A modest note about the group ‘Mama Dragons’

This is a guest post by Michael Worley.

 

This post is written cautiously, as both family members of those who experience same-gender attraction and those who experience same-sex attraction should receive Christlike love from church members, irrespective of any choice they make. A recent church video emphasizes this point.

But loving one another does not require we treat their points of view as admirable. Of special concern for LDS members is when groups either (1) promote views contrary to the teachings of Christ as taught by his prophets, apostles, and other leaders or (2) advance their views by supporting efforts that contradict church teachings, while refusing to support efforts that affirm church teachings.

Suppose you were addicted to pornography, tempted to the speed limit on the freeway, or having trouble reading the Book of Mormon every day—but realized that all three of these things had been spoken of as important in general conference, to one degree or another. If you wished to improve in these areas, you would not turn to those who claimed that pornography was morally acceptable, who posted routinely on social media how to speed without getting caught, or who disputed the prophets who testify of the Book of Mormon.

One somewhat prominent group, “Mama Dragons,” holds itself out as a support group for LDS family members of those who experience same-sex attraction. The remainder of this post addresses the question of whether they are a trustworthy source for members of the church to turn to, based on the principles mentioned above. This is so those looking for good sources on the LDS church’s stance on same-sex attraction and gender identity can know what this group believes. While those who leave the LDS Faith or choose to question the teachings of the church have every right to express their views, Millennial Star has every right to collect their views for reference.

To the first criteria, promoting views contrary to the teachings of Christ: Mama Dragon Kimberly Anderson has stated that she does not believe in much of the Family Proclamation as an inspired document. But prophets have stated that the Family Proclamation contains valuable doctrine. Mama Dragons linked to her interview on its Facebook page, indicating her views are fully acceptable to the organization. Mama Dragons has also linked favorably to a post celebrating a music video that involved same-sex kissing outside a church, even though such kissing violates policies at all LDS Church Schools that request that students not participate in conduct that gives expression to feelings of same-sex attraction. Mama Dragons also refuses to teach the importance of the Christian law of chastity—which Elder Holland recently said should be the focus of our discussion on issues of same-sex attraction.

Second, Mama Dragons expresses messages that contradict the church by allying groups whose teachings oppose the church’s teachings. Mama Dragons members have appeared on a podcast called “Mormon Stories,” whose founder, John Dehlin, was excommunicated and has been one of several leaders in helping people who question their faith leave Mormonism. Mama Dragons’ Facebook page “likes” groups such as PFLAG, which openly support same-sex marriage, unlike the LDS Church. And their allies are one-sided: while faithful members—or the church as an institution—may ally with those who they disagree with on some issues, Mama Dragons does not, however, “like” groups that teach church doctrine on marriage, such as Northstar. While knowing members of these groups on an individual level is surely a good thing (Mr. Dehlin should not be shunned as an individual because of his excommunication), allying exclusively with groups that express beliefs contrary to church teachings is worrisome.

Mama Dragons brings up other considerations to justify their actions of criticizing or ignoring the teachings of the prophets. Most centrally, they claim there is a lack of resources to enable LDS family members of LGBT individuals to know how to love and be accepting. They also claim, as mothers, a need to defend their kids from rhetoric that they deem hurtful, including rhetoric within the LDS Church. Whether or not these concerns are valid (the church has been publishing resources in several mediums for over two decades on this topic), they should be acknowledged and listened to. But these concerns should not drown out this key fact: Christ’s command to love our fellow men—which, as Mama Dragons and others point out, includes all humans, whatever their sexual inclinations or choices—does not give us license to ignore his command to love Him and keep His commandments. As Elder Holland explained:

“Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others.”

That is not all that Christlike love requires. Christlike love also requires that, as President Uchtdorf explained,

“We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. … I will [] quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, ‘Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.’”

Christlike love includes both the requirement to not advocate or applaud sinful behavior, as Elder Holland described, and the more individual love that dictates that, as President Uchtdorf said, we not judge or exclude LGBT members from our circles.  May those who evaluate whether to listen to Mama Dragons recognize that the Mama Dragons focus on the second part of Christlike love relevant here, but ignore or criticize their responsibility to be Christlike by not advocating positions contrary to those that Christ himself has taught through “his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). Those who listen to them and also desire to remain firmly balanced in the truth should also read resources—such as Northstar LDS—that properly teach what Christ has taught about standards of conduct for all of his children.

