In an act of goodwill towards gays, the Mormon Church invited a group of prominent gay activists to attend the Church's annual Christmas concert.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued a formal invitation to a group of gay Mormon activists, including Milk director Dustin Lance Black and WordPerfect creator Bruce Bastian, to attend the Church's official Christmas concert last week.
The concert, which featured American Idol alum David Archuleta and actor Michael York performing alongside the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, took place in the Salt Lake City Conference Center in Temple Square — the same location where a Mormon leader described same-sex attraction as an "impure and unnatural" condition that can be overcome through faith in a speech this last Autumn.
The gay activists who accepted the invitation praised the concert, as well as the sentiment behind the invitation, in an interview with local TV station ABC4:
"In a lengthy phone conversation, Black told ABC 4 that it was 'an honor' to see the concert and an, 'extraordinary act of goodwill.' He also told us a conversation has been started between the gay community and the Church and that, 'both sides are trying to find common ground.' ABC 4 News is also being told that the Church has met previously with both Black and Bastian, one of the founders of WordPerfect. This, reportedly, to get more information about gay issues."The Church issued a vague statement to its members and the media regarding the gay activist's attendance: "The Church frequently extends invitations to social events to community leaders representing a variety of views, beliefs and organizations." However, ABC4 reports that this invitation is the start of what may be a larger outreach from the Church towards the gay community, which could include "helping to provide homeless gay youths with shelter and support."