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Mormon Church launches website about homosexuality

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a new website to discuss its position on gays and lesbians. The site, mormonsandgays.org, collects videos and documents of speeches given by church authorities on the topic of homosexuality.

The Mormon Church’s official position is that gays and lesbians can be fully recognized and accepted members, provided they do not act on their feelings. Gay and lesbian Mormons must either choose to remain celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex.

“From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change. There is no change in the church’s position of what is morally right,” the site reads. “But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other church members or elsewhere.”

The website does not reflect a change in doctrine, but is a collection of resources for church members who are seeking to understand the position.

“Members of the church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings and attending the temple,” the site reads.

In 2008, the Mormon Church encouraged its members to become involved in the effort to ban same-sex marriages in California. There was a backlash against the church and it was even the subject of a Sundance Film Festival documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition.

Regarding the timing of the announcement, church spokesman Michael Purdy said, “Too often these types of big, important issues are dealt with in sound bites and often by individuals who do not have the complete picture of what the Church is doing. This website was produced over two years and puts the entire issue in context. The attention the church received during the presidential election period highlighted areas of church belief and practice that are poorly understood by the general public. We think additional context will help people better understand the church’s position on a number of issues. Over the next few weeks we expect to be publishing more resource materials that will help address other topics.”

The site does not necessarily advocate for the changing of sexual orientation, although it does prominently feature a well-known “reparative” therapist who is in a mixed-orientation marriage, Ty Mansfield. He is a family and marriage therapist in Texas and he’s been featured in the past in church publications as an example of a mixed-orientation marriage and one possible path for gay and lesbian Mormons.

Although the site does not encourage gays and lesbians to pursue healthy same-sex relationships, Valerie Larabee, the executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said it is an important step forward.

“I applaud any institution, religious or otherwise, for increasing the availability of potentially lifesaving resources to bridge the gap in human understanding, respect and acceptance of differences,” Larabee said. “It is my hope that our Utah LGBTQ community will embrace the fact that saving lives may be the greatest gift of this new resource for LDS members. Giving LGBTQ and questioning Mormons hope through knowing that their families and church leaders are committed to reducing judgment, rejection and isolation. It’s clear from this website that LDS doctrine will not change, however, those Mormons who are LGBTQ or questioning may enjoy a higher quality of life and more loving relationship with their friends, families and faith.”

 

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32 Comments

  1. I am sorry, I do not agree. There needs to be more study, more insight, and more openess in the Mormon Church as well as sensitivity to the fact that Homosexuality is decided BEFORE birth. Never should a person be turned away from worshiping in the church of his or her choice because of their sexual orientation!

  2. So nothing new. The Church condemns all Gays to a loveless sexless life of misery and unhappiness that every mental health professional in the world would tell you is inherently unhealthy and unproductive in order to remain a member. Wow a whole website dedicated to what is at best deeply condescending and destructive to the individual lives of anyone stuck in the Church's grip and really just hatred and bigotry wrapped up in pretty PR tested statements and phrases that allow them to pretend they don't think we're disgusting scum. As I told my bishop in 1991, I will seriously consider forgiving the Church when they reverse their opposition to healthy happy Gay lives and make monetary restitution for all the destroyed lives their policies have created.

  3. Utter bullshit. There is one video called "Connecting and Understanding" — in 4 minutes of conversation, with 9 different speakers, they never even mention the word gay, lesbian, same-sex attraction, etc. Refers to it all as "it". Gross.

  4. Bumper sticker PR to try to deflect attention from their hate-mongering. Offensive at best, dangerous at worst.

  5. Eliminate the spin and here's the meat of it: "We want LGBT people to stop being gay, but if they must have those attractions, we want them to stay in the fold so our membership and tithing numbers don't drop."

  6. This story on the Mormon Church's new "Mormons and Gays" website is drawing a lot of attention nationally!

  7. It is nice to see a very specific and clear position that members cannot pick and choose from. The church officially takes the stand that gay is not a choice and that family members should welcome and work with members that have these feelings. This is very important to me. It is not perfect but it a vast improvement.

  8. Urrrrgh makes me want to barf! The whole site is in insulting. The "same-sex attraction" references are ignorant and obnoxious! Why any Gay or Lesbian would want to be a part of this church amazes me.

  9. Actually, it is no improvement at all. It is a realization that their old idea of get the families to reject the sinful gay children is no longer working. As long as they keep saying "same-sex attraction" they are saying that there is nothing to homosexuality except a simple temptation that you should overcome. I've heard it for 40 years.

