CHANGING DEFINITIONS OF FAMILY AND CULTURE 4
“Rainbow Fault Lines: LGBT Inclusion”
“Mormon views on homosexuality have undergone a rapid change just within the last decade... Overall, Mormons’ acceptance of homosexuality grew from 24 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2014 to 48 percent in 2016.”
“In 1969, then-apostle Spencer W. Kimball published The Miracle of Forgiveness, which shaped LDS attitudes toward sexuality for years to come, especially after he became the president of the church in 1973.”
“Kimball’s rhetoric established the pattern for future LDS discourse in four key ways: by referring to homosexuality as “unnatural,” by rejecting any attempts to normalize it under the law, by insisting that the church’s own stance would never change, and by omitting women from the discussion. (The possibility of lesbianism does not appear to have been on the author’s radar.)”
Three major changes have occurred since the Kimball era. 1. Homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior have been separately defined—the church does not excommunicate for homosexual orientation, but condemns homosexual behavior. 2. In the late 1980s, LDS general authorities ceased recommending that homosexuals “cure” themselves by marrying someone of the opposite sex. 3. In the early twenty-first century the church began distancing itself from conversion therapy efforts that promise to “cure” individuals of their same-sex attraction. Such efforts had ranged from the violent (electric shock treatments) to the emotionally abusive.
“In the 2010s, the LDS Church scaled back its involvement with the organization Evergreen, a ‘reparative therapy’ group that featured LDS general authorities on its board of trustees and as speakers at many of its conferences.”
[The ultimate irony: The Executive Director of Evergreen, David Matheson, just announced he is gay]
[Conversion therapy was the topic of a very controversial HB399, proposed during the Utah legislative session that ended just last week. Given the fact that the Utah legislature is 90% active Mormons, and the Church lobbyists took a neutral stand on the bill as proposed, and then as amended, it was a bit of a circus, including a sit-in outside the governor’s office and a letter of apology delivered by the lieutenant governor. The church-owned Deseret News reported on it.]
More from this chapter to come...