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Homosexuality

Marriage and family are central to Mormon theology.  Eternal life in heaven requires entering and keeping the covenant of marriage to the best of one’s ability.  Complete chastity and fidelity, meaning sexual intimacy can take place only in heterosexual marriage, is also a core doctrine.

But of course not everyone has the ability to marry.  Some will never have the chance to marry, through no fault of their own.  Some face disabilities or other difficulties that make marriage and family life difficult or impossible.  Mormons believe that God will, in this life or the next, give everyone every opportunity, including marriage and family.

Same-sex attraction is another impediment to entering a heterosexual marriage.  A church member attracted to the same gender therefore may not be able to have the blessing of marriage and family in this life.  There is no complete answer as to why some people have certain characteristics and challenges.  The Church does not have a position on whether same-sex attraction is the result of nature, or nurture, or both.

Church leaders have emphasized that same-sex attraction, by itself, is in no way a sin or a source of unworthiness.  It is no different from any challenge or temptation that all people face in life.  A person attracted to the same gender is only at odds with the Church if he or she violates obligations of chastity and fidelity.  Even then, one may repent and be completely forgiven.

Recently, a speech by Boyd K. Packer, President of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, received a great deal of media coverage.  Some of this coverage incorrectly summarized President Packer’s remarks as stating that same-sex attraction is a choice, not an innate characteristic, and that anyone attracted to the same gender may change through prayer.  President Packer actually never even mentioned same-sex attraction, and focused mainly on those who struggle with pornography.  His talk emphasized that actions, as opposed to inclinations, cannot be blamed on unconquerable circumstances.

The Church’s overall stance toward those attracted to the same gender is inclusive and loving.  The fact that heterosexual marriage is the only legitimate context for sexual expression does not change this attitude.  Families and church leaders who learn of a member’s same-sex attraction are counseled to be loving, accepting, supportive, and communicative.  It is very possible to be an active, contributing, and accepted member of the church while attracted to the same gender.  Many do so successfully.

Some critics blame the Church’s teachings for the tragic suicides of individuals who were both LDS and attracted to the same gender.  This is malicious and unfair, especially in light of the Church’s consistent teachings that all should be treated with love, respect, and understanding, even though some behavior cannot be condoned.  The Church emphasizes strong and accepting family relationships, support from church leaders and mental health professionals, and strongly discourages suicide, all of which have been shown to decrease the likelihood of suicide.

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MDL.org is now MormonVoices.org

Mormon Defense League is now “Mormon Voices” and our new URL is www.mormonvoices.org. You have automatically been forwarded to our new website. Our mission is the same, but our emphasis will be to help members become involved in critical conversations online.