One Equal World

New LGBTQ+ Center Opens In Mormon Town

Posted on: November 23, 2016

A photo of Mormons marching for LGBT equality.

Photo credit: Vincenzo Mancuso / Shutterstock

The LGBTQ+ community has never had a very good relationship with the Mormon church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) was featured prominently in California’s Prop 8 which reversed the state’s original legalization of gay marriage. Last year, it also banned children in same-sex households from being baptized and declared people in same-sex marriages to be apostates. According to Trevor Johnson, a gay man who was raised in the church, acting upon his homosexuality would have been considered a sin akin to murder.

But the LDS leadership, like any such group, doesn’t speak for everyone. There are a number of Mormons who want to showcase the loving side of their religion and who don’t think the church’s stance on the LGBTQ+ community is okay. This is why the town of Provo, Utah is opening a resource center for LGBTQ+ people, right across the street from an LDS temple.

The positioning works on two fronts. It will hopefully remind people visiting the center about the positive side of the Mormon faith, but whether or not that pans out, it makes it impossible for people visiting that temple to ignore. Not ignoring the LGBTQ+ community is a big part of moving forward and improving the lives of people in that community. When faced with a society or religion that would rather kick them out than talk to them, LGBTQ+ youth stay in the closet, at best, which isn’t fair or healthy.

Youth in the community are more likely to commit suicide or otherwise harm themselves, but those statistics are reduced whenever children have someone to talk to. That’s why centers like the one are being built. It is aimed at helping youth (and their families) come to terms with and explore their LGBTQ+ identities in a safe space.

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