Meet North Star's Leadership

North Star is a peer-led, community-driven organization—a grass-roots effort with a mission to empower Latter-day Saint individuals and families concerned with issues of sexual or gender identity to more authentically, healthily and joyfully 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. The following are some of those who assist in realizing the vision of North Star.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee oversees the daily execution of North Star’s mission. The president of North Star is appointed by the Board of Directors every two years, in conjunction with our annual North Star Conference, and a new Executive Committee is reconstituted under the direction of the new president. Bennett Borden began his tenure as President in March 2018.
Bennett Borden

Bennett Borden

President

 
Read Bennett's Bio
Bennett, President of North Star, was raised in a first generation Latter-day Saint family in the rural south. He served an American Sign Language mission in Indiana, North Carolina and Michigan. After his mission, Bennett came out and spent the next 20 years in a same-sex relationship, marrying his partner when it became legal to do so. However, the light of the gospel of Christ always drew Bennett back, and he longed for the peace and joy it brings. Bennett’s journey back to the gospel as a child of God who experiences same sex-attraction has given him a treasured testimony of the power of the Atonement of Christ and the love God has for each of His children, especially those who experience SSA and their loved ones, friends, and leaders. After his divorce from his husband and returning to the Church, Bennett married Rebecca in 2013 and they were sealed in the Washington DC temple in 2014. Together they are striving to share the message of hope and joy the gospel brings and their journey as SSA children of God.

Bennett Borden is a partner at an international law firm, Chair of a litigation practice group and its Chief Data Scientist. In addition to his work as a litigator, Bennett has extensive experience advising companies on corporate and information governance, growth strategies, and effective messaging. Bennett has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from George Mason University, a Masters in Business Analytics from New York University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law School.

 Livier Mendoza

Livier Mendoza

Secretary of the Executive Committee

 
Read Livier's Bio
Livier was born and raised near the border between the US and Mexico. The youngest of three children, she was born into a faithful catholic family that prepared her to receive the Gospel when she was 21 years old. After graduating from Law School in Mexico, she felt prompted to serve a mission and was called to the Mexico City Northwest Mission. After coming home in 2014, she decided to move to Utah. During her first few months in Utah, she felt the need to talk to someone about her same gender attraction and desire to stay faithful as a Latter-Day Saint. She reached out to one of her former mission companions who introduced her to North Star. Being a SSA woman is a blessing that has allowed her to grow closer to the Savior and to open her heart to serve others unconditionally.
Livier is always on the go. You can find her in an airport, going or coming from somewhere, but always looking ahead. Her strong voice, colorful personality, and warmth makes her the kind of person that is not only your friend, but becomes your sister.
Christopher Staggs

Christopher Staggs

SVP of Content & Marketing

 
Read Chris' Bio
A native Kansan and a convert to the Church at age 18, Chris served a mission in the Japan Tokyo North Mission. When a girl from Montana claimed his heart, they married in the St. Louis Missouri Temple and started a family. They live in the Kansas City area where they’re raising their four sons. Chris strives to live by the principle that “kindness begins with me” and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the key to living a happy, authentic life.

Chris holds degrees in East Asian Studies and in Business Management, and has built his career in the field of marketing. He has served as a Bishop, High Counselor, and Young Men President, and currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs in his stake.

