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Revised HRC statement: Mormon Church has 'further to go' in acceptance of gays and lesbians

HRC, the Human Rights Campaign, has revised its statement on perceived changes by the Mormon Church regarding same-sex attraction and reparative therapy. Last night, the church disputed HRC's original statement, that Mormon leaders declared same-sex attraction normal.

Here's HRC's revised statement:

New church policy removes call for harmful reparative therapy, but is a far cry from LGBT acceptance.

11/17/2010

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, and Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, the largest and oldest Mormon LGBT advocacy group in the world, today call on the Mormon Church to go further in its acceptance of LGBT people. The church has rid its new policy handbook of a call for professional counseling for those who experience same-sex attraction. This is a small, but positive step forward, as 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.

“It is good to see the Mormon Church has finally recognized what science has told us for years – people cannot change their sexual orientation and attempts to do so are harmful,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “But the church has a lot further to go. Too many kids are struggling with their identities and self-worth. Church leaders must let them know they are loved and worthy just the way they are.”

Although new church policy no longer calls for professional counseling for LGBT people, it still groups homosexual behavior with: attempted murder, forcible rape and spouse abuse. The handbook also says homosexual behavior is permanently noted in one’s church records, however heterosexuals found to commit “sexual sin” outside of marriage receive no permanent annotations.

“The policies in the new Church Handbook of Instruction continue to class homosexual behavior as a choice and as a sin,” said David Melson, President of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. “It states that in order to be considered ‘worthy,’ an LGBT church member must refrain from all sexual activity throughout their life and must remain in the closet in most discussions and conversations. Evidence has shown that being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person is a biological function that takes place prior to birth – something that comes from God – and is not a choice, and therefore cannot rationally be considered a sin. To tell someone that they are less than worthy, or that they should never respond to natural sexual attraction, or that they should live their life dishonestly by living in the closet, has the potential for incredible harm to that individual. We applaud the LDS Church for taking this small step, but we strongly urge them to go further, to respect the diversity that God has created within His children, and to withdraw from policies and behavior that harm rather than heal both church members and non-members.”

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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While I welcome the recent LDS policy changes in regards to homosexuals with with open arms, there remains one area of policy that still makes me shudder, that is explained in the new Handbook 2 of Administering the Church – 2010.

This is the current policy of permanently annotating the records of LDS church members who have once engaged in homosexual activity, thereby marking them permanently throughout their Church lives, in a manner that will guarantee that all new wards and leaders (and possibly even the membership) will be informed of the legacy of that person’s current condition and/or past life.

The Church sates that it reserves such permanent annotations only on the records of members “whose conduct has threatened the well-being of other persons or of the Church”, and this is done in order to help the bishop “protect Church members and others from such individuals” (p. #70).

Notably, there is no mention of this requirement for any person found guilty of repeated heterosexual activities, which shows that the Church still regards homosexual activity to be a much greater sin and threat to its membership.

The offence of “repeated homosexual activities (by adults)” is placed alongside other atrocities such as incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage and predatory conduct (p# 71).

While the LDS church truly believes in and preaches repentance and forgiveness, even to the point described in D&C 58:42 - “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more,” current policies make the “remembering no more” part virtually impossible as “In all cases, an annotation on a membership record is removed only with First Presidency approval upon request of the stake president” (p. #70).

Such permanent markers for being a homosexual (or even claiming to be a reformed homosexual who has since repented and now refrains) is reminiscent of the pink triangle “annotation” given by Hitler and the Nazis upon all homosexuals rounded up and placed in concentration camps along with all of the others deemed undesirable at the time.

LDS people with a past that includes homosexual activities should be informed of this current policy so they can decide in advance, before submitting themselves to formal LDS disciplinary processes, whether they want the permanent stain of this annotation to mark the remainder of their lives in LDS fellowship.

I find the concerted effort by HRC to confound ones nature and their behavior to be quite disingenuous and disrespectful. Don't humans have the ability to resist their natures? Are we not all animals otherwise? Can't HRC make their case without insisting that harm necessarily comes to those that resist their natures? The absence of reason is profound.

I for one am very glad about the Church's stance on homosexuality. As a Latter-day Saint who is attracted to other men, I have appreciated the Church's balance of reaching out and loving us while still holding strong to the biblical standard. I have found so much peace and joy from bringing my life in line with the church's standard. I wish the HRC would respect that. I understand that other LGBT people have not had the same experience as I have, and want a church that allows them to have same-sex relationships, but they need to understand that some of us WANT a Church that helps us live a chaste life. Can they respect our choices? Let those who want a church that teaches same-sex relationships are okay go to a church that teach same-sex relationships are okay.

