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This post is also available in: SpanishAffirmation is a support organization, engaged in strengthening relationships between LGBT individuals, their families and friends.
We believe that LGBT individuals are great blessings to their families, communities and society at large. There are a number of different groups and resources you can turn to for support, including I’ll Walk With You Parents Group, LDS Family Fellowship, The Family Acceptance Project, and Mormons Building Bridges.
Randall ThackerRandall Thacker grew up in Taylorsville, Utah, the youngest of three children. Not long after returning from a Spanish-Speaking mission to North Carolina, he reached out for help to his BYU bishop who referred him to counseling. Randall’s journey of self-acceptance was a long one though, which included a moment of great despair shortly after moving to Washington, DC in 2002. Besides his work with Affirmation, Randall is passionate about improving education in Mexico and loves his work as a management consultant and leadership coach, helping individuals and organizations reach their potential. John Gustav-WrathallJohn Gustav-Wrathall is an adjunct professor of American Religious History at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
John became an activist for greater understanding of LGBT people at the University of Minnesota in the late 1980s, and was instrumental in the establishment of one of the first university-based LGBT programs offices in the U.S.
John has served as the Minnesota contact for Affirmation since the fall of 2005, and was part of the conference planning committee for the 2012 Affirmation conference in Seattle. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his husband of over twenty years, to whom he was legally married in Riverside, California in July 2008, and with whom he has foster parented three sons. Tina RichersonTina Richerson grew up off the grid (without electricity or running water) in a part-member LDS home in the Columbia Gorge of Washington State she the second of six children. In addition to her LDS upbringing, Tina’s life has been enriched by experiences in other religious traditions.
Eventually, Tina read the writings of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who affirms that one cannot simply convert to Buddhism and leave one’s religious roots behind—that there must be a union of Buddhist practice and what one was raised to believe. In a talk given to her Relief Society she shared “I have learned that God’s will is not what I thought. Karin HendricksKarin Hendricks grew up in Logan, UT in a loving and devout LDS family, and currently lives in Indiana with her spouse Tawnya. Karin knew from an early age that she was “different,” and in her teens she began to privately meet with church leaders to find a way to change her sexual orientation. At age 39, Karin began a spiritual discernment process to help her reconcile her sexual orientation with her spirituality.
Karin and Tawnya celebrate the diversity of divine expression in all people, religions, cultures, and individual life paths. Tawnya SmithTawnya Smith serves Affirmation as the moderator of the Teleconference Series on Healing. Tawnya currently identifies herself as inter-spiritual, however, she grew up in and was a member of the Church of the Brethren in her youth.
David BakerDavid Baker grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and Amarillo, Texas with dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot probably inspired by the movie Top Gun. David spent the better part of 3 years struggling to accept his sexuality as a part of his life instead of continually repressing it.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Utah, David moved out to Washington DC where he finally embraced the love of the Savior, accepted himself fully and found a ward that embraced him as an openly gay Mormon. Far from becoming the Air Force pilot that he dreamed of as a child, David started working on political campaigns in Utah and ultimately in Washington DC. After serving a mission and graduating from BYU, Todd moved to New York City to teach at a middle school. Alasdair EkpenyongAlasdair Ekpenyong is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. He believes that everyone can stand to benefit in some way from such practices as prayer, study, conversation, and introspection--everyone can stand to benefit from reflecting on past and present truths and discovering new truths. Though well-versed in Mormon history and theology, Alasdair also studies many other forms of theism and nontheism as a participant in the interfaith academic community. Alasdair's writing has appeared in such forums as the BYU Student Review and the interfaith blog State of Formation.
Trevor CookTrevor grew up in Mesa, Arizona, served a mission in Calgary, Canada, and graduated from BYU in International Relations and Linguistics. Although he enjoys the Middle Kingdom, Trevor misses hanging out with his five younger siblings and their growing families.
Sometimes Trevor wishes he could ditch his faith because it would make his life a lot easier. Fred BowersFrederick “Fred” Bowers has been a part of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons for over 20 years. 2012 was an eventful and busy year for our family as we became involved with Mormons for Marriage Equality, marched in the Seattle Pride Parade, and attended the Affirmation Conference in Seattle. Suzi FeiSuzi Fei lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a wife, a mother of one young daughter, and an active and devout Latter-day Saint.
