Mormonsandgays.org

December 6, 2012 | 32 comments
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The church has a new website today: Mormonsandgays.org.

I don’t have time to dig through the whole thing today, but it looks like another step has been taken in the church’s evolution on this issue.  This summary statement from the website has a much different tone than some recent statements that I can think of:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

Note the use of words like “reality,” “gay,” and “lesbian.”

One criticism: I know what they were thinking by splashing “love one another” across the top of the page, but you have to admit to a certain unfortunate ambiguity there.

Other thoughts?

32 Responses to Mormonsandgays.org

  1. Rick on December 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

    It is never a bad thing to have “love one another” across the top of a webpage. Let’s let something positive be something positive.

  2. NoCoolName_Tom on December 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I found it interesting that the press release for the website and all of the text in the site itself used the term “same-sex attraction” exclusively. “Same-gender attraction” was only said in quotations from various Church leaders and some of the member videos. Perhaps the official vocabulary is starting to shift towards a correct distinction between sex and gender?

  3. Trevor on December 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    The site also admits that the Church used to counsel gay individuals to marry someone of the opposite sex, and but no longer does…. The implication being the it was a mistake.

  4. Trevor on December 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Also, while not outright stating it, this seems to elevate the notion that homosexuality will not exist in the afterlife.

  5. Eagle Scout on December 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    From mormonsandgays.org:
    “Where the Church stands: The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. . . . With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

    From http://www.scouting.org:
    “The BSA policy is: While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

    Note that the latter organization excludes and expels individuals who simply acknowledge same-sex attraction, even if they do not act on those impulses. For the LDS Church, actions speak louder than words. It is time to either sever ties with the Boy Scouts or pressure them to change their discriminatory policy.

  6. Julie M. Smith on December 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm
  7. David T on December 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I wish President Monson was featured on the site in some regard.

  8. D. Fletcher on December 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I guess this new site is a positive step, albeit teensy. What it says to me is that homosexual feelings are bad, and should not be acted upon. The Church is acknowledging that people have little control over their sinful thoughts, only their sinful actions.

    When will it realize that loving another person regardless of their gender isn’t bad, certainly not sinful?

  9. Brian on December 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    D. Fletcher – I think the Church does want people to love each other, regardless of gender. What it is counseling against is sexual activity between members of the same sex. (I know what you meant, I think, I just point this out because discussions of this issue could be helped by some more precise vocabulary, IMO).

  10. D. Fletcher on December 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Brian, the church is really counseling against perceived homosexuality. Two men who love each other but are willing to “marry” without sexual contact — do you think this would be acceptable to the church? The answer is an obvious no. The brethren are acknowledging that gay thoughts exist, but that is pretty much all. Those thoughts/feelings are bad; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a sin to act upon them. It is not just about sex, it is about love.

  11. Jtg on December 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    There’s a sharpness in website design that I associate with the regular LDS pages that is lacking in this webpage. The look and feel of this webpage makes it seem like an unauthorized spoof rather than a legitimate webpage. (Compare to lds.org, ldsces.org, providentliving.org, mormon.org, etc.) That said, the newsroom verifies it is a true website.

  12. Sonny on December 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Julie,

    I wonder if this new church site was spurred on in part by the Family Acceptance Project publication geared specifically for the LDS audience.

  13. Brian on December 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    D. Fletcher, I disagree. I get many thoughts that are bad in the sense that, if I acted on them, I’d sin, but some of them just pop into my mind and I don’t think simply having a mind for them to pop into is sin. When Jesus was tempted, I’d assume he thought about sinning (what else does “being tempted” mean?), but this only serves to undercut your method of argument, not its hypothesis, which deserves further thought.

  14. Dave K on December 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I think this site is a wonderful step forward and I applaud the effort. But I also wonder how durable the church’s current position can remain. Consider the church’s positions prior to the 1978 revelation. The priesthood ban was originally a consequence for bad actions by blacks (curse of cain; premortal fence-sitting) and we actively taught that righteous living would change black skin to white in this life. Both of those teachings fell out of favor. Once we acknowleged that blacks were not responsible for the ban and that they would remain black in this life (also the eternities?), it became increasingly untenable to deny them access to priesthood and the temple.

