Mormonism and gender issues/Same-sex attraction

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Mormonism and same-sex attraction

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Ensign, "Why We Do Some of the Things We Do"

Gordon B. Hinckley,  Ensign, (Nov 1999)
I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married.

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Ensign, "Same-Gender Attraction"

Dallin H. Oaks,  Ensign, (Oct 1995)
[W]e should always distinguish between sinful acts and inappropriate feelings or potentially dangerous susceptibilities. We should reach out lovingly to those who are struggling to resist temptation. The First Presidency did this in their 14 November 1991 letter. After reaffirming the sinful nature of “fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior,” the Presidency added: “Individuals and their families desiring help with these matters should seek counsel from their bishop, branch president, stake or district president. We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues. Many will respond to Christlike love and inspired counsel as they receive an invitation to come back and apply the atoning and healing power of the Savior.

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Joshua Johanson, "Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire"

Joshua Johanson,  Proceedings of the 2012 FAIR Conference, (August 2012)
There is a labyrinth surrounding homosexuality that is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. More and more it seems the two sides are talking past each other. I chose the title of Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire because I think understanding the difference between having same-sex attractions and having homosexual desires is key to understanding how to navigate this labyrinth.

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Question: Can a person identify as gay or lesbian and still be a member of the Church in good standing?

The Church does not reject those who experience same-sex attraction. It is possible to experience same-sex attraction and be a faithful member in full fellowship. If those feelings take the form of an intimate physical relationship, then this is considered a sin in the same manner as when heterosexual feelings take the form of an intimate physical relationship outside of marriage.

In 1998, President Hinckley said:

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are."

In 1999, President Hinckley taught:

"As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church."

While President Hinckley avoided directly labeling anyone as gay or lesbian, he was directing his welcome to those who did make use of the label. In no case did he say that only people who shun the label can go forward as all other members, but specifically said that those who considered themselves to be gay could go on as all other members. There was no request for them to hide their identity or to change their vocabulary.

In general, Church leaders recommend against labeling anyone, including yourself. Labels detract from our divine nature as children of God.

In 2010, Bishop Keith B. McMullin taught:

When I was a youngster, my mother discouraged me from using common language when speaking of sacred or special things. For example, instead of referring to an expectant mother as being pregnant, she encouraged me to say “she is expecting a baby.” In Mother’s view, the latter description was more respectful and reverential, the former more clinical and common. Her teachings have had a salient effect upon me. The older I become, the more meaningful is her wisdom. The more we see and speak of intimate things as mere biology, the less likely we are to view and understand them in the context of exalting theology.

This counsel can also apply to using the label "straight" or "gay" to refer to children of God. In 1995, Elder Oaks taught:

We should note that the words homosexual, lesbian, and gay are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons. Our religious doctrine dictates this usage. It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior. [1]

Teachings of Church leaders

Church leaders have, therefore, consistently emphasized that such temptations and desires do not form a core or irreducible part of our nature.

In 1978, Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

And so, now to the subject. To introduce it I must use a word. I will use it one time only. Please notice that I use it as an adjective, not as a noun; I reject it as a noun. I speak to those few, those very few, who may be subject to homosexual temptations. I repeat, I accept that word as an adjective to describe a temporary condition. I reject it as a noun naming a permanent one. [2]

In 1995, Elder Dallin H. Oaks noted:

We should note that the words homosexual, lesbian, and gay are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons. Our religious doctrine dictates this usage. It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior.

Feelings are another matter. Some kinds of feelings seem to be inborn. Others are traceable to mortal experiences. Still other feelings seem to be acquired from a complex interaction of “nature and nurture.” All of us have some feelings we did not choose, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we still have the power to resist and reform our feelings (as needed) and to assure that they do not lead us to entertain inappropriate thoughts or to engage in sinful behavior. [3]

SSA only refers to having same-sex attraction. Homosexual may be referring to attractions, identity or behavior. Also, same-sex attraction does not preclude the presence of opposite-sex attractions. A person who is attracted to both genders may identify as bisexual, but they still have same-sex attractions.

Definition of sexual orientation

The American Psychological Association gives the following definition for sexual orientation:

"Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions." [4]

The term sexual orientation in and of itself is ambiguous. There are many members of the Church who are primarily attracted to the same sex, but their sense of identity and community is more closely connected to a heterosexual lifestyle. Depending on which definition of sexual orientation that being used, the same person may have a homosexual or a heterosexual orientation.

Definition of homosexuality, homosexual, and gay

In regards to the terms homosexual, lesbian and gay, Elder Oaks stated:

We should note that the words homosexual, lesbian, and gay are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

In regards to the term homosexuality, Elder Oaks stated:

"Thus, the First Presidency's letters condemning homosexuality are, by their explicit terms, directed at the practices of homosexuality."

How does this compare with the dictionary? The American Heritage Dictionary defines homosexual as someone exhibiting homosexuality. It defines homosexuality as:

  1. Sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
  2. Sexual activity with another of the same sex. [5]

Both the dictionary and Elder Oaks show ambiguity between using homosexual to refer to thoughts or behaviors. Interpreting condemnations of homosexuality as condemnation of homosexual behavior rather than condemning a person is also inline with modern definitions. The usage of terminology within the church is standard English.

Avoiding using gay as a noun

With regards to using gay as a noun, Elder Oaks said:

We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons. Our religious doctrine dictates this usage. It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior.

The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style gives a similar warning against using gay as a noun:

Gay is often considered objectionable when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals, as in "There were two gays on the panel"; here phrasing such as "Two members of the panel were gay" should be used instead. [6]

According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media reference guide, many newspapers have also advised their newspaper writers to avoid using gay as a noun. [7] They cite the following examples:

New York Times:

Do not use gay as a singular noun. Gays, a plural noun, may be used only as a last resort, ordinarily in a hard-to-fit headline.

Washington Post:

When it is necessary to mention it, gay may be used as an adjective but not as a noun, except as a plural: gay man, gay woman, gay people, gays. Not a gay...

Often, simply reporting the facts obviates the need for labels. Describing a slaying, for instance, should suffice without referring to it as a homosexual slaying. Ask yourself if you would use the term heterosexual slaying. In a recent story, a man "charged" that his former wife "was a lesbian" as if it were a slur, when simply alleging an affair between the ex-wife and the other woman would suffice.

Be wary of using homosexual as a noun. In certain contexts, it can be seen as a slur.


Question: Do Mormon teachings against homosexual acts lead to bullying of gay youth or unchristian treatment of members or non-members with same-sex attraction?

Some members have, through ignorance or malice, doubtless used the sinful nature of homosexual acts to justify their decision to disparage, neglect, or mistreat those who are tempted toward such acts

Like members of all faiths, all Latter-day Saints do not live up to their ideals and principles perfectly. Some members have, through ignorance or malice, doubtless used the sinful nature of homosexual acts to justify their decision to disparage, neglect, or mistreat those who are tempted toward such acts. Such behavior is sinful, and requires repentance.

In this, as in all else, the example of Jesus is paramount

In this, as in all else, the example of Jesus is paramount. When brought a woman taken in adultery, Jesus refused to stone her:

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:7-11)

It is important to recognize, however, that it is no cruelty to teach that homosexual acts are sins—just as the adulterous woman would not have been well served if Jesus had winked at her sin. The Church and its members will continue to teach that homosexual acts are not worthy of those who are children of God. As the Church observed, "Tolerance as a gospel principle means love and forgiveness of one another, not 'tolerating' transgression."[8]

The Church has consistently taught that all people are children of God, and ought to be treated with love, dignity, and respect. This includes those with same-sex attraction, or those who commit homosexual sins.

1980s

In 1987, President Gordon B. Hinckley said of the AIDS/HIV epidemic:

There is a plague of fearsome dimensions moving across the world. Public health officials are greatly concerned, and everyone else should be. The Surgeon General of the United States has forecast an AIDS death toll of 170,000 Americans in just four years. The situation is even more serious in some other areas of the world.

AIDS is a commonly fatal malady caused primarily from sexually transmitted disease and secondarily from drug abuse. Unfortunately, as in any epidemic, innocent people also become victims.

We, with others, hope that discoveries will make possible both prevention and healing from this dread affliction. But regardless of such discoveries, the observance of one clearly understandable and divinely given rule would do more than all else to check this epidemic. That is chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage....

Having said this, I desire now to say with emphasis that our concern for the bitter fruit of sin is coupled with Christlike sympathy for its victims, innocent or culpable. We advocate the example of the Lord, who condemned the sin, yet loved the sinner. We should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and assisting them with their problems.[9]

1990s

In discussing this issue, Elder Dallin H. Oaks quoted the First Presidency:

“We are asked to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving. We are asked to be slower to anger and more prompt to help. We are asked to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution. We are called upon to be true disciples of Christ, to love one another with genuine compassion, for that is the way Christ loved us.”[10]

He then said:

Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right.[11]

Elder Oaks also taught:

Our doctrines obviously condemn those who engage in so-called “gay bashing”—physical or verbal attacks on persons thought to be involved in homosexual or lesbian behavior....

Despite such invitations and assurances, the Church and its members continue to experience misunderstandings about our positions on these matters....

A recent letter is illustrative:

“Another concern we have is the way in which our sons and daughters are classified as people who practice deviant and lascivious behavior. Perhaps some do, but most do not. These young men and women want only to survive, have a spiritual life, and stay close to their families and the Church. It is especially damaging when these negative references are spoken from the pulpit. We believe such talks only create more depression and a tremendous amount of guilt, shame, and lack of self-worth, which they have endured throughout their entire lives. There is sometimes a real lack of the pure love of Christ expressed to help them through their ordeals. We will all appreciate anything you can do to help with the plight of these much misunderstood children of our Father in Heaven. If some of the General Authorities could express more sensitivity to this problem, it would surely help to avoid suicides and schisms that are caused within families. Many simply cannot tolerate the fact that Church members judge them as ‘evil people,’ and they, therefore, find solace in gay-oriented lifestyles.”

These communications surely show the need for improvement in our communications with brothers and sisters who are struggling with problems—all types of problems. Each member of Christ’s church has a clear-cut doctrinal responsibility to show forth love and to extend help and understanding. Sinners, as well as those who are struggling to resist inappropriate feelings, are not people to be cast out but people to be loved and helped (see 3 Nephi 18:22–23,30,32). At the same time, Church leaders and members cannot avoid their responsibility to teach correct principles and righteous behavior (on all subjects), even if this causes discomfort to some.[12]

President Hinckley taught: "Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group."[13]

Each holder of the priesthood also watches to "see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking." (D&C 20:54).

2000s

In October 2000 conference, while speaking about people in same-sex relationships, President Boyd K. Packer taught:

We understand why some feel we reject them. That is not true. We do not reject you, only immoral behavior. We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you (see Heb. 12:6–9; Rom. 3:19; Hel. 15:3; D&C 95:1).

You may even feel that we do not love you. That also is not true. Parents know, and one day you will know, that there are times when parents and we who lead the Church must extend tough love when failing to teach and to warn and to discipline is to destroy.

Elder Jeffry R. Holland reiterated the need for a warm and supportive atmosphere at Church toward those with SSA:

Someone said that if we plant a garden with good seed, there will not be so much need of the hoe. Likewise, if we fill our lives with spiritual nourishment, we can more easily gain control over inclinations. This means creating a positive environment in our homes in which the Spirit is abundantly evident. A positive environment includes consistent private and public worship, prayer, fasting, scripture reading, service, and exposure to uplifting conversation, music, literature, and other media.

This same environment extends to experiences at church. Some with same-gender attractions have unresolved fears and are offended at church when no offense is intended. On the other hand, some members exclude from their circle of fellowship those who are different. When our actions or words discourage someone from taking full advantage of Church membership, we fail them—and the Lord. The Church is made stronger as we include every member and strengthen one another in service and love (see D&C 84:110).[14]

A booklet prepared by the Church in 2007 noted the need for improved kindness from Church members:

Some people with same-gender attraction have felt rejected because members of the Church did not always show love. No member of the Church should ever be intolerant. As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully.[15]

In 2009, Elder Bruce C. Hafen spoke on this subject, and his address was placed on the Church's official website:

Remember President Hinckley’s confidence in you: “Our hearts reach out to [you]. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters.” And President Packer has echoed, “We do not reject you… We cannot reject you… We will not reject you, because we love you.” With that kind of leadership, I pray that all Church members are learning to be more compassionate and understanding.[16]

The Church also endorses and supports the principle that all citizens are equal before the law. The Church has endorsed, for example, non-discrimination ordinances in housing and employment.

For a detailed response, see: Church support of non-discrimination ordinances

2010s

In 2010, the Church issued an official statement:

...we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.

This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment - to love one another.

As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.

