I've long believed that what I do can help change the world. More specifically––the stories we tell can change the world. I'm entering my second year in the Documentary Film MFA program at Stanford which means starting work on my thesis film. My topic: gay Mormons. And I believe my thesis film will have an impact on people both inside and outside the Mormon Church.
I've seen friends, family and acquaintances who are gay struggle with two opposing identities––being gay and being Mormon. For LGBT Mormons, living the ideal life of marriage and family, as described by the Church, is impossible. But deciding to leave the Church isn't straightforward either. When I first experienced LGBT friends struggling with Church policies, Mormon culture and doctrine, I realized something needed to change. We need to exude compassion rather than create conflict. We need to offer understanding, not judgment. While I'm not gay myself, I empathize with those who have same-sex attraction and live in the Mormon environment because while navigating personal and theological questions I've seen my friends and family met with bigotry. Being gay and being Mormon isn't easy. It's more complicated than choosing love or the Church. And I want to change that.
My thesis film project is about exploring what it is like being gay and being Mormon. My intention with the project is simple––to create compassion and conversation. Currently, I'm in a the pre-production phase doing lots of research. I'm talking with everyone I can who has experience with (or knows someone) being gay and being Mormon. I need your help. For this project to be successful, I need to talk to the right people about their stories. If you're gay or know someone who is and is Mormon/ex-Mormon/transitioning/etc, I want to talk with them. The conversations I've had so far have been mind-blowing and deeply moving. This topic is highly relevant right now and has a lot of potential to make a big impact. If you're gay and Mormon/ex-Mormon/etc, please consider reaching out. Your story has the power to help so many people who have experienced or are experiencing the same. This isn't just a project for gay Mormons, it is just as much a project to educate straight Mormons who don't realize they have a gay friend. Even if you don't want to be in the film, I'd love to hear your story.
If this is all new to you, read this article. It will change you.
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