Laurie Campbell began living a lesbian lifestyle thirty years ago. She became aware of her attraction to women in high school and in college, began to live and accept the lifestyle. She understood that the behaviors were inappropriate—a violation of her religious beliefs. It took time, however, for her to want her spiritual life more than she wanted the relationship she was in. She ended the relationship and began rebuilding her spiritual life.

Laurie is a Mormon, the nickname sometimes used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe there is nothing sinful about having same-sex attractions, but that people do not have to act on every feeling they have. Homosexual behaviors are sinful. A Mormon who does not live or promote a homosexual lifestyle can be a member in full standing.

She set out to help others facing her struggles. She spoke frequently and wrote a book, but generally using a pen name. She prepared to spend the rest of her life celibate, a prospect which did not concern her and which seemed more appealing than marrying a man. She obtained a master’s degree in counseling, specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Campbell noted that many in her situation are told they must act on their feelings and that there is no other option. This is similar to telling an alcoholic he has no choice but to drink. Obviously, people do have choices, but those who choose not to live a gay lifestyle find it difficult to obtain support. Despite the argument given by the gay community that people have a right to live as they choose, many do not extend that right to gays who do not wish to live a gay lifestyle.

She does not work to change people who are comfortable with their lifestyle. Her goal is to help those who want to live without homosexual behavior.

Laurie Campbell had the rare but not unheard of experience of discovering she could indeed fall in love with a man. She admits he is probably the only man she could ever love, and this sentiment is commonly expressed by those who do fall in love and have a heterosexual family. Mormons believe that homosexuality will not exist in the next life and that families will continue into our heavenly lives. The families we establish today can continue forever. Since homosexual attraction will not exist in the eternities, it would be cruel to establish a family relationship and even to raise children in a family that cannot exist in the next life and in one where the attraction will melt away.

Mormons believe that God can do anything. If he wants a homosexual to establish an appropriate family relationship here on earth, He can make her have the appropriate attraction to the specific spouse He has chosen for her. However, Mormons do not today counsel people to seek marriage as a cure. Marriage should occur only if there is a true attraction between the couple. Those who do not have the opportunity to marry in this life, including those who realize they cannot properly maintain a heterosexual relationship, will have the opportunity to do so in the next.

When the Mormons approached Laurie and asked her to share her story on a planned church website being built to support homosexual Mormons, she hesitated. Her husband knew of her past, of course, but her children did not. She was about to move to a new home and she wondered how it would work to have that story be her introduction to her new church congregation. All the same, she wanted to help, knowing how little support there really was for people like her.

She talked with her children and the oldest said she was proud of her mother for having the courage to share her story. The youngest considered it unimportant. She went ahead with the project and found the team that created the video to be very sensitive to her feelings.

Laurie says she does not consider her sexuality to be her central identity. She feels people don’t realize they can choose what they consider to be their main focus of identity. She chooses her role as a child of God to be her primary identity and far more important than her sexual orientation.

She is not certain a person can completely change orientation, but she does know a person can potentially allow an attraction to the opposite gender to develop. To her, the most important thing is not whether you marry and have children in this life, but that you are willing to be whatever God asks you to be, to do whatever He asks you to do. If He asks you to remain single your entire life, then you must be prepared to do that, to turn your will to Him. If He asks you to learn to love someone of the opposite gender, you must be prepared to do that as well.

In an interview with the Deseret News, she said, “”There’s nothing homophobic or hateful about wanting to change,” Campbell said “Just as we need to reach out with sincere Christ-like love and respect to those who are gay, we also need to reach out to those who don’t want to be gay and offer love, encouragement and support.”

Read the full interview:

Joseph Walker, Woman who had lived lesbian lifestyle brings hope to Mormons with same-sex attraction through LDS Church’s new website, Deseret News

Read more about the new Mormonsandgays website

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often nicknamed Mormons, has launched a new website to provide moral support for gay Mormons and their families. It encourages gay Mormons to stay in the church and live the gospel, and teaches families to remain loving and involved in the lives of gay family members.