Further, while the Church is strongly on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, it has openly supported other rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment.[17]

In October 2012 general conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

When we consider the dangers from which children should be protected, we should also include psychological abuse. Parents or other caregivers or teachers or peers who demean, bully, or humiliate children or youth can inflict harm more permanent than physical injury. Making a child or youth feel worthless, unloved, or unwanted can inflict serious and long-lasting injury on his or her emotional well-being and development.9 Young people struggling with any exceptional condition, including same-gender attraction, are particularly vulnerable and need loving understanding—not bullying or ostracism.[18]


Question: Are Mormon family members taught to reject their LGBT children, thereby forcing many of them to become homeless?

Homelessness among LGBT youth in America is considered “an epidemic"

Reports have appeared in the American media stating that large portions of the homeless youth in Utah are gay. Critics imply that the substantial LDS population in this area explains these high numbers of homeless youth. It’s inferred that LDS families force children with non-heterosexual orientations out of their homes.

Homelessness among LGBT youth in America is considered “an epidemic.” LGBT youth are homeless more often than straight youth all over the country, not just in Utah. A recent survey of LGBT youth in America found that while feeling more disconnected from peers and communities than youth across the country, LGBT youth in Utah actually enjoyed better and more supportive and accepting connections to family than youth nationwide. No statistics have ever been generated to show causal links between LDS affiliation and homelessness among LGBT youth.

Parents have a duty to love and take care of their children

Furthermore, believing in a moral code does not automatically result in the rejection of those who struggle with the code or who break the code. Parents have a duty to love and take care of their children. However, some parents may ignore the counsel of Church leaders and the scriptures and force LGBT children out of their homes. The Church is clear that this is not in harmony with the gospel, and that such parents are not worthy to hold temple recommends. The teachings of the Church help family members love and respect their children, regardless of sexual orientation or behavior. This love and respect leads to an increase of the child's mental and physical health. [19] (See also Mormonism and culture/Wayward family members)

There are several problems with the assertion that LDS families in Utah reject and expelled LGBT children from their homes:

1) Rates of homelessness among gay youth in Utah are similar to those found in other areas of the US. The high incidence is not limited to states with large LDS communities.

2) A national survey of LGBT youth in America found that youth in Utah actually enjoy better support from adults and family members than national averages. However, the youth reported more problems with peers and larger social structures and the media focused on these negative statistics. So far, the media have ignored the positive numbers on family support.

3) A causal connection between homelessness among gay youth and the LDS Church has never been substantiated with data. It remains merely an assertion and an expression of prejudice.

4) Church leaders and scriptures explicitly teach that children have claim on their parents for support. In addition to this responsibility, parents and other family members are instructed to extend unconditional love regardless of individual behaviors.

While reports of homelessness among gay youth are sad and startling, they aren’t out of line with other data collected in other US states

Statistics on sexual orientation among homeless youth in Utah are typically derived from a survey given to youth ages 15 to 22 who access services for the homeless in Utah. It’s a written survey administered by Volunteers of America Utah. VOAU regularly surveys homeless youth using their facilities, inquiring about many factors including sexual orientation, the reasons for homelessness, and family background. In news items from 2012, a VOAU vice-president is quoted saying a recent survey revealed 42% of homeless youth using VOAU services self-identified as LGBT. [20]

While reports of homelessness among gay youth collected by VOAU are sad and startling, they aren’t out of line with other data collected in other US states.

The percentage of homeless youth throughout all of the US who self-identify as LGBT moves between 20 and 40 percent. [21] Most of the time, Utah posts rates of homeless gay youth at around one third, in the middle of the national range. [22] The finding of 42% is a high point. All gay youth, not just those in states with large LDS populations, experience homelessness at rates disproportionate to the rest of the population. Nationwide, the problem has been called “an epidemic.” [23] This doesn’t diminish the tragedy of the Utah figures but it does strengthen the notion that the Utah findings are typical of American society and are not aberrations arising from subcultures like the LDS Church.

In 2008, the homeless rate for LGBT youth in Utah rose above the national average

In 2008, the homeless rate for LGBT youth in Utah rose above the national average. When questioned about the 2008 numbers, one manager of a program for homeless youth suggested it might have resulted from a change in the way youth were asked about their sexuality. Instead of asking them to identify themselves as straight, gay, lesbian, or transgendered, respondents were allowed to choose “other than heterosexual.” [24] It’s an option respondents might have been more comfortable with since many of them feel they’re still forming their identities and resist narrower definitions.

Family Support for LGBT Youth in Utah

In 2012, the Washington D.C. based Human Rights Campaign released the partial results of an online survey of LGBT youth from across America. The survey recruited respondents through online social media and at places described as “LGBT youth centers.” [25] 10,030 LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 17 responded and their data were compared to those of 510 “straight” youth who were already members of online panels used in market research. HRC acknowledges issues with sampling place limitations on the survey data. The report on the survey explains, “Traditional measures of margin of error do not apply and the results here may not be representative of this population as a whole.” [26]

Setting aside concerns with the methodology, the survey does yield some interesting results. When the survey first appeared in the media, emphasis was placed on differences between national averages and averages of youth in Utah. Most repeated were figures showing Utah youth were more likely to be verbally harassed and feel like they didn’t “fit in” in their communities.

However, the media seem to have ignored data showing LGBT youth in Utah were better connected to support from adults and family members than national averages.

Utah youth replied that they were “happy” 38% of the time while the national number, though close, is slightly lower at 37%.

When asked if they had “no adult to turn to” 29% of LGBT youth nationwide agreed while only 24% of Utah youth agreed. In Utah, LGBT youth are more likely to have an adult they can rely on involved in their lives.

LGBT youth inside Utah and across the country reported being “out” to immediate family at similar level with Utah youth being slightly more open at 58% instead of the national average of 56%. However, Utah youth were more open with their extended families. 34% of Utah youth were “out” with their extended families while on the national level only 25% of youth were “out” with their extended families.

When asked if they had an adult they could go to when worried or sad, 59% of Utah youth said “yes.” That’s far more than the 49% of youth across the country who report having access to this kind of emotional support from adults.

It’s possible that these supportive adults could be social workers or other non-family members. However, two factors point away from this possibility. The first is that Utah youths report greater than average feelings of animosity between themselves and the local and state governments that would be funding and supporting social agencies. The second factor is that, when asked if their families were “not accepting” of their LGBT identity, youth in Utah were less likely (29%) to say they were not accepted than their peers in the rest of the US (33%). [27]

Utah youth tend to feel more accepted in their families than other LGBT American youth

According to the HRC survey data, Utah youth tend to feel more accepted in their families than other LGBT American youth, not less. This finding runs counter to the assumption that LDS homes are more prone to break off ties with non-heterosexual children.

The results of the HRC survey depict Utah as a state where LGBT youth tend to feel more comfortable and connected to adults in general and to their families in particular than other LGBT American youth. Whether reported in the media or not, the data can speak for themselves to defy critics’ assertions and prejudices.

Failing to report on areas where Utah performs better in caring for LGBT youth than the nation as a whole is not the only foul committed by media outlets. They have also mistakenly reported a direct connection between being LGBT and being homeless because of being "kicked out" by intolerant parents. Either due to ignorance or perhaps for more cunning reasons, media covering the story have made statements claiming the 42% of homeless youth in Utah who are LGBT "report experiencing family rejection and being kicked out of their homes." [28] This is simply wrong. The 42% figure refers only to the proportion of homeless youth who self-identify as LGBT. It says nothing about the reasons why this 42% are homeless. The youths' reasons for leaving home are as complex and varied as they are. Apart from not being borne out by any data, the idea that such a perfect correlation could exist between any two social factors (including factors like being LGBT and being kicked out of one's home) is highly unlikely.

Nothing yet released in any of the data collected definitively links LDS affiliation with homelessness in LGBT youth

Nothing yet released in any of the data collected by VOAU or HRC definitively links LDS affiliation with homelessness in LGBT youth. When asked about the causes of homelessness in LGBT youth, a VOAU vice-president told the Salt Lake Tribune the reasons for homelessness were mixed. He named economic factors (especially since the recession began), lapses in foster care, and abuse as well as irreconcilable differences between parents and children about sexual orientation. [29]

Even when sexual orientation was the most commanding issue, it is sometimes the children, not the parents who insist on the separation that makes the child homeless.

And, as always, there are other faith groups in Utah besides the LDS Church. They also have children who identify as LGBT. In the Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage of the story in June 2012, the young woman interviewed about her experience of being kicked out of her home due to her sexual orientation was from a religious background that was not LDS. [30] It’s just one anecdotal shred of evidence but it does reveal a problem with the assumption that all homeless LGBT youth in Utah are being victimized by the LDS Church.

Should the case arise where an LDS parent did force a child to leave home because of that child's sexuality, the teachings of the Church are quick to denounce the parent's behavior

Should the case arise where an LDS parent did force a child to leave home because of that child's sexuality, the teachings of the Church are quick to denounce the parent's behavior. LDS scripture makes clear that parents have a duty to care for their children regardless of the circumstances. DC 83:4 reads:

All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age.

Luke 17:2 reads:

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

In 1992, the Church issued a statement to Church leaders saying:

If a person with homosexual problems chooses not to change, family members may have difficulty maintaining feelings of love and acceptance toward the person. Encourage them to continue loving the person and hoping that he or she may repent. [31]

In 1995, The Family: A Proclamation to the World taught:

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations... Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. [32]

In 2007, Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman had an interview in which they were asked what they would do if they had a child who decided to be in a same-sex relationship. Elder Oaks responded:

It seems to me that a Latter-day Saint parent has a responsibility in love and gentleness to affirm the teaching of the Lord through His prophets that the course of action he is about to embark upon is sinful. While affirming our continued love for him, and affirming that the family continues to have its arms open to him, I think it would be well to review with him something like the following, which is a statement of the First Presidency in 1991: “The Lord’s law of moral conduct is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between husband and wife, appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual conduct, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior is sinful. Those who persist in such practices or influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline.

My first responsibility as a father is to make sure that he understands that, and then to say to him, “My son, if you choose to deliberately engage in this kind of behavior, you’re still my son. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to reach out and cleanse you if you are repentant and give up your sinful behavior, but I urge you not to embark on that path because repentance is not easy. You’re embarking on a course of action that will weaken you in your ability to repent. It will cloud your perceptions of what is important in life. Finally, it may drag you down so far that you can’t come back. Don’t go that way. But if you choose to go that way, we will always try to help you and get you back on the path of growth...

Surely if we are counseled as a body of Church membership to reach out with love and understanding to those ‘struggling with these issues,’ that obligation rests with particular intensity on parents who have children struggling with these issues... even children who are engaged in sinful behavior associated with these issues.[33]

In the same interview, Elder Wickman responded:

With all, it needs to be done in the spirit of love and welcoming that, as Elder Oaks mentioned, ‘You’re always my son.’ There’s an old maxim which is really true for every parent and that is, ‘You haven’t failed until you quit trying.’ I think that means both in terms of taking appropriate opportunities to teach one’s children the right way, but at all times making sure they know that over all things you’ll love them...

That is to say we continue to open our homes and our hearts and our arms to our children, but that need not be with approval of their lifestyle. Neither does it mean we need to be constantly telling them that their lifestyle is inappropriate. [34]

Families with members with same-sex attractions, including those in same-sex relationships, are strengthened through living the principles of love and respect taught by Jesus Christ. The sister of a woman (Leigh) who is involved in a sexual relationship with another woman wrote an "Ensign" article in which she describes how the Church has helped her with her relationship with her sister:

I know the best thing I can do to have a close relationship with my sister is to have a close relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son. Leigh recently commented that it has been through the way our family has loved her that she has felt what she understood to be God’s love." [35]

While we are taught to love and treat everyone with kindness, the Church puts particular weight on the way we treat our family members, including those who are attracted to the same sex. In order to enter into the temple, a member must first answer this question:

Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

If there is anything that is not in harmony with the teachings, they are not worthy to hold a temple recommend.

Further citations which illustrate these same principles include:

Elder Quentin L. Cook in 2009:

It is equally important that we be loving and kind to members of our own faith, regardless of their level of commitment or activity. The Savior has made it clear that we are not to judge each other. This is especially true of members of our own families. Our obligation is to love and teach and never give up. The Lord has made salvation “free for all men” but has “commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.” [36]


Question: Since the Church teaches that homosexual conduct is sinful, does this mean it opposes efforts to protect those who engage in homosexual acts?

The Church has not opposed measures which grant all the civil or secular benefits of marriage to other domestic partnerships

The Church sees the institution of marriage in religious terms. Theologically, the Church cannot accede to a redefinition of marriage.[37] The Church has not, however, opposed measures which grant all the civil or secular benefits of marriage to other domestic partnerships (see California FAMILY.CODE SECTION 297-297.5). As the Church indicated during its opposition to the redefinition of marriage in California:

The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.[38]

The Church sustains the principle that all citizens are equal before the law

The Church sustains the principle that all citizens are equal before the law. Members of the Church are particularly sensitized to this issue because of their long history of persecution at the hands of private citizens and government agents in the nineteenth century. Even though Church members may disagree with the choices made by those who engage in homosexual acts, the Church has endorsed various measures to ensure fair treatment for them and others with same-sex attractions.

