Mormonism & LGBTQ Youth: Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds on His Documentary

Imagine Dragons
Eliot Lee Hazel

Imagine Dragons

In Believer, a Sundance-bound documentary that he executive-produced, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds confronts the way Mormonism treats LGBTQ youth.

What inspired this doc?

We were going to make a documentary about Fremont Street in Las Vegas, [where] I grew up. But [director] Don Argott wouldn't let me do it without diving into my life. He was living in my home, documenting me and my family, and that opened up old wounds. My dad’s brother is gay and Mormon -- he was shamed in his community. Teaching that being gay is a sin is so damaging; it sparked me to take action.

Your parents declined to be in the film. Does anyone close to you appear in it?

The singer from Neon Trees, Tyler Glenn. He kept [his sexuality] a secret for years. He came out recently and released a solo album about how he felt rejected by Mormonism. A big part of the film explores what he went through.

What do you hope is the audience’s biggest takeaway?

It represents a part of Mormonism the world doesn't know: a loving people who are anxious for change, who want to accept our queer youth but are also conflicted. It explores that difficult position and where to go from here.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 13 issue of Billboard.