They saw society’s softening towards homosexuality, including decriminalization, as evidence of society’s deterioration. Because it had been hidden and rarely spoken of in the past, but was now becoming more open and accepted, these church leaders saw it as a rapidly spreading contagion that was infecting society and even the church and was thus a dangerous threat to marriage and family. However, in demonizing homosexuality, they also demonized homosexuals, which caused untold despair and self-loathing among young LDS gay people trying to come to terms with their homosexual feelings in that era. Kimball’s popular book, , first published in 1969, devoted an entire chapter to homosexuality, entitled “Crime Against Nature.” As one LDS historian explained, “[This chapter] is the earliest and most comprehensive treatment on homosexuality by an apostle, and the foundation from which Mormon thought, policy and political action on homosexuality grew for the past 45 years.” Kimball described homosexuality and homosexuals using terms such as, “ugly,” “repugnant,” “ever-deepening degeneracy,” “evil,” “pervert,” deviant,” and “weaklings.” He taught that it was a spiritual disease that could be “cured,” and to those who felt otherwise, he responded: “How can you say the door cannot be opened until your knuckles are bloody, till your head is bruised, till your muscles are sore?
Also in this period, LGBT people began to assert their rights to live their lives authentically and without persecution, mainstream media started giving more favorable coverage of homosexuals, and societal views ever so slightly began to shift. Packer being the church’s primary voices on this topic through the 1970s and 1980s.
The church’s stance in this period, however, remained unchanged, with Spencer W. They spoke about homosexuality with disdain and disgust, which reflected the sentiment of their generation.
Identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or experiencing same-sex attraction is not a sin and does not prohibit one from participating in the Church, holding callings, or attending the temple. We may not know precisely why some people feel attracted to others of the same sex, but for some it is a complex reality and part of the human experience.
Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
Recognizing that many of the questions I raise and observations I make in the article may challenge the current thinking of some Church members, I felt that the words of President Dieter F.
Uchtdorf at a recent worldwide leadership training conference were particularly appropriate: Brothers and sisters, as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit.
In the thirteen-plus years since our oldest son came out as gay (followed by a second son five years ago), I have studied, read, prayed and pondered extensively on this subject.
More importantly perhaps, I have gotten to know hundreds of LGBT people on a very personal level.
This belief informed the church’s ecclesiastical approach and training of leaders, as well as Mormon mental-health therapists, for years to come – and it was probably the most psychologically and spiritually damaging of all the church’s teachings on homosexuality.