For example, Michael Otterson (managing director of the Church Public Affairs department) addressed the Salt Lake City Council meeting on 10 November 2009 and said:

The nondiscrimination ordinances being reviewed by the city council concern important questions for the people of this community.

Like most of America, our community in Salt Lake City is comprised of citizens of different faiths and values, different races and cultures, different political views and divergent demographics. Across America and around the world, diverse communities such as ours are wrestling with complex social and moral questions. People often feel strongly about such issues. Sometimes they feel so strongly that the ways in which they relate to one another seem to strain the fabric of our society, especially where the interests of one group seem to collide with the interests of another.

The issues before you tonight are the right of people to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against. But, importantly, the ordinances also attempt to balance vital issues of religious freedom. In essence, the Church agrees with the approach which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter.

In drafting these ordinances, the city has granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations, for example, in their hiring of people whose lives are in harmony with their tenets, or when providing housing for their university students and others that preserve religious requirements.

The Church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage. They are also entirely consistent with the Church’s prior position on these matters. The Church remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.

I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree – in fact, especially when we disagree. The Church’s past statements are on the public record for all to see. In these comments and in our actions, we try to follow what Jesus Christ taught. Our language will always be respectful and acknowledge those who differ, but will also be clear on matters that we feel are of great consequence to our society. Thank you.[39]


Question: What are some of the unique challenges or difficulties faced by Mormons with same-sex attraction?

Church leaders have encouraged members to be particularly kind and compassionate to those struggling with SSA

Elder Bruce C. Hafen in 2009:

During a recent stake conference in Europe, I asked the stake president if Sister Hafen and I might visit one or two of his stake members who could use a little encouragement. As we visited one young man, a single returned missionary, we found that he cared deeply about the Church but was also very troubled. When we asked how he was doing, he began to cry and, with a look of real anguish he said, “I suffer from same-gender attraction.” My heart went out to him. The longer we talked, the more compassion I felt, as I learned that the operative word for him really was “suffer.”[40]


Question: Do Mormons believe that same-sex attraction will persist in the next life?

Multiple LDS leaders have taught that same-sex attraction and homosexual desire will not persist beyond death

Examples of such teachings include those listed below.

A 2007 official Church publication on same-sex attraction reassured readers that:

While many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life. However, the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provision for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life. As we follow Heavenly Father’s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God’s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children.

Same-gender attractions include deep emotional, social, and physical feelings. All of Heavenly Father’s children desire to love and be loved, including many adults who, for a variety of reasons, remain single. God assures His children, including those currently attracted to persons of the same gender, that their righteous desires will eventually be fully satisfied in God’s own way and according to His timing. [41]

The Church's official website quoted Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman telling Church Public Affairs:

ELDER WICKMAN: One question that might be asked by somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is, “Is this something I’m stuck with forever? What bearing does this have on eternal life? If I can somehow make it through this life, when I appear on the other side, what will I be like?”

Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.

The good news for somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that ‘I’m not stuck with it forever.’ It’s just now. Admittedly, for each one of us, it’s hard to look beyond the ‘now’ sometimes. But nonetheless, if you see mortality as now, it’s only during this season. 2) If I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments, if I can keep covenants that I have made, the blessings of exaltation and eternal life that Heavenly Father holds out to all of His children apply to me. Every blessing — including eternal marriage — is and will be mine in due course.

ELDER OAKS: Let me just add a thought to that. There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband, a wife, and posterity. Further, men are that they might have joy. In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities. [42]

In a 2007 PBS special, Elder Holland said about same-sex attraction:

I do know that this will not be a post-mortal condition. It will not be a post-mortal difficulty. [43]

In 2009, the Church's official website published Elder Bruce C. Hafen's remarks. He taught:

If you are faithful, on resurrection morning—and maybe even before then—you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex. Some of you may wonder if that doctrine is too good to be true. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said it MUST be true, because “there is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband and wife, and posterity.” And “men (and women) are that they might have joy.” [44]


Question: Do Mormon leaders recommend marriage as "therapy" for those with same-sex attraction?

The prophets and general authorities have, in their written statements, long been clear that marriage is not to be seen as a "treatment" for same-sex attraction

It is claimed that Church leaders have advocated that those with same-sex attraction marry those of the opposite sex as part of the "therapy" for overcoming their same-sex desires or inclinations.

Like members of all faiths, all Latter-day Saints do not live up to their ideals and principles perfectly. Some members and leaders have doubtless encouraged some people with same-sex desires to marry someone before they were ready. Such a practice has been discouraged by statements by the Church's highest authorities.

As with all decisions relating to marriage, such matters are ultimately the responsibility of the parties involved.

1970s

President Kimball wrote a pamphlet entitled "Hope for Transgressors", in which he addressed leaders who were helping men who were involved in homosexual behavior. He said:

When you feel he is ready, he should be encouraged to date and move his life towards the normal. It is proper that a girl should be interested in a boy and a boy should be interested in a girl.

While marriage was mentioned as a possibility, it was not presented as a part of the repentance process or a cure. The idea of marriage was to be introduced only when the young man was ready, not as a means to be ready. There have been disastrous marriages that have resulted from people getting married before they were ready, but there are many marriages that have been very successful, especially those who have headed President Kimball's advice to wait until after you are ready before marriage.

1980s

In 1986, Elder Oaks had an interview with CBS. This was the discussion:

CBS: The Church has recommended in the past marriage as a part of repentance, when you're engaging in homosexual...

ELDER OAKS: I don't know whether that has been recommended by individual bishops or priesthood leaders counseling persons in individual circumstances. I just don't know that. Marriage is not usually thought of as an act of repentance.

CBS: As part of repentance from ...there have been several cases cited of when a homosexual who wants to remain within the fold and is fighting his feelings will go to a bishop or will go for counsel and what is recommended is that you repress those feelings and get married and have children and that will set you on a better path. Is that foreign to you? Does that sound...

ELDER OAKS: I don't know whether that has been recommended or not because the counseling sessions you refer to are very confidential counseling sessions and when the bishop comes out of that counseling session he doesn't report to anyone. When the person he's talking to comes out of that session they're free to talk to anyone and say anything without fear of contradiction. So I don't know. I just don't know what has been said in such sessions. [45]

In 1987, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

The Lord has proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is intended to be an eternal relationship bonded by trust and fidelity. Latter-day Saints, of all people, should marry with this sacred objective in mind. Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip to such practices again. [46]

1990s

In Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems, the Church stated:

Marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems. The lives of others should not be damaged by entering a marriage where such concerns exist. Encouraging members to cultivate heterosexual feelings as a way to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement. However, some people have reported that once they are freed from homosexual problems, heterosexual feelings have gradually emerged. [47]

2006

Elder Oaks said:

We are sometimes asked about whether marriage is a remedy for these feelings that we have been talking about. President Hinckley, faced with the fact that apparently some had believed it to be a remedy, and perhaps that some Church leaders had even counseled marriage as the remedy for these feelings, made this statement: "Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices." To me that means that we are not going to stand still to put at risk daughters of God who would enter into such marriages under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them. Persons who have this kind of challenge that they cannot control could not enter marriage in good faith.

On the other hand, persons who have cleansed themselves of any transgression and who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity - that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate. [48]

2007

Elder Holland said:

For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender... Recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. [49]


Question: How do Mormons view the issue of heterosexual marriage for people with same-sex attraction?

The Church does not recommend marriage for everyone with same-sex attraction

The Church does not recommend marriage for everyone with same-sex attraction. They recommend being and open and honest before marriage, which correlates with scientific evidence for successful marriages. Even outside the church, people with same-sex attraction are marrying an opposites sex partner at rates higher then those who are committing to a same-sex partner.

The Church encourages all of its members to be open and honest with their spouse

The Church encourages all of its members to be open and honest with their spouse. (See Same-sex attraction/Honesty) In particular, they have discouraged members with same-sex attraction from using marriage as personal therapy or from lying in order to get married. However, they have said marriage can be appropriate in certain situations. Elder Oaks stated:

"We are sometimes asked about whether marriage is a remedy for these feelings that we have been talking about. President Hinckley, faced with the fact that apparently some had believed it to be a remedy, and perhaps that some Church leaders had even counseled marriage as the remedy for these feelings, made this statement: “Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices.” To me that means that we are not going to stand still to put at risk daughters of God who would enter into such marriages under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them. Persons who have this kind of challenge that they cannot control could not enter marriage in good faith. (See Same-sex attraction/Marriage as therapy)

On the other hand, persons who have cleansed themselves of any transgression and who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity — that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate.

President Hinckley said that marriage is not a therapeutic step to solve problems."[1]

Some critics have argued that by creating a culture which allows people with same-sex attraction to enter a marriage with a member of the opposite sex, the Church sets up its members for failure and heart-ache.

Some people have never had an attraction to the opposite sex, but develop an attraction for their spouse

Some critics have claimed that it is impossible for a man with same-sex attraction to develop a "great attraction" for a daughter of God (or a woman with same-sex attraction to develop a great attraction for a son of God) and therefore marriage is impossible and the Church should stop talking about it.

We know from anecdotal evidence that many people with same-sex attractions have developed an attraction for their spouse. Some people have never had an attraction to the opposite sex, but develop an attraction for their spouse. Other people have always had some level of opposite-sex attraction. (The term same-sex attraction can be applied to anyone who is attracted to the same sex, regardless of intensity or presence of opposite-sex attractions.) Other people have done all they could and have never been able to develop an attraction for the opposite sex. There is a great variety of ways people experience their sexuality, but regardless of the attractions a person experiences now or in the future, everyone can live the gospel, either through marriage or celibacy. To say no one with same-sex attraction can develop an attraction for a potential spouse denies the experience of many people. It would be just as naive as saying everyone with same-sex attraction can develop an attraction for a potential spouse.

Marriages where one spouse is attracted to the same sex are more prone to divorce and dissatisfaction

Marriages where one spouse is attracted to the same sex are more prone to divorce and dissatisfaction. The Church does not recommend marriage in all cases. For example, the Church recommends being open and honest with a spouse before marriage. Research by Buxton found that if a man with same-sex attraction were to enter a marriage without disclosing their attractions, the marriage had a 85% chance of failure within three years after the sexual attractions were discovered.

Most often, the couple choose not to stay together after the disclosure. However, for those who did try to make their marriages work, they found relatively high success rates after being open and honest. The study concluded:

“The significant finding is that about half of those who tried to make their marriages work succeeded, an important figure for couples who are dismayed by the fifteen percent figure to keep in mind. This low figure is based on all marriages where the husband came out.”[2]

On the other hand, research by Kays found that open and honest communication lead to higher rates of stability and satisfaction in marriage. They found that some of the couples "report having a highly satisfying and stable relationship, similar to that of heterosexual marriages."[3]

Prevalence of marriages

According to the Straight Spouse Network, there are two million opposite-sex marriages in the United States where one of the spouses is attracted to the same sex. According to The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, 3.5% of men married to women and 2.1% of women married to men reported same-sex attraction. Those are people who are actually married. Compare that with US Census Bureau's estimate that there are 646,464 same-sex couples in the United States. This includes both those who consider themselves married and those who do not. While marriage may not work for everyone with same-sex attraction, it seems that even in modern America, more people with same-sex attraction choose committed relationships with people of the opposite sex than with those of the same sex.

It is important to note that these figures include everyone who self-reported having same-sex attraction. It does not include those who did not self report same-sex attraction, nor did it report the degree of same-sex attraction. Same-sex attraction includes both those who only attracted to the same sex as well as those who have attraction to both sexes.



This page is a chronology of statements from primary and secondary sources. Sources may be viewed by following the citation links.

Question: What have past and present Mormon leaders taught about why some people are attracted to the same sex?

The Church does not have an official position on the causes for same-sex attraction

Many Church leaders have indicated that we do not know the cause(s), and that this is a question for science. This is not to be confused with teachings on the practice of homosexuality, which focuses on behavior rather than attractions. Most teachings directed at homosexuality deal with homosexual behavior rather than homosexual attraction. (See Definitions.) For example, some claim President Kimball taught masturbation causes same-sex attraction, when in fact he taught it caused homosexuality, not same-sex attractions. (See Origin/Masturbation).

Many leaders have also indicated that discerning a cause for this (or any other) temptation is, in a sense, immaterial—given that one has such a temptation, what ought one to do about it? Below are collected a variety of quotes; most deal with same-sex attraction specifically, while a few speak in more general terms about weakness, frailties, or other mortal afflictions and could equally be applied to opposite-sex attractions.

1980

President Spencer W. Kimball

The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity. If one has such desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery. The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts. And the Church will excommunicate as readily any unrepentant addict....