The site, mormonsandgays.org, outlines official church doctrines and advice from leaders. However, it also has unscripted video discussions by homosexual Mormons (including one who is no longer a practicing member of the Church and speaks in his grandmother’s video) and by family members of homosexuals. These do not represent official doctrines, but do help people hear the honest feelings, experiences, and hopes of people who have first-hand experience with the issue.

The people who recorded their stories come from a range of experiences. Some are married to a person of the opposite sex and speak openly about how that came to be. One tried marriage, divorced, and eventually chose celibacy. Others chose celibacy from the start  unless they find themselves attracted to a person of the opposite sex someday. Mormon leaders are now taught not to encourage marriage as a “cure,” something earlier lay leaders sometimes did. Some speakers have gay children or grandchildren and discuss their feelings, what they’ve learned, and what they want from others.

The site emphasizes that the information does not represent a change in official doctrine, only a clarifying of doctrine and of the appropriate approach to the challenges faced by Mormons in this situations. The goal is to provide a form of support not available in most arenas—support for people who choose not to live a homosexual lifestyle regardless of temptations and tendencies.  Too many felt pressured by the secular world to believe they had no choice but to live that lifestyle, when in reality, we all have agency. We can choose to avoid sin.

Mormons teach that being a homosexual is not a sin. However, homosexual behaviors are. The video explains that we don’t choose who we are attracted to, but we do control our actions towards those attractions. Mormons who do not act on homosexual desires and who live the laws of chastity are members in full standing. This means there is no intimacy outside of marriage, which Mormons define as being between a man and a woman.

“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. 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.” (gaysandmormons.org)

The website outlines the purpose of the site and its goals:

“This official website does not offer a comprehensive explanation of everything related to same-sex attraction, but it does reflect the feelings of Church leaders as to how we should treat each other as part of the human family. The site offers a place where the people whose lives are impacted by attraction to the same sex can find inspiration to work through difficult challenges while remaining faithful to Church teachings.

The Church’s approach to this issue stands apart from society in many ways. And that’s alright. Reasonable people can and do differ. From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change. There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right. But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere.”

One story told in-depth is that of Ty, a church member who has spoken publicly in the past. He became aware of his lack of interest in girls in high school but didn’t pay much attention to it, since he was focused on preparing for a church mission at age nineteen. However, when he came home, he realized that none of his dates led to attraction at all. He spoke with his bishop about it and was referred to a counselor, but that didn’t help. He then began experimenting cautiously with a homosexual lifestyle, being careful not to do anything he’d really regret. However, he became aware that this was creating a loss of the influence of the Holy Ghost. He eventually had a spiritual experience in which he understood that God loved him. He decided that he needed to stop worrying about anyone else’s expectations and simply make it between him and God.

“And I was able to totally release myself from cultural expectation. Like from now on, I was doing this journey in the Church, but this was between me and God. No more pressure to get married, no more timetables, no more anything. No more programs, this or that therapy, it was me and God, taking this a day at a time. If it something works, great, if it doesn’t, great not a problem. I’m with God and that’s all that I need. But that was enough for me to be able to feel a real hope. And to feel a joy in Christ and to feel a joy in the gospel that I had lost years before. And also, the natural desire to want to have companionship. But at this point, I knew I didn’t need that more than I needed God. It was God first, that was second. It was a slow process over several years. I don’t know that I ever really started to feel a sense of changing from homosexual to heterosexual as much as I just felt like the feelings didn’t have as much, they didn’t have any control or power, they didn’t have the pull in my life that they once had.”

Mormons believe that marriage and parenthood are meant to last for eternity if certain conditions are met. This means that when we die, we can remain married and continue to be a family unit. Mormons also believe that homosexuality is only a condition in mortality. It did not exist before our births and will not exist after we die. Although Mormons oppose gay marriage, they have officially supported legislation that prohibits employment and housing discrimination against homosexuals.

