Join us as we welcome Bill Bradshaw on February 24th. Bill was a professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at BYU for over 30 years. When his son Brett came out, Bill started researching the biological factors that influence being gay and in 2010 gave a groundbreaking lecture at BYU entitled "The Evidence For A Biological Origin For Homosexuality." Bill, together with his wife Marge, started LDS Family Fellowship, a support group for parents and family members of LGBT Mormons. In 2014, Bill and Marge were honored with the Ally Award from Affirmation for their tremendous support of the LGBTQ community. This would be a wonderful Hearth event to invite friends and family to.
Our capacity to love expands as we listen to the lived experiences of others. On January 27th we will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of our LGBTQ friends who are willing to share their stories and perspectives with us. Join us for this special opportunity to share and learn from one another.
This past year has been full of memorable Hearth Events. The Hearth Community has continued to be brought together by Love. We belong to each other and each of you plays an important part.
We'd love for you to join us on the evening of Sunday, December 9th at 6:00pm for a fun evening celebrating the Christmas season. We'll warm up with a light dinner and then go out caroling. Everyone is welcome. Invite your friends. The more the merrier!
**We will be taking off our shoes while inside so wear comfortable socks -- it you happen to have a pair with fun Christmas patterns this will be a great chance to break them out!**
Our November Hearth is one of our most important to date. With an increase in suicide rates across the country, especially among vulnerable LGBTQ individuals, learning how to react to and notice suicidal behaviors of our loved ones and friends is more important than ever. We are honored to have Debra Oaks Coe joining us to provide on-site suicide prevention training. Debra, who is a member of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition and certified to teach QPR Suicide Prevention, will be turning our Hearth Fireside into a classroom as all present will have the opportunity to become a Certified “QPR Gatekeeper” by the end of the evening.
WHAT IS QPR Training? The following is from the QPR official website:
Our Mission: To save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.
What does QPR mean?
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying "Yes" to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.
QPR can be learned in our Gatekeeper course in as little as one hour.
What is a Gatekeeper?
According to the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), a gatekeeper is someone in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers can be anyone, but include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.
As a QPR-trained Gatekeeper you will learn to:
Recognize the warning signs of suicide
Know how to offer hope
Know how to get help and save a life
How is QPR like CPR?
Much of the world is familiar with CPR — short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation — an emergency medical intervention created in 1957 by Peter Safar. The process is designed to stabilize people who aren’t breathing or breathing intermittently and who may be in cardiac arrest until the person can reach a hospital or other care. Similarly, QPR is an an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons created in 1995 by Paul Quinnett. An abbreviation for Question, Persuade and Refer, the intent is also to identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care.
Both CPR and QPR are part of systems designed to increase the chance of survival in the event of a crisis.
Please RSVP below. We need a general count of how many people will be coming so we can make sure there are enough handouts for everyone.
An Evening with Troy Williams, Executive Director of Equality Utah
Save the date! Join us as we welcome Don Sherwood, current Bishop of the Berkeley University YSA Ward, where he serves on the front lines of creating a more welcoming and inclusive church experience for all, especially LGBTQ members. Don will share his outlook and experience as a Bishop as he has encouraged ward members to more fully "love one another" and create a welcoming space for all of God's children. We hope you can join us!
Don has served in his current calling since 2016 with his wife of 31 years, Mandy. Don joined the church in 1999 and has spent half his church tenure as Bishop. He served as Bishop of the Lafayette Ward from 2006 to 2012, and then served as Stake Public Affairs Director, organizing multiple regional blood drives and several Helping Hands projects that raised more than $50,000 and included thousands of volunteers over 4 years. Don and Mandy have three children and 2 grandchildren. He is a senior Finance Executive for Callidus Cloud a company recently acquired by SAP. Prior to that Don was involved in one of the largest tech acquisitions of all time the Vodafone purchase of wireless telecom company AirTouch.
