Imagine Dragons Documentary ‘Believer’ Explores Relationship Between Religion and LGBTQ Youth
Dan Reynolds, frontman for the Grammy Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons, is on a mission to explore how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
The new documentary, Believer, which is also the name of one of Imagine Dragons’ most popular songs, had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by HBO for release this summer to coincide with LGBTQ Pride Month.
Directed by Don Argott (Batman & Bill, The Art of the Steal), the film documents a year of Reynolds’ life during the process of organizing the first-ever LoveLoud Festival concert in Orem, Utah, to benefit such gay rights organizations as GLAAD and the Trevor Project, among others.
Featured in the film are Reynolds, Aja Volkman, his wife and fellow musician, and Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn, an openly gay former Mormon.
Born in Nevada, Reynolds was also raised Mormon and although not gay, felt conflicted by his religion’s views towards homosexuality. In his experience, the Mormon church’s lack of tolerance for the gay community has led to an increased rate of suicide among Mormon teens.
Indeed, in a clip towards the end of the documentary, a speaker at the inaugural LoveLoud festival cited a grim statistic: suicide is the leading cause of death among teenagers in Utah.
“I had tons of people who were like, ‘You shouldn’t talk about how we have, like, any issues with suicide. Let’s not talk about that,’” Reynolds said.
Reynolds feels compelled to shed light on the often overlooked relationship between religion and homosexuality. It is a worthy subject since, contrary to popular belief and displayed by Reynolds, who is still a proud Mormon: the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer (The Lion King) also wrote the score for Believer and contributed to one of the two original songs Reynolds wrote for the film.
Believer debuts on HBO on Monday, June 25th at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.