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  1. I have engaged in discussion with various of the Mama Dragons over the years and have found them to be a horribly misguided group, if I am to be charitable. To a woman, they have inverted the first two commandments (thank you Elder Robbins, October 2014 General Conference) and claim to love their children so unconditionally as to not take any stance or make any judgment regarding their actions in life. I have attempted to impress upon them that there is no love in standing idly by, or worse, facilitating, the damning sins of their children. More than once, the response has been that their job is to love their children, not to preach to them the Gospel. Most of them are absolutely convinced that the only way to prevent their children from committing suicide is to affirm each and every choice they make, and they cling to them so tightly as if this life was the sum total of our existence.

    I feel badly for them; I pity them. Grief over their children’s sins and choices drives them to reject the gospel, by and large, and my experience with the supposedly “faithful” Mama Dragons demonstrates that while they may be in the pews on Sunday, they are largely there to attempt to change the teachings of the Church, rather than to be changed by those teachings.

  2. Replace “Mama Dragons” with “Expositor” and read the post.

    It is worth remembering that those writinging in the Expositor were beloved of the leaders of the Church. But when the authors of the Expositor vowed to use lethal violence to overthrow the Church leadership, they were called to account.

    Some may say that modern criticisms of the church don’t rise to the level of the Expositor. I am reminded of the parable of the wagon driver. Three were interviewed for the job of driving the wagon along the treacherous mountain road. To show their skill and driving very close to the edge without falling over. The third showed their aversion to getting anywhere close to the edge. As I recall the parable, it was young man who stayed away from the edge she got the job.

  3. It appears that the purpose of this post is to tactfully disparage Mormons from obtaining information from the Mama Dragons website because they are biased and are not supportive of some key principles of the Church regarding LBGT issues. I appreciate the fairly respectful way this was approached. Nonetheless, I think that trying to control the message by encouraging members to only read material from the most orthodox sources is ill advised. I don’t agree with every position on the MD website and I am disturbed why they would link to the official Mormonandgay website, but not Northstar which I feel is a very useful and valid website and perspective. But, still on the MD site I have found useful information and perspective just not found on the classic orthodox LDS forums and websites. The last paragraph of the post states (edited for clarity, if I’m not mistaken), “May those who [choose] [delete: evaluate whether] to listen to Mama Dragons recognize that they focus on the second part of Christlike love relevant here, but ignore or criticize their responsibility to be Christlike by not advocating positions contrary to those that Christ himself has advocated through “his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).” This statement appears to conflate “listening” with “advocacy”. Yikes! Also, if one were to spend some time on the site and look past some of the extreme views, they might come to understand better why the Mama Dragons, I suspect, don’t think the accusation is accurate that stated they, “promote views contrary to the teachings of Christ as taught by his prophets, apostles, and other leaders,” but rather that they (MD) don’t support some teachings of Church leaders because they feel they are contrary to the teachings of Christ. Now, one doesn’t have to agree with that position, but by gaining some understanding of why they feel that way will help us to love them better.

  4. Karls

    I am all in favor of reading to gain understanding and know what others feel. I routinely look at critical sources such as the Exmormon subreddit tor John Dehlin’s facebook to see what people are discussing and to get a sense of their criticisms. But I read those sources with full knowledge that they are not following the teachings of Christ and his Church. Sites like Mama Dragons and speakers such as Mitch Mayne are extremely dangerous because they teach contrary doctrine under the guise of faithful membership. I suspect the purpose of this post is to warn others so that they know that Mama Dragons is not a group encouraging members to faithfully abide by the commandments.

  5. Karis, The sentence you are referring to does not conflate listening with advocacy. I used “listen” to refer to the choices that people like you, I, or Daniel make– to read or not read Mama Dragons. I used “advocacy” to refer to the choices Mama Dragons make to push only a portion of true Christlike love. I did not mean to imply that when you, I, or Daniel listen to a group, we are advocating for it– listening is clearly not advocacy.

    I see the issue is that the word “they” in that sentence could refer to either the Mamas or people like you, Daniel, or I. I’ll see if I can fix that.

  6. I find this to be an accurate summary of the Mama Dragons group. Quotes you’ll find from the group in news sources like the Salt Lake Tribune will back it up. They are wolves looking to devour the flock.

