'We Do Not Discriminate and We Are Not Bigots,' Member of Mormon Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles Says
David A. Bednar says there are no gay people in the Mormon Church because, essentially, there are no gay people. The youngest Elder to be named to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bednar is a member of theÂ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Â
Speaking in Chile last week, Bednar was asked,Â â€œHow can homosexual members of the church live and remain steadfast in the gospel?â€
Bednar, a former president of Brigham Young Universityâ€“Idaho, replied, â€œI want to change the question,â€ as Raw Story's David EdwardsÂ firstÂ reported.
He then explained his theory, one held by the Church and many other anti-gay groups, that no one is actually born homosexual (or bisexual, for that matter) but rather, God gives people challenges they are to overcome, homosexuality being one of them.
â€œThere are no homosexual members of the church. We are not defined by sexual attraction,â€ Bednar, who is 63, insisted. â€œWe are not defined by sexual behavior. We are sons and daughters of God. And all of us have different challenges in the flesh.â€
He also posited the theory that homosexual love is only a sin if it is expressed sexually.
â€œSimply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin,â€ Bednar continued. â€œThere are many members of the church who may have some manifestation of that attraction. They honor their covenants, the keep the commandments, they are worthy, they can receive the blessings of the temple and they can serve in the church.â€
â€œIt is when we act on the inclination or the attraction, thatâ€™s when it becomes a sin,â€ the elder continued. â€œWe do not discriminate and we are not bigots. We extend Christ-like love to all sons and daughters of God.â€
Bednar's stunning comments come just a few short months after theÂ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced that Mormons who are in same-sex relationships, even legally marriages, are to be considered "apostates," subject to ex-communication, and their children cannot be baptized, or become members of the LDS church until they turn 18 and denounce their parents.
As a result, the suicide rate according to at least one Mormon group, has skyrocketed among Mormons aged 14-20. Last monthÂ Mama DragonsÂ said there had been 32 suicides of young LGBT MormonsÂ as a result of the Church decree.
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