Suzi has a deep love for LGBTQ Mormons and serves in several capacities that aim to increase love and acceptance within the church. While Duane works professionally out of Los Angeles, he lives in the lovely town of Salem, Utah with his wife Rachel and their three sons. He enjoys listening to and making music in his spare time, tortures himself at a gym, practices some martial arts (if he feels very inspired, say, after watching an old Kung Fu movie) and hangs out with family and friends. Peter believes that being a Gay Mormon is a fascinating and amazing journey and that it should be a joyous one. Peter contributes to networking and communications, seeing service to Affirmation as a religious obligation for himself, as a gay Mormon… and as a way to make amazing friends all over the world and have some fun being both gay and Mormon.
Mark SchneiderMark Schneider grew up in western Pennsylvania as a 2nd generation Mormon, the third of four siblings. Upon returning from his mission, Mark envisioned a typical LDS life for himself, one with a wife, kids, and a church calling. While Mark does not count out the possibility of a wife, being one part gay and one part straight, he is committed to the cause of the LGBT community out of principle and out of love. Sam NobleSam Noble grew up in Muncie, Indiana, served a mission in Taiwan, studied business strategy at BYU, and has recently worked in Minneapolis for two years. Although aware from a very young age of his attraction to other boys, Sam repressed his sexuality until after his mission. He was introduced to Affirmation after meeting John Gustav-Wrathall while living in Minneapolis and is grateful and excited at the increased understanding happening in both LDS and LGBT communities. Prince WinbushPrince Winbush III, 19, was born in Plano, Texas and grew up in suburban Chicago.
Prince came out to himself in late 2008 and struggled to tell his family for 4 years, but finally made the announcement in December of 2012. Prince is still considering the next step--whether to continue with school or go on his mission.
Melanie CarbineMelanie Carbine moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan from Salt Lake City when she was 10. This understanding changed when she studied English Literature and Asian American Studies at the University of Michigan, studying also with performance artist Holly Hughes. Working with so many young people and living in a developing country led her to a change in her career path. Since joining the leadership of Affirmation in 2009 Robert has served as the Young Adults Program Director, Outreach and Advocacy Director, Membership Director and in 2012 as Vice President. Peter HowlandI currently work as a data entry specialist for a non-profit organization in Salem, Oregon, while residing in McMinnville, Oregon. I have no desire to completely sever my ties with the LDS church, and I fully support the members of Affirmation in whatever relationship they choose to have with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rapha FernandesRapha Fernandes, 22, lives in Guaruja, on the coastline of Brazil near Sao Paulo. Trying to reconcile his orientation with the gospel was an overwhelming challenge for Rapha, who tried to commit suicide twice. Carol Lynn PearsonCarol Lynn Pearson’s first contribution to the LDS gay community came in 1986 with the publication of her book Goodbye, I Love You, which tells the story of her marriage to Gerald Pearson, a homosexual man, their divorce, ongoing friendship, and her caring for him as he died of AIDS. Since then Carol Lynn has spoken to and encouraged thousands of LDS gays and lesbians and their families, as well as educating church leaders about the damage being done through inaccurate and unloving teachings about this important subject.
Also in 2006 she published No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones, a book that has healed many families and saved lives.
Carol Lynn served as a resource to her stake presidency in the ground-breaking work they did in the Oakland Stake in 2009. Judy FinchA convert to the church, Judy Finch is retired from a long career in elementary education. Jorge ValenciaJorge Valencia has served since 2007 as the Executive Director of Point Foundation. Before coming to Point Foundation, from 2001 - 2006 Jorge was the President and Executive Director of The Trevor Project. As an openly gay man who grew up in a Mormon Latino family in Texas, Jorge has a keen personal awareness of many of the issues of rejection and marginalization faced by many LGBTQ youth, including Point Scholars. Jorge’s diversity of life experience includes extensive travel abroad and within the United States.
Yvette ZobelYvette Zobel is originally an Idaho girl who spent her growing up years in Idaho Falls, Idaho .
Yvette enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, working out, and dabbling in music composition. Patron, customer care, care for employees, life insurance and marketing segmentation concepts.
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Family life insurance, family services, protecting family, family policy and supporting families concepts. All plans come as a Standard license, and can be upgraded to an Enhanced license at any time. Christmas Eve arrived, and as we were getting dressed up to go to midnight mass, my parents said we had one stop before mass. As the school year draws to a close, many families are probably busy planning their family vacations, summer jobs, summer camps and so on. Looking back, it was especially helpful to share in charitable acts with my parents and family. If your family prefers to be outdoors, volunteer to pick up trash in your local parks, plant flowers at someone’s home or mow someone’s lawn. Families of CharacterFamilies of Character is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Denver, Colorado.


