New Church web site on same-sex attraction

The Church has launched the website “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction” (www.mormonsandgays.org).

You can read more about this web site here.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says the website is important because it seeks to further understanding.

Elder Oaks said that because we don’t understand everything about this subject it is wise to stick to the revealed word of God as found in the scriptures. “What we do know is that the doctrine of the Church—that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married—has not changed and is not changing. But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction,” he said.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

32 thoughts on “New Church web site on same-sex attraction

  1. I can’t wait for the website mormonsandadulterous (dot) org. The statement that, “What we do know is that the doctrine of the Church—that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married—has not changed and is not changing,” sounds great on paper. Yet I can’t get past, ” Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.” The first half about loving is great, but we are not talking about a different lifestyle choice. Homosexuality is an abomination. I am too sad for words and am sure enemies of truth are rejoice at this small victory.

  2. Jettboy, it is not an abomination to treat people you don’t agree with as people, particularly when they are part of your family.

    On the contrary, it is an abomination for a disciple of Christ to react with short-temperedness, pride, impatience, rudeness, and excess.

  3. And that also applies to people who commit adultery. I say this as a woman who very likely was a victim. And yet, I never ceased to treat my ex kindly, though I did have to draw boundaries.

    Understanding the difference between love and countenance, between boundary-drawing and hatred, is essential when maturing into the discipleship of the Savior.

  4. Perhaps Jettboy would be more comfortable with the traditionally less tolerant Evangelicals or the Baptists. His comment certainly doesn’t sound like the loving, understanding care of a faithful latter-day saint (certainly not one who actually understands the gospel)

  5. geoff b, may I ask how it was way over the top? If you completely disagree with me then that is fine. I distinctly stated that the first half about “Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose . . .,” as fine and I will add laudable. What I do believe is that Homosexuality (notice I didn’t say homosexuals or name any names), is an abomination. We should be warning, like we do adultery and hardly anyone seems up in arms over that, of the terrible moral and spiritual consequences of such a so-called lifestyle. Sadly, it seems pointing this out is in itself seen as exclusion or disrespect.

  6. “We should be warning, like we do adultery and hardly anyone seems up in arms over that, of the terrible moral and spiritual consequences of such a so-called lifestyle.”

    Not a passage on the site contradicts this. Your reaction is uncalled for and way over the top.

    Repeatedly, the site says that same-sex activity is a sin. Repeatedly. But those who experience the temptation are not sinners unless and until they entertain and act on it. So those who come out openly and say “I experience these temptations” should be treated with all the love and respect we can afford.

    Additional, those who do act on it are sinning. But like someone who commits adultery, we should not expel them from our families, from our meetings, or drive them away. We reach out to them and invite them to repent and change their ways.

    Nothin on the site contradicts your position that we should call sinners to repentance. The site itself does that. It invites those with SSA to never act on their feelings. It invites them to remain chaste their entire lives.

    Angry rhetoric like yours should be gone. Forever. Listen to the prophets voice. Listen to what they are saying. Listen to the words of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are teaching (1) that same-sex activity is a serious sin and that has not changed, and (2) people like you and me should treat people with kindness and respect, regardless of the sins they have committed or are tempted to commit, and (3) when we invite people to live chaste lives and to abandon sinful lifestyles, we should do so gently and with measure rhetoric.

    Your rhetoric is not measured rhetoric. As such, you have found yourself at odds with the explicit instructions of God’s chosen servants, and are in just as much need of a call to repentance as those who commit adultery. Perhaps your sin is not as “great” as theirs, but sin—any sin—is enough to drive the spirit from our lives and jeopardize our salvation.

  7. I give up. You all win. No one seems to be understanding what I am saying. That is fine. I have had my say on the subject here. That is enough for now I suppose.

  8. It sounds to me like you are saying that we should be disrespectful to and exclude those who commit this particular sin. Since when is that ever true? We don’t exclude those who commit adultery from our meetings, and we shouldn’t exclude them from our families either. It’s a sin—a serious sin—but we don’t disown them as people. We invite them to repent. We help them become clean. We support them through the process of repentance. We befriend them.

  9. If people aren’t understanding you, it’s because your message is masked by your anger.

    And that seems to be the exact thing that this site is trying to address: helping our doctrine be understood by disentangling it from enflamed rhetoric and disrespectful conversation.

  10. “It sounds to me like you are saying that we should be disrespectful to and exclude those who commit this particular sin.”

    May I ask where I said that please? I would also like to know what sentence is saying we should be disrespectful and exclusive?

  11. The church is definitely balancing compassion and tact with this website. I understand what Jettboy is saying (without regard for tact). I give Jettboy the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume the worst of him as a result of his post, unlike others who quickly read the absolute worst into his post and then ever so kindly plead with others to be more like Christ and not assume the worst of others.

