Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday (June 6) to talk about his upcoming documentary Believer, which follows his journey to bridge a gap between his Mormon faith and the LGBTQ community.
Born into the Mormon faith, Reynolds was raised to believe that LGBTQ people were divergent godliness. He explained that he has always felt at odds with the circumstances the faith, but never felt confident enough to vocalize how troubled he felt by its doctrine — until now.
“Feeling a little bit shame in my life over something I shouldn’t have been shamed about helped me to kind identify to some degree with what our LGBTQ youth face all the time in orthodox religion,” the Utah native told host Ellen DeGeneres. “Which is feeling guilt and shame over something that is beautiful and perfect and normal.”
Revelation came, he said, when his therapist reminded him that “sometimes you have to fend people.” Although he still identifies as a Mormon, he is committed to creating change in faith communities, as he explained in his love letter to the LGBTQ community for Billboard’s ongoing Pride Month project.
“Religious leaders can speak all day about how much they ‘love’ our LGBTQ youth,” he wrote. “But until they change their dangerous doctrine that implies or states that LGBTQ youth are living in ‘sin’ when acting upon their sexuality, they are contributing towards increased depression and anxiety in the lives our LGBTQ youth as well has suicide.”
As DeGeneres pointed out, the youth suicide rate in Utah has nearly tripled since 2007 with LGBTQ youth at higher risk taking their own lives. For Reynolds, this means there’s no choice but to speak up, to be heard.
“If I’m passive, I feel like I am standing, then, for bigotry,” he says in the trailer for Believer. “I’m not just going to walk away and let a house on fire burn.”
Watch the Ellen clip below, and tune in for the premiere Believer on Monday, June 25 at 8:00 PM on HBO.