We strive to become more understanding and appreciative of each other and seek to put behind us attitudes that are anti-family, threaten loving relationships or drive family members apart. The counseling focused on changing Randall’s orientation because he longed to create an ideal Mormon family with many children. Thanks to compassionate friends and family and a new understanding that he could separate God from emotionally harmful doctrine, Randall moved on. He enjoys rowing, bicycling, running, skiing, reading, and spending time with family and friends. He is the author of Take the Young Stranger by the Hand: Same-Sex Dynamics and the Young Men's Christian Association (University of Chicago Press, 1998). He pioneered the establishment of an inter-faith LGBT ministry at the University of Minnesota. In college she accompanied a girlfriend to a Pentecostal church, where she was received with open arms and felt God’s unconditional grace. She is a member of the internationally acclaimed Tiptons Saxophone Quartet and Drums, founded in 1988. Karin has delighted in being a “mother” and “grandmother” to thousands of children and youth through her work as a music teacher and university professor.
For the next 22 years she suppressed her same-sex attraction and endured a journey that mixed extreme church activity and leadership (including as President of every auxiliary organization) with various health problems, physical pain, and depression.
It was in coming to recognize the powerful spirit in diverse places and people that she gained enough courage to be genuinely herself. Karin is grateful to Affirmation for providing her and others a safe and unconditionally loving space to be fully themselves. Tawnya became affiliated with Affirmation through her partner Karin Hendricks, the Spiritual Director of Affirmation. In her early twenties, at the time she came out to herself, she stopped attending church and began to study other religious traditions. It was watching that beach volleyball scene that he should have realized his sexuality, but instead he went on to keep his attractions repressed until his freshman year at BYU when, after conferring with his bishop it was determined it was best if he didn’t continue his education at BYU.
The repression took the form of Evergreen-supported counseling to try to change his orientation, deep depression, and a suicide attempt. He has since served in that ward in several callings, most notably the chair of the cultural events committee. He now serves as a digital strategist to political campaigns and interest groups and enjoys every gut-wrenching moment of it because of the joy it brings. He busied himself with as much church service and work as possible, so as not to have to worry about his sexuality. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, attending church, running, golfing, and vacationing. He is the first to admit that he does not have all the answers, and it is this sense of awareness that leads him to so value the work of creating safe spaces for spiritual growth and exploration and. He enjoys using the methods of postmodern critical theory to better understand the place of himself and others within contemporary society and culture. He used the time he saved not going on dates or having much of a social life to learn Chinese and continues to be fascinated by things China. He is grateful for a loving family and mostly happy childhood during which he was able to gain a testimony of a Heavenly Father and his love that has served him through later darker days and continues to sustain him.
However, he can’t abandon his personal relationship with God, and--whatever life brings--he can’t see himself not praying.
Air Force Financial Management Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, Fred is currently employed as a management and technology consultant for a leading international consulting firm and is involved with its LGBT business resource group. We were married in 1997 and graduated together in 1998, Mike with a BA in Geography and Lismarie with a BFA in Design and Photography.
We continue to support the cause of full acceptance and equality for all of our LGBT brothers and sisters. She's on the steering committee for Mormons Building Bridges and the ally committee for Affirmation. His films have been released theatrically throughout the world and have played at major festivals such as Sundance and South by Southwest. An active member of his local LDS ward he has served as a Mission Leader, an Elders Quorum President, and as a Counselor in a Branch Presidency (in Brooklyn, NY).
Since then he’s been a waiter, a guest house assistant, a bankteller, an assistant real estate assessor, an auctioneer and a medical practice manager – among other things.
It is true that there are many personal histories that include their share of hurts, scrapes, bumps and bruises – but it is also true that LGBT Mormons are loved by their Heavenly Father.
When it comes to living up to the measure of your creation, there’s no time like right now. An idealist at heart, Mark took his faith seriously and sought to please all the right people by doing all the right things, sometimes at the expense of being true to himself. From his Mormon eyes, he sees the full inclusion of LGBT Saints in the Church as a critical step in its long walk to Zion.
Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.
He then spent several years rediscovering God’s love and how his feelings for men align with that. He has an ever-increasing testimony of the restored gospel and is currently active in the Muncie Indiana young-single-adult congregation.
