Other than the suicides, these are some of the most tragic stories I am aware of, as so many – if not most – of these marriages ended with both parties being spiritually and emotionally scarred.
While the curability mindset has since been mostly abandoned by the church, it still lingers on in the minds and beliefs of many who cannot believe that God would create people as homosexuals – people who seemingly have no place in our theology or God’s eternal plan for families – and not give them a means to be cured.
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It is not my intent to criticize the church or undermine faith; far from it, I hope my fellow members will develop greater faith and a greater ability to receive inspiration about matters that affect their lives and the lives of those they love and care about.
Like opinions held by society in general on this issue, the church’s position on homosexuality has evolved quite significantly in recent years, although much of the general membership is likely unaware of the shift.
To many, it has been the civil rights struggle of our time, to others – particularly conservative religious people – it is a sign of the moral decay of our time.
The LDS church has been greatly affected by this issue, garnering much negative attention in the media due to its public fight against same-sex marriage and the perception that it treats LGBT people unfairly. Its positions and policies, particularly the November 2015 policy that labels members in same-sex marriages apostates and prohibits their children from receiving church ordinances, have caused some members to question the church’s stance and others to actually leave the church.
The purpose of this article is to examine the LDS church’s position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage from a doctrinal, moral and empirical perspective. It is hoped that through such an examination the thoughtful reader may: (1) gain a better understanding of the church’s justifications for this position even as it faces mounting criticism and membership loss; (2) gain a more empathetic understanding of what it means to be LGBT in our church; and (3) sincerely and humbly consider our current state of knowledge about what we as a church believe to be God’s will for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
As an active, believing member of the church, my hope is that this article will cause members of the church to think deeply about the questions raised herein and come to their own opinions based on sound reason and personal inspiration.
I have observed their lives and struggles, and I feel like I have come to know and understand the unique challenges they and their families face as Mormons.
Because of this experience and the relationships I have with my LGBT family and friends, I felt compelled to write this article.
By the 1900s, most states criminalized homosexual behavior by enacting sodomy laws, which drove homosexuals deeper into the closet.
In the 1970s the psychiatric community began to acknowledge that there was no basis for characterizing homosexuality as a disorder and removed it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things.