    Our positions with respect to homosexuality seem to be following the same trajectory. Until recently, we taught that homosexuality was the result of bad actions and not something in-born. We also actively tried to cure homosexuality through therapy and heterosexual marriage. Those efforts failed. So our current teaching is that homosexuals are not at fault for their attraction and we have no reason to believe those attractions will change in this life (also the eternities?). We must therefore ask, “how long until this position also becomes untenable and we look for better answers?”

    From my view, the next big challenge/opportunity will come as large numbers of members become personally acquainted with gay and lesbian families and see for themselves the fruit of those relationships. Large extended families inevitably lead to the majority of members having homosexual family members. Rapid approval of gay marriage in the states will also lead to interaction with homosexual neighbors.

  15. Dennis Kirby on December 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Usually I steer away from this type of conversation. However, when any Church comes out and say the thought is not the sin, but acting on the thought is the sin, is WRONG. If you are take the Bible in complete context, the Bible says that If a Man lusts, in his heart or mind, he is already guilty of Adultry and thus sins. However, the Christ I serve came as a Savior for the entire world when he died on the Cross. He never mentioned Homosexuality at all. If we are to abide by every law in the old testament we in no way could find God. We are able to go to God through Christ, regardless of our sexual orientation because Christ died on the Cross. For all have sinned and come SHORT of the Glory of God!!!!! Each and everyone one of us! Being Gay is NOT a choice, we are born this way. The same way heterosexuals are born straight!

  16. Dave K on December 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    [Note, T&S would not let me post this in one entry so I am splitting it into two]

    The Deseret News article on this website has an intriguing quote from church spokesman Purdy:

    The website is part of an effort by the church “to teach and clarify the church’s positions” on various issues, said LDS spokesman Michael Purdy. “There are some aspects of our belief and practice that are simply not well understood,” Purdy continued, adding that other issues will be addressed by the church in a similar fashion during the next few weeks.

    Anyone want to guess what other websites will be presented? I am guessing they will include some variation of “mormon and”. That may seem like an odd domain name, but remember people generally do not use domain names. They use searches. And a very common search query is “mormon and [insert topic]”. Thus, these names are chose to help the hit rank for search engines. I did a few searches of my own and guess what …

  17. Dave K on December 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    SPOILER ALERT

    The church owns the following websites:

    mormonwomen . org (currently running; nice site; perhaps others knew about this, but not me)
    mormonsandpolygamy . org (currently running; just a bullet list of facts and a video of President Hinckley)
    mormonsandrace . org (down for maintenance; appears to be the same format as mormonsandgays . org)

    That’s all I could find. For the record, the church does not own the following websites (I sense a squatter opportunity):

    mormonsandcaffeine . org
    mormonsandbirthcontrol . org
    mormonsandkolob . org
    mormonsandheathendemocrats . org

  18. Dave K on December 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    CORRECTION: In the previous post “mormonwomen . org” should have read “mormonwoman . org”. The church owns both domains but “mormonwomen” simply redirects to LDS.org.

  19. greg on December 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    The discrimation of religion upon the people of difference is alive and well.In the name of a higher power i shall have the right to pass judgment upon Blacks,Jews,Gays,Islam, and any one who belives different then me. For god has told me i have the right to judge.
    You people need to get a life, and think for your selves, instead of being told how and what to think.

  20. dennis black on December 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Thank God these folks are finely through with the discrimination and hate that has killed many of their people.

    I really hope that this is a breakthrough that will allow these so called saints to stop their discrimination, intolarance and moral judgements that aleniate and huet so many.

    I broke free from them after their kids refused to play with my little girl because she was not a one of them.

  21. Ben on December 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    It’s my experience that the rhetoric that the Church uses is different across different cultures – when there should be a universal message for all. The pro-gay lobby in the Church is generally English speaking, despite the fact that the struggles that gays and lesbians are experiencing in the church are worldwide, independent of language. Why isn’t this site at least available in Spanish or Portuguese? Surely they must know that homophobia is rife in conservative latin America for example. Until it appears in other languages, I’ll just see it as a token gesture to satisfy criticism from English speaking media and they aren’t taking gay issues seriously.