Temptations come to all people. The difference between the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the other resisted. It is true that one’s background may make the decision and accomplishment easier or more difficult, but if one is mentally alert, he can still control his future. That is the gospel message—personal responsibility. [50]

1987

Boyd K. Packer

Obedience is powerful spiritual medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all…. Some frustrations we must endure without really solving the problem. Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because we cannot control them. Things we cannot solve, we must survive. [51]

1988

Dallin H. Oaks

Most of us are born with [or develop] thorns in the flesh, some more visible, some more serious than others. We all seem to have susceptibilities to one disorder or another, but whatever our susceptibilities, we have the will and the power to control our thoughts and our actions. This must be so. God has said that he holds us accountable for what we do and what we think, so our thoughts and actions must be controllable by our agency. Once we have reached the age or condition of accountability, the claim ‘I was born that way’ does not excuse actions or thoughts that fail to conform to the commandments of God. We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal.

God has promised that he will consecrate our afflictions for our gain (see 2 Nephi 2:2). The efforts we expend in overcoming any inherited [or developed] weakness build a spiritual strength that will serve us throughout eternity. Thus, when Paul prayed thrice that his ‘thorn in the flesh’ would depart from him, the Lord replied, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Obedient, Paul concluded:

‘Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

‘Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

Whatever our susceptibilities or tendencies [feelings], they cannot subject us to eternal consequences unless we exercise our free agency to do or think the things forbidden by the commandments of God. For example, a susceptibility to alcoholism impairs its victim’s freedom to partake without addiction, but his free agency allows him to abstain and thus escape the physical debilitation of alcohol and the spiritual deterioration of addiction.

… Beware the argument that because a person has strong drives toward a particular act, he has no power of choice and therefore no responsibility for his actions. This contention runs counter to the most fundamental premises of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan would like us to believe that we are not responsible in this life. That is the result he tried to achieve by his contest in the pre-existence. A person who insists that he is not responsible for the exercise of his free agency because he was ‘born that way’ is trying to ignore the outcome of the War in Heaven. We are responsible, and if we argue otherwise, our efforts become part of the propaganda effort of the Adversary.

Individual responsibility is a law of life. It applies in the law of man and the law of God. Society holds people responsible to control their impulses so we can live in a civilized society. God holds his children responsible to control their impulses in order that they can keep his commandments and realize their eternal destiny. The law does not excuse the short-tempered man who surrenders to his impulse to pull a trigger on his tormentor, or the greedy man who surrenders to his impulse to steal, or the pedophile who surrenders to his impulse to satisfy his sexual urges with children. …

There is much we do not know about the extent of freedom we have in view of the various thorns in the flesh that afflict us in mortality. But this much we do know; we all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. That is fundamental. [52]

1990

Boyd K. Packer

All of us are subject to feelings and impulses. Some are worthy and some of them are not; some of them are natural and some of them are not. We are to control them, meaning we are to direct them according to the moral law….

We receive letters pleading for help, asking why should some be tormented by desires which lead toward addiction or perversion. They seek desperately for some logical explanation as to why they should have a compelling attraction, even a predisposition, toward things that are destructive and forbidden.

Why, they ask, does this happen to me? It is not fair! They suppose that it is not fair that others are not afflicted with the same temptations. They write that their bishop could not answer the “why,” nor could he nullify their addiction or erase the tendency.

We are sometimes told that leaders in the Church do not really understand these problems. Perhaps we don’t. There are many “whys” for which we just do not have simple answers. But we do understand temptation, each of us, from personal experience. Nobody is free from temptations of one kind or another. That is the test of life. That is part of our mortal probation. Temptation of some kind goes with the territory....

It is not likely that a bishop can tell you what causes these conditions or why you are afflicted, nor can he erase the temptation. But he can tell you what is right and what is wrong. If you know right from wrong, you have a place to begin. That is the point at which individual choice becomes operative. That is the point at which repentance and forgiveness can exert great spiritual power…. [53]

1993

Boyd K. Packer

Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave…. After the Fall, natural law had far-reaching sovereignty over mortal birth. There are what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called “pranks” of nature, which cause a variety of abnormalities, deficiencies, and deformities. However unfair they seem to man’s way of reasoning, they somehow suit the purposes of the Lord in the proving of mankind…. [54]

1994

Richard G. Scott

It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will.

Recognize that some challenges in life will not be resolved here on earth. Paul pled thrice that “a thorn in the flesh” be removed. The Lord simply answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”2 He gave Paul strength to compensate so he could live a most meaningful life. He wants you to learn how to be cured when that is His will and how to obtain strength to live with your challenge when He intends it to be an instrument for growth. In either case the Redeemer will support you.

That is why He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light….

Don’t say, “No one understands me; I can’t sort it out, or get the help I need.” Those comments are self-defeating. No one can help you without faith and effort on your part.9 Your personal growth requires that. Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding. As the scriptures repeatedly affirm, you will be helped as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ. That faith is demonstrated by a willingness to trust His promises given through His prophets11 and in His scriptures, which contain His own words. [55]

1995

Dallin H. Oaks

Feelings are another matter. Some kinds of feelings seem to be inborn. Others are traceable to mortal experiences. Still other feelings seem to be acquired from a complex interaction of “nature and nurture.” All of us have some feelings we did not choose, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we still have the power to resist and reform our feelings (as needed) and to assure that they do not lead us to entertain inappropriate thoughts or to engage in sinful behavior.

Different persons have different physical characteristics and different susceptibilities to the various physical and emotional pressures we may encounter in our childhood and adult environments. We did not choose these personal susceptibilities either, but we do choose and will be accountable for the attitudes, priorities, behavior, and “lifestyle” we engraft upon them.

Essential to our doctrinal position on these matters is the difference between our freedom and our agency. Our freedom can be limited by various conditions of mortality, but God’s gift of agency cannot be limited by outside forces, because it is the basis for our accountability to him. The contrast between freedom and agency can be illustrated in the context of a hypothetical progression from feelings to thoughts to behavior to addiction. This progression can be seen on a variety of matters, such as gambling and the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Just as some people have different feelings than others, some people seem to be unusually susceptible to particular actions, reactions, or addictions. Perhaps such susceptibilities are inborn or acquired without personal choice or fault, like the unnamed ailment the Apostle Paul called “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7). One person may have feelings that draw him toward gambling, but unlike those who only dabble, he becomes a compulsive gambler. Another person may have a taste for tobacco and a susceptibility to its addiction. Still another may have an unusual attraction to alcohol and the vulnerability to be readily propelled into alcoholism. Other examples may include a hot temper, a contentious manner, a covetous attitude, and so on.

In each case (and in other examples that could be given) the feelings or other characteristics that increase susceptibility to certain behavior may have some relationship to inheritance. But the relationship is probably very complex. The inherited element may be nothing more than an increased likelihood that an individual will acquire certain feelings if he or she encounters particular influences during the developmental years. But regardless of our different susceptibilities or vulnerabilities, which represent only variations on our mortal freedom (in mortality we are only “free according to the flesh” [2 Nephi 2:27]), we remain responsible for the exercise of our agency in the thoughts we entertain and the behavior we choose. [56]

Richard G. Scott

It is so hard when sincere prayer about something we desire very much is not answered the way we want. It is especially difficult when the Lord answers no to that which is worthy and would give us great joy and happiness. Whether it be overcoming illness or loneliness, recovery of a wayward child, coping with a handicap, or seeking continuing life for a dear one who is slipping away, it seems so reasonable and so consistent with our happiness to have a favorable answer. It is hard to understand why our exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not bring the desired result….

When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.

This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Proverbs 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience….

How grateful I am personally that our Savior taught we should conclude our most urgent, deeply felt prayers, when we ask for that which is of utmost importance to us, with “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42). Your willingness to accept the will of the Father will not change what in His wisdom He has chosen to do. However, it will certainly change the effect of those decisions on you personally. That evidence of the proper exercise of agency allows His decisions to produce far greater blessings in your life. I have found that because of our Father’s desire for us to grow, He may give us gentle, almost imperceptible promptings that, if we are willing to accept without complaint, He will enlarge to become a very clear indication of His will. This enlightenment comes because of our faith and our willingness to do what He asks even though we would desire something else….

Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing. Yes, pain, disappointment, frustration, and anguish can be temporary scenes played out on the stage of life. Behind them there can be a background of peace and the positive assurance that a loving Father will keep His promises. You can qualify for those promises by a determination to accept His will, by understanding the plan of happiness, by receiving all of the ordinances, and by keeping the covenants made to assure their fulfillment. [57]

1996

Richard G. Scott

You are here on earth for a divine purpose. It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure. You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you. The tempering effect of patience is required. Some blessings will be delivered here in this life; others will come beyond the veil. The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not. When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. If you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you….

Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him. [58]

Neal A. Maxwell

Of course our genes, circumstances, and environments matter very much, and they shape us significantly. Yet there remains an inner zone in which we are sovereign, unless we abdicate. In this zone lies the essence of our individuality and our personal accountability….

...we become the victims of our own wrong desires. Moreover, we live in an age when many simply refuse to feel responsible for themselves. Thus, a crystal-clear understanding of the doctrines pertaining to desire is so vital because of the spreading effluent oozing out of so many unjustified excuses by so many….

Some seek to brush aside conscience, refusing to hear its voice. But that deflection is, in itself, an act of choice, because we so desired. Even when the light of Christ flickers only faintly in the darkness, it flickers nevertheless. If one averts his gaze therefrom, it is because he so desires….

What we are speaking about is so much more than merely deflecting temptations for which we somehow do not feel responsible. Remember, brothers and sisters, it is our own desires which determine the sizing and the attractiveness of various temptations. We set our thermostats as to temptations. [59]

1999

Henry B. Eyring

A second truth about our accountability is to know that we are not the helpless victims of our circumstances. The world tries to tell us that the opposite is true: imperfections in our parents or our faulty genetic inheritance are presented to us as absolving us of personal responsibility. But difficult as circumstances may be, they do not relieve us of accountability for our actions or our inactions. Nephi was right. God gives no commandments to the children of men save He prepares a way for them to obey. However difficult our circumstances, we can repent.

Similarly, the world might be willing to excuse our bad behavior because those around us behave badly. It is not true that the behavior of others removes our responsibility for our own. God’s standards for our behavior are unchanged whether or not others choose to rise to them…. [60]

2000

Neal A. Maxwell

Yet there are other fixed limitations in life. For instance, some have allotments including physical, mental, or geographic constraints. There are those who are unmarried, through no fault of their own, or yearning but childless couples. Still others face persistent and unreconciled relationships within their circles of loved ones, including offspring who have “[become] for themselves,” resistant to parental counsel (3 Nephi 1:29). In such and similar situations, there are so many prickly and daily reminders.

Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Suffice it to say, such mortal allotments will be changed in the world to come. The exception is unrepented sin that shapes our status in the next world. [61]

2006

Dallin H. Oaks

A man wrote a General Authority about how the power of the Atonement helped him with his problem of same-gender attraction. He had been excommunicated for serious transgressions that violated his temple covenants and his responsibilities to his children. He had to choose whether to attempt to live the gospel or whether to continue a course contrary to its teachings.

“I knew it would be difficult,” he wrote, “but I didn’t realize what I would have to go through.” His letter describes the emptiness and loneliness and the incredible pain he experienced from deep within his soul as he sought to return. He prayed mightily for forgiveness, sometimes for hours at a time. He was sustained by reading the scriptures, by the companionship of a loving bishop, and by priesthood blessings. But what finally made the difference was the help of the Savior. He explained:

“It [was] only through Him and His Atonement. … I now feel an overwhelming gratitude. My pains have been almost more than I could bear at times, and yet they were so small compared to what He suffered. Where there once was darkness in my life, there is now love and gratitude.”

He continues: “Some profess that change is possible and therapy is the only answer. They are very learned on the subject and have so much to offer those who struggle … , but I worry that they forget to involve Heavenly Father in the process. If change is to happen, it will happen according to the will of God. I also worry that many people focus on the causes of [same-gender attraction]. … There is no need to determine why I have [this challenge]. I don’t know if I was born with it, or if environmental factors contributed to it. The fact of the matter is that I have this struggle in my life and what I do with it from this point forward is what matters” (letter dated Mar. 25, 2006). [62]

Discussion with Church Public Affairs by Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman

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.

ELDER WICKMAN: Whether it is nature or nurture really begs the important question, and a preoccupation with nature or nurture can, it seems to me, lead someone astray from the principles that Elder Oaks has been describing here. Why somebody has a same-gender attraction… who can say? But what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave, and it is behavior which is important. [63]

2007

Church booklet produced in 2007 notes

Despair is another adverse influence. It often results from a lack of understanding and trust in God’s continuing love as made available through the power of the Atonement. You can find hope in the fact that every blessing contemplated by Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness remains available for each of His children. Despair and doubt may lead to withdrawal, fault-finding, and impatience that all answers and resolutions for life’s problems are not immediately forthcoming. The Spirit of God brings good cheer and happiness. Trust the Lord. Do not blame anyone—not yourself, not your parents, not God—for problems not fully understood in this life. [64]

Jeffrey R. Holland

If you are a parent of one with same-gender attraction, don’t assume you are the reason for those feelings. No one, including the one struggling, should try to shoulder blame. Nor should anyone place blame on another-including God.