For more on this website:

Joseph Walker, ‘Stay with us,’ new LDS website urges gay Mormons, Deseret News, Dec. 6 2012

Joseph Walker, Woman who had lived lesbian lifestyle brings hope to Mormons with same-sex attraction through LDS Church’s new website, Deseret News, Dec. 8 2012

New Church Website on Same-Sex Attraction Offers Love, Understanding and Hope, Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, December 6, 2012

One of the unique challenges Mormons with same-sex attraction face is that American culture offers them no support. Society encourages them to act on their attraction while attacking those who choose not to. This contradicts their message that people have a right to do anything they want, of course, and it makes it very difficult for those who acknowledge their SSA but choose to either remain celibate or to marry someone of the opposite gender.

Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons teach that having homosexual attractions is not a sin. We all have challenges in our lives and that is human, not sinful. However, we do not have to act on every temptation or attraction that comes our way. People with alcohol cravings can choose not to drink and people with junk food cravings can choose not to eat those foods. We may not always be able to control what tempts us, but we can control how to react to those temptations. Homosexual behavior is a sin, but the desire for it is not. Those who do not act on their temptations or encourage others to act can be members in full standing.

Since this is not the message the world promotes, those who wish to live a different way struggle to find support. Some states are even outlawing support for these people and some companies remove support resources. A group called Voices of Hope is aiming to change that.

To alleviate the feeling that a person who wishes to avoid homosexual behavior is alone in the world, the group is collecting videotaped messages from people who have same-sex attraction and have chosen not to act on those temptations. They will offer personal experiences, encouragement, and proof that it is possible to choose a road not supported by the world. The messages will be made available online

The project began when a Mormon congregational leader had difficulty finding good resources to help parishioners struggling to come to terms with SSA. He contacted Ty Mansfield, who has SSA and founded an organization called North Star, for Mormons who have SSA. Mansfield has a book called “Voices of Hope” and the video project will extend the book. Some essays will also be made available online. The stories will share how people have found peace and happiness living the teachings of the gospel while having SSA.

““The goal and the hope is to help change the cultural conversation so people know there are options and it’s possible to be happy and faithful in the gospel,” said Mansfield, “and that we can actually put faces with that choice.”

Read more about the project:

New video project seeks to promote gospel living for those with same-sex attraction,” Erin Jones, LDS Living

A group of Mormons who call themselves Mormons Building Bridges are taking a non-political stance to assist gay teenagers in Utah who are homeless find Mormon families to take them in. They are partnering with another organization, Ogden Outreach. The group is in the process of hiring a social worker and setting up best practices to make certain the needs of the teenagers are met and that the program is safe. They also hope to work with parents of gay teenagers to help them learn how to handle the discovery their child is gay.

Mormons—a nickname sometimes given to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—believe that homosexuality is not a sin, but that homosexual practices are. A homosexual who remains celibate can be a member in good standing—the same requirement made of heterosexuals who are not married.

Mormons do not take a stand on the cause of homosexuality, nor do they take a stand on whether or not treatment should be undertaken to change orientation. Their focus is on behavior only. The reason for this stance is that Mormons believe marriage and families are eternal and that in the afterlife, homosexuality will not exist. For that reason, it would be cruel to establish a relationship that will not be desirable to the couple in the eternities, nor is fair to the children to place them in a family which cannot possibly continue after death.

In an extensive interview with two Mormon leaders, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle, was asked what he would say to a son who told his parents he had same-sex attraction. Elder Oaks’ responded, “You’re my son. You will always be my son, and I’ll always be there to help you.” Mormons do not counsel parents to abandon children with same-sex attraction and in fact encourage them to support and guide their children in learning to understand and work with their special challenges. Elder Oaks noted that everyone faces challenges and temptations in life. In his continued example of what a parent might say to a child, he suggested:

“The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear. It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression. The sin is in yielding to temptation. Temptation is not unique. Even the Savior was tempted.

