Gay Mormons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has been in the news often lately.  Firstly, there are two Mormon candidates running for President of the United States.  Secondly, there are many cultural offerings that feature Mormonism.  Thirdly, the Church has been at the forefront of opposing gay marriage.

Mormon marriage gay mormonMarriage and family life are central to the doctrines of the Mormon Church, in fact, Mormonism is all about the traditional family.  Mormonism teaches that all people are eternal beings.  We existed first as “intelligences,” and as such were never created.  God is the literal Father of our spirits, which created spiritual bodies for our intelligences, and which dwelled with Him in a spiritual realm that pre-existed the creation of this earth.  As such, we are literally children of God (and we are all, spiritually, brothers and sisters).  The next step of our existence is mortal life here on earth, a temporary sojourn during which we learn compassion, develop faith, are tempted through our physical bodies, gain wisdom, and form eternal relationships with other people.  After mortality, we are resurrected to a perfect re-joining of spirit and body, and our bodies are immortal and incorruptible.  In this state, we may experience a fullness of joy, and eternal felicity with the people we love.  In Mormonism, we may make eternal family covenants while on earth that are binding forever.  Thus, the Mormon view of the “traditional family,” is not that of the American family of the 1950’s, but that of Adam and Eve, who fully knew the Plan of Salvation, who fully knew that Christ would come and complete the atonement, and who themselves were eternally sealed together as husband and wife.

Some years ago, the leaders of the Mormon Church issued an important proclamation, called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”  It reads as follows:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

mormon family gay mormonThus, Mormons believe that gender is an eternal aspect of each of us, and that the bonds and definition of the traditional family are meant to be eternal in nature.

Homosexual attraction is not entirely innate.  The Stockholm Study of more than 3, 500 sets of twins found same-sex attraction to be dependent upon a myriad of factors, mostly environmental and situational.  The findings showed that 35 per cent of the differences between men in same-sex behaviour is accounted for by genetics. The rest is environmental influence or choice.  The percent of genetic influence for women in same-sex behaviors was even less, at 18 percent.  This was a huge study, perhaps the largest ever performed regarding the causes of same-sex attraction.  The study shows that there is an element of choice in same-sex attraction and that it cannot be viewed as innate as race, which is 100% inherited.  It’s a mixed bag, as far as the results of counseling to ameliorate same-sex attraction.  Mormon leaders know that same-sex attraction is very difficult to reverse and very difficult to deal with, especially in a church so centered on the traditional family.

Mormons who deal with same-sex attraction have several paths open to them.  Mormonism does not consider the attraction itself to be a sin, so homosexual members may continue as members in good standing as long as they don’t break the Lord’s Law of Chastity, which demands chaste behavior outside of marriage and complete fidelity inside of marriage, defining marriage as between a man and a woman legally married.  There are many Mormons who deal with same-sex attraction who have found a good friend of the opposite sex to marry, and who have established strong legal, heterosexual marriages.  Others have chosen to remain celibate.  Remember that many heterosexuals are also celibate, because they have never found someone to marry, or because they are divorced or widowed.  To keep the Law of Chastity, they live celibate lives, so that situation is not unique to homosexuals in the Church.

Some homosexuals in the Mormon Church have railed against the doctrines of the Church and left the Church in order to follow the gay lifestyle, finding the doctrines of the Church incompatible with their life choices.  The Mormon Church believes in equal rights for all and spearheaded bills before the Utah State Legislature to guarantee equal rights for gays in housing, work, and rights for couples.  However, in accordance with Mormon doctrine, these rights fall short of formal, legal marriage, but may allow “civil unions.”

The Mormon Church does not favor or disfavor political candidates and stays out of politics other than urging its members to participate in the democratic process and to be good citizens of the countries where they reside.  However, the Mormon Church and Mormons reserve the right to be active in the public square on matters of moral imperative and the good of society.  The United States of America has always guaranteed the right to exercise religious beliefs and free speech.  Until relatively recently, the U.S. was a Christian nation, and Christian beliefs were central to its leadership and the pursuit of happiness of its citizens.  Now anti-religion and secularism have become guiding principles to the point that homosexual rights now must be honored over religious rights.  The Mormon Church sees this as a dangerous trend.  Note the paragraph in the Proclamation to the World, which says,

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

The Mormon Church is led by prophets of God, and they cannot compromise regarding the commandments of God.  Mormons and the Church love all people, and desire to express compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction.  They are our friends, loved ones, and family members.  Gay rights activists call Mormons “haters,” but they are not.  Honoring the “love and happiness” of same-sex couples is not real love, and trying to get them to live according to the commandments of God is not hate.  It is trying to bring us all into the fold of God’s love and avoid the destruction and devastation prophesied in the Book of Revelation.  All sexual behavior outside the bonds of traditional marriage is sinful, and indulged fully, by heterosexuals or homosexuals, will bring upon us the wrath of God in the end.

Additional Resources: “God Loveth His Children,” pamphlet from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on homosexuality.

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