LDS Church making further movements toward respect for gays, lesbians

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here.) In our ward on Sunday, there were specific, assigned meetings with priesthood groups and the Relief Society. Our bishop led the meeting with the Melchizedek Priesthood. The meeting, which had been preceded by an earlier meeting of local ecclesiastical leaders with an LDS regional representative, (which is one step below the rank of LDS leaders who speak at LDS conferences) dealt with gay and lesbian issues. The most significant news that our bishop related to us was that the church acknowledges that there are “some” people who are born with same-gender attraction.

This is a significant admission. Also, previous stances of the church were re-stated, which is that openly gay persons who are chaste and living their covenants are qualified to enter LDS temples. The church’s position, that marriage should be between a man and a woman, was also re-affirmed, as well as its opposition to same-sex sexual relations. There was an earnest plea for compassion and more understanding toward the challenges and struggles that lesbian and gay members deal with.

That’s a message that needs to be repeated. The requirement of an individual with same-sex attraction to deprive one’s self of same-sex marriage and the bonding, support and intimacy that comes with it is a heavy sacrifice that should be noted.

I know that our ward meetings were not the only meeting in a ward that has occurred. In our ward, we were told that a self-identified gay man who has chosen to marry a woman spoke at the original leadership meeting and outlined some of the challenges he faces. These developments are not surprising. Remember that one LDS apostle, just two years ago, revised remarks he had made in a conference talk that claimed that Heavenly Father would not create a child who was gay. (read)

I mentioned my ward meeting on Facebook and many of the responses were interesting. There does seem to be strong resistance among some of my LDS peers to the idea that some people are “born gay.” I can understand this resistance, given that there are still widely read LDS books, such as “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” that are very strict on the gay issue. (It bears noting that at our Sunday meeting, the message was not that all people who self-identify as gay were born that way.) It may even be that the official church stance, if these meetings are explained in greater detail, may contradict what my bishop meant to say.

But I hope that what I heard on Sunday is accurate church policy. Acknowledging the feelings, suffering and turmoil that some LDS brothers and sisters, who are gay, experience can go a long way toward making their lives more peaceful and members more tolerant.

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21 Responses to LDS Church making further movements toward respect for gays, lesbians

  1. Pingback: LDS Church making further movements toward respect for gays, lesbians : Atlanta Hot of the Press : Latest Gossip, News and Entertainment

  2. Cody says:

    I really appreciated your article. I noticed you mentioned that;

    “The most significant news that our bishop related to us was that the church acknowledges that there are “some” people who are born with same-gender attraction. ”

    I would love to have a reference to where this was said and by who! My dad and I have had lengthy discussions regarding whether or not people are born with SSA. I believe that people are and he holds the view that they are not. I’d love the work cited for that statement if you have it.

    Also, I wrote a blog about a month ago tackling this exact issue–but, of course, with my own views and opinions on the matter. If you ever get the chance, let me know what you think.

    • Doug Gibson says:

      Cody, thanks for sharing your blog. It was interesting to read. In answer to your question, as I mentioned, my bishop was responsing to a question I asked in regards to whether the church leadership believes that persons can be born with same-sex attraction. Perhaps you could query your local LDS leadership as to whether they received the same meeting as our local leaders did.

      • Cody says:

        Glad you were able to read it. :) Was this meeting recent? I don’t doubt your credibility or the credibility of your local leaders, but wouldn’t you think something of such signifigance would have been announced to all members? I would think something that profound would have to have come by revelation; for, even scientists do not know the origins of SSA. Just a couple thoughts. Also, have you read this yet?

        The church has already officially said it’s perfectly open to a scientific conclusion that same-sex attraction is inborn:
        PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You’re saying the Church doesn’t necessarily have a position on ‘nurture or nature’

        ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.

  3. Tom says:

    Interesting stuff Doug, thanks.

    It seems that I recall from the past some zoological studies that indicated that overcrowding in a given animal population produces a certain amount of same sex attraction in it’s members as a natural selection device to limit the re-production of said crowded group.

    Maybe it’s too much reproducing going on that is the real problem – assuming the gay issue is even a problem that is.

  4. laytonian says:

    It’s not a movement; it’s a quiet acknowledgement that they’re going to treat gays as “lesser”, DESPITE them being created by your Father in Heaven.

  5. Mark Sparkman says:

    Doug, very interesting. Glaciers move so slowly we often can’t see it; but they still move, to borrow a famous phrase.

  6. D says:

    “The most significant news that our bishop related to us was that the church acknowledges that there are “some” people who are born with same-gender attraction. ”

    Your Bishop is terribly mistaken and needs to retract.

    And if science were ever able to find actual proof of such a disorder, I would hope that they would also be able to find a cure.

  7. Ges says:

    This is very interesting, thank you for posting! I’m going to ask if our bishop has heard similar, but am wondering where you are. If we have different regional representatives that would make it harder to verify.

  8. Decider says:

    I vote for ANOTHER revelation and prophecy !
    Why does God keep changing his mind on this vital issue?
    Or maybe . . . No! That’s unthinkable!

  9. TomW says:

    Cody’s link is really the definitive word at the moment.

    It isn’t new at all. And doesn’t seem to differ substantively in any way from more recent remarks which people sometimes herald as being new. The teachings of the church on this matter, including calls for civility and compassion, were discussed in great detail in 2008 during California’s Prop 8 discussion, and for all intents and purposes have been very consistent going back even into the late 90′s when it seemed the issue of same-sex marriage began to pick up steam.

