For Immediate Release
Contact Jeff Bennion
Salt Lake City, UT – January 1, 2014: The Board of Directors of North Star International and Evergreen International announced today that North Star International will absorb certain resources and assets of Evergreen International, and beginning January 1, 2014 those resources will operate under the name and direction of North Star International.
Since its founding more than 20 years ago as a support organization for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Evergreen’s mission has always been similar to North Star’s in its desire to assist those who experience same-sex attraction and who desire to live in harmony with their spiritual and religious values. This move will create the largest single faith-based ministry organization for Latter- day Saints who experience same-sex attraction or gender identity incongruence and will also provide increased access to resources for Church leaders, parents, family and friends.
In announcing the agreement, Jeff Bennion, recently appointed as Chairman of North Star’s Board of Directors commented, “I am very pleased with this strategic move because it means all Latter-day Saints will be able to more easily find resources for those of us who personally experience same-sex attraction, as well as priesthood and auxiliary leaders, parents, family and friends who wish to better provide understanding and support. There are a number of Evergreen resources we are excited about putting to great use as we seek to build a vast arsenal of hope and faith for all our brothers and sisters affected by this issue. Combining our efforts under one umbrella allows us to extend our reach, because Evergreen brings to North Star an established network of nearly 30,000 committed participants and valuable internet resources that will be incorporated into the recently expanded and improved North Star website. The scale and scope of the challenges facing this community can sometimes be overwhelming, which is why I am thrilled that so many of the strong and experienced associates of Evergreen will be standing even more unitedly with us.”
Preston Dahlgren, Chairman of Evergreen International, who will join North Star’s leadership as a member of the board of directors, commented, “Since our founding, both Evergreen and North Star have been complementary organizations, united around and focused on helping those who experience same-sex attraction, supportive friends, family members, and other interested parties live lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We look forward to contributing our whole heart in working together to further this mission in any and every way we can.”
Founded in 1989 as a non-profit education and resource organization by individuals who were experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA/SGA) in their own lives, Evergreen International was founded on the belief that the atonement of Jesus Christ enables every soul the opportunity to turn away from all sins or conditions that obstruct their temporal and eternal happiness and potential. Evergreen attests that individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and can diminish same-sex attraction, and is committed to assisting individuals who wish to do so. Evergreen provides education, guidance, and support and is available as a resource to family, friends, professional counselors, religious leaders, and all others involved in assisting individuals who desire to change.
Founded in 2006, North Star is a peer-led, community-driven organization—a grass-roots effort with a mission to empower men and women who experience same-sex attraction and gender identity issues, as well as their friends, spouses, or other family members, to more authentically and healthily live the gospel of Jesus Christ. North Star is successful because of the efforts of many individuals who contribute their time, talents, and hearts to various aspects of its mission. Though it is not a membership-based organization, North Star serves as a resource to the community through its website (NorthStarLDS.org), eighteen on-line discussion groups organized around specific user demographics, bi-monthly firesides, an annual conference, wives retreats, couples retreats, the Voices of Hope Project, and more.
As North Star appreciates the importance of supportive fellowship and friendship with others who share their life experiences, values, and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we seek to facilitate these relationships and to create a community where individuals will find joy in the gospel, help one another more fully understand and apply the Atonement in their lives, share their stories and their experiences without shame or fear, and discover ways to contribute their unique gifts and talents to the work of the Lord. We also recognize that great growth and healing can come as we seek to bless and strengthen Heavenly Father’s children, and we invite anyone who shares this desire to join with us in these important efforts, however they can.
Recognizing the uniqueness of individual circumstance, North Star reaffirms that, with the incorporation of the Evergreen organization, it will continue to take no official position on the origin or mutability of homosexual attractions or gender identity incongruence. North Star affirms the right of individuals to self- determination and supports all efforts consistent with the gospel that help individuals live in harmony with their covenants and attain greater peace, fulfillment, and sense of individual worth, while affirming that the most essential and eternal growth and progress come through the power of the Savior and adherence to the teachings of His prophets. North Star holds that the power and grace of Christ enables each individual to renounce behavior and manage thoughts that will prevent him or her from returning into His presence. North Star testifies Jesus Christ has the power to reach and transform every life and every individual can find genuine peace and hope in the promises of His gospel.