  7. We’ve a non-denominational church near by. On its sign for all to see, it loudly proclaims “We are for Love” in rainbow colors.
    When I drive by this sign, I have the feeling that its nose is pointed upwards.
    Love must be a righteous love, approved and blessed by Heavenly Father. Any person or group which encourages others to move away from God’s love and protection for the sake of acting out and feeling good about it is an enabler. ‘Mamas’ need to remember that these children are God’s children, given to them on probation.
    And we all know what happens to the great dragon of scripture.

  8. I am a member of North Star. I am not part of Mama Dragons but I am acquainted with a few who are, because they are also part of North Star. I get what you are saying and understand why you are saying it but I don’t think you are getting it quite right. There are definitely women who are part of Mama Dragons who are completely faithful members of the Church. There are also many who disagree with the Church’s past policies regarding LGBT people and the current policy of disallowing children of people who are in same sex marriages to be baptized but it really is not a group that is primarily about that. There is not an official position on church doctrine or policy. What they are about is trying to prevent suicides of young LGBT people in the church. They do save lives.

    I also just want to say, being same-sex attracted is not a sin or a temptation, it is just a sexual orientation. LGBT people of course can and do sin, but their sexual orientation is not a sin. Some of the commenters above do not seem to understand that and unfortunately, many church members do not. This leads to a lot rejection, shaming, and shunning of kids who are same-sex attracted and is the source of so much of the anger that you see from many members of Mama Dragons.

  9. I am also a member of affirmation and northstar, and have friends who consider themselves to be mama dragons. Putting differing beliefs aside, I am grateful that many people in the groups I mentioned hold a space for SSA LGBT Mormons who are in tremendous turmoil that can lead to suicidal thoughts and action. I have been in 2 circumstances where we have had to literally talk someone off a building’s ledge and get them help and support. Even last week on one of these message boards there was a suicide scare with someone in the group. It becomes very real when I realized that these mama dragons and SSA LGBT Mormons (who may have a different perspective and experience than the typical readership here) saved my friends life when her Mormon support and family had shunned her. So, despite some differences, I am glad we have saints who are part of these groups. My friends life was saved by these people, even if they hold some beliefs that are different than our own. I do honor that good done.

  10. E, you write:

    “I also just want to say, being same-sex attracted is not a sin or a temptation, it is just a sexual orientation. LGBT people of course can and do sin, but their sexual orientation is not a sin. Some of the commenters above do not seem to understand that and unfortunately, many church members do not.”

    The Church’s position is that same-sex attraction is not a sin but same-sex activity is. Everybody on this blog understands this, and in my experience most Church members also understand this. Based on what comments exactly to you think that commenters do not understand that sexual orientation is not a sin?

  11. Mike Davidson’s comment “grief over their children sins and choices”; there are many SSA/LGBT who have not committed any sin; certainly their SSA is not a choice. Often (typically?) children who are suicidal have not violated the law of chastity by “acting on” their SSA.
    Also the critical comment about the church sign with the rainbow and the welcoming message. There was nothing on the sign advocating any form of sin. It was welcoming LGBT people and expressing love.
    I recommend visiting the North Star website and reading through some of the personal essays under “Voices of Hope” (stories of faithful SSA/LGB members) and “Journeys of Faith” (stories of faithful transgender members). These are faithful members. Most if not all have experienced rejection/shaming/shunning behaviors from church members, leaders, and often family members. The church is trying to change this with its new Mormon and Gay website and new Ministering Resource for church leaders. I have access to the Ministering resources because I am currently serving as Relief Society president in my ward. It is excellent. But the behavior it recommends is not generally what is currently practiced at the ward and stake level. If you have access I recommend you read it.

  12. To Michael Worley in response to KarlS. Thanks for the clarification. It will be great when we don’t have to communicate through the sometimes crude instrument of writing.

  13. E, I read those comments pretty differently than you did. In my experience with Mama Dragon people, the parents of these children appear unconcerned about the actual sexual sin being committed by their children. I have a feeling that is what Michael Davidson is referring to. As for Quiltstack’s comment, it seems pretty clear Q is concerned about the *celebration* of same-sex activity that is rampant in our culture today. You can be welcoming to all people without putting out a rainbow flag at your church.

