On 7 June 2006 ABC’s Nightline ran a story on members and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who struggle with same-gender attraction. This issue is one that evokes strong emotions and, unfortunately, often perpetuates negative stereotypes on both sides of the debate.
Nightline’s story contained some comments that do not reflect the views and teachings of the Church and its leaders.
Comment by Daniel Holsinger: “There is a very strong notion that I am a sinner — fundamentally who I am is hated and reviled by God. I am alone; there is no one else like me.”
Comment by Morgan Smith: “We’re not recovering from God, but we are recovering from the put-downs, the discrimination, the people that come along and say that if you’re gay, you’re not good.”
The Church teaches that all of us are sons and daughters of God and should be honored and respected as such. We reach out to assist people with all of the challenges of life. Those who struggle with same-gender attraction are certainly not excluded from the circle of love and fellowship the Church hopes to provide.
The defining factor for each of us is that we are children of God, born on this earth for a purpose and with a divine destiny. Our challenge and opportunity is to overcome the temptations and difficulties that lead us away from God.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married" (“Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 54).
Comment by Russ Gorringe: “There is no place for me in the gospel as a person who never married.”
Referring to those who have same-gender attraction, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “We love them as sons and daughters of God. … If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church” (“What Are People Asking about Us?” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).
We believe the standard of morality is clearly defined and applies to all of God’s children. The Church teaches chastity before marriage and complete fidelity within a marriage. Marriage is also defined by God as the union of a man and woman, and we are not at liberty to change that definition.