Singer David Archuleta, who rose to fame as the runner-up on season 7 of American Idol in 2008, will be among the headliners at a conference this weekend on reconciling the Mormon faith with LGBT identity.
The conference, being held Friday and Saturday in Provo, Utah, is sponsored by North Star International, which serves those "concerned with sexual orientation or gender identity who seek to live in joy and harmony within their covenants, values, and beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," according to its website. The church accepts LGBT members but expects them to refrain from same-sex relationships, and it frowns on what church leaders call "elective transsexual surgery."
Archuleta, billed as a special musical guest at the conference, will perform Saturday night. He famously tweeted that he's not gay after being spotted in a gay club in 2010, and in 2015 he offended many LGBT people by tweeting a quote from church leader Boyd K. Packer saying, "Romantic love is incomplete. It is a prelude. Love is nourished by the coming of children, who spring from the fountain of love expressed between a man and a woman in marriage."
He apologized for seeming to emphasize the words "expressed between a man and a woman in marriage," which he sent separately because the full quote didn't fit in one tweet. "I am sorry my intentions were misunderstood, as my main focus was that too often romance is looked at as the end-all when there is so much more," he wrote on his website. "The bonds that can be there within a family and raising kids, as that is the most valuable thing I have: my family. I do hope however, that whoever may have been offended may know I respect everyone's freedom to believe and live as they choose. I hope others can respect what I value most in my life as well. Again, I'm sorry and please forgive me if I offended you."
Other headliners at the conference include author Stephanie Nielson, relationship coach Matt Townsend, North Star president Bennett Borden, and Mark Yarhouse, chair of an American Psychological Association task force on LGBT issues and religion, reports Salt Lake City's Deseret News.