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‘Concerned’ Mormon sent anonymous complaint to neighbours about Pride flags. They probably weren’t expecting this response

Nick Duffy October 19, 2020
Anonymous letters were sent to residents in the Autumn Drive neighbourhood in Sandy, Utah

Anonymous letters were sent to residents in the Autumn Drive neighbourhood in Sandy, Utah (Kristy and Willy Donahoo)

A “concerned” Mormon who sent letters to their neighbours complaining about the flying of Pride flags has received a forceful response.

Anonymous letters were sent to residents in the Autumn Drive neighbourhood in Sandy, Utah after rainbow flags were flown from dozens of homes to mark National Coming Out Day on October 11.

The anonymous letter complained that the prevalence of Pride flags is “concerning to many” in the heavily-Mormon area, suggesting that “choosing to fly the colours of the LGBT community” is inconsistent “with the covenants you made with God as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.

The letter accuses those who flew flags of breaching church covenants, continuing: “Can you truthfully say that you do not support or promote a contrary doctrine when you fly the colours of an organization that is clearly inconsistent with these practices? These are the observations of concerned neighbours and fellow members who desire to share our point of view.”

The Mormon resident's anonymous letter complained that the prevalence of Pride flags is "concerning to many of us"
The anonymous letter complained that the prevalence of Pride flags is “concerning to many of us”

The anonymous letter attracted a public response from one resident, Cynthia K Phillips.

In her reply, Phillips deconstructed the “cowardly” letter “full of misinformation and self-righteous pretension concerning the Pride flags recently flown by some neighbour’s in their front yards”.

Phillips tore apart the anonymous letter’s argument by highlighting Mormon teachings that would support the welcoming and acceptance of LGBT+ people.

She wrote: “It is highly inappropriate for anyone but my bishop to make a judgment on my temple worthiness or on my position on the covenant path based on whether or not I choose to demonstrate my civic and moral support for the LGBQA+ community’s right for equal protection of laws and non-discrimination.

“If as a kind and interested neighbour, you wish to invite me to conduct a prayerful search to review my values, my understanding of the teachings, practices, and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the way that I am exercising my moral agency, please do so to my face.”

She continued: “You may be interested to know that my father, the honourable Dale A. Kimball, a federal judge in the District of Utah and a faithful, lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the judge who confirmed the same-sex marriages [are valid in the state].

“His reasons for doing so were consistent with statute, equal protection of the laws, and non-discrimination.

“I have always been proud of the way in which my father has refused to legislate from the bench, has exercised fairness and temperance in his judgments, and has always resisted the temptation to impose his own personal moral beliefs on others.”

Cynthia K Phillips, who is a Mormon, deconstructed the "cowardly" letter
Cynthia K Phillips, who is a Mormon, deconstructed the “cowardly” letter (Mormon Stories podcast)

Rainbow flags were flown as mark of acceptance on National Coming Out Day.

The response has since gone viral on Twitter, after it was shared by Phillips’ son.

Phillips told 2News said she opted to respond publicly to the letter to “set the record straight to my non-member neighbours and my church member neighbours,” adding that the true focus should be on the pro-LGBT+ actions within the tight-nit community to fly rainbow flags and champion queer acceptance.

Rainbow flags are flown in the state on National Coming Out Day as part of Project Rainbow in support of LGBT+ inclusion. According to the Mormon Stories podcast, the campaign spearheaded in Sandy by local couple Kristy and Willy Donahoo, who cited the suicide of a local teen struggling to be accepted.

Kristy Donahoo explained: “Statistically, we knew there had to be at least one LGBTQ teen in our neighbourhood.

“Utah’s our home, and to have a high suicide rate among teens. I know there was a child in my son’s high school that committed suicide, and it’s tough.”

If you are in the UK and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected] If you are in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255

More: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mormon, Utah

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