Affirmation Annual International Conference 2018
Salt Lake City, Utah | July 20 - 22
What You Can Expect at the Affirmation Conference
This conference is like no other event in the world. You will join with hundreds of LGBTQ+ Mormons from around the world who bring and share various perspectives of what it means for them to be LGBTQ+ and Mormon. No matter your sexual orientation or gender identity; interest or activity level in the LDS Church; if you are a LGBTQ+ Mormon, a family member, a friend, or a church leader this is the conference for you.
Early Bird Registration: Until June 1st, 2018, early bird registration is available for $70 for individuals, $130 for couples, and $190 for families with three or more attending.
General Registration: After June 1st, 2018, registration will be $90 per person.
Scholarships: If you need assistance with the registration fee, you may request a scholarship. Scholarships are not being offered for travel and lodging. Click here to request a scholarship.
After seeking input from the larger Affirmation community, the Affirmation Board decided to move this year's conference to the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. We anticipate that holding the conference in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City will make it much more accessible to non-Utah residents who need to fly into Utah in order to attend the conference, as well as northern Utah and Idaho residents who plan to drive. Click here for additional transportation information, including light rail and rail options.
Speakers & Presenters
We'll be announcing speakers periodically leading up to this year's international conference. Please check back soon for additional announcements.
British Actress Savannah Stevenson
Savannah Stevenson is a British television and theatre actress. She is best known for starring as Glinda in the London production of Wicked, playing the role for almost 3 years and at 1,000 performances. Savannah also portrays Mary, Mother of Jesus in the LDS Bible Videos.
She was a guest speaker at the Europe Affirmation conference in London in 2017 and is delighted to be joining the International conference in Salt Lake City this year. More about this speaker.
Rev. Dr. Fatimah S. Salleh
Rev. Dr. Fatimah S. Salleh is the founder of A Certain Work, an organization dedicated to educating on issues of faith, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse University in Public Communication and a second Master’s in Divinity from Duke University. She served a mission in Campinas, Brazil. More about this speaker.
Pixar Animator Emron Grover
Returned missionary. BYU graduate. Dancer. Acclaimed digital animator. Father. Husband. Gay. Emron Grover has a wealth of experience that he will be sharing at the 2018 Affirmation International Conference. He’s a Pixar animator who has worked on films like “Up,” “Brave,” “Inside Out,” and “Coco.” More about this speaker.
Affirmation President Carson Tueller
Elected in 2017, Carson Tueller is currently serving as Affirmation President. He is a part-time university student and self-employed private music instructor. Carson served for several years on the Utah Flute Association board of directors. He has extensive training in leadership development.
Affirmation Senior Vice President Francisco Ruiz
Francisco Ruiz accepts himself as both Mormon and gay. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Affirmation Mexico. While serving as an Affirmation leader in Mexico, the country saw remarkable growth, organizing in eight areas and training regional leaders who continually work together.
Children's Artist and Author Dani Jones
Dani Jones is a children’s book artist and writer. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from BYU-Idaho, and has worked with clients like HarperCollins, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and the LDS Church’s Friend Magazine. She is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Monsters Vs. Kittens, Dinosaurs Vs. Puppies, and Once Upon a Time There Was a Pig. She is currently active in her LDS ward in New Hampshire and enjoys being part of the Affirmation community.
LDS Yogi Ramdas Ormond
Ramdas Ormond great up in the church and teachers Gospel Doctrine every few weeks. For the last 16 years, he's devoted his life to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga. He believes yoga saved his life, as his devotion to it ended 30 years of depression and suicide attempts. Ramdas also credits yoga to saving his family, as it was a positive influence when his younger child came out. Ramdas and his wife have been married for 25 years, have four children and one grandchild.
Theologian Derek Knox
Derek Knox is an educator, theologian, poet, and scholar of the scriptures. He is also gay and an active member of the LDS Church. His research interests involve grounding LGBTQIA+ theology and activism in the scriptures. He joined the LDS Church in 2015 after starting a masters degree in biblical studies at Andover Newton Theological School.
