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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 25, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 4
New dating website seeks to connect LGBT Mormons
Section One
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New dating website seeks to connect LGBT Mormons

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

If you are single, Gay, Mormon, and looking for love, then Origins might be the answer to your prayers.

Origins' creator, Andrew Markle, says the forthcoming website seeks to give Gay Mormons an online social network to meet others like them for 'marriage or long-term commitment.'

According to Markle, the website will act both as a tool for dating and as a resource for LGBT Mormons looking for acceptance within a church that's still evolving on its stance on homosexuality.

Markle stated that Origins will also 'connect Gay Mormons with allies and help them reconcile their [religious] beliefs with their lifestyle.'

COMMUNITY BUILDING
Also, Markle believes that Origins is about building a Gay Mormon community and estimates that there are around 22,000 practicing Gay Mormons.

Expected to launch in the second quarter of 2013, Origins is supported by Affirmation, an advocacy group for LGBT Mormons made up of both actively practicing members of the Mormon faith and non-members.

Affirmation seeks to provide a safe space in the Mormon Church 'where LGBT individuals, as well as those questioning their orientation, can associate with like individuals, ask questions, and know that they are not alone.'

Affirmation believes that same-gender relationships are 'compatible' with the teachings of the church and hopes to make the church more inclusive for LGBT practitioners. Markle hopes the Origins website will be a crucial component of this effort.

Neither Origins nor Affirmations is officially sanctioned by the Mormon Church, which does not recognize LGBT organizations as official church entities.

SHIFTING DISCOURSE
Origins comes on the heels of the church's announcement that it will minister to LGBT individuals.

In December, the church launched 'Mormons and Gays,' a website devoted to 'discussion on same-sex attraction.' According to the website, the church's changing stance on Gay members does not mean that the church accepts 'homosexual behavior' as acceptable but recognizes that homosexuality is not a choice.

Like Origins, Mormons and Gays acts as a conduit for conversation and acceptance of LGBT individuals, so that church members can 'respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere.'

Markle realizes that the mission of Origins, which helps LGBT singles connect for the purposes of a relationship, diverges with the church's new stance on homosexuality.

For Markle, Origins will act as a further step in the right direction for Gay Mormons - moving from preliminary dialogue to a place of action. Frustrated with the church's decision to call same-gender relationships 'attractions,' Markle stated that the church 'still has a long way to go in regard to full inclusion' and repairing the damage done by decades of forcing LGBT members into the closet.

In order to act as a force for good in the lives of its Mormon members, he says, the church will have to continue evolving and making amends to the Gay faithful.

DISFELLOWSHIPPED
Markle is a practicing Mormon and weekly churchgoer. By creating Origins, Markle understood his position will be controversial for many in the church and that he may face excommunication for his involvement in Origins.

Advocating same-sex relationships are grounds for expulsion from the church. In fact, Markle already has been disfellowshipped (a form of church probation) for getting involved in such a relationship. Despite disapproval from the leadership, Markle says his local congregation was welcoming of his orientation and treated his new relationship just like any other.

Markle hopes that one day he will be able to say the same about the church authorities.

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