Preach love, not hate
Posted on 29 Mar 2019

Imagine Dragons’ frontman promotes love and acceptance amongst fellow Mormons


I was on holiday last month (What, again?! I hear my friends ask) when l came across two different but connected stories.


The first was Believer, a documentary film by Dan Reynolds (main picture), the lead singer of rock band Imagine Dragons. Reynolds is the seventh of nine kids raised in a devoutly Mormon household in Las Vegas who enthusiastically spent two years knocking on doors as a Latter-day Saints missionary. His Mormon views were challenged, however, when he met and fell in love with singer-songwriter Aja Volkman. They married in 2011 in his parents’ backyard, but two of their closest friends, a lesbian couple, didn’t feel comfortable attending the wedding and stayed away.


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Church of the Latter-day Saints headquarters, Utah

Concerned by the rising number of suicides amongst LGBT teenagers and the church’s excommunication of LGBT members, Reynolds planned an outdoor concert - called LoveLoud - in Orem, Utah, which took place last August. In the end, the Mormon Church issued a statement about the concert that gently supported love and acceptance, resulting in the gig selling out all 20,000 tickets to a Mormon audience.



But just as I was feeling the warm glow of acceptance from that uplifting film, I read about a story much closer to home, at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, where Muslim mums & dads have staged angry protests outside the school gates. They were objecting to a teaching programme called No Outsiders, designed to encourage children to be ‘happy and excited about living in a community full of difference and diversity’.

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Protesters outside Parkfield School



The programme covers issues such as race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and religion. Assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat - who was recently awarded an MBE for his work in equality education - was accused by the parents of  'promoting homosexuality'. Around 400 of the mums & dads signed a petition calling for No Outsiders to be completely scrapped from the curriculum.


Things got pretty nasty for Andrew Moffatt too. He was secretly filmed when talking to parents outside school, and has been the subject of both a leaflet campaign and threatening phone calls.
Amid the furore, Ofsted inspected the school and found it to be ‘outstanding’, praising its record on promoting tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect.


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Andrew Moffatt

But in a new twist, the No Outsiders lessons have been suspended indefinitely until a resolution is reached with the protesting parents...



This is bonkers! We are allowing an unrepresentative minority of parents to dictate what is being taught in schools, denying those pupils access to the Equalities education the Government says they are entitled to.
We can’t pick and choose which minority group we will show tolerance and respect towards. LGBT people are everywhere; we exist in every culture, on every continent and in every religion. We are Christians, Mormons and Muslims. And if conservative Mormons in Utah can embrace love and acceptance, so can we.

Steve Ball


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