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Mormon bishop: Church’s treatment of LGBTQ people an ‘atrocity’

Monday, November 7, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — A Mormon bishop on Sunday apologized for the way gays are treated and perceived by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, calling it “an atrocity.”

Kevin Kloosterman

Speaking at an interfaith service held at the First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City, Illinois-based Bishop Kevin Kloosterman told the crowd of around 300, “If you leave here not remembering what I have to say, remember this: I’m sorry.”

Kloosterman spoke at the final event of a weekend-long seminar dedicated to exploring gay Mormon issues, titled Circling the Wagons. He said he recently became aware of LGBT issues and his views changed from that of the church — that acting on gay urges violates its moral code — and had a “mighty change of heart.”

“I began to see the emotional wounds and scars that many of you have today,” Kloosterman said, “and I began to ask, ‘Where did you get these wounds?’ And the answer, unfortunately, was in the house of my friends.

The straight members of the church have a lot of repenting to do,” he said.

He clarified that he was speaking only on his own behalf and did not intend to represent the views of the church.

John Dehlin, a researcher and founder of Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation — the organizations that hosted the event — told the Salt Lake City Tribune, “I thought it was highly significant just to have a sitting bishop who cares so much for these issues that he’s willing to fly himself out here and speak publicly.”

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17 more reader comments:

  1. I call it genocide by psychological torture.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:20am
  2. This is a hopeful sign. Though he didn’t speak for the church, it’s a beginning. If Mormonism wishes to be taken seriously it needs to recognize it needs to move beyond its nineteenth century mentality and into a more compassionate place.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:37am
  3. agreed this feeds my hope

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:42am
  4. We changed one…. that’s better than we hoped. One-at-a-time. Perseverence is our strength.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:46am
  5. Take special tax status away from these Churches that preach hate! If they continue to preach it then arrest them and put them away.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:52am
  6. interesting!

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:54am
  7. I agree take away their tax status

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:10am
  8. It’s nice to be wrong sometimes, this is one of them. Thank you Bishop Kevin Kloosterman

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:12pm
  9. That so called church spent hundreds of millions of dollars in California on the prop 8 debate. I find it hard to believe they will change their view. The bishop will most likely get kicked out.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:29pm
  10. The way the Mormon church treats their own people is an atrocity…no surprise that they can’t contain their distaste for the LGBT community. Anyone Mormon needs to seriously have their head examined.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:55pm
  11. It’s good to see at least one of our bishops standing for what’s right. I hope he isn’t punished too severely.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 1:08pm
  12. …he calls it what it exactly is!

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 5:37pm
  13. I was born into the LDS church. I’m now thirty years old. I have explored MANY other religions in order to make sure that I am Mormon because that’s what makes the most sense to me, not just because I was born into it.

    No matter how many I tried, studied, etc., I have always come right back to my LDS roots.

    My views (and my husband’s) on equal rights for the LGBT community are the same as that of the Bishop in this article. I’m just waiting until this changes, as I’m sure it will. In the mean time, I just have to have faith, and love everyone on both sides of the equation.

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:02pm
  14. I am the Arch-Bishop of Australia for the Holy Church of RA-EL and I agree this is an atrocity of biblical proportion and our Church welcomes all LGBTQ community with open arms and want you to come to us we hold no bad faith with a community that loves each other

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:15pm
  15. And the Book of Mormon says “Laman” punished Native Americans by turning their skin from white to the supposed ‘unnatural’ color it is ‘today.’

    Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:05pm
  16. Erin, For most people, once they are indoctrinated into a particular religion they will have a set of pre-existing ideas so that when they look at other religions they will not feel as right to them as the first one. It’s like liking the original version of a movie or song that you heard first, over the remake. The only way for another religion or belief system to work for you is if you let go of the first one organically. It’s not a matter of try, it’s a matter of out growing it.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:55am
  17. Erin, For most people, once they are indoctrinated into a particular religion they will have a set of pre-existing ideas so that when they look at other religions they will not feel as right to them as the first one. It’s like liking the original version of a movie or song that you heard first, over the remake. The only way for another religion or belief system to work for you is if you let go of the first one organically. It’s not a matter of “try”, it’s a matter of out growing it.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:57am