6 December 2012
Same-Sex Attraction Within the Mormon Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) has always made an effort to stay out of the political arena until recently with the debate over homosexuality and marriage. The debate over homosexuality and marriage is extremely intense and emotional issue for both sides. As disciples of Christ we have a responsibility to be accurate in our awareness on this topic. In order to create more awareness and encourage a more inclusive dialogue, we should have more empathetic and supportive discussions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage within the church.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I never really thought about homosexuality until my freshman year of high school when Proposition 8 was frequently discussed. Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition that sought to change the California Constitution to read: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," (Text of Proposed Laws 128). Proposition 8 seemed to be everywhere. It was in my home, it was in my seminary room, it was at my school, it was at my lunch table, and it was on my front lawn. I felt an enormous amount of confliction and confusion over what I knew my family and church believed and what I knew my friends and teachers believed. And there seemed to me no way to reconcile the two different beliefs in my mind. After the proposition was approved and the discussion seemed to die down, I put the issue out of my mind in order to try to obtain peace. However, two years later the conflict returned. I had two Sunday school teachers who were husband and wife. They taught great lessons. She’d introduce the idea and lead the discussion, but he was the one who spiritually tied the lesson together. I remember feeling the Spirit on numerous occasions from the words he spoke. Imagine my shock when after being released from the calling, he left the church. One of the reasons he left was because he felt like he couldn’t be a part of a church that he felt didn’t accept his gay father. I was very close to this Sunday school teacher and my heart broke when he left the church. My heart broke for his wife, who now had to come to church by herself. Before this event, I’d purposely shut out the information out of fear of the discomfort it would cause me. But after the Sunday school teacher who I loved left, I decided it was time for me to open myself to all sides of the issue and to trust myself with the information.
I quickly realized that many once faithful members of the church were leaving because of the church stance on homosexuality. My Sunday school teacher was one of thousands making the exodus. David Hardy, a former bishop, and wife Carlie Hardy left the church because they felt the church forced them to make a terrible decision between abandoning one’s gay child or one’s faith (Rosman 1). Many members have left the church because they felt forced to choose between family members and their religion. In 2011, a comprehensive study called “Understanding Mormon Disbelief” surveyed over 3000 people who had lost their belief in the gospel. The survey revealed that 48 percent cited the church’s stance on homosexuals/ Prop 8 as a “significant” reason for their loss of faith. The percentage of people under 30 who cited this specific issue as being the primary reason for their loss of faith was higher, at 60 percent. The survey supports the conclusion that the confliction members feel over the church stance on homosexuality is a primary reason many members are leaving, and it’s extremely distressing that this issue gives so many people a reason to leave. The Pain and Fear are Real
The more I read, the more I realize there are two major themes in the articles I read about homosexuality and the church. First, there is an incredible amount of pain associated with...