The Mormon Church, actually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has started a new website to try to get their message out about gay members. The doctrine hasn't really changed, but the Church is making an effort to help families and members with 'same-sex attraction' understand how to deal with it while following current doctrine. In a video called 'What Needs to Change', LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks says, "what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction."
The fact is, the only way Church doctrine changes is by revelation. Oaks say the "doctrine of the church, that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married, has not changed and is not changing." Gay members and members with a LGBT loved one can sometimes get frustrated trying to explain that to non-members. The Church is hopeful that the website, mormonsandgays.org, will encourage "understanding and civil conversation about same-sex attraction".
The biggest change is in the Church admitting and accepting that "individuals do not choose to have such attractions". That is a huge change from what they've said in the past. It may sound minor to non-members, but to LGBT members and their member loved ones, it is a big step in the right direction. In another video, apostle Quentin Cook says "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."
It looks like the Church is trying to mend the wounds created by encouraging members to support Prop. 8 in California. In addition, they can't ignore the fact that over half of the U.S. population believes that same-sex marriage should be legal. While there's certain to be those who dismiss these new efforts by the Church, to LDS members dealing with same-sex attraction it is the sign of better things to come. With any luck, and a bit of divine intervention, hopefully LDS President and prophet Thomas S. Monson will soon receive revelation that ends the partial exclusion of some very worthy and faithful LDS members.
Image credit: jaybsuk
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012