I’ve been a member for one year and currently have very serious concern about my sexual orientation. I think I might like a 16 year-old friend of mine. I ask you to advise me to help me not make a serious mistake that violates the morality and good principles that I received from my parents and from the church. I truly want to progress spiritually and to go on a mission and serve the Lord Jesus. I thank Him so much for His wonderful atonement.


One Response to “I’ve been a member for one year and currently have very ser…”

Lucas Silva
October 19, 2009

Hi friend. I’m happy that you asked your question here. First, I want you to know that God loves you. You said that you want to progress spiritually and that you want to serve a mission. You can still do those things, if you are faithful to your baptismal covenants. All is not lost. Human beings are not required to act on every impulse they have. If you keep the commandments, you can certainly continue to progress spiritually.

If you are a teenager, you should know that your sexual identity is still in formation. Studies have shown that homosexuality is not purely genetic; there is a large environmental component. I believe that at least some of that environmental influence occurs during the teenage years, when sexuality is still developing. Studies have shown that the number of people who have at some time in their life felt an attraction for someone of the same sex far exceeds the number of people who are practicing homosexuals. Some would make the silly argument that this shows there are millions of secret, repressed homosexuals; a far more reasonable explanation is that for many people, initial sexual confusion during the teenager years simply resolves itself with time. Just because you feel some attraction as a teenager does not mean that you will be a homosexual as an adult. If you don’t adopt the identity and you don’t adopt the lifestyle, I think there’s a good chance your feelings will pass.

If you are already an adult, then your sexuality is likely fully developed. In this case, the fact that you are attracted to a 16-year-old boy is concerning indeed. You should probably see a psychologist. Adults should not be sexually attracted to children.

I’ve described the Church’s stance on homosexuality elsewhere on this site. I encourage you to read more about it. In brief, the Church teaches that homosexual impulses are not inherently sinful. Sin occurs only when one purposefully cultivates homosexual thoughts or acts on homosexual tendencies. There are many “gay Mormons” who choose to follow God’s will instead of their sexual impulses. As I’ve written elsewhere, these are among the members of the Church that I most admire. Many of them choose celibacy. Some few are able to find happiness in heterosexual marriage, though such marriages are not necessarily encouraged.

Some adult ex-homosexuals claim that they have changed their sexuality. If possible, such a change would be a great blessing for someone like you who wants to put an end to homosexual temptations. Most of the professional medical organizations in my country believe that there is not enough evidence to support efforts to help homosexuals change. That, of course, implies that there is not enough evidence to disprove the effectiveness of those efforts either. Furthermore, these professional organizations generally interpret the scientific data through a liberal lens. Complicating the issue even further, I suspect that many mainstream scientific journals would not publish a convincing study demonstrating that sexual orientation can be changed, even if such a study were conducted. Though anecdotal evidence suggests that at least in some cases sexual orientation can be changed, I can’t say whether efforts to change sexual impulses are generally effective. Certainly, though, any sane human being can choose his own actions. If your identity as a Mormon Christian is more important to you than your sexual identity, you can certainly choose to continue to be a faithful, practicing Mormon who does his best to keep God’s commandments.

Without wanting to offer too much hope that one’s sexual orientation can be changed, I think I’ll close by quoting a few prominent psychologists who think that in some cases it can:

“My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once thought to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others and spontaneously for still others.” ~ Dr. Warren Throckmorton, published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

“Like most psychiatrists, I thought that homosexual behavior could only be resisted, and that no one could really change their sexual orientation. I now believe this to be false.” ~ Dr. Robert Spitzer

“The APA’s position on reparative therapy is that those who wish to explore developing heterosexual feelings or behavior have a right to do so as part of every client’s right to self-determination. If an individual is comfortable with homosexuality, it is not the role of the therapist to convince the client otherwise. If one’s feelings are ego-dystonic and there is a desire to talk about changing, that is an acceptable choice and a psychologist may participate if he or she desires.” ~ Executive Director of the American Psychological Association, Raymond Fowler

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