A Difference of Opinion

Over the past few years, I have had dozens of conversations with friends and family members who are active members of the LDS Church on the subject of homosexuality.  Most active members feel misunderstood and maligned by the ‘world’ and the ‘liberal press’ and labeled haters.  My wife and I have encountered this sentiment first hand as the majority of the LGBT people we have met believe that Mormons hate gay people.  Beyond our anecdotal evidence is a recent Pew Research Study that revealed that Mormons are perceived as the second most unfriendly religion (worldwide) to LGBT individuals. (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/06/13/a-survey-of-lgbt-americans/7/#feeling-unwelcome)

In our polarized political and social world, both the LGBT community and the Mormon community continue to speak past each other without genuine understanding.  Today I wanted to specifically help the Mormon community come to a place of better understanding.  Most Mormons I know try very hard to be kind and understanding.  They truly believe in attempting to be Christ-like to everyone.  Of course, the success of this effort varies widely from individual to individual, but on the whole they are very good people.pros-cons-outsourcing-425x225

A friend of mine recently lamented, “I wish we could learn to stop interpreting one person disagreeing with another person’s beliefs or lifestyle as being hateful.  That feeling isn’t one any human being should ever be made to feel.  Equally it hurts me when others are accused of being haters simply because they disagree with another person’s lifestyle or beliefs.  I have struggled to understand how one can interpret a difference of opinion as being hateful.”

This line of thinking is very common in the LDS Church.  The incredulity of being hated for standing up for your beliefs is substantial.  And because homosexuality is so far outside of their life experience, it is like talking in a foreign language.  Here are some key points I want my Mormon friends to ponder and consider.

1)      This isn’t a simple disagreement over a personal preference.  People do not choose to be gay.  Whether it is biological or environmental in origin, being gay (or SSA) is an unalterable fact of life.  This is beyond debate as it is the conclusion of every major medical and psychological association in the country.  It is also accepted by the Church: “Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them.” (www.mormonsandgays.org)

2)      Your opinion takes everything precious away from me.  At a very fundamental level, our doctrine is devastating to LGBT youth and adults.  From a Mormon perspective, the only acceptable choices for someone who is gay are celibacy or a mixed orientation marriage (MOM).  This doctrine robs LGBT youth of hope.  It robs them of self-esteem and worth.  At best it tells you that you are broken and will be fixed in the next life.  It is a complete rejection of who you are now.  It tells you that unless you can change to a more worthy state (straight), you can never have the one thing that Mormons value most in life: family.

3)      There is no experiment you could devise that could duplicate the experience of being in the closet.  My son came out at age 13.  He was remarkably young.  He knew he was gay for probably less than two years before he came out.  In that time he suffered tremendously.  He was isolated and alone.  He felt hated by God and his family so much so that even suicide was an option.  As my wife said powerfully in the film ‘Families Are Forever’, “There is something not right with a 13 year old having to think that.”  For those of you who have suffered years and decades longer than my son, I can only imagine your pain and try to empathize.

4)      Sexual orientation is not cured through the Atonement. Many faithful LGBT Mormons pursue fixing and changing their orientation.  They become zealously obedience and faithful, many completing full-time missions with honor.  I personally know those who spend years and even decades dedicated to changing themselves, often to the point of self-hatred.  This dark path has also ended in suicide, extreme depression and drug abuse.  Best case scenarios result in an individual moving toward asexuality rather than completely reversing their orientation.

5)      Mixed Orientation Marriages (MOMs).  This is viewed as the gold standard of achievement for an LGBT individual raised in the Church.  While sexual orientation cannot be cured, some have been able to minimize their sexual attraction.  In a study of over 1,600 LGBT Mormons (the most extensive and current of its kind; http://ldshomosexuality.com/ ), 70-80% of those MOMs failed.  That’s an astronomical divorce rate.  Of those that succeeded, the gay spouses were far closer to a bi-sexual range than homosexual (as measured on the Kinsey scale).  Expecting and demanding this of all of our LGBT brothers and sisters is fraught with real danger.  There are straight spouses and innocent children involved.  President Hinckley specifically cautioned against MOMs as a cure or fix for homosexuality

6)      Celibacy.  Again, to end yet another prevalent assumption:  Celibacy is in no way comparable to being an older, straight single adult who never marries.  An LDS LGBT friend of mine said recently, “Single people pray every night to find someone to fall in love with.  Gay people trying to stay in the Church pray every night not to find someone to fall in love.” (Jamison Manwaring) Celibacy demands asexuality.  A straight single adult can date, hug, kiss, show affection for and pursue relationships.  A celibate LGBT youth or adult is shunned for showing any hint of affection for the same sex.  My Stake President was very specific to me regarding my son.  No activities that even encouraged same sex relationships are to be allowed or encouraged (Even holding hands).  Setting sex completely aside, we are forbidding someone from having what we find the greatest satisfaction in life.  Are we still just disagreeing?

7)      When have you ever expressed love to an LGBT person?  Our rhetoric is full of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’  I find it to be one of the most hypocritical and condemning statements that religious people make.  Because loving the sinner would require you at some point to have actually in some tangible way demonstrated love for the sinner.  We are condemned as haters by that same statement because there is no evidence of love.  I think back to Prop 8 in California.  There has been no outreach or effort of any kinds from the LDS community to the LGBT community in the past 6 years.  Just saying it doesn’t make it true.

8)      The stereotype of the “Gay Lifestyle” is an extreme born out of rejection.  The stereotype of the gay lifestyle is one of debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity, pornography and depravity.  The truth is that unlike the stereotype, every LGBT person I have met is remarkably….just like everybody else.  There is as much diversity among LGBT individuals as among straight people, but when you add in the devastation of being in the closet and the rejection of family and religion, you find a great backlash against those morals, principles and beliefs.  A backlash born of pain and suffering.  In the end, who is responsible for that pain and suffering?

9)      The true Gay Lifestyle.  I have met hundreds of LGBT people.  Most of them have Mormon roots and many still love the Church.  Many are doctors, lawyers, nurses, leaders, scout masters, store clerks as well as kids in high school.  They are as normal as you and me (even if some have a bit of flair and fabulous thrown in.)  They have normal life routines and very normal, loving relationships.

10)   Gay parents.  Again, I know hundreds of gay parents.  A few are in MOMs, many are amicably divorced yet still wonderful parents, and others are in same sex marriages.  I know a lesbian couple that I tremendously admire who have adopted 7 special needs young adult foster children.  We can hold to the ideal of one man and one woman all we want, but the truth is that two parents of any combination are more secure and stable than either one parent or no parents at all.

11)   Gay Marriage does not threaten traditional marriage.  The dangers to sexuality for heterosexual people are the same as those for gay people: debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity, pornography, depravity, etc….  These evils are alive and well in the heterosexual community.  In my children’s schools the majority of their friends are from broken homes.  But with contempt we point to the gay community as a threat?  Condemning homosexuality does nothing to improve or change the state of traditional marriage.  And because homosexuality is an inherit trait, there will be no more or less LGBT people in the future than there are now.  Our acceptance or condemnation does not influence how many LGBT people there are, but it would have a massive impact on their quality of life and life spans as they experience less rejection in their lives.

12)   I support Gay Marriage.  I don’t think I have ever written or declared this, but here it is.  The best way I can express this is by using the measure that Elder Oaks put forth in a General Conference talk entitled Good, Better, Best.  Here are my personal thoughts:

Current State of Affairs

First, let’s take a moment to evaluate where we are starting from.  Currently, most LGBT youth and adults leave the Church. I am sure this is not a surprise or a point of debate.  Unfortunately, many of their family members follow.  In this article, I have put up no contention with policy or doctrine, but simply look at the fruit of the current state of affairs.  Statistically, highly rejected LGBT youth are 8 times more likely to commit suicide, 3 times more likely to be homeless, 3 times more likely to abuse drugs and 3 times more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases (http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications.)

We can stick to our guns and defend the Proclamation on the Family until we are blue in the face and it will not save one LGBT life.  Each political action we take further cements our reputation as the most unfriendly religion to the LGBT community.  We currently alienate and drive our LGBT brothers and sisters from our stakes.  At the same time, those who are rejected from among us are left to the mercies of the world and fall straight into all the stereotypes we sought to protect them from.  Are we perpetuating a cycle of unintended yet devastating consequences?

What would be Good

Can we withhold judgment long enough to just let them be among us?  Can we acknowledge that perhaps this subject is infinitely more complex than we ever considered?  Can we not assume that ‘different’ is the same as ‘depraved’?

But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same.  Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin.  We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God.  This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold – that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other.  This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. (President Uchdorf)

For some reason, our Heavenly Father has LGBT children.  I refuse to believe that the status quo is acceptable.  Many remark that the “Gay Agenda” is seeking to change the doctrines of God to accept their lifestyle and want a ‘comfortable God’ that demands nothing of them.  Are you so sure of your positon that you are willing see a 13 year old boy commit suicide because of it?  I advocate for LGBT youth (especially LDS LGBT youth) because my ‘comfortable God’ finds that unacceptable.  There is something wrong.  This has been confirmed via the Holy Ghost to my soul.  If you want to not be hated, stop acting like a victim and acknowledge there needs to be change.

But what is changing – and what needs to change (emphasis added) – is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere. (www.mormonsandgays.org)

What would be Better

My wife and I were privileged to meet with Elder Christofferson recently last year.  He listened to our story and that of our gay son and the hardship we have encountered in the Church.  He was loving and compassionate.  He cried with us.  He didn’t attempt to give excuses or marginalize our experience.  His simple instruction to us was to “lead with compassion”.  I think this applies equally for those seeking a place for LGBT individuals in the Church as well as those that would label people in the Church as ‘haters’.

As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate.  Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach.  Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender. (Elder Cook)

Leading requires action.  Nobody should be more loving or compassionate.  Being at the forefront requires a desire to reach out and make a difference.  Being at the forefront in today’s world means having the fortitude to endure the criticism that is sure to come from every side.  To not exclude or be disrespectful requires an elevation in the dialogue.  Instead of recounting our polarizing positions, perhaps we could actually just listen.  Listen with the intent to hear, not with the intent to respond or judge.

Lead with compassion. (Elder Christofferson)

What would be Best

What should the Church do with its righteous LGBT members?  Currently there is no distinction made in our doctrine/policies between:

1. A straight person who lives a life of debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity and depravity

2. A righteous LGBT person in a committed same sex marriage.

3. An LGBT person who lives a life of debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity and depravity

I don’t know how we can’t see the inequality in the application of morality.  Accepting gay marriage as an acceptable civil arrangement does not threaten temple marriages.  Such individuals should be allowed to be part of the body of Christ; our wards and our stakes.  We are poorer without them.  They should be able to partake of the Sacrament and worship with us.  They are as committed and moral as any straight people I know.  Many are spiritual giants waiting to be included in the Church and serve with us.

In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. 

Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience.  When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.

Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean.  A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes.  There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings.  God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure.  But He works through us-His imperfect children-and imperfect people make mistakes. (Elder Uchdorf)

So, can we ask the question, “What should the Church do with its righteous LGBT members?”  Let us give hope to those who have little.  Let us show love to those who have been hated and despised.  Let us raise our dialogue to lift up the spiritually wounded and find a place in our congregations for our LGBT brothers and sisters.  And if we can’t achieve what is Best, can we at least raise our efforts to what is Good or even Better.

Tom has also written:

107 comments for “A Difference of Opinion

  1. Gina
    June 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Perfect. Now if only members and leaders would listen.

    • Paul
      June 25, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      If only God would listen.

      • June 26, 2014 at 7:44 am

        The problem is not that God is not listening. I assure you he is. The problem is people aren’t listening to God.

        • Mike
          June 11, 2015 at 9:13 am

          First of all I don’t disagree with your argument, if and only IF the Lord changed the doctrine on this I would follow it like any other commandment. However, who are you to say that the Lord is being ignored? Are you a prophet and hold the keys to.receive revelation for..the whole church? The problem with your argument is that you’re asking imperfect people to make.a.decsion that the Lord hasn’t gave permission to do. I’m sure most leaders in the church would prefer it.yoir way but until then and only then our prophet will only.change the doctrine only when the Lord.says to change the doctrine and not when imperfect.people tell him he should. Even When providing all statistics to make their argument stronger and stronger. It doesn’t matter what you say or what your reasons are. If they Lord has not revealed it, members should trust.in the Lord and know there’s a reason for everything He does . I have a testimony that if you pray for strength to overcome any issue instead of praying to get rid of an issue all together the Lord will give you that strength. Note: I’m not talking about being gay, but rather the issue one has in why the Lord has not changed the doctrine concerning this issue.

          • David
            June 12, 2015 at 11:47 am

            It fascinates me that people in the church were disturbed by the racism issue and at least one person was even excommunicated over it a year or so before the church changed the Doctrine.

            Revelation in the church seems to come with a need. People talking about things within the church has seemed to be behind the leaders at least seeking guidance as they struggled with an issue.

            Even as is, the LDS church coming out with the Mormons and Gays website which is progress even if not promoted thoroughly, is a step of sorts, a revelation of sorts compared to past attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, etc…

            As Evangelical leaders continue to come out in support of gay marriage and the Pope speaks out in favor of more sane treatment of gay people, and Mormons march in Pride parades more and more around the country and over time, it leads to increasing exposure and education and people say ultimately the revelation from the top when the people at the bottom are ready for such things.

            David O McKay wanted to give blacks the Priesthood and it was in his journals, but the politics within the church at the time were still too intense from the top 12. The revelation seemed to come not so much from the Prophet but when the leaders were past their ignorance and prejudice enough.

            Additionally in the LDS church and Christianity in general there are stories of generations needing to die off before they are prepared for a certain revelation.

  2. Paul
    June 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    With all due respect, and recognizing the thought and effort you’ve put into this, you are subtly dancing around a show stopper: God’s opinion on homosexual relations is clear in the Bible and it’s clear in our day. It is a sin. Do you think God will change that now because of public pressure? There is no way around this. You are arguing that God created people to be homosexual. That is a huge assumption, and might even be offensive to God. You are saying that God purposely created some people to be gay while at the same time telling His prophets all along that gay relations are sin. Does God create people to be adulterers too? There are many who can’t control that urge either. He allows us to have our faults, and we have to learn to deal with them. Your suggestion, that the Church allow gays to particate in gay relations and be in good standing would mean they should be allowed to be sealed. There is no way around that. All you are doing is arguing that the Church should condone homosexuality.

    There is nothing in what I have written that disagrees with our needing to love and sustain gays in their struggle, just like anyone else struggling with a commandment. An adulterer is welcome to come and attend meetings too, and we should live and sustain them too, while helping any way we can so they can repent.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Paul, my understanding of the Bible is clearly different from yours. We could talk extensively about that and there is a large body of work addressing our understanding of Biblical passages. More importantly, did any one of my points reference God bending to public pressure? I am also not arguing that God creates gay people, I know this to be a fact. He created black people for centuries and yet only revealed to the Prophet that they could have the Priesthood in 1978. Clearly God teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept both individually, collectively as a Church and even to Prophets. Also, civil marriage does not equate to temple marriage nor did I say it should. The majority of the Church is ‘in good standing’ yet only a minority have temple recommends. As far as sealing, my gay son is sealed to me and my family as it should be.

      I did not advocate any solutions to the Church, however, I highlighted some sever problems that are having devastating effects within the Church and to individuals and families. You highlighted a great example comparing a homosexual and an adulterer. An LGBT person does not choose to be gay. He can choose to honor relationship commitments or not. An adulterer can be heterosexual or homosexual because it is a choice. I hope you understand that this is a distinction the Church makes on http://www.mormonsandgays.org. This is something the Church understands and accepts. I hope you choose not to make that comparison again.

      • Marian
        June 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        So well stated, Thomas.
        I would also remind Paul that the Bible also states clearly that a divorced person who remarries is committing adultery. Yet, within the Church as elsewhere, this is a common occurance. Yet those people are not treated as unrepentant sinners. They take the Sacrament, hold callings and temple recommends. How do you reconcile that with your arguments against accepting LGBT members?

        • Nigel Bristow
          July 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm

          I agree wholeheartedly with both Thomas and Marian. A reading of LDS Church history and all that the LDS Church subscribes to as scripture suggests that God has changed the rules He wants us to abide by many times in the past. Even if we were to accept only the Old and New Testaments as true, God has changed some of his revealed rules and the corresponding penalties quite dramatically. I for one am grateful that I will not be stoned to death for working on the Sabbath.

    • June 10, 2015 at 6:37 am

      Paul, it’s not clear what the Bible says about homosexuality. We clearly believe sex outside of marriage is a sin. So we should be celebrating two people who want to commit to a long-term relationship. Not a temple marriage, which is incompatible with some closely-held doctrines about eternal increase. But a civil marriage seems to solve the problem nicely.

      Now if you’re uncomfortable with homosexuality as a concept, that’s different.

    • David
      June 12, 2015 at 11:56 am

      To be clear, there are people including Bible scholars who do not feel clear about God’s views on LGBT issues according to the Bible.