I think it’s important for you to understand that homosexuality, which you’ve spoken of, is not a noun that describes a condition. It’s an adjective that describes feelings or behavior. I encourage you, as you struggle with these challenges, not to think of yourself as a ‘something’ or ‘another,’ except that you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you’re my son, and that you’re struggling with challenges.

Everyone has some challenges they have to struggle with. You’ve described a particular kind of challenge that is very vexing. It is common in our society and it has also become politicized. But it’s only one of a host of challenges men and women have to struggle with, and I just encourage you to seek the help of the Savior to resist temptation and to refrain from behavior that would cause you to have to repent or to have your Church membership called into question.”

Read the complete interview:

Same-Gender Attraction

By Rhett Wilkinson

Mitt Romney’s beliefs in Mormonism—including the importance of eternal marriage and the preservation of the family institution as ordained by the Creator—may be the ultimate reason why he doesn’t completely support LGBT rights. That doesn’t mean the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic  Games he led didn’t lead the way in friendliness to their involvement.

Romney and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints coordinated with many individuals and interests groups to conduct what some have described as the best Olympics in history, if not “the most gay-friendly Olympics in history.”

The B.W. Bastian Foundation, a special interest group representing LGBT at the Games, were granted several positions and provisions key to helping the Olympics function, according to an article from Stephanie Mencimer found at www.towleroad.com.

Bastian Executive Director Michael Marriott sought three avenues of involvement in order to, as he described, “have a seat at the table”: a representative on the diversity committee, the Salt Lake Olympic Committee to conduct workforce recruiting directly within the LGBT community, and access to foreign LGBT athletes and their families in order to offer housing and other services to them during the games.

When Marriott and the group learned they would be granted each, former SLOC Human Resources Director Ed Eynon remembered a reaction that they perhaps didn’t need to express.

“They were shocked,” he said.

The announcement pleased current Utah Democratic Party leader Jim Dabakis, head of the Utah Pride Center (formerly known as the LGBTQ  Community Center of Utah). Eynon said Dabakis had felt “snubbed” after watching local news reports on the Olympic diversity efforts. That emphasis resulted from the advocacy of SLOC Board of Trustees member Lillian Taylor to organize a council assigned to recruit volunteers from various minority groups.

Romney and the SLOC—which included other Mormons—listened.

The SLOC appointed two representatives to serve on the volunteer recruiting committee, including Marriott to represent gays and Salt Lake attorney Laura Miliken Gray for lesbians. While Marriott also sat on the general committee, Eynon connected them with the director of international athlete services to link with LGBT athletes in other countries. SLOC also set up volunteer recruiting booths at the Utah Pride festival and Utah Gay Rodeo and set up job fairs at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

The Gay and Lesbian Times noted before the games’ Opening Ceremony that the Salt Lake Olympics would “go down as one of the most-gay inclusive Olympics to date.” The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization praised the Salt Lake organizers for their LGBT outreach. “Not only did they appoint two representatives to the volunteer committee, they asked LGBT community members to participate in a minority/cultural committee,” they said in a statement. LGBT volunteers were involved in a variety of tasks, from working as translators to parking cars to working security details to managing volunteers for an entire venue.

Romney’s interest to increase the diversity of the Games’ workforce drove him to support the group’s involvement, Eynon said. “He was proud that we met with these various groups and had them on committees,” said Eynon, the current vice president for human resources at KSL Resorts. “He was very appreciative and very complimentary.” Romney also mentioned his appreciation for LGBT involvement in the Games in his 2004 book, “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership and the Olympic Games.”

As the article reads, “Gray still has her blue Olympic volunteer parka—the very same coat that Romney is pictured sporting on the cover of his 2004 book, and she credits Romney for the extensive LGBT involvement during the Salt Lake Olympics.”

“My impression during the Games was that he was a fair minded and inclusive person,” Gray said. “That’s what was portrayed to us, and that’s what occurred under his command.”

During his tenure at the SLOC, Romney toured Salt Lake’s gay community center after meeting next door with the local ACLU, which Dabakis also attended.

