When people familiar with our organization are asked, “What is North Star?”, they will often respond first by saying we’re an online support organization for people affected (personally or otherwise) by same-sex attraction or transgender issues. We, of course, are much more than that. We sponsor conferences, firesides, and devotionals, and help connect people with energy to each other to get great things done. We provide a vehicle for bearing testimony of the truths of the restored gospel, especially those joyful truths we encounter and learn to appreciate most fully in the midst of trials.

As one of the founders of North Star, I look back at its humble beginnings and I am amazed at how much has been accomplished, and how much the Lord has magnified our fumbling and weak efforts. One of the things we’ve always sought to do from the beginning is gather the broadest possible swath of faithful voices affected by same-sex attraction in one place, to be a trusted and relevant clearinghouse of faith-promoting information (from whatever secular or religious source we find in harmony with the gospel, no matter how different from our own religion, nation, or culture), and to help facilitate the fulfilling of each Church member’s baptismal covenant to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light… to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death.”

Of course there is much more to do. I wish I had the zeal of Caleb when he begged the Lord to “give [him] this mountain,” but we certainly have been given a mountain. Our challenge is great, the difficulties immense, but the goal could not be more valuable, and those who have joined with us are truly valiant and remarkable people, ones whom I am proud to call brothers and sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over the past year or so, we have seen the growth and flowering of our Leadership Council. It’s been so heartwarming to see these good people willing to stand up and be counted. Some of them are listed here and we’ve recently started spotlighting one individual monthly, but there are currently over 60 members of the Leadership Council.

And with that large body of people, who span every hemisphere of the globe and several continents, it enables us to extend the reach of North Star and further its mission. I am very excited to announce the creation of North Star Regional Coordinators. These coordinators will be members of the Leadership Council, and thus privy to the major decisions and resources available around the world. They, in turn, will strive to gain as much knowledge about all the resources that could be useful to our community, whether those be local support groups, therapists, or affiliated organizations which could be helpful.

People have often complained when they live in isolated areas how difficult it is to find support. And there is no doubt that it is more difficult for many of them to find local resources than it is for me, living in the center of the Salt Lake Valley. But what has surprised me is how often that doesn’t end up being an obstacle. I’ve been amazed at the help and support that can come (often in unexpected ways) from places and people I would never have expected. I too easily write people off, or exclude them from the circle of people I rely upon, for completely spurious and irrelevant reasons.

This aid does not come unbidden or automatically. It is called forth by loudly and repeatedly proclaiming what kind of support you are looking for and what moral and spiritual values are important for you. If you can’t find LDS people who have experience with this issue in your area, you will very likely be able to find non-LDS people who share your values and are able to provide you with great support. If you can’t find people who have direct experience with same-sex attraction, you can find people who have dealt with other difficult issues like sexual or chemical addictions, abuse trauma recovery, bereavement groups for the estrangement or death of loved ones, mental health support groups, and so on. No matter how isolated you may feel geographically, I am very confident that as you judiciously but courageously speak out, and share with others about your own circumstances, and clearly (through word and deed) articulate what kind of life you want to live, others will be drawn to that vision, and they will share it with you and join in supporting each other in these goals. It’s kind of miraculous how this happens, but the key is it does require you to be a bit open and bold sometimes about this issue and your goals around it.

These are the kinds of things that our Regional Coordinators will be helping us with. Of course North Star will continue to broaden and deepen its online presence as well, but we are all really excited about our new geographical reach in localized support that may be available. Stay tuned via our website or our newsletter for more announcements on this as we roll it out in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions you want answered about local resources, or additional information on that, feel free to email them to [email protected]. And if you would like to be involved in this or any other effort in North Star, please consider joining the Leadership Council where you can join us in this great and exciting work.

With joy and gratitude,

Jeff Bennion,
Past President, Vice President of Leadership Development