Liz Darger: “A Common Humanity: Building bridges of understanding between LGBTQ&SSA and faith communities through the NCAA Common Ground Initiative”
Bob Rees: "It Isn't Just a Crisis of Faith, It's Also a Crisis of Reason & Especially a Crisis of Love"
We are honored to have Bob Rees joining us on February 25th at 7:00pm. Bob will delve more deeply into faith crisis among the Latter-day Saints to show that it is more multi-dimensional than most people realize. Often in the past, individuals have left the faith because of transgression or doctrinal differences, but some are leaving now because of ideology, culture and policy. How do we address this challenge, as individuals, families and congregations?
Laura will share what it was like for her as an adult coming to terms with being both a lesbian and an active member of the LDS faith. She will also talk about what her experience has been like since, as she has continued her activity in the church, but now does so while being openly gay and married to another woman. Laura’s testimony of the gospel has deepened as she has followed her own spiritual journey. Her wife Lynette will also be joining us and will share her perspective of being married to a Latter-day Saint who remains active in the faith.
At our upcoming Hearth Fireside we are honored to welcome Joanna Brooks, co-author of the moving book “Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began.” This book is a story of courage and resilience as Alex fights to survive and escape the conversion therapy program she was forced into by her parents in a misguided attempt to “fix her.”
Joanna has long been a voice and ally for the LGBTQ community and will share what she learned from Alex’ story as well as where the road can lead next for LDS LGBTQ+ and allies. We are thrilled to have her joining us.
Joanna Brooks is an award-winning Mormon feminist writer and scholar, a community organizer with 25 years of experience in labor, feminist, anti-racist and LGBTQ+ ally community organizing, and mother of a tween and a teen daughter who think she is okay most of the time. She is the author or editor of ten books on faith, gender, race, and politics, including The Book of Mormon Girl (Simon & Schuster, 2012), Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (Oxford, 2015), and Saving Alex (2016). She lives in San Diego, California
We are excited to announce that Richard Ostler, known to many as "Papa" Ostler, will be joining us at the Hearth on September 17th, 2017 at 7pm! (Location: 400 Selby Ln, Atherton, CA.) Richard previously served as a YSA Bishop and will share his experience of being ‘called by God’ to begin his journey of outreach to the LGBTQ community as an Ally, his feelings about his LGBTQ brothers and sisters, as well as his thoughts on the future of the Church’s relationship with its LGBTQ members.
We are delighted to announce that this Hearth Fireside will be filmed by a documentary film crew! They are being sent here by Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, to capture some of the great outreach being done here in our Hearth Community! Click on the above title for more exciting and important details about the filming!
Carol Lynn Wright Pearson is an American poet, author, screenwriter, and playwright. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Pearson is best known for the book Goodbye, I Love You, a memoir of her marriage to a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984. She frequently addresses the topics of LGBT acceptance and the role of Mormon women. Carol Lynn lives in Walnut Creek, California and is an active member of her ward and stake.
Faithful: A Lesbian Mormon Story
Join us on Sunday June 25th, 2017 at 7:00pm
What would it be like to live with the love of your life but remain celibate to meet the requirements of your religion? In this groundbreaking documentary, that is touching hearts and expanding paradigms, the story of two lesbian Mormons living in rural Utah is explored, showing how they are making it work in their own way. Join us for an exclusive private screening of the 20 minute documentary and a Q&A to follow with the filmmakers!
Faithful was born out of the need to tell an honest story and to foster compassion and conversation around the lived experiences of lesbian Mormons. Over the past several decades, at least 20 movies and documentaries have been made about the gay Mormon experience, but almost no films have been made about Mormon lesbians. At the center of this film are Marylu and Lauralie. Marylu comes from many generations of Mormons who crossed the plains, and Lauralie was once married in the temple to a man. Together, they live in the plateaus of eastern Utah in Roosevelt, a town of 6,700 people.
A trailer to the documentary can be viewed here:
1. Are Marylu and Lauralie active in the Church? Yes they are and they hold temple recommends. They are managing to be in a committed same-sex relationship while keeping the standards of the Mormon church, which is not a common choice. It’s not an easy path, but it seems to work for them.
2. Is the film promoting their choice to remain celibate? No, it is not. You will meet another couple under similar circumstances who have chosen very differently. This is a love story between two women and their love stories with their religion and God.
