Steve: Affirmation is a para-church organization. It provides a church-oriented fellowship for LGBTQ people who are not often welcomed in the standard ward and most of them are LDS folks in Affirmation. But, they’re providing a ministry that is, dare I say it? Tangential to the LDS Church. So, I consider that an expression.
GT: Would it be like the Genesis Group?
Steve: Genesis Group would have been a very similar kind of a group. Genesis had the full support of the church where Affirmation does not. So, there’s a little difference there. Maybe that’s a big difference, actually. Certainly, with the LDS Church’s policy of a couple of years ago about LGBTQ people, and their children being able to be baptized [that] would take them even one step further the other direction, away from seeing Affirmation [as a good thing]
GT: Whereas the Genesis [Group] was [fully supported by the church], right?
Steve: Yeah, they were. Right.
GT: Just for people who may not know what Genesis Group is, I know we do. But can you describe Genesis Group?
Steve: I probably don’t know very much about it. It was before blacks were allowed to be ordained and it was a ministry group for black LDS Church members, their families and friends. They could be members of the church and it was a support. It was supported by the church, mostly here in the Salt Lake area, I think. Darius Gray, who is well-known in Mormon thought circles, was one of the key people, as I remember.
GT: Yeah, he was one of the original counselors and he went on to become President later. He’s a great guy.
Steve: So that was an important ministry in the era of civil rights upset in the United States. Ultimately then in 1978, when full ordination was finally permitted for all.