    I am always interested in reading other perspectives, but I find the over-sensitive nit-picking at individual words representative of the politically correct culture we live in today. Nobody can say anything ever without offending somebody somewhere. Remember, it is your choice whether to take offense. I assure you that writers and commenters on this blog try to have Christ-like love for all people and support the Church’s policies on same-sex attraction. I would urge you to stop trying to find reasons to take offense when none is intended.

    In my humble opinion, the safest places for people with same-sex attraction are the wards and stakes of the LDS Church. The vast majority of people will be welcoming and loving. This does not mean, however, promotion and/or acceptance of same-sex sexual activity, which is a sin. It does no good for a person with same-sex attraction to tell them to do whatever feels good. It is damaging to them both temporally and spiritually.

  14. (But let me point out, E, that I agree with you that members should do more to understand the challenges of same-sex attracted people, and I think Northstar and the Church web sites are good places to start.)

  15. The Church with the sign, and a few others in our area, have pastors who have same sex partners. They don’t teach the full gospel of Christ, but rather ‘love everyone and accept them as they are.’ ie, God loves them just as they are, and don’t suggest that they should change anything.
    I’ve an LDS friend with a son who is terribly conflicted in his life. It doesn’t help that he self-medicates with alcohol. His amazing wife, who is a Christian, has split from him, but still loves him and tries to support him. They have three young sons who are terribly hurt by this. He visits the children but not in female garb. He doesn’t work, and is on govt. support because of his conflicts.
    He lives with two other men, who support (and push) this new identity. His support group all encourage him to proceed forward with taking his drugs, and then take the final step of eclectic surgery. His psychiatrists (who specialize in homosexuality issues) never once have attempted to analyze him and get to his core. They freely hand out meds and encourage him to take the step to surgery.
    Is he suicidal at times? Previously, yes.
    His one ray of hope in all this is his tough love, down to earth, practical Mother.
    When he was a toddler, his three older sisters used to dress him up in their grown out dresses, and fix his hair as girls do. His father was a busy doctor, who was remote, but loved all their children.
    My children were shocked to hear that their friend from church was having so many problems. He was very likeable, very intelligent, excelled in science. It wasn’t until he had married and was the father of three children that he decided he must be a woman, in a man’s body.
    We’re in California, where we’re overrun with liberals who push the anything goes agenda. The one sane voice in all this is his Mother and siblings. Much of the drinking has stopped, and I believe the medication to get him ready for a gender change. When he infrequently visits home, he’s his old self, talking about science and other ‘male’ things at the dinner table with some of his siblings.
    My point in this long tale, is that there are many reasons that people are the way they are. And to have 110% support in all aspects is not a good thing in anyone’s life.
    I’ve a thirty-something daughter. She’d love to be married with children. I lost my Mother when I was thirteen and thought the physical heart ache would kill me. We’ve divorced people in our Stake who’ve never married again. Children with a struggling mother and absent father.
    Life stinks sometimes, and never happens according to plan. We need to be still and know that God is, read our scriptures, pray and do all the other things we’ve been told our entire lives. Then dig in our heels and hold to the iron rod.

  16. In response to “e” above, I would state that I have seen the grief of a mother over the sins and choices of her children lead her out of the Church in many different instances, some of which have nothing to do with lgbt or ssa issues. Also, please note that I didn’t say “grief over their children’s ssa” as a reason, though I know that does cause grief as well. I specifically referred to their sins and choices.

    I spoke of sins and choices because there are choices that may not be inherently sinful but which lead or can tend to lead to sin. I would include in this the choice to actively self-identify as gay. Some will argue that this is simply a step in which someone struggling with SSA merely identifies who they are, but I am not convinced. To identify as gay means so much more in this day and age than just labeling yourself with an acknowledgement of your particular sexual temptation. I think it is perilous, from a gospel perspective, to willingly identify yourself in such terms. This is in line with Elder Bednar’s much derided comments recently.

    I recently had a discussion with a particular Mama Dragon on their facebook page in which she argued that we must do everything possible to love in a way in which the individual loved will accept and understand it. She used this as an excuse to accept unconditionally sinful behavior so that the child can feel like they are being loved and accepted. She even went so far as to argue that a parent’s responsibility is simply to love their kids, not to preach the gospel to them. This is a ridiculous idea that is entirely inconsistent with any LDS teaching on parenting.