      Sodom and Gomorrah for example has long been touted as the big anti-gay statement in the Bible and in fact it was rape by strangers and not even mutually desired sex with strangers, much less a committed relationship.

      Additionally the wording is often the same as far as sin, abomination, etc… for things like mixed fabrics and people who eat shellfish. This means that it is the same to eat shellfish or wear wool/cotton and poly/cotton blends according to the Bible.

      Beyond that, you have what Paul said which does seem to be the most clear actually in the Bible, but then Paul said things that seem to go against what Jesus said like Love your neighbor as yourself among other things. Paul was not Jesus and while I have some appreciation and respect for what Paul has said over the years, I also have concerns and issues with him and I don’t trust that everything Paul said is what God said.

      In my mind if people listen to Paul or the Old Testament over Jesus they should not be called Christians nor really be considered worthy of the church of Jesus so much as they should be called Paulians or Old Testamentans.

      Whenever an attitude crosses over from the words of Jesus himself, then it gets more suspect. Paul also seems to have said things that were pretty anti marriage in any form. So if one wants to idealize Paul, maybe they should pay attention to the rest of what Paul said.

      There is nothing in the Book of Mormon which was said to be the most correct book on earth. So maybe that should be considered as well. Joseph Smith himself did not say anything, nor is it in other Mormon scriptures. There is a lot of room technically for these things to change and evolve just like slavery and other considerations in the Bible.

      Additionally if one wants to have a fundamentalist view on the Bible, it is worth considering that incest is in the Bible and never condemned. It is with Adam and Eve’s children, and with Lott and his daughters. Lott’s wife is turned to stone for turning to look at a burning city, but his daughters get Lott drunk and have sex with him and have kids from him and this is all fine.

      Also the Bible said things that people interpreted as the world being flat and used that to murder people. The Bible does not seem to condemn slavery or polygamy, and there is a lot in the Bible that unless one bothers to read and consider, one should not just pick and choose and then blame others for picking and choosing.

    • David
      June 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      To be clear, there are people including Bible scholars who do not feel clear about God’s views on LGBT issues according to the Bible.

      Sodom and Gomorrah for example has long been touted as the big anti-gay statement in the Bible and in fact it was rape by strangers and not even mutually desired sex with strangers, much less a committed relationship.

      Additionally the wording is often the same as far as sin, abomination, etc… for things like mixed fabrics and people who eat shellfish. This means that it is the same to eat shellfish or wear wool/cotton and poly/cotton blends according to the Bible.

      Beyond that, you have what Paul said which does seem to be the most clear actually in the Bible, but then Paul said things that seem to go against what Jesus said like Love your neighbor as yourself among other things. Paul was not Jesus and while I have some appreciation and respect for what Paul has said over the years, I also have concerns and issues with him and I don’t trust that everything Paul said is what God said.

      In my mind if people listen to Paul or the Old Testament over Jesus they should not be called Christians nor really be considered worthy of the church of Jesus so much as they should be called Paulians or Old Testamentans.

      Whenever an attitude crosses over from the words of Jesus himself, then it gets more suspect. Paul also seems to have said things that were pretty anti marriage in any form. So if one wants to idealize Paul, maybe they should pay attention to the rest of what Paul said.

      There is nothing in the Book of Mormon which was said to be the most correct book on earth. So maybe that should be considered as well. Joseph Smith himself did not say anything, nor is it in other Mormon scriptures. There is a lot of room technically for these things to change and evolve just like slavery and other considerations in the Bible.

      Additionally if one wants to have a fundamentalist view on the Bible, it is worth considering that incest is in the Bible and never condemned. It is with Adam and Eve’s children, and with Lot and his daughters. Lot’s wife is turned to stone for turning to look at a burning city, but his daughters get Lot drunk and have sex with him and have kids from him and this is all fine.

      Also the Bible said things that people interpreted as the world being flat and used that to murder people. The Bible does not seem to condemn slavery or polygamy, and there is a lot in the Bible that unless one bothers to read and consider, one should not just pick and choose and then blame others for picking and choosing.

      There is a real issue taking the Bible at face value, outside of cultural context, outside of original language, and without consideration of editing things that has gone on by people with their own agendas. Anyone who truly studies the origins of the Bible, knows that so many things are taken without consideration of concerns. Were gay monogamous relationships even happening in that era that Paul was aware of? Was he condemning those? Or was he condemning some other sort of anonymous sex thing that was occurring?

      But then also it becomes about the condemnation of Paul which is distinct from the condemnation of Jesus and was Paul infallible? Was Paul God or was he fallible. Modern Mormon prophets are not considered to be infallible. So was/is Paul infallible?

  3. Anne
    June 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Not everything has been revealed as to why things are the way they are, but it has been revealed that marriage is between a man and a woman. Furthermore, we believe that God reveals all through a living prophet who guides the church. Our modern day prophets have always stated that marriage is between a man and women and that has been God’s plan from the begining. It’s in scripture, it’s in conference talks, it’s in the proclimation to the family, and it’s in every press release where church leadership comments on same sex marriage. Your argument seems to belittle the power of the attonment by saying it is not powerful enough to heal the wrongs of the world and the wrongs of sin. Our Savior’s atonement is powerful to make anything and everything right. To heal sickness, injustices and sin. You also ignore the fact that God has commanded that marriage is between a man and a woman. It offers no solution for the fact that modern revelation says man cannot inherit the highest degree of glory without woman and woman can not without man. If these commandments are not true and what the scriptures say is not true and what the modern day prophets say is not true, then what truth is there? What is the point of any of it if we can dismiss docterine that is contrary to our personal desires?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Anne. Thanks for reading and commenting. In my opinion, as Mormons we like to view things in absolutes. We believe that marriage is between a man and a women (Noting the obvious exception of polygamy) with an emphasis on an eternal plan of having children. That plan works excellent for you and me but it hasn’t worked out for many. Does divorce mean the failure of one’s eternal hopes? Are you cursed if you are barren? God has methods via adoption and sealing to account for these issues (Whether they have been revealed to us or not.) Also, even if our plan to reach the highest degree of the highest kingdom doesn’t work out, who goes to the rest of the Celestial kingdom? What of the majority of the world who will never have known our beliefs? We do not have a complete knowledge of these things, but I do recall a statement by Christ about ‘in His Father’s kingdom there are many mansions.”

      As far as the Atonement being able to cure the gay out of people, this has been the dedicated plan of thousands of people for decades and probably longer. While I am not gay, I know hundreds and thousands and the first person I meet who has been cured of homosexuality through the Atonement will be the first. I don’t say that flippantly, but it is a reality. I think you greatly overstate the Lord’s purposes that it is his intent to heal us of all wrongs, sins, sicknesses, injustices, etc…. Job was unbreakable in his devotion and loyalty and he was endlessly persecuted. Inside the Church or not, peoples lives are full of heartache and pain and to teach that the Atonement is a protection from the world is not accurate. Perhaps the Atonement blesses and helps us deal with all the challenges the world will throw at us, but it doesn’t make them go away. Otherwise you are saying that everyone who is sick, unhappy, persecuted deserves what they get because they don’t have the Atonement.

      For 100+ years it was the doctrine of the Church that blacks could not have the Priesthood subsequently denying them all temple blessings. This doctrine was reinforced and stated as doctrine by every Prophet from Brigham Young to Spencer W. Kimball. By the way, the scriptures say more to defend slavery than to condemn it. None of this invalidates the truth claims of the Church or the scriptures or the Prophet. We learn both individually and as a Church line upon line, precept upon precept. If we can just open our hearts to love our LGBT brothers and sisters, I think the Lord will take care of the doctrine.

      • James
        June 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

        I really enjoy your dialogue but have not fully embraced it. It is very thought provoking and will be apart of my much pondering on the subject. The only thing I have to share is I know of a couple through my mother inlaw that were a married gay couple for years, divorced and straight married later (both of them). They would be people of intrest to speak with. My understanding which my be wrong is they grew up LDS served missions etc. Then had this long happy gay marriage. And then both changed and have great tradional marriages. Both serve in the LDS church happily now. Just saying it would be good to find them and speak with them. I wonder if they were “heal by the Atonement” or not according to their opinions. My final thought and statement to all be sure to express love to all of God’s children.

    • Liz
      June 26, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Thank you for your comments Anne. I feel empathy for what our brothers and sisters who feel same-sex attraction are feeling. I have friends and family in that group, but we must never go against God’s teachings. Do we claim to know better than Him how to live our lives? We have scriptures and the words of our prophets to guide us, and sometimes what they say isn’t going to be comfortable to those who want to live other lifestyles. I agree that we should always show kindness to others around us, even if they believe and live differently from us, but we have no right to overstep God’s commandments.

      • Ron
        June 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

        Liz, it is a great thing to speak for God to the general membership of the church. I think the greatest fear the leaders of the church have is that the general membership, rather than gain their own understanding, conviction, and spiritual witness of doctrines, policies, and teachings of the church, blindly follow leadership without personal conviction. This is especially true of geographic areas of high Mormon concentration population wherein Mormonism is cultural not just religious/spiritual phenomena. No one is questioning priesthood authority here, or revelation. Frankly, personally, I have yet to here, “Thus saith the Lord . . .” even within the proclamation of the family, as to the issue of same gender attraction. Church leaders operate within the context of their understanding, and the Lord has clearly stated, “Your thoughts are not my thoughts . . . “, and “come, let us reason one with another.” As pointed out, we ALL make mistakes, and that is why personal prayer, fasting, and hungry searching for truth gives us conviction through the testimony of the Holy Ghost. I wonder how many members of the church have fasted and prayed over the LGBT issue and not simply dismissed it out of hand because they simply don’t have to deal with it personally.

        • Lisa
          June 30, 2014 at 12:07 am

          I have prayed extensively over this issue, beginning with Prop 8, and have had spiritual experiences over the past several years with regards to this subject. One of the strongest for me was while campaigning for prop 8. I stood at my sink, thinking about what to say to those who opposed prop 8, and almost like a voice, the thought came to my mind of how much Heavenly Father loves these children – no less or more than He loves me. But I did not feel that I was supposed to stop supporting prop 8. What I did feel was that kindness and patience in anything that I did needed to come first. When prop 8 did end up passing, there was no celebration in our home, no “the good guys beat the bad guys”.

          Since then, I have continued to pray about the subject. My understanding of LGBT not being a choice has changed. I pray that should I know of someone in my ward who is LGBT that I would be a friend, not someone who adds to their pain. That all being said, I have to follow the church’s current stance on same-sex marriage. I can’t support it. I know of no other way to feel peace then to follow what is officially being said, in faith.

          I apologize for what I am about to write, because I didn’t always find comfort in these sentiments when I was single, but I do believe strongly that no blessing will be denied someone who remains faithful. Right now, being faithful includes no same-sex sexual activity in or out of marriage. Will that change some day? I certainly do not know. But that is the word we have today.

          • Ronald McCormick
            June 30, 2014 at 8:48 am

            Liz, it is good to know that someone actually has taken the time and made the effort of prayer. No one is asking anyone to go against their direction from church leaders. This is a discussion. Often I read things written that I do not necessarily understand or agree with, but it stimulates thought and imagination, and often I learn something from the experience. I believe as I understand it, even the prophet Joseph Smith had to study thinbgs out in his mind first when he had questions before revelation was given. In regards to same sex marriage, what isn’t fair is that straight singles have the option to marry, while still being expected to live the law of chastity, whereas the LGBT community is also expected to live the law of chastity, nevertheless are told they cannot marry someone of the same sex without jeopardizing their eternal welfare. At present, not only is that religious injunction being placed on LGBT Mormons, but the state of Utah is seeking to reaffirm this policy as civilly binding, which in my mind is a clear violation of our constitutional separation of church and state. I think from an LDS standpoint, I have to remember just who’s plan it was anyway to force all mankind to righteousness?

    • David
      June 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Actually, people did not believe it was right for blacks not to have the Priesthood. At least one was excommunicated for it within a year prior of blacks getting the Priesthood.

      Then, recently it was learned that Joseph Smith in fact gave at least one, and it sounds like maybe 3 black men the Priesthood.

      David O. McKay wanted to change the church so Blacks could get the Priesthood but there was still too much ignorance and bigotry.

      There is precedence for modern revelation and changing of things that people were not happy with. It has happened before and why have Prophets if they don’t get revelations?

      If you bother to look historically the church said nasty things about desegregation and nasty things were said by church leaders about black people as well. The tune changed. How can one say that the church is the same and stays the same and that the church evolves and there is new revelation?

      In Bible and Book of Mormon people wandered in the wilderness and died before new revelations came because older people were not ready. Younger people seem much more ready for progress on these issues than older people. Younger leaders seem much less judgmental about such things than older leaders.

      God saying marriage is for a man and a woman (or one man and several women) does not mean that in fact marriage is not for a man and man or a woman and a woman. It just means that men and women are to be married. God saying to love your neighbor as yourself does not mean that you love yourself and not your neighbor, or that you love your neighbor and not yourself.

      Equality does not diminish marriage.

  4. Anne
    June 25, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    From Elder Hales Conference Talk April 2014

    Because our Savior was obedient, He atoned for our sins, making possible our resurrection and preparing the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father, who knew we would make mistakes as we learned obedience in mortality. When we obey, we accept His sacrifice, for we believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments given in the gospel.4

    Jesus taught us to obey in simple language that is easy to understand: “If ye love me, keep my commandments,”5 and “Come, follow me.”6

    (“If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments”)

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 26, 2014 at 12:20 am

      Anne, in all honesty, I have trouble understanding your point of view. I outlined above some very clear problems in the Church. Your response is to sing a hymn and blame the victim. It would be GOOD if you could withhold judgement long enough to recognize the complexity of this issue. It would be BETTER if you could “lead with compassion” instead of judgement. And it would be BEST if you could distinguish the inequality in our current understanding of moral doctrine. Our pride has lead us to being one of the most hateful religions toward the LGBT community. Unfortunately, your post has exemplified why that is.

  5. Lori
    June 26, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Beautifully written. It’s interesting to me to note that most folks who have an “opinion” about homosexuality, have no basis of understanding it. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. That will not change. But it is interesting to note that the Proc doesn’t say “and all other unions are not ordained of God.” We fill in those blanks ourselves. Paul, Anne…I would venture a guess that you don’t have a gay son, daughter, brother, father, mother, etc (at least not known to you). When you DO discover that a dear loved one is gay (and you will), I hope you will reach out in love and acceptance. Did you catch the part about it NOT being a choice? That is a FACT. So when you say it’s a sin, what you’re really saying is “it’s a sin to BE.” How would that feel to you? Our ninth article of faith asserts that God will reveal many great and wonderous things relating to the Kingdom of God. That gives me so much hope. I know there is room for all at His table. If we are blessed enough to be among them, we probably shouldn’t judge who else comes.

    • Lena
      June 10, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Thank you, this really hit home to me and helped me sort out my feelings about all of this…. I am so grateful that I can learn and grow and change in my reasoning and beliefs. I so appreciate these online conversations that help me study things out in my mind and try to be the best I can be.

  6. June 26, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for this awesome explanation. Your son is lucky to have such compassionate parents. One definition of compassion is “to suffer or feel together with.” Christ exemplified this during the Atonement when he willingly experienced all our temptations, afflictions, and infirmities (Alma 7:11-12). What I love about this is that after seeing all the pain, darkness, and mess of our lives, He was filled with mercy and compassion toward us—not disgust or disappointment as might be imagined. When we actually learn to understand and feel what other people are going through, we will be filled with love toward them and a righteous desire to relieve and alleviate their suffering. You obviously have put serious effort into understanding and feeling empathy for your son with beautiful, Christlike results. I am most encouraged to see that a straight person who is open can “get” what it means to be gay and Mormon. You expressed it as well as I’ve ever seen. Thank you for walking with us.

  7. June 26, 2014 at 8:27 am

    “What should the Church do with its righteous LGBT members?”

    Good question. Which of those items in your list of 1, 2, and 3 do not belong?

    Obviously, #2. Faithful gay members who are in a committed marriage should enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges as all other faithful, married members.

    Adultery is defined as having sexual relations outside the marriage covenant. Faithfulness to that covenant should be far more important than the gender of the covenant with whom that covenant is made.

    The church needs to make the important distinction between the treatments of persons in categories 1, 2, 3. This is not a major change in doctrine. Only a minor tweak to exclude the qualification of gender.

    I believe that if the general authorities humbly asked God in prayer, with real intent to seek and discern the will of the Lord, listened to that answer, and committed themselves to abide by that answer, they would find that in the case of gender, God is no respecter of persons.

    2 Nephi 26:33 “… and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … and all are alike unto God”

    I know this is true because I fought the same battle your son fought, many years ago. Like Nephi and Alma, in the Book of Mormon, I sought and found out these answers for myself.

    And, like Nephi, I can say: 1 Nephi 10:22 “And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.”

    I have been with another good Mormon boy for over 27 years. Neither one of us have been members, but we have enjoyed the Spirit of the Lord in our home over the years, and many of the members of both our families tell us that your relationship (and now our marriage) is an inspiration to them, and shown them what a marriage really can be.