Mencimer also wrote how Dabakis recalled pleasantries with Romney following their visit, as Dabakis gave Romney the “full tour” of the facility, despite the Olympic head’s tremendously busy schedule. “He wasn’t reluctant,” Dabakis said. “He said ‘great job’… and then zoomed off to wherever he was going.” Romney also references the tour in “Turnaround,” describing his effort to personally recruit gays and lesbians at the center.

“The transformation hasn’t been lost on Utah’s LGBT community,” Mencimer wrote, adding that Marriott is distantly related to the same Marriott family that owns a nationwide hotel chain and are Latter-day Saints. Romney is also named after a Marriott.

Mencimer added that Marriott “appreciates” what Romney did in Salt Lake.

“The Olympics definitely changed Utah and Salt Lake for the better,” he said.

Rhett Wilkinson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”). He is a Capitol Hill intern and co-founder of the USU online student magazine Aggie BluePrint. He has worked for the Deseret News (including the Mormon Times) and Standard-Examiner.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about Mitt Romney

Mormon Olympians

LDS Church Statement on Same-Sex Attraction

 

In recent years public attitudes towards gay marriages and civil unions have changed dramatically, and Utah is no exception.

New survey data from the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University (BYU) has found that 29 percent of Utahans now oppose both gay marriage and civil unions, however, attitudes toward some legal recognition of same-sex relationships have changed dramatically over the past eight years. Further analysis of the survey poll found 72 percent of Utah voters oppose gay marriage, but at the same time, 71 percent now favor some form of legal recognition as compared to 62 percent nationally, as reported in CBS/New York Times surveys.

Chris Karpowitz, a BYU political science professor and fellow at the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy stated:

Utah is seeing the same kind of movement that we see in the United States generally. We’re getting massive change in public opinion in a very short period of time. What makes Utah voters different is that they are moving not toward full support of marriage equality but toward civil unions. [1]

Utah voters, especially young voters are opting for middle ground on the gay marriage issue by showing a strong support for civil unions. Kelly Patterson, a BYU Political Scientist stated::

[These young voters are] responding to arguments in the political environment around them, which trace back to these notions of equality and rights, but that seems to be circumscribed by their faith, and the arguments they hear about the importance of marriage. [1]

In a Utah survey conducted in 2012, 43 percent of the voters supported civil unions, and 28 percent supported same-sex marriage. On a national level, 24 percent favor civil unions and 38 percent favor same-sex marriage. By using two election exit polls and two surveys of voter panels derived from those exit polls, the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy has been able to collect data regarding attitudes toward gay marriages at four different time periods beginning in 2004. In 2004, 54 percent of Utah voters opposed any form of legal recognition for same-sex relationships. By 2009 that percentage had dropped to 37 percent. By 2010 the percentage dropped to 35 percent, and in the latest poll the percentage dropped to 29 percent. This represents a dramatic change in attitude towards gay marriages by 25 percent of the voting populace in an 8 year time period.

It should be noted that the BYU center’s study used the same questions posed by CBS/New York Times polls over the same time period, but the national survey did not indicate the same dramatic results. In the CBS polls, for example, 38 percent of voters nationally opposed any form of legal recognition in 2004, and that percentage dropped only 5 points in 2012 to 33 percent, after being slightly higher at 43 percent in 2005.

Kelly Patterson, who is a BYU political science professor and fellow at the BYU Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, pointed out that much of the shift in attitude of Utahans occurred during volatile years that the center’s data does not capture. Patterson further stated:

That five-year gap, from 2004 to 2008, witnessed intense debates across multiple states over the definition of marriage. This culminated in the dramatic 2008 battle over California’s Proposition 8.

The major shift in Utah is indicative of a larger trend in the same-sex marriage debate.

