Dealing with Same-Gender Attraction

I loved Elder Holland's introduction in his article in this month's Ensign magazine on same-gender attraction. He was speaking with a young man in his early twenties who said, "I don’t know if I should remain a member of the Church," he said. "I don’t think I’m worthy." "Why wouldn’t you be worthy?" I asked. "I’m gay," he said. I suppose he thought I would be startled. I wasn’t. "And...?" I inquired."

The young man was surprised and asked how he could be a member of the church if he felt attracted to men instead of women. He wondered why he felt that way. Elder Holland said that same-gender attraction was not a sin and asked the young man if he had acted upon those impulses and thereby broken the law of chastity. No, he hadn't. Elder Holland then said that although he could not answer why the young man had those feelings, he could offer hope and encouragement because he was trying to keep his covenants.

Does this subject make us uncomfortable? It shouldn't. If an apostle of God can write and speak about this and make the church's position on this difficult subject clearer then we can and should too. Elder Holland quoted another Apostle, Elder Packer in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. "We do not reject you," he said. "We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you." Isn't that an amazing manifestation of the love of Christ being demonstrated by an Apostle of God?

This subject has received considerable attention lately and probably will for years to come. I hope that anyone who seriously investigates the Church does not misunderstand what the Lord's servants are teaching here. Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman responded in great depth to this question in an interview posted in the newsroom on lds.org. It is unfortunate that those who are trying to push same-sex marriage are misstating the church's position on this. They sometimes blatantly lie and claim that the church does not allow homosexuals to participate.

President Hinckley has said this about those who struggle with same-gender attraction: "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." He also said, "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."

This is a difficult subject but one which members of the church need to understand. What do you think? Should we not talk about stuff like this or is it important to know what the Lord has taught through his servants about same-gender attraction?

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