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The LDS (Mormon) Church & homosexuality
Church statements and events:
between the years 2012 & now
Individual Mormons promoting equality at a Utah pride parade.
2012-OCT-11: Apostle Dallin H. Oaks delivered a speech opposing same-sex marriage:
This video is a 4 minute excerpt from a longer speech delivered at a Mormon conference and viewed by 14 million people worldwide in 150 languages!
2013-DEC-20: Federal District court legalized same-sex marriage in Utah. The LDS Church responds:
Nine years earlier, on election day, 2004-NOV, voters in 11 states passed an amendment to their state Constitution that restricted marriage only to the union of one woman and one man. Some went further and banned civil unions as well. Utah was one of the latter. Utah's Amendment 3 reads:
"Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman."
"No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect."
The first clause banned same-sex marriage. The second clause banned civil unions in the state.
In 2013, three same-sex couples from Utah launched a lawsuit "Kitchen et al v. Herbert et al." in Utah federal District Court. Two of the couples were engaged and wanted to marry. The third couple had earlier been legally married in another state and wanted Utah to recognize their marriage. On 2013-DEC-20, federal judge Robert J. Shelby of the U.S. District Court for Utah issued a 53 page ruling declaring Amendment 3 to be unconstitutional because it conflicts with the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Almost instantly, loving, committed same-sex couples who had previously been recognized by the state as mere roommates converged on county offices by the hundreds to purchase marriage licenses.
On the same day, Cody Craynor, spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement saying:
"The church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be [only] between a man and a woman, and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court." 7
Among religious conservatives, the term "support of traditional marriage" often means more than it says. The term actually means to support opposite-sex marriage while simultaneously opposing marriage by same-sex couples. Most religious liberals, secularists, etc. support traditional marriage between opposite-sex couples and also support marriages between same-sex couples.
A year and a half later, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. It legalized gay marriage across the U.S. with the exception of the territory of American Samoa. Most people in the territory are U.S. nationals and not U.S. citizens. Thus, rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court do not necessarily apply there.
2017-OCT: The LDS church relaunched its main LGBT article:
The Church rewrote an earlier article about gay and lesbian Mormons and transferred it to their main web site at www.lds.org. 8 Traffic arriving at their previous web site on LGBT issues at www.mormonsandgays.org is now redirected to their main site.
Their stance towards homosexuality was softened significantly. It states that one can be both Mormon and gay, that God loves all his children, and that Mormons should show love towards their lesbian, gay and bisexual friends and family members.
However, the article contains stories of five Mormons who claim that they have overcome their same-sex attraction. Many in the LGBT community feel that this paints an unrealistic picture of the effectiveness od reparative therapy, and regret that the article does not mention the dangers of this form of therapy, up to and including suicide attempts and completed suicides.
It also states that sexually active same-gender relationships are:
"... sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family." 8
They indicate that their exclusionary policy towards loving, committed sexually active same-sex couples and their marriages is permanent; it will not change in the future.
The article does not cover the "T" group in the LGBT community -- transgender persons and transsexuals. The Church is still studying them.
2017-MAY: 12-year-old Mormon girl discusses her sexual orientation in front of her congregation:
A very brave pre-teen, "Savannah," delivered a talk before her Mormon congregation. She had been asking to give her story since January. In her talk, she revealed that she is a lesbian and that God intended to make her that way. She said in part:
"God loves me just this way, because I believe that he loves all his creations. ... I do believe he made me this way on purpose. No part of me is a mistake.
I did not choose to be this way, and it is not a fad. I cannot make someone else gay and being around me won’t make anyone else this way. I believe that God wants us to treat each other with kindness, even if people are different. ... especially if they are different. ..."
"I know I'm not a horrible sinner for being what I am. I believed God would tell me if I was wrong. ..."
"I had dreams of going to the temple and getting married, and was very sad when I found out that would never happen for me. ..."
"I know my earthly parents and my Heavenly parents love and accept me just the way I am. Amen." 9
She first came out of the closet in 2016-JUN, telling her mother, Heather, that she:
"... felt alone in her thoughts, that the other girls all had crushes on boys, but she didn't, she liked the girls."
Her mother replied saying that she loved her and that she was perfect as she is.
Unfortunately, the stake president turned off her microphone when she was a few sentences from the end of her prepared speech. She was not allowed to complete it. He said that only Christ-like testimonies are to be said in front of the congregation.
Heather reacted to her daughter's speech:
"My takeaway was that of awe. She is brave and courageous. I would have been terrified to get up and say something so close to my heart for fear of what people think. I’m proud of her. Even now, she doesn’t want any of this to be about her, she wants it to be about protecting other LGBT kids. She wants her story told so that this doesn’t happen to other kids. She said she is both happy and sad about the whole thing. Happy because she ‘feels free’ happy because part of me can look at her as a gay person, and see she’s no different than anyone else. She’s sad because she was going to share a story where the church accepted her with no question. ..."
"I want the Mormon Church to know that gay people are beautiful, they are just as good and whole as everyone else, and they deserve life long love. Savannah wants the Church to know that she isn’t bad, that God loves her, and she is gay because she was born that way. ‘Tough love’ won’t take the gay away. Christ would want us all to just love." 9,10
Later, at school, Savannah was surprised by the many people who came up to her and said that they supported her. One was the stake president's daughter.
Recent and future trends on gay marriage:
The LDS church shares a problem with many other conservative Christian denominations: Their older members tend to hold more conservative views concerning human sexuality, homosexual orientation, transgender persons, and the LGBT community generally. Older members supply much of the denomination's financial support The church would suffer financial losses if they liberalized their teachings on sexual orientation. Meanwhile, younger members are adopting a more positive view towards gay marriage and other LGBT concerns.
Alex Landers , 20, of Draper, UT is a Mormon who supports same-sex marriage because she has LGBT friends. One is a bisexual male. She said:
"I can't look at him and his boyfriend and tell them that they can't be happy and they can't love each other. Heavenly Father loves us for who we are. He wants us to be happy, as long as we're treating people well and we're being who we truly are and we're not hurting anyone." 11
The Public Religion Research Institute issued the results of their national poll that they conducted in 2017. They found that:
Support among Mormons generally increased from 27% in 2014 to 40% in 2017. This is much faster rate than the U.S. population generally.
Among young Mormon adults, support rose from 43% in 2014 to a majority of 52% in 2017.
Among Mormon seniors, ages 65 and higher, support rose from 18% to 32% over the same time frame.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
James Nichols, "Courageous 12-Year-Old Mormon Girl Comes Out As Gay In Front Of Her Entire Church," Huffington Post, 2017-JUN-17, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Jerilyn Pool & Savannah, "Episode 2: Savannah’s Story: The Transcript," 2017-MAY-30, "I like to look for rainbows," at: http://iliketolookforrainbows.com/ Search for the string: Now, we have a very special queer Mormon
Brady McCombs, "Mormon support for gay marriage gradually grows," Yahoo, 2018-MAY-04, at: https://www.yahoo.com/