He’s currently in his first year at Harold Washington College in Chicago, Illinois, studying Business Administration and Economics. He found the group thanks to the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, where Affirmation Chicago marched. Fortunate to have grown up in a self-selected Mormon community of liberals and intellectuals, she has always been able to appreciate her religion for its spiritual benefits and community. It was among discussions with her straight and gay friends in college that she realized she was like both.
On my second night in an effort to try to sleep indoors out of the cold put me in a situation that ended with me being raped." A few days later he was able to find a shelter for homeless youth. Since the passage of Proposition 8 in California he has traveled the country fighting for Full Federal Equality for the LGBTQ community. I have attended Affirmation conferences since 2009, which is shortly after I became honest with myself and acknowledged that I am gay. I am currently inactive in the LDS Church, but still (as far as I know) on the Church membership rolls. That was enough for me to live from that day forward, accepting who I am, happy to be a member of the Church and not to be confused in any way. The book is credited by many as opening the conversation in many homes about the subject of AIDS and about homosexuality in general. In 2006, twenty years after the publication of Goodbye, I Love You, she introduced a stage play, Facing East, which tells the story of a Mormon couple dealing with the suicide of their gay son. Her most recent work is a small gift book, The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon, which she describes as a traveling companion to give LDS gay people a better vision of the calling they have been given.
For nearly twenty years Judy has had a private psychotherapy practice, currently from her home office in the Oakland hills.
The organization empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential ­ despite the obstacles often put before them ­ to make a significant impact on society. The Trevor Project is a nationwide non-profit organization established to promote acceptance of gay and questioning teenagers and to aid in suicide prevention by operating the nation’s first round-the-clock toll-free suicide prevention helpline aimed at LGBTQ youth.
He is fluent English, Spanish and Portuguese and is a talented and accomplished public speaker. She journeyed next door to the state of Utah to attend Utah State University and has a degree in music with an emphasis in piano. She serves on the board of LDS Family Fellowship, a support group for friends and family of LGBT’s. Protecting gesture of businessman or personnel and glass cubes with icons representing group of people. Everyone who signs up gets full access to our entire library, including our curated collections. Our Standard license allows you to use images for anything, except large print runs over 500,000+ or for merchandising.
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It was Christmas time and my parents had told my brothers and sisters and myself that this Christmas we were going to do something a little different on Christmas Eve. My parents pulled out numerous bags of groceries and beautifully wrapped presents and I remember thinking, why are they getting presents and I am not?
They explained how this family could not afford to eat, that a lot of their money was going toward their sick son’s medical expenses.
This event changed the way I viewed those who had less than we did; it changed the gratitude I had as a child for the things I had been given and most importantly it taught me to always put others’ needs before my own. There is always a need out there for someone to be loved more, for someone to be fed, for someone to be listened to, the needs are endless. Charity is like a ripple, it starts out small but, because of its powerful ability to change hearts, it continues to grow and reach people across the world.
But, maybe take a step back and think about what activities you can do as a family to help those in need. Regardless of faith, Catholic Charities works with millions of people every year in every walk of life to help those across the world that are in great need. He grew up focusing prayers, fasts, and birthday candle wishes on removing this attraction. Luckily, one of the group therapists introduced Randall to the possibility of self-acceptance. After almost ten years of studying and visiting other faiths and at times none at all, Randall returned to regular attendance at his local LDS ward in 2011, embraced by ward leaders who are welcoming and affirming.
He has also published articles in Sunstone and Dialogue on being gay and Mormon, and is the author of the Young Stranger blog. For three years he was actively involved in Lutherans Concerned (now Reconciling Works), as a member of the Twin Cities Board, coordinating their “Reconciled in Christ” project for the state of Minnesota, helping to build a movement of LGBT-friendly Lutheran congregations. He was actively involved as a volunteer, trainer, and faith community leader in the campaign that successfully defeated Minnesota Amendment 1, which would have constitutionally banned same-sex marriage in his home state.
At age 13, while praying, Tina received a spiritual confirmation that, just like her uncle Michael, she too was gay. Later she found a new spiritual path as she explored Zen Buddhism and began practicing daily sessions of meditation.
She and Tawnya also work locally, nationally, and internationally as researchers and advocates for music education, women, LGBTQ individuals, and youth.
She then came out to her parents and siblings, who amazed her with their unconditional love and genuine desire to understand. She is happy to serve among this community of unique individuals as they help one another cultivate a deeper inner peace.
Tawnya is an arts educator with training in expressive arts therapy, and is currently conducting interdisciplinary research concerning spirituality and states of conscious awareness in arts learning environments.
