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.

Registration

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.

Conference Location

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.

Savannah Stevenson

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.

Fatimah S. Salleh

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.

 

Emron Grover

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

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.

Francisco Ruiz

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.

Dano Jones

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.

Ramdas Ormond 800x800

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.

Derek Knox

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.

Cristina Moraes

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

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.

Journeys of Faith Global 1719x900

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.

Freedom Festival Quilt

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.

Schedule

Session Subjects:

Church Active or Believing Faith Transitions Health and Wellness Research

Session Types:

Traditional Panel Interactive

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

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
Affirmation Leadership Meetings

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Lunch

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
Affirmation Board Meeting
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Mezzanine
Aaron McManus
Vendor Tables (2:00 pm to 8:00 pm)

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Mezzanine
Suzanne Raynes
Registration (4:00 pm tp 8:00 pm)

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355 / Foyer
Melinda Hannah
Art Exhibit (5:00 pm to 10:30 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 / Foyer
Reade Gloeckner
Silent Auction (5:00 pm to 10:30 pm)

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Dinner (5:30 pm to 7:00 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 C
Ron Raynes
Choir Practice (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257
QPR Certified Members of the Affirmation Board

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Meet and Greet - Social Hour / Art Exhibit
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 F
Shauna Jones
Youth Track: Welcome and introductions, games and team building.

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Dani Jones
Savannah Stevenson
Opening Plenary
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 F
Shauna Jones
Youth Track: Self Esteem Presentation

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

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Mezzanine
Suzanne Raynes
Registration (8:00 am to 9:30 pm)

9:00 am - 10:20 am

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Emron Grover
Cristina Moraes
International Plenary (Broadcast Worldwide)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 F
Shauna Jones
Youth Track: Service project and song practice, consent and mental health, games.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Affinity Group Gatherings (Block 1)

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 A
Ben Schilaty
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 B
Kyle Ashworth
(Open Millennials / Crossroads
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 C
Kyle Jacobsen
(Open) Men
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 D
Jena Peterson
Ron Raynes
(Closed) (MOFIA) Mixed Orientation Families in Affirmation
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
John Gustav-Wrathall
(Closed) Prepare
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257 A
TBD
(Closed) Trans and GNC
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257 B
Charlie Greenlee
(Closed) Non-Binary
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
259
Chelsea Gibbs
(Closed) Women
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260 A
Carson Tueller
(Open) Journeys
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 F
Savannah Stevenson, Accompanied by John Taylor Sargeant
Youth Track: Talk / Performance (11:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355 E&F
QPR Certified Members of Affirmation's Board

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Affinity Group Gatherings (Block 2)

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 A
Ben Schilaty
Church Leaders
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 B
Jennifer Saunders
(Closed) LGBT Women and Mothers of Affirmation
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 C
Kyle Ashworth
(Open) Allies, Friends, and Families
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 D
Mike Klein
(Closed) Fathers in Affirmation
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
John Gustav-Wrathall
(Closed) Prepare
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257 A
Cristina Moraes
(Open) Latinx
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257 B
Melissa Malcolm King
(Closed) People of Color (POC)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
259
Sue Raynes
Sarah Nicholson
(Closed) Straight Spouses
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260 A
Grayson Alexander Moore
(Open) Asexual/Aromantic Spectrum
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260 B
JD Goates
(Open) Bi, Pan, Queer+
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355 E&F
QPR Certified Members of Affirmation's Board

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch

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.

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 A
Church Leaders
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 B
LGBT women and Mothers of Affirmation
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 C
Pioneers
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 D
Fathers in Affirmation
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 E
Prepare
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255 F
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257 A
Latinx
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
258
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
259
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260 A
Asexual and Aromantic Spectrum
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260 B
Bi, Pan, Queer+
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255A
Kendall Wilcox
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255B
Marybeth Raynes
Jodie Palmer
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255C
Jerry Chong
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255D
Jana Spangler
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255E
Julie Packer
Chrysteil Hunter
Parents and Allies Track: "Happiness at the End of the Rainbow" Panel Discussion
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
259
Randall Thacker
Alexsandro Assancheyds
Alfredo Fuenzalida Fuentes
Kris Trevino Irvin
Victor Risco Vegas
Juan Carlos Ventura
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260A
A. Todd Jones
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355E&F
QPR Certified Members of Affirmation's Board
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255D
Jana Spangler

3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255A
Kyle Ashworth
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255B
William McKell
Not Your Priesthood Sex Talk: GBTQ Men's Sexual Health (Adults 18+)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255C
Natasha Helfer Parker
Mary Fisher
Q&A on Women's Sexual Health: Everything you ever wanted to know about sexuality as a queer woman, but were afraid to ask
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255E
Sara Hughes-Zabawa
Parents and Allies Track: Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders & Stuff Our Kids Face
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257A
Jennifer Cardinal
Parents and Allies Track: Protecting LGBTQ Youth Online
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
257B
Blake Johnson
LGBTQ Sex Ed for Parents
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
259
Randall Thacker
Joseilton Cavalcanti Ferreira
Liza Holdaway
Luiz Correa
David Mansilla
Nigel Bull
Jario Fernando González Díaz
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355E/F
Emmett Michael Claren
Marylu Colton
Lauralie Wales
John Gustav-Wrathall
Laurie Lee Hall
Blaire Ostler
Jena Lowry Peterson
Laura Root
Josh Searle
Josh Weed

Moderated by Nathan Kitchen and Kendall Wilcox
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
260A
Tyler Lefevor*
Ron Schow

5:15 pm - 7:30 pm

Dinner

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355E&F
Ron Raynes
Choir Rehearsal (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm)

7:30 pm - 9:15 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Carson Tueller
Francisco Ruiz
An Evening of Affirmation

9:15 pm - 11:30 pm

Dances

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Upper Mezzanine
DJ: James Davis
Adult Dance
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255F
Shauna Jones
Youth Dance

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

8:00 am - 9:00 am

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
Mezzanine
Aaron McManus
Vendor Tables (8:00 am to 1:00 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355 / Foyer
Melinda Hannah
Art Exhibit (8:00 am to 1:00 pm)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
255E
Ron Raynes
Choir Practice (8:00 am to 8:30 am)

9:00 am - 10:25 am

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Laurie Lee Hall
Neca Allgood
Derek Knox
Abram Berry
Fatimah S. Salleh
Affirmation Choir
International Devotional (Broadcast Worldwide)
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355A
Ramdas Ormond

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Laurie Lee Hall
Conference Attendees
Testimony Meeting/Spiritual Story Telling
Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355A
Ramdas Ormond

12:00 pm - 12:15 pm

Location
Presenter(s)
Title
Subject
Type
355
Laurie Lee Hall
Carson Tueller
Closing Ceremony

1:00 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

Millennials

Pioneers:  55+

Queer Moms

GBT+ Fathers

Mixed Orientation Families

Straight Spouses

People of Color

Women

Men

Ace/Aro

Bi/Pan/Queer

Trans

Accommodations

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.

Meals

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.