Speakers

  • Brad Carmack

    Biology graduate Brad Carmack presented “Why Mormonism Can Abide Gay Marriage” at the Sunstone Symposium in Ogden, Utah on 6 August 2011. He recently graduated with his MPA and JD from BYU, and earlier this year published Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective (available for free to watch or read at bradcarmack.blogspot.com). Brad is an active member of the LDS church and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • David Baker

    David Baker attended BYU and received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Utah. He currently works for Google and will begin working as one of Google's political strategists beginning in late September.

    David has been publicly out and active in his wards for the past two years and he has been profiled by a handful of LGBT publications. He has been a major contributor to the LGBT/LDS (MoHo) blogging network. Last year David was nominated for the Mortenson Award and this year is participating in two sessions: Acceptance within Families, and Sexual Ethics and the Law of Chastity.

  • F. Joseph Finnigan

    F. Joseph Finnigan, MA, holds a master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Saint Martin's University in Olympia, WA. He also holds bachelor's degrees in Business Adminstration, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. After spending five years as a vowed Benedictine Monk, he left the sanctuary of the abbey to be a Christian servant and openly gay man. He currently works as a mental health professional in Portland, Oregon. He also volunteers with the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, and with the Portland Queer Resource Center.

    Joseph will be speaking about the experience of being both religious and gay, why our churches hate and need us, and why we hate and need our church.

  • Sam Wolfe

    Sam Wolfe helped launch the Southern Poverty Law Center's LGBT Rights Project and continues as a leading team member of the project. Previously, Sam was a litigation associate at a leading international law firm in New York City where his pro bono practice focused on representing LGBT clients. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center where he was an editor of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. During law school, he worked as a senior paralegal specialist at the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Department of Justice. Sam obtained his undergraduate degree at BYU and served a mission in the Belgium Brussels Mission.

  • Jerry Argetsinger, Ph.D.

    Gerald Argetsinger, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor, Department of Cultural and Creative Studies, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Received his B.A. in Theater at BYU, then continued for his M.A. and Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University, OH.

  • Alma "Al" Smith

    Alma "Al" Smith was born and graduated from high school in Monticello, Utah. He went on a mission to Argentina and got married in the Manti temple. After coming out, he helped start the Lesbian/Gay Student Union at Salt Lake Community College. He has lived in San Diego, CA for the last 23 years where he has led workshops for a local club. He recently reached life's milestone of retirement.

    Al will be facilitating a workshop called "Transitions" where participants will be invited to share transitioning moments of their life along the path of the gay mormon experience.

  • Rev. Jill McCrory

    Jill, an ordained Baptist minister and presently the Intentional Interim Pastor of Open Door Metropolitan Community Church in Boyds, MD, has worked to include LGBT individuals in the churches in which she has ministered and has sought to make a safe, welcoming space for those who have been rejected by other churches or religious denominations. She has marched for the full inclusion of LGBT individuals in both civil and religious life, forming a large Baptist contingent in the D.C. Pride Parade over the last seven years. She is a proponent of marriage equality for LGBT people and testified before the D.C. Council in support of the marriage bill, which is now law. She is also working toward marriage equality in Maryland,has officiated at several same sex marriages in D.C., and was honored this June as a 2011 Capital Pride Hero.

  • David Yost

    David Yost grew up as a member of the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) Church. His grandma always said, “The Saints are good people.” And it’s true, they are. There was always a passion and excitement about being within the church community especially while attending the numerous youth oriented activities like summer and winter camps or weekend retreats.

  • John Hamer

    John Hamer, a gay man whose roots in the Restoration go back seven generations, will be featured as a presenter at the Affirmation conference to be held September 16-18 in Cleveland and Kirtland. An independent researcher, historian, and mapmaker, John is the president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and the editor of John Whitmer Books.

  • John Behn

    John Behn was born in May of 1947 to Howard Willard Behn and Gertrude Maryann Wright in Brockton, Massachusetts, where he was raised, being the youngest of three children. John graduated from Brockton High School in June of 1965. John’s interests during his high school years resided squarely in the musical arena participating in the school band, orchestra and male chorus. John’s music has been a constant companion throughout his years.

  • Joanna Brooks

    Award-winning American religion scholar Joanna Brooks will be one of the speakers at the devotional to be held on September 18 at the Kirtland temple as part of “Visions and Blessings,” the 2011 conference of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. Her topic is “Visions of an Inclusive LDS Faith.”

  • John Donald Gustav-Wrathall

    A fifth generation Mormon, John Donald Gustav-Wrathall will talk about “the blessings of keeping the spirit in our lives.” After serving a mission in France and Switzerland, John returned to BYU, where he had D. Michael Quinn as a teacher and mentor. Aware of his own homosexuality and frustrated with BYU’s climate of hostility toward honest inquiry, John became severely depressed and suicidal.

  • William D. Russell

    William D. Russell is well known to Affirmation members for his conference presentations and his writings in favor of LGBT acceptance, will talk on “the legacy and blessing of the community and Temple created by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland in the lives of all types of Latter-day Saints.”

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