    The Mama Dragons are also concerned with shunning and homelessness, as are all of us. However, there are two sides to every story. I have a homosexual friend that was homeless as a teen for a time. He claims that his family kicked him out because he was gay, but if you talk to the parents (who I also know) they never kicked him out, and they didn’t want him to go. The line they drew is that they wouldn’t let his boyfriend spend the night in his room and eventually wouldn’t let the boyfriend in their house, correctly seeing him as a bad influence and a partner in various, and not just sexual, sins. This teen decided that he couldn’t live with those restrictions and ran away and ended up homeless. He claimed to anyone who would listen that he was kicked out, but when pressed on it he knew he could go back, but claimed he couldn’t live there under those conditions (“they won’t even let me smoke pot!”). Clearly his family didn’t kick him out, nor did they shun him, but I’m pretty sure that most Mama Dragons would see the actions as horrible of the family to exclude this teenager’s boyfriend from the house. For every homeless lgbt teen in SLC, I expect that more are runaways if the truth were told, whose parents would welcome them back with open arms. That has been my admittedly anecdotal experience, but none of the contrary evidence is anything but anecdotal either. I do not doubt that there are some occasions of “you’re gay? GET OUT!” but I think that this is not nearly as prevalent.

  17. Thanks for your response and experiences, Mike. I am glad that you also believe that SSA/LGBT people should be loved, welcomed, and accepted in the church and in their families. I think your generalizations about homeless LGBT youth are mistaken, but if not, why do you think LGBT youth are so much more likely than straight youth to run away from home? I think most of these kids have parents who love them but who do not yet understand that SSA is not a choice or a sin. The church wants and I want and you want our wards to be welcoming and safe for SSA/LGBT people, but I do not personally know any who would affirm that that has been their general experience. Of course I am involved with a group that includes active LDS people who are SSA/LGBT. They are heroes to me because their path is so difficult, and so much of that is because we are not where we hope to be as a people. It is not just because of the wickedness and false teachings of the broader culture that we lose so many. It is because of us.

    Another anecdote. I have a friend who is an active member of the church. She is happily married to a man and they have several children. She has been active her whole life and has never strayed from the gospel path. She attends the temple regularly and serves as the Young Women President in her ward. She recently chose to “come out” as SSA. Why would she do that? She did it with great trepidation because she knew there are serious social risks to doing so. She felt that she needed to show the youth and others in the church that people who are SSA/LGBT can be happy in the church and can make and keep covenants and she wanted to be a safe person to these. Her ward leaders and many in her ward and circle of friends were very supportive and expressed love to her on her Facebook wall. Her husband and children obviously love, appreciate, and accept her. But her dear mother, who is a faithful, wonderful woman, disowned her and has told her she never wants to see her or speak with her again. A few in her ward now seem to have distanced themselves. A friend criticized her for being “out”, feeling that she is wrong to publicly identify as SSA. At least one person in her ward is concerned about whether it is appropriate for a SSA person to be working with youth. Of course there are those who criticize her for being in a mixed-orientation marriage. As I said, she and others like her are heroic.

    I could go on, but this is the kind of thing I see.

  18. In the case of debating validity of anecdotal evidence, it is valuable to look at collected data on LGBT homelessness in Utah or other peer-reviewed and published data (e.g., from the National Coalition for the Homeless under LGBT issues, the Family Acceptance project out of San Francisco State University, etc.) From my perspective, it does our fellow saints a disservice to dismiss their experiences and stories, even if they are anecdotal.

    To the original post’s first paragraph—thank you for sharing the recent church video about the Mackintosh family! I think it illustrates perfectly the fine line of letting the family standards and beliefs be known, and letting go and loving the child and allowing him his agency to act as best he feels for himself. He has known the standards and teaching of the church for decades; his parents now show their love to him always and let their light shine in their home.

  19. You can’t actually have Christlike love with only the first or second half.

    Someone who was focused only on keeping the commandments but judged others harshly who didn’t, wouldn’t be said to have Christlike love. Someone who loves others but disregards the commandments also can’t have Christlike love.

    Someone who tells a friend to commit suicide, isn’t loving them. Someone who tells their friend to commit spiritual suicide isn’t loving them.

    They don’t understand Christ; therefore they don’t have an understanding of the fullness of his love.