Travis Steward

Travis Steward

VP of Church Leader Outreach

 
Sarah Langford

Sarah Langford

VP of Community Relations

 
Read Sarah's Bio

Sarah was raised in the suburbs of South Jersey and is an east coast girl to the core. She currently attends Brigham Young University studying Sociology in the School of FHSS, she hopes to ultimately transition into consulting within the non-profit sector by pursing graduate studies in Administration and Development. While at BYU she has developed a passion for serving and has had several opportunities to do so, most recently within North Star as a chairperson on the Fireside committee, serving along side her husband, in which she found great fulfillment expanding firesides to communities beyond the Wasatch Front. Sarah was also the Circling the Wagons Conferences 2016 Co-Coordinator where she was able to apply her great desire to provide spaces for open, authentic and respectful dialogue for all those who find themselves involved in the LGBTQ+ conversation along every spectrum of opinion. As a new member of the Executive Committee, Sarah is deeply driven by the principles within North Star’s Mission statement – Empowerment, Authenticity and Joy. Sarah’s journey within North Star began in 2012 and has been life changing as she has repeatedly been inspired by the strength, resilience and testimony of the members of the North Star Community. She is profoundly motivated by her own testimony and considers the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be the greatest blessing in her life. Sarah is two years into her eternal marriage with her husband and teammate, Brandon Langford. Together, Sarah and Brandon find joy in their relationships with one another, the Savior and their friends and family.

Mark Buckley

Mark Buckley

VP of Online Communities

 
Read Mark's Bio
Mark grew up in a small town in southwestern Wyoming and was active in student government, music and drama, and was twice the state runner-up springboard diver. He served in the Argentina Cordoba mission and attended Brigham Young University. While at BYU he danced with the International Folk Dancers and later had the privilege to travel with The Young Ambassadors as lighting director to Canada, Europe, Japan, China and Taiwan. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Financial Planning and Counseling and was recruited to work at a financial planning firm in Modesto, California in 1986. He became an agent with Farmers Insurance Group in 1991 and currently manages a busy agency and staff in the Central Valley. His marriage of 29 years is ending, but he loves being Dad to three beautiful daughters. Mark was introduced to North Star in 2012 and has been grateful for the community of support and friendship it has provided, as well as a place of belonging with other members of the Church. He recognizes that we drink from wells we did not dig and are warmed by fires we did not kindle and so in turn, seeks to serve and offer support to this community.
Spencer Thompson

Spencer Thompson

VP of Community Events

 
Read Spencer's Bio

Spencer was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He served an LDS mission in the Netherlands, Amsterdam mission and had a great experience serving and learned so many important life lessons during his mission. He then went on and did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Therapy where he eventually got his doctorate in Physical Therapy. Spencer currently works as a physical therapist and specializes in neurologic rehabilitation.  Spencer is married to his amazing wife Mary and together they have two beautiful children whom bring the greatest amount of joy to his life.

Spencer came across North Star when he was trying to understand the roots of his same-sex attraction and seeking to find peace. He has found a lot of healing and connection from attending the various events that North Star has offered. Spencer has served as co-chair for the 2015 and 2016 North Star Conferences and is excited to serve as Vice President over events for North Star.  He has found that the journey of navigating the challenging waters of having same-sex attraction and staying strong in the church has been one of the greatest blessings of his life. Facing the challenges of his same-sex attraction has served as a tool which has brought him closer to his Savior Jesus Christ and continues to teach him some of the deeper meanings of life.

Rob Wood

Vice President of Information Technology

Demographic Focus — Married Men (SSA)

JJ Berrett

Vice President of Web Development

Demographic Focus – Millennial (SSA)

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

VP of Information Technology

 
Read Rob's Bio
Born in Mountain View, CA, Rob’s family moved progressively eastward during his childhood until they eventually settled in State College, PA, where he graduated from High School, and then from Penn State University.  After serving a mission in Vina del Mar, Chile, and graduating with his Masters in Statistics, he moved to New York City where he worked on Wall Street building trading systems for over 20 years.  With each move, from west coast to east coast, from the suburbs to farms (in ID and PA), from the USA to Chile, and from a college town to New York City, and then Northern NJ, Rob’s appreciation of, and love for people of many backgrounds and life experiences has been enriched and deepened.  Rob met his wife Marta at church in New Jersey, and after a rather unorthodox, yet ultimately romantic courtship, they were sealed in the Buenos Aires Temple in Argentina.  They are the grateful parents of three amazing children.  In 2008 they moved to Orem, Utah, where Rob quickly found a love for the mountains, and an appreciation for the people of Utah.
Rob loves learning about history and world cultures, thinking about thinking, and anything that gets him outdoors on a sunny day, with biking, hiking, swimming, and outdoor photography among his favorites.
In early 2014 Rob was blessed to discover North Star, which he has wholeheartedly embraced.  He is enthusiastic for this opportunity to serve the amazing people of the North Star community, and help fulfill its inspired mission.
T. Kevin Denny

