This Saturday at 4:00 p.m., a group of Rexburg residents and BYU-Idaho students will protest the LGBTQ Pride event at Porter Park. They will wield signs that convey their traditional values and — with a megaphone — read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a religious document published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1995.
The group met together at Spark Freedom Idaho’s Rexburg building on June 18 to organize their protest. The group of seven young protestors was a mix of BYU-I students and alumni. Although they were open to share their beliefs with Scroll, they did not disclose their last names.
Sam, a BYU-I student and participant in the protest planning meeting, gave his thoughts about the upcoming LGBTQ gathering and his role as a protester.
“We definitely want them to know that we don’t hate gay people or transgender people, and we sympathize with their struggles,” Sam said. “But we notice that the Church and our values are being attacked, and we want them to know that we are going to defend our values.”
Meghan, the leader of the protestors and a BYU-I alumna, has spoken against LGBTQ events and groups in Rexburg on social media. Many online users have attacked her through post comments in response. As a lifelong resident of Rexburg, she doesn’t like what she sees in Rexburg’s current social climate.
“I’d like to bring back a sense of religion and family to this community,” Meghan said. “I’d like to see us bring back those beliefs again. God intended us to be more than sexual beings.”
Tember, a representative of the pro-faith, gender dysphoria support group called North Star, also attended the meeting.
As a husband and father who has struggled with same-sex attraction throughout his life, Tember seeks to provide support for the LGBTQ community while also promoting the doctrines of The Church. In the planning meeting, he promoted a sense of compassion and patience for those who may be hostile toward their “pro-family” protest.
“We need to be that example of Christlike love for them,” Tember said. “We don’t agree with their values, but (they) have infinite potential to become like our heavenly parents.”
The group does not have a name or organization. Group members met through mutual friends who all believe in similar family traditions. Meghan took the lead in organizing Saturday’s upcoming event.
“(I want viewers on Saturday) to understand that we are standing by our beliefs even if they’re not popular and this is a huge part of our lives, and we want to help others and inspire them,” Meghan said. “I’m just trying to do what I think is right.”
The protesting group does not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU-I or Spark Freedom Idaho.