    Just as you might as well baptize a bag of sand if you baptize someone without the laying on of hands, you might as well love a bag of sand if you process to love them, without wanting them to keep Christ’s commandments.

  20. I am blessed to have a daughter who is autistic and occasionally delusional. At times she tells us she has a different name and that her parents are dead (we are not). She will tell us that the autistic man who killed the children at Sandy Hook was framed, that he didn’t really do that.

    As my daughter’s autism is not sin, we don’t have to be conflicted in being loving but firm as we respond to her strange or untruthful moments. The majority of the time she isn’t terribly strange, and she is wistful about the fact that she isn’t going to have the typical life, because her autism is not one of those things that faith would permit to be relieved in this life.

    I am very sorry for those whose cross is other. I particularly feel sorry for anyone whose deviation from a willing embrace of the gospel of Christ is lauded by society.

    Going back to my Expositor comment, there were many contributing to the Expositor that had previously been faithful members of the Church. If you read the Expositor text, you will find at least one moment where they proclaim the truth of the gospel, arguably in terms that put modern declarations to shame. But that testimony was surrounded by vile sedition.

  21. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the comments by P.L. and Meg. It is a common strategy today for those seeking to make fundamental changes in the Church to proclaim just how faithful they are while campaigning for those changes. But, the relevant measure of faithfulness isn’t in sitting in the pews on Sunday, or service in callings. It is in the fidelity demonstrated to the doctrines of the Gospel and the willingness to take counsel at the hands of the Lord’s mouthpieces on the earth today.

    We saw this with Ordain Women, who very skillfully couched their demands in faithful sounding language. The end result of their efforts, more than anything else, is to lead those that alligned with them out of the Church. It was the inevitable result, as I argued on this website years ago, and I believe that the last few years have born this out.

    We see the same thing with the Mama Dragons. Looking through the Board of Directors for the Mama Dragons, you find a handful of people who have admitted publicly that they haven’t darkened the doorway of the Church in years in opposition to the Church’s teachings, and others that have publicly stated that the only reason they still attend is to campaign for change. Still others haven’t declared publicly (that I’ve seen) that they oppose church teachings, but they are on the team nonetheless.

    The more I see of these groups, and others like them, I shake my head and mutter, “with friends like these …”

  22. E,

    “I also just want to say, being same-sex attracted is not a sin or a temptation, it is just a sexual orientation.”

    To say SSA is not temptation is false. It is a temptation. If I have sexual desires for someone other than my spouse, that is also a temptation. The prophets have mad it abundantly clear that temptation is not a sin but acting on temptation is. We’re all genetically predisposed to sin in one way or another. But one purpose of our mortal journey is to overcome the natural man. To simply dismiss it as “sexual orientation” belies the words of the prophets and gospel teachings.

  23. One final thought then I’ll bow out of this discussion.

    I agree that purpose of Mama Dragons is tonreduce LDS LGBT youth suicides. The more relevant question is how they go about doing his. Reading their site and seeing their quotes in various media outlets it’s obvious that the only way they think this can be done is for the LDS church to change their doctrine regarding SSA, gay marriage, and homosexuality.

  24. Meg, I can’t tell what you are trying to convey with your comments about your daughter being autistic and sometimes delusional. You may be thinking that being SSA/LGBT is a mental illness or a delusional disorder. I apologize if I am misunderstanding.

    Years ago LGBT people were considered to be mentally ill and mental health professionals would try to cure them. When I was young in the 1980’s and even into the 90’s this was the assumption that LDS church agencies such as LDS social services operated under. These ideas and therapies did not originate in the church but they made sense to people at the time. They proved to be ineffective and harmful and have been abandoned. Today it is not the church’s position that LGBT people are mentally ill and in need of treatment. Therapists at LDS agencies do not try to help people “overcome” their sexual orientation or gender identity. They work with people/families on acceptance and ways to live authentically within a gospel context.

    I know we are somewhat off topic and I hope I am not wearing out my welcome on this site.

  25. The difference between “you have a mental disorder and need treatment” and “you face a set of tough temptations and need to learn to live a gospel life in spite of it” is an entirely semantic difference. The second statement is clearer and more specific, but the two statements mean the same thing. What is it that YOU are trying to convey, E?

