Quotable Quotes on Being LGBT/SSA and Mormon
Compiled by Jen Blair
“Kindness is our religion.” —Joseph Smith
“With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” mormonsandgays.org
“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people.” mormonsandgays.org
“Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.” mormonsandgays.org
Regarding whether church members could disagree with the faith’s opposition to legalizing same-sex unions and still remain in good standing, President Thomas S. Monson said the answer “depends on what the disagreement is… If it is something political, there is room for opinion here and there on either side.” Deseret News
“Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue [of same-sex marriage] without facing any sanction,” said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. “We love them and bear them no ill will.” Salt Lake Tribune.
Elder Cook said “As a church nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in…expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle…”
“…we should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief and differences in sexual orientation.”
— Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 4, 2014 General Conference
“We consider the voting franchise to be almost a sacred thing. People have a right to express themselves. If there is one fundamental doctrine in which we believe, it’s the principle that the Lord has endowed every one of his children with agency, the opportunity to choose in this life. In a political sense, that means that in those societies that allow such choice to be made, that they have the opportunity and choice to exercise their voting franchise – agency – and they do that however they see fit. You have Latter-day Saints across the political spectrum in this country and in other countries.”
— Elder Lance B Wickman, Emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project
“This question concerns transgender, and I think we need to acknowledge that while we have been acquainted with lesbians and homosexuals for some time, being acquainted with the unique problems of a transgender situation is something we have not had so much experience with, and we have some unfinished business in teaching on that.” -Elder Oaks Jan 2015 interview with Salt Lake Tribune
“Church leaders use a list of questions that are provided for [issuing temple recommends] and are instructed not to add any additional requirements.” (emphasis added)
— LDS Church spokesman Cody Craynor in Public Statement
“Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it…. While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.”
— Letter from The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to LDS congregational leaders throughout the United States
“Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth. Brigham Young said: “I am … afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security. … Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates.” We seek for truth wherever we may find it… Yes, we do have the fulness of the everlasting gospel, but that does not mean that we know everything. In fact, one principle of the restored gospel is our belief that God “will yet reveal many great and important things.”
— President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the First Presidency (CES devotional)
“Article 11 – We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
— The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul… We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”
— Doctrine and Covenants Section 134: 4, 9
“Given the history of persecution that members of our church have endured, it’s easy to understand why the principle of religious tolerance is very important to us. But just as important as claiming this privilege for ourselves is the responsibility of all Latter-day Saints to preserve and protect this right for others – which means we may occasionally have to stand up for someone else’s right to a religious practice with which we don’t necessarily agree.”
– Elder M. Russell Ballard, Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993, pg.98.
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel… But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences. The Church thrives when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen our fellow disciples.”
– President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2013 General Conference
“Both creative science and revealed religion find their fullest and truest expression in the climate of freedom […] I admire men and women who have developed a questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as steppingstones to progress. We should of course respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent—if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought and in that competition, truth emerges triumphant. [….] Only error fears freedom of expression. [….] The free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences […] We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it. We should all exercise our God- given right to think and be unafraid to express our opinions…”
— President Hugh B. Brown, former member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Speech given at Brigham Young University, March 29, 1958)
“In this, as in all other matters, members are free to accept or reject the counsel of the First Presidency. Freedom to discuss the merits of any public issue is a legitimate exercise of citizenship, recognized and encouraged by the Church. This can be done without indulging in ridicule or attacking those with opposing views.”
— Ensign Magazine, 1980
“And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”
— Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 : 6 (Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant and the principle of plural marriage.)
Elder Oaks said, “…The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions—those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.”—2006 interview with Wickman. Cited on www.mormonsandgay.org
Elder Holland, in an Ensign article, says to a young man with same-gender attraction (SGA): “…the cause of your feelings, we may never know in this life.”
“Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church…. To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here. Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.” President Uchtdorf’s October 2013 General Conference talk
“Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.” President Uchtdorf’s October 2013 General Conference talk.
“I write primarily of the Mormon experience, but I don’t write only to Mormons. I write to all who find themselves walking that challenging territory where religion and sexuality collide. We are an interesting bunch, we Latter-day Saints. Politically we hold a significant place on the national scene, and I think we offer a fine microcosm of all conservative religions as they address this unavoidable subject. Everyone can learn a lot from our pain, our confusion, our failures, our learning, and our successes.” Carol Lynn Pearson
From the Church’s pamphlet, God Loveth His Children, written for homosexually oriented members: “God does indeed love all His children. Many questions, however, including some related to same-gender attractions, must await a future answer, even in the next life. But… He loves all His children, and because He loves you, you can trust Him.”
