Monday, June 2, 2014

NorthStar/Evergreen Conference In Provo Last Weekend

by Brig Bagley

2 June 2014

Ty Mansfield, co-author of In Quiet Desperation,  is now president of NorthStar, a group that attempts to help Mormons that exhibit sexual feelings for those of their same gender, or are inclined to change gender. It focuses on those who wish to stay in line with LDS teachings and standards while coming to terms with their feelings. May 29-31 was their conference. The program included several workshops, featured 2 BYU Professors as speakers, and cost $120 per participant. 

NorthStar recently absorbed Evergreen, a group that existed to promote sexual attraction changes in those who experienced sexual feelings for those of the same gender. The LDS church previously instructed leaders to promote Evergreen as a resource when members confided with their leaders about their attractions. Now NorthStar has assumed the role of teaching sexual preference changes, mixed-orientation marriages, and celibacy. 

Although Ty is currently living in a mixed-orientation marriage (with children) and claims that he is happy and that the arrangement works, he still counsels in non-disclosed cabin locations to participate in "man-promoting" exercises, including "appropriate man-touching". Despite Ty's and NorthStar's attempts to do good in merging gay feelings and LDS belief, there is still incredible damage when promoting hope that the two can co-exist. 

Several members of NorthStar, including myself, had to leave the group because of the overwhelmingly conflicting conversations. The turnover rate of members is incredibly high, making the group almost always a collection of brand new people. Nearly all participants use the group as a step to coming out, only realizing that the morals of the group itself do not fit what they need. Anyone who wishes to live a life combining same-sex attractions and LDS lifestyle is condemning themselves to endless conflict. Although you can take parts of both to build a life, both cannot co-exist without great sacrifice on one side or both. 

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