  8. nicole
    June 26, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Thomas-Thank you for writing this article. I used to be a member of the lds church and this was an issue that always troubled me. I myself am not gay but I know many good people that are and it saddened me that they could not have the things that I could simply because I was heterosexual.. not only in church but in other things like marriage or other basic human rights. I am praying for your family that you will feel love from your fellow church members & from us afar that support this issue. I hope all people read this article- it applies to us all; not just Mormons. Thanks again for speaking out. I choose LOVE.

  9. Bryan
    June 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    So very well put. Thank you for taking a stand on this issue and devoting your time to understand and show love to LGBT Folk.

  10. Bec
    June 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Brother Montgomery,

    I recognize so much of what you say as things I would be saying in your situation or with your understanding, with a story like yours to tell. Also, the similar feelings of unfair stereotyping also resonate with me, as one who has long opposed and still opposes same-sex marriage.

    In all candor, I can describe my opposition as based on two fundamental premises.

    First, it is that when small movement is made from the heading, without correction, the journey will inevitably fall off course. This is why, in my opinion, taking gender out of the legal definition of marriage, when gender is so fundamental to humanity, will bring about negative changes.

    Second is the way that the legal conceptualisations of same-sex marriage have created new ways to disenfranchize children, to deny children of a mother and father. For a long time I supported adoption by GLBT couples. Then I started to come across testimonials from children of gay couples who felt denied of one parent or the other, or both.

    Your example, which is the prime one used in the public debates, of a same-sex couple being a better alternative for a child without a home who is living in the system, does not paint a complete picture of gay parenting. We are seeing more and more same-sex couples using surrogates or sperm donors to create a child. While the desire to give life is something I thoroughly understand, the deliberate creation of a child, having no intention to alow them a relationship with their mother, or with their father, (or any mother, or any father, respectively) is entirely different from taking in a child who has no viable means to return to their parents. The former deliberately creates a child in a simultaneous state of alienating him or her from atleast one parent, or a mother and a father. The latter is simply a response to a child who needs a home.

    But, this said, I also intuit your propositions of good, better, and best responses.

    If I could guess about how this all may eventually shape out, it will be a necessarily nuanced understanding of human sexuality and moral accountability. To be absolutely clear, I am speculating. I don’t claim to know. Perhaps the sin of homosexual activity will remain, with the caveat for those who are unable to honestly engage in heterosexual relationships and who limit that behavior to a committed partnership.

    Furthermore, in my speculations, perhaps Church will solidify what it has previously only strongly or otherwise discouraged, that human beings are not to be brought into the world except by their biological mother and father who intend to be their mother and father, in marriage. Obviously this also goes against the trends of sperm and egg donation, even for heterosexual married couples, but this may eventually be the clearly moral choice that must be made to avoid, and at least within the Church, stem the tide of the commoditization of children.

    As I have tried to give voice to my own intuitions over the years of this subject, this is basically what remains. Please allow me to extend my prayers and best wishes to you and yours and your allies. May we all find a way to fully be allies in Christ.

    • Daniel Parkinson
      June 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Bec, you used this argument against same-sex parents:
      “For a long time I supported adoption by GLBT couples. Then I started to come across testimonials from children of gay couples who felt denied of one parent or the other, or both.”

      I felt denied of both my parents because I was the 8th of 9 children, and there is inevitable neglect when parental attention is so thin. I guess we should forbid people from having big families because of my sense of missing something that I didn’t have.

      Testimonials of a few children raised by same-sex couples is hardly a judgement on the ability of those parents to raise healthy happy children. Meanwhile, extensive studies have tried to prove damage done, but the studies overwhelmingly support that the outcomes are equal or better for children raised by same-sex couples. The state of Utah was embarrassed in the Federal Court by trying to make that claim, and several courts and every major medical body has overwhelming rejected the highly flawed Regnerus study.

      • Bec
        June 27, 2014 at 2:02 am

        Daniel, I agree that the testimonials are anecdotal. However, the fact is sound, the point is made by those witnesses: they are being completely alienated from at least one biological parent, IN their creation. It’s not by degrees, as in somewhat alienated, but out of their homes, out of their lives, out of any legal recognition of their ties.That’s not something that changes with socio-economic status or the commitment level of their legal parents. The social and technological changes made in the last 50 years have occurred at startling speed. I do think that there are some trends which have progresses too quickly. I encourage you to look up the state of commoditisation of human life today, it’s big business when it should not be.

        This said, heart yearns for the best solutions for all touched by these questions, posed here and referenced by Thomas Montgomery. I hope I can say that we both join in seeking them.

        • Tom Montgomery
          June 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

          I think Daniel’s point is anecdotes do not constitute fact. I think we need to separate our ideals from reality. The ‘Good, Better, Best’ process is useful here. The Proclamation points to what is Best – one man and one woman, but it is completely real that having two parents of any combination is Better than one or none. It is also Better to have legal monogamous civil marriages for the LGBT community to encourage more stable and healthy relationships.

          As Mormons, we have a tendency to look down on things that are Good and want to make them illegal because we don’t think they are the Best. I am calling for us to get focused on far worse problems, like youth suicide, homelessness and drug abuse. Things that are actually Bad.

          • Bec
            June 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

            Tom, I pointed to anecdotes because they alerted me to facts. I’m sure you’ve likely had similar experiences. I didn’t make a case saying two moms or two bads are better or worse. Adoption of orphans and fostering is only one part of the facts. Should we really allow the creating a child while automatically and deliberately cutting him or her off from their parent or parents? That doesn’t sound best, better, or even good.

            There are many issues here, and there are bad things happening, I’ve pointed specifically to the commoditization of children, of human beings. Look up the situation in India with surrogacy and corruption, for example.

            We can focus on more than one important thing.

      • Laura
        June 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

        That’s actually not true. I’ve read the studies. And not just the little bits and pieces that the media likes to propagate, but the ACTUAL complete studies. What those studies in fact say is that same-sex parents are equal in nature to SINGLE heterosexual parents. But they in fact do significantly worse when compared to two-parent heterosexual households, particularly biological parentage. Studies overwhelmingly inform us that THE BEST environment, bar none, for a child to grow up in, is with a mother and father, preferably biologically related to the child. We are told we are ENTITLED to both a mother AND a father — and we don’t use the word “entitled” very often in the Church; that very rarity suggests great importance. That is not to say that gay parents aren’t loving and good people. But there are simply things that are missing, men and women have differing roles and strengths, and to take that away from an innocent child simply to satisfy the demands of an adult, without looking at the possible consequences of it, is foolish. I hear the argument constantly that “well, it’s better than nothing,” or “we don’t live in a perfect world, so we just have to make do” or “that may be the ideal but it just isn’t realistic.” But when I see parents ACHING for children to adopt, and being passed by in favor of gay couples because it’s the politically correct thing to do…it just makes me sad. We’re depriving children of the best possible environment because we don’t want to be seen as bigots, or because we want to be considered as loving and tolerant and accepting. But what’s wrong with shooting for the ideal? The world is what we make it, and we’ve been asked by the Lord to try and BETTER the world around us. So why NOT aim for that ideal parentage? To settle for something less, well…we’ll get even less than we settled for. We might as well start saying, “Well, making it into the Celestial Kingdom isn’t very realistic, so I may as well stop trying.” And how sad do you think that makes our Father in Heaven?

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 8, 2015 at 9:34 am

          In an ideal, fictional world, all children would have the perfect mother and father to raise them. If indeed, God has entitled this, then heterosexuals have surely failed this mandate. And if we as Mormons were really focused on real problems instead of LGBT issues of which we barely comprehend, we wouldn’t rest until child poverty, homelessness, sex trafficking, abuse, children born out of wedlock, etc….were eradicated. But we don’t. We obsess over the ‘gay agenda’. Your argument is that we give up on ideals when (1) you have no idea what is ideal for LGBT people and (2) two parent homes are still infinitely better than single parent homes, foster homes and many man/woman homes where children are neglected or abused. Your argument is because one thing is ideal (debatable and subjective) something that is good should be forbidden. And in the enforcement of that ideal, gay men and women should marry opposite sex spouses even when it is demonstratively destructive to marriages at alarming rates (80%+ divorce rate). Instead you focus on the fiction that parents aching to adopt are passed over because ‘gay couples’!?

          I have clearly outlined why in this article it is extremely problematic for LGBT people to shoot for your fictional version of ideal. It is not good, it is certainly not best in the vast majority of cases. And if you think these people are not entitled to or deserving of the Celestial Kingdom, it just demonstrates that you do not know them.

        • Daniel Parkinson
          June 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm

          It actually appears you haven’t read the studies Laura. The most relevant study is the largest, which in this case is the study done by University of Melbourne and published last year. This is the definitive study, because it has a large enough sample of children who were actually raised by the same sex parents. The oft quoted Regnerus study is completely discredited because hardly any of the subjects in his study were raised by same sex parents. I suggest you look closely at the University of Melbourne study.

          It is pretty compelling that the parties defending bans on same-sex marriages with their millions of dollars can’t convince even one court that there is harm to children from being raised by same-sex parents….and believe me they have tried, but the data simply does not support it. It doesn’t convince the courts or any body of mental health or medical professionals. The only people that are convinced by shoddy studies such as Regnerus are right wing organizations and conservative religions. There is not a single neutral body that concludes from the research that the outcomes for same-sex parents are any worse than outcomes for opposite sex parents.

    • Daniel Parkinson
      June 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      It is also kind of heartless to imply that infertile couples are going against God’s plan when they use sperm donation or egg donation. Do you also imply that these infertile couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry, because that is pretty much where this line of reasoning leads.

      • Bec
        June 27, 2014 at 2:15 am

        I respectfully disagree on both counts, Daniel.

        Procreation is still not something that should be treated as it is treated today. It shouldn’t be about the needs of adults, but should be first and foremost concentrated on the needs of the human being to be created.

        As Latter-Day Saints, with the faith we have of spirits awaiting their advent into physical bodies, we of all people should especially be mindful that these brothers and sisters are depending on how we prepare for their arrival. And, by the way, there is moral authority that shines outward on everything when things are done in righteousness. It is recognized by other hearts and minds. What we do as a Body of Christ can, does, and will have an impact on the world.

        • Steven Lee
          June 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm

          …”It shouldn’t be about the needs of adults, but should be first and foremost concentrated on the needs of the human being to be created.”

          That is why gender should not be the end-all in criteria for parenting but rather the capacity for goodness and love and dedication of willing couples. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability an effective way to screen to be parents to meet this criteria in heterosexual couples let alone homosexual couples.

          You still have not made a convincing argument as to why opposite gendered parents is of paramount concern when considering the needs of the human being created… anecdotes aside.

  11. Eon
    June 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I absolutely agree that people, members and non members alike, should treat everyone with respect and love. We should not judge each other based on the person we choose to love … it isn’t really any of our business anyway. We as a people need to include rather than exclude be accepting and humble. You have outlined some awesome steps for us all to take along these lines but I am wondering what the ultimate aim is … it seems that, and correct me if I am wrong, you would like the Mormon Church to set aside its doctrine and allow all members (same sex and hetero) to be married and as long as they live by the commandments of the Lord (except for the same sex thing) to be in full fellowship. Is this the goal?

  12. Morgan Poland
    June 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I see a lot of speculation here vis a vis what God does and does not think or do. I don’t believe that we will ever know, at least on this earth. That said, I keep going back to black males holding the priesthood. There was never a revelation that they should not, and in fact, many did under the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was politically expedient to exclude them in Brigham Young’s time. I have never really understood why a revelation was necessary to allow black males to hold the Priesthood. My point is that it may be possible that in the greater scheme of things God waits for us to be ready for big changes and eases us in to them. I am speculating, I know. I do not know what God’s plan is. I do not, however, believe in an angry, wrathful God. I believe that God places events and people in our lives so we can learn from them and they can learn from us. Finally, I believe that the most valuable and dangerous gift he gave us was agency. We need to wield it with love and understanding. We need to be mature and informed. The LGBTQ community is here and I don’t believe that God hates them. I do know a lot of humans do.

  13. June 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Seldom do I read a post that resonates within me confirming truth and urgency within me as this does, Tom. I have a dream that one day this message will be spread and read far and wide and it revolutionize our homes and our churches for the better. God is with you, way to lead with compassion. Bless you for such inspired leadership and words.

  14. James Gatz
    June 29, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “What should the Church do with its righteous LGBT members?”

    Brother Montgomery, what do you consider a “righteous” LGBT member? I think most members of the church would say that a righteous member is one who lives their life in accordance with the commandments as revealed through prophets, and who repents of sinful behavior when they fall short. Hence, a righteous LBGT member would be one who abstains from homosexual behavior (i.e. lives the law of chastity including prohibitions against engaging in homosexual sexual relations).

    Yet you seem to be contemptuous of the notion that LGBT members should live their lives in compliance with the law of chastity (living celibately or entering mixed-orientation marriages). Do you believe that it is sinful for LGBT members of the church to engage in homosexual sexual relationships if they are civilly married?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      James, thanks for contributing to the dialogue on this subject. Can we measure the righteousness of an individual solely on one commandment? I would definitely encourage you to get to know more LDS LGBT people. I think it would introduce you to a very righteous demographic of people who are doing their best in circumstances that we can barely understand. Right now it doesn’t seem you can picture what a righteous LGBT person looks like outside of celibacy and a MOM.

      Also, I would not characterize my attitude as contemptuous of the Lord’s Law of Chastity. What I have outlined in some detail is that the current state of affairs is extremely damaging to LGBT youth. Rates of suicide, depression, homelessness, etc… all multiply extensively for these kids. Not to mention that a high majority of them (and their families) leave the Church. I am pointing out in clear ways that something is drastically wrong and I provided my good, better and best scenarios to improve that situation. I have a very hard time believing that our current practice of morality regarding LGBT people is as the Lord would have it when the fruit of that practices/policy/doctrine is the death of these innocents. I believe that the Church leaders are aware and bending their thoughts, prayers and energy toward improving this situation.

      • Jim Gatz
        June 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm

        You have dodged the question.

        “Can we measure the righteousness of an individual solely on one commandment?” Baptismal, temple recommend, and other worthiness interviews consist of a series of questions about our obedience to important commandments and covenants we have made. You don’t pass if you answer 80% or 90% of the questions correctly. Failure to affirmatively answer any one of the questions will disqualify the individual. So yes, the righteousness of an individual can be measured on one commandment.

        I do know gay people, in and out of the church. Most of them are quite wonderful. But that’s not the point. I have lunch nearly every day with a man who moved in with a woman, now his wife, when she was still married to another man. He’s one of my best friends. They are wonderful parents to their four children (their twins plus two older kids from her prior marriage). As fantastic as my friend and his wife are, they are unworthy to fully participate in the church (temple attendance, holding callings, etc.) as a consequence of their unrepentant adultery. They think they did no wrong because it was done in love and because the end result, so far, has been a big improvement over her crappy prior marriage.

        I am not inclined to think of people as righteous or unrighteous. Thank goodness that is not my job to decide. But based on what I have learned through my lifetime in the church I understand that adultery is an unrighteous behavior that requires repentance for my friend and his wife to progress.

        I have another friend who is a full-blown alcoholic. We met when we were missionaries decades ago. He is talented and brilliant in just about every way. My friend fits the profile of one who inherited an alcoholic gene, was born with an addictive personality, or whatever you want to call it. His father was an alcoholic who dried up before my friend was even born. Due to my friend’s alcoholism, he is unworthy to go to the temple or hold most callings in the church. In fact, he feels uncomfortable attending church at all – he feels judged. So he doesn’t go. He often hates himself for not doing better. Through it all, he still knows the church is true. I love this guy and I pray that he doesn’t drink himself to death.

        I could go on. Everyone has their challenges and weaknesses, some much greater than others, and we in the church should be unfailingly understanding and compassionate with them because we are all flawed and have need of repentance. Yet there are certain behaviors that if not repented of render people unworthy of full participation in the church. So let me rephrase my question: do you personally believe that it is sinful for LGBT members of the church to engage in homosexual sexual relationships if they are civilly married or are in a monogamous relationship? The answer to this question is the logical fulcrum on which your argument of “What would be Best” hinges. In other words, I think what you have written only makes logical sense if you first accept the premise that homosexual sexual behavior is not a serious sexual transgression.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm

          It would be nice if we could easily categorize homosexuality as being like adultery or being like fetal alcoholism. Adultery is a choice to break ones marital vows. With homosexuality we would deny them even the ability to make marital vows.

          Alcoholism in addition to being addictive impairs judgment and has other disastrous consequences. Both situations require the extreme compassion and are very different representation of life’s problems.

          A friend of mine noted that homosexuality is like asking a perfectly fit and healthy person to sit in a wheelchair his whole life. Why? Because he doesn’t walk like everybody else. His legs work fine but in order to be acceptable, he has to forever be committed to the wheelchair.

          There is nothing comparable to homosexuality, except heterosexuality. If you can empathize that God would ask you to forgo not just sex, but all intimate relationships including your wife and resulting family, you are beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.

