NFL's Steve Young and "SYTYCD" dancing champ speaking at Mormon conference on LGBT this weekend

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    Sep 15, 2013 6:39 PM GMT

    Yahoo! SportsSALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Former NFL great Steve Young will be one of the keynote speakers at a three-day conference in Salt Lake City exploring how the Mormon faith is dealing with gays and lesbians.

    The 32nd annual Affirmation International Conference begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Affirmation president Randall Hacker says he's expecting about 300 people at the gathering.

    Steve Young and his wife are scheduled to speak Saturday night. Young is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and played football at Brigham Young University.

    The Youngs said in a statement they are happy to be a part of the conference and ''lend their voices to the healing work of making our families, our society and our church more welcoming places for our LGBT brothers and sisters.''

    Having Young, a role model for both Mormons and young athletes, speak at the conference is yet another sign of a growing movement among straight Mormons to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brethren, Hacker said.

    ''That's what changed things: the straight people coming out in support,'' Hacker said. ''For years, LGBT members were alone in fighting for their own. We will have more allies at this conference than ever before.''

    He said the Youngs already support a project dedicated to helping LGBT youth in crisis and also spoke out against California's Proposition 8, a ballot measure passed by voter in 2008 that banned gay marriage. The Mormon church was one of the main backers of the law.

    ''He lends another strong voice, especially with Mormons in the inter-mountain west,'' Hacker said.

    Benji Schwimmer, an openly gay professional dancer who grew up Mormon, will speak Friday and give a dance performance Saturday night. He is a past winner of the show, ''So You Think You Can Dance.''
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    Sep 16, 2013 11:14 AM GMT

    AP (via Yahoo! Sports)The former BYU quarterback said his goal ''is to build bridges with my gay brothers and sisters. We need to see each other as Jesus sees us.''

    Young also reminisced about winning the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers, and spoke about relying on faith.

    ''(Faith is the) fundamental fuel for the human experience,'' he said. ''If the experience is to return to our Heavenly Father, faith is the fuel from beginning to end.''

    He introduced his wife, Barb, as an advocate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

    ''There is not a day that goes by that you are not on her mind. She has spent countless hours advocating for you,'' Young told the crowd.

    Barb Young, a Mormon convert whose older brother is gay, actively opposed California's Proposition 8 in 2008, even though leaders of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enlisted members to work for its passage. The measure banning same-sex marriage was passed by voters.

    She urged attendees to be ''patient like Jesus'' and to love LDS church members as they move toward understanding of their LGBT family members.

    ''One of the most beautiful things about this church is that it can evolve,'' she said. ''It may not go as fast as everyone wants, but it is evolving.''

    In the end, Barb Young said, everything depends on how fully Mormons live their faith.

    ''If we consciously embrace Jesus' teaching of empathy, compassionate, and love, the future world will be different,'' she said.