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HRC: Mormon Church declares same-sex attraction normal, concludes reparative therapy unhealthy

News release from Human Rights Campaign (HRC):

New Church policy removes same-sex attraction from “list of sins”

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today recognized that the Mormon Church removed same-sex attraction as a sin in church policy. The new policy, released by church leaders last Saturday, for the first time does not call for professional counseling for those who experience same-sex attraction. The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind formerly advocated by the Mormon Church – is unhealthy and harmful.

While still claiming that “homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God,” the new policy differentiates between same-sex behavior, to which they continue to object, and attraction, which the church is able to rationalize. A summary of the policy changes can be found here.

“The new guidelines clearly show that advocacy efforts pay off with real change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We spoke out against the harms of so-called ‘reparative therapies’ on LGBT young people. Church leaders heard us and responded by dropping their recommendation that such discredited interventions be forced on LGBT and questioning youth.”

“We continue to disagree with the Mormon Church about fundamentally important issues like full respect for the marriages of same-sex couples, but we are encouraged that our advocacy has paid off with real movement that will help save young lives,” said Rev. Harry Knox, director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program.

Last month Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, called same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” and claimed that it can be corrected. Packer characterized same-sex marriage as immoral. Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric came on the heels of the suicides of a number of teenagers who were victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment. Packer, who is 86 and one of the church’s most senior leaders, made his statements to a crowd of 20,000 – with millions more watching via satellite transmission – during the church’s 180th Semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City.

HRC immediately called on Packer to correct his dangerous statements. Over 150,000 members and supporters signed an open letter to Packer and HRC President Joe Solmonese delivered the signatures to Church headquarters along with representatives from Equality Utah, the Utah Pride Center, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, and the Utah Psychological Association.  

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement regarding the HRC press release:

"The HRC press release mischaracterizes the Church’s position and can’t be taken seriously."

Lyman Kirkland
Public Affairs
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Don't worry, Mr. Kirkland. The HRC press release wasn't taken seriously by us f*gs, either. The bigotry of the Mormon church is far too entrenched to be overcome without significant changes in its leadership. The HRC, as ever, is looking to put lipstick on a pig in the hopes that the gay community will think that it has actually achieved something.

Wow... I would have never thought this news would come about so soon....

Elder Packer was not talking specifically about homosexual attraction in his remarks last month.

He set the context by explaining the Church's position that the greatest happiness is available through a marriage of a man and a woman and then talked about threats to this relationship. He discussed pornography specifically at some length and then said,

(my transcription of his spoken comments, my emphasis added)
"We teach a moral standard of CONDUCT that will protect us from Satan's substituteS and counterfeitS for marriage. We must understand that ANY persuasion to enter into ANY relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. In 'The Book of Mormon,' we learn that wickedness never was happiness.
"Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencIES [clarified to be "temptations" in the printed version] toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our heavenly father do that? Remember, he is our father. Paul promised, 'God will not suffer that ye are tempted above what ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.
"You can, if you will, break the habitS and conquer the addictionS and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church."

In his talk in the 10/2003 General Conference, he said, "In the Church, one is not condemned for tendencies or temptations. One is held accountable for transgression. If you do not act on unworthy persuasions, you will neither be condemned nor be subject to Church discipline." This clarifies what he meant by his comment about "tendencies" this year.

In this year's talk, after setting his context of how to have the greatest joy, he:
* Warns specifically only against pornography
* Says that any persuasion toward ANY relationship out of harmony with the gospel is wrong. This would mean a drug dealer's or prostitute's enticements at least as well as anything else. Some relationships disharmonious with the gospel would be: addictions, adultery, alcoholism, blogging to excess, eating disorders, flirting by married people with others, gambling, many habits, homosexual activity, internet games, intimate friendships that supplant marriage confidentialities, sports to excess, vanity (primary relationship with self), and workaholicism. Note that all of these also damage the marriage relationship that Elder Packer reminded us brings the greatest joy.
* Speaks of conduct, not of attractions or desires
* Talks about substitutes, counterfeits, tendencies, habits, and addictions -- all in plural. If he were talking about homosexuality specifically, as so many have been claiming, these words would have been singular
* Immediately follows "Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies" phrase that was the touchstone for the current kurfuffle with Paul's identical promise that God won't let us be tempted (tried, tested) more than we can bear it, i.e. we won't have a desire greater than we can overcome the feeling to act upon it.
* Immediately follows that with his promise that we can become free of habits and addictions -- in which almost nobody includes homosexuality. The official LDS website, providentliving.org lists these as "Types of Addictions"
- Alcohol
- Drugs (both prescription and illegal)
- Tobacco
- Coffee and tea
- Pornography
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Gambling
- Codependency
- Disorders associated with eating
http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,6629-1-3414-1,00.html
The LDS Church sponsors 9 Addiction Recovery Groups here in Orange County alone to help overcome all of these tendencies. I'm sure that Elder Packer is aware of the problems all of them cause.

LDS doctrine is that ALL of us have inherent proclivities to act contrary to God's will:
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord" (Mosiah 3:19).
Then President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to the men and boys in the priesthood session of our April, 2002 session of General Conference. Near the end of his comments, he said,
"Now I wish to mention another form of abuse that has been much publicized in the media. It is the sordid and evil abuse of children by adults, usually men. Such abuse is not new. There is evidence to indicate that it goes back through the ages. It is a most despicable and tragic and terrible thing. I regret to say that there has been some very limited expression of this monstrous evil among us. It is something that cannot be countenanced or tolerated. The Lord Himself said, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 18:6).
He spoke more clearly after that. Elder Packer was in that meeting; how would incest and parental pedophilia be excluded from his comment,

"Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencIES [clarified to be "temptations" in the printed version] toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our heavenly father do that? Remember, he is our father."?

If they can't be so excluded, how would this comment be about homosexuality specifically?

How did his warning against any ANY wrong relationships and his promise that we can overcome all habits and addictions with help from the priesthood (as he says elsewhere in this talk) become an abandonment of all other impure actions and what's claimed to be a statement solely about homosexual desire and that it is not inherent?

Mr. Kirkland,

How did you come across this article so quickly? Do you follow this column? It's a good column... just wondering...
-Rick
richard.morgan@jhsmiami.org

He's here to put out the fires.

Like I really care about what some cult thinks of my gayness.

My friends, their is a group that now, not only knows we exist, accepted us a people. This is it!

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