  22. Jerry on December 8, 2012 at 2:03 am

    David K — It was never gospel doctrine that right living would change blacks to white in this life or hereafter (though it probably was misunderstood by many members of the church). Church leaders from the outset taught that the day would come when all worthy members of the church would have the full blessings of the church. The trajectory theory you speak of doesn’t make sense–the blacks receiving the priesthood came as a result of revelation foretold by prophets. The church and it’s members need to be loving, compassionate and understanding to same gender attraction and that is what this site is trying to teach. The “Proclamation to the World” about families is and will remain the doctrine of Christ. Many LDS families do experience daily interactions with gay couples and families–many more undoubtedly will–hopefully all wil be kind and loving interactions.

  23. EdwardJ on December 8, 2012 at 2:21 am

    As an active gay Mormon, here are my thoughts on the new website: http://gailymormon.com/2012/12/08/web-presents/

  24. barmy stoat on December 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    You probably thought this was coming:
    http://www.mormonsandnegroes.org/

    ;-)

  25. Jerry on December 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Edward J–good thoughts from a life of varied experiences! The church (meaning the prophet and apostles)don’t have it wrong and the moral laws of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ don’t change and are eternal. The Family – A Proclamation to the World clearly states the mind and will of God and the Son. One of the great virtues of the restored church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that there are truths all can count on and they don’t change–they are the same yesterday, today and forever–otherwise we are back in the dark ages where everything is fluid and truth changes with every wind of doctrine by man and the world.

  26. Huston on December 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Apparently, for some who comment here, “progress” in the church means, “when God finally gets good enough to start becoming more like me.”

  27. Scott Abbott on December 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    One possible reason for ongoing tensions between Mormons and gays is revealed in the first two sentences of the text in the light-blue paragraph to the right of the woman’s photo and under “the purpose of this website” clip with Todd Christopherson.

    “Senior Church leaders in this website represent the official position of the Church. Additional videos feature real people sharing real experiences from their own perspectives.”

  28. Jerry on December 10, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Well said Huston! The objective of life is for us to strive to be perfect like the Father and the Son are perfect–not the other way around,

  29. whizzbang on December 11, 2012 at 1:51 am

    @3-I wonder if Bishops and Stake Presidents are being told not to counsel SSA members to get married. It’s been my personal experience that they are counselling members to get married…

  30. Frederika ten Hoopen on December 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    when I joined the Church 14 years ago the Missionaries explained to me that i could not drink coffee or tea! I asked a lot of questions and they answered with the informative decree of the shalac around the coffee bean that is bad for your health, that coffee and tea have tannin in it which is poisonious of course, and then they said. It’s a commandment! Oh! I said “why didnt you say that in the first place! I was able to quit on the spot with no temptations thereafter! it is important to keep the commandments if you want blessings and of course if you dont want any…well then the choice is yours, but the consequences are not.it isnt about you as to the gay issue of acting on a thought…it is about your LOVE for Heavenly Father…if YOU love HIM you will keep the commandments….He loves you but if you want to FEEL His DIVINE love then you will follow the Prophet and not act on your every temptation that comes your way. I love all of Gods children but that does not mean I have to tolerate certain behavior…tough love is not a bad thing…it helps us grow, so we can be closer to HIM!Since non of us are perfect and He is, wouldn’t you trust in His ways more than yours!

  31. Henry on January 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Frederika:
    I am afraid there is a spirit of liberalism creeping into the church. Just check out Feministmormonhousewives.org and other liberal blogs. Members are actually encouraging people to follow this lifestyle.

  32. SB on January 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Some people would do well to read this article:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=23&num=1&id=820

    Most important of all is to quit looking at the rhetorical words the church uses to establish its position. It’s not ever going to advocate or permit any sexual relationship other than what God has established (man and woman), and in no other way than what God has established (marriage). We as people grow in our understanding, but God’s commandments in this regard will stand.