This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I recently attended the Circling the Wagons conference for gay and lesbian Mormons, their families and friends, and anyone interested in the fascinatingly complex and problematic juxtaposition of sexual orientation and religion.
The organizers wisely chose (despite significant opposition) to include people on all sides of the issue. Josh Weed told about being a gay Mormon man happily married to a straight woman. A transgender person spoke about her journey of trials and triumphs. Gay couples, legally married, expressed their love for their same-sex spouses, some told stories of family acceptance and even of acceptance by Latter-day Saint ward members and leaders.
Attendees and speakers actually listened to each other, even when they didn't agree. It was remarkable to witness such civil behavior, a stark contrast to the bitter, polarized local and national political campaign.
It was a truly a breath of fresh air. I hope the Circling the Wagons founders will continue to provide this invaluable forum for our community.
Salt Lake City