A member of the Mormon Church’s leadership is saying in a new video the words that many gays have long wanted to hear: you are welcome.
‘We want you to know we love you. You are welcome,’ says Elder L. Whitney Clayton in a message ‘directly to church members who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.’
‘We want you to be part of our congregations. You have great talents and abilities to offer God’s kingdom on Earth and we recognize the many valuable contributions you make.’
The video message is part of a relaunch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ official website, Mormon and Gay.
Although the church and Clayton speak of supporting LGBTI members, there is no official change in the church’s harsh stance on homosexuality.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual members who act on their desires instead of living celibate are treated as apostates who are excommunicated from the Church.
Says Clayton: ‘We have given much thought and care to better understanding the experience of same-sex attraction and making sure such individuals who feel such attraction – and their families – feel welcome and part of the great worldwide family that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.’
Not referenced in the website are the two mass resignations and more than 32 suicides of young LGBTI Mormons after a change in church policy calling for the children of same-sex couples to be treated as apostates barred from being baptized until they turn 18 and renounce their parents’ relationship as wrong.