The leadership of the Mormon church have admitted that same-sex attraction is not a choice and has launched a new church website to begin a conversation on the issue.
MormonsAndGays.org is an official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and outlines the Mormons’ official position on human sexuality.
‘Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction,’ the website states.
‘This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.’
‘The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.’
Through the website the Mormon leadership admit that their view that same-sex relationships are sinful is now a minority position in society.
‘The Church’s approach to this issue stands apart from society in many ways,’ the website states.
‘From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change. There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right. But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere.’
According to the website, openly gay people would be acceptable as Mormon clergy so long as they were celibate.
‘Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple,’ the website states.
The church also now recognises that it may be unwise for people with same-sex attractions to seek to enter into heterosexual marriages.
‘Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex,’ the website states.
The website, which is not yet fully functional will include the stories of same-sex attracted Mormons and their families, as well as video statements by the church’s leadership on the issue.
The Mormon Church has been in the spotlight in recent years over its donation of millions of dollars to campaigns opposing same-sex marriage.
In response progressive Mormons have begun organizing to show their disagreement with the church’s official position on the issue, while others have resigned their membership of the church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is an offshoot of Christianity founded in North America in 1830 by a man named Joseph Smith who claimed to have found golden plates on a hill in New York state which revealed further books of the Bible.