          I support gay marriage for every reason outlined in my article. I believe that homosexuality is vilified in the world but in most respects suffers from the same sins as heterosexuality. I don’t present this as doctrine. There is a significant problem in the Church today regarding our relationship with our LGBT brothers and sisters and the current status quo is awful. It will take our best efforts and the inspiration of The Lord to make progress.

          • Jim Gatz
            July 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

            Still not answering the question…

            It would be nice if you would be honest about what you really believe. But your answer is clear, you just don’t want to say it out loud: you do not consider homosexual sexual relations to be sinful. Maybe you think that gays are not accountable, but more likely you just want to think that it is okay.

            Everything about what you have written here an in other articles implies that homosexual relations are okay and that the church must alter its doctrine to fit that belief. You cannot say that you “don’t present this as doctrine,” because by implication the church would have to rewrite what has been revealed about key doctrines, most especially the New and Everlasting Covenant and the Law of Chastity.

            Members of the church as a whole certainly must do a far better job of loving our children and friends that are gay. But you aren’t stopping there. You are saying that we must believe that homosexual behavior – that has been abundantly identified as sinful under the Law of Moses, in New Testament times and in the restored church – is not a form of serious sexual transgression; that it is the same as heterosexual unions. And you do so without offering one shred of scriptural, historic or prophetic evidence.

            What you believe – and what you, at least by implication, are espousing – is false doctrine. You are way outside the church on this. Perhaps that’s why you don’t want to admit publicly that is what you believe, because you fear it might put your membership at jeopardy.

          • Jim Gatz
            July 1, 2014 at 10:10 am

            If we side with the scriptures and the men that we (and I presume you) sustain as prophets, seers and revelators, you say that this “opinion takes everything precious away from [you].” If that is true, maybe you should consider that in your heart you have left the church.

            And maybe you should open your mind enough to consider that there are faithful people within the church – people who have “A Difference of Opinion” with you regarding gay marriage and sin – who nevertheless are appalled when they hear about kids being beaten, kicked out of their homes, and that feel that the only recourse is suicide. We are people who are trying to follow scripture and revelation regarding sin or marriage, but want to embrace gays with love and compassion. “It’s Complex,” as you have written, so differences of opinion are inevitable. As such, your lack to tolerance of a diversity of opinion in this cause is offensive.

          • Thomas Montgomery
            July 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

            It is surprising that you find I have a ‘lack of tolerance of a diversity of opinion’. I have laid out the case that the current state of LGBT issues in the Church is awful. Not much to debate there. I laid out my opinion in a Good, Better and Best format. It seems you agree with both my Good and Better scenarios but do not agree with my Best. Therefore, 2/3rds of my recommendations you agree with. How am I not being tolerant of your diversity of opinion? Have I demeaned your opinion or personally attacked you? Your opinion is the majority opinion in the Church today (although most have not given it the thought to even begin the Good and Better scenarios.) The fruit (results) as outlined in my article of the current policies and doctrine are suicide, homelessness, drug abuse, etc…. as well as the majority of our LGBT youth and often their families leaving the Church. I am absolutely advocating for change and that I support gay marriage (As I have already stated multiple times.) I support the Prophet and the brethren in just about every way and I account my article as support because unless a problem is recognized and addressed, the same results will continue. Our understanding of the nature of homosexuality has changed. I hope your reading of this article motivates you to Good and Better ways of approaching our LGBT brothers and sisters. If you don’t agree with my Best scenario, then we have a difference of opinion. You can call me apostate, intolerant and offensive, but none of that will save lives or keep our LGBT brothers and sisters, sons and daughters connected to the Church.

        • Jim Gatz
          July 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

          “Your opinion is the majority opinion in the Church today…”

          It’s not my opinion; it is what the church teaches. You repeatedly cite the Mormonsandgays.org as marking a sea change in the Church’s position, but you only seem to register half of what is said.

          “The attraction itself is not a sin, but ACTING ON IT IS. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, THEY DO CHOOSE HOW TO RESPOND TO THEM.

          “[I]t would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for GOD’S LAW IS NOT OURS TO CHANGE. THERE IS NO CHANGE IN THE CHURCH’S POSITION OF WHAT IS MORALLY RIGHT.” (Mormonsandgays.org, emphasis added)

          The Church’s policy on how to handle gay members has change, but the doctrine of what is morally right has not, nor is it likely to.

          You have, in your own roundabout way (“I support the Prophet and the brethren in just about every way”), admitted that you do not believe that homosexual sexual activity is a sexual transgression. The underlying premise of your so-call “Best” leads people away from the Church.

          Your message to LDS gays and lesbians: It is okay for you to date and marry, so long as you live the Law of Chastity (except for the whole homosexuality things… just pretend your mate is of the opposite sex). Don’t worry about what the Prophet and Apostles are saying; they are just a bunch of duffers who don’t get it. They’ll die off soon enough and when they do, the new blood will change the rules.

          Do you really think that is how it works?

          And to straight members: You are either with us or you are oppressing us (i.e. “Your opinion takes everything precious away from [us].”)

          I do not have a problem with you expressing a difference of opinion. But I do have a problem with you pretending that it somehow compatible with Church doctrine. I have a problem with you presenting yourself as a faithful member of the church when what you are advocating is in direct opposition to what the Church teaches. I have a problem with you condescending tone toward Church members who aren’t as enlightened enough to reject a fundamental church doctrine. I have a problem with you implying that it is acceptable before the Lord that gay Mormons participate in homosexual relationships. That is not true; your “Best” scenario is founded on a lie. How can that be “Best?”

          • Thomas Montgomery
            July 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

            Jim, I am going to have to sign off on our discussion as this has turned into personal attacks. You make an excellent case as to why we are the second most hateful religion toward LGBT people. My article outlines a huge problem for LGBT youth and adults in the Church. Problems which threaten their well being and even their lives. If you find nothing compelling in this article, then I can’t help you. ‘By their fruit shall ye know them.’ You can spell out the Church’s position a dozen times, and it won’t save one LGBT kids life. My son was suicidal at the age of 13 because of what he learned in Church and from Prop 8. Does that negate everything good that the Church does and represents? No. But in this arena (as with blacks and the Priesthood) the fruit of this doctrine and policy is wrong. The Church spent decades having Bishops tell LGBT individuals that getting married (MOM) would cure or fix their homosexuality. That was not true and was founded on a lie. If your belief system doesn’t allow for the Church to grow and change, stumble on occasion and receive new doctrines as circumstances in the world change, you are going to be severely disappointed when you discover that we don’t live in a perfect Church.

            I think it is time to end this thread as the comments have devolved into personal attacks.

  15. Jim Gatz
    June 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

    The comparison between gay marriage and prohibition of blacks from holding the priesthood that keeps being used on this website is quite flawed. Many members of the church have treated gay church and family members terribly, as has was done toward blacks in the past. For that, we must repent and treat all of our brothers and sisters with love. But that is where the comparison between blacks and gays ends. Consider:

    1. The bible does speaks with validation (or, more often, indifference) to slavery. And the blessings of the priesthood throughout much of the Old Testament and on into the New Testament was constrained to specific families or tribes, at the exclusion of everyone else. Nonetheless, what differentiates this from the issue of homosexuality is that there are also scriptural examples of the gospel being spread to all races and peoples on earth, including those bond and free. There are no scriptural examples of homosexuality being characterized as anything other than sinful in any scripture.

    2. Joseph Smith presided over the baptism of black members, the ordination of black men to the Melchizedek priesthood, and one man, Elijah Able, being called to the office of Seventy and called to serve a mission. There are no historical examples of Joseph Smith or any other latter day prophet treating homosexual behavior as being anything other than a serious sexual transgression.

    3. Being black has never been a sin per se. “We believe that man will be punished for their own sins, not for Adam’s transgressions.” In other words, everyone is born innocent and it is what we do (or not) in this life that will condemn us. Conversely, homosexual sexual behavior has been identified as sinful. “The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them” (mormonsandgay.org).

    4. So-called “gay marriage” has never been a part of the gospel or plan of salvation, as taught anciently or in the modern church. It is wholly without scriptural or revelatory example. It is a secular creation that has become popularized in the last half century. On the other hand, the blessings of the gospel apply to all worthy people, descendants of the House of Israel and gentile (including blacks).

    5. The prohibition of black from holding the priesthood was a temporary practice. As David O. McKay said in 1954, “There is not now, and there never has been a doctrine in this church that the negroes are under a divine curse… It is a practice, not a doctrine, and the practice someday will be changed. And that’s all there is to it.” LDS belief regarding the nature of marriage and family is revealed doctrine. No prophet of God, ancient or modern, has indicated the law of chastity will “someday be changed” to accommodate homosexual relationships.

    Maybe someday a new doctrine will be revealed, but speculating that the Church will inevitably declassify homosexual behavior as a transgression is completely without basis. It is no more than hopeful thinking that has the dangerous potential to mislead.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Jim, I will attempt to answer your points as best I can:

      1. In Biblical times there wasn’t even a word for homosexuality and it is only referenced a handful of times. Jesus, the Book of Mormon and D&C are silent on the issue. More important to Mormons is how it fits into our overall understanding of the Plan of Happiness and the Proclamation on the Family. Celibacy and MOMs are not mentioned in scripture or the Proclamation. It is simply what you are left with when you are an LGBT person living in a straight man’s world.
      2. I am not aware of Joseph Smith ever considering homosexuality one way or the other. If he did, it would probably be from a very early 19th century point of view. I don’t see much relevance.
      3. There is extensive per-1978 thought given by prophets and apostles regarding why blacks could not have the Priesthood. Every prophet from Brigham Young to Harold B. Lee confirmed that blacks not having the Priesthood was the doctrine of the Church. Articles about ‘the curse of the seed of Cain’ or ‘blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence.’ Most of this information is either out of print or has been disavowed by the Church today. So to make your point, you have to ignore everything pre-1978 and then use our current doctrine on homosexuality which has only existed for less than 20 years. The doctrine on choice and homosexuality is new and evolving. As you pointed out, it didn’t exist until mormonsandgays.org (2012).
      4. I would like to point out that ‘So-called “blacks and the priesthood” has never been a part of the gospel or plan of salvation, as taught anciently or in the modern church. It is wholly without scriptural or revelatory example. Seems a pretty good parallel to ‘gay marriage.’
      5. For a temporary practice, it denied the priesthood and temple blessings to everyone who is black. As you cited, David O. McKay anticipated it would change, however, you can’t act like that was the predominate thought in the Church. I could give you a dozen quotes from modern prophets declaring the ‘practice’ the doctrine of the Church beginning with Brigham Young. That evolution of thought changed during the civil rights movement in which our Church showed no leadership or direction. We were dramatically behind the times with minorities and the rights of women – again an excellent parallel to today.

      If you review my article, you will see that in both my good and better scenarios, there is no change in doctrine. In the best scenario, the only thing I suggested was that civil marriages be honored as keeping the Law of Chastity. This would allow righteous LGBT individuals to be baptized and welcomed in full fellowship. I am not condoning debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity, pornography and depravity (which are moral sins committed by both straight and gay people.) We already make a distinction between temple marriage and civil marriage, so this does not impact our beliefs regarding eternal families or the temple.

      I can’t say how the Lord will resolve this situation, but I imagine it will be better and more loving and inclusive than anything I could imagine.

      • Jim Gatz
        June 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        You wrote 524 words yet you failed to provide any examples of homosexuality or gay marriage ever part of the gospel. That’s because, as I indicated, there are no such references. The scriptures show that at various times, the priesthood was withheld from the gentiles (including blacks) and was rolled out to them at other times. Homosexuality has no such history, ancient or modern.

        If homosexuality was a component of the eternal family in the plan of salvation, do you not believe that it would have been so taught by now? Maybe there is some new revelation that will show us that gay couples belong in the Celestial Kingdom. That would certainly be a welcomed relief to many people. But there is no indication, scriptural or historic, that this is immanent. It is a movement being pushed from secular circles, nothing handed down via revelation. The blacks in the priesthood revelation was foretold by men who were prophets of God. The fullness of the gospel rolling out to all races and nations of the earth are replete throughout the scriptures. Homosexuality? Nothing.

        • Jim Gatz
          June 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

          I want to quickly amend my prior comment because I was flippant and I don’t want to come off like I’m making light of this. To the contrary, this is of the utmost importance to me and my family.

          I think it is crucially important to be carefully accurate about all of this. We should not sacrifice truth in our zeal to make our young gay children feel better about this in the short run. If we “get ahead” of the church on these matters, we risk waking up one day to discover that we are outside of the church. Reminding and teaching members of the church to treat gay members with compassion and acceptance is one thing. Perpetuating false doctrine and offering false hope is quite another.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm

          I think you would find considerable opposition to your argument that there is any precident in scripture supporting blacks and the priesthood. Many believe that the Church did cave to social pressures as they only came around after the civil rights movement. There are substantial parallels. FYI – as far as prophecy, Brigham Young prophecies that blacks would never receive the priesthood until after every other living man had it.

          What has changed recently is the distinction on choice and homosexuality. It has never existed before in policy or doctrine. If anything this is a truth the secular world has taught the Church. It will be exciting to see what the future holds.

  16. Nigel Bristow
    July 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you, Thomas, for such a thoughtful and compassionate essay. I particularly liked your statement that there are spiritual giants among our LGBT brothers and sisters. I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. The LDS church is poorer for creating an environment that deprives church members of the service and full fellowship of gay members.

  17. David
    July 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    This was so wonderfully written. As a gay mormon father of 4, I lived most of my life in the closet. One of the reasons I choose to come out to my family was for my posterity. Back 15 years ago I started to realize that I didn’t know what we should do but I knew we had to treat homosexuality in a different way then we were doing. Over the years line upon line the spirit led me to come to the same conclusions as Thomas. I appreciate no only your opinion but that you doing in a way that invites the spirit to bear witness to the readers that what you have said is true.

  18. Tim Bone
    March 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    The Mormon Church could not simply “recognize” legal and lawful same-sex marriages without addressing a slew of other, interrelated concerns. The Church would have to say something about accepting a marriage arrangement that has been a non-starter for 6,000 years. The Church would also have to say something about the Temple. Here are some possibilities:

    (1) “We recognize legal same-sex marriages, and the sexual relations within them, as acceptable to God – but only in mortality. Such unions are dissolved by death and will not be reconstituted thereafter. Therefore, these unions will not be sealed in the temple.”

    Related issues:
    Will same-sex attraction be felt after death?
    Can for-time-only same-sex marriages be performed in the temple?
    Will spouses in same-sex marriages be available to be called as bishops, Stake presidents, Youth leaders, Primary and Relief Society presidents? If not, why not?

    (2) “We recognize legal same-sex marriages as valid in mortality, but we don’t know all the conditions operative in the next world or in the resurrection and therefore cannot comment on them. So we will accept legal same-sex marriages but will not seal such unions in the temple, and wait to see what comes. Spouses in same-sex marriages will have to hang on and hope for the best.”

    Related issues: See above

    (3) “We recognize the validity of same-sex marriages in this life and because we don’t know what will obtain in the next life, we will go ahead and seal these unions in the temple anyway and let it all get sorted out in the next world.”

    Related issues: See above, minus the temple restrictions

    (4) “We have expanded our understanding of doctrine: We now hold that marriages in heaven are of three types – man and woman, man and man, and woman and woman. Eternal same-sex unions are an exact analog to eternal heterosexual marriages in their rights, privileges and destinies. Being eternal, same-sex marriages have always existed, though we knew it not until now. It is on this understanding that we will seal these unions in the temple.”

    Related issues: Presumably, all issues above are resolved.

    In recognizing same-sex marriages as valid in the Church, some form of the above would have to be considered. Policies and rationales would need to be articulated. Same-sex marriage doesn’t exist in a theological vacuum. Nothing does. And which policy would same-sex couples settle for?

    How would such decisions be made? The LDS Church being what it is, and to be true to its claims, there can be only one answer: Revelation.

    And here is the sticking point, the deciding line: For Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not run by a group of men in Salt Lake City. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ.

    What if Jesus Christ says no?

    For Mormons who want the Church to recognize same-sex marriages, what is their contingency plan for this?

    • March 3, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      You did a good job of laying out the various options the Church might face. Looking at these choices, the Church, in following the traditional Catholic/sectarian view of the Gospel, instead of relying on the light of revelation, has appeared to have painted itself into a theological corner.

      Joseph Smith there were many great and important things to be revealed that pertain to the Kingdom of God. But, by following the precepts of men, they may well have tied the Lord’s hands.

      What is Jesus Christ says yes? What if he rebukes the false prophets, and calls true prophets, maybe even starting a new church, instead of trying to put new wine in old bottles?

      Jesus Christ has already said “yes” to the prophets of other Restoration churches. Why would he say “no” to the Mormon leaders? Have the Mormon authorities even bothered to ask, or are they so wise in their own conceit that they refuse to inquire of the Lord, as did Laman and Lemuel, before them? Or will they be like Reverend Lane and other paid ministers who claim that God has already spoken through Joseph Smith, and the cannon is now closed?