T. Kevin Denny

VP of Finance

 
Read Kevin's Bio
A convert to the Church, Kevin was raised in Los Angeles, California, served a full-time mission to South Korea, and has served his brothers and sisters in various teaching, missionary and administrative roles in the Church. A graduate of the University of Southern California, he has been a Certified Public Accountant for over twenty-five years, initially as an auditor with KPMG LLP and from there in financial executive roles for companies of up to $450 million annual sales. In 2008 Kevin was married to Dorsie Henderson in the Utah St. George temple, and together they enjoy sharing seven children and nine grandchildren. Their family scripture has always been Proverbs 3:5&6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” As the result of researching how to support a gay family member, Kevin discovered the North Star community, and, finding it to be a strength and delight, now is blessed to serve and fellowship here. He and his wife currently reside in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.

Board of Directors

Brigit Pack

Brigit Pack

Chair

 
Read Brigit's Bio

Growing up in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia made the experience of being raised as a member of the LDS Church unique. When her family moved back to the United States she went through a discovery phase to determine the relationship she wanted with the Lord.  After high school she took a temporary job opportunity in Utah where she met and married her spouse in the Bountiful Temple in 1999. Today they live in Syracuse Utah where they are busy raising their daughter, Alyssa.

In 2014 Brigit’s spouse came forward as Transgender. Over the last two years Brigit and her spouse have been navigating the uncharted path of remaining active in the LDS Church as a transgender couple. Through the journey, Brigit has become more involved in North Star to help grow the Gender Identity resources. She was also invited to get involved in planning the 2016 Annual North Star Conference.

Within the church, Brigit has served almost exclusively as a primary teacher. With a soft spot for Sunbeams, she is quick to volunteer to stay in the primary and was recently called as a counsellor in the Primary Presidency.

Tera Brown

Tera Brown

Board Member

 
Read Tera's Bio

A life long member of the church, Tera was born in Murray, Utah and spent several years of her childhood in the Tri Cities, Washington area before moving back to Utah in middle school. Tera is the oldest of 5 children. She attended high school in the Salt Lake City area where she met her husband Curtis. They were married in 1994 and have 4 children. Tera graduated from BYU in Fashion Theatrical Costume Design and has used her talents to make custom wedding gowns for over 20 years. 

Tera co-leads a support group for wives of men who experience same sex attraction. She co-lead North Star’s Women of Worth conference, served on the planning committee for the Circling the Wagons conference, and has presented and served on panels at several conferences including last year’s North Star Conference. Her love of healing work led her to become a Certified Intuitive Life Coach where she can use her experiences to help others find hope through The Atonement. Helping families heal from the devastating effects of addictions and codependency has become her life mission.  

Julio Ospina

Julio Ospina

Board Member

 
Read Julio's Bio
Julio has loved working with North Star for the past year and is happy to now serve on the Board of Directors. He has received amazing support and clarity from the organization and serving within it has allowed him to give back from what he has received. He enjoys supporting others and finds it to be spiritually rewarding. North Star has allowed Julio to meet many intelligent, spiritual, like-minded people from all around the world, thus enriching his life and empowering him to continue his chosen path. He has a solid testimony of the atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ and His Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although originally from Colombia, this salsa dance-lover currently resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife.
Becky Borden

Becky Borden

Board Member

 
Read Becky's Bio

Becky Borden grew up in the South in a part-LDS family, came out at the age of 23, and lived most of her adult life in relationships with wonderful, unique women. Then nearly 20 years later, feeling the pull of the truthfulness of the gospel, Becky rejoined the church in 2013, married her lifelong friend, Bennett (who also experiences SSA), and was sealed to him in 2014 in the Washington DC temple. Becky and her husband are active members of the Church and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah. Becky loves to spend time with her family, cook all the yummy things, watch sci-fi movies, and sing. She and Bennett spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and camping, and they travel together often. One of the most beautiful parts of her journey back to the gospel is learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it has infinite applications in this life.

