The Pen

Latter Day Saints Donate 25 Grand to LGBTQ Support Group

[Salt Lake Tribune] Affirmation was founded in 1977 at a time when admission of same-sex attraction among the Mormon faithful was a matter of inner turmoil, deep shame and religious rejection — even a cause for suicide.

The LDS Foundation, the charitable division of the Mormon church, has donated $25,000 to an LGBTQ support group to pay for suicide prevention training.

The gift is being called historic by Affirmation members, who say it marks the first time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has worked with the independent support group for gay Mormons.

“Over the past decade, we have really spent a lot of time building a productive relationship with the LDS Church to create a safe space for LGBTQ people,” Affirmation President Carson Tueller said in an interview.

While Affirmation and the church may have differences in some areas, on at least one topic — suicide prevention — they have found common ground.

“This is one of those places where our missions overlap and mesh,” Tueller said. “This is a good stepping stone and shows a certain amount of trust that has been built.”

More than just making history, though, the donation also could save lives, said Tueller, because it will allow Affirmation leaders to become certified suicide prevention trainers.

“We hope that this LDS Foundation grant to Affirmation will aid in suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ+ Mormons throughout the world and also be an encouragement to LDS members, bishops, Young Men and Young Women presidencies, and others working with Mormon youth to take advantage of these training opportunities with us,” Tueller said in a news release.

“We can’t do this alone,” he added, “Only by working together can we begin to reach everybody who needs to be reached both in and out of the church.”

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