‘Allies Are Everywhere’
You can share the bridge building message by participating in Pride parades across the country and around the world. If you would like to march with the Mormons Building Bridges banner in a Pride parade (in a location other than Salt Lake City), please complete this easy MBB Pride Parade application.
When your application is approved, an MBB Pride mentor will contact you to walk you through the MBB Pride Parade checklist for leading an MBB group in a parade. The mentors will help answer all your questions or concerns you might have along the process.
If you have any concerns about whether or not members of the church can march in Pride parades and remain in good standing, you can refer to Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s remarks in a 2015 interview. Elder Christofferson was asked about Latter-day Saints who march in pride parades or participate in gay-friendly communities such as Mormons Building Bridges and if they can do so without the threat of losing their church membership or temple privileges.
“We have individual members in the church with a variety of different opinions, beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues,” Christofferson said. ” … In our view, it doesn’t really become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders — if that’s a deliberate and persistent effort and trying to get others to follow them, trying to draw others away, trying to pull people, if you will, out of the church or away from its teachings and doctrines.”
Mormons building bridges march in pride parades because of their belief in the most basic doctrines and admonitions of Christ, to “love one another.” Therefore marching in a pride parade does not constitute “trying to draw others away […] from [the church’s] teachings and doctrines.”
GUIDELINES FOR MARCHING WITH THE MBB BANNER
Mormons Building Bridges provide a way for faithful Latter-day Saints to work within a church framework as we show love and support for LGBTQI/SSA people. To this end, disciplined messaging and dress standards are very effective.
WHAT TO WEAR
Dress in Sunday best: dresses or skirts for women, shirts and ties for men. This has become a Mormons Building Bridges’ trademark. The Mormons Building Bridges community has become widely recognized in media around the world for the easily notable contrast between the common casual Pride attire and the “Sunday dress” of the MBB community. It also gives us a certain authenticity: what do Mormons do when they are taking something seriously? They put on their church clothes! Pride Parades are often joyful light-hearted celebrations–which we support, but we also want to show that the message of God’s unconditional love is important to us–and our attire really helps get this across because it shows that we are willing to put on (sometimes uncomfortable) Sunday dress and stand out in a crowd.
That being said, if you are bringing a loved one with you who has experienced exclusion from the church, and for whom the “Mormon uniform” may feel in some way inauthentic, we want that person to know that he or she is welcome in whatever he/she feels true to him/herself in (except clothing with political statements on them, those are not allowed).
Wear comfortable shoes. Water and sunscreen are also a must.
MBB seeks to provide a way for faithful Latter-day Saints to work within a church framework as they show love and support for LGBTQI/SSA people. To this end, we have found disciplined messaging to be very effective. All of your signs should be quotations from scriptures, LDS church hymns, or General Authorities. You can really make a powerful statement this way. Post pictures of your signs on the Facebook group wall to inspire others! Please DO NOT have any signs (or clothing) with political messages. If you are passionate about a particular political cause, consider marching with another group. We honor each individual’s decision to march with a group that seems right for him or her. Click HERE for a list of Approved Signage.
Since first marching in the 2012 Utah Pride Parade, MBB has been overwhelmed by the loving reception we’ve received from crowds across the country. Nonetheless, there’s always the possibility of a negative confrontation with angry individuals. If this happens–don’t get drawn into contention, just say a silent loving prayer for that person, smile, and focus on the folks who are happy to see you.
The purpose of marching as MBB in a Pride parade is to reach out to our LGBTQI/SSA brothers and sisters to express love and to acknowledge our inherent shared human dignity. Marching in the parade is a simple, yet deeply human gesture that conveys these ideas.
We encourage participants to be friendly, available, and genuine. All we ask is that you convey love and recognize that as a child of God, anyone you meet in the parade has infinite worth in His eyes.
Because the LDS Church has a mixed history with LGBT issues, there may be instances where individuals want to engage in discussion. If you are willing to engage, please do so by only listening and restating what you understand they have shared with you. If you do not feel comfortable engaging, you could consider a simple redirection: “I understand you feelings. Today is about love, giving you a hug and letting you know that you are my brother/sister.”
-consider having a prayer and singing a hymn while waiting in the staging area before the parade
-listen to and validate others feelings and reactions
-acknowledge each individual that approaches you
-enjoy each interaction
-greet individuals with a warm smile
-be sensitive and understanding
-argue about church doctrine or policy
-give the impression you speak for the Church
-get into politics
-rehash sore subjects
-worry if your numbers are few
-hand out candy, water, or other foods
If you are asked for an interview, you can never go wrong when you share your story. Why are you marching? Who did you bring with you? How did you come to this place where you want to publicly show support LGBTQI/SSA people? How are you working to make your ward safe and welcoming to LGBTQI/SSA people? Another important message to get out there: our church leaders have reminded us the being gay is not a choice, and being gay is not a sin.
There may be some, including the media, that will assume this is a Church sponsored activity. It’s imperative to clarify that we do not represent the Church, we are not affiliated with theChurch, and we do not speak for the Church. We are individuals, who are Mormon, who believe it’s important to express our love toward our LGBTQI/SSA brothers and sisters.