    In this day and age, if you are opposed to something, you have to spend more time providing gentle, reassuring statements to show you actually still care about individuals while being firmly opposed to what they are doing. But don’t worry, you won’t receive the same gentle treatment that they demand you give to them or others. It’s the name of the game, unfortunately…

    To distill Jettboy’s point, no where on that site can you find the message is not that homosexuality is a sin, in fact you can’t find “sin” anywhere on that page.

    Of course, testifying of the truth with regard to what behaviors we should abstain from does not seem to be the point of that website. Rather, the website is raising our sights a bit and encouraging us to show more compassion.

    Unfortunately, 100% of the good that website is trying to do would be taken away if the church added in one single line such as,
    “Homosexuality behavior is a sin and not pleasing in the site of God.” You can be certain everything about that site would be excoriated if that were the case.

    So based on our ridiculous “I’m offended” culture, the church has two options. It can boldly declare it’s “rightness” and everyone else will get offended (as pundits make mountains of of molehills) and none of the church’s message will get through. Or it will play by the rules of the (in)tolerance culture and focus only on the positive.

    I’m not overly bothered by this, because quite frankly, this is the same coddling manner with with the GAs and Apostles largely treat the church at large to in General Conference. They know quite plainly, that many many members of the church are treating their covenants too lightly (to put it nicely) and frequently breaking them on a daily basis (to put it strictly).

    So at the end of it all, the church is just tailoring it’s communication to gays and their families pretty much the way it’s now tailoring it’s communication to the rest of us.

    I have a nagging feeling, perhaps like Jettboy, this strategy could leave open some gaps within the armor that allow misunderstanding of doctrine, as well as the point of the plan of salvation in the first place, to creep in. (as plainly evidenced in more liberal areas in the lds blogs) But I have to trust the church leaders in this area, as the Lord plainly is.

  12. ah…. just want to say I made that comment about the non-presence of “sin” after reading the newsroom article that this blog post linked to, not the website itself.

    The opening paragraph of the actual website reads, “The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is.” That’s a very delicate, and accurate, way to put it. I think generally, the message I tried to convey in my last comment still applies though.

  13. I hesitate to get into the politically correct game of calling out another commenter when his or her comments are not politically correct…but…Jettboy, I think if you don’t want to be misunderstood you should amend a few things.

    “I can’t wait for the website mormonsandadulterous (dot) org.”

    What you are saying here (although you may not realize it) is that the Church is somehow sanctioning same-sex activity through this web site in the same way that they would be sanctioning adultery if they had a similar web site. Again, I don’t think this was your intention, but this is how this comment comes across to other readers. This is why I say you may want to reconsider your comment.

    You also say “Homosexuality is an abomination.” There is no doubt that there are prophets (Spencer W. Kimball comes to mind) who have said such things. But in this day and age these are simply “fighting words.” It is unnecessarily provocative. You can make the same point with different words. The Church is in fact showing us how to do that by pointing out that homosexual thoughts are not a sin but homosexual acts are a sin. Can you see how that takes a similar message and uses language that is much less provocative.

    Lastly you say, “I am too sad for words and am sure enemies of truth are rejoice (sic) at this small victory.” Here you seem to be implying that the Church is in the wrong for setting up this web site. Again, this is way over the top. You say you support the Church and its prophets, and the Church spends two years developing a web site with a specific purpose, and then you imply that the Church is doing something that helps the “enemies of truth?” Personally, I don’t think the Church does such things.

    Jettboy, I know you pretty well, and I think you are misunderstood a lot of the time. I think your intentions are good. But I think this comment is just way, way over the top. I think you really should retract it.

  14. I think, at least, it is nice to see that some people are given the benefit of the doubt enough to be engaged and explained to at all, rather than having their comments deleted without being given a chance to explain themselves.

    So there’s focusing on the positive.

  15. “What you are saying here (although you may not realize it) is that the Church is somehow sanctioning same-sex activity through this web site in the same way that they would be sanctioning adultery if they had a similar web site”

    I am saying that this seems to be going too far in the direction of appeasement for a sin. It doesn’t have enough information about repentance for the sinner compared to calls for compassion that, to be frank, I don’t see much coming from the other side.

    “Can you see how that takes a similar message and uses language that is much less provocative.”

    Yes, to a point. That just makes me wish for some plain language. For me it muddies rather than illuminates the issues.

    “then you imply”

    Disregarding what you say my words imply, the truth is that those who want full recognition of homosexual actions and marriages are already rejoicing. At the least they are calling it a minor revolution (revelation), a change in the right direction, and so forth. True or not, these are what vocal others are saying about the website. Say what can be said about the difference between sinners and the sin. Today’s society doesn’t believe there is a difference in a twisted mirror image of what this website is trying to accomplish.

