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Mormon church changing policies on homosexuality

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon (LDS) church has announced that they have changed many of their policies towards homosexuality. But is it enough?

At their leadership conference on Saturday, broadcast to church leaders worldwide, will be the new version of the leadership handbook. Included in this handbook are the policies with which local leaders such as Bishops use to “deal” with homosexuality.

Here are some of the changes being made. The items struck out have been deleted.

“Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, distorts loving relationships, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.

“If members have homosexual thoughts or feelings or engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth. Leaders also should help them accept responsibility for their thoughts and actions and apply gospel principles in their lives.

“While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out to understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.” [This was moved from being the 2nd to 3rd paragraph]

In addition to the inspired assistance of Church leaders, members may need professional counseling. When appropriate, bishops should contact LDS Social Services to identify resources to provide such counseling in harmony with gospel principles.

There are several pages on homosexuality in the church handbook however. The full changes aren’t available yet, but PRIDEinUtah will try to get a hold of it as quickly as possible.

One thing for sure, no chance of a change to the church’s policy on Transgender people. Currently Mormon policy dictates that anyone who has had a sex change operation can not hold any church callings, hold the priesthood, participate in temple ceremonies and can only be baptized with express permission from the 1st Presidency themselves.

Is this good? Yes. Is it good enough? Not even close. I give them credit for improving, but they are still decades behind and the pressure will not be let up until they recognize the value of all human life, no matter what sexual orientation, gender, race or gender identity.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless… Really didn't think they would be willing to do even this little LOL…. ahhhh HOPE

    Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 2:50pm
  2. What a bunch of extremely sad human beings. Let's hope that eventually they disappear into history along with all the other mumbo jumboists that have blighted our existence over the thousands of years.

    Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 6:01pm
  3. The are a part of history, obviously. The point is that they shouldn't be a part of the future, but unfortunately that seems a bit unrealistic.

    Posted on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 4:44pm
  4. While I welcome the recent LDS policy changes in regards to homosexuals with with open arms, there remains one area of policy that still makes me shudder, that is explained in the new Handbook 2 of Administering the Church – 2010.

    This is the current policy of permanently annotating the records of LDS church members who have once engaged in homosexual activity, thereby marking them permanently throughout their Church lives, in a manner that will guarantee that all new wards and leaders (and possibly even the membership) will be informed of the legacy of that person’s current condition and/or past life.

    The Church sates that it reserves such permanent annotations only on the records of members “whose conduct has threatened the well-being of other persons or of the Church”, and this is done in order to help the bishop “protect Church members and others from such individuals” (p. #70).

    Notably, there is no mention of this requirement for any person found guilty of repeated heterosexual activities, which shows that the Church still regards homosexual activity to be a much greater sin and threat to its membership.

    The offence of “repeated homosexual activities (by adults)” is placed alongside other atrocities such as incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage and predatory conduct (p# 71).

    While the LDS church truly believes in and preaches repentance and forgiveness, even to the point described in D&C 58:42 – “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more,” current policies make the “remembering no more” part virtually impossible as “In all cases, an annotation on a membership record is removed only with First Presidency approval upon request of the stake president” (p. #70).

    Such permanent markers for being a homosexual (or even claiming to be a reformed homosexual who has since repented and now refrains) is reminiscent of the pink triangle “annotation” given by Hitler and the Nazis upon all homosexuals rounded up and placed in concentration camps along with all of the others deemed undesirable at the time.

    LDS people with a past that includes homosexual activities should be informed of this current policy so they can decide in advance, before submitting themselves to formal LDS disciplinary processes, whether they want the permanent stain of this annotation to mark the remainder of their lives in LDS fellowship.

    Posted on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 11:13pm
  5. It makes me sick to see that a group is trying so hard to persecute the beliefs of a small group of people. There are what, 13 million Mormons vs. the 6-7 billion people in the world. The are teaching their views, which are backed by the Bible. If you don't like the Bible, or this church, don't be a part of it. If they don't want to be actively gay or get sex changes, they won't be a part of yours. The world if big enough that you don't have to force your religion or world views on them. If they try to pass laws against you, take them to court, but don't you dare try to change their religion. That is so anti-American is just makes me want to puke! I accept and love all of my fellow man, but I must stand against anyone saying that a religion must back everyone's views. If it did that, it wouldn't be a religion – it would be a joke.

    Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 10:06am
  6. Uh, hey, Jesus. Didn't know you were a reader of LGBTQNation. Is there something we don't know about you?

    Anyway, you might want to remember that HOMOSEXUALS haven't sunk millions of dollars into political campaigns in Hawaii, California (and other states) to prevent MORMONS from marrying. It's the other way round. Gay churches aren't responsible for creating a culture and an atmosphere that drives Mormon teens to suicide––again, and again, and again, and again. However, the LDS Church HAS cultivated an environment that drives GAY teens to suicide––again, and again, and again, and again.

    Just try to remember who picked this fight, mmmmkay? LDS people are generally decent (like all people everywhere), but in order to "live and let live," all parties must be willing to "let live"; and if "letting live" is your goal, trying to invalidate the legal status of other peoples' marriages by dint of legislation is a perfect example of what NOT to do.

