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A newly formed group of Mormons marched in gay pride parades in several U.S. cities earlier this year. These Latter-day Saints dressed in their Sunday best and carried signs, expressing love for their LGBT friends and family. The effort was meant as a symbol of outreach and peacemaking between two communities so often at odds.
The group, known as Mormons Building Bridges, was launched by active Latter-day Saints and carried no political message, nor critique of the LDS Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.
Now Bridges is creating a more permanent symbol: a choir.
By singing together, the group hopes to "promote mutual understanding," said director Bryan Horn, "and share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
The choir will hold auditions for singing and instrumentalists soon, Horn said, and plans to have weekly rehearsals in Salt Lake and Utah counties. The group will be open to all interested performers, he said, regardless of skill level or LDS membership.
"Even if you can't sing or play an instrument," he said, "we'll find something for you to do."
The choir will perform religious music not just LDS hymns including a range of pieces from classical Christian to African American spirituals.
Horn grew up as a Mormon in Nashville, Tenn., and served a two-year mission to Las Vegas. A few years ago, he resigned from the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but still attends services regularly with the man he considers his husband (though they are not legally married).
"I am actively Mormon in my own way," Horn said. "I pray, read the scriptures, and go to church at a friend's ward."
Horn, who is working on a master's in international studies at the University of Utah, hopes the choir swells to hundreds of participants, enough to break off into smaller groups.
"Whoever gay or straight shares our vision," he said, "is welcome."
Erika Munson, the Sandy Mormon who organized Bridges, will not be directly involved with the choir but endorses it as a valuable cog in the movement.
"We are so excited, even thrilled about it," Munson said. "Everyone loves to sing. There is no better way to reach hearts and minds and bring people together than through music."
Munson reiterates that the choir, like all other Bridges activities, has no political or theological agenda, other than love.
"We just want everyone," she said, "to express their joy in being people of God through music."
Together in harmony.
How to join
For information about how to join the Mormons Building Bridges Choir, contact Bryan Horn at email@example.com