As gay and lesbian lifestyles become more common-place in society today, the Mormon Church has been forced to take more of a stand on the issue. Mormons believe that one of the most important things we will do on this earth is get married and raise a family. Mormons believe that the family will live together forever into eternity. They believe that one must be married in order to enter into the kingdom of God. In 1995, the Mormon prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley issued a document entitled The Family: A Proclamation to the World. This document outlines the roles of man and wife and the purpose of the family. This document makes it clear that marriage is ordained of God and needs to be between a man and a woman. Children should be created when a man and wife are committed to each other through the bonds of marriage. This proclamation defines clearly the Mormon belief on homosexuality. Mormons do not support, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle. However, the Mormon Church does not ignore it as a very real and challenging problem for many people in the church today.
The Mormon Church has acknowledged that homosexuality is an issue that many Mormons struggle with. Mormons who find themselves struggling with same-sex attraction are encouraged to seek counseling and help. We do not teach our members who struggle to simply ignore the problem. The feelings of same-sex attraction are very real and overwhelming for some. However, we do believe that one’s same-sex tendencies can be overcome.
Mormons believe that life is a test. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, man was given agency, the right to chose right from wrong. Everyday, people make choices, some good and some bad. Mormons believe that homosexuality is a choice. Although it is not a choice have homosexual tendencies, it is a choice of whether or not we should act on them. Throughout the world, many have stereotyped Mormons as homophobic. This is not true. It is a common misconception that Mormons hate gays and that gays are immediately shunned from the Mormon Church. This could not be further from the truth. Many Mormons have gay friends and family members that they respect and love, but that does not mean that they love or accept their lifestyle.
The Mormon Church has services that offer help and guidance to gays wanting to overcome their same-sex attraction. Married men and women who struggle are encouraged to seek family counseling through programs set up by the Mormon Church. Conferences and talks are often given by general authorities and Mormon Church leaders to make people aware and cognizant of the problem. For those gays who do not wish such help, they can be a member of the Mormon congregation if they live a life of chastity and never act on their homosexuality.
Mormons believe that homosexuality is a sin. It is to be overcome, just like any other sinful inclination one might have. Mormons read in the Book of Mormon that through written “the grace of Jesus weaknesses can become strengths (Ether 12:27).” Every man on this earth has weaknesses. The purpose of life is to deal with those weaknesses through following God’s commandments. Attraction to the opposite sex does not justify living a homosexual lifestyle. Just because you have an inclination to do something doesn’t mean that you should. Mormons believe that homosexuality is no different.
Evergreen International is a support group set up for those suffering from same-sex attraction. It is the only known organization for gay Mormons that completely supports Mormon doctrine and policy. The mission statement at Evergreen International says “Everygreen attests that individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and diminish same-sex attraction and is committed to assisting individuals who wish to do so.” Mormons are taught to be tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. The Mormon prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley has condemned hateful or violent attacks against those who are homosexual. Those struggling shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. And by no means should they ignore the problem or think it will just go away. Those struggling are advised to counsel with their local bishop and Mormon leaders.
One might ask the question, why won’t Mormons just accept homosexuality? There are many reasons why the Mormon Church has chosen not to embrace and accept homosexuality into their religion. A homosexual couple lacks the sense of commitment that a man and wife have when their marriage is ordained by the state and government. Mormons believe that the best environment for children is a two-parent home headed by a husband and wife. Homosexuality is not compatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ and with the teachings found in Mormon scripture. Mormons believe that it is a commandment from God that man is to marry and have children. Because homosexual couples cannot reproduce, they are unable to fulfill God’s commandment of multiplying and replenishing the earth. Homosexuality threatens the traditional marriage. However, the Mormon Church understands that people make mistakes and are imperfect. Mormons are tolerant and understand how hard it is for some to overcome this problem. Mormons are encouraged to help those who struggle.