Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds seeks to raise awareness and change for LGBT+ Mormons in the HBO documentary Believer. This documentary follows Reynolds’ journey to put on a music festival called LoveLoud. This festival aims to be a catalyst for change within the Mormon community. Using his platform of being in the biggest rock band in the world, Reynolds puts a spotlight on the increasing suicide rate of LGBT+ Mormons. Through telling stories from people affected by this issue and the overall impact of the festival, this film shows the power of music.
“If you want to make a difference in the world, you start with your community.” This quote from Reynolds acts as the overall thesis of this film. Though he is unhappy with the status quo in the Mormon Church, it doesn’t mean he wants to leave it. It’s the opposite as he wants those who are struggling in the faith to be loved and accepted. Throughout this journey the audience is introduced to stories of those in the community who have been affected by the Church’s policy. One important story told is that of Tyler Glenn, lead singer for Neon Trees.
Glenn came out in a Rolling Stones article in 2014 which stated he was gay, Mormon, and proud. However, when the Church announced their new policy on this issue, Glenn was devastated. This led him to write a powerful (and totally underrated) solo record, Excommunication. This album features songs about his struggle with his faith.
Tyler Glenn isn’t the only important story told in Believer. The film showcases several powerful interviews from a family who lost their son to suicide, a Mormon girl named Savanna who came out to her church only to get her mic shut off, and more. In addition to these powerful stories, viewers feel the passion Reynolds has for this issue, and the struggles that putting on a festival like this has.
“First things first I’ma say all the words inside my head. I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been” -Believer, Imagine Dragons
Believer gives new meaning to the Imagine Dragons song of the same title. It is gripping, hopeful, and has a beautiful outcome. Music is a powerful tool that can cause positive change- this film is an example of that. Selling out the festival, and even getting a response from the Church, Reynolds is on a path for change which is shown in this incredible film.
The thing I love most about this film is that it shows nothing but love. I come from a LGBT+ household, attended a very religious university that often made me feel like an outsider, and this film really touched my heart. Believer reminds me that there are people out there who love and accept all. Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees were among the first bands I fell in love with. Seeing these artists I’ve looked up to stand up for what they believe in warms my heart. When a group as big as Imagine Dragons uses their influence to bring about change in the world I can’t help but tear up.
Reynolds plans on doing a LoveLoud festival every year until the Church changes its policy on same sex marriage. This year’s LoveLoud festival will take place on Saturday, July 28th in Salt Lake City. Imagine Dragons, Zedd, Tyler Glenn and more are set to perform. If you’d like to donate or learn more about LoveLoud please follow the link below.
I give Believer a 5/5. Please watch this important film.