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UPDATED: HRC Wrongly States Mormon Church Says Same-Sex Attraction is “Normal”

by David Badash on November 17, 2010

in Civil Rights,Gay Agenda,News,Religion

Editorial note: HRC has made changes. Read: “HRC Almost Gets It Right – Mormon Church Still Doesn’t Get It.”

The Human Rights Campaign has just issued a press release titled, “Mormon Church: Same-Sex Attraction is Normal,” based upon the Mormon Church’s rewording of it policies regarding homosexuals in the release of its new “Church Handbook of Instruction.” Nowhere in the Mormon Handbook does it state that “homosexuality is normal.” This is a dangerous misstep by HRC, and appears to be more of a marketing move than anything else, akin to the Obama administration last week branding the president’s India trip as a jobs creation effort. Neither is correct.

HRC says it “[recognizes] that the Mormon Church removed same-sex attraction as a sin in church policy.”

As I wrote earlier, the Mormon Handbook states, “Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of god, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life… Those who engage in homosexual behavior need to be taught the process of repentance and the purpose of life on earth.”

Additionally, homosexuality, according to the Mormon’s new Church Handbook of Instruction is still listed as a serious sin, contrary to HRC’s pronouncement. Pride In Utah’s Eric Ethington writes, “Today the HRC posted an article claiming that the Mormon church’s new handbook has removed Homosexuality from it’s “list of sins.” This is absolutely bogus!”

Asking, “did no one at the HRC bother to actually read the new handbook?,” he adds, “they still compare homosexuality to: Attempted Murder, Forcible Rape and Spouse Abuse.”

Many would be of good and fair mind to ask why HRC is making such a big deal out of such a small change in wording, in the context of an organization, the Mormon Church, that for centuries has demonized gays and lesbians and has (at least) enabled the funneling of untold millions of dollars into the funding of Prop 8.

At the center of HRC’s apparent glee is that the Mormon Church’s written policy now is not to force its homosexual members into reparative therapy. It does, however, suggest to its bishops that therapy may be the right course of action. In fact, it offers a telephone number.

Not forcing LGBTQ Mormons into “ex-gay” therapy is certainly a significant step forward, but the fact remains that there is a difference between official policy and practice. A change in wording does not, especially overnight, change hearts or minds. Anyone with common sense will agree that Mormon families will not embrace their LGBTQ children now, just because this change in semantics has been printed.

As usual, HRC has jumped in quickly to take credit where any is available. They write, “The new guidelines clearly show that advocacy efforts pay off with real change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We spoke out against the harms of so-called ‘reparative therapies’ on LGBT young people. Church leaders heard us and responded by dropping their recommendation that such discredited interventions be forced on LGBT and questioning youth.”

I honestly doubt the Mormon Church leadership said, “Joe Solmonese is on the phone, we should call homosexuality normal now!”

There are several issues here. Is the Mormon Church really making positive steps toward acceptance of homosexuality, or are they jut becoming better at the PR game? And IF they are making positive steps, what steps have they taken to ensure changing its followers personal beliefs toward homosexuality? Additionally, whatever the Mormon Church’s motives, think about this: When a federal judge ruled this year that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was unconstitutional, LGBT veterans organizations like SLDN went on a campaign urging gay and lesbian soldiers to not come out, as the full ramification of the ruling were unclear. HRC should have warned LGBTQ members of the Mormon Church, not issued a press release as if speaking for the Church.

For their part, HRC tells me they are closely examining the issue.

Stay tuned. I’ll update this as I hear more from HRC.

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{ 4 comments }

christocooper November 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm

While I welcome the recent LDS policy changes in regards to homosexuals with with open arms, there remains one area of policy that still makes me shudder, that is explained in the new Handbook 2 of Administering the Church – 2010.

This is the current policy of permanently annotating the records of LDS church members who have once engaged in homosexual activity, thereby marking them permanently throughout their Church lives, in a manner that will guarantee that all new wards and leaders (and possibly even the membership) will be informed of the legacy of that person’s current condition and/or past life.

The Church sates that it reserves such permanent annotations only on the records of members “whose conduct has threatened the well-being of other persons or of the Church”, and this is done in order to help the bishop “protect Church members and others from such individuals” (p. #70).

Notably, there is no mention of this requirement for any person found guilty of repeated heterosexual activities, which shows that the Church still regards homosexual activity to be a much greater sin and threat to its membership.

The offence of “repeated homosexual activities (by adults)” is placed alongside other atrocities such as incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage and predatory conduct (p# 71).

While the LDS church truly believes in and preaches repentance and forgiveness, even to the point described in D&C 58:42 – “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more,” current policies make the “remembering no more” part virtually impossible as “In all cases, an annotation on a membership record is removed only with First Presidency approval upon request of the stake president” (p. #70).

Such permanent markers for being a homosexual (or even claiming to be a reformed homosexual who has since repented and now refrains) is reminiscent of the pink triangle “annotation” given by Hitler and the Nazis upon all homosexuals rounded up and placed in concentration camps along with all of the others deemed undesirable at the time.

LDS people with a past that includes homosexual activities should be informed of this current policy so they can decide in advance, before submitting themselves to formal LDS disciplinary processes, whether they want the permanent stain of this annotation to mark the remainder of their lives in LDS fellowship.

TedKnutson November 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

While most of this article is factual, it falls apart where it becomes critical. I know several LDS families whose children don't follow church teachings, and with few exceptions these families still embrace these children; they do not, however, embrace their childrens' behavior. "Love the sinner, not the sin" seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

The LDS church does not, to my knowledge, encouraged parents to abandon their homosexual children; rather, it believes that the family is fundamental to God's plan – that it is (or can be) an eternal unit. It does, however, teach forgiveness.

Whether the homosexual community chooses to accept it or not, the fact remains that homosexuality does not contribute to the health of the human family, nor to its continuance (procreation), nor to its happiness.

TedKnutson November 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Christ Himself, when addressing the sinner, had a forgiving attitude, but He still requested that the sinner "go, and sin no more." How, therefore, can a practicing homosexual claim to be a Christian, unless he/she is in a continual state of repentence? And does not repentence require one to recognize, and turn away from, the sin? For a Christian to claim that homosexuality is not a sin, he / she must reject Christ's teachings, as He taught otherwise. How then can he / she be a Christian, without Christ?

TedKnutson November 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I know, and associate with, several homosexual people. I love them dearly, but I do not, nor will I ever, accept their homosexual behavior as "natural", "harmless" or "without sin." It's above my pay grade to condemn them, as I am not without sin, but I do not have to accept that their behavior is normal.

You may have the right to be a practicing homosexual, but that does not trump my right to believe that homosexuality is a sin. Nor do you have the right to demand that I accept your behavior as "normal." To believe otherwise makes you intolerant, and how can you intolerantly demand that I be tolerant?

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