What Will Ex-NFL QB Steve Young Say About Gays to Fellow Mormons?

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Ex-NFL quarterback Steve Young is set to speak tonight about the relationship between Mormons and the LGBT community at the 32nd annual Affirmation International Conference in Salt Lake City. 

From the AP:

Steve Young and his wife are scheduled to speak Saturday night. Young is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and played football at Brigham Young University.

The Youngs said in a statement they are happy to be a part of the conference and “lend their voices to the healing work of making our families, our society and our church more welcoming places for our LGBT brothers and sisters.”

Having Young, a role model for both Mormons and young athletes, speak at the conference is yet another sign of a growing movement among straight Mormons to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brethren, [Affirmation president Randall] Hacker said.

Young has previously come out in favor of gay rights. In 2008 Towleroad linked to news that Young had posted a "No on Prop 8" sign in his front yard and that Barbara Young, his wife, had donated $50,000 to the anti-Prop 8 campaign. She said at the time, "We believe all families matter, and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Prop. 8."


UPDATE on Young and his wife Barb's speech:

"More and more people are opening their hearts every day," Barb Young said Saturday in the concluding speech at the 2013 International Affirmation Conference for LGBT Mormons, their families and allies. "You are teaching them about [gays] and Jesus and that his love is infinite."

Young used metaphors involving his football career:

"Throwing without knowing is pure faith," the football giant said. "Faith is the fuel for all human experience. … We are all too short at something."

His goal, Young said, "is to build bridges with my gay brothers and sisters. We need to see each other as Jesus sees us."

Barb Young, whose older brother is gay, actively opposed California’s Prop 8 in 2008, even though leaders in the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enlisted members to work for its passage.

At this conference, she urged Affirmation participants to be "patient like Jesus" and to love LDS Church members as they move toward understanding of their LGBT family members.


  1. daws says

    That’s awesome. I’m glad that he’s alive and healthy. I remember being afraid for him when he was still playing after all the concussions. Me and my family are from the Bay Area so we’re big 9’ers fans.

    Also, I may have masturbated to him.

    More than once.

  2. TonyJazz says

    The evolution of the Mormon Church on this subject has been fairly fast (and expected). This is a church that does have a history of malleability, and Prop 8 taught them that singling out a group of people for unfair treatment may not be very Christian thing to do.

    Good for Steve Young for recognizing discrimination much earlier than most of his peers.

    (No, I’m not a Mormon booster. In fact, I’m an ex-Catholic…)

  3. says

    Steve is a direct descendant of Brigham Young (whose eponymous university Steve attended and played spectacularly for). He has considerable credibility among the Saints (as LDS church members call themselves). This could be a good sign. The real problem is the dinosaurs who sit on the First Presidency and other councils, typically born before WWII.

  4. john patrick says

    I would suspect the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be supportive of LGBT people much faster than the Roman Catholic Church. They have a history of turning on a dime. The RC Church has a history of being slow to change on any issue, especially a moral issue. And when they change positions, they speak as though they never really changed and they held the same positions all along.

  5. Francis #1 says

    The Mormon church hasn’t really evolved more than toned down. They still signed onto the legal brief to uphold Prop 8 and DOMA, and they still do not believe homosexuality is right and the policies haven’t changed. And over 70% of Utah citizens are against marriage equality.

    With that said, the move towards more of a hate the sin, love the sinner position is an upgrade over their former outright hate against our community.

    Steve Young is a good guy and he and his wife have long been for equality. Good for them, they definitely serve as welcome role models for young LGBT Mormons and can hopeful influence adult Mormons to have greater understanding of LGBT issues.

  6. MK ULTRA says

    I’m suspicious of anything Mormon. They are trying to look more gay friendly now, purely for PR reasons, while changing nothing behind the scenes.
    They still tell gay youth that they have to be celibate and ever forget about a romantic relationship unless it is with someone of the opposite sex.

  7. Geoff says

    Great. Although I’m a dyed-in-the-wool atheist (near 60)…it’s wonderful that there are so many straight allies. My knee-jerk response is distrust, but let’s see.

  8. says

    His wife donated $50,000 to the anti-prop8 campaign? Wow. That’s cool. It’s great when allies speak up for equality, but quite a bit greater when they back it up by supporting the cause.

  9. Steve says

    The Mormons are as anti-gay as ever. They just quit the open hostility because Prop8 was a huge PR disaster for them.

  10. Kevin says

    I don’t trust them either. The only reason they’ve stayed away from anti-gay marriage bans is the backlash they got after Prop 8.

  11. Rob says

    While I suppose it could be true that they have a gay kid, I think that, for the organization as a whole, the Mormons just know where their bread is buttered. They did change on women’s suffrage, civil rights, and allowing black parishioners, but only when it hit them financially.

  12. Chad says

    I was at the Affirmation conference last night and it was a very moving evening for those of us who have two seemingly incompatible parts, Mormonism on one hand and homosexuality on the other. Steve was as engaging as ever, talking about his experience as a six foot and 3/4 inch tall quarterback in a league dominated by giants and how he had to learn how to throw blindly to his receivers. He then compared this to the experience we have of not being able to see over the mountains we are climbing. The real star though was Barb Young who has a gay brother and is very passionate about activism. This is how change is happening in the LDS church, hearts are being softened and changed as people’s children, family and friends come out and they have first hand experiences with what homosexuality really is.

  13. Rick says

    Thanks, Steve. Great guy who I would expect nothing less from.

    A great example of how the male culture is undergoing a sea-change in this country.

  14. dards says

    All this change seems to have come after the Catholic Church hung the Mormons out to dry over Prob 8 in Ca.

  15. jamal49 says

    Should anyone care what a member of a church that is probably the most theologically and mythologically absurd of all the christian sects says? I don’t. Neither should anyone else. Kick all of them to the curb. They mean LGBTQ people ill will and no ex-NFL quarterback apologist is going to change that harsh fact.

  16. alex says

    @jamal49: Should anyone care? Dismissing the Mormon Church as unimportant because you don’t believe in their teaching is remarkably ill-conceived. They have the finances and influence to shape public policy. Ignoring that is foolish.

    But more importantly, children don’t get to pick their religion. If Steve Young and other Mormons can make gay and lesbian kids feel less ostracized, we should be supportive, regardless of our opinion of their theology.

  17. MK ULTRA says

    The Mormon position seems to be firmly attached to “being gay isn’t a sin. Acting on it is”. That’s certainly what Steve Young has implied under the clever euphemism of “building bridges”
    So if you’re gay, as long as your willing to cut your testicles off your body, Mormons will accept you.