During her late twenties and early thirties, she continued this intellectual study of the world’s religions and attended the Unitarian Universalist Church.


David rose out of his despair after a personal revelation in the temple in which he was told of the Savior’s love for him and the plan that he had for David to search for a husband.
He loves his ward and the friends, allies, and fellow LGBT members that he has met and helped to come out while in that ward.
His favorite political experience is when he got to read the The Book of Mormon in the White House’s private library. Growing up, Todd realized he was attracted to the same sex but was convinced that when he found “the right girl,” the “problem” would go away. Having no intention of ever coming out of the closet, focusing on other aspects of life seemed like the best use of his mental energy. He spent a year between Nanjing and Hong Kong after graduation and now is living a dream working at the US consulate in scenic Shenyang, Liaoning. He is very proud of his parents who are reaching out to love and encourage a new and growing LGBT family at home in Arizona.
Similarly, while he has mixed feelings about the Church and his enthusiasm for the institution waxes and wanes, he believes in Zion and imagines he will always strive--in one way or another--to bring it about. He also is involved with Out and Equal Workplace Advocates as part of their People of Color Advisory Committee. We currently live in Bremerton, WA (a ferry ride away from Seattle) and stay busy raising two girls and two boys. Films he has produced include White on Rice, Surrogate Valentine, Last Kind Words, Congratulations, Daylight Savings, Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, and others. His involvement in Affirmation and other LGBT causes stems from being raised by progressive LDS parents in Palo Alto, California and from his close association with gay teachers, mentors, and friends throughout his life. He realized he was different at age four… and at age fourteen, in a conservative, Afrikaans high school, came out. For the past ten years he stopped pretending to want a real job and he now writes professionally, in the communications and strategy fields. Pete strongly advocates having some fun with your life and living each day as joyfully as possible. At nineteen, he went on an LDS mission to Florida where he learned valuable lessons from the Haitian community there: levity in the face of hardship, faith in God’s ability to communicate with His children according to individual need, and how to eat enormous amounts of rice in one sitting. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Sam has found that to ring true in his life as he’s successfully sought out opportunities to travel the globe since his mission, including working at the Beijing and London Olympics. During that time, he found love and support from Fred and Marilyn Matis and friends he met through their firesides. Since then, his family and friends have learned a lot about what it means to be gay and are now quite accepting.
He's glad for many of his experiences in the church but sincerely hopes for change in the organization and looks forward to when the LGBTQ community is fully accepted.
Ironically, even though the first two people she saw kiss in public were women, she didn't realize her bisexuality was notable or different.
Melanie didn't want to give up her religion but didn't think she should have to choose, so she hoped for change among Mormons and went on a mission in the Marshall Islands. Teaching Middle School Math and English in both the Marshall Islands and now the DC area, she happened to be in the right place to find Affirmation. He took what little money and clothing he had and bought a Greyhound bus ticket to Portland, Oregon.
Robert is an activist at heart and has stood up for marriage equality, women's rights, trans rights, worker's rights, LGBT people of faith, homelessness and suicide prevention. My path has led back to the Episcopal Church, which was the church my parents attended while I was growing up.
However, I did host missionaries in my home for three years, which was an interesting experience. The play won the “Best Drama” award for the year from the Deseret News (tied with Hamlet at the Shakespeare Festival) and went on to a limited off-Broadway run, a run in San Francisco, and subsequent productions by many community theaters and universities. Judy and her husband Richard have blended their family of six children in three states, soon-to-be 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. He brings to this job a wealth of experience in managing and growing nonprofit organizations, a proven ability to design and manage the infrastructure of expanding organizations and extensive experience with, and sensitivity to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth issues.
Jorge’s leadership contributed to Trevor’s growth as a nationally recognized youth service organization.
While at BYU, Jorge served as Vice President in charge of social activities for ASBYU (Associated Students of Brigham Young University). Jorge has a passion for helping LGBTQ youth and an ability to communicate that interest and passion effectively to both the LGBTQ community and the general public.
McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, was the recipient of four awards and is in its sixth printing. After great adventures living in Washington, Oregon, and California, she and her family now reside in Utah. If at any time you're unsatisfied with your experience with us, you can cancel your subscription. Since, they couldn’t even afford food that meant they couldn’t afford presents for their children for Christmas. Isn’t amazing to think that one small act of kindness, compassion, generosity, or love has the power to change the world.
There are so many opportunities for you to make a difference in the world around you and more importantly be an example to your children of the power of charity. When we began performing acts of charity for our community as a family we started to take those acts into our home and began living selflessly for one another.