      When members of the Church are forced to choose between their families and the Church’s homophobic stance, and the members choose their families, and people leave the Church in droves, what is the Church’s contingency plan for this?

      If the choice is not between loyalty to the Church and loyalty to one’s families, it will always be the family. The Church has taught us well. The Church is only temporary. Families are forever.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      March 4, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Tim, thanks for reading and applying some serious thought to the subject. Similar to your 1st and 2nd points, I think the Church could move easily to accepting same sex marriage in much the same way it accepts civil unions or marriages outside the temple. The Church already makes clear distinctions between temple marriages and civil marriages for heterosexual people. This would be the fist step and could be framed as a ‘policy’ change, in order to keep the appearance of unchanging doctrine (Which, of course, has already changed dramatically over the past 40 years.)

      • Tim Bone
        March 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm

        I don’t see the Church “moving easily” on this. Here’s the problem: It couldn’t be simply a policy change. The Church would have to affirm that sexual relations between men or between women are acceptable in the eyes of God – not just the Church – as long as there is a legal civil marriage. Prostitution is legal is some areas, and consensual sex between adults practically everywhere, but the Church doesn’t follow suit. I am not saying that same-sex marriage is like prostitution — it isn’t — but that the Church (or any church) isn’t obligated to follow whatever sexual expression flies within the civil law. Ordinarily, a legal marriage comes with sexual relations as part of the package, but I don’t see the Church as accepting this package unless the position I give as #4 in my original post makes an unexpected appearance.

  19. Bec
    March 4, 2015 at 1:08 am

    I agree Tim, well-said.

    Religion never did occur in a vacuum, at least not historically.

    Consideration of God’s word to man can be well-compared to a parent’s word to children. As much as I try to be as accurate as I can to my children when telling them things, sometimes the words I say to a small child, if addressed to an adult, would be incorrect. Yet, to the child, they accord with the child’s definitions and context so that the child understands. When that child is ready, they’ll be able to understand more exacting definitions.

    So with this in mind, are we ready to hear God’s word? There are two obvious possibilities, 1) we still have so much bias against homosexuality that we would not understand the vocabulary, we would not be ready as a Church to integrate it into our theology and practice, and 2) the modern world has such strong opinions about sexuality and love that we might not be able to accept a rejection of same-sex marriage by God, we’ve created a vocabulary where an acceptance of homosexual people cannot happen without an acceptance of same-sex marriage.

    I’m sure there are possibilities 3,4,5, etc…, but I hope I’ve helped affirm your point. Are we seeking God’s word, His language?

  20. Tim Bone
    March 18, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Your two options are certainly strong contenders. LDS supporters of same-sex marriage recognition certainly push Option 1: God has always been ready to accept sexual expression within same-sex marriages, but a blind, biased world just hasn’t been ready to accept this until the 21st Century. Now we too can get onboard.

    I see no support for this. Zero. I see no evidence that God has ever tried to steer mortals in this direction. He might have done so in Adam and Eve’s time, before social stigmas had developed and before there could be much in the way of dissent, but there is no record of such.

    An argument associated with this is that since the scriptures do not specifically condemn (or even address) same-sex marriage, this leaves wiggle-room for acceptance. I would argue that the silence is more simply explained as a recognition that same-sex marriage has been a non-starter for 6,000 years. Jesus didn’t need to condemn a marital arrangement that no one accepted and no one expected to be accepted. For the Church to do so now would require addressing the issues I included in my orginal post above.

    As for Option 2, the modern world is hardly in step with God on much of anything anyway. The modern ethic on love and sexuality is simply this: Sexual expression between consenting, single adults, gay or not, is acceptable and, when “responsibly practiced”, can be indulged in without guilt. There is no eternal consequence. (There seems to be a lot of leeway for married couples as well.) Get pregnant? There are many options, including abortion, all of which are ethically and morally neutral. Sex is in, guilt is out.

    That ship has sailed in the modern world, and it isn’t coming back. This actually frees the Church to continue proclaiming God’s word. Sophisticated moderns have already rejected us. Remeber the angel and gold plates?

  21. Anonymous
    June 7, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Brother Montgomery – I want you to know how much I appreciate your article and the deep empathy it reflects for the suffering of LGBT members. As a gay female member of the Church, I sure know the meaning of suffering. I’m a life-long member (53 years) and was cognizant of what I was as early as kindergarten, though I didn’t have the vocabulary at the time to identify it by name. I definitely knew I was different. There was no choice involved in having those same-sex attraction feelings, I assure you. As I grew older I also developed a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and fully embraced it, and later served an honorable full-time mission. For most of my life, I hid my struggle out of shame and fear of rejection. There was no one with whom I could discuss my struggle, either. I kept it inside, not EVER acting on my attractions, while trying to behave like any good straight female member. I dated boys in my teens, and men as a young adult, but never developed any significant romantic feelings for any of them although I wanted to, and tried to. But underneath it all I was full of self-loathing, and horribly depressed, and eventually when I was in my 30s, I became suicidal. I took antidepressants for many years,and eventually went into therapy. But I was disappointed with all the therapists. Seems that they wanted to encourage me to find a partner and live the ‘life-style’, and to ‘come-out’ which I wasn’t comfortable doing because that meant I’d have to chuck my temple recommend out the window along with my testimony, and I wasn’t willing to do that, nor could I. I spent years seeking peace through prayer, fasting, scripture study, and being as obedient as possible. I couldn’t understand why the Lord, who I knew loved me, and had answered so many of my prayers about other things my whole life, was so silent on this. It hurt me so much. I knew He had the power to remove my affliction (the LGBT community would lynch me for calling it that), but He chose not to. It was absolutely tortuous all those years. Then about 5 years ago, Elder David Bednar spoke to a group of Bishops and Branch Presidents, and my Branch President was in attendance. A portion of the meeting was devoted to open forum questions, and he was asked how they could best help their gay members. My Branch President told me that Elder Bednar replied simply, “Tell them it’s between them and the Lord.” I’ll be honest here – when I first heard this, I was angry. I interpreted his answer as flippant. But over the years since then, I have learned for myself that this was true. I won’t post all the things that I did that led me to finding peace about my sexuality because that would fill a book. But I will say here that I eventually received the peace I sought, from the Lord. And it led me to a decision. I decided I was determined to serve the Lord no matter what; no matter what I suffered or would suffer, no matter what I’m called to pass through whether I understand it or not. I will keep ALL of my covenants with God as long as I live, however long or short my remaining time on this earth may be. Why? Because I believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and know that at some point whether in this life or the next – if I remain faithful to Him – he will remove this burden from me. And until then, He will help me bear what He in His infinite wisdom has chosen not to remove. My testimony is firm on this point. So I have put my sexuality (or rather, the choice to act on it) upon the ‘altar’ of God. I have given it over to Him. And I have, and will ‘stay’ myself upon the Lord in order to get through each day that remains of my life. Some days are extremely difficult to get through, and sorrow-filled. But I’ve had much joy, as well. Speaking only for myself, I see all of this as part of my spiritual refining process, ultimately. Or at least an opportunity for it. So yes. I am an active member of the Church. I have a current Temple Recommend, and teach Relief Society. And I’m gay. Some members are uncomfortable with that. And that used to be really painful for me to deal with every Sunday. But it’s becoming much less so every day because, while I wish the members would be kinder, more loving, and understanding of me and those who are like me, I have come to a place in my journey where I care more about what the Lord thinks of me than what they do. So I still love attending my Branch, partaking of the Sacrament, and serving in my calling because the Lord has helped me to shift my focus. Anyway, sorry for the tangent I went off on, but I really am grateful for people like you, Brother Montgomery, and I wish more members shared your attitude. We all need to remember the words of Moroni 7:46 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth…”

  22. Ed
    June 8, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I have dealt with same-gender attraction since I first became aware of sexuality and its impact on my thoughts and emotions. It has been a conflict between the natural feelings I have for those of my own sex, and what God has revealed in scripture – to include modern day revelation from individuals I hold to be prophets, seers and revelators. I strongly disagree with you on the Atonement of Christ, and feel that you do not acknowledge the tremendous power that it holds for those who suffer from same sex attraction. Even though the Atonement has not taken away my desires for those of my gender, it has given me an understanding of my situation and my personal relationship with God. Also not acknowledged is the doctrine that has been revealed that our Savior descended below all things so that he could succor his people. To encompass our Lord’s understanding of all that his children would pass through, I believe Jesus had temptations in like manner as I concerning same gender attraction. Though he suffered even as I in relation to temptation, yet he was without sin.

    I have been in a committed mixed-marriage relationship for 36 years, and even though maritial bliss has eluded me in this association, I have had an outpouring of many joyous moments in my life. I have sacrificed a portion of my temporal happiness in turn for what God has promised me if I am faithful to his commandments. The pain, anguish, frustration, disappointment and tempatations I have experienced at times has been exquisite, but I run the race knowing the blessings that await me far outweigh the sacrifice I make. I have made this choice knowing that pleasing my Heavenly Father is more important than my own personal feelings and desires for those of my own gender.

    There are those of us who are members of the LGBT community, who fundamentally disagree with their views and man devised understanding of this remarkable mystery – Why would God bless or burden a man or woman with attraction and feelings for those of their own Gender? I for one am willing to wait on the Lord for further light and knowledge.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 8, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Ed, I wish you the best in your mixed orientation marriage. It is a tremendous challenge for which you and your wife have my respect, hopes and understanding. It would be interesting to discuss people’s understanding of what the power of the Atonement of Christ means in association with homosexuality. For thousands of LGBT youth, the Atonement has been presented as a cure all. Increased righteousness will result in being cured of homosexuality. When that doesn’t happen, they internalize the failure and many times take their own lives.

      I absolutely believe in the power of the Atonement, but because we don’t have other pieces of the puzzle, it is taught in very destructive ways in the Church by well meaning heterosexual leaders to devout LGBT members. I believe that the Atonement gives us access to (1) revelation to lead and guide the very diverse lives of LGBT members, (2) power to endure and forgive the harsh rejecting behaviors of those they often trust the most, (3) power to raise them from depression and suicide to a healthy and moral life, (4) power to guide their choices as they come to an understanding of their own sexuality.

      I find it interesting how definitive you are in your views when Christ said literally nothing on the subject and the Book of Mormon and our canonized modern scripture say nothing on the subject. As we wait on the Lord for further light and knowledge, perhaps we can be accepting of those who make different choices. God bless you and the choices you have made in your life.

      • TinLizzie
        June 8, 2015 at 11:08 pm

        I have read your article and all the responses. I see many holes in your logic, but I won’t comment on them all here. I does appear that because you have not heard of a case of the atonement healing a person of same-sex attraction, therefore one does not exist. You also assume that the healing must occur within your expected parameters or it is not pertinent. You limit the power of the Creator and his suffering for each individual, personally, and his perfect understanding of their circumstances—and his offer of divine help. There is no limit to the power of the Atonement, but the miracle it can perform in a person’s life does not always happen the way one expects, and it does not always happen in this life. Everyone is not immediately cured of the “thorn in their sides.” If existence were a play, then this is only act two. You do not seem willing to accept the Lord’s timeline, but demand answers and action now.
        Our society has similarities to the dominant society of the time of early Christianity. Homosexuality was generally open and accepted in Roman times. And yet Christ and the early apostles taught the law of Chasity—and they still teach it. If there were a time to find acceptance for an “alternate lifestyle” other than the ideal preached by the Lord and introduced in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve as the Lord’s pattern for future generations (without an Adam and an Eve, there can be no future generations—even Darwin would agree with that), then it should and would have been in beginning of Christianity when “alternate lifestyles” were accepted. Yet this was not accepted of the Lord then and it is not accepted by the Lord now.
        So what about all these wonderful souls that have this same-sex attraction as part of their beings? We don’t know all the answers. I am not sure we ever will in this life. There are many questions without complete answers during mortality. There are many different “thorns of the flesh” that people continually battle, not only same-sex attraction, but that is getting all the attention. I find it interesting that in the early days of Christianity there were many souls that did not enter into marriage or same-sex relationships, even though both were accepted by society. Instead, they accepted Christ and his teachings and took life-long vows of chastity. That seemed to be their idea of following Christ at the highest level. That is how important the Law of Chastity was viewed in their Christian world. From these individuals monasticism developed and was in full bloom for both men and women in the first few centuries after Christ. I have often wondered if that was not the answer for many same-sex attracted souls—a way that they could follow Christ and keep the Law of Chastity, dedicate their lives to Christ, and still be a vital, important part of Christianity as they knew it, and ideally be a service to their God and fellow beings.
        In our world today, the thought of abstaining from sexual relations is not even seriously considered. Sex permeates every aspect of our modern lives. How can we expect life-long abstinence from anyone? Not possible. Not normal. Not realistic. Not healthy. And on and on. These denials deny the power of the Atonement,
        Yet there are also many heterosexual people that must also take a vow of chastity if they are to remain faithful, because marriage is not going to happen for them in this life for a multitude of different reasons. Should they also be allowed to have sexual relations to take care of that physical desire and need to be with someone? That is simply not the path of discipleship.
        The Lord asks every person in some form or another, “What do you want?” Do you want to take up your cross and follow me in faith and trust, or do you want to go some other way? The world is out there for the easy taking. The path of discipleship has never been easy and demands great sacrifice all along the way, by every single person who takes that path. The sacrifices required for each one is different, but the Lord has always required submitting your entire will, putting your whole soul on the altar, and that is not easy or comfortable. That requirement is the same for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 9, 2015 at 8:48 am

          Thanks for reading and engaging my article. It is interesting how sure you are that the Atonement cures homosexuality yet readily acknowledge that we don’t know the answers and that the Lord’s time frame could easily be in another life. You are definitive on the ‘thorns of the flesh’ of others. To say from the written record that Christ ever spoke concerning homosexuality is not true, as he never did. It is interesting that many of the apostles taught that celibacy was a higher form of morality in light of our current emphasis on marriage being the highest form of morality and pretty much being the pinnacle of modern day worship when clearly that was not true for early Christian saints.

          Contrary to your assertion that I don’t believe that the Atonement has power in the lives of LGBT people, I think it has all the power. The grace it affords allows them to work through all of the hardships and challenges they face given they don’t have a clear playbook on how heterosexual morality applies to them. If we are looking at homosexuality clearly, we would understand that monogamy within same sex relationships is a higher form of morality than promiscuity, lascivious living, abuse of minors and a host of other sexual sins that the Romans were accused of in scripture. Applying the same rules of chastity as it applies to our heterosexual youth to our homosexual youth will save them decades of hardship and even suicide. To think that celibacy is the ‘normal’ and expected answer to homosexuality reveals a very shallow vision typically imposed by straight people with no understanding of those implications. I recommend my article ‘Doctrine of Celibacy’ for more information on this subject.

          You are very clear of what the Lord expects of ‘others’ with a completely different sexual orientation and in the same breath and words express how much we don’t know and all the answers we don’t have. If you can’t see the hypocrisy, nothing I say will change that. But I am a firm believer that through the power of the Atonement, the Lord can reveal his will to his LGBT children and guide them accordingly.

          • Kathy
            June 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

            “But I am a firm believer that through the power of the Atonement, the Lord can reveal his will to his LGBT children and guide them accordingly.”

            He already has – I pray you will see it. You are making the mistake of thinking that God has a different set of instructions to the LGBT community than He has for the rest of us. I understand you grasping for answers in the wake of trying to comfort your son and help him find a way to be happy. I’d bet my life you and he won’t find it by trying to find justification for acting on the SSA.

            The answers are the same today, yesterday and forever….
            “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” Deuteronomy 10:12

            To fear Him is to believe He will do what He says he will do, respect Him and love Him and to walk in all His ways refers to keeping the commandments as we know them now to be.

            Life can be grueling and miserable and tough as hell to hold to the iron rod. But in your struggles, never loose sight of the fact that this life is just a tiny little blip in the eternities, but our choices here will likely make all the difference to what may or may not come our way in the next life. “This too, shall pass”. If we don’t expect life to be fair, we won’t be too disappointed when we discover it’s not – and more willing to enjoy the blessings when we see them. Prayers for you both!

            BTW – Read “The Peace Giver” by James Ferrell and apply it to this situation.

          • Thomas Montgomery
            June 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm

            The answers are the same today, yesterday and forever…..followed by a scripture from the Old Testament of which we selectively observe little to nothing. The Church has already changed its policy/doctrine on homosexuality in the last 10 years. It was ‘homosexuality is a sin next to murder’ and now is ‘being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is.’ Change. Don’t mistake God being the same today, yesterday and forever with our understanding of God and His will and doctrine for us changing with every generation and dispensation. Very, very different things. The original D&C 101 taught monogamy exclusively and condemned polygamy….until polygamy was doctrine…..until polygamy was no longer doctrine….and mixed racial marriages were allowed (previously forbidden – an abomination)….until the Proclamation on the Family which is remarkably similar to D&C 101. Full circle.

            While we are at it, please show me where God commands gay people to be celibate their whole lives. It doesn’t exist. Much like blacks not having the priesthood. Please read:


  23. Johnny
    June 9, 2015 at 10:01 am

    We have to get clear on this issue. Your article is basically saying that homosexuals are born this way and society, including the church, is to accept it. Why not just come out and say that homosexuality is not a sin?

