Mormons: Having Same Sex Attractions Isn't A Sin Anymore
The times, they are o’ changing.
The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life recently posted the article Gay Mormons See a Subtle Shift in Church Teaching where they note that while the sin previously was found just in having same sex attractions, but now the sin is identified as engaging in “homosexual activity.”
Like many gay Mormons, [Lester] Leavitt tried to ignore his sexuality and married a woman. Last year, he was excommunicated after telling church authorities he was attracted to men, even though he was faithful to his wife and wanted to stay married.
Six months later, to Leavitt’s surprise, the church vacated the excommunication. Not long after, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued “God Loveth His Children,” a treatise that said same-sex attractions themselves are not sinful, even though homosexual activity is.
…Traditionally, Mormons saw homosexuality as a choice — and a changeable one. In the 1970s, the church believed that “homosexuality is a perversion and you can fight it and become straight,” Petersen said.
Leavitt, who was the organist for his Florida church before his excommunication, said he kept waiting for his same-sex attractions to disappear, even after he got married.
“The church told me, and everyone like me, that this was a social construct, and that if you got married (you would be attracted to women). I was 44 years old and it hadn’t gone away,” he said.
To give y’all an idea of how tough it is to even have same sex attractions as a Mormon…
For Mormons, homosexuality presents a particular challenge because the church’s emphasis on marriage carries eternal consequences. Mormons believe heaven is organized by families formed on earth; having a family is necessary to reach heaven’s highest ranks.
“For a lot of Mormons it’s unimaginable that you could be gay. You probably feel like you need to deny it because it just can’t happen” said Boyd Petersen, coordinator of Mormon studies at Utah Valley State College.
Homosexuality challenges basic tenets of Mormon doctrine, said Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, a California-based organization that defends the church against criticism.
“The core of Mormon theology is the family unit. The Declaration on the Family (a key church document) says marriage is between a man and a woman … and family is eternal,” he said.
So, you can be a Gay Mormon now, you just can’t be a sexually active Gay Mormon. Oh, and you wouldn’t make it up to highest kingdom of glory — the Celestial Kingdom — you’ll likely make it only to the lower Terrestrial Kingdom.
So, um, this is great news, right? Ummm, well, I’m not so sure. Celibacy is a hard row for anyone to hoe. And…
Kathleen Flake, a Mormon and associate professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University, said the only thing that’s changed is church leaders have taken a step back from old certainties about the origins of homosexuality.
The position on its effects, however, remains the same.
“We’re going to be more careful to not cause you any additional pain,” she said, in summarizing the document. “But know that a homosexual relationship is not God’s plan for you. God’s plan is that we come to earth to be like God. By the grace of God, that means getting married and having children with a member of the opposite sex. It means engendering life, because that’s what God is all about.”
I know my ex wasn’t thrilled to find out I was transgender. I can’t imagine that a Mormon housewife would be thrilled to find out her Mormon husband — such as Lester Leavitt — is attacted to men, as opposed to being attracted to her.