3. Who are the filmmakers? Dane Christensen is finishing his MFA in Documentary Film & Video at Stanford. This film is his thesis project. Jenn Lee Smith grew up partly in rural eastern Utah and is dedicated to telling true stories of women. They met at a Hearth fireside last year!
4. Is there a way to help support sharing this film to a broader audience? Yes! Dane & Jenn Lee have created a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to get the film into the upcoming film festival season. Even small donations make a huge difference as distributors are impressed by high numbers interested in a film. Additional information can be found here:
Jenn Lee recently screened a fine cut of the film to a select audience of about 20 people consisting of Mormons and non-Mormons. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Comments included the following:
"You can feel their level of devotion both to each other and to the religion."
"I think about my parents who are truly wonderful people, but they have no exposure to stories like these. They have no frame of reference, so the best thing for them would be to talk to people who are gay and Mormon and the second best thing is for them to see people in a wonderful relationship. Why this film resonated with me so well is the thought that, wow, I would like to send this to my parents."
"You've done such a good job of just looking at these people and not trying to make a statement other than that they love each other and they love the church and those things come in conflict. It's not trying to pass a judgment or whatever. I think it's just beautiful."
We look forward to having you join us around the Hearth!
If you are learning to love with fewer conditions, if you are LGBTQ and looking for a safe place, or if you simply want to demonstrate your care for your LGBTQ friends and family and join with others who care, you will find a place with us.
Over the past twenty years, both fear of and likelihood of being ostracized from the church community have sunk appreciably for LGBT members. More people than ever are coming out, and so more people than ever are facing a question: how does one live as a queer Mormon?
Some people find a workable answer in the church’s limited direction, and stay; many more find Mormonism untenable, and leave. Come explore how we as individuals might contribute to an answer that’s not just workable, but sustaining for ourselves and our loved ones.
Why would an openly gay graduate student in theology choose to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one month after the policy change? Come to The Hearth this Sunday, October 16, at 7:00 and hear Derek Knox's story of conversion and choosing to be baptized as an openly and proudly gay man.
Josh and Lolly are in a mixed orientation marriage that received a lot of attention when Josh came out as gay on his blog back in 2012. The story of their marriage has created a lot of controversy both inside and outside of the church. In their presentation, they hope to be candidly honest about the nature of their relationship and the genuine love they have for all members of the LGBT community.
This month we will be honored to hear from Carol Lynn Pearson, a long-time advocate for the LGBT community in the LDS Church. Speaking from extensive experience as an ally and friend to LGBT Mormons, she will share a vision for approaching the challenges and opportunities we meet in the Church and in the world.
Cynthia Bailey Lee, a Hearth community member and ally, will share stories of pioneers in her life and the lessons they can teach us about seizing the spiritual blessings available to us. She will also speak about how we can all be pioneers in creating a more inclusive and loving atmosphere for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
Recent policy changes in the Church have breathed new life into age-old questions—What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? Who has a place in the kingdom of God? How do we respond to change and diversity? What is my role in building Zion? Jon Arnell will share what he is learning as a gay Mormon, and what our questions and differences can teach us about moving forward as latter-day saints in a dynamic world.
The church has produced amazing examples of love and inclusion. This month, Don Fletcher will share with us some his experiences reaching out to LGBT members, both in his tenure as bishop of the Bay Ward, and beyond. Join us in thinking about what we can do in our own wards and stakes to make the church look more like God's inclusive family.
Questions about God's plan for LGBT people can shake and even topple our faith. Yet, these same questions can be a powerful impetus for growth as we engage with them and develop the ability to believe in the midst of challenges (D&C 46:14). Join us for an evening with Terryl and Fiona Givens as we explore some of the best reasons to believe.
Terryl Givens is professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, where he holds the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair in English. He has participated in the Joseph Smith Papers project, and has authored several books in Mormon Studies, including, By the Hand of Mormon, People of Paradox, and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought.
Fiona Givens (MA European History, University of Richmond) has published articles on LDS history and culture, and is a popular speaker at conferences and workshops. She has co-authored two works with her husband: The God Who Weeps, and The Crucible of Doubt.