I too affirm that God loves all His children and acknowledge that many questions, including some related to same-gender attraction, must await a future answer, perhaps in the next life. Unfortunately, some people believe they have all the answers now and declare their opinions far and wide. Fortunately, such people do not speak for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [65]


Question: Do Mormons believe that same-sex attraction is "inborn" or "genetic"?

The Church does not have a stance on the causes of same-sex attraction

The Church does not have a stance on the causes of same-sex attraction. Whether it is genetic, environmental, or some combination of the two does not affect Church doctrine. Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman discussed this in an interview with public affairs:

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.

ELDER WICKMAN: Whether it is nature or nurture really begs the important question, and a preoccupation with nature or nurture can, it seems to me, lead someone astray from the principles that Elder Oaks has been describing here. Why somebody has a same-gender attraction… who can say? But what matters is the fact that we know we can control how we behave, and it is behavior which is important.[66]

There has been a lot of contradictory research that has been done to determine the origins of same-sex attraction, but there has not been anything conclusive ever shown. The American Psychological Association has stated:

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.[67]

Further research will hopefully shed more light on the subject, but whatever reason science gives for same-sex attraction, it does not affect Church doctrine.

What if same-sex attraction is genetic

Let us suppose that it was shown that same-sex attraction is genetic. Would this be a doctrinal problem for the Law of Chastity? Even if same-sex attraction were perfectly natural, the Church still teaches we should overcome the natural man. Elder Oaks gives the following explanation:

Some kinds of feelings seem to be inborn. Others are traceable to mortal experiences. Still other feelings seem to be acquired from a complex interaction of “nature and nurture.” All of us have some feelings we did not choose, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we still have the power to resist and reform our feelings (as needed) and to assure that they do not lead us to entertain inappropriate thoughts or to engage in sinful behavior.

Different persons have different physical characteristics and different susceptibilities to the various physical and emotional pressures we may encounter in our childhood and adult environments. We did not choose these personal susceptibilities either, but we do choose and will be accountable for the attitudes, priorities, behavior, and “lifestyle” we engraft upon them.

Essential to our doctrinal position on these matters is the difference between our freedom and our agency. Our freedom can be limited by various conditions of mortality, but God’s gift of agency cannot be limited by outside forces, because it is the basis for our accountability to him. The contrast between freedom and agency can be illustrated in the context of a hypothetical progression from feelings to thoughts to behavior to addiction. This progression can be seen on a variety of matters, such as gambling and the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Just as some people have different feelings than others, some people seem to be unusually susceptible to particular actions, reactions, or addictions. Perhaps such susceptibilities are inborn or acquired without personal choice or fault, like the unnamed ailment the Apostle Paul called “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7). One person may have feelings that draw him toward gambling, but unlike those who only dabble, he becomes a compulsive gambler. Another person may have a taste for tobacco and a susceptibility to its addiction. Still another may have an unusual attraction to alcohol and the vulnerability to be readily propelled into alcoholism. Other examples may include a hot temper, a contentious manner, a covetous attitude, and so on.

In each case (and in other examples that could be given) the feelings or other characteristics that increase susceptibility to certain behavior may have some relationship to inheritance. But the relationship is probably very complex. The inherited element may be nothing more than an increased likelihood that an individual will acquire certain feelings if he or she encounters particular influences during the developmental years. But regardless of our different susceptibilities or vulnerabilities, which represent only variations on our mortal freedom (in mortality we are only “free according to the flesh” [2 Ne. 2:27]), we remain responsible for the exercise of our agency in the thoughts we entertain and the behavior we choose.

Whatever our susceptibilities or tendencies [feelings], they cannot subject us to eternal consequences unless we exercise our free agency to do or think the things forbidden by the commandments of God. For example, a susceptibility to alcoholism impairs its victim’s freedom to partake without addiction, but his free agency allows him to abstain and thus escape the physical debilitation of alcohol and the spiritual deterioration of addiction.

Beware the argument that because a person has strong drives toward a particular act, he has no power of choice and therefore no responsibility for his actions. This contention runs counter to the most fundamental premises of the gospel of Jesus Christ.[68]

Many people believe opposite-sex attraction is natural, yet the church still puts restrictions on practicing heterosexuality outside of marriage. Elder Packer spoke of a husband who expressed his heterosexuality by viewing pornography. Elder Packer explains why this expression of heterosexuality can be overcome:

Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.

The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.

We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.

We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.” 13

Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.[69]

Just as expressing heterosexuality outside of marriage can be overcome, the same is true for expressing homosexuality.

Understanding explanations of homosexuality

In the past, when leaders have spoken about homosexuality or homosexual orientation, they may not have been referring to same-sex attraction. Elder Oaks has stated:

"The First Presidency's letters condemning homosexuality are, by their explicit terms, directed at the practices of homosexuality."

When President Kimball spoke on homosexuality, he often clarified that he was talking about the "sexual act" and said that those attractions would never go away. This usage is consistent with modern definitions. One of the definitions in the modern dictionary of homosexuality is:

Sexual activity with another of the same sex.

Sexual orientation is likewise ambiguous. One of the definitions offered by the American Psychological Association is:

A person's sense of identity based on [sexual] attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Both homosexuality and sexual orientation include a definition accepted by medical communities that is based on chosen behaviors. This is different than same-sex attraction.

There are some members of the church who have taught that the church endorses a particular theory as to the causes of same-sex attraction. Those who do this are misguided. In speaking about the causes of same-sex attraction, Elder Holland said:

Unfortunately, some people believe they have all the answers now and declare their opinions far and wide. Fortunately, such people do not speak for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[70]


Question: Is there an "epidemic" of suicide among gay Mormons?

The Church recognizes that both being a member of the church and having same-sex attraction is a difficult circumstance

Critics charge that:

  • suicide rates are higher for those with same-sex attraction
  • Church doctrine and teaching causes these higher suicide rates
  • there is an "epidemic" of suicide among gay Mormons

The Church recognizes that both being a member of the church and having same-sex attraction is a difficult circumstance. There are many instances where such members have heard more emphasis on the doctrine teaching that homosexual behavior is wrong and less emphasis on the doctrine that simply feeling same-sex attraction is only a temptation like many others and that feeling temptation is not a reason to feel guilt, shame, or alienation. There are also instances where family and friends of those with same-sex attraction have unkindly contributed to distress and depression. These things happen despite the church's deliberate work to teach the opposite.

The existence of such events does not prove a link between the church's teaching and suicide

However, the existence of such events does not prove a link between the church's teaching and suicide, especially considering the church's efforts to put in place exactly the factors that have been shown to prevent suicide. If critics are truly worried that church members with same-sex attraction are susceptible to suicide, they should focus on the church's statements of inclusion and compassion, of reaching out with love to all, of open communication and strong family bonds, and of the doctrine that those who suffer temptation need feel no shame or guilt and that those who have violated the standards set by the church are still loved and welcomed. This would help those at risk more, presumably, than does harping on the fictional "hatred" felt by the church toward those with same-sex attraction.

Many critics want most for the church to abandon its stance that homosexual relationships are incompatible with eternal principles of morality. This unsubstantiated and sensationalistic slander--that suicides are the church's fault--will not produce that result.

This is an extremely sensitive topic, and anything said here is not meant to be unkind to the families and friends of those who have been lost to suicide

This is an extremely sensitive topic, and anything said here is not meant to be unkind to the families and friends of those who have been lost to suicide. FairMormon's mission is to defend the church from incorrect accusations, even when that means contradicting those who, quite understandably, wish to comprehend and to change whatever factors led to the suicide of a loved one.

Based on the statistical evidence available, which is probably not as extensive as it will some day be, it may be correct to say that suicide rates are higher for those with same-sex attraction, but the results vary widely among studies.

It is, however, an unsupported leap to say that LDS doctrine, or even religious influence in general, makes suicide more likely for a person with same-sex attraction.

Some factors have been experimentally shown to reduce the likelihood of suicide in teens and young adults, including access to medical and mental health care, conflict resolution skills, lack of access to lethal means, strong ties to family, family acceptance of sexual/gender identity, school and community support, positive role models, and religious or cultural beliefs that discourage suicide. [4]

Of these factors, only the last is explicitly connected to religion, and the LDS religion very definitely counsels against suicide. [5]

Despite the lack of evidence, critics accuse that the church, by teaching the doctrine that homosexual acts are always sinful and that only heterosexual marriage is valid, drives members of the church who have same-sex attraction to depression and suicide. Often, when this accusation is refuted by supporters of the church, they are then accused of not caring about the suffering and lives lost, and of contributing to the climate that drove the person to suicide. Again, FAIR has no wish to cause or increase pain, but it is necessary to point out that the correlation between religious doctrine and suicide, though often assumed by critics, is simply not proven.

In fact, the church clearly provides and teaches that its members should provide several of the above-listed factors which decrease the risk of suicide. The below quotes are only a small sample of the available statements in each category.

LDS church encouragement to seek medical and mental health treatment

  • "The Church finds situations when the trained (mental health professional) is called in for assistance. There is a proper place for these professionally trained specialists. The Church has an organization for this purpose. It is called LDS Social Services. There are also other faithful Latter-day Saints who are in public or private practice and who can be called upon as a bishop feels the need."[6]

LDS church encouragement to develop conflict resolution skills

  • “Each of us is an individual. Each of us is different. There must be respect for those differences...We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse. Concerning these you and I may disagree. But we can do so with respect and civility.” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 661, 665).

LDS church encouragement to develop and maintain strong family ties

  • 1999: "Keep in mind that this is the same person you have always known: a child of God. Be grateful that this individual is willing to share his or her burden with you...Let it be understood that you value him or her and that this difficult journey will not have to be traveled alone."[7]
  • 2007: "I’d begin by recognizing the courage that brought your son, daughter, sibling, or friend to you. I’d recognize the trust that person has extended. Discussing the issue with someone of trust is a healthy first step to dealing with confusing feelings, and it is imperative that these first steps be met with compassion. Above all, keep your lines of communication open. Open communication between parents and children is a clear expression of love, and pure love, generously expressed, can transform family

ties."[8]

LDS church counsel regarding others' behavior toward members with same-sex attraction

  • 1974: "To “persecute” homosexuals would be wrong, just as it would be wrong for us to persecute anyone. We must try to understand why they have chosen this way of life."[9]
  • 1991 Letter from the First Presidency: "We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues."[10]
  • 1995: "We should reach out lovingly to those who are struggling to resist temptation...[Letters from those with same-sex attraction expressing feelings of isolation and non-acceptance] surely show the need for improvement in our communications with brothers and sisters who are struggling with problems—all types of problems. Each member of Christ’s church has a clear-cut doctrinal responsibility to show forth love and to extend help and understanding."[11]
  • 1998: "We love them as sons and daughters of God...We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties."[12]
  • 2004: "Equal to my fears of going to the bishop were my feelings of unworthiness to be at church with people who were living good lives and had not indulged in the sins I had committed. I was sure the first Sunday I returned to church that everyone would see right into my soul and know what I was guilty of and the feelings I was struggling with. Instead, my anxieties were put to rest when members of the ward welcomed me back with loving fellowship."[13]
  • 2007: "You are a son or daughter of God, and our hearts reach out to you in warmth and affection. Notwithstanding your present same-gender attractions, you can be happy during this life, lead a morally clean life, perform meaningful service in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with your fellow Saints, and ultimately receive all the blessings of eternal life." [14]


Question: Why do Mormons typically refer to homosexual/gay/lesbian issues with such terms as "same-sex attraction"?

LDS doctrine emphasizes that people are not the sum of their desires, temptations, or sins

Why do Mormons typically refer to homosexual/gay/lesbian issues with such terms as "same-sex attraction" and heterosexual/straight issues with such terms as "opposite-sex attraction"?

LDS doctrine emphasizes that people are not the sum of their desires, temptations, or sins. Secular evidence suggests that those who self-identify with their desires in this way are more likely to engage in acts which the gospel of Christ teaches are sinful.

Our choice of terminology should not be construed to deny others the privilege of choosing their own acts or self-labels

Our choice of terminology should not be construed to deny others the privilege of choosing their own acts or self-labels. When labels such as "homosexual," or "heterosexual", and labels such as "gay," "lesbian," or "straight" are used by Mormons, this terminology should be understood to:

  • reflect the self-understanding of those referred to; or
  • serve as an adjective (e.g., "gay activists" are those working politically on behalf of those who self-identify as gay or "heterosexual marriage" is a marriage between two people of the opposite sex regardless of sexual orientation).

The language used to describe people or phenomena can influence how we perceive or think about such matters.

LDS doctrine teaches that "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." [71] Marriage between a husband and wife, and sealing into eternal family units is the foundation of heaven in LDS theology, and Church leaders have repeatedly taught that no child of God will bear the burden of erotic desire for the opposite sex after death.

Attraction to members of the same sex, like heterosexual temptation, is not a sin. Sin only occurs when we encourage or seek out such attraction outside of marriage, or act upon it.

