Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons is an international organization for gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and intersex people who identify as members or ex-members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Affirmation holds that "homosexuality and homosexual relationships can be consistent with and supported by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Under the name Affirmation: Gay Mormons United, the first Affirmation group was organized in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 11, 1977 by Stephan Zakharias and a group of other Mormon and ex-Mormons Gays and Lesbians. It was started after two friends of Zakharias (a gay Brigham Young University student) committed suicide after participating in electric shock therapy experiments administered by BYU's Psychology Department, spearheaded by Dr. D. Eugene Thorne and PhD candidate Max Ford McBride in 1976. The original group struggled to survive until 1978, when Paul Mortensen formed the Los Angeles chapter. Through the influence of the Los Angeles chapter, Affirmation groups appeared in many cities around the country.
Over the decades, Affirmation's consistent goal has been to provide a safe haven for LGBTI people to discuss their sexuality and to make friends. Affirmation has never intended to be a new religion. However in 1985 some members of Affirmation did decide to form a Mormon church for gays and lesbians. Today that church is known as the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ.
In February of 2000, the LDS Church spent millions of dollars of church funds and successfully lobbied for passage of a California law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. When gay Mormons committed suicide after February 2000, Affirmation members began to hold suicide vigils around the country to raise awareness about suicide prevention and the destructive consequences of homophobia.
With the advent of the Internet, many gay and lesbian Mormons began to participate in Affirmation from overseas, especially in Latin America. In 2001 the first non-English chapter was formed in Mexico City, and later chapters appeared in Santiago (Chile), Valparaíso (Chile), and Puebla (Mexico).
In addition, GALA (Gay and Lesbian Acceptance), the support group for GLBT members of the Independence, Missouri -based Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), was a break off from the Affirmation Chapter in Kansas City, Missouri in the mid-1980s.