All the gospel-congruent approaches that our members have had experience with in seeking this goal, whether they be therapeutic, religious or otherwise, North Star desires to be the forum to discuss and disseminate these experiences and resources, even as we acknowledge that North Star does not officially endorse or recommend any specific set of responses to these issues. Due to the uniqueness of personal circumstance, we do not believe any one approach will always be either effective or appropriate in all cases. Yet in the sharing of experiences, and in seeking to bless all of Heavenly Father’s children, we believe we can be an influence for good in the world and among the members of the Church.
North Star is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and any publication or statement from North Star should not be interpreted as an official statement of Church doctrine, belief, or practice. While North Star wholly supports the doctrines and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all views expressed or errors made are the sole responsibility of the organization’s contributors.
North Star International is pleased to announce the appointment of its fourth president. Ty Mansfield, currently a Vice President of North Star and also one of its founders, was appointed unanimously by North Star’s Board of Directors as its newest president.
The existing Executive Committee will be dissolved and a new slate of Executive Committee members will be nominated by the new President and approved by the Board of Directors. It is expected that the existing members of the Executive Committee, with a few exceptions that will be announced later, will continue performing their existing duties, though the organizational and reporting structure may change. These new appointments to the Executive Committee, along with several other important leadership and organizational changes, will be announced in the coming weeks.
The previous President of North Star, Steven Frei, has served out his two year term and his tenure is now at its close. Jeff Bennion, the recently appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of North Star, said, “Never before has there been such a large pool of dedicated and talented volunteers working with us. It’s a real credit to Steve that so much of this happened during his administration, and I am grateful to him for all the countless time and energy he and so many others have contributed to this organization. It has blessed thousands and thousands of lives.”
Regarding Ty’s appointment, Jeff continued, “Ty Mansfield is a credible and faithful voice on the issue of same sex attraction and the LDS Church. Having worked with him closely from the beginning of North Star, I can attest to his dedication and vision for this organization. He has worked very hard to provide faithful resources for those affected by this issue, which will only continue to an even greater degree with his acceptance of his appointment as President. The search for a new President was the occasion for a lot of organizational soul-searching, and since we are a grass-roots driven organization, it required a lot of consultation. These discussions were complicated by the large number of strong and capable leaders who were candidates for the office. In all our discussions however, one name kept surfacing over and over again. I’m excited to see Ty build on Steve’s leadership, with his passion and vision for the organization. I have the greatest respect for him and am grateful to count him as a friend and brother in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Regarding his appointment, Ty said, “North Star is at an important inflection point in both our history and growth as an organization and in the history and growth as a Latter-day Saint community in the way we address these issues. I’m thrilled and grateful to be able to serve our community in this new capacity for the next two years. We have some very exciting initiatives and improvements coming up and I look forward to seeing how these improvements can bless lives in our community.”
Incoming President of North Star International
A life-long member of the Church, Ty served in the Manchester New Hampshire mission and graduated from BYU in Asian Studies and Business Management. He is a practicing marriage and family therapist and currently lives with his wife and son in Texas doing doctoral work in family therapy. He enjoys playing racquetball, eating Thai food, and thinks that the greatest technological advancement of the 21st century was the invention of the iPhone (he might even be a little obsessed with it). He also loves to travel and has lived or studied internationally in Japan, China, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt.
Ty is a co-author with Fred and Marilyn Matis of In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-Gender Attraction (Deseret Book, 2004), which includes a personal memoir of his spiritual journey as a member of the Church who experiences homosexual attraction. He has also compiled Voices of Hope: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction (Deseret Book, 2011), an anthology of gospel teachings by a number of prominent LDS inspirational writers, as well as a number of personal essays written by LDS men and women who have first-hand experience with the issue of same-gender attraction.
Ty is a founding member of the North Star, serving as one of North Star’s Vice Presidents since its organization in December 2006.
Founded in 2006, North Star is a peer-led, community-driven organization—a grass-roots effort with a mission to empower men and women who experience same-sex attraction and gender identity issues, as well as their friends, spouses, or other family members, to more authentically and healthily live the gospel of Jesus Christ. North Star is successful because of the efforts of many individuals who contribute their time, talents, and hearts to various aspects of its mission. Though it is not a membership-based organization, North Star serves as a resource to the community through its website, thirteen on-line discussion groups organized around specific user demographics, quarterly firesides, an annual conference and the Voices of Hope project.