  26. Comparisons are often made between the gay Mormon and a person with some unfortunate trial they were born with or into such as a genetic disorder, mental illness, abuse, etc. However, though they are all challenges, no doubt, I think the gay Mormon, at least the gay person who is not bisexual, has a significant difference which the Church community would do well to internalize. Unlike someone born with a mental illness or a child into abuse, etc. who cannot just choose to get out of their situation, the gay Mormon has the capacity to fix their plight, but the Church is telling them they must not do it or they will be damned. The gay Mormon has at least two choices each with significant pros and cons. They can choose celibacy and a life of living without one they cherish most, yearning for a life companion and intimate partner and live with uncertain acceptance from the Church community, but full acceptance from God. Or, they could follow a committed gay lifestyle and enjoy companionship, support and emotional and physical intimacy and develop the interrelationship values best learned in a committed relationship for the rest of their lives, but will have to leave the Church and possibly be rejected by family and friends and possibly experience serious disfavor from God (those who have left have reported a range of acceptance and non-acceptance from God).
    The gay LDS person is being asked to not do something—something they may feel God instilled in them that is basically good (share life with someone you love, support and care for them, learn sacrifice, communication, etc.)–that will make them happy and content. Understandably, it is hard for them to reconcile it all. Let’s stop equivalently comparing them to people born with an incurable malady. Meg, I am not saying that is what you were doing. I couldn’t tell. I’m sure you have some remarkable stories about your wonderful daughter and perspectives you’ve gained that only you could come to know.

  27. KarlS, true latter-day saints reject that dichotomy you present for the options of a person who identifies as gay.

    There’s no gay in God’s kingdom. It’s a social construct. I don’t dispute that it’s helpful linguistically to use the word, but when we accept it as a true identity, we accept sin as a true identity.

    That explains why you and others are so ardent on the issue and why I and true latter-day saints reject it as a true identity.

    Compared to heterosexuality, homosexuality serves no biological purpose. It serves no eternal purpose. It serves no social purpose. It’s not only insufficient, it’s literally self damning, partner damning, and generational damning.

    If it was just a choice (and it is), it’s no so much an issue. Latter-day saints can disagree. Those who embrace that lifestyle could continue. But when we’re trying to present it to society as a viable choice and building an entire philosophical framework on the nature of relationships and family on that framework, you are not only building our society on a faulty foundation, but you are seeking to carve out our societal foundation of rock and inject sand in its place.

    The wise man built his house upon the rock. The modernist has discovered they can’t build anything lasting that stands on sand after a millennia of trying and failing, so now the foolish modernists seek to create their own house on top of our societal’s stone foundation.

    But here’s the catch. You may be successful in coopting the traditional foundation for a single generation. But with each subsequent generation, you add more and more sand for the next generation to build on. The more people in society that accept this viewpoint, the more sand your filling in for the next generation to build on.

    Over the generations the sand will accumulate. Then wash away, and the building without foundation that you and others are actively laying the groundwork for will fall. It will be terrible and affect tens of millions. All for the sake of sexual desire and choice.

    It’s got nothing to do with friendship or companionship.

  28. Karl S
    Gay men use the procreative power in a manner contrary to which it was intended.

  29. Katl s
    Also, when Christ went to the spirit world, he could not go personally to those who had defiled themselves while in the flesh. Gays who are active sexually are in this group. This is a clear warning to repent before dying.

  30. “They can choose celibacy and a life of living without one they cherish most, yearning for a life companion and intimate partner and live with uncertain acceptance from the Church community, but full acceptance from God.”

    You mean like all of the single hetrosexual men and women in the church that have never married for any number of reasons but remain faithful to God’s commandments of chastity?

  31. Mike, kind of, but apparently those you refer to ostensibly can’t just choose to get out of their single situation like a gay person can.

  32. P.L., Wow! I can see that you take some serious issue with pretty much everything I said, if you actually understood it. I wasn’t asking the church to change its stance on homosexuality being a sin, but just wanted members to cut SSA members some slack and increased empathy. There are so many points of your post I disagree with I can’t address them all and it appears to me that you have views out of touch with the current Church leadership.

    Your construct appears to be based on the assumptions that 1) all those with SSA chose it and 2) if society accepts them as legitimate then over time more and more of the total population will choose to be gay to where it becomes some major influence in de-peopling the earth. Your first assumption is wrong for the vast majority of those with SSA. I’m surprised that someone reading this forum doesn’t understand that yet. And, the empirical data doesn’t support your second assumption.