It is difficult to make an argument in modern American culture that there are curbs on what individuals can do and how individuals live their lives. [1]

Concerning the paradigm shift in attitudes of Utahans being more in favor of gay civil unions, Chris Karpowitz stated:

I think it is clear that we see movement in the same direction as we see movement in the rest of the country, but it doesn’t go quite as far as especially young people in the rest of the country would want to go. [1]

Additional Resources:

Gay Mormons 

Mormons and Gay Marriage Explanations

Mormon Doctrines

The Divine Institution of Marriage

 

 

” The former president of the American Psychological Association says political correctness and homosexual ideology rule the organization, and that leaving the homosexual “lifestyle” is indeed a possibility.” [1]  He called the APA ‘monlithic’ in its stance and unwilling to transcend what it perceives as political correctness to address the element of choice in homosexual behavior.

Mormon FamilyThis idea is in opposition to the current APA stance that homosexuals cannot change their behavior or orientation.  Cummings  flatly stated that leaving the homosexual lifestyle is quite possible and that he has seen it happen.  Cummings has counseled gays who have the desire to leave the gay lifestyle and has had a 20% success rate.  Religious belief can galvanize a person to make such changes.

Cummings said he had to ‘latch on’ to a patient’s determination, such as that energized by their religion. But he said the “gay rights” movement and others claim these patients should leave their religion and accept their “lifestyle.” Those who push for patients to dump their desire to stop the erotopathic, he said, do not respect the patients’ psychological needs.

Christianity and Homosexuality

While some work to get Christianity to change its historical and traditional point of view that homosexual behavior is a sin, with some success in some churches.  Others try to help homosexuals see the element of choice in their chosen lifestyle and urge them to make use of the atonement of Jesus Christ to help them bring their behavior in line with the commandments of Christ.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to the Evergreen Society and addressed the possibilities of change in the homosexual lifestyle.  First, Elder Hafen told those in attendance that the Lord takes into account the challenges we face when judging us.  Some challenges are very difficult.  He told of the experience of Mormon apostle Neal A. Maxwell:

Elder Maxwell once taught a group of people who lived with really hard daily challenges.  He had been watching the Olympic diving competition, where he had learned that the judges grade a dive not just by how graceful it looks to the public, but by how difficult the dive is—which only the judges can understand enough to measure. Elder Maxwell told this group that the Lord will judge their lives by the difficulty of their dive, which He understands in every detail.  And your own difficult dives are being made much harder these days by the increasing cultural confusion that now swirls around the topic of homosexuality.

He then talked about God’s doctrines:

You are literally God’s spirit child.  Having same-gender attraction is NOT in your DNA, but being a child of God clearly IS in your spiritual DNA—only one generation removed from Him whom we call Father in Heaven. As the family proclamation states, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”  As part of an eternal plan, our Father placed us in this world subject to death, sin, sorrow, and misery—ALL of which serve the eternal purpose of letting us taste the bitter that we may learn to prize the sweet.

If you are faithful, on resurrection morning—and maybe even before then—you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex.  Some of you may wonder if that doctrine is too good to be true. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said it MUST be true, because “there is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband and wife, and posterity.” And “men (and women) are that they might have joy.”

It’s true that the law of chastity forbids all sexual relations outside the bonds of a married heterosexual relationship. And while same-gender attraction is not a sin, you need to resist cultivating immoral, lustful thoughts toward those of either gender.  It’s no sin if a bird lands in your tree, just don’t let him build a nest there.  The adversary will tempt you by constantly “enticing” you to “do that which is evil,” because “there is an opposition in all things.” (2 Nephi 2:11) But God will also constantly “entice” you “to do good continually.” (see Moroni 7:12-13)  No temptation is so strong that you can’t resist it, unless you have already given away some portion of your agency to a total addiction. So will you choose to “yield” to temptation, or will you “yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit”? (Mosiah 3:19)  It’s up to you.

Mormon apostle Dallin H. Oaks also spoke on homosexuality:

This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach.

While Christian homosexuals struggle to balance faith and desire, society at large is at risk.  The gay rights movement threatens religious freedom and the traditional family, and many people are blind to those possibilities.  Mormon leaders try to awaken people to these realities.