    Homosexuals have assiduously refrained from attempting to make Mormonism illegal––unfortunately, Mormons haven't been willing to return the favor.

    Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:24pm
  7. Newsflash, homies. Mormon marriages "for time and all eternity" are NOT recognized by the government of any state. Nor should they be. That comparison between confidential church records and nazi concentration camp markers reeks of racid hyperbole.

    Replied on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 8:15am
  8. "Mormon marriages "for time and all eternity" are NOT recognized by the government of any state."

    In the USA, yes they are. That's the "time" part. Of course the government doesn't recognize the "all eternity" part. The government doesn't recognize Catholic baptisms either. (Or *any* baptisms, for that matter.) But, every day, LDS couples go into LDS temples, carrying valid marriage licenses, and come out of it a couple hours later with a valid, legally recognized marriage.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 8:29am
  9. You cant change god laws , there put here for everyone not just a chosen few . The gays will never be married in the temple , Not as long as you continue to thing that way. the eternity ceremony excludes you , until one of you guys can pop a baby out of your mouth, Id like to see that, you guys just don't get it .

    Posted on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:48pm
  10. Why do Gays care what the LDS Church does? They will never be part of the Church. The Gay friends care because they are trying to substantiate it in their mind why their child or friend went gay but they will never be able to. 97%+ of Gays have chosen the life. Why doesn't the Federal Government approve Gay marriage since they don't have religion in Government now. Normal people do not have gay relationships no matter what the reason. The teenage suicide the person mentions above happens when a teenage child in School decides for 2 weeks that they are gay and then realizes they are not gay. Too bad and too late. If the Gay life was righteous, you would not have to be talked into acceptance, it would come naturally, don't you agree?

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 7:48pm
  11. @Theresa: You need to understand, not one gay individual would ever want to be married in the edifice you falsely call a temple. Your church is false and you are led or rather duped by a false and bigoted prophet. You too are a bigot.
    @Carl: How can anyone who purports to be a Christian use the language you do? “Normal” really, Carl? I consider myself perfectly normal. Your absurd statistic you site is laughable. You claim 97% of gays choose to be gay. This is utterly rediculous! Just as I never chose to be gay neither have my friends. You’re a fool! As for your suicide ideas, that is not only insulting and hurtful but the very harmful and hate filled speech so typical of hypocrites, such as the likes of you. You are not any Christian Christ recognises. Let me reiterate. You are a fool!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 7:33pm
  12. Leon, first of all. You have to understand that you believe what your taught growing up, and you probably shouldn’t have posted such negative comments about the mormon church. I think it’s always safe to question the doctrine, but not to attack the members for believing in it. I understand your anger and frustration though. :)

    Now, Carl. Although I know it can be extremely hard to understand a group of people or feellings associated with those people if you do not personally experience these feelings. I understand that, I do. What I do dislike though, is the fact you are quoting false numbers that seems to have just been pulled out of the air. The truth is that a 100% of the LGBT community do not choose to be so. There are though things like rape and abusive parents that can make people produce negative thoughts toward the opposite gender thus them being confused about their sexuality, but were never in fact gay. Being gay, and confusing your sexuality is two different things, and i think that’s generated a lot of confusion. Does that make any sense?
    As for the direct attack on Mormon churches, a lot of people probably acted on anger. I’m sorry for that. But you are acting on anger as well. Don’t combat anger with anger. It’ll just make you upset. Be happy! Smile :). They did it though because of the Mormon churches involvement in the prop 8 issue. They donated papers and documents to the push the law. It upset people because it for one went against them, but more importantly went against the seperation of religion and government. We also can’t forget that it denies the religious freedom rights of the religions that WANT to carry out same sex marriage ceremonies. It didn’t ever say that the Mormon church should or should be forced to have same sex marriage ceremonies. It simply allowed us the ability to marry.

    The thing is I hope we can all marry who we love, and it will always be your choice to like it or not. I just don’t think it’s right to scrap the ability completely. I am looking forward to your response, and I hope we can live amongst each other peacefully! Im not angry, and Im not judging. I just hope I can one day i can marry my best friend. He’s my everything. I do though really understand that its hard to understand. Hey, I hate tomatoes. There is a group of people that eat tomatoes, but I don’t see how they are appealing to anyone. I have to understand that that appeals to them, and I can’t force them to not eat tomatoes just because I don’t like them. I hope you at least understand a little! I don’t expect you to drop your religion and support gays, but I hope someday you can understand my point, and vote for us to be able to marry. You don’t have to support, you dont have to like it but I hope you will understand scrapping the right completely isn’t fair. I used to be a Mormon, my father was actually the bishop. I do understand. I felt like there was a lot of hate toward my family because of what I believed in, and I wanted people to just see that there was a lot of truth stretching and generalizing being done. Its the same thing with gays. We get generalized and have the truth stretched a lot, and I hope you can relate with me here. Anyway, I hope you have a great fantastic day.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 2:46pm
  13. Would like to know if anyone, within or outside the LDS church, could inform me about how the church treated (tried to cure) homosexual members in the 1970th. I have been told about a treatment program, using SR psycholochcal experiments, and wonder if this can be true. Has this happened with the church`s “blessing/advice or what?
    Greatful for honest answer.

    Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 9:58am