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Mormons say you can be both faithful and gay, but don’t expect equal rights

Mormons say you can be both faithful and gay, but don’t expect equal rights

In 2016, the first group of LGBTI Mormons marched at London Pride

The Mormon Church has relaunched its website supporting its LGBTI members – but it won’t change its stance on homosexuality.

Part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ official website, Mormon and Gay aims to reinforce, so the official announcement, that ‘God “loveth his children” (1 Nephi 11:17)’.

It is also ‘seeks to help everyone better understand same-sex attraction from a gospel perspective’.

Throughout the site, the Church mentions same-sex attraction, so as to ‘be inclusive of people who are not comfortable using a label’, rather than denying ‘the existence of a gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity’.

It does not discuss any issues related to gender dysophoria, being trans or intersex, as they are different ‘from a psychological and ministerial perspective’.

Aside from videoclips of gay, lesbian and bisexual Church members, their friends, coworkers and family, sharing their stories, there are also sermons, an FAQ for those who find themselves struggling, and resources for parents.

The FAQ, for example, says those who decide to come out ‘should be supported and treated with kindness and respect’, and that the strength of same-sex attraction ‘is not a measure of your faithfulness’.

But critics say the biggest change is in the name and the inclusion in lds.org – prior to the relaunch, it was called Mormons and Gays and stood separate.

‘[It] reflects the reality that a person doesn’t need to choose between the two identities,’ the official announcement states on the name change.

‘One can, in fact, be gay and live faithful to the teachings of Christ.’

What remains, though, is the Church’s stance on equal rights and the treatment of homosexuality.

In the FAQ, they clearly state Church doctrine won’t change, supporting it with a quote from the Handbook 2: Administering the Church.

‘Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife,’ it reads.

‘Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family.

‘The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman.’

It also does not openly object to the use of dangerous and irresponsible ‘gay cure’ therapy, which filmmaker Kendall Wilcox said he would’ve liked to see.

‘While shifts in sexuality can and do occur for some people, it is unethical to focus professional treatment on an assumption that a change in sexual orientation will or must occur,’ he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

‘There is no scientific evidence to support the claim of individuals changing their sexual orientation. It is unethical to engage in therapy that promises this kind of change.’

Gay, lesbian and bisexual members who act on their desires instead of living celibate are treated as apostates, who are excommunicated from the Church.

Last year, a change in policy also enforced that children of same-sex couples are also treated as apostates and are barred from being baptized until they turn 18 and renounce their parent’s relationship as wrong.

Since then, the Church has seen two mass resignations and more than 32 suicides of young LGBTI Mormons – neither of which are referenced on the new website.