Less than 48 hours after an investigative report by The New Civil Rights Movement revealed top Mormon leadership were refusing to use the word “gay” in a survey asking LDS students at Brigham Young University about their sexual orientation, Mormon leadership changed course. 24 hours later, they changed course again.
On Friday, The New Civil Rights Movement exclusively reported on a survey sent via email to students at Brigham Young University, a school of 34,000 which is wholly owned and operated by the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is conducting a focus group to better understand your views on marriage and same-sex attraction,” respondents were told.
Included among the short list of questions the survey asked students was, “What is your sexual orientation?”
Students had to pick one of these three answers:
I am heterosexual, but I struggle with same-sex attraction.
I am heterosexual and do not struggle with same-sex attraction.
Other, please specify:
Gay, lesbian, or bisexual were not options.
But that survey was updated after The New Civil Rights Movement’s article ran to include the answer, “I consider myself homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered [sic].”
Here’s a screenshot taken Sunday afternoon:
But now, the survey has changed yet again.
A screenshot taken today:
As of this writing, the question now reads:
Do you experience same-sex attraction?
And the only answers available for students are:
Other, please specify:
The New Civil Rights Movement has learned that students originally asked to take the survey were asked to take it again yesterday.
The New Civil Rights Movement called Michael Colemere, a Managing Director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who distributed the email, to talk about the survey. He immediately responded, “I am unable to take this call,” and directed us to the public affairs department.
A Church spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints via an email conversation told The New Civil Rights Movement that the “original wording of the question in the survey was unclear, so the question has been reworded to better convey the intent of the question.”
He also reiterated that it’s “important to us that people understand that the doctrine of the Church has not changed and is not changing … and all members are taught and encouraged to live according to God’s laws of moral conduct.”
The Church’s final choice — “Do you experience same-sex attraction?” — was less than OK, reverting back to the original problem with the survey: gay people, apparently, in the mind of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, simply do not exist. They are merely straight people who “experience,” or “struggle with” something the Church likes to call “same-sex attraction.”
There are 34,000 students at Brigham Young University. Based on the most-conservative estimates of the homosexuality in the adult population, that means there are easily around 700 students who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual at BYU.
Except their religious leaders just told them they don’t actually exist.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.