Mormon church makes historic donation to LGBTQ support group

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation has given $25,000 to a new suicide prevention initiative.

The grant was awarded in April to Affirmation, an international support group focused on helping Latter-day Saints who have same gender attraction, though it's not affiliated with the church itself. The group will use the money to certify its leadership as suicide prevention trainers and provide suicide prevention training at the group's conferences for the next three years, Affirmation president Carson Tueller said.

An LDS Church spokesman confirmed the donation.

"We are committed to working with community partners to help prevent suicide and hope this contribution will support this important cause," LDS Church spokesman Doug Andersen said. "We are mindful of those who are struggling and encourage them to reach out for help."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation is the charitable giving arm associated with Deseret Management Corp. DMC owns and operates the Deseret News and other for-profit businesses such as Deseret Book, KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio, and Deseret Digital Media.

Grants and gifts provided by the foundation come from church-owned commercial businesses. None of the funds come from donations made by church members.

Tueller said Affirmation's executive board identified suicide prevention as its top priority for 2018 at a meeting in January. In February, Tueller and Affirmation executive director John Gustav-Wrathall met with a church representative and asked for the grant.

"Having (the foundation) respond in the way they did," Tueller said, "not only giving us the amount we asked for but more than that amount, felt like an expression that this organization sees LGBTQ people, that there is an awareness not only of our existence but our need for assistance and to be heard in the church." Read more via KSL