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

Monday, November 7, 2011
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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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