by Joel McDonald
In June, leaders and members from around the world met virtually to set the direction of Affirmation for the years ahead. Those participating brought with them their deep experience serving in Affirmation and their diversity of nationality, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, faith, age, and relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Beyond their own experiences, all participating were inspired by the results of our recent strategic planning survey, where over three hundred individuals in our community provided feedback on Affirmation’s efforts and suggestions on how we can improve. Without a doubt, the work of this group was guided by and reflected the larger Affirmation community. All who lent their voice to this process were heard.
As part of this work, the group recommended an update to Affirmation’s mission statement and the inclusion for the first time, a vision statement in our charter. From July 8th to July 22nd, members of Affirmation had the opportunity to review these recommendations and vote on whether to make the changes to Affirmation’s Charter & Bylaws. Over 98% voted to approve.
Former Mission Statement
Affirmation exists to work for the understanding, acceptance, and self-determination of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions as full, equal, and worthy persons within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and society, and to help them realize and affirm self-worth.
New Mission Statement
Affirmation creates worldwide communities of safety, love, and hope and promotes understanding, acceptance, and self-determination of individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. We affirm the inherent self-worth of LGBTQIA+ individuals as complete, equal, and valuable persons and support them as they define their individual spirituality and intersection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rationale for Changes
81% of those who participated in the strategic planning survey conducted earlier this year responded that Affirmation’s mission, vision, position, and objectives were relevant. The new mission statement isn’t radically different, but it does emphasize the type of communities we create that better serve our members, exchanges the concept of “worthy” for the truth of the inherent value of each person, and refocuses our support on behalf of the unique spiritual journey of each individual.
While a mission statement defines who we serve and what we’re trying to do, a vision statement paints a picture of what we want to accomplish or who we want to be as an organization if we are successful in carrying out our mission.
New Vision Statement
To be a refuge to land, heal, share, and be authentic.
Rational for Addition
No vision statement has existed before, this statement calls out what Affirmation will be. A refuge is a critical place of safety. To land means to come and find rest. To heal means we will be trauma aware and sit together where we are. To share means we will learn from each other’s stories, and will give back as we are able. To live authentic lives according to our self-determined truths.
Affirmation as a Member-driven Organization
While Affirmation has a Board of Directors, President, and Executive Committee who work to carry out our mission, members of Affirmation are the ultimate governing authority of the organization. Members of Affirmation must approve by majority vote all changes to Affirmation’s Charter and Bylaws. Members also elect the President of Affirmation every two years. In addition, members of Affirmation have the opportunity to serve in various leadership roles.
Your membership not only ensures that you help direct our work of Affirmation and have the ability to serve as a leader, but your membership also helps strengthen Affirmation as a voice for the LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint community and creates a stronger financial foundation for Affirmation continue our lifechanging and lifesaving work create communities of safety, love, and hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual/aromatic current and former Latter-day Saints and their family and friends around the world.
If you’re not yet a member of Affirmation, please consider joining today to support this critical work. Standard membership is $35 per year. Sustaining membership is $120 per year. You can join at either level on our join page. You can also become a sustaining member while making a $25 monthly donation to Affirmation and receive a “Love is the Greatest of All” t-shirt as a thank you for your generous support.