Statement of Purpose
The goal of Circling the Wagons conferences is to create spaces where LGBTQ or SSA Mormons and their families and friends can gather to acknowledge, explore and honor shared experiences. No issues strike more deeply than whom we love and how we understand our beliefs about ourselves and god. These issues carry an especially profound weight in Mormon communities and have been the source of a great deal of misunderstanding, judgment and hurt. Consequently, gay Mormons are deeply divided over how to address same-sex attraction and negotiate the choices they face.
In convening this conference, we are inviting LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families and friends to step beyond historic divisions to establish a shared space where all who have ever self-identified as Mormon can speak truthfully and respectfully. “Circling the Wagons” conferences are hosted as an expression of our longstanding commitment to LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and in the spirit of our Shared Values:
- We acknowledge the richness of Mormon heritage, teachings, and community in all of its diversity as well as the pain some experience within Mormon faith communities.
- We believe that one can self–identify as Mormon based on one’s genealogy, upbringing, beliefs, relationships, and other life experiences, regardless of one’s adherence or non–adherence to the teachings or doctrines of any religious organization.
- We seek spaces where we can live lives of intellectual and spiritual integrity, individual conscience, and personal dignity.
- We acknowledge and honor different spiritual paths and modes of religious or non–religious truth–seeking. We respect the convictions of those who subscribe to ideas and beliefs that differ from our own.
- We recognize the confusion, distress, emotional trauma, and social ostracism that LGBTQ Mormons, Mormon feminists, Mormon intellectuals and Mormons on faith journeys often experience. We seek constructive ways of helping and supporting people, regardless of their ultimate decisions regarding sexuality, self-expression, church affiliation or activity.
- We affirm the inherent and equal worth of all human beings. We seek spaces where Mormons (and all people) can interact as equals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
We welcome all who wish to participate in a spirit of fellowship and openness, with condemnation for none and compassion for all, in the hopes that all will experience personal renewal and discover a basis for common ground in our shared heritage.