    “I hesitate to get into the politically correct game of calling out another commenter when his or her comments are not politically correct . . . ”

    I asked for it because the responses shocked and confused me. Not that my response back will help; I don’t know.

  16. I understand where Jettboy is coming from.

    I also see why the Church is doing what it’s doing. Times have changed.

    But, I can see some of this concerns. What Jettboy and some folks fear is that this kind of thing gives the gay lifestyle a certain kind of formal church legitimacy. Could be a slippery slope, but I don’t want to be found guilty of the slippery slope fallacy, so I’ll stop here.

  17. What bothers me is the emphasis given to the call to show more love, compassion and understanding to individuals struggling with same-sex attraction while no attention is given whatsoever to a vastly more widespread problem among our members and society at large: sexual addictions (including but not limited to pornography). It has been my observation time and time again that people struggling with sex addictions in the Church are viewed and treated as absolute slime. They’re regarded as perverts when the fact is that they are struggling with a very legitimate addiction; the brain chemistry involved is identical to any other addiction, whether alcohol and drug abuse or gambling. Yet, in our complete ignorance of what pornography or other sex addictions really are, we persist in sweeping judgement of the addicts who are desperately in need of support, love, and encouragement. They already struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth as it is (one of the biggest impacts of addictions on the addict).

    Same-sex attraction has been receiving so much attention and has, it seems to me, almost become “hip.” I hear the following dialogues so often: “You’re gay? Oh, that’s cool. You are so courageous to open up and tell your story! I have so much respect for you!” How many would say that of the porn/sex addict? Yet there are far more individuals in the Church struggling with this problem, getting disfellowshipped and some excommunicated over it, than those struggling with same-sex attraction. The Church has 12-step support groups for addicts – consigned away into anonymity, the general membership knowing absolutely nothing about them or what takes place in these groups, or the wonderful, sincere people who attend them and are exerting all their energy to overcome their weaknesses by relying on the Lord.

    Why the elevation of same-sex attraction and the simultaneous devaluation of sexual addiction?

  18. I love the message the church’s site is promoting. Being kind, charitable and Christlike is the only way to heal wounds and repair damage in relationships.

  19. Geoff -
    There is a very fine line here.
    “homosexual thoughts are not a sin but homosexual acts are a sin.”
    I agree with this statement, with the caveat that at the thought be defined “at the earliest possible inception of the thought”.

    This should be very clear, because we Jesus’s words on exactly this subject (in principle).

    “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

    Speaking for myself personally, I would never teach my family or my children that “thoughts aren’t sinful, actions are”. It’s terrible doctrine and it goes completely against what Christ thought.

    It’s very clear Christ was tempted and wasn’t a sinner. But we should not use that fact to mean Christ had a thought that he kept in his mind. Christ did not have a thought that he carried with him and dwelled. Christ did not go around identifying himself by his temptation. He didn’t give himself a label as “the tempted one”, etc.

    I can’t possibly see, how anyone could dwell on homosexual thoughts (or lustful thoughts outside the law of chastity in general) and not be in sin.

    The Lord’s reply to Satan’s temptation was,
    “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

    This is the reply I would encourage my family to follow when it comes to serious temptations. The principle that is applied is the following:
    A personal rebuke of the devil, and a statement of truth from the prophets or scriptures combined with a commitment to follow the true God.

    I don’t believe this goes contrary to that new website’s advice, and certainly we ought to have compassion and not just assume that everyone has assumed the mantel of Christ and can respond to every situation the way he does. So we have compassion when we fail to rise to that level. But I’ll never encourage those whom the Lord has entrusted to my care to look to any other source for their ultimate example.

  20. I have a gay brother. This website will be incredibly helpful for families as they navigate this trial. I know it’s been hard for my family helping my brother, trying to make sense of feelings, biases, trying to defend the truth (commandments) in the face of so much opposition — some of it from members of the Church regarding SSA and the church’s stand. I will say that when my brother came out, I felt like I’d been hit over the head with a hammer. I had no idea of what to think, who to turn to, there were zero resources for a Latter-day Saint from the Church that were just a click on the internet. I am thankful this website is here. I hope that many families and gay members of the Church will benefit from it. There is a lot of work to do, so that gay members of the Church feel welcome and loved. This is a step in the right direction.

  21. Jettboy, your frustrations with communicating remind me a lot of me. Have you been evaluated for Asperger’s syndrome? Taking people literally, and expecting to be taken literally all the time is one of the key components of Asperger’s.

  22. I don’t have it or anything like it. What I have is a unique personality in my writing style. I cannot stand BS in my or any other writing.No one misunderstands me IRL. I think its because of the nature of the Internet, the only place I have ever had to explain myself.

  23. I defend Jettboy’s right to criticize the church’s approach on this issue. After all, the liberals have gotten off with a constant barrage of criticism of the brethren, and are still criticizing this new attempt at better understanding and sensitivity.

