Conference brings dissenters together, seeks common ground on LGBT issues

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SALT LAKE CITY – A conference was held in Salt Lake City that featured mental health professionals and community leaders whose work influences the lives of LGBT and same-sex attracted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The charitable organization Circling the Wagons brought together people with a variety of views, and the goal of the conference was to get those who disagree to find some common ground.

Participants included David Matheson, who is a clinical mental counselor who works with men who have same-sex attraction but want to diminish those feelings, and Lee Beckstead, who is a former Mormon and a psychologist who was a member of the American Psychological Association task force that made an official recommendation that therapeutic responses to LGBT individuals be LGBT affirming.

According to a press release from Circling the Wagons, “This is the first time an LGBT-affirming therapist and a therapist who helps men diminish homosexuality have worked together to establish a Coalition or have spoken peacefully side-by-side at a conference in Utah.”

Anne Peffer is the President of Circling the Wagons, and she said their goal is to help people.

“Of course the political things are going to continue on, but we have people in crisis who need help right now,” Peffer said. “And if we keep fighting, and we don’t come together to do something about this, the most vulnerable people among us will continue to be hurt.”

The conference, which ended Saturday evening, was held at the Wasatch Presbyterian Church and the McGillis School in Salt Lake City.

For more information about Circling the Wagons, visit their website.

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