The Mormon Church teaches a high level of self-control. It teaches we must all overcome the natural man, deny ourselves, and crucify our lusts. We fully accept single straight people, but if they practice heterosexuality, they are subject to Church discipline. Why would I want a different standard for gay people?

I have been attracted to other men almost my whole entire life. While being sexual However, when I was sexual with other men, I was never happy. I agree that sexual orientation is a big part of who we are, but I think sometimes people go too far and act as if it were the only part of who we are.

The Mormon Church has done more to help gays than any other organization. They've spent tens of million fighting gay marriage, for example, and now gay marriage is more accepted than ever.

What boggles the mind isn't their backward mentality when it comes to gays, but how they ignore tens of thousands of polygamists in Utah who, cloaked in the robes of fundamentalist Mormonism, rape and impregnate underage girls. Mormons need to rescue their victim neighbors.

BANKING ON HEAVEN . COM

The LDS Church says it makes permanent recorded annotations only with regard to members “whose conduct has threatened the well-being of other persons or of the Church”, and this is done in order to help the bishop “protect Church members and others from such individuals” (p. #70).

The list of such "sins" is notable for what didn't make the list. Arguably the greatest predatory criminals in the LDS Church are the respectable guys in suits who try to sell other Mormons on various "investments." It's a major problem that has resulted in some church leaders going to jail, and members ending up broke. Here's a story that might serve as an example:

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=12503285

Of course this is an extreme case, and when it causes public embarrassment for the church they excommunicate the guy. Usually it's not high profile and the predator doesn't go to jail. In such cases the investors still end up broke but the predator retains his membership in the church (and often his church calling) with a simple slap on the wrist and an admonition (accompanied with a wink of the eye) not to "do it again."

If the LDS Church is really committed to protecting members from predators they should leave Gays alone and go after the guys that selling shady investments to other members.

Of course by an overwhelming margin the biggest scam sold by members of the church is promoted by the General Authorities who tell the membership that, for the price of 10% of their income and a sustaining vote, they can qualify for a temple recommend and have their family sealed together for time and all eternity.

Duwayne Anderson
Author of "Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science"

This is all just more evidence that the one "TRUE" church on the planet as the LDS Church claims to be is actually an evolving and changing organization that is fighting to stay relevant, meaningful and 'together' as it's own historical facts and inconsistencies undermine the faith of more and more members every day. It's trying to survive in the face of science and discovery. Homosexuality and this issues around it are driving an increasingly large wedge right into the heart of the Church and it's members. The faithful are upset about yet more 'caving in' and some are upset that supposed Prophet, Seer and Revelator cannot shed light and answers that provide true clarity on these matters that can stand for generations vs. fall at the next sign of outward pressure on the Church.

It's got to be very confusing to me a Mormon nowadays.

Duwayne,

The Mormon Church has come out officially in opposition to investment fraud and have warned members through official statements to be aware of those selling fraudulent investments. This announcement was read by bishops Churchwide over the pulpit during Sunday services. I thought it was amusing, but the reason for the warning is that Mormons have a tendancy to trust their own. While this trust is a noble virtue, it also exposes them to those whose intentions are anything but noble. The general message, "trust your brothers and sisters, but make darn sure you know who your actual brothers and sisters are. Oh, and don't trust them with your nest egg...that's just stupid."

To everyone else,

I love that we all laud science in an attempt to slander religion, but the fact remains that the two cannot counsel each other. Science cannot prove God does not exist any more than religion can prove evolution does not occur. Neither should even be attempting to do either or they cease to be either science or religion.

Whether sexual orientation is inborn or not (and the ACTUAL science is yet pending and cannot say anything definitive on this matter) is irrelevant. God's law demands that a man put off natural human tendancies and be reborn spiritually. This rebirth, if complete and truly of God, would eliminate the desire to commit any sin...ANY sin. Thus, if you are trying to justify that homosexuality is natural, you are right, but to assume this makes it spiritual, you are wrong.

If we are yet natural, we are not yet spiritual, thus we are not born of God. Thus every homosexual who wishes to be born of God must be willing to sacrifice their natural tendancies and submit wholly to the will of God. If they don't want to, then they are free to remain in their natural or carnal state. After all, scientists have declared the natural state to be healthy. Sadly, scientists have no authority on what grants eternal life. Science cannot measure the spirit. It can only measure the physical, or natural, world. How then can you all assume to counsel spiritual things with (weak) evidence of things that are natural? You cannot.

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