    These paradigms and how we frame the issues are important. If I see this issue the way you do, then I agree with your conclusions. Your conclusions result from the fact that God intended people to be homosexual. However, if I see it as a sin, then we must disagree.

    If you could peek behind the veil, would you see Heavenly Father and His angels encouraging (even practicing) homosexuality? Or would you see the devil and his minions encouraging it? I suggest you discover the work of Dr. Mel Fish. He is one of the few who speaks the truth about this homosexual issue. This issue is complex because we earthly mortals don’t understand the principalities, kingdoms, powers we are contending with.

    “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm…” Ephesians 6:11-13

    When we open our minds to the truth and realize that Satan and his devils (the evil and unclean spirits) under his command have influence over us and attach themselves to us and our energies, then we can defeat the true enemy. We have to come to the knowledge of our true enemy before we can defeat it. This doesn’t go for homosexuality only, but for all sins.

    Ask yourself these questions: If people are born this way, being God’s intention, then why is this even an issue?? God would have revealed this long, long ago and we’d have gay sealings, gay prophets, gay ministering angels, there would be even be gay, exalted gods. Our scriptures would reflect this order of heaven as it would be the natural order for all to see in its openness and none would dispute it. In all of the eternities that we and God have existed, surely this issue would have come up and it would have been resolved eons ago. As you know, this issue is not new to God. There is something that you are missing in your theology and doctrine.

    Further, why haven’t civilizations thrived under homosexuality? If this was the natural order of heaven, then why didn’t the United States begin with homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle? Why do civilization’s origins not embrace homosexuality, yet over time as the civilization falls away from its origins and God that it then reveals itself and moves into mainstream as an acceptable practice? Why not from the very beginning?

    I have no ill will toward you or your son and only wish you the best. I can only imagine the hell you have been through. My heart goes out to you. However, we must stand up for God’s truth, not man’s version of it. And believe it or not…I used to believe as you do.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Yes, homosexuality is not a sin. What would be sin is for straight people to have gay sex. You should see it as a sin for you (because you are straight). What is sin is the universal sins of promiscuity, lasciviousness, prostitution, pornography, fornication, adultery, etc… These are sexual sins that can equally be committed by straight or gay people.

      Yes, people are born that way as God intended as evidenced by the millions of gay people who exist and have always been that way. I won’t indulge your fantasy characterization that God and his angels are all straight and devils and evil people are gay. This is truly homophobia and has no scriptural foundation.

      You are aware that the Bible condones and supports slavery. You are aware that the Bible condones women as property and are in all ways subjugated to their husbands. Today, we know these things are morally wrong, yet for the majority of history, God has allowed these things to occur. Your contention that because it is not in the historical or scriptural narrative is not a sufficient reason that the Lord can’t reveal His will to us now. Because the difference now is not with God, but with us and our ability to hear and understand His will.

      • Bec
        June 9, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        But how do you know homosexual behavior is not a sin, if that is what you mean?

        At the very least, it could be a transgression, simply just not what God wants and requires for further progression.

        Would you be willing to believe that God does not accept it, as long as you knew you son (and any other GLBT person) could be fine and even better than fine) in this life and the next?

        I want to be prepared–all of us, too–no matter the answer. I believe, quite simply, that all can and will be well. We are asked to do our best, follow our conscience, and most of all seek Christ. And we’ll find the way.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm

          Many people are unaware that the Church’s position on homosexuality has changed dramatically in the past 5-10 years. They have conceded that being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is. This is miles apart from previous teachings in which all things homosexual were condemned and silly things like masturbation could cause homosexuality. Regarding behavior, this is where I differ with the current teachings. Sexual sin is the same whether heterosexual or homosexual: lasciviousness, promiscuity, fornication, adultery, pornography, rape, pedophilia, etc…. These are all sexual acts that destroy. We condemn the ‘gay lifestyle’ because it embodies these things, but we have never approached homosexuality from a place of monogamy.

          What I know now: current Church policy/doctrine leads to 80% of LGBT individual leaving the Church often times with their families right behind. Highly rejecting homes multiple the risk of suicide by 8x. These are not the fruits of the spirit or of anything good. As it says on the mormonsandgays website, things need to change. These questions are new and have never been put to God by a prophet. They couldn’t even be considered until recently. I also know that I have been inspired and guided in my work and writing on LGBT issues. So I go where God leads me.

          • Bec
            June 10, 2015 at 2:58 am

            For a little historical perspective, early-Church Mormons became more seclusive, turning inward and away from persecution. However, it is clear to me that the Gospel is both a call to recognize our siblinghood with all the human family and to invite others to baptism. It is a mistake, however, to make baptism a requirement for this fellowship. We should be encircling as many who will as we can in our love and society, regardless of their beliefs and choices.

            So, to me, the gospel leads us to shift paradigms like this, away from the human nature of clannishness, away from the defensive or passive nature of seclusion, and toward loving society. In this, there would not be rejection of family members who “come out.”

            This is where I’m at and where I feel led to be: encourage a welcoming siblinghood not dependent on church membership or standing. It’s something we as church members are asked to practice now, and this will remain an issue regardless of how the Church may ultimately view same-sex marriage and relationships, however I see it as an immediate thing we can do to help and love our GLBT siblings and every child of God.

      • Johnny
        June 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

        You still haven’t explained why, if people are born homosexual and if God intends for people to be homosexual, then why are we having this exchange? Why would there be a question? Are you saying that God reveals the correctness of homosexuality as people are ready to hear it? This doctrine has to be presented as we evolve? Why is it not just simply stated as the order of heaven? It would be in the written record, in scripture, and everyone would know its self-evident truth – as we do with heterosexual relationships? You must answer this question to have a leg to stand on.

        Another theory, as Mel Fish proposes is that homosexuality is a result of all sin – influences from the devil and his angels to pervert the natural order. In homosexuality, it comes from an early attachment of an unclean spirit from the opposite sex (not from gay spirits). These spirits are allowed, at an early age, even from birth, to influence us. He states that he has helped hundreds, if not thousands of individuals suffering from same sex attraction. The only requirement is that the individual has to desire to change. He won’t work with anyone who has no desire to change. Check him out.

        This is a theory, but it fits more into doctrine, revealed truth, scriptures, prophets, the order of heaven, etc. rather than justifying it and creating a universe that accepts this behavior without any evidence that God condones it. Also, answer the questions I posed about civilizations and their origins.

        You claim I have a fantasy characterization, yet I see you as having one. The only evidence you claim is that some say they are born that way and that they cannot change. Perhaps they could if they knew the true cause. At least consider this theory. We are in a war for the soul of our nation and with millions of lives. We don’t need lies and distortion, but truth.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

          Johnny, I gave you ample evidences in my previous comment of doctrine revealed when the Lord’s people are ready to hear it (slavery, how women are treated, blacks and the priesthood, etc…) Please review the history of the Children of Israel as a very good example. It is very clear.

          Are you sourcing the Mel Fish that was excommunicated a few years ago? You are reaching into some deep speculation that fits your worldview. What civilizations ‘thrived or didn’t thrive under homosexuality’? There are no civilizations I know of that were homosexuality was a norm, so I have no idea what you are talking about. You are probably going to blame the fall of various civilizations on gay people.

          If you are looking for evidence that gay people do not change their orientation:

          “While some beneficial SOCE outcomes (such as acceptance of same-sex attractions and reduction in depression and anxiety) were reported, the overall results support the conclusion that sexual orientation is highly resistant to explicit attempts at change and that SOCE are overwhelmingly reported to be either ineffective or damaging by participants.”

          Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are overwhelmingly damaging to those who try it which is why it is illegal in many states and their are court proceedings nationally to make them illegal nationwide. In California where I live it is illegal with minors. I am not speculating that it is changing ones sexual orientation is not possible. While some people have a certain degree of fluidity in their sexual orientation, the vast majority do not. People do not flip from a 6 to a 0 on the Kinsey Scale, and if you don’t know what that means, you don’t know enough to even be having this conversation.

  24. Thegn
    June 10, 2015 at 2:27 am

    This article stated that, as Mormons, we like to look at things in terms of absolutes.
    This is true. One of the most comforting lessons I have learned over the last couple of years is that there is an absolute in everything, even if you can’t see it. The “grey areas” in this world are not really grey, but instead a more complex mosaic of black and white.

    Here are some of the absolutes I subscribe to, each accompanied by some personal reasoning . Some are goals, some are elements of personal philosophy, most are both.

    1. We are to love ALL mankind as strong, deep, and true as we can. A deeper connotation of this belief is that any act is as good as the degree to which it is motivated by love (or kindness, gentleness, Christlikeness, etc.), and is as effective in its intent to the degree of our knowledge, including empathetic knowledge.

    2. The truth or goodness of any act will be made manifest to us through the Light of Christ. The Light of Christ will never testify against the voice of the Prophet, because the whole point of a Prophet is to provide a voice through which God can speak eternal truths to the Church as a whole, rather than to the individual. Furthermore, we will never have a false Prophet at the head of our Church, because we are in the last dispensation. We don’t have time for another apostacy, and a wholly divided Church cannot stand.

    3. It is an absolute doctrine that man cannot enter the highest degree of glory without a woman by his side, and they must be one flesh. To be one flesh requires the deep emotional connection gained through love, and “consummation” of that love, here, or in the hereafter.

    4. To hate is to sin. To knowingly hurt another human who has done no wrong to you, is to sin. It’s as simple as that. Sin is destructive, and so is hate. To hate someone is to objectify them. To treat them as non-humans. No one but a son of perdition can hate an unveiled human soul.

    5. To commit sexual acts under any circumstances other than a marriage between a man and a woman is a bad idea on two counts.
    1. It is currently in defiance of the teachings of the prophet. There were times when this was slightly different, but only because of, again, the teachings of the prophet.
    2. Such acts are not conducive to the relationship needed to enter the highest degree of glory, and, when committed shamefully, as our society makes so common, lead one into the addiction cycle. This leads to close mindedness, pain, reclusiveness, deppression, and even other addictive behaviors. Ask me how I know.

    6. All mankind has the potential to reach the highest degree of glory. This, coupled with the knowledge that such progression requires a partnership comprised of a man and a woman leads to the conclusion that homosexuality cannot be any sort of eternal state. I do not know how homosexuality is to be reconciled, but I do know that it cannot be a prohibitive state. I also know that we have the promise of eternal recompense for all things lost in this world.

    7. Temptation has never been a sin.
    The example of the adulterer is an unpleasant one, and is often regarded as harsh, but it is parallel in some regards. For instance, no man but a fool condemns his brother for being tempted by a woman. Similarly, no man but a fool condemns a gay for his temptations. Similarly, no man but a fool uses his temptation as an excuse for his actions, but instead merely forgives himself, as God does, and moves forward in trying to do right.

    Last, I would like to share a story.

    I am a very huggy, touchy person. I often unknowingly make people uncomfortable.
    One day, I was in class, and we were doing group projects. As I stood with my group, I put an arm around the shoulders of the man to my left. I hadn’t known him for long but we were casual friends. However, he stiffened up, and I looked at his face to see what was wrong. He looked back at me confrontationally, and said, in a rather harsh voice “you know I’m gay, right?”. He seemed to prepare for me to jump away, but instead, I just said “no, I did not know that”, and continued to stand there and talk to the group. After a minute, he relaxed, and we are now fast friends.
    He had used his conditioned response, and had pegged me as someone who would use mine. However, I did not, and that made all the difference. I showed love for him because I realize that, just as sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, love and its expressions that stop short of sin are inclusive of all mankind.

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Excellent insights. The more experienced you become with life – the more you see things in the “complex mosaic of blacks and whites”. I’m going to use that.

  25. GK
    June 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I agree whole heartedly that the cards are stacked against LGBTs within the church or those attempting to join it. It’s a complete tragedy people feel worthless because of who they are, and I do believe there is a lot LDS can do to make LGBTs feel more welcomed. There’s a lot LDS can do to make anyone feel loved and accepted. Unfortunately, with so much emphasis on perfection and maintaining standards (not commandments) anything that deviates from such is met with skepticism. Too often the reaction is to distant oneself from the less worthy as opposed to associate with them. A lot of times this attitude is born out of self preservation. How often have we heard not to associate with people with less standards then yourself or some variation of that rhetoric – parents refusing to let their children play with “non-members.” It all stems from fear and more often than not fear is not a fruit of the spirit.

    That said this post seems to be making the case that even though I claim to not “hate” homosexuals I actually do. I’m sorry. I know what love feels like and I know what hate feels like. While I may not roll out the red carpet for LGBTs, I don’t hate them. And, I know I don’t.

    I can empathize with LGBTs. As a youth I was one of the few LDS in my school. Oh, and was I on the receiving end of some intense verbal and physical abuse because of my religion. Something that at the time I didn’t seem to think I had much of a choice in. I did everything I could to hide my beliefs. I always dreaded it when someone found out – the inevitable jokes, questions, and queer looks. No one should be scared for who they feel they are. I learned later, though, much of the perceived unacceptance was because of my own self projections. My own insecurities. I think the same can be true for LGBTs within the church. There isn’t purposeful exclusion. There is very little hate.

    It works both ways. One group can’t be unapologetic of themselves and then demand another group to be apologetic for themselves. Now, I am not excusing poor behavior on the part of LDS. Merely pointing out that expecting one group to extend an olive branch while refusing to extend your own is hypocritical. LGBT community wants to be “loved” by the Mormons, then show Mormons what it means to love a group with differing oppinions. As of right now, most of the commentary, including this post, is about how LDS need to do XYZ, LDS need to prove they love homosexuals, LDS are the haters.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I don’t obviously speak for you, but the Church and its members have been culturally, socially and politically against LGBT people for the entirety of our short history. Miracle of Forgiveness puts homosexuals next to murderers. Until very recently, we have organized against every right possible for LGBT people. We continue to lobby the courts against same sex marriage. But gay people need to extend the olive branch? Gay people do not advocate for the limitation of rights of Mormons. Gay people are not against our religious freedom or any other rights. We are not harmed by the LGBT community, but LGBT youth suicide, homelessness are very high in largely LDS communities. Who is harming who? You are probably not personally involved in harming the LGBT community, but the Church (leadership, membership, culture or otherwise) has and does.

      • GK
        June 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm

        No, you don’t speak for me. However, you say members of the church have been against LGBT community. I am a member of the church, therefore you are claiming I am or have been against LGBTs. You are painting with a broad brush. The Miracle of Forgiveness is a crappy book that no one should read and makes someone feel like going over the speed limit is next to the unpardonable sin.

        I don’t deny there are ugly worts when it comes to the church and LGBTs. Just as there are worts with the treatment of Blacks, women, etc. It’s an imperfect organization ran by imperfect people susceptible to societal views and opinions. But mistakes and harm, even purposeful harm, do not equate to hate. There have been times in my life where I have purposefully harmed my siblings but not for a moment would I claim I hate them. Willing to bet at some point in your life you have harmed your spouse or child whether physically or emotionally. Does that mean you hate them?

        Let’s not confuse harm with hate. While they are often related they are not the same. Are we talking about Mormons hating homosexuals or Mormons harming homosexuals? I thought it was the former.

        I spent 30 years in the Bay Area. If you don’t think there are LGBTs and their supporters that would love to see the church and its members burn to the ground you are sorely mistaken. They would love for religious freedom to disappear and some are actively lobbying for it – starting with tax exempt status. I have sat at tables full of “open minded” people only to listen to them talk about how horrific Mormons are and what laws should be enacted to get rid of or hamper the church (aka infringe upon religous rights). I’ve had co-workers refuse to speak with me the moment they find out I am Mormon. I have had people randomly come up to me and ask me “why do you hate me?” I’ve had to wonder whether my religious beliefs affect my career just like homosexual have to wonder. LGBTs may very clearly be the “victims” in places like Utah but the lines aren’t so clear outside of Happy Valley.

        It takes two to fight. If one group is expecting a certain behavior from the other than they better be prepared to show the same behavior. To sit and demand everyone around you to change while you get to remain the same is hypocritical. Furthermore, it’s terribly frustrating to try and change or control others. It’s much easier and rewarding to change yourself.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 10, 2015 at 4:16 pm

          GK, I am painting with a very specific brush which it is hard to believe a Californian doesn’t see. Prop 8? The Mormon Church was a primary driver. Bishops fund raised and marshaled the troops in every ward and stake to participate. How about owning the ‘brand’ we have earned? Miracle of Forgiveness is part of that brand whether you think it is crappy or not. This April in General Conference same sex marriages were called counterfeit by a senior apostle. What outreach there is to the LGBT community from Mormons is from those of us on the fringe preaching inclusiveness – that is not a mainstream idea in Mormonism. Mormons are the second most unfriendly religion to LGBT people as of 2012.

          I walked into a PFLAG meeting 3 years ago and it was quickly determined that we were Mormon. We told our story and apologized for our part in Mormon history against LGBT people. They soon loved us and have been some of our greatest allies. They are the ones both harmed and hated by Mormons. If you want to clear up that perception, than I suggest you stop defending the indefensible, victim blaming, justifying that it takes two to fight and just move forward with love.

