affirmation has given me a home of safety, a voice of validity, and a bedrock of encouragement. I have meet some of my dearest friends in affirmation. I have been given the opportunity to share of myself and help others. I now have the opportunity to be a member of something bigger than myself, to be apart of a great movement for change and awareness. What a cool thing!

I love all that Affirmation offers, from local events and socials, to teleconferences on healing and spirituality, social media resources to connect with others, regional and national conferences, the podcast, newsletter and website, the resources available to help educate my local leaders, the incredible people i get to work with, the list goes on and on and on! Affirmation has changed my life and I am happier and more whole since becoming a member. Thanks to everyone who is apart of this great organization!

Colby G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a gay Mormon, and with that came extreme amounts of inner conflict. In the fall of 2009 I reached a point where the Mormon church was not giving me enough to get through. I didn't see where I fit in. I turned to the internet for help and understanding. I googled "Gay Mormons" and found Affirmation. I saw that there was a group 3 hours away from where I lived. I contacted the local chapter leader and attended my first Affirmation social a few weeks later. I met dozens of other LGBT Mormons who were like me and who were so kind and welcoming. I saw authentic healthy adjusted gay Mormons, just that example alone did wonders for me personally. After that first social I attended what Affirmation gatherings I could. In September 2011 I attended my first national Affirmation conference in Cleveland Ohio. The Sunday testimony and devotional meetings in the Kirtland Temple were experiences that I will never forget. The spirit was so strong that day. Next year in Seattle 2012 I had the privilege to be on the conference committee and planed a Saturday night dance. It was the highlight of my year. I had a lot of fun. And again this year I was able to help with the Salt Lake City 2013 conference.

Affirmation is a place where I can express myself openly and authentically. I feel like my talents and abilities are used and appreciated in Affirmation. I appreciate the opportunity Affirmation has given me to serve other LGBT Mormons Family and Friends.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Affirmation almost one year ago. I have found it more than welcoming to all who are affirming of all types of relationships and all levels of connection to Mormonism. The leaders are very passionate about the movement to bring lgbtq individuals closer to the church and at te same time work with members of the church to understand and live their gay brothers and sisters.

The annual conference, this September held in Salt Lake City, brought together more than 400 lgbtq Mormons, friends, and family members. My mom attended to support me and has never enjoyed a weekend more. This is a fantastic organization for a broad range of individuals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found Affirmation when I was looking for an LGBTQ community of friends who shared similar backgrounds to me. I attended a conference that was a transformational experience. The organization's goal is to proved a safe space for LGBTQ Mormons, families, and friends to interact with one another, drawing strength from one another. The organization also provides resources to members of the Mormon(LDS) faith who either are struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality, or struggling to help others do the same. Affirmation leadership is unpaid and spends countless hours bringing faith, hope, charity, and love to their brothers and sisters.

Peter37

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Affirmation Gay and Lesbian Mormons is an important part of my life, especially since I am no longer active in the LDS Church. Affirmation provides me a link with the Church and the many wonderful
people that are in the Mormon Church. Affirmation is working to bring together LGBT Mormons, whether they are active, inactive or totally disengaged with the Church. It is a wonderful place to interact with people that have similar experiences and are willing to give support to those who may be going through a difficult transition.

The people I have met are so warm and caring, it always lifts me up when I read, speak with or listen to other Affirmation members. It is a place for spiritual uplift as well.

The most recent Affirmation Conference in Salt Lake City was a spiritual event from the opening event to the closing luncheon. The speakers presented from the heart, and it was obvious to me that personal revelation was being received by many. It is hard to single out a favorite event during the conference, but the presentations by Barb and Steve Young are a couple of highlights, as was Benjy Schwimmer's dance performance. As always the close of conference with "God be With You till We Meet Again" was a very spiritual moment. It was so good to be with so many good people.

Trevor C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Many people are not aware of the intense internal conflict that LGBT individuals (and their families) in conservative religions or subcultures face. Affirmation is a group that affirms LGBT Mormons in their sexuality and faith--however they pursue it, or not, and whatever it means to them. It's unique in the Mormon culture and plays a very important supportive role in the lives of many LGBT Mormons both directly through sponsored activities and indirectly through advocacy.

I have met some of my best friends through Affirmation; it means so much to be able to associate people who understand what I go through and how I feel as a minority within a minority. I volunteer for the organization because it helps me to realize my own ideals of creating a better environment for my gay brothers and sisters.

Fred8

Board Member

Rating: 5

The words “Eight stars of gold on field of blue” have a special meaning to me. So do the words “Melchizedek Priesthood”. It was in 1986 at North Pole, Alaska that these two sets of words converged together as part of my life story as I was ordained an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The state song and flag of Alaska both refer to the eight stars of the Big Dipper and the North Star on a blue background. As part of a military ward at an Air Force base, I met other military LDS members and served as the ward chorister.

I was transferred to Washington D.C. in the 1990s. At this point in my life, life was changing drastically as I began to question my sexuality. I also started attending Affirmation in Washington D.C. while stationed there. Being a member of Affirmation helped me come out as a gay man and several members of the group remain close friends and are my Affirmation family.

As I was stationed in various places throughout the U.S. and overseas, one constant in my life was Affirmation. I have been a part of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons for over 20 years. During this time I have served in leadership roles at the chapter and national levels for many years including: local Chapter Director; Chapter-at-Large Director; Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Development; Affirmation National Board of Directors; Conference Director; and the founder and current Director of the Affirmation People of Color and Allies Group.

In my eyes, Affirmation Gay and Lesbian Mormons addresses the needs of LGBT Mormons in a ever changing world where LGBT Mormons are seeking to have someone to talk to in times of crisis, establish friendships with one another, and find resources that support their coming out process at the intersection of two often conflicting worlds, being both LGBT and Mormon. I have enjoyed my service to Affirmation and continue to "pay it forward" because of the support and friendship I have received from many people in this organization.