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The Church has updated its official resources on same-sex attraction. The website MormonandGay.lds.org provides a wealth of information about this complex and often misunderstood topic.
The site can help you gain a better understanding of same-sex attraction in the context of the gospel. It contains personal stories and videos of people who have chosen to stay faithful in the Church in the face of these challenges. These are touching, faith-promoting videos.
The entry on Same-Sex Attraction in Gospel Topics (topics.lds.org) was also updated.
On Tuesday, the Church sent a notice to stake and ward leaders worldwide (including members of stake and ward councils) informing them of these updated resources. Attached to the notice is a copy of the Gospel Topic on same-sex attraction and two key sections from the website: Church Teachings and Frequently Asked Questions.
“There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks. “But what is changing—and what needs to change—is helping Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere.”
“As a Church nobody should be more loving and compassionate,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook. “Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion, and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
Here are some key messages I get from the updated resources:
- The Church cares about people who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay.
- Feelings of same-sex attraction are not a sin and we can choose how to respond to our feelings.
- People who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay can stay faithful and live fulfilling lives in the Church, including holding temple recommends and receiving Church callings. The website includes a number of videos of families and individuals explaining how they make it work.
- How to appropriately use terminology (such as, same-sex attraction, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender).
- MormonandGay.lds.org is an official website of the Church. Information published on this website is approved by Church leaders.
Because the site is principle-based, it obviously doesn’t address every question that members may have about same-sex attraction, but the principles provide significant guidance. I think the site takes a major step forward in addressing this difficult and complex issue and provides a platform for personal inspiration.
In addition, members of stake and ward councils have access to the Ministering Resource on Same-Sex Attraction, which gives additional ideas about how leaders can counsel with members to understand specific situations and provide help to individuals and families.
Whether you experience same-sex attraction yourself, know someone who does, or simply want to understand what it is all about, I hope you’ll take some time to read the pages of the site, watch the videos, and read the personal accounts that are published on the site. If you do, I promise you’ll have a remarkable spiritual experience.
The notice and its attachments are being translated and will available over the coming weeks in the following 38 languages: Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Fijian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malagasy, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Swedish, Tahitian, Thai, Tongan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. As they are translated, I will add links to these resources on my page of resources for same-sex attraction.
Cheryl JohnsonOctober 31, 2016
Most of the members of our family are not Mormons, and continually question our beliefs about the Church regarding LGBT people. This article provided further proof that what I've always told them...we do not "hate" nor "exclude" LGBT people from our lives, our Church, or our friendships. The very fact that these people have the same sex attractions isn't sinful, but acting upon those attractions is devastating to them, making it harder for them to be obedient to the Lord's teachings. Personally, I do find the public displays of these attractions between members of the same sex to be disturbing. My husband and I would no more display this kind of affectionate behavior in public, nor flaunt our relationship. We find that unseemly and inappropriate, so it is difficult for us to understand why it is so necessary for the LGBTs to display same. We could all live more comfortably if both sides accepted decorum, because I do realize that many young people who are not LGBT "let it all hang out" as well. Yes, we do abhor the sin, but certainly can, do, and will love the sinner.
Charles E. MartinOctober 27, 2016
I am delighted to see this initiative. Gay peoplei are being killed in Saudi Arabia and Iran (and other places). Gay people are being imprisoned in Uganda (and other places). The church leadership should be speaking out about these atrocities. "When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up" -Martin Niemuller, Holocaust survivor