    It appears by your logic that only celestial relationships are legitimate or of any value. Extending that theology we should outlaw single parents of any orientation as apostates, require married couples to procreate or their union would be annulled, and any members not heading for exaltation (sealed in the temple) should be excommunicated so as not to spoil the pot. And, what to do about the other 99.8% of God’s children on earth who aren’t LDS–they are aimlessly wandering, so like the gays they too are expendable. And, just something to think about–who are the less-thans who don’t meet “your” judgment as being “true latter-day saints” who will be given the glory of the sun in the lower two tiers of the celestial kingdom? I’m not insinuating they will be gay, but I am saying that it appears to me your views of our God are contracted and make Him impotent. There’s so much we don’t know.

  33. In every discussion such as this, I find it helpful to always step back, forget the tree and focus on the forest. I tend to return to the Articles of Faith and the scriptures, focus on the simple doctrines of repentance and baptism and enduring to the end, and let the topic stew for a while longer.

    This process has never failed to yield results: peace and conviction that God has restored his Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith.

  34. I hope we can let our hearts increase in understanding for different perspectives around this matter and be at peace with that without using “us vs. them” language that condemn others. There is merit in stating opinion and concern, but then letting it go and moving forward in kind, functional family relationships. We can look specifically at how Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s family has approached this in their own family as an example. The SLtrib did a piece in 2015 (“LDS leader uses family as example of harmony between church, gays”)
    Speaking of Elder Christofferson, “noting that his own family is a great example of how a harmony can be struck between members of his faith and the gay community.
    ‘From my own experience, I see that understanding is possible,’ he said. ‘I think the same principle that applies in society applies in families, as well.’
    Christofferson’s brother, Tom, who is gay, had previously been a member of the LDS church. But he asked to be excommunicated — and ultimately found a relationship with his partner, Dr. Clarke Latimer. Whatever differences between church members and gays existed in the past, or remain in the present, the Christofferson family said it stands united. ‘Nothing would be allowed to break the circle of love that binds all of us together as a family,’ the parents of the Christofferson brothers have said. When asked if he and his brother ever see each other, whether they love each other and whether they understand each other, Elder Christofferson was emphatic.
    ‘Yes, yes and yes!’ he said. ‘We like to see each other and be together.’
    Tom, though not officially a member of the LDS church, has returned to the faith. He and Clarke Latimer are active participants in their neighborhood ward.”

    Seeing this application in practice gives me a sense of peace, and I’m glad we have the Christofferson family’s example.

  35. Anon, the Mama Dragons aren’t asking us to follow the example of the Christoffersons. If that was all they were seeking, we would not have had this post in the first place. Plus, if you look at what Elder Christofferson has said on this subject over the years, you will find that he has not shirked his duty in teaching the doctrine. He has truly loved the unrepentant sinner without condoning the sin, and sets a wonderful example for us in this.

    Of course, it takes two to tango, and many, including some Mama Dragons, have argued that it is impossible for a gay person to feel love from someone who opposes gay marriage. This ideological litmus test that rejects someone’s love over a difference on this topic does as much to create divides as anything else.

  36. FYI Tom Christofferson has returned to membership in the church. He is active in ministering to the Mormon LGBT community, including with North Star and Affirmation. He also has many friends who are Mama Dragons.

  37. E
    Does he go to gay bars and gay pride parades? To do so is not to be fully repentant.

  38. ” Let’s stop equivalently comparing them to people born with an incurable malady. ”

    But when people claim that SSA is always inborn, and that being “cured” of SSA (at least in this life) is impossible, that _is_ what they are saying.

    The argument really devolves into whether the seemingly harsh word “malady” applies to SSA. But “malady” does seem to apply as we use it to describe a myriad of non-optimum conditions of the mind, whether genetic, biological, or externally/experientally induced. Both nature and nurture are in effect as the human mind is formed.

    Note that Elder Oaks and other GAs have said that everything, including SSA is cured in the resurrection. There will be no one who has SSA post-resurrection, just as there will be no one with autism, or any other malady post resurrection. Everyone gets cured of everything, regardless of which kingdom of glory they inherit.

    If we are to believe the GAs, SSA is not something people will keep into their post-resurrection life.