  10. SSA" Helps facilitate compartmentalization.. You're not gay, you just have this little pesky thorn in your side that is called SSA… 🙁

  11. I am happy that The Church is teaching compassion. I am happy that they are addressing the issue head on.

    What I am slightly disappointed about is the following:

    1. That despite this website, the Church spent and lobbied and fund raised, and bundled millions of $USD during the last election cycle to influence ballot initiatives. In all cases the Church's efforts attempted to legally allow Homosexuals to be actively legally discriminated against, and to bar Homosexuals from marrying persons of the same gender. These ballot initiatives were in WA, MD, and ME. And in MN they formed a coalition and attempted to amend the MN constitution to ban homosexuals from entering same gender marriages.

    So whilst preaching compassion out of one side of the mouth, they have placed their time, money, and efforts squarely against the human rights of persons who are actively engaged in expressing their homosexual orientation.

    2. The compassion being taught seems to be tinged with a sense of condescension ie. "Our way is better than your way, but if you MUST choose your way then we will still love you, whilst telling you you are going to hell."

    3. The website features some persons who know that they are homosexually oriented but who have chosen to remain celibate and not to date.

    The website ALSO features testimonials of some persons who have chosen to ignore their orientation, and have made an active choice to nevertheless marry someone of the opposite gender, and simply pretend to be straight because that person finds more happiness in living a lifestyle that focuses on all the other aspects of their life and minimises their sexual and sexual-emotional fulfillment.

    The website does NOT however, feature anyone who is Homosexually oriented BUT who chooses to date persons of the same gender whilst maintaining the same standards that he or she would maintain IF he or she were dating with the goal of marrying in the temple. (I know several people in this categorie)

    Nor does the site include persons who have chosen to live a life that actively includes being openly sexual with persons of the same gender but who have still retained all of the rest of the tenants of their their faith. (I know people in this categorie)

    Nor does the site include any testimonials of persons who have chosen to live a life that actively includes being openly sexual with persons of the same gender AND have chosen to minimise their affiliation to the LDS Church or to restructure their religious practices, or question their faith due to the Church's persecution of persons of Homosexual orientation. ( I fall into this categorie)

    By excluding persons in the last three categories the Church has tried to direct the conversation, and either inadvertently or on purpose marginalises and alienates persons in those vast and complex categories.

  12. Valarie Tell me how keeping Gay people as 2nd class citizens that if they act of their Human feelings for love and intimacy is saving lives? In effect is saying that their attitudes before the web site was destroying lives! Tell me exactly why the center feels this web site will promote Gay Equality and self esteem!

  13. How is this a vast improvement? The LDS Church leaders are being dragged along by the general membership and are digging in their heels. So the LDS Church tells its members to do what decent people do any way? Welcome and work with people that are different? So you will never be able to take a beloved to church,,, hold hands…give signs of affection and we are suppose to feel good about that?

  14. I actually think its a bit worse then saying nothing at all … if you think about it, some kid watching any of these videos is going to get 1 message for them … that message apparently is that what you feel is normal but you can't live the life that will bring you happiness because living that life is what's against the church and god … so keep feeling confused and ashamed 🙁 I really wish ppl would stop being so soft on the church when YES kids are dying left and right because of intolerance. http://www.thegayhotspot.com/news/national/bullying-believed-to-have-caused-suicide-of-another-gay-teen/

  15. I agree with you totally Ben, this is just throwing the dog a bone, putting a bandaid over a the entire issue.

  16. Looks like an effort to spin away from the likely big defeat when the Supreme Court refuses to hear the Prop 8 case and the noxious church sponsored amendment to my state's constitution is overturned. There were members of the church in California who gave up their life savings to pass Prop 8 as part of the church's orders from on high.

  17. By Ben Williams.
    "This new and official LDS Church website is yet another resource Utah Pride can provide for Mormons who reach out for support." Are you fucking kidding me? This site re-affirms that homosexuality is a sin, that Gay kids need to grow up and lead celibate love less lives…and promotes Reorientation Therapy… The new site states being Gay is NOT a choice but choosing to live an unhappy unfufilling joyless life is? What's next? Is Valarie going to put an LDS reading room in her new Pride Center? Valarie what is your idea of support? Certainly not what most of the rest of the community would think. How about putting Evergreen in your resource. Perhaps its time for a leadership change at the center which seems now lacking in Pride.

  18. For some reason, the whole time I was browsing the site and watching the videos, I could hear myself repeat one thing and over again, F*CK YOU! It doesn't matter how much perfume they try put on it, this turd will always be a turd.

  19. I think it's sad how many gay mormons are so desperate to accept any little gesture ("hey, they're telling my family to not disown me! Score!"). Make no mistake, folks — this still boils down to there's something WRONG with you. You have to deny a significant part of who you are. You are disappointing your "God".

  20. My frustration and worry over the LDS Church’s attempts to soften their anti-gay rhetoric can best be summed up by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 1963), which he wrote from a Birmingham City jail:

    “I must make to honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season’. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will – lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

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