Imagine Dragon’s lead singer Dan Reynolds, has waged war on the Mormon Church- specifically their dreadful policies against the LGBT community. Reynolds has been quite vocal about his disapproval of the Church’s stand against the LGBT community. His critique comes from a place of love though, “I don’t feel a need to denounce Mormonism. I do feel a need as a Mormon to take a stand against things that are hurting people.” Reynolds clarifies.
LGBT Mormon members who have a same-sex attraction are forced to suppress their feelings, marry their heterosexual counterpart, or be celibate if they chose to continue identifying as queer. “LGBTQ youth who are not accepted in their home, or their community, are eight times more likely to commit suicide, three times more likely for risky drug use. There is a glaring problem” Reynolds said. In Utah, the unofficial headquarters of the Mormon Church, youth and teen suicide has skyrocketed in numbers surpassing the rest of the nation. One can imply, closeted, tortured and ostracized queer Mormon teens are likely a major portion of this alarming rise.
The straight, Mormon, Rockstar has been in the headlines as of late, not just due to his band’s fourth Grammy nomination for Platinum-selling third album, “Evolve”; but also, for the Sundance documentary of which he is both an executive producer and subject, “Believer.” Don Argott directed and helped produce the documentary via Live Nation Productions. “Believer” takes a look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ condemnation of LGBT community and concludes with Imagine Dragons’ LoveLoud Fest benefit concert in Orem, Utah – which benefited gay rights orgs GLAAD and the Trevor Project, among others. The Mormon Church surprisingly issued a statement endorsing and applauding the sold-out festival. LoveLoud reached over 20,000 people in Utah, but it pales in comparison to the reach and impact “Believe” is expected to have. The music festival was meant to spark a conversation between the church and the LGBT community, “Believe” is taking that conversation from the Mormon Church’s porch and broadcasting it to the world.
Reynolds felt uncomfortable regarding the church’s position on queer relationships but suppressed those sentiments because they didn’t affect him directly, something he speculates that many Christians do. This all changed when his friend, Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn, came out of the closet. In the documentary, along with many other impactful testimonials, Glenn talks openly about his experience coping with his sexuality and suicidal thoughts as a closeted member of the church. He gives a touching breakdown explaining why a gay person’s answer to the Mormon Church’s policies isn’t as simple as just leaving. Removing yourself from a belief system that has defined you, your family, and your relationships for your entire life is nearly impossible.
That, paired with his wife’s lesbian best friends boycotting his wedding, pushed Reynolds to an epiphany. He came to the realization that if he stayed silent about the church’s policies he is “standing then for bigotry,”
By: Jazmin Gonzalez