          • GK
            June 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

            I have said multiple times the church has made mistakes and I was very clear in my first post that a lot can and should be done to make LGBTs feel welcomed. At no point do I disagree with on that front, yet you are acting as though I am in full denial. Take a step back and read what I am saying.

            I have feeling if I were gay and I came on here and said, “Yes, the church harmed us. Yes, their culture is unwelcoming but that doesn’t mean they hate us. We should make sure they know we don’t hate them,” that you would have no problem agreeing with me.

            Are LGBTs within the church the victims? Most certainly. But I don’t see why being a victim means you are exempt from loving your fellow man. What about turning the other cheek? What about 1 Peter 2: 19 – 21?

            All I am saying is don’t confuse harm with hate, and if you are calling for the church to prove they love LGBTs then you likewise need to prove you love Mormons.

            I personally could care less what someone’s sexual orientation is and treat all the same. I suppose one of the benefits of growing up in such a diverse place as the Bay Area is a greater understanding that we’re all more alike than we are different – who cares what others think of me; all that matters and all that I can control is what I think of others.

          • Thomas Montgomery
            June 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

            GK, I think the nuance you are making that victims (in this case LGBT people) should differentiate between being harmed and being hated is really victim blaming. Either should be rectified by the responsible party so saying to the LGBT community (ie the victim) that they need to prove they love Mormons is something I completely disagree with. When the Church came to the table on SB 296 in SLC for gay rights on housing and unemployment, the LGBT community was right there to accept the olive branch. Too bad the next week we were back to top leadership calling their marriages counterfeit. The minute the Church stops being hostile to the LGBT community, the sooner everyone can move on, but the ball is squarely in the Church’s corner to progress. The LGBT community can’t make the Church be nice (Although Elder Uchdorf has said ‘STOP IT’).

  26. Kathy
    June 10, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Tom –

    you had me until… “I don’t know how we can’t see the inequality in the application of morality. Accepting gay marriage as an acceptable civil arrangement does not threaten temple marriages.”

    A little background to my thoughts….
    I’d like to think the percentage of LDS people when confronted with a child with SSA do not automatically condemn and throw them out, and it is certainly not advocated by our leadership who has spoken out against such treatment. Certainly, any LDS person who does such a thing would not be living their religion. That person is at fault – not the church.

    On the contrary. While I have no statistics, I’m sure there may be in some families a “blow up” that happens initially, followed by a cooling off and an effort to understand and love more fully. Any parent grieves and prays for the return of their child. Perhaps it is the child who refuses to come home? Are the children outside the home getting mixed messages from their peers? I have a friend whom I have watched go through this. Her stalwart LDS church employed husband was dead set against his adult daughter and her partner setting foot inside his home. As her confidante, I voiced my opinion that I would want to keep my daughter in my life – that my relationship with HER would be more important than my feelings about her choice. i would want her to someday return to her gospel roots, and that to be openly welcoming and loving to her AND her partner would be the only hope she would ever have of returning to living Gospel principles. She could still love her daughter without applauding her choice. She concluded that if she wanted to turn her daughter toward Christ, she would have to first show her Christ like love. The daughter is still in the relationship – 3 years – the Dad is coming around – at least the pair are welcome in their home now.

    I used to have great sympathy for the LGBT community – used to go to bat for them in social arguments. “After all, shouldn’t they be allowed to be happy? All they want is to love who they want to love”. Then a conference talk a few seasons ago hit me like a ton of bricks and I saw the error of my thinking. Paraphrased, it was something like this: “God’s plan is and always has been for us to come to this earth, be tried and tested in families – and to be righteous mothers and fathers in bringing his spirit children to the earth. Anything that deviates from HIS plan is an abomination to Him.” That is the “Best” – as you spoke of in your article.

    I resolved like so many of life’s challenges, it isn’t about what we want for ourselves, but how closely we are willing to align ourselves to God’s will. When our will meshes with God’s will, it is a huge blessing – even miraculous!

    No question there are trials and roadblocks that keep any of us from that ideal. It is heartbreaking to want to touch the moon and all you can reach is the top of the fence.

    The “Good” would be having that goal – righteous single people straight or not who would have complied had they had the chance but didn’t get the opportunity in this life yet still have faith it will come to them in the next.

    “Better” might be those who make the attempt at a heterosexual monogamous relationship, but fail due to the mistakes of themselves or others.

    It isn’t the “church” that has decided that gay marriage is not an “acceptable marriage” to God – it is God. LGBT’s are now pretty free to pursue a civil marriage before the world, but the world is not God. Many things that are OK with the world are not OK with God.

    And He has promised the atonement to “fix” all things that are “broken” (yes, I said broken). Many of us come in to this world “broken” from birth with the effects of abuse, neglect, divorce, addiction, handicaps, grief, illness and even the pain of homosexuality in a church that says I need to not act upon those feelings. We are all born with some kind of struggle in this life. The handicapped person (for example) can bloom where he’s planted and so can the LDS person struggling with SSA. It would be as great a sin for the SSA person to “succumb” to temptation and act on those urges, as it would be for the handicapped person to succumb to the temptation to wallow in his own self pity and do nothing to contribute to life.

    I grieve for and love the LDS LGBT community – especially the youth – it must be excruciating – and for anyone that didn’t draw an easy “life card”. Sadly, I didn’t get one either. But no one should get a free pass to indulge upon sin in the name of “God made me this way.” Are LGBT’s any more “broken” than any other group of people? Pain is pain – none of us were promised to be excused from it.

    You wrote, “Such individuals should be allowed to be part of the body of Christ; our wards and our stakes. We are poorer without them. They should be able to partake of the Sacrament and worship with us. They are as committed and moral as any straight people I know. Many are spiritual giants waiting to be included in the Church and serve with us.”

    I would argue they already are a part of the body of Christ – welcome in our wards and stakes. I agree we are poorer without them, and should be able to partake of the sacrament and worship with us …. so long as they are living the commandments 100%. Right now, the command is to abstain from acting upon SSA. If they can do that – they really would be spiritual giants! Your argument suggests that the “church” go against God’s commands. That’s one thing that will never happen. It would be impossible to believe in all the teachings of the LDS church and still insist that gay marriage be a part of it. For now, LDS people with SSA will have to choose – their attraction or their God.

    Maybe they could start their own congregation, build their own temples, perform their own ceremonies….. but then they would cease to be part of the “true” church, wouldn’t they?

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Kathy, I appreciate your response. A few things I would note. Being gay doesn’t make you broken. My son is not broken. Forcing a gay person to be straight breaks them though. Your better scenario of better to try and fail at a mixed orientation marriage (MOM) that accept how God made you. I recommend to you my article Doctrine of Celibacy. 80%+ of mixed orientation marriages fail. Many LGBT people who force themselves into such marriages are left on the verge of suicide. Is it better for the straight spouse who feels sexually rejected? Is it better for the children, now from a broken home? Who exactly is it better for?

      Your claim that LGBT people are welcome in our wards and stakes is poorly informed. My family was soundly rejected in California. People wouldn’t take the sacrament from my gay son and the Bishop wouldn’t do a thing about it. I personally know hundreds who can barely bring themselves to attend hostile and unwelcoming wards. It is commonly referred to as Bishop roulette as without a Bishop willing to go to bat for the LGBT in his ward, they will be rejected. I recommend to you my article Cool Tolerance.

      I think your intent to love is genuine, but no one you think is broken is going to think you love them. How did we go from a Church restoring the First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost) to the Church of the Proclamation where you are measured by whether you marry and reproduce? I don’t remember reading where Christ outlined ‘God’s plan to be mothers and fathers. Salvation and exaltation to the Celestial Kingdom do not require being a parent. Can we have our ideals without projecting them on the world? Let’s remember that Mormons make up less than .02% of the world population and marriage standards vary all over the world. We are also the Church that changes the definition more frequently than any other, so I am not sure we are the best judge on that subject.

  27. Richard
    June 10, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    “For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:22)
    His intentions may be good, but I count this man as among the deceived. God, however, is his Judge. There are several lies and half-truths buried in this article. I will not point out all of them, but I will try to deal with the biggest ones.
    First, he declares the following near the end of the article.
    “Currently there is no distinction made in our doctrine/policies between:
    1. A straight person who lives a life of debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity and depravity
    2. A righteous LGBT person in a committed same sex marriage.
    3. An LGBT person who lives a life of debauchery, lasciviousness, promiscuity and depravity”
    This is a lie. Doctrine and Covenants section 76 covers in some detail what happens after judgment day. It declares that there are three kingdoms of glory: celestial, terrestrial, and telestial; with celestial being the highest and telestial being the lowest. It also details who goes to which kingdom. Judging them on their acts alone, individuals 1 and 3 will likely go to the telestial kingdom, where the unrepentant sinners reside. Number 2 will probably end up in the terrestrial, as one of those “who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.” There is more, however. Anyone who has or will die “without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God” (D&C 137:7). This means that any or all of individuals 1, 2, and 3 may receive celestial glory, depending on circumstance and the will of the individual. God is a just judge. He judges us not only on whether we keep the commandments, but also on the thoughts and intents of our hearts (see D&C 137:9). That tells us that even individuals who have received the gospel but have been estranged from the church for whatever reason may still inherit that highest of kingdoms. It is true that all 3 engage in the sin of homosexual activity (and make no mistake, it is a sin), and that such activity prevents them from being in good standing in the church, but that alone will not determine what happens hereafter. God will be the judge of that.
    Second, he insists that gay marriage does not threaten traditional marriage. On a technical level, this is true. God has defined marriage to be between man and woman (only) and no earthly attempts to redefine it will have any bearing on God’s definition. However, technicality aside, extending the definition to include all pairings renders the institution utterly meaningless. Contrary to what the world teaches, marriage isn’t about love. Love (the action) is a critical component for a happy and successful marriage, but it is far from its purpose. Elder D. Todd Christofferson in just this last (April 2015) conference address entitled “Why Marriage, Why Family” teaches us two key purposes for marriage. First, it is the conduit by which God’s children can receive physical bodies and continue in their journey through eternity. For obvious reasons, homosexual couples cannot satisfy this first purpose. The second purpose is to provide the ideal environment to raise those children in truth and righteousness. How can a homosexual couple possibly satisfy that purpose? How can they teach their adopted children “an everlasting hatred against sin and iniquity” (Alma 37:32) when they themselves live in it? Teaching a child one thing while living another is called a double standard, or hypocrisy. There is nothing more damaging than it. No earthly alternative can replace the power of traditional marriage in the lives of children, and expanding its definition will destroy it.
    The third and final lie I will address is probably the darkest and most insidious. It is nested in the following statement and undergirds much of his argument: “Sexual orientation is not cured through the Atonement.” First, the statement itself is utterly fallacious. Who is man to declare what God can or cannot do? That said, the Lord has on many occasions chosen not to end this particular affliction. In any case, the deeper lie here is the suggestion that the Atonement cannot help a person overcome same sex attraction and, therefore, homosexual activity (within the bonds of marriage of course) should not be considered a sin. Note the difference. To overcome does not mean to cure. To overcome means to conquer. It means bridling and controlling your passions, not necessarily changing or crushing them. When a man turns to God for strength to overcome his weakness, that man becomes a powerful force that the Lord can use for good. In addition, I cannot think of a more damning doctrine than that the Atonement cannot cover something outside of a total rejection of it. If you make even one exception to the Atonement’s power, you have made a God who is not an omnipotent God. You have made a God that cannot save some of his children no matter how hard they and He try. Thankfully, our God has the power we need to overcome all things. This life is but a sliver of eternity. Do not lose sight of the light of God’s Hope.

    • Mike potter
      June 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Ha ha I’m sorry but your anti literature will not deter me from anything I believe in the church. I’ve seen and read it all. The arguments are weak and the evidence nul. I’m sure you don’t want to hear both arguments but if the spirit prompts you check out http://www.fairmormon.org and most if not all critical argument against the LDS faith can be answered. May God bless you to stop spreading hatred and negativity.

      • Thomas Montgomery
        June 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        Mike, I am very familiar with fairmormon.org. I think you vastly overestimate their ability to answer these questions. If there is something there you think answers questions posed in this article, you are welcome to address them specifically, but just throwing out unsupported critics and accusations isn’t welcome.

    • Kathy
      June 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      I have read a lot of assertions that “gay marriage doesn’t threaten/cheapen/lessen hetero marriage” and I have given this some serious thought of my own to determine if this is in fact the case.

      1. Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamonds: Suppose there was a law that mandated all cubic zirconia engagement rings be declared equivalent to diamond rings and must all be displayed and sold as diamonds, in the same case at the jewelers. Neither the consumer nor the jeweler would be able to tell them apart without special tools and training, but for all intents and purposes, they are the “same” and the chance of buying a diamond or cubic zirconia is 50/50.
      A) Someone is getting ripped off. Either the consumer is duped into paying diamond price and getting only cubic zirconia or the retailer is getting less for his diamonds than they are worth by having to sell them at the cz price.
      B) Perhaps an “average” price could be assessed? Take the average value of each ring and sell them all at the same price. No one is the wiser. We finally have equality in our engagement rings! Everyone is happy now, right? Oh, wait – your cubic zirconia ring really HAS cheapened/lessened/threatened the value of my genuine diamond ring!

      Clearly this would be an unfair law, and consumer protections are in place to prevent such and does not make sense to cause the jeweler to loose his rightful value of the diamonds or to the consumer to get less than what he has paid for. To be fair to everyone, the stones need to be labeled differently and assessed an appropriate value even if they are to be displayed in the same case as they are clearly not the same product.

      2. Diamonds vs Rubies – a less offensive parallel. Both are precious stones in their own way. Some prefer the clarity and sparkle of a white diamond. Others prefer the vibrance and shine of a red ruby. To each his own; of course we value and respect each other’s preferences. Yet diamonds will always be diamonds and rubies will always be rubies. They are not the same and no one would call them the same or admire them with equal appreciation, though they both fall under the umbrella of precious stones, they are surely different. Each can have access to the same setting in a ring, the same polish to keep it shiny, the same guarantee of insurance in a purchased policy. They are both “precious stones” (committed unions) and should be treated as such – but in their own right.

      Gay marriage though valuable in it’s own way is still not the same as heterosexual marriage. Even though a court may decide that all unions be labeled marriage, the difference will still exist in the minds of the people. A distinction between the two is more appropriate than labeling them all with the same name (diamonds/marriages) and ignoring that they have different qualities that set them apart (rubies/gay marriage).

      I believe in the right for two gay people to form a civil union – even one performed in a church that blesses such a union – and to have access to each other and their assets.

      When we begin to speak in terms of temple marriages within the LDS church, no amount of posturing, pleading or scientific arguments will sway a true prophet of God to include homosexuals, if and until God himself declares such.

      • Thomas Montgomery
        June 16, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        Kathy, it sounds like you have taken some time to think this through. I think there are some additional things to consider in your analogies:
        1) Heterosexual people should not chose same sex marriages, yet in our current Mormon worldview, we would mandate that homosexual people should chose heterosexual marriages. This is the cubic zirconia. Looking the same on the outside, yet on so many levels, the two people just cannot connect in the same ways. This is not to disparage those who have chosen MOMs or the complication of bisexuality to the equation, but it is far closer to the truth than your analogy.
        2) The value and strength of someone’s marriage begins with vows, but changes dramatically as a marriage is lived. I know of temple marriages where the spouses are awful to each other and/or they are lousy parents (IMO). I know civil marriages where the spouses compliment each other perfectly. In the end, the strength of the vows can’t exceed the value of the married couple. Regardless of what ring is on the finger, the success or failure of marriage is in the successful commitment of the couple/family. Its value is earned over years, not established at the ring ceremony. Since I personally know a gay couple who have successfully been married for 60+ years, I know this can be accomplished. I also know successful gay parents. I know successful temple marriages and failures.
        3) A note on hope. Without any potential for a marriage valued and respected by society, what are gay men and women to aspire to? They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. However, with same sex marriage being a valued and respected path, now people like my gay son have a moral high ground to aspire to. The same fidelity in monogamy that we value, they can reach for. Without it, how on earth do we condemn them for the ‘gay lifestyle’?

        I just think the whole premise of how you are valuing this is backwards.

      • Bec
        June 17, 2015 at 2:27 am


        I have to agree with your diamond and rubies analogy. I think that in the haste to insist on not being diminished by a distinction, gays advocating for marriage are ignoring the real distinctions. Outside any belief valuing one over the other, there’s no reason to believe that being recognized as different is a form of diminishment.


        Do you see any irony in the fact that a gay person sees a distinction between a same-sex partner and a hetero partner, while insisting that there should be no distinction between same-sex and hetero marriage? IF the distinction, or in other words, if the sex of their partner is important to them to make all the difference, then is it really surprising that the nature of the relationships are also generally different?

        Still speaking to Thomas,

        Settling into an acceptance of differences does not leave your son without aspirations for a loving, committed relationship of his choosing.