North Star is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and any publication or statement from North Star should not be interpreted as an official statement of Church doctrine, belief, or practice. While North Star wholly supports the doctrines and values of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all views expressed or errors made are the sole responsibility of the organization’s contributors.
In conjunction with the launch of our own book imprint, North Star Harbinger, North Star also proudly announces the publication of our first book under that imprint.
Twenty years ago, Laurie Campbell, a member of North Star’s Executive Committee and one of the inaugural participants in the Voices of Hope Project, used the pen name Erin Eldridge to write a book about her experiences with same-sex attraction and her LDS (Mormon) faith entitled Born That Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction with Insights for Friends, Families, and Leaders (Deseret Book, 1994).
Now, Reborn That Way: The True Story of One Woman, One Faith, and Countless Miracles (North Star Harbinger, 2013) updates her journey, including her LDS temple marriage and her three children.
Laurie Campbell was born a Mormon in Las Vegas in the 1960s, back when mobs rule but a family community sprouts up. She suffers sexual abuse and struggles with substance abuse as well as the conflict between her same-sex attractions and her LDS testimony. Add to that a host of other experiences that are equally compelling and faith-promoting. After choosing to sacrifice lesbian relationships for her religious convictions, she then falls in love with and marries a man, they have 3 children together, and they are still married 20 years later. If you experience any number of challenges to your faith, you’ll find this story to be helpful, inspirational, and tough to put down.
Laurie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She has worked as a copywriter in advertising ever since. During that time, she has also done volunteer work counseling Latter-day Saints who experience same-sex attraction. More recently, she received her Master of Science degree in Community Mental Health Counseling, which has helped in her volunteer counseling work as well as her role as a wife and mother.
Reborn That Way can be purchased in both hardcopy and ebook formats:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kerry Harding
Washington, D.C. — March 26, 2013 — North Star International today launched a new website featuring profiles and information about faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affected by same-sex attraction. The website, LDSVoicesofHope.org, offers a look into the lives of Mormons who open up about their own experiences or the experiences of family members.
The project is a dynamic extension of the book by noted author and marriage and family therapist Ty Mansfield, Voices of Hope: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction (Deseret Book, 2011), which contains an array of inspirational messages from men and women who have personal experience with the issue of same-sex attraction. Based on the book’s continuing success and resulting feedback, it became obvious to Mansfield that there were many more stories to be told, and thus sought a vehicle through which to share them.
“What a difference from the day when, as a young BYU student, I had difficulty finding anyone faithfully living with this experience,” Mansfield said. “There are many, many other stories out there that need to be told, and there is a growing number of people desirous and ready to share them.”
Voice(s) of Hope has a singular focus on assisting those individuals who desire to live in harmony with the teachings and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding marriage and sexual expression. Its power stems from the collection of simple, heart-felt video testimonies of diverse men and women who share their stories of how they have reconciled their homosexuality with the gospel and to ultimately come to a place of happiness and peace. Among the profiles are single men and women of all ages, married couples of all ages, backgrounds, professions, ethnicities and Church assignments including newly returned missionaries, bishops and stake presidents. Participants include converts to the faith and those raised in the faith, as well as some who have left the Church and later returned and others who have never acted sexually on their attractions.
While the site’s initial launch features 17 interviews, each one including edited highlight and full-length interviews for those interested in the entire story, and 7 essays, video and written essays will be added weekly to the site until the project’s goal of 1,000 participant contributions has been reached.
“For many Church members who experience same-sex attraction, society has reinforced the belief that there were only two viewpoints available: that same-sex attraction is something to be ashamed of and kept a secret, or that individuals are to adopt a gay identity and purse a same-sex relationship, leading to a lifestyle in conflict with the doctrines and values of the Church,” said North Star vice president and project director Kerry Harding. “Voice(s) of Hope seeks to more effectively illustrate that other options consistent with Church teachings are available to those who desire them. There are hundreds, if not thousands of men and women who have discovered a path in the faith that brings them happiness and peace. The site’s collective message isn’t so much, ‘This is what you should do’ as it is simply, ‘This is what has worked for me.’”
North Star International is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to building community for Latter-day Saints dealing with issues surrounding homosexual attraction who desire to live in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the doctrines and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of North Star is to be a spiritually uplifting resource for individuals and families dealing with the complex issue of same-sex attraction. It is also to empower individuals to help educate themselves, their family, friends, and Church leaders as they strive to become integrated more fully and lovingly into the LDS community.