<onlyinclude> According to the American Psychological Association: "Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Individuals may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors." [72]

Having same-sex attractions, participating in same-sex relationships, and identifying as gay or lesbian are three separate things. A study by the Social Organization of Sexuality found that 60% of men and 68% of women who were attracted to the same gender have never engaged in homosexual behavior. This number differs from those who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. For them, only 13% of men and 4% of women have never engaged in homosexual behavior. [73] This lead the researchers to conclude that sexual identity (i.e., how people label and conceive of themselves) was a stronger indicator of sexual behavior than sexual orientation (i.e., the feelings or inclinations which people have). </blockquote>

Our true identity

Elder Dallin H. Oaks noted a natural human tendency to use a single facet of our personality or experience as a large part of a self-definition:

I think it is an accurate statement to say that some people consider feelings of same-gender attraction to be the defining fact of their existence. There are also people who consider the defining fact of their existence that they are from Texas or that they were in the United States Marines. Or they are red-headed, or they are the best basketball player that ever played for such-and-such a high school. People can adopt a characteristic as the defining example of their existence and often those characteristics are physical.

We have the agency to choose which characteristics will define us; those choices are not thrust upon us.

The ultimate defining fact for all of us is that we are children of Heavenly Parents, born on this earth for a purpose, and born with a divine destiny. Whenever any of those other notions, whatever they may be, gets in the way of that ultimate defining fact, then it is destructive and it leads us down the wrong path. [74]

Some use a self-identity as "homosexual" to imply or argue that acting on homosexual desires is an inevitable or proper outcome, since it is simply "who I am." The Church teaches, rather, that our temptations, unhealthy desires, or sins do not define who we are as children of God.


Question: Are Mormon with same-sex attraction encouraged to be closeted or lie about their attractions?

Honesty, inclusion, and fellowship are core values to the Church

It is claimed that:

  • Members are encouraged to lie about their sexual orientation
  • This encourages dishonesty
  • This isolates them from other members

Honesty, inclusion, and fellowship are core values to the Church. No where is there counsel to hide, lie or isolate yourself from others. Members do not have to make their sexual feelings the subject of unnecessary attention in order to be honest with themselves and with others.

Member with same-sex attractions are not encouraged to lie or hide their sexual attractions or to isolate themselves from others

Member with same-sex attractions are not encouraged to lie or hide their sexual attractions or to isolate themselves from others. All members are encouraged to avoid labels and not to identify themselves primarily by their sexual feelings. [75]

However, there is a difference between not identifying yourself primarily by your sexual feelings, and being "closeted". A person can be honest, share their feelings with others and be comfortable with who they are, including their sexuality, while still realizing that they are first and foremost a child of God.

Counsel is always given within a context. Taking individual counsel out of context of other counsel is bound to lead to a misinterpretation of that counsel. It also helpful to look at which counsel is given the most emphasis, prominence and repetition.

Are members encouraged to be closeted about their sexual feelings?

Throughout LDS scriptures, members are given a commandment to be one. D&C 38:27 reads:

I say unto you, be one; and if you are not one ye are not mine.

Isolating yourself interfers with the process of being one.

President Monson taught:

It is important that we eliminate the weakness of one standing alone and substitute for it the strength of people working together. [76]

Elder Robert D. Hales taught:

Why is it that some of us fail to learn the very critical point that we did not come to this life to live it alone? You can’t hide your actions from self and others. Polonius’ advice to his son, Laertes:

This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet, I, iii, 78–80

is valid, but must be qualified and expanded to include the concern for how to be true to yourself and your fellowman. The “isolated self” shut off from the Light of Christ makes us become fallible—open to delusion. The balance and perspective which come from caring about others and allowing others to care for us form the essence of life itself. [77]

Not only are members counseled to care for others, but to allow others to care for them. Part of being one is mourning with those that mourn, and comforting those that stand in need of comfort.(Mosiah 18:8) This applies equally to those who have struggled with their sexual attractions, regardless of the orientation. Elder Oaks teaches:

All should understand that persons (and their family members) struggling with the burden of same-sex attraction are in special need of the love and encouragement that is a clear responsibility of Church members, who have signified by covenant their willingness “to bear one another’s burdens”

Isolating yourself from others and carrying your burdens by yourself intefers with these other commandments. Not only are members allowed to disclose their sexual feelings to others, they are encouraged to share their feelings with the Bishop if they find these feelings to be a struggle.

Are members encouraged to lie about their sexual feelings?

The counsel not to give sexual feelings undue attention is very different than lying about it or completely ignoring it. There has never been any counsel given to members that they should pretend to lust after a group of people that they are not actually lusting after. There is a difference between being prudent in disclosing sensitive topics, such as struggling with lust for either gender, and being dishonest.

Honesty with others and with oneself has always been taught and encouraged in the church. In D&C 97:8, the Lord says the only ones that are acceptable before Him are those who are honest in heart. The 13th Article of Faith teaches that we believe in being honest and true. President Monson taught:

The oft-repeated adage is ever true: “Honesty [is] the best policy.” A Latter-day Saint young man lives as he teaches and as he believes. He is honest with others. He is honest with himself. He is honest with God. He is honest by habit and as a matter of course. [78]


Question: In Mormonism, what are the ramifications from denying a gay identity?

No harm has been demonstrated in not having a homosexual orientation identity

Critics of Mormonism argue that in order to be happy and healthy, a person with same-sex attraction needs to identify as gay and have a same-sex relationship.

No harm has been demonstrated in not having a homosexual orientation identity, and in some cases, it may even prove beneficial. There are, of course, many questions about homosexuality that have not been studied scientifically, but Latter-day Saints nevertheless can be sure about the wisdom of following the example and teaching of the Lord's chosen servants. Not only can members with same-sex attraction be content rejecting a gay identity, but they can gain greater clarity about things and find great joy in preparing themselves for all of the eternal blessings the Lord promises them through His Gospel.

The church encourages members to view themselves as sons and daughters of God

The church encourages members to view themselves as sons and daughters of God, and discourages any identity that interferes with that identity. Members who refer to themselves as straight, gay or lesbian are free to go on as all other members, but are advised not to identify themselves primarily by their sexual feelings.

See also: LGBT identity

Taking on a sexual identity, whether gay or straight, has not been shown to have any benefit over those who choose not to assume a sexual identity. Most of the people with same-sex attractions who have not had a homosexual experience also do not identity as gay.[79] Critics argue that it is not healthy for homosexual people to reject a gay identity or suppress their homosexual attractions. They argue that the only way to be well-adjusted is to come out as a gay person. Many faithful members of the church as well as other Christians have found peace and joy in rejecting a gay identity. Others have incorporated a gay identity into a lifestyle of celibacy or heterosexual marriage.

Because of the massive opposition to people who want to reject a gay identity, a task force set up by the APA investigated the matter. They found that there is no clear harm in denying a gay identity. They found that for some people, a religious identity was stronger than their sexual identity, and instructed counselors not to preclude the goal of celibacy, but to help clients determine their own goals in therapy, and that together with support groups, the therapy can change a client's sexual orientation identity. Dr. Glassgold, the leader of the taskforce, summarized the findings by saying that there has been little research about the long-term effects of rejecting a gay identity, but there is "no clear evidence of harm" and "some people seem to be content with that path."[80]

Due to the results of this study, the task force recommended sexual orientation identity exploration for clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. Psychologists are recommended to help clients explore which sexual orientation identity best suits their needs and values. It is then recommended that psychologists help clients transition to their new identity. They list as possible new sexual orientation identities for people with same-sex attractions as:

  1. Heterosexual
  2. LGBT
  3. Disidentify from LGBT (such as ex-gay)
  4. No specific sexual orientation identity[81]

A person could assume any of these identities and still be a member of the Church in good standing. None of these identities have been found to cause any harm.

Effects of adopting a gay identity

While there is no evidence that the failure to adopt a gay identity is harmful for people with same-sex attractions, there is evidence that adopting a gay identity may lead to undesired results for some people.

There is a strong correlation between identifying as gay or lesbian and having gay sex. This is an important part for members who want to follow the law of chastity. A study by the Social Organization of Sexuality found that 60% of men and 68% of women who were attracted to the same gender have never engaged in homosexual behavior. This number differs from those who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. For them, only 13% of men and 4% of women have never engaged in homosexual behavior.[82] This lead the researchers to conclude that sexual identity (i.e., how people label and conceive of themselves) was a stronger indicator of sexual behavior than sexual orientation (i.e., the feelings or inclinations which people have).

Dr. Gary Remafedi, the director of the Youth and AIDS Projects at the University of Minnesota, did a study on people with same-sex attraction. He found that those who adopted a gay or bisexual identity at an earlier age were more likely to attempt suicide than those that did not.[83]It is not clear why this is the case. Another study on Norwegian adolescents found that when sexual attraction, identity and behavior were factored together, only homosexual behavior was predictive of suicide.[84] It may be that those who adopt a gay identity at a younger age are more likely for suicide simply because they are more likely to have gay sex, and not because of their sexual identity in and of itself. Another possible explanation may be because of increased exposure to bullying and intimidation of people who identify as gay, which bullying the Church strongly opposes. Whatever the reason, it seems that youth with same-sex attractions who do not adopt a gay identity may be less prone to suicide.

Research by Schneider found that for some married me with same-sex attraction, a strong homosexual identity was associated with difficulties in marital satisfaction.[85] Other research by Yarhouse found that the sexual identity of a spouse with same-sex attraction was an important resilient factor in helping marriages succeed.[86]

Research seems to indicate that adopting a gay identity may have a negative impact on youth and married men.


Question: What have Mormon leaders taught about the distinction between desires, feelings, or inclinations, and sexual acts?

Those who claim that the Church has long condemned those who had homosexual feelings or inclinations regardless of whether they acted upon such feelings have not accurately reflected the long-standing teaching of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles on this matter

What have past and present Church leaders taught about the distinction (if any) between sexual temptations, desires, feelings, or inclinations, and sexual acts?

Those who claim that the Church has long condemned those who had homosexual feelings or inclinations regardless of whether they acted upon such feelings have not accurately reflected the long-standing teaching of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles on this matter. Recent teaching of this doctrine is not a novelty, but merely an emphasis of that which has been long taught.

We are held accountable for things that we can choose. We are not held accountable for things outside of our control

We are held accountable for things that we can choose. We are not held accountable for things outside of our control. This applies equally to sexual actions. Church leaders have always taught that we need to learn to control our sexual actions. Our sexual natures are sacred, and should only be shared between a husband and a wife. But this law is not limited to sexual acts, but includes sexual feelings. The church teaches members to "never do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage". It is the arousing of sexual feelings that is taught against, not the mere presence of sexual feelings. In all cases, counsel focuses on controllable actions, such as arousing sexual feelings, rather than uncontrollable things like the presence of sexual feelings. This standard applies equally regardless of the genders involved.

D&C

In a revelation given to William E. McLellin, the Lord reveals some of the feelings of McLellin:

Commit not adultery—a temptation with which thou hast been troubled. (D&C 66:10)

Even though he had been troubled with thoughts of adultery (there is no indication whether it was homosexual or heterosexual in nature) the Lord still gave the following praise:

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant William E. McLellin—Blessed are you, inasmuch as you have turned away from your iniquities, and have received my truths, saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Savior of the world, even of as many as believe on my name. (D&C 10:1)

1980

President Spencer W. Kimball, in one of the first extensive treatments of this topic by a President of the Church regarding homosexual acts, was clear about the difference between the temptation and the act. That distinction has persisted in LDS discourse and teaching ever since:

The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity. If one has such desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery. The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts. And the Church will excommunicate as readily any unrepentant addict.

We note that homosexuality is compared to acts such as petting, fornication, or adultery. Those who are excommunicated are those who are unrepentant persist as "addicts": i.e., those who persist in the practice.

Again, contrary to the belief and statement of many people, this sin, like fornication, is overcomable and forgivable, but again, only upon a deep and abiding repentance, which means total abandonment and complete transformation of thought and act. The fact that some governments and some churches and numerous corrupted individuals have tried to reduce such behavior from criminal offense to personal privilege does not change the nature nor the seriousness of the practice. Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere still denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons and daughters of God; and Christ’s church denounces it and condemns it so long as men and women have bodies which Can be defiled.

Again, the "behavior," and "practice" are that which is condemned.

President Kimball continued:

James said: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. … “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

“Do not err, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:8,12–16.)....

Again, one is tempted but it requires temptation and a response to it out of our own lust to "bring...forth sin."

“God made me that way,” some say, as they rationalize and excuse themselves for their perversions. “I can’t help it,” they add. This is blasphemy. Is man not made in the image of God, and does he think God to be “that way”? Man is responsible for his own sins. It is possible that he may rationalize and excuse himself until the groove is so deep he cannot get out without great difficulty, but this he can do. Temptations come to all people. The difference between the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the other resisted. It is true that one’s background may make the decision and accomplishment easier or more difficult, but if one is mentally alert, he can still control his future. That is the gospel message—personal responsibility.

And now, my dear brothers and sisters, I have spoken frankly and boldly against the sins of the day. Even though I dislike such a subject, I believe it necessary to warn the youth against the onslaught of the arch tempter who, with his army of emissaries and all the tools at his command, would destroy all the youth of Zion, largely through deception, misrepresentation, and lies.