        I say this because I do suspect that, even if this month or sometime soon SCOTUS does legalize same-sex marriage, in my opinion, there is a strong chance that there will eventually be a difference, legally, between “marriage” and “same-sex marriage.” Once the effects of legalisation work their way through the courts and states respond to those results, it will be clear that there is a difference, and it will be clear that recognising the difference is not threatening to the rights and freedoms of gay couples, perhaps seeing the differences will even be essential to recognising their rights and freedoms.

        There is a balance, here, between seeing what is shared and what is unique, and that is okay.

  28. Richard
    June 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm


    I cannot even imagine the struggle those with SSA go through in the church, but being an individual that has several friends that are gay as well as family, I would like to iterate that I love each one of them and show them my love and support as much as possible in strengthening their comitment to the LORD. Anyone that derides the doctrine of the church to justify their sins (regardless of the sin) is in a degree of apostasy and should repent, search your heart, pray to God for guidance. The closer you get to God the further from sin you will be (again, regardless of the sin).

  29. Rodney Price
    June 11, 2015 at 11:03 am

    At the foundation of this discussion there is a fundamental assumption that rarely is questioned. It is assumed that sexual fulfillment is a prerequisite to happiness and worth. Countless good and honorable people have lived and died without a sexual relationship. Certainly these lives are just a valuable as those who have had ideal sexual relationships.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Rodney, a good point to bring up. However, your point is that relationships are only about sex. If for example, I reduced a heterosexual couples temple marriage to just sex, they would be very offended. A marriage and the bonding that occurs between two people is much more than just sex. All of the emotions and spiritual connections that tie us together are needs we find fulfilled in marriage. Talk to anyone who is celibate and they will confirm to you the ache of loneliness is far more than just the absence of sex.

      By the same token, single and same sex couples are as valuable to God as married couples. It seems with the advent of the Proclamation we have drifted away from the the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the holy ghost) to salvation being conditional on our ability to procreate. As you pointed out, not everyone’s purpose in life is to procreate. Yes it was an injunction and commandment given in the Garden of Eden, but clearly it is not the sole purpose of all of God’s children. I recommend to you my article Doctrine of Celibacy.


      • Rodney Price
        June 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm


        Thank you for replying, especially so long after the original post.

        My point is what you just pointed out. There are more important goals in life. Faith in God, repentance, baptism and the Holy Ghost are definitely in that category. These thing bring us to Christ and happiness and self worth. These blessings are not predicated on sex or marriage.

        Please note that I did not say that relationships are all about sex nor did I advocate celibacy as the solution.

  30. Arlin
    June 16, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Life has lead me to a place where I needed to understand this better. I am the father of a trans MTF daughter, now 27 and out within the last two years. Initially I thought I was being carefully neutral (personally interpreted as “accepting”). Careful and thoughtful reading has brought me to the conclusion that my response was overwhelmingly….. inadequate and harmful. My wife is a Mama Dragon and has lead the way in doing the right thing. Being a long time member of the church I was stuck in my ways and thoughts. I have come very recently to the following place.

    Heavenly father knows and loves all his children. Better than I do. Better than they do. And better than anyone else does. He neatly packaged his expectations for my behavior in this life in two simple commandments. In addition I add the Saviors words to the remaining people in 3rd Nephi. Immediately after giving charge to the chosen twelve he does something curious. He talks pointedly to one subject, Contention. Perhaps we miss the point to some degree in our wrangling about the rights and wrongs of these issues.

    I tend to agree with the author that in weighing the up and downsides we would be better to err, if that is the case, in favor of giving our children the greatest practical opportunity for happiness and joy rather than shaming them for something they cannot control.

    I guess I see it as the choice between helping your kids live or driving to things which maybe far worse. Do you think that we will have no accountability in that choice?

    Judgement does not belong to me. I am choosing, from here on out, aggressive acceptance rather than passive harm.

    I have been thinking of some positive actions I can take and invite you to join me.
    In my prayers I will pray for awareness of the plight of others and the strength and commitment to be compassionate. I will pray for the Brethren as they petition the Lord for guidance. I will ask for wisdom in helping in any way those who need my help.

    I will educate myself about the realities and facts surrounding the science, behaviors, and reactions to LGBT people.

    Im sure there is more but for now I leave the rest in the Lords good care. It is his world after all.

    As a practical matter I am in favor of SSM on the civil side as long as faith based organizations are not compelled to comply with something they object to. I trust the Lord, when we are ready will answer this question and we will marvel at his mercy.

    • Kathy
      June 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Logical, thoughtful and compassionate. You bring a calming spirit to this debate, Arlin. It doesn’t matter how “right” we are or think we are – if all anyone can “hear” is our staunch posturing there is not room for understanding and growth, then contention truly permeates our relationships and our hearts, minds and spirits. I’d hate for anyone on the opposing side to think me nothing more than “entitled to my opinion”.

      • Bec
        June 17, 2015 at 2:40 am

        ” I’d hate for anyone on the opposing side to think me nothing more than “entitled to my opinion”.”


        This is a realization which I have come to, as well.

  31. Ed
    June 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I really feel Thomas that you are walking on dangerous ground in regard to some of your conclusions and comments that you have made with regards to this forum. Do you really think that God’s revealed word concerning the sin of homosexuality is going to change? Do not the scriptures exclaim that God is the same from beginning to end, and he doth not vary from the principles that he has revealed? The scriptures, especially Old and New Testament, contain verses that specifically condemn the practice of sexuality between the same gender. This has been an expectation of our Heavenly Father from what I have examined since Adam and Eve were first placed on the Earth. The Gospel in its fullness has been restored. The prophet and apostles, emissaries of the Lord, have been very clear on the Lord’s view regarding the sin. The Proclamation on the Family is inspired and needed in a day when the world is amassed in confusion, and the traditional family as the Lord established it is being bombarded by everything the Adversary can muster to tear it apart. It is the basic unit upon which our Father in Heaven has established his kingdom.

    As I stated before I have been in a mixed orientation marriage for 36 years, and at times my suffering has been exquisite, but so have the moments of joy with which I have been blessed. You have stated some conclusions that I feel are way off the track, and I believe it is because they are based on an incorrect understanding or interpretation of basic principle. I feel that to expect that the Lord is going to redefine marriage as he established it in the Garden of Eden is to misunderstand what God is all about. I have wrestled with this mystery for 49 years of my life. I have come to understand that the Lord desires of me to keep his commandments as he has revealed them, even though I have had to deal with this extraordinary burden of SSA. I am more than willing to sacrifice moments of temporary happiness for an eternity of joy for finishing the race with honor, dedication and perseverance. If I have been able, and continue to remain faithful, to bear the burden of SSA, why cannot others do likewise? Is it and has it been difficult? Yes, immensely so. However, to give in to the limited understanding of men, and desires of my LGBT brothers and sisters to embrace their lifestyle, I cannot do and remain true to what God has nurtured in my heart.

    I truly strive to love all individuals, realizing that all the people I meet are at varying levels of spiritual development and growth. I strive to live as I have taught all my children – that people are like roses (I am an avid gardener), and each person has their own beauty, aroma and thorns. It is up to you to take notice of the thorns or the beauty and aroma of the individual. Do the thorns sometimes prick the gardener, yes, but I choose to concentrate on the beauty of the flower, not the thorns that are part of the whole. Christ our Savior, a righteous judge, always encouraged his fellow man to look up, better themselves, serve others and strive to keep the commandments. If all people would strive to ignore the negative, and emphasize the positive the world would be a much better place, including the church which is a hospital for the sick and afflicted, and those striving for the perfection that Christ emulated. I hope and pray that one day the Lord will bless all to find what I have … peace of mind through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and an engaging relationship with a loving God.

    • James
      June 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm


      Excellent and well put. Proclamation of The Family is completely inspired and current doctrine almost no matter what has been stated in the past. This the one document to stand on to day. Of the past supports it, it only logical. So heterosexual relationship, just logical. Nothing more needs to be said other than treat and love all as our Savior would. I have great gay friends and they repect my views because I treat them with complete respect and love but I do not change my testimony for anyone. They know it and they know my love for all hence they view me as one of their kindest and honored friends.

      • Thomas Montgomery
        June 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

        James, I encourage you to actually look into the history of the Proclamation and review its actual status. The Proclamation is not doctrine or revelation. Recently, when Elder Packard referred to it as such in a General Conference, he was censured in the actual publication of the talk in the Ensign. It has not been canonized. It was written by a team of lawyers in the early 1990’s in order to have legal standing to combat same sex marriage in the courts in Hawaii. The path of revelation is not God – lawyers – prophet.

        You should also review the history of ‘traditional marriage’. You will quickly realize that marriage today does not resemble traditional marriage in most significant ways. There is no logic to it. I assume by your logic, that polygamy is the next logical step beyond heterosexuality. Good luck with that. I hope that you are equally kind and honor your gay friends by not opposing or degrading their commitments and marriages.

    • Thomas Montgomery
      June 23, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Ed, I think you may be overstating exactly how much of God’s word concerns homosexuality. There are 6-8 verses in total in the Bible, none in the Book of Mormon and/or other modern scripture. The Old Testament verses are from chapters which we don’t observe anymore and the New Testament verses come from Paul who criticized all forms of sexuality and idealized celibacy. Certainly Paul would not have supported the modern Proclamation. Regarding marriage, there is actually very little in scripture. Most of our modern understanding is interpretation of scripture. Our modern understanding of homosexuality is evolving tremendously. Gina Colvin’s article on this blog regarding the gulf of opinion and doctrine from Miracle of Forgiveness to mormonsandgays.org is vast. What we believed 40 years ago about homosexuality and what we (the Church) know and believe today are considerable evolutions of our understanding of God’s will. Modern apostles and prophets have not been clear and if you compare statements today with just 10, 20 or 30 years ago, they are quite contradictory.

      The Proclamation is not the answer to this question. To make the assumption or make the leap that because God told Adam and Eve to procreate, that this is an injunction to all God’s children that they can only be save via procreation is just not true. People are born barren. There are those who never marry. There are those who divorce. In our Church today, we marginalize them and in many circumstances put burdens on them that we shouldn’t. It is not the purpose in this life for everyone to procreate.

      To be clear, I want to validate and support your choice to enter a mixed orientation marriage. I wish there were more and better resources for you and your family. With 70% of mixed orientation marriages ending in divorce, this is a challenging road. For being the foremost choice for LGBT people to enter a MOM, we do little as a Church to support them in that. God bless you and your family! To say that I disagree that a MOM or celibacy or the sole paths a gay person can walk is true, but what I do believe is that God is capable of guiding his LGBT children in their vast diversity. Your answer does not fit the path all LGBT persons should take. Hundreds and thousands have been crushed being forced onto that same path. That has to be acknowledged and not written off under ‘Well, God said so.’ God is speaking to his LGBT children today as evidenced in the Church from top to bottom today.

      I don’t think I have advocated anywhere that the Lord should change temple marriage. We get our definitions all mixed up in the Church: temple marriage, civil marriage, traditional marriage, Biblical marriage. If you think temple marriage and/or modern marriage resembles “traditional marriage” from even 50, 100 or 200+ years ago, I invite you to actually look into the history of marriage. Unless you think of your wife as property or a possession, should in all things be submissive and subordinate, should be silent, should not own property or have any rights – this is traditional marriage. I doubt your wife would care for it.

      The Church makes clear distinctions between temple and civil marriage. My support of civil marriage doesn’t impact or threaten the Church or temple marriage in any way. Let’s continue to strive to understand more regarding the place of our LGBT brothers and sisters in the gospel. To say that it is clear and all laid out is particularly disingenuous, as you already know. I wish you the best and hope you continue to engage this subject.

      • Ed
        June 24, 2015 at 9:48 pm

        As an LGBT individual and having read the scriptures numerous times, my spiritual understanding concerning the topic of homosexuality is almost a 180 degrees from what you purport. I respectfully disagree with your ascertions with reference to Paul. As I have come to understand this phenomenal apostle, he would have embraced the Proclamation. To disregard Paul’s teaching regarding chastity and sexual sin is to discount that Paul’s writings are scripture. Scripture – the word of God given unto man as revealed by the Holy Ghost through one of his prophets, seers and revelators. To disregard the Old Testament as scripture not to be followed is not very conducive to one’s spiritual progress and growth. To pick and choose which commandments you will follow, and which ones you will not, does not align with what has been revealed by God in these latter days. Our Lord and Savior stated that he came to fulfill the law of Moses. The basic commandments, which have been reiterated in each dispensation, that the Lord gave to the Israelite people are still in force. The ceremonial laws and the laws regarding animal sacrifice were fulfilled in Jesus Christ as he consummated the Atonement. The scriptures to which I would refer anyone to read and ponder, you summarily dismiss as though you are one who has authority to dismiss them – you consider them irrelevant.

        It matters not the circumstances under which the Proclamation of The Family was written. Having read the Proclamation, the Spirit has whispered to me that it is inspired. That it has the signatures of the brethren who represent the Lord should be a tantamount sign that it is approved of the Savior. In the history of the LDS church there have been other proclamations that have been issued by the Church, which were later accepted and promoted as scripture by the Lord. To generally dismiss the comments or statements of our prophets and seers concerning homosexuality because they do not align with your current understanding is skirting with danger. You make some very broad and liberal statements concerning SSA, and from my perspective are leading by inference a host of my LGBT brothers and sisters down a path that they will come to regret. Believe me, my compassion and love for those that bear the burden of SSA is deep and poignant, and I have felt what they feel. However, I believe the current demise that faces us of the LGBT community has been bred by the confusion, precepts and tenants promoted by the natural man. I do not have all the answers, but the path I have chosen has given me an insight into my condition that does not come close to what you are suggesting. It has also brought a peace of mind that surmounts previous experience.

        I hope and pray you find the enlightenment you seek. You have a lot of material that engages the mind and the spirit. I believe that you have touched the hearts of many who do not understand or know about the issues that the LGBT community faces. However, I also feel that some of the ideas you choose to promote displeases He who created us.

        • Thomas Montgomery
          June 25, 2015 at 8:51 am

          Ed, again, thanks for engaging this article in a respectful and faith affirming way. I think if we were to sit down and converse, we would find that our differences are much less than 180 degrees apart. Paul is a great apostle to focus on, as a leader of the Church who also had theological differences with other members of the Twelve and even Peter. I would definitely support Paul’s teachings on chastity and sexual sin. For any heterosexual to commit homosexual acts or sexual abuse of minors under any circumstance would be sexual sin. However, there was no nuance in Paul’s day to understand that ‘being gay’ is not a choice. This is a theological and philosophical issue for which Paul would have had no way to understand. Until the last 10 years, even the Church hasn’t began to address these realities and as a result, doctrine has shifted. I think both you and I would also agree that Paul’s teachings against lasciviousness, promiscuity, pornography, (the stereotype of the gay lifestyle), etc….should be considered sexual sin. But even though a committed same sex marriage is miles away from what Paul taught against, we excommunicate LGBT people who in every equivalent way live moral, chaste and committed lives.

          Regarding the Old Testament, as Mormons, we get very selective about what we want to continue to observe from those days, and what we do not. Its a cafeteria metaphor as it were where we can selectively take what we want. For, example, your definitive reference to Leviticus comes in a chapter in which we not longer follow or observe anything else in that chapter – but the pronouncement against homosexuality. The verses we not longer observe begin both before your reference and after your reference – but we still observe the part in the middle? Context. We no longer observe this chapter of Leviticus.

          I firmly believe that personal spiritual witnesses are probably the most powerful and #1 source of both direction, authority for you personally and peace. I don’t dispute in the least that you have found the Proclamation to be inspired and the Word of God. I hold the same to be true for myself. I also hold the Proclamation to be true for myself in large part. You may call that being a cafeteria Mormon, but at the same time, I can only find truth in the things the spirit has born witness to me of. For example, I find the teachings on women and gender roles in particular to be uninspired. There is no historical or scriptural support of either, yet fits nicely into Mormon cultural ideals that have persisted from the 1940”s (Which for our aged Church leaders is a day and age they idealize.) But as far as historical or scriptural support for those ideals, they just don’t exist. And as clearly as some parts are contain truth, the spirit whispers to me that others do not.

          I also hold the same to be true for all of my LGBT brothers and sisters. We need to encourage and support them to greater spiritual heights. Same sex marriage is a greater moral path than complete rejection of Paul or the Church today and fall into the ‘gay lifestyle’. Do we criticize non-members who marry civilly? Do we not encourage people to not have casual sex? I think Paul would support these ideas.

          What I do know is, the way the Church doctrine of 40 years ago led to the death, estrangement and abandonment of a generation of LGBT brothers and sisters. The fruit of these practices is rotten. The spirit reveals that the truth. Today we see an age of enlightenment in this area. Doctrine has already shifted and changed. Our understanding of our LGBT brothers and sisters is increasing exponentially. I have theories and ideas of where this might lead, but I am not dictating it to the Lord. Over time His will will be revealed. But for today, I have been spiritually led to lift my LGBT brothers and sisters where they stand and let the spirit work in there lives to bring them where the Lord would have them. God bless you Ed in the choices you have made and where the spirit has led you!

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