In the meantime, there is more than counseling available for gays who desire to live a wholesome lifestyle in accordance with the commandments of Jesus Christ.  There is the atonement.  Church leaders stand ready to help, but so does the Lord, who is willing to give personal help to the believer who comes to Him in mighty prayer and seeks for God’s grace through the atonement of His Only Begotten Son.

Additional Resources:

Guard Marriage.com

Mormon Families

Jesus Christ in Mormonism

 

Of all the numbers in the Pew Research Center’s recently released survey of “Mormons in America,” the highest, most overwhelming numbers are these: 98 percent of respondents said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion.

 Pew Study: Mormon Beliefs, Religious CommitmentThis comes on the heels of earlier surveys indicating that 32 percent of non-LDS U.S. adults say the LDS Church is not a Christian religion, and an additional 17 percent are unsure of LDS Christianity. The theological and semantic reasons for this can be complex, but for the 1,019 self-identified Mormons who participated in the Pew survey, their theological position is clear: Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, and they consider themselves to be Christian.

“Certainly in Latter-day Saint theology is this idea that if you understand who you are, you understand that there’s a purpose in life, you understand your connection to God, that certainly has an impact on how you live your life and what you do, but also how you feel about your life and what you are doing,” said Michael Purdy of the LDS Church Public Affairs office. Read the rest of this entry »

By Amy Choate-Nielsen

Deseret News
Published: Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 7:00 p.m. MST

David Letterman knows how to get a laugh.Like most comics, he riffs on the day’s news, deadpans the camera and revels in audacity.”Oh, did you hear about this?” the host of CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman asked his audience recently. “A campaign staffer on the Newt Gingrich campaign was fired because he was making negative comments about Mormons. I thought, now, wait a minute — isn’t Newt in favor of multiple wives?”
Mormons say polygamy wrongLaughter rumbled from the audience followed by applause. The polygamy punch line is a familiar one when it comes to poking fun at Mormons — as though Mormons and polygamy are synonymous in mainstream media. Ironically, the practice that’s most linked to Mormons is a practice most Mormons oppose, according to a groundbreaking new study of Mormons in America released Thursday by the Pew Research Center‘s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

According to the study, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unequivocally reject polygamy — only 2 percent said the practice is morally acceptable — evidence of a yawning gap in what Mormons believe and how they are perceived. Mormons’ opinions are overwhelmingly conservative, the study shows, but in many ways, their views are also surprising — especially when it comes to opinions on moral issues, divorce, homosexuality and polygamy. Read the rest of this entry »

A recent The Pew Research Center‘s Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted an in-depth survey of Mormons in the United States. Mormon is a nickname sometimes used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fourth article in a series that appears in Deseret News is evaluating the results of this survey and providing context for the results.

Immigration is a controversial topic in the United States. The survey asked one question on this topic. They were asked which of two statements most closely matched their view, even if they didn’t completely agree. They were asked whether immigrants strengthen or burden the nation. No distinction was made between legal and illegal immigration, leaving those polled to decide for themselves what the question meant.

Mormon Immigration views from Pew StudyIn the general U.S. population, 45 percent of Americans feel that immigrants strengthen the country, while 44 percent burden it. 12 percent feel that neither or both are true or they have no opinion on the subject. Mormon views closely mirror these statistics. 45 percent of Mormons also believe immigrants strengthen the nation, although a smaller number, 41 percent, consider them a burden on society. The number of Mormons who accept both or neither or who have no opinion is higher, at 14 percent.

These numbers put them at odds with evangelical Christians, one of the few political areas in which they disagree. Within the white evangelical population, 59 percent believe immigrants are a burden, and 27 percent believe they strengthen the country. Like Mormons, 14 percent answered both, neither, or no opinion.

The statistics for Mormons shows a strong divide based on age, income, and education, as well as on religious commitment. Only 36 percent of highly committed Mormons see immigrants as a burden, while 50 percent of those who are less committed see them as a burden. This largely correlates with economic status. 84 percent of Mormons who are highly committed to their religion are college graduates. (The church strongly encourages Read the rest of this entry »

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