(CelebrityAccess) – Earlier this week HBO Documentary Films and Live Nation Productions premiered their highly anticipated new doc, Believer.
From director Don Argott, and Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, Believer sees the pair delving deep into Reynolds’ own upbringing as a Mormon in Utah and how some of the church community’s values are weighing heavy on and negatively impacting the lives of its LGBTQ youth.
In an open letter penned by Reynolds for Rolling Stone he explains: “Every month that goes by, we are losing LGBTQ youth to suicide. They do not feel accepted. To those who think the answer is simply for the youth to leave the faith, you are not educated on the matter. It is not safe to tell a teenager to do something that could potentially get them kicked out of the house or put them at higher risk within the community they are in. This could lead to even higher suicide rates. We need to foster a community that is safer for them until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves and if needed, move to find a safer space with a circle of people that love and accept them for who they are.
“This is what Believer documents and this is why I created LoveLoud, an annual festival in Utah that is specifically for our LGBTQ youth to attend, feel loved and accepted. It was not easy creating a festival in Provo, Utah but, as you can see in the film, it was necessary and created a safe haven for families with LGBTQ adolescents. All the proceeds raised are distributed to grassroots charities – the Trevor Project, the Tegan and Sara Foundation, Encircle and others – that provide lifesaving services to our LGBTQ youth. LoveLoud isn’t just for the youth, but also their families and friends. They can attend and become educated on how to truly love and accept our LGBTQ youth. What does that entail? It means that you fully accept their sexuality and even celebrate their love in the same way that you celebrate your heterosexuality. We are excited to hear their stories of love and heartbreak at the dinner table. We should make it such a normal part of our lives and communities – so that one day our youth won’t even need to feel the need to “come out.” It shouldn’t be stigmatized as something that is even a “thing” that requires special discussion. Our LGBTQ youth are tired of explaining themselves and they are at risk. We cannot stand by for one more day and let them feel like they are “sinful” or “flawed.”
“To our LGBTQ youth, especially those who are within the walls of an orthodox faith, I love you and accept you. I will fight to be a true ally for you, an ally that I wish I would have been for Casey and Tyler when they needed it. If the leaders won’t change the doctrine, then I will fight to change the culture. We as Mormons, or people of faith, cannot stand by for one more day and support these harmful teachings that are literally killing our youth. That is not Godly. That is not love.”
You can read the letter in full here. HBO will re-air Believer June 30th at 9:35AM and 4:45PM ET.