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Mormon Church makes surprising donation to LGBT group

Megan Boyanton July 3, 2015
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The Mormon Church has made a surprising donation to a Salt Lake City LGBT group – despite its strong opposition to equality.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just might be welcoming progress, starting with donating for the first time ever to the Utah Pride Center.

Based in Salt Lake City, the non-profit centre focuses on assisting the young and homeless LGBT community.

Utah Pride Center board president Kent Frogley said: “The Utah Pride Center is grateful for the church’s help in our efforts to provide food for those in our community who are in need.

“We are grateful for their generosity and the emerging relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We know that this contribution marks a significant moment in the LDS/LGBTQ relationship.”

Fox 13 Salt Lake City reported that the donation amounts to $2,500 and grants access to the Bishop’s Storehouse.

A tool of welfare services, Victor L. Brown describes the purpose of the storehouse on the Church’s official website: “A physical bishops storehouse is a sacred facility in which are deposited consecrated commodities provided by those who have, to help those who have not.

“Through a bishop’s order, those in need can obtain food, clothing, and other items to provide temporary relief for their basic needs.”

Mormon Church makes surprising donation to LGBT group

Photo: Utah Pride Center Facebook page

Founded in 1992 as the Utah Stonewall Center, the organisation offers health & wellness programs, such as free HIV testing and a directory of LGBT+ affirmative counsellors.

Every week, the Utah Pride Center serves meals to around 40 under-privileged young adults in the local LGBT community.

 

The donation is surprising, as the Mormon Church remains a strong opponent of LGBT rights, just two months ago attacking the “counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established.”

In contrast, the Church stated in its grant letter: “We are grateful to be able to serve your efforts in this worthy project and appreciate the work that you and others are doing related to this initiative.”

The LGBT community has had a rocky relationship with the organization, as the Church supported California’s Proposition 8 against same-sex marriage in 2008.

The official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still features pieces in opposition of the SCOTUS ruling, such as, “Church Leaders Counsel Members after Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision.”

The letter continues into a more positive attitude, however, stating: “The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.

“We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully.

“Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”

Mormon Church makes surprising donation to LGBT group

Photo: Utah Pride Center Facebook page

Recently, however, the Utah law preventing discrimination towards the LGBT community in employment and housing was backed by the Mormon Church in exchange for ‘religious freedom’ exemptions.

LGBT-friendly Mormon organisations, like Mormons for Equality and Mormons Building Bridges, have sprung up in recent years- some members overjoyed at the legalisation of same-sex marriage throughout the country.

More: Church, Gay, lds, lesbian, LGBT, mormon, mormons building bridges, Mormons for Equality, prop 8, Salt Lake City, SCOTUS, US, Utah, utah pride

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