It seems everyone has an opinion on Mormons these days, but not all Mormons are Mittsy Romney and not all Mormons are Donny Osmond and not all Mormons liked the idea that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [LDS] funded hate in California a few years back.
No, not all Mormons are like that. Some understand that equality is a civil right and everyone deserves it.
In fact, some Mormons--three hundred, to be exact-- believe that so strongly that they actually took part in Salt Lake City's Gay Pride Parade this year, to show their support for the LGBT community, and to show us that not all Mormons are what many people perceive them to be.
The group, Mormons Building Bridges, said they marched in the parade to send a message of love to the state’s LGBT community, a message they believe is compatible with their faith.
Emily Vandyke's 'evolution had been a long time struggle for her: "I haven’t recognized them as equals. They have been invisible to me."
But she changed all that as she marched in the parade, carrying a sign with the words from an LDS children’s song: "I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you. That’s how I’ll show my love for you."
And in the midst of the parade, she embraced a tall woman weeping at the edge of the crowd who said, "Thank you."
Pride Parade Grand Marshal Dustin Lance Black tweeted: "In tears. Over 300 straight, active Mormons showed up to march with me at the Utah Pride parade in support of LGBT people."
Mormons Building Bridges followed behind Black in the parade. The men wore suits and ties, little girls wore white dresses, providing a sharp contrast to the pounding music and dancers behind them, but the crowd clapped and shouted their approval for those folks in their Sunday best.
Erika Munson, a mother of five, started the group only a few weeks ago to show her support for the LGBT community and to encourage members of her religion to do the same in a public way.
Holly Nelson, a lesbian who lives in Murray, had tears in their eyes as the Mormons walked past: "I think it’s amazing. It’s been so hard to be in Utah knowing the Mormon Church is against the gay community."
Seeing the Mormons Building Bridges group, which had three times as many participants as anticipated, made her feel as though she isn’t judged by every single Mormon, and the church, in Utah.
Still, some marchers in the parade still feel the sting of being gay and Mormon. Carolyn Ball, a 48-year-old lesbian from West Jordan, was excommunicated in 2000: "I lost everything I loved because I came out."
This must have been a great day for here, to feel that kind of acceptance coming from some members of LDS.
The marching Mormons included fathers carrying children on their shoulders and mothers pushing strollers, some of whom said they wanted to expose their families to this experience. Nevin Munson, a thirteen-year-old boy, carried a sign as he walked that said "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
"I’m very saddened by the amount of hate in the world," Nelson said. "I don’t believe in that — they’re humans."
Another man, walking with the group, remembered the rash of suicides in Mapleton, Utah, as he was growing up: "There have been too many LDS deaths," said Adam Ford. "No doctrine is more important than God’s children."
Erika Munson, the Building Bridges founder, reveled in the success of the event, and hopes this isn't a one-time march, and is just the beginning of a grass roots movement.
"We want to inspire other Mormons at the local level to do things for their LGBT brothers and sisters," she said."What can you do in your area?"
See, while some in the church fund hate, while some in the church want to remove those who are openly gay from their ranks, many in LDS have evolved. Many understand that, no matter what god you believe in, or don’t believe in, all people deserve equality.