Affirmation Brazil President Cristina Moraes
Cristina Moraes is President of Affirmation Brazil and member of the Affirmation board of directors. Cristina has been married for 12 years to Viviane Moraes. She is a postgraduate in quality engineering and a returned missionary from the LDS Church. She acknowledges the Saviour’s atonement in her life and has self-acceptance as a lesbian. Cristina believes in the work of Affirmation as a "ransom of lives." She totally dedicated to the principles of this work of love.
Performances and Exhibits
You'll love the special performances exhibits we have planned for this year's conference. Check out who will be performing below.
Jeffrey Scott Parsons: "Comfy"
Jeffrey Scott Parsons has made a name for himself as a true triple threat. His autobiographical show, Comfy, has played in both Los Angeles and San Diego to glowing reviews. He has appeared in numerous productions and tours across the country of both Forever Plaid and Plaid Tidings. Parsons is a member of Musical Theatre Guild where he oversees the educational outreach that brings hundreds of students to the theatre free of charge every year. More Info.
Melinda Hannah: “Journeys of Faith: Portraits of LGBTQ Mormons”
Melinda is a portrait artist in Seattle, Washington seeking to reveal the innate beauty and dignity within each of us through art. Growing up Mormon, she was very familiar with the Church’s position on LGBTQ people. Through this art exhibit, Melinda seeks to open the hearts of those inside our religion who view others as “different,” and hopes to offer a pathway that helps all us love one another unconditionally—the same way she knows God loves each of us. More Info.
Provo Freedom Festival Quilt
This quilt was carried by members of PFLAG Provo in the Provo Freedom Festival Parade this year. This was the first time LGBTQ+ groups were approved to march in the parade. Each block was made by a family with one or more LGBTQ+ members. The quilt will be on display during the conference.
Thursday, July 19th, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pre-Conference Social and Potluck (Liberty Park, Salt Lake City)
Friday, July 20th, 2018
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
9:15 pm - 10:15 pm
Special Performance (Room 355)
Jeffrey Scott Parsons will be performing his one-man show “Comfy,” a show filled with humor, music, and lots of tap dancing. Raving about Parsons’ recent LA debut performance of Comfy, Don Grigware at BroadwayWorld.com said, “Parsons is so sincere and so sweet and lovable that his time onstage is totally mesmerizing. Don’t miss him wherever he appears!”
Saturday, July 21st, 2018
8:00 am - 9:00 am
9:00 am - 10:20 am
10:30 am - 11:30 am
Affinity Group Gatherings (Block 1)
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Affinity Group Gatherings (Block 2)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
While lunch is not provided at the conference, various affinity groups will be meeting prior to leaving the convention center to enjoy lunch nearby. If you would like to have lunch with one of these groups, please meet outside the door of the rooms indicated below.
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Alfredo Fuenzalida Fuentes
Kris Trevino Irvin
Victor Risco Vegas
Juan Carlos Ventura
3:45 pm - 5:00 pm
Joseilton Cavalcanti Ferreira
Jario Fernando González Díaz
Laurie Lee Hall
Jena Lowry Peterson
Moderated by Nathan Kitchen and Kendall Wilcox
5:15 pm - 7:30 pm
7:30 pm - 9:15 pm
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm
Sunday, July 22nd, 2018
8:00 am - 9:00 am
9:00 am - 10:25 am
Fatimah S. Salleh
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
12:00 pm - 12:15 pm
Closing Social (Liberty Park, Salt Lake City)
What are Affinity Groups?
Affirmation Affinity Groups provide an opportunity to associate with, seek support from, and offer support to others with similar backgrounds or circumstances as yourself. This year's conference provides several opportunities to meet with affinity groups that you feel would benefit yourself, and others, the most. Here are the affinity groups that will be meeting during the conference.
Prepare: Active and/or believing Latter-day Saints
Journeys: Faith transitioning/Post-Mormon
Mixed Orientation Families
People of Color
There are several options in hotels near the convention center that you may choose to stay at during this year's conference. These hotels include the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, the Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites Salt Lake City, the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel, and the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square. For a listing of additional hotels nearby, please click here. For additional information about nearby hotels, click here.
Unlike in previous years, no meals will be provided during this year's conference. There are many dining options nearby the conference center that you may take advantage of between conference sessions. Several affinity groups may be meeting together for meals and we'll post that information once available. There will also be a potluck social on Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned for those details.