Gays have always had an issue with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better-known as “The Mormon Church.” Best-known in the gay community as major funders of Proposition 8, which removed from California’s same-sex couples the right to marry, the Mormon Church has been accused of many things, including having had arrested a gay couple because they were kissing in a Mormon outdoor public area, to “allegedly” being the big-money backer of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM.) Ever concerned about their public perception, however, the Mormon Church recently released — and then started a public relations campaign promoting — what they are calling a “softened” approach to gays in their new Church Handbook of Instruction.
“Like most recent LDS Church statements, this new handbook makes a clear distinction between same-sex orientation and behavior. It eliminates the suggestion, mentioned in the previous 2006 edition, that same-sex relationships “distort loving relationships” and that gays should repent of their “homosexual thoughts or feelings.”
“It also says that celibate gay Mormons who are “worthy and qualified in every other way” should be allowed to have “callings,” or church assignments, and to participate fully in temple rituals.
“The handbook simply repeats what top LDS leaders have been trying to say, but unless they spell it out in explicit terms, many members won’t understand, said David Pruden, president of Evergreen International, a support group that helps gay Mormons live by church standards.”
But Pride In Utah’s Eric Ethington has a few thoughts that differ from the Mormon Church’s stance. Saying, “The Mormon (LDS) church has announced that they have changed many of their policies towards homosexuality,” he asks, “But is it enough?” Ethington offers examples of the changes, like this one showing language that has been removed:
“If members have homosexual thoughts or feelings or engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth. Leaders also should help them accept responsibility for their thoughts and actions and apply gospel principles in their lives.”
Later, Ethington offers a “Full Review Of 2010 Mormon Handbook On Homosexuality,” saying, “While it’s true that the Mormons have eliminated some of the more offensive terms, the policies remain unchanged and as bigoted as ever. By the Mormon church claiming that they have “progressed” in their thinking by making changes, we’re seeing a replay of their support of Salt Lake City’s non-discrimination policies - it costs them nothing to make these small changes but they want the world to praise them for doing it. Sorry, but preaching hate in a nicer way doesn’t change what it is.”
And he adds this:
“Gay marriage is still evil (pg 166).
“Let’s just quote this last part:
“Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of god, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life… Those who engage in homosexual bahovior need to be taught the process of repentance and the purpose of life on earth.” Homosexuals can only hold callings and perform temple rituals if they are are completely chaste. They also need counseling with LDS Family Services. Oh but if you’re transgender, even if you manage to get authorization to be baptized you can never hold a calling, never visit temples and never get married. (pg 165)
“Sounds like the same bigoted bullshit we’ve been seeing for years doesn’t it? Still wondering where this “softer approach” will actually show itself.”
A kinder, gentler Mormon Church? I don’t think so.
The New Civil Rights Movement
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.