  10. ronme says:

    before God we are all sinners: all of us have stains on our soul and if we see the sin in another we must also acknowledge the sin in ourselves or risk being an hypocrite. God will sit in judgement on the consequences of those sins as HE sees fit. Because he hears more than what is spoken and sees more than what is visable. Only He knoweth a man’s true heart and soul. God, the Loving Father sees all his naughty children and knows that many have bad habits: he loves his “gay” children as much as all his other children. Mormons who grow up with same-sex attraction may not ever act upon it (chaste) but their sin remains (to God) because it is in their mind. But if they follow all the other laws of God, and in all their other acts are more saint-like than sinner, wherefore then should those souls be treated as “lesser” Mormons? They too have the God-given desire to love others and to form a lifelong intimate sexual relationship with another one of His children. Tolerate and love them despite their sins as you would have others tolerate and love you despite your sins. The All-forgiving Father will decide how to treat them in the end – so bring them in and let them sing the glories of God with you!

    • Joel says:

      That sounds nice, but in reality it isn’t. Gay people are gay because God made them that way. It’s not a sin. They aren’t less than you. They aren’t “struggling”. What if I told you your heterosexuality was a sin? How would you feel about that? The LDS church’s position on this is not empathetic or kind or any kind of an improvement that is significant in any sense. It still denies good people the ability to love who they are made to love. I appreciate that you are making more of an attempt to show compassion than most LDS people do, but please consider the fact that your position that “we are all sinners” rings a little hollow (and inhuman).

  11. A. Jardine says:

    None of this is new or in the least, in my mind surprising. Here is how I view this. We have no idea what is really going on in the minds of those who believe they have same sex attraction. It wouldn’t bother or suprise me to find out that they, or at least some of them, have a genetic predisposition towards same sex attraction. But is that any different than the sort of thing that most people experience, just with other temptations (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.). For example, it is clear to me that most 18 year old young men have a genetic predisposition to have sex with any woman they can get their hands on, and multiple women if possible. But we, as a society, and God, we believe, with respect to all people, tells us that these actions are wrong, and that we can control ourselves, if we want. It is not a sin to have these feelings, only a sin to act on them. I can’t see why this doesn’t apply to those with same sex attraction issues.

  12. RGraves says:

    I come at this issue a little different as I worked as an RN manager in a very large hospital in both the labor and delivery area and the neo-natal ICU for many years thru the early 80′s until the mid 90′s when I primarily became a manager over larger areas including ER’s etc.. We had on average about 550-600 births a month. I saw a number of infants born with varying degrees of gender issues. The physicians almosts always elected to convince the parents to not try to determine the true “genetic” nature of the infant but instead to have the infant be surgically prepared to the gender that was the easiest to achieve. 9 times out of 10 this was as a girl and about 7 times out of 10 when the genetic tests were completed the infants were boys. The infants were given “hormones” to help them adjust and the parents were told they would have to help their children with “counseling”. Many times I have wondered how these children are. I have also wondered how the babies are who have very “mild” physical symptoms at birth. Studies on the hormones in our milk and meat are very interesting on how our children are progressing to puberty much quicker and our young men have much lower testoterone levels. I believe we must always show love and tolerance for others as we do not know where the behavior may in part be from a very real physical issue.

  13. Pingback: The Cultural Hall Podcast – Articles of News/Week of October 29th

  14. Melisa Earl says:

    I think a better way to put it then people being “born” gay is to say that everyone has a temptation they have to deal with their whole life. something they spend their life trying not to do because of their testimony and life decisions. There are some people who have same gender attraction as their life long temptation. It is something they have as part of their trial in life. Others may struggle with pornography, bad language, coffee, alcohol, or smoking. It is no different for those who have this temptation as those who have other temptations. and others may have smaller temptations when it comes to the effects on themselves and others. but everyone has something that they are tempted to do and have to avoid or give up to live the gospel.

  15. Reade Gloeckner says:

    I am a gay Latter-day Saint who is celibate and I was born gay. Why hide behind SSA/SGA, It is gay. That doesn’t mean we have to be intimate, but, we are gay. If the LDS Church leaders would like to talk, I’d be happy too. If they are in tune with the spirit, after hearing my story, they will certainly agree with we are born gay. If the writer Doug Gibson would like to talk with me, I am available.

  16. Brother Jim Florence says:

    Sure. It is a certain that the “governing councils” of the Church of
    [Jesus Christ] has shown more empathy/compassion to those of us
    that have “phased” in and out of “same sex attractions” for the past
    35 years. It makes one want to “go out” and join an “problems-
    action” agency.
    Elder [Neal Ash Maxwell], in general conference address {circa’ 1977} called the [seventies] the “all inclusive ME generation”. And to that I
    must agree in hindsight.
    I mean with “woman’s suffrage” at an all time high”. The Church
    was going through extensive growing pains.
    Keep in mind…Latter Day Saint member “rolls” topped 6 million.
    Myriads of my friends, [Gay and Straight], “fell into apostasy “.
    This was to be known as ™Pepsi’s “X-Generation”.
    {LGBT} then [purged] them selves and returned to subgroups that
    live and thrive on the fringes of law abiding society.

    Membership rolls [LDS] are growing at aproxi 15.5 million.
    I too, like the above post, live a “chaste” LIFECHOICE, as a member.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    “It’s the Real Thing…In Three Part Harmony”.

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