    Jettboy is being honest about the implications here, and everyone else is tiptoeing around them. But I believe the church wants us to tiptoe, because they honestly don’t know how to deal with the following paradox:

    Homosexuality is a God-given, unchangeable reality for some people, yet God has called it an abomination.

    How to deal with this? Jettboy’s method: deny that it is an unchangeable reality and focus on the abomination part. Liberals method: accept that it is an unchangeable reality and deny that it is an abomination. The GA’s method: tiptoe around the issue, and treat it with nuance and sensitivity.

  24. Jettboy is right about one thing: the gay community is already crowing that this is simply a step closer to total acceptance of the gay lifestyle — with all it entails, meaning….acceptance of sex between two people of the same gender.

    I realize that is not the intent of the website. But something like this emboldens the gay community. It’s an unintended consequence. And I think nate’s analysis above my post really hits it on the head. This is pure tiptoe, because there is a fundamental contradiction at the heart of this issue.

  25. I don’t see anything wrong with what Jettboy said, and his concerns are not unfounded. Huffington Post Gay Voices has an article by gay Mormon Mitch Mayne who lives in San Francisco. He addresses the mormonsandgays.org site. Evidently local Church leaders in his neck of the woods are allowing LGBT to serve in the Church as worthy members even though it is well known these same LGBT members are in a sexual same sex relationship and/or actively dating the same sex. If heterosexuals have to stay celibate then so must the LGBT members. Yes, anyone can lie about their morality but that is on them. Mr. Mayne goes on to state that the site isn’t that great for various reasons, like gays being married to the opposite sex, but it is a baby step in the right direction according to him. I take it that this new Church site is giving LGBT members/community false hope that the Church will eventually allow same sex marriage etc., and I think it will allow wrong things to creep in to the Church, because it happens all the time, and it is hard to get rid of.
    I do not have a problem with LGBT’s. I think it is sad that the Church has to tell its members to love and accept LGBT people but unfortunately the culture of the Church allows for this type of behavior against ANYONE members/Wards perceive to be different whether one is poor, disabled, uneducated, mentally ill, socially awkward and shy, thinks differently from the majority, being a Democrat, not so good looking, and on and on. Of course not all Wards/members are like that. BUT the culture to ostracize is strong in the Church even though members are told to not do so. I have been a victim of shunning and backstabbing in past Wards and my present Ward for various reasons. I would really like for the Prophet to seek revelation on this issue. The world won’t accept it but it would help the LDS community.

  26. “Evidently local Church leaders in his neck of the woods are allowing LGBT to serve in the Church as worthy members even though it is well known these same LGBT members are in a sexual same sex relationship and/or actively dating the same sex.”

    Um…..say what?

  27. Thanks for letting me drop in and comment. I always find the conversations here interesting, and they help me see things from a different perspective. It’s not exactly a state secret that some stakes in liberal areas have stopped excommunicating non-celibate gay members, although I don’t think you’ll see that in writing anywhere. Some have complained to SLC and the response comes back “It’s a local issue.”

    I predict you will see more of this. The culture has changed to a point where in some areas, the Church will either allow gays (even in relationships) to be members or there simply will not be an LDS presence there. The Bay Area probably leads the way, but other urban areas on the coasts aren’t far behind. It’s pretty clear that the leadership of the Church supports Mitch Mayne.

    Make of it what you will!

    http://www.mitchmayne.com/

  28. “It’s pretty clear that the leadership of the Church supports Mitch Mayne.”

    Really? How is that clear? Can you point to a church statement to that effect.

    No doubt, this isn’t the church that I grew up with. I find this pretty sickening, to be honest.

  29. I can’t point to anything in writing to prove that, but I am friends with Mitch. He and his supporters in the church (Lynn-Pearson, Brooks, et. al.) are all over the media, and the Church follows that kind of thing very closely. Active, temple-going members were marching in gay pride parades in several cities this summer and nobody lost their TR. I’m sure we would agree they represent a minority of the membership, but even it it’s less than 10% that is still a heckuva lot of people. There are big regional variations within the Church on this topic, so a lot depends on where you happen to live. Bounce around in the Bloggernacle a bit and you will see what I am talking about. Official silence also carries meaning.

    Having followed all this for a long time, it’s remarkable how much things have changed in just the past five years. My prediction is that the doctrines won’t change but the handbook will continue to be toned down and an unwritten “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy will take hold in regions where gays have gained full social acceptance. That IS clearly happening already.

    I understand that most people reading this blog find that problematic (or even sickening, apparently).

  30. You’re darn right.

    I was raised to believe that chastity meant what it meant.

    If we want to “water down” the handbook and turn a blind eye to sexual chicanery, that is only hurting the Church’s credibility on this issue. Which I presume is what Brooks, Mitchell, you, want.

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