At the end of the day go through what each person has done and explain how this act was charitable and the difference it makes in each of your lives. Though excommunicated from the LDS Church, John has a testimony, and has been active in his south Minneapolis ward since 2005. Over the years he has spoken in churches and community forums, on university campuses and in religious assemblies and conferences (including at the Sunstone Symposium and at Affirmation conferences) about the issues affecting LGBT people in communities of faith.
He organized Minnesota Mormons United for All Families, and the “Mormon Allies” contingent of the Twin Cities Gay Pride parade in 2012. In her final trip to the temple, she had a powerful experience in which she came to understand that she should serve in a global capacity alongside her (then) best friend Tawnya. Later she began to attend a Mennonite Church (a similar denomination to the Church of the Brethren) where she began to integrate and reconcile her spiritual self with her religious roots.
In the little spare time he has you can find David reading a biography, fencing, playing video games, volunteering, or still following the Savior’s personal call and searching for a husband.
Attending the Kirtland Affirmation conference in 2011 was a pivotal moment in Todd’s life; he is grateful for the opportunity to serve in the organization. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from John Brown University, and a dual master's degree in Public Administration and Management from Webster University. Over the years, she has served in many callings in the church including Relief Society presidencies and Oregon State University Latter-day Saint Student Association president.
Her husband, Yiyang, is on their stake’s high council and works with their stake president to train leaders and members in how to be more loving to gay members. He is also CEO of the start-up company Brainwave Accounting Systems which is developing accounting software for independent media projects.
Recently several of his film projects have been gay-themed including the forth coming drama Facing East based on the play by Carol Lynn Pearson and the documentary An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story.
After reading the Book of Mormon, pondering about its relevance to him as an out gay South African man and praying (for the first time in years), he had to come out again… but this time as a Mormon. He learned what it meant to not fully belong in the Church and what it meant to not fully belong in the world either. She assumed all people's sexuality was as fluid as hers and would regularly conform to social expectations.
It's definitely a wonder to her to see the possibility of active LGBT Mormons accepted by their church communities. Currently, I serve my local parish as a memberof the vestry (the governing board of the parish). He performed for two years with Lamanite Generation, a performing arts group that travelled to China with late Apostle Neal A. As a result she has become friends with and worked with many great and noble people who have touched her life profoundly. Naturally, we resorted to thoughts of doing something fun like ice skating or going to get hot chocolate. We all got quiet as we slowly started to realize the situation this family was in and why we were there. As I look back, I am so thankful that my parents did this with us because it makes me want to teach my children about the power of charity from an early age. But we can do small things with great love.” It is important that we teach our children that charity starts right where you are.
Karin and Tawnya were married in Massachusetts a year later, and have since enjoyed a loving, spirit-centered companionship that is modeled after the marriage ideals that were taught in both of their churches of origin.
Since that time, she has continued to open to new understandings and deeper perceptions of spiritual truths in any form. It prompted him, for the first time in his life, to truly seek divine guidance with an open heart and mind. He received an MFA in painting from State University of New York at Buffalo and taught as an adjunct art professor at Brigham Young University for nine years. And he learned that, in spite of what people say, sometimes even the “right” people, God cares less about who we love and more about how well. He’s found love and truth to guide him in countless religious and secular settings, both in and out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He serves on national advisory boards of six colleges and universities: Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery College, Wesley Theological Seminary, University of Utah, Dixie State College and Utah Valley University.
Charity can be in the smile you give someone passing by, it can be helping someone carry their groceries to their car; it can be helping your children with their homework. She especially appreciates Ken Wilber’s idea of the Three Faces of the Divine (first, second, and third person experiences of the Divine) as she finds that this honors and integrates all spiritual experience.
Self-acceptance came as he felt the undeniable peace of God’s acceptance-an acceptance he quickly realized had always been there. Jorge served an LDS mission to Brazil and taught at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for two years upon returning home. Tawnya became familiar with the LDS church during the time of her courtship with Karin as she attended sacrament meeting and sang in the ward choir.
Some of my brothers and sisters knew what was going on, but, being younger, I was still putting the pieces together. Currently, Tawnya and Karin are exploring inter-spiritual understandings with the guidance of a spiritual director.
Over a period of fifteen years at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University, he and his co-workers developed the thesis that RSV disease could be prevented by administering antiviral antibodies to high-risk infants. Synagis™ is the first monoclonal antibody ever licensed for use against any infectious agent.



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