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Ex-NFL, BYU quarterback Steve Young to speak at Affirmation conference

Published: Friday, Sept. 13 2013 5:15 p.m. MDT

Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN announcer Steve Young throws a football before an NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the New York Jets on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Young will be one of the keynote speakers at a three-day conference, beginning Friday Sept. 13, 2013, in Salt Lake City exploring how the Mormon faith is dealing with gays and lesbians.

Wade Payne, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former NFL and BYU great Steve Young will be one of the keynote speakers at the three-day Affirmation International Conference.

The 32nd annual event got underway Friday and runs through Sunday at the Officers Club and Douglas Ballroom at Fort Douglas, 110 S. Fort Douglas Blvd.

The conference revolves around a theme of spiritual healing and reconciliation for those who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or same-sex attracted.

Affirmation President Randall Thacker said he sees the conference as "an opportunity to bring everybody into a refuge and experience some healing and joy.”

Young and his wife, Barb, will speak Saturday night during an "Evening of Affirmation."

Thacker said the couple will speak on the healing work sufficient for "making our families, church and society more welcoming places for our LGBT brothers and sisters."

Thacker says having Young speak at the conference is a sign of a growing effort among Mormons to support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.

Benji Schwimmer, winner of the second season of "So You Think You Can Dance," will perform Friday and Saturday night.

About 300 people are expected to attend the gathering, Thacker said.

The LDS Church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.

"Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters," the LDS Church website states.

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