“Be wise in the days of your probation,” said Mormon, “strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God” (Moron 9:28).[87]

President Kimball emphasizes that some may be more vulnerable or susceptible to this temptation, but emphasizes that one is only unworthy (or sinful) if he yields to temptation.

President Kimball had high hopes that people could overcome the practice of homosexuality, but warned that the feelings would remain and should be constantly kept in check. He said:

In a few months, some have totally mastered themselves... We realize that the cure is no more permanent than the individual makes it so and is like the cure for alcoholism subject to continued vigilance.

1987

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Prophets of God have repeatedly taught through the ages that practices of homosexual relations, fornication, and adultery are grievous sins..... Mankind has been given agency to choose between right and wrong....Mental control must be stronger than physical appetites or desires of the flesh. As thoughts are brought into complete harmony with revealed truth, actions will then become appropriate.[88]

1988

In 1988, Elder Dalin H. Oaks said:

Most of us are born with [or develop] thorns in the flesh, some more visible, some more serious than others. We all seem to have susceptibilities to one disorder or another, but whatever our susceptibilities, we have the will and the power to control our thoughts and our actions. This must be so. God has said that he holds us accountable for what we do and what we think, so our thoughts and actions must be controllable by our agency. Once we have reached the age or condition of accountability, the claim ‘I was born that way’ does not excuse actions or thoughts that fail to conform to the commandments of God. We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal.

God has promised that he will consecrate our afflictions for our gain (see 2 Nephi 2:2). The efforts we expend in overcoming any inherited [or developed] weakness build a spiritual strength that will serve us throughout eternity. Thus, when Paul prayed thrice that his ‘thorn in the flesh’ would depart from him, the Lord replied, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Obedient, Paul concluded:

“ ‘Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

“ ‘Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong’ (2 Cor. 12:9–10).

Whatever our susceptibilities or tendencies [feelings], they cannot subject us to eternal consequences unless we exercise our free agency to do or think the things forbidden by the commandments of God. For example, a susceptibility to alcoholism impairs its victim’s freedom to partake without addiction, but his free agency allows him to abstain and thus escape the physical debilitation of alcohol and the spiritual deterioration of addiction.

… Beware the argument that because a person has strong drives toward a particular act, he has no power of choice and therefore no responsibility for his actions. This contention runs counter to the most fundamental premises of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan would like us to believe that we are not responsible in this life. That is the result he tried to achieve by his contest in the pre-existence. A person who insists that he is not responsible for the exercise of his free agency because he was ‘born that way’ is trying to ignore the outcome of the War in Heaven. We are responsible, and if we argue otherwise, our efforts become part of the propaganda effort of the Adversary.

Individual responsibility is a law of life. It applies in the law of man and the law of God. Society holds people responsible to control their impulses so we can live in a civilized society. God holds his children responsible to control their impulses in order that they can keep his commandments and realize their eternal destiny. The law does not excuse the short-tempered man who surrenders to his impulse to pull a trigger on his tormentor, or the greedy man who surrenders to his impulse to steal, or the pedophile who surrenders to his impulse to satisfy his sexual urges with children. …

There is much we do not know about the extent of freedom we have in view of the various thorns in the flesh that afflict us in mortality. But this much we do know; we all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. That is fundamental.”[89]

1991

The First Presidency wrote in 1991:

There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.”[90]

1994

Elder Richard G. Scott:

Some bad thoughts come by themselves. Others come because we invite them by what we look at and listen to…. The mind can think of only one thing at a time. Use that fact to crowd out ugly thoughts. Above all, don’t feed thoughts by reading or watching things that are wrong. If you don’t control your thoughts, Satan will keep tempting you until you eventually act them out (emphasis added).[91]

1995

In 1995, Elder Oaks stated:

Applying the First Presidency’s distinction to the question of same-sex relationships, we should distinguish between (1) homosexual (or lesbian) “thoughts and feelings” (which should be resisted and redirected), and (2) “homosexual behavior” (which is a serious sin)....

Persons cannot continue to engage in serious sin and remain members of the Church. And discipline can be given for encouraging sin by others. There is no Church discipline for improper thoughts or feelings (though there is encouragement to improve them), but there are consequences for behavior....

[W]e should always distinguish between sinful acts and inappropriate feelings or potentially dangerous susceptibilities. We should reach out lovingly to those who are struggling to resist temptation. The First Presidency did this in their 14 November 1991 letter. After reaffirming the sinful nature of “fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior,” the Presidency added: “Individuals and their families desiring help with these matters should seek counsel from their bishop, branch president, stake or district president. We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues. Many will respond to Christlike love and inspired counsel as they receive an invitation to come back and apply the atoning and healing power of the Savior.[92]

Gordon B. Hinckley:

Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others….[93]

2000

In 2000, President Boyd K. Packer taught:

That may be a struggle from which you will not be free in this life. If you do not act on temptations, you need feel no guilt. They may be extremely difficult to resist. But that is better than to yield and bring disappointment and unhappiness to you and those who love you.[94]

2003

In 2003, President Boyd K. Packer taught:

In the Church, one is not condemned for tendencies or temptations. One is held accountable for transgression. (See D&C 101:78; A+of+F 1:2.) If you do not act on unworthy persuasions, you will neither be condemned nor be subject to Church discipline.[95]

2006

In 2006, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear. It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression. The sin is in yielding to temptation. Temptation is not unique. Even the Savior was tempted.

The New Testament affirms that God has given us commandments that are difficult to keep. It is in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”[96]

2007

In October 2007, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland published an article in the Ensign, which read in part:

A pleasant young man in his early 20s sat across from me. He had an engaging smile, although he didn’t smile often during our talk. What drew me in was the pain in his eyes.

“I don’t know if I should remain a member of the Church,” he said. “I don’t think I’m worthy.”

“Why wouldn’t you be worthy?” I asked.

“I’m gay.”

I suppose he thought I would be startled. I wasn’t. “And … ?” I inquired.

A flicker of relief crossed his face as he sensed my continued interest. “I’m not attracted to women. I’m attracted to men. I’ve tried to ignore these feelings or change them, but …”

He sighed. “Why am I this way? The feelings are very real.”

I paused, then said, “I need a little more information before advising you. You see, same-gender attraction is not a sin, but acting on those feelings is—just as it would be with heterosexual feelings. Do you violate the law of chastity?”

He shook his head. “No, I don’t.”

This time I was relieved. “Thank you for wanting to deal with this,” I said. “It takes courage to talk about it, and I honor you for keeping yourself clean.

“As for why you feel as you do, I can’t answer that question. A number of factors may be involved, and they can be as different as people are different. Some things, including the cause of your feelings, we may never know in this life. But knowing why you feel as you do isn’t as important as knowing you have not transgressed. If your life is in harmony with the commandments, then you are worthy to serve in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with the members, attend the temple, and receive all the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.”

He sat up a little straighter. I continued, “You serve yourself poorly when you identify yourself primarily by your sexual feelings. That isn’t your only characteristic, so don’t give it disproportionate attention. You are first and foremost a son of God, and He loves you.

“What’s more, I love you. My Brethren among the General Authorities love you. I’m reminded of a comment President Boyd K. Packer made in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. ‘We do not reject you,’ he said. ‘… We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.’ ”

We talked for another 30 minutes or so. Knowing I could not be a personal counselor to him, I directed him to his local priesthood leaders. Then we parted. I thought I detected a look of hope in his eyes that had not been there before. Although he yet faced challenges to work through—or simply endure—I had a feeling he would handle them well.[97]

He went on to emphasize: "[L]et me make it clear that attractions alone, troublesome as they may be, do not make one unworthy....If you do not act on temptations, you have not transgressed."

In a Church booklet published in 2007, the Church taught:

Many people with same-gender attraction respect the sacredness of their bodies and the standards God has set—that sexuality be expressed “only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). The lives of these individuals are pleasing to our Father in Heaven. Some, however, cross this boundary and indulge in immoral conduct. The desire for physical gratification does not authorize immorality by anyone....

An understanding of eternal truths is a powerful motivation for righteous behavior. You are best served by concentrating on the things you can presently understand and control, not wasting energy or enlarging frustration by worrying about that which God has not yet fully revealed. Focus on living the simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Same-gender inclinations may be very powerful, but through faith in the Atonement you can receive the power to resist all improper conduct, keeping your life free from sin (italics added).[98]

2009

D. Todd Christopherson:

All of us experience temptations. So did the Savior, but He “gave no heed unto them” (DC 20:22). Similarly, we do not have to yield simply because a temptation surfaces. We may want to, but we don’t have to. An incredulous female friend asked a young adult woman, committed to living the law of chastity, how it was possible that she had never “slept with anybody.” “Don’t you want to?” the friend asked. The young woman thought: “The question intrigued me, because it was so utterly beside the point. … Mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct.”

In some cases, temptation may have the added force of potential or actual addiction. I am grateful that for an increasing number of people the Church can provide therapeutic help of various kinds to aid them in avoiding or coping with addictions. Even so, while therapy can support a person’s will, it cannot substitute for it. Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline—moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son and what They can achieve with us through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ. In Peter’s words, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9).[99]

Bruce C. Hafen:

You may not have consciously chosen to have same-gender attraction, but you are faithfully choosing to deal with it. Sometimes that attraction may make you feel sinful, even though the attraction alone is not a sin if you do not act on it. Sometimes you may feel frustration or anger or simply a deep sadness about yourself. But as hard as same-gender attraction is, your feeling that attraction does not mean that your nature is flawed. Whenever the adversary tries to convince you that you are hopelessly “that way,” so that acting out your feelings is inevitable, he is lying. He is the father of lies....

It’s true that the law of chastity forbids all sexual relations outside the bonds of a married heterosexual relationship. And while same-gender attraction is not a sin, you need to resist cultivating immoral, lustful thoughts toward those of either gender. It’s no sin if a bird lands in your tree, just don’t let him build a nest there....

...if you feel an attraction you didn’t seek and haven’t acted on, you have nothing to repent of.[100]

2010

On 12 October 2010, Michael Otterson (head of Church Public Affairs) noted:

None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.

The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.

There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle.[101]

The 2010 version of the Church's Handbook of Instructions notes:

Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.

If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.

If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances.[102]

What does science have to say about this?

According to the American Psychological Association: "Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Individuals may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors."

Having same-sex attractions, participating in same-sex relationships, and identifying as gay or lesbian are three separate things. A study by the Social Organization of Sexuality found that 60% of men and 68% of women who were attracted to the same gender have never engaged in homosexual behavior. This number differs from those who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. For them, only 13% of men and 4% of women have never engaged in homosexual behavior.[103] This lead the researchers to conclude that sexual identity (i.e., how people label and conceive of themselves) was a stronger indicator of sexual behavior than sexual orientation (i.e., the feelings or inclinations which people have).

Not only is there significant differences between a person's sexual orientation and behavior, but it changes over time. The study indicated that of the 4.9% of men and 4.1% of women who have ever had a homosexual experience since the age of 18, only 2.7% of men and 1.3% of women had one in the last year. Some people change their sexual behavior based on religious beliefs. Others reported that they were no longer attracted to the same sex. The American Psychiatric Association has stated "Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime."[104] The way this develops varies from person to person. A report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health states that, "For some people, sexual orientation is continuous and fixed throughout their lives. For others, sexual orientation may be fluid and change over time."

The Religions Dimension

Many people have testified that through the atonement of Christ, they no longer are attracted to people of the same gender. Others have also had faith in Christ, but still have same-sex attractions. Elder Holland taught: "Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life."[105]


Question: Do Mormon leaders teach that people with same-sex attraction should not associate with each other?

No. This is not true

Is it OK to be friends with people who have homosexual feelings? Is it true that the Church teaches people with same-sex attraction should not associate with each other?

It would be more difficult for anyone to live the law of chastity if they choose to focus their time with people who flaunt their tendencies to break the law of chastity. Friends should be carefully selected, and there are many people with same-sex attraction who lead constructive, righteous lives to choose from.

Many members with same-sex attraction associate with each other through Evergreen

Many members with same-sex attraction associate with each other through Evergreen. While the Church is not officially affiliated with Evergreen, it sends a general authority to its annual conference, and many bishops refer their members to Evergreen and attend themselves.

While we are not positive where this accusation comes from, it may be from this portion of the God Loveth His Children pamphlet.

In addition to filling your garden with positive influences, you must also avoid any influence that can harm your spirituality. One of these adverse influences is obsession with or concentration on same-gender thoughts and feelings. It is not helpful to flaunt homosexual tendencies or make them the subject of unnecessary observation or discussion. It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings. The careful selection of friends and mentors who lead constructive, righteous lives is one of the most important steps to being productive and virtuous. Association with those of the same gender is natural and desirable, so long as you set wise boundaries to avoid improper and unhealthy emotional dependency, which may eventually result in physical and sexual intimacy. There is moral risk in having so close a relationship with one friend of the same gender that it may lead to vices the Lord has condemned. Our most important relationships are with our own families because our ties to them can be eternal.

