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.