Are Mormons Gay-Haters?

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A gay Mormon describes his decision to stay active in the “Mormon Church.”
The LDS (Mormon) Church has been the target of ongoing accusations of bigotry and gay hating. These accusations are not true! Consider these statements made by Church leaders in the recent years:

How should members of the Church treat homosexuals?

  • “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…to be true disciples of Christ, to love one another with genuine compassion, for that is the way Christ loved us.” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, quoting the First Presidency and referring to those with homosexual tendencies, 1996)
  • “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.” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)
  • “We should extend compassion to persons who suffer from ill health, including those who are infected with HIV or who are ill with AIDS…We should encourage such persons to participate in the activities of the Church.” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)
  • “All should understand that persons…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’ … ‘and so fulfill the law of Christ’…” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)
  • “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.” (“Helping Those who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, 2007)
  • “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.” (“God Loveth His Children,” 2007)

How should parents treat their gay children?

  • “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…No one, including the one struggling, should try to shoulder blame. Nor should anyone place blame on another-including God… 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…” (“Helping Those who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, 2007)
  • “[I would say] you’re my son. You will always be my son, and I’ll always be there to help you.” (Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

How do Church leaders feel about homosexual members?

  • “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.” (First Presidency, 1991)
  • “Church leaders are sometimes asked whether there is any place in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for persons with homosexual or lesbian susceptibilities or feelings. Of course there is. The degree of difficulty and the pattern necessary to forgo behavior and to control thoughts will be different with different individuals, but the message of hope and the hand of fellowship offered by the Church is the same for all who strive.” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)
  • “We do not reject you. We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.” (“Ye Are the Temple of God,” Elder Boyd K. Packer, 2001)
  • “…we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control…” (President Hinckley, 1998)
  • “We of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reach out with understanding and respect for individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender…” (First Presidency Statement)
  • Referring to a homosexual man who chose to stay in the Church: “I weep with admiration and respect at the faith and courage of such a man who is living with a challenge I have never faced. I love him and the thousands like him, male or female, who ‘fight the good fight.’ I commend his attitude to all who struggle with…same-gender attraction.” (“Helping Those who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, 2007)

What do Mormons believe God thinks about homosexuals?

  • “You are a precious son or daughter of God. He not only knows your name; He knows you. His love for you is individual.”  (“God Loveth His Children,” 2007)
  • “No one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God’s love or the extended arms of His Church, for we are all His beloved sons and daughters.” (“God Loveth His Children,” 2007)
  • Mormons do not teach that homosexuals will go to hell. (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)

Are homosexual feelings chosen?

  • “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…Perhaps such susceptibilities are inborn or acquired without personal choice or fault…” (“Same-Gender Attraction,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 1996)

What is the Church’s position regarding gay rights and the current political debate?

  • “We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will… act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position.   No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.” (Official Church Statement, 2008)
  • “The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people.” (Official Church Statement, 2008)
  • “As Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement…they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.” (Official Church Statement, 2008)
  • “…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…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.” (“Why We do Some of the Things We Do,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, 1999)
  • “The Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights…”(Official Church Statement, 2008)

Update: Just to clarify, the Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful, as they are not always controllable. Homosexual acts, on the other hand, like all behavior, are within human control. There are many gay Mormons that abstain from homosexual acts, usually choosing abstinence, and are active members of the LDS faith.

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