Moral Low Ground

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Mormon Church Bombshell Shift: Homosexuality Is Not a Choice; Compassion, Love and Understanding Toward LGBT People Urged

(Photo: Mike McKenna)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, has stunned observers by launching a campaign urging its members to show more compassion to gays and lesbians.

The Mormon church debuted a new website, mormonsandgays.com, on Thursday, calling on Mormons to show “love and understanding” towards LGBT individuals.

“Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction,” the site says. “This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other and what it means to be disciples of Christ.”

“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people,” the site continues. It then goes on to drop what many observers say is a bombshell– an acknowledgement that homosexuality is not a choice, even while affirming that homosexual behavior is still considered a sin:

“Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to react to them. 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,” the site says.

Importantly, the site urges Mormons not to “shame or reject” gays.

“We recognize in each other our common needs for intimacy and companionship and can discuss them without shame or rejection.”

Equally important, the site asserts that homosexuality “should not be viewed as an illness or a disease.”

It also urges LGBT Mormons not to hide their true identities.

“Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex.”

The site goes on to celebrate “our common humanity,” stating that “the human family comes in every shade of difference.”

This shift in attitude is remarkable, coming from an organization that did not allow blacks to become priests until 1978 and was instrumental in securing the passage of Proposition 8, the successful California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in that state.

LDS Elder D. Todd Christofferson told the Deseret News that the message behind the new outlook is “stay with us.”

“When people have those [homosexual] desires and attractions, our attitude is ‘stay with us,'” he said. “I think that’s what God is saying: stay with me. And I think that’s what we want to say in the Church: stay with us, and let’s work together in friendship and commonality and brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, a non-profit organization serving the state’s LGBT community, told the Deseret News that the church’s apparent shift should be applauded.

“[Utah Pride Center] applauds any institution, religious or otherwise, for increasing the availability of potentially lifesaving resources to bridge the gap in human understanding, respect and acceptance of differences.”

“It is our hope that our Utah LGBTQ community will embrace the fact that saving lives may be the greatest gift of this new resource for LDS members, giving LGBTQ and questioning Mormons hope through knowing that their families and church leaders are committed to reducing judgment, rejection and isolation,” Larabee added, calling the church’s move a “huge step in the right direction.”

Zack Ford, ThinkProgress LGBT editor, welcomed the shift, albeit with a dose of skepticism.

“These improvements over blatant ostracization and condemnation could very well save the lives of many young people and help keep families together,” Ford wrote.

“However, with this approach, the Mormon Church has essentially only caught up to the ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’ approaches of the Catholic Church and many evangelical Christians, which are still incredibly problematic.”

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One Comment

  1. JPDDecember 8, 2012 at 4:19 pmReply

    The article states “Among the testimonies is a lengthy, emotional from a man identified only as Tyler, about how he struggled with hopelessness and alienation from God as he tried to reconcile his attraction to other men with his dedication to the church. The issue is particularly challenging for Latter-day Saints, who believe that Mormons in good standing spend eternity together with their families. A family member who leaves the church, a common occurrence for gay and lesbian Mormons, will remain separated from their relatives.”

    Gee talk about embedding the ‘GUILT REFLEX’ into the minds of pre-adolescents, poor Tyler. Almost as bad as our public primary education system that programs adolescents, when they are most prone, under the guise of ‘SEX EDUCATION’ that same sex experimentation is OK, if it feels good JUST DO IT! Become who you are inside – no wonder we have confusion as to self-sexual identity…..need I go further??????????

    This article cements the about face onto Mormons religious beliefs, no wonder “THEY” make such good politicians such as Jeffery Lane Flake, talking out of both pie holes on the campaign trail.

    Back to the ‘good standing & eternity together with their families’: If Mormon families will be together forever, where will the In-Laws LIVE?

    “Salvation in its true and full meaning is synonymous with exaltation of eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom. This full salvation is obtained in and through the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and those who obtain it are gods. (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.670.)

    “Here, then is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 346.)

    JOSEPH SMITH AS A PROPHET http://www.exmormon.org/prophet.htm

    Thank God I broke away from the GUILT of the Catholic Church.

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