Dallin H. Oaks: “All should understand that persons (and their family members) struggling with the burden of same-sex attraction are in special need of the love and encouragement that is a clear responsibility of church members, who have signified by covenant their willingness to bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Neal Maxwell similarly taught: “Whatever it is in the gospel that Jesus tells us to do is productive of happiness here as well as salvation in the world to come. The sum of human misery is less because some Mormons live their religion; the sum of human happiness is greater for the same reason.”
If we consider the Proclamation authoritative, in the very paragraph declaring marriage between a man and a woman to be “essential to His eternal plan,” it states: “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.” Homosexual orientation is an “other circumstance necessitating individual adaptation” if ever there was one. “This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted- by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed”- Joseph Smith.
“There is an irony inherent in the church’s taking a public position opposing homosexual marriages… The leading United States Supreme Court authority for the proposition that marriage means a relationship between a man and a woman is Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, in which the United States Supreme Court sustained the validity of the anti-polygamy laws, the Court defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The court’s stress in that case was on one. The modern relevance of the Reynolds opinion is its reference to marriage as being between a man and a woman. The irony would arise if the Church used as an argument for the illegality of homosexual marriages the precedent formerly used against the Church to establish the illegality of polygamous marriages.” –Elder Dallin H. Oaks (“Principles to Govern Possible Public Statement on Legislation Affecting Rights of Homosexuals”)
Jennifer Napier-Pearce, in summarizing questions from listeners: Can members support same-sex marriage and still be members of good standing? Can someone march in a parade to support family members? Elder Christofferson: “We have members, individual members in the Church with a variety of different opinions and beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues, reflect back on the Equal Rights Amendment years ago, this isn’t the first issue, in our view it doesn’t become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders, if that’s a deliberate and persistent effort, trying to get others to follow them, to draw others away, trying to pull people out of the church, or away from its teachings and doctrines. That’s very different for us, than someone who feels one way or another on a political stance or a particular action to support a group, Affirmation or any others that you named, these are things that there are fine lines here and there.” From a TribTalk that aired January 29 starting at minute 9.
Daniel Woodruff: Can members of the church support gay marriage that the church teaches against? Elder Christofferson: Well there is a diversity of opinion in that regard and that’s always been true on many subjects over the years, over the decades. And we don’t have qualms of that. We urge people, for example, to take part in the political process and we don’t tell them how to vote and who to vote for, but that they exercise their own good judgment and make their decisions. That’s obviously different for those who attack the church and hinder its work. But for anyone perusing their view of what ought to happen in a community, that’s what we want to see, frankly. Daniel Woodruff:Would supporting gay marriage threaten someone’s membership in the church if they went out on facebook or twitter and actively advocated it? Elder Christofferson: No, that’s not an organized effort to attack our effort or attack our functioning as a church. KUTV news of Utah published March 14, 2015 starting at minute 4:30.
Doug Fabrizio: Can members support same-sex marriage and still be members of good standing? Michael Purdy: There is a diversity of view on any given topic when you have 15 million members of a faith living globally. So of course those differing views are accommodated. The problem you get into is what does that look like publicly. What form does that differing view take. Doug Fabrizio: So if they go out and attack the church, for example, that could be a problem, but if they hold that position privately, they can have their own opinion related to same-sex marriage, say support in same sex marriage and still reamin members of good standing in the LDS Faith? Michael Purdy: Right. Whenever you’ve heard the church talk about these issues, they’ve always recognized that people will have differing views and these can be difficult issues, they can be divisive, but to try to bridge that divisiveness and much as possible, understanding that that is the reality and then calling for the civility in the dialogue that surrounds that and when that happens there aren’t many problems. An interview with church spokesman Michael Purdy with RadioWest, aired March 16, 2015. Relevant part starts at minute 49.
“There hasn’t been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn’t support that if you want to support it,” Christofferson said, “if that’s your belief and you think it’s right.” Any Latter-day Saint can have a belief “on either side of this issue,” he said. “That’s not uncommon.” Problems arise only when a member makes “a public, sustained opposition to the church itself or the church leaders and tries to draw others after them,” he said, and that support swells into “advocacy.” — D. Todd Christofferson, Jan. 27, 2015 http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/2108746-155/we-all-can-be-more-civil
“Regarding another question about whether church members could disagree with the faith’s opposition to legalizing same-sex unions and still remain in good standing, he said the answer “depends on what the disagreement is.”
“”If it’s an apostasy situation, that would not be appropriate. If it’s something political, there is room for opinion here and there on either side.””
(President Thomas S. Monson, quoted in Deseret News article covering his first press conference as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695250131/Thomas-S-Monson-named-as-new-LDS-Church-president.html?pg=all
“Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. “We love them and bear them no ill will.”” http://www.sltrib.com/ci_10797630