Circling the Wagons

My dear, old friend, Sara Larsen Begley has been working with Mormon Stories, and sent this to me. It appears that in order to promote this conference, they are turning to GLBTQ-friendly bloggers to weigh in.

So there you go. If you live in SLC and are so inclined, go. If I lived in SLC, I probably would not go. But that’s because these things have a tendency to take on a “I’m a victim of the hateful LDS doctrine machine” tone, and that’s just not really my thing. I have all sorts of things to expound upon, but as I am running late for a YW presidency meeting, I will hold off until another day.

But until then, check this out, and make plans.


CONTACT: Anne Peffer, (617) 489-2913;


Salt Lake City, Utah, October 30, 2011.

“Mormon Stories,” ( an organization that seeks to build bridges between all who identify as “Mormon,” announces “Circling the Wagons,” a conference dedicated to the issues of homosexuality within Mormon faith and culture. The conference will be held in Salt Lake City November 4 -6, and will be geared toward all who come from a Mormon background and who self-identify as “same-gender attracted,” gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, as well as their families, friends and allies. Supporters of other faiths or no faith will be equally welcomed.

Speakers and other participants will include author Carol Lynn Pearson, Brigham Young University professor Bill Bradshaw, Utah State Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis, filmmaker Kendall Wilcox, psychologist Lee Beckstead, and John Dehlin.

A featured speaker will be Jimmy Creech, a former United Methodist minister, now retired and living in North Carolina, who has recently published Adam’s Gift: a Memoir of a Pastor’s Calling to Defy the Church’s Persecution of Lesbians and Gays. After a member of his congregation came out to him, Creech concluded that scriptural translations and interpretations concerning homosexuality had been botched and dangerously distorted. As a Christian clergyman, Creech came to believe that discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is morally wrong. This understanding compelled him to, among other things, perform same-gender commitment ceremonies, which conflicted with church directives. Creech was tried twice by the United Methodist Church, and, after the second trial, his ordination credentials were revoked. In addition to speaking at the conference, Creech, along with Reverend Mary June Nestler of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, will speak at a special interfaith service at 11:30 on Sunday, November 6th at the First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City, located at 777 South 1300 East.

The conference will be divided into four sessions. The main portion of the conference will take place on Saturday at the First Baptist Church with registration at 8:00 a.m. and conference beginning at 9 a.m. For information on registration for the conference, see


6 thoughts on “Circling the Wagons

  1. Hey girl, thanks for your help in spreading the word about the conference. And thank you too for taking a moment to express your opinion on the matter. I appreciate your honesty (as always ; isn’t that what makes this blog so great!) From all of us here at Mormon Stories, I would have to say we are doing our best to ensure this event is as it states: for LBGTQ Mormons, their friends, their families, their allies whether religious or not. It’s always tricky to plan for an event that needs to appeal to a wide range of people. But we are determined to make it happen. Mormon Stories is really trying to “build bridges” as it states in the press release. I understand that from time to time, as in all things blogosphere, some people may not share the kindest of sentiments. But the podcast and these conferences really try to maintain a tone of open-ness, empathy and understanding. Unfortunately, from time to time I bump into the same problem when I attend an LDS ward and hear someone share a sentiment that is less than charitable. But I do my best not to judge the entire church on this person. You have been so great at illustrating this point over the history of your blog. Thanks again for your help.

  2. I was all ready to attend this conference- then I saw your friend’s comment here and it really rubbed me the wrong way so will NOT be attending the conference. Those against the church always want everyone to show them respect and deference but they’re not willing to do the same in return. REALLY pisses me off.

    • Sergei- I am very deeply saddened that you chose not to attend based on my single sentence regarding the conference.
      As Sam states- our attitudes are contributing to the problem, and not the solution. EVERYONE is guilty of uncharitable remarks and actions- we need to work toward opening our hearts to empathy, and losing the defense and the judgment regardless of what may be thrown our way. I am SO far from perfecting this, but am working toward that end.
      Much love to you.

  3. You couldn’t have been more wrong about this conference. It was amazing. I heard no negativity whatsoever. It was one of the most moveing and loveing events I’ve ever experienced in my entire life and those who put forth so much effort to host the conference are to be congratulated for their efforts. For me and my straight wife, it was transformative.

    It’s a shame you and your friend above couldn’t find it in your hearts to be more supportive of this extraordinary event. Attitudes like yours will do little to bring about the change and acceptance that so many in the church are waiting for. Perhaps you should try being part of the solution rather than the problem.

  4. Sam- I am very saddened by your response- but thrilled that you had such an excellent time. But I can’t blame you for your view- after all- you only know what I wrote, and what I wrote was not very kind or open.
    I have no idea who Sergei is, by the way.
    I am currently in a very precarious spot in my life- delicate, If I may be so bold as to say it. It doesn’t take much to knock me off my path, and as I have been in far too many church-bashing groups before, as I stand right now, it would be very detrimental to risk putting myself in a position that could quite possibly do more harm than good. This conference had the potential to turn to that- very easily.
    Believe me when I tell you that I am definitely doing my part at being a part of the solution. No need for me to go into details, but my life is very focused on making the path brighter for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It is not by coincidence that I married a gay man and that our lives have been opened to this issue.
    Yes, I’m defensive. I don’t like people making negative remarks about me. Again, I am SO pleased that the conference went well. SO pleased. Kendall Wilcox is a good friend of ours, and I know how hard he is working on making this entire issue less divisive and more good for everyone involved.
    God Bless

  5. Just catching up on your blog. This conference was wonderful–I did not find the tone hateful at all. Scott’s parents came for some of it and were touched. The podcast is available at

    I suggest checking in on some of it sometime. You might find it to be as wonderful as I did. You might even hear my voice a couple of times, first asking Carol Lynn Pearson a question, and later reading a scripture in the interfaith service. 🙂

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