The following list is 12 suggestions that the Church could implement immediately without changing any doctrine, that would greatly improve the situation for LGBT people in the ranks as well as their families.
1) Promote a campaign against suicide of our young gay people that includes cooperation with secular mental health groups and the LDS social services and others. Make full use of the Family Acceptance Project research and brochure.
2) Really advocate for families accepting their gay and lesbian children, even when they choose same sex relations. Address the huge problem of homeless LDS LGBT teens. There should be a campaign against ostracizing gay family members, especially teens, and there should be a responsibility on the parts of the ward to care for these homeless teens. Encourage Mormon families to take in homeless teens through foster care.
3) Build a campaign against bullying and hate speech in our communities and in our congregations.
4) Stop all affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America unless they change their policy of excluding gays, so that gay youth in our wards won’t be excluded from YM activities.
5) Nuance the message about the sin of homosexual activity. The church can give very helpful messages to its LGBT members who might choose same sex relationships. It should be emphasized that monogamy is better than promiscuity, and that safe sex is more moral than unsafe sex. And young people should be encouraged to maintain their other moral values even if they are choosing same sex relations, especially regarding substance use. (The current system basically throws these people out without helping them develop a moral compass for the real world.)
6) Stop all excommunications and disfellowships for homosexuality. Make same-sex relationships a temple or priesthood worthiness issue only.
7) Stop asking about homosexual relations as part of the baptismal interview. Allow individuals in committed same-sex partnerships or legal marriages to be baptized without requiring first presidency approval. Limit worthiness restrictions to temple and priesthood privileges.
8) Stop the practice of annotating the membership record of members with a history of homosexuality. Stop restricting their callings unless there is a current worthiness issue. Stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia and acknowledge pedophilia’s real causes (and that it is primarily perpetrated by heterosexuals).
9) Help identify factors that make mixed-orientation marriages succeed or fail and use that information in making suggestions to people who are contemplating this course based on real research that shows the chances of success. Acknowledge the role that might be played by relative bisexuality, level of aversion to opposite sex, age, and relative acceptance of one’s homosexuality as well as other coping mechanisms. Also implement guidelines advising their potential straight spouses about the risks involved, and the chances of success.
10) Also help people who are ending mixed orientation marriages that are unsustainable to break smoothly with less damage to both spouses and their children. The involved bishop”s approach should be:
a) Recognize that the couple is in this predicament because they were following the (often bad) advice of church leaders, so they shouldn’t be blamed if it isn’t working.
b) Both partners need support through the process. Neither one should be demonized or ostracized.
c) The bishop should have a role in helping them create a productive relationship around parenting and resolving the divorce in a way that is as positive as possible.
d) The bishop should also be sensitive to the extra pain that both partners are having as they have to address the homosexuality issues within their extended families.
e) The bishop should try to retain both partners as members of the ward or the new ward(s) where they may reside.
11) Start treating transgender people with empathy. Allow them membership in the church regardless of their operative status. Allow them to be baptized without any special permission. Stop equating them with murderers by including them in this group that is restricted from baptism with permission of the first presidency. Limit worthiness restrictions to temple and priesthood privileges.
12) Modify the role of BYU Standards, so that it is not so punitive. Remove the witch hunt and anonymous tips model. Never hold academic records or transcript of student who are forced out of BYU or who leave BYU.
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