There are plenty of people with same-sex attraction to associate with who lead constructive, righteous lives and are not inappropriate in their sexual display. This isn't advice not to associate with anyone who has same-sex attraction. In fact it says associating with people who are righteous is important. In a similar fashion, it would not be wise to spend time with someone who is obsessed with or flaunts their tendency towards pornography or promiscuity, especially if you are struggling with those tendencies yourself. There is a difference between associating with people who have a common tendency and who are working on overcoming that tendency, and associating with people who indulge in that tendency. It is like the difference between a person trying to overcome their tendency towards drinking alcohol by going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting versus a bar. In both places the person will associate with other people who have the tendency to drink alcohol, but in the first group, they are trying to overcome that tendency.

Another thing to keep in mind is that saying it is better to choose friends with similar standards does not mean you cannot ever associate with people who have different standards than you do. We often hear that we are in the world, but not of the world. Even if you have a family member, friend, or coworker who is inappropriate in their sexual display, that does not mean that you cannot ever associate with that person. There is a way to maintain your own integrity while interacting with people who have different standards.


Eternal fate of those unmarried?

Summary: In his article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, James T. Duke explains the LDS doctrine on this subject: "People who live a worthy life but do not marry in the temples, for various reasons beyond their control, which might include not marrying, not having heard the gospel, or not having a temple available so that the marriage could be sealed for eternity, will at some time be given this opportunity. Latter-day Saints believe it is their privilege and duty to perform these sacred ordinances vicariously for deceased progenitors, and for others insofar as possible."

President Boyd K. Packer's October 2010 conference talk

Summary: On October 10, 2010, President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke during the Church's semi-annual general conference. Portions of President Packer's talk caused a firestorm of protest and, often, misrepresentation. This article examines President Packer's address, and compares it to past talks given by President Packer. As will be seen, President Packer's address has been misunderstood and misrepresented.
    • Critics' tactics
      Brief Summary: Given that same-sex attraction is a charged issue with political overtones, it is not surprising that some sincerely misunderstood President Packer's talk. Just as there are those who could sincerely misunderstand President Packer's talk, there are those who choose, for whatever reason, to purposely misunderstand. (Click here for full article)
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Homosexual aversion therapy performed at BYU in the 1970's

Summary: What was the history of BYU and aversion therapy for treating homosexuality in the 1970's? How did that relate to medical and psychological science as understood at that time? What was the role of the Church in BYU's treatments?

Jump to Subtopic:


Did Christ teach against same-sex relationships during his mortal ministry?

Summary: Some critics have asserted that our stance on same-sex relationships are not substantiated by the teachings of Christ during his mortal minstry. This is not the case. Christ taught a very strict law for sexual morality. He taught against sexual relationships outside of marriage and that marriage was between a man and a woman. While he did not specifically teach against the modern concept of same-sex relationships, he was clear that the only legitimate expression of sexuality was in a marriage between a man and woman.

Why wasn't the prohibition against same-sex relationships recinded when the rest of the law of Moses was recinded?

Summary: While the law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ, Christ specifically taught against fornication and adultery, which would include same-sex relationships. After Peter received a vision that the law of Moses had been fulfilled, the prohibition against fornication remained intact.

Early LDS did not oppose homosexual acts?

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith and other nineteenth century Mormons were not strenuously opposed to same-sex acts or intimacy, and that the modern Church's opposition to homosexual conduct is a later aberration. Historian D. Michael Quinn's book, Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example is almost solely responsible for this claim. Quinn's methodology and conclusions are shoddy, and have been severely criticized by LDS and non-LDS historians.

False analogy between same-sex marriage and the priesthood ban

Summary: An examination and comparison of the differences between the way the Church approaches same-sex attraction as opposed to the Priesthood ban.

False analogy between same-sex marriage and plural marriage

Summary: An examination and comparison of the differences between the way the Church approaches same-sex attraction as opposed to plural marriage.

Latter-day Saints and California Proposition 8

Summary: The passage of California Proposition 8 during the November 2008 election has generated a number of criticisms of the Church regarding a variety of issues including the separation of church and state, the Church's position relative to people who experience same-sex attraction, accusations of bigotry by members, and the rights of a non-profit organization to participate in the democratic process on matters not associated with elections of candidates.



Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims

  1. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 1995).
  2. "To The One," address given to twelve-stake fireside, Brigham Young University (5 March 1978); reprinted in Boyd K. Packer, That All May Be Edified (Bookcraft, 1982), pp. 186–200, emphasis added; italics in original. GL direct link
  3. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 1995), 9.
  4. "Orientation," American Psychological Association (last accessed 27 November 2010).
  5. Definition of Homosexuality, dictionary.reference.com, s.v. "homosexuality," (last accessed 27 November 2010).
  6. [American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005), 201.
  7. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media reference guide (last accessed 27 November 2010).
  8. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "The Divine Institution of Marriage," (13 August 2008).
  9. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Reverence and Morality," General Conference (April 1987).
  10. “An Easter Greeting from the First Presidency,” Church News (15 April 1995), 1.
  11. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2005), 9.
  12. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2005), 9.
  13. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Why We Do Some of the Things We Do," Ensign (Nov 1999), 52. off-site
  14. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2007), 42-45.
  15. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, God Loveth His Children (Intellectual Reserve, 2007).
  16. Bruce C. Hafen, "Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction," report of address given to Evergreen International annual conference, 19 September 2009.
  17. Michael Otterson, "Church Responds to HRC Petition," (12 October 2010).
  18. Dallin H. Oaks, "Protect the Children," Ensign (November 2012).
  19. Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults
  20. Jessica Gail, “Utah, one of the worst places to be LGBT and homeless,” Utah Public Radio, June 11, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 10, 2012. http://upr.org/post/utah-one-worst-places-be-lgbt-and-homeless
  21. Nicholas Ray, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth: an epidemic of homelessness,” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for Homelessness, 2006. Online version accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/HomelessYouth.pdf
  22. “Throw-Away Kids,” originally published in qSaltLake, Aug 12,2008. Online copy at affirmation.org accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.affirmation.org/homelessness/throw-away_kids.shtml.
  23. Nicholas Ray, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth: an epidemic of homelessness,” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for Homelessness, 2006. Online version accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/HomelessYouth.pdf
  24. “Throw-Away Kids,” originally published in qSaltLake, Aug 12,2008. Online copy at affirmation.org accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.affirmation.org/homelessness/throw-away_kids.shtml.
  25. “Growing up LGBT in America: HRC Youth Survey Report, Key Findings,” Human Rights Campaign, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Growing-Up-LGBT-in-America_Report.pdf.
  26. “Growing up LGBT in America: HRC Youth Survey Report, Key Findings,” Human Rights Campaign, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 9, 2012. http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Growing-Up-LGBT-in-America_Report.pdf.
  27. Rebecca Trounson, “Gay teens less likely to be happy, nationwide survey finds,” The Salt Lake Tribune. June 7, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 9 2012. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/54262370-68/gay-percent-lgbt-survey.html.csp.
  28. Melinda Rogers, “LGBT youth find safe haven at homeless drop-in shelter,” The Salt Lake Tribune. June 11, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 10 2012. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54274630-78/lgbt-utah-youths-center.html.csp.
  29. Melinda Rogers, “LGBT youth find safe haven at homeless drop-in shelter,” The Salt Lake Tribune. June 11, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 10 2012. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54274630-78/lgbt-utah-youths-center.html.csp.
  30. Melinda Rogers, “LGBT youth find safe haven at homeless drop-in shelter,” The Salt Lake Tribune. June 11, 2012. Online version accessed Aug 10 2012. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54274630-78/lgbt-utah-youths-center.html.csp.
  31. Understanding and Helping Those With Homosexual Problems
  32. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," General Conference ({{{date}}}).
  33. "Same-Gender Attraction," General Conference (2006).
  34. "Same-Gender Attraction," General Conference (2006).
  35. "The Best Thing I Can Do for Leigh," General Conference (2009).
  36. Quinton L. Cook, "Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough for All His Children," General Conference (April 2009).
  37. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "The Divine Institution of Marriage," (13 August 2008).
  38. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "The Divine Institution of Marriage," (13 August 2008).
  39. Michael Otterson, Statement to SLC Council, 10 November 2009.
  40. Bruce C. Hafen, "Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction," report of address given to Evergreen International annual conference, 19 September 2009.
  41. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, God Loveth His Children (Intellectual Reserve, 2007). (italics added)
  42. Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction,” (undated).
  43. The Mormons, Interviews: Jeffrey R. Holland, pbs.org (30 April 2007).
  44. Address given by Elder Bruce C. Hafen at the Evergreen International annual conference, 19 September 2009.
  45. An Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks on Homosexuality and AIDS
  46. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Reverence and Morality," General Conference (April 1987).
  47. Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems
  48. Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, "Same Gender Attraction," interview with Church Public Affairs (2006). off-site
  49. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2007), 42-45. off-site
  50. Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality," New Era (October 1980): 39.
  51. Boyd K. Packer, "Balm of Gilead," General Conference (October 1987).
  52. “Free Agency and Freedom,” Brigham Young University 1987–88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches (Provo: BYU Publications, 1988), 46–47; the edited version printed here is found in Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., eds., The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1989), 13-15.; cited in Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2005), 9.
  53. Boyd K. Packer, "Covenants," General Conference (October 1990).
  54. Boyd K. Packer, "For Time and All Eternity," General Conference (October 1993).
  55. Richard G. Scott, "To Be Healed," General Conference (April 1994). (italics in original)
  56. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 1995), 9.
  57. Richard G. Scott, "Trust in the Lord," General Conference (October 1995).
  58. Richard G. Scott, "Finding Joy in Life," General Conference (April 1996).
  59. Neal A. Maxwell, "According to the Desires of [Our Hearts]," General Conference (October 1996).
  60. Henry B. Eyring, "Do Not Delay," General Conference (October 1999).
  61. Neal A. Maxwell, "Content With The Things Allotted Unto Us," General Conference (April 2000).
  62. Dallin H. Oaks, "He Heals the Heavy Laden," General Conference (October 2006).
  63. Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, "Same Gender Attraction," interview with Church Public Affairs (2006). off-site
  64. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, God Loveth His Children (Intellectual Reserve, 2007).
  65. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2007), 42-45.
  66. Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, "Same Gender Attraction," interview with Church Public Affairs (2006). off-site
  67. American Psychological Association, "Answers to your questions for a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality," (2008),2 .
  68. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2005), 9.
  69. Boyd K. Packer, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," Ensign (October 2010).
  70. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Helping Those Who Struggle With Same Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2007).
  71. The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, The Family: A Proclamation to the World (first presented 23 September 1995).
  72. [citation needed]
  73. Laumann, Edward O. , The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 299
  74. Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, "Same Gender Attraction," interview with Church Public Affairs (2006). off-site
  75. See Counsel given regarding sexual identity
  76. As quoted by Adam Olson in Maintaining the Course
  77. [citation needed]
  78. [citation needed]
  79. Laumann, Edward O. , The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 299 link
  80. A New Therapy on Faith and Sexual Identity: Psychological Association Revises Treatment Guidelines to Allow Counselors to Help Clients Reject Their Same-Sex Attractions
  81. [citation needed] was footnoted as "task.force"
  82. Laumann, Edward O. , The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 299
  83.  [needs work] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/6/869
  84.  [needs work] http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0021-843X.112.1.144
  85. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2079706 [citation needed]
  86. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a923933982~db=all~jumptype=rss [citation needed]
  87. Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality," New Era (October 1980): 39.
  88. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Reverence and Morality," General Conference (April 1987).
  89. “Free Agency and Freedom,” Brigham Young University 1987–88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches (Provo: BYU Publications, 1988), pp. 46–47; an edited version is available in Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., eds., The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1989), 13-15.
  90. First Presidency, letter, 14 November 1991.
  91. Richard G. Scott, "Making the Right Choices," General Conference (October 1994).
  92. Dallin H. Oaks, "Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 1995), 9.
  93. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World," General Conference (Women's Meeting, Sept 1995).
  94. Boyd K. Packer, "Ye Are The Temple of God," General Conference (November 2000).
  95. Boyd K. Packer, "The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected," General Conference (October 2003).
  96. Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, "Same Gender Attraction," interview with Church Public Affairs (2006). off-site
  97. Jeffrey R. Holland, "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction," Ensign (October 2007), 42-45.
  98. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, God Loveth His Children (Intellectual Reserve, 2007).
  99. G. Todd Christopherson, "Moral Discipline," General Conference (October 2009).
  100. Bruce C. Hafen, "Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction," report of address given to Evergreen International annual conference, 19 September 2009.
  101. Michael Otterson, "Church Responds to HRC Petition," (12 October 2010).
  102. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Handbook 2: Administering the Church—2010 (Intellectual Reserve, 2010). Selected Church Policies and Guidelines 21.4.6
  103. Laumann, Edward O. , The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 299
  104. American Psychiatric Association (May 2000). "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues". Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists.
  105. "Helping Those Who Struggle," 42-45.