I just joined North Star a few months ago, and I’m so grateful to be onboard. Since I have a fresh perspective, I thought I’d make a few observations about the organization and why I think so highly of it.

First and foremost, I’ve been impressed with how strongly I have felt the Spirit when I’m actively involved with North Star. There is a feeling of love and acceptance, a sense of belonging, and a realization that where two or more are gathered for the Lord’s sake, there the Lord shall be (see Matthew 18:20). I have gained a firm testimony that God is involved in this work and anxious for it to press forward.

As with the LDS Church itself, this is the Lord’s work and He is working through humans. All of us are prone to err. Some are prone to err with matters regarding same-sex attraction since that has been, and may continue to be, a challenge across the lifespan. For others, it has become a non-issue. For most leaders at North Star, it seems to rank somewhere in the middle of a host of earthly experiences and challenges that can range from difficult weaknesses to amazing strengths (occasionally seeming to be both at the same time).

Although it seems highly unlikely, I know that if one or more of the North Star leaders ever decided to leave the Church and live in a homosexual relationship, that wouldn’t mean North Star is any less divinely directed. It just serves as evidence that all of us are humanly directed, too. And it doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of people who manage to avoid such relationships for the rest of their lives. It just means that one or two people chose a different path.

I’m certainly not implying that I know of anyone planning to jump ship. Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe that all of us on the Executive Committee are doing our best to live the commandments with exactness and honor because we have found that to be the most fulfilling way to live our lives. Not the easiest perhaps, but certainly the most fulfilling. And I bring this up because over the years, I have grown weary of the critics and naysayers. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people in leadership positions of various organizations involved with helping people experiencing same-sex attraction. As the stories go, these people have fallen from grace and have “been sighted at gay bars,” “taken off with fellow leaders,” “secretly become involved with the people they are supposed to be helping” and so on. Some of the stories might be based on fact, but critics take it a step further and say it is “proof” that such organizations are a farce and that nobody with homosexual attractions can ever be happy if they aren’t in homosexual relationships.

Which brings me to another aspect of North Star that has impressed me: the Voices of Hope project. This includes videos and essays from people with same sex attraction who have chosen to follow the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are grateful to have made that choice. We need all the voices we can get to help provide hope for others seeking to make a similar choice but who may need a little extra encouragement. It’s also for family and spouses—all those affected by same-sex attraction. If you want to contribute your voice, check out the introduction to the Voices of Hope project on the North Star website.

Lastly, all of the people involved with North Star are volunteers. Nobody is paid and some even refuse financial compensation for certain expenses. Others donate money as well as time. We all volunteer because we want to help others who experience same-sex attraction while striving to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we want to help because we know, firsthand, just how difficult the associated challenges can be.

Yes, I’m glad to be here and hope that I can help others in some way. After all, that’s what North Star is all about.