The Friday after Thanksgiving is typically a big day for Mormons in Phoenix. The Mormon Temple flips the switch on hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights on Black Friday, kicking off one of the Mormon Church’s biggest outreach events of the year.
This year the lighting ceremony was contrasted by a group of approximately 100 LGBTQ activists, many of them former Mormons, who wanted to use the lighting ceremony as an opportunity to raise awareness about the high suicide rate amongst LGBTQ Mormons. Participants held candles and distributed contact information for Affirmation, a support group for LGBTQ Mormons, and The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for queer youth.
Bobby Parker, one of the event organizers, explains that “We said, ‘Merry Christmas!’ and handed people a card. If they asked what it was, we said, ‘We’re giving the gift of life this Christmas. There are suicide prevention numbers on both sides and information for gay and lesbian Mormons.” [Read more...]