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The LDS (Mormon) Church & homosexuality

Church statements: Year 2008 to 2010

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Previous church statements are described in a separate essay

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Quotation:

  • Boyd K. Packer, President of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

    • "Some suppose that they were pre- set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural."

    • "There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature."

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Events:

  • 2008: California:

    On 2008-MAY-14, the Supreme Court of California authorized same-sex marriage (SSM) in the state.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined forces with the Roman Catholic Church and some fundamentalist and other evangelical Protestant denominations to overturn the court's decision through a civil initiative called Proposition 8. Individual Mormons allegedly donated tens of millions of dollars to promote Prop. 8, a public initiative to restore marriage to the exclusive right of opposite-sex couples. Full details on the initiative are described elsewhere on this site.

    The proposition was passed very narrowly on Election Day on 2008-NOV. With the gradual increase in support for SSM across the U.S., polls show that a proposition to repeal Prop. 8 would pass today. No new SSMs could be performed after Prop. 8 was passed. However the marriages of tens of thousands of same-sex couples who had married prior to Election Day in 2008 remain married. Subsequently, District Court Judge Vaughn Walker of the Federal District Court determined that Proposition is unconstitutional because it violates two clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Judge Walker's ruling. As of 2012-APR, this decision was being appealed to a larger panel of the same court. The larger panel upheld the District Court's ruling. The case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court who decided on procedural grounds that the District Court ruling holds. On 2013-JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in California. The arguments used in the ruling have since been picked up and used by other courts to legalize SSMs in different states.

    We have 16 essays on this website giving more information on Prop. 8 and the subsequent court challenge.

  • 2010: Brigham Young University (BYU) revised Honor Code again:

    In 2007, BYU changed its Honor Code so that LGB students and faculty could come out of "the closet" and freely admit that they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. However, they could not engage in any behavior that indicated or even suggested advocacy of equal rights for LGBT persons. BYU has lifted this ban.

    One result of the change to the Code was the formation of a group, Understanding Same-Gender Attraction (USGA). 1 Their Facebook page states:

    "USGA is an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students, faculty, and friends who wish to strengthen families and the BYU community by providing a place for open, respectful discussions on the topic of same-gender attraction. USGA is not an appropriate forum for angry, vulgar, or profane remarks of any kind, nor for expressions of antagonism against any person or organization. In order to foster an environment of respect and understanding, we ask all participants to be respectful of BYU, the Church, and the beliefs and experiences of others.

    Please note that USGA meets outside of any sponsorship, endorsement, or support by BYU. We meet weekly on Thursday, 7:00pm, in 306 JRCB (or vicinity)." 1

  • 2010-OCT-03: Elder Boyd Packer broadcasts message about homosexuality and same-sex marriage:

Starting in late 2010-SEP, TV newscasts had been featuring tragic stories of a series of gay teens who had recently ended their life through suicide. Each had been harassed for years by fellow students because of their sexual orientation. "Dr. Phil" devoted two episodes of his TV program to this topic and is attempting to raise public awareness of the damage that such harassment does to vulnerable students' lives.

Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the second highest ranking official in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose this time to deliver a Sunday message about the church's position on homosexuality. He spoke in person to about 20,000 fellow Mormons and over television to millions more. Undoubtedly, there were some gay or lesbian youth who were considering suicide at that time and who listened to his broadcast. We hope that none were pushed over the edge and decided to end their life. The phenomenon of cluster suicides is well known, in which one person's suicide triggers others to follow the same destructive path.

The following excerpt of his sermon appears on You Tube:

2

His message accurately reflected the Mormon position that same-sex attraction is "immoral and impure" and can be "overcome" -- presumably through prayer and with the help of counselors and therapists who practice reparative therapy or who have organized transformational ministries.

The belief that a gay or lesbian individual can change their sexual orientation is widely held by religious and social conservatives within all religions. Their belief is consistent with their theology which is based on their interpretation of the six "clobber" passages in the Bible about homosexual behavior:

  • God hates homosexual behavior.
  • God considers sexual sin as "... second only to the shedding of innocent blood." 3
  • God is omnipotent -- all powerful.
  • God will not reject honest prayer by a person who is anxious to end their same-sex attraction and activity.

Unfortunately, a near consensus has been reached by therapists who are not religious conservatives. Their practical experience seems to indicate that individual prayer is ineffective at changing a person's sexual orientation. Such therapy and ministry is reasonably successful in changing some behaviors:

  • They are able to convince a small minority of homosexual clients to remain celibate.
  • They have greater success in convincing religious bisexuals into confining their sexual relationship to members of the opposite sex.

The success rate of reparative therapy and transformational ministries at actually changing a person's sexual orientation appears to be zero, or essentially so. All of the leading professional mental health associations -- like the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association -- have concluded that sexual orientation is fixed in the vast majority or all adults, and that attempts to produce change can be dangerous to the client.

From our contacts with the LGBT community, we have tentatively concluded that engaging in such therapy typically leads to one of four outcomes:

  • After the therapy ends in failure, many clients become depressed; some are very depressed; some have suicidal ideation; a few attempt suicide; some of them complete suicide.

  • Others try this therapy as their last attempt to change their sexual orientation. When it fails, they realize that their orientation is fixed. Thus, their only option is to come to terms with it, and with themselves. For them, these forms of therapy can be a liberating experience.

  • Still others realize that their sexual orientation is fixed. They enter therapy with the goal of accepting their orientation as fixed, and seek ways to become celibate. They commit to a lonely life, devoid of an intimate relationship with another person, without the possibility of marrying, raising a family, etc.

  • Finally, bisexuals may enter therapy with the goal of restricting future sexual relationships to members of the opposite sex.

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This topic continues.....

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "USGA - Understanding Same-Gender Attraction" has a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/
  2. Boyd K. Packer, "Mormons will always oppose Satan's counterfeit marriages," You Tube, at: http://www.youtube.com/
  3. Prophet Joseph F. Smith, "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 18: Chastity and Purity," From the Life of Joseph F. Smith Lesson Manual, Page 155.

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Copyright © 2010  to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2012-APR-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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