Becky has a MBA in IT management and currently works for the Church in the Information and Communication Services division. Prior to working for the Church, Becky was with Cisco Systems for almost 10 years doing IT, security, and enterprise compliance program management.

Kurt Francom

Kurt Francom

Board Member

 
Read Kurt's Bio
Dr. Ty Mansfield

Dr. Ty Mansfield

Board Member

 
Read Ty's Bio
Ty is a practicing marriage and family therapist and an adjunct instructor at Brigham Young University. With a focus on personal narrative and faith-based approaches addressing sexuality and gender, he chronicled his own journey with same-sex attraction as co-author with Fred and Marilyn Matis of In Quiet Desperation and later compiled Voices of Hope, an anthology of personal essays. He directs the Voices of Hope Project, a website extension of the book, and the Journeys of Faith Project, which features the stories of transgender Latter-day Saints. He is also part of the Reconciliation and Growth Project, a dialogue group between LGBTQ affirmative and religious conservative mental health professionals who have developed an ethical mental health treatment protocol for working with individuals experiencing conflicts between their faith and their sexuality and/or gender identity. Ty is a founding member of North Star and is currently serving on its Board of Directors. He and his wife, Danielle, and their four kids live in Provo, UT.
Becky Mackintosh

Becky Mackintosh

Board Member

 
Read Becky's Bio

Becky Mackintosh was born on a ranch in Montana, but raised in Salt Lake City claiming to be a country girl at heart. She is the mother to three boys and four daughters. She is a wife, speaker, author and blogger, but her greatest joy comes from being a grandmother.

Becky’s passion to love, lift and serve has taken her all over the world. She loves helping people see their great worth and the value they add. As a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints she shares the Gospel with delight and conviction. Next to cotton-candy and caramel apples, she enjoys embracing people of all walks of life and helping them feel and know God’s love and his great plan.

Becky and her husband Scott openly share their journey of understanding homosexuality and loving their children unconditionally on LDS Voices of Hope.

Kyle Merkeley

Kyle Merkeley

Board Member

 
Photography Credit: Laurence Boswell, OnlyHumanPhotography.com

Volunteer

If you would like to volunteer at North Star events, assist with fundraising, create content, help with marketing, or if you’ve got another idea, we’d love for you to fill out our volunteer application. We can work together to find the best place for you to make your greatest contribution.

This organization could not function without volunteers, and many hands make light work. We look forward to hearing from you!

Brigit Pack

Brigit Pack

Volunteer Coordinator

 
Read Brigit's Bio

Growing up in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia made the experience of being raised as a member of the LDS Church unique. When her family moved back to the United States she went through a discovery phase to determine the relationship she wanted with the Lord.  After high school she took a temporary job opportunity in Utah where she met and married her spouse in the Bountiful Temple in 1999. Today they live in Syracuse Utah where they are busy raising their daughter, Alyssa.

In 2014 Brigit’s spouse came forward as Transgender. Over the last two years Brigit and her spouse have been navigating the uncharted path of remaining active in the LDS Church as a transgender couple. Through the journey, Brigit has become more involved in North Star to help grow the Gender Identity resources. She was also invited to get involved in planning the 2016 Annual North Star Conference.

Within the church, Brigit has served almost exclusively as a primary teacher. With a soft spot for Sunbeams, she is quick to volunteer to stay in the primary and was recently called as a counsellor in the Primary Presidency.