5 Ways LDS Church is Showing Respect for the LGBT Community

*NEW: Watch Elder Christofferson’s response on YouTube.

Recently The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out with a new policy that does not allow children of same-sex couples to join the church until they turn 18, denounce their parent’s lifestyle, and are no longer living in their parents’ household.

To start off, it’s important to recognize that regardless of what others have said, this wasn’t a hateful decision. I’m confident that if you were to listen in on the Councils of The Church, you’d be in agreement with the new policies.

Since the media frequently highlights the views of defectors of The Church, I figured I’d offer an alternative, LDS perspective.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors.. [is] like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”

A lot of the hype surrounding the church’s policy was generated by excommunicated members of the LDS Church. If you really want to learn about LDS beliefs and practices, I believe you should first go to those who are faithful Latter-day Saints, not defectors of the faith.

The LDS church is often painted by media as being not inclusive, judgmental and old fashioned. I believe the LDS Church’s new policies regarding homosexual couples and their children were made out of love, not hatred.

Here are 5 ways The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have shown love and respect to the LGBT community in recent decisions:

1) Church leaders express love for and seek to understand those with SSA

Elder Holland’s story is just one example from General Conference where one of the Twelve Apostles has expressed love, kindness and understanding for those with same gender attraction. Though some may accuse church leaders of hate speech or unkindness, that’s not the feeling I get from our church leaders. A man who “[has] wept over the courage, integrity, and determination of [a homosexual man] and his family” seems to be the kind of a man who truly loves people of all sexual orientations.

2) Not allowing children to be baptized until 18 shows respect

In my opinion it’s considerate and wise to not allow children of same gender couples to be baptized until they are 18.

It shows same-sex couples that The Church acknowledges that those same-sex parents have drastically different perspectives on marriage and family than what The Church teaches. It also shows a mature acknowledgment that if a child were to be baptized into The Church, it would likely create major conflicts and uncomfortable feelings between the child and their parents. Furthermore, children often need a strong support group in order to stay faithful after baptism. Hence, the age requirement for those coming from families who likely would not be able to provide such support.

“These boundaries [provide] protections for the church, the prospective member, and the family. For the church, it allows them to clearly teach God’s plan of Salvation (centered on Jesus Christ and marriage between a man and a woman) without worrying that those they teach will face conflict at home. For the family members of those involved, it allows family autonomy and reduces conflict and secrecy. For the prospective member, it helps them not have to lose vital family relationships (and, if they are under 18, food and shelter). . . [It] has the effect of not putting children at the center of a conflict between their household and the teachings of their church. . .It protects not just the child, but the church and the household who is raising the child. Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child’s legal guardians are sinners– and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship.” (Michael Terrence Worley)

3) The Church defends LGBT rights

Church leaders have supported legislation that protects the rights of the LGBT community, to ensure fairness in “housing, employment and some other areas where LGBT people do not have protections”. (see the Mormon Newsroom’s press release)

4) The Church offers alternative missions

For prospective missionaries who experience strong feelings of same gender attraction The Church has provided alternative missions. This has allowed pre-missionaries with same gender attraction to serve honorable, full-time missions without having to be in situations that might be difficult or tempting for them (living with missionary companions of their same gender).

5) Sexual orientation does not disqualify a person from church membership

While The Church affirms the Biblical view that homosexual behavior is a serious sin, The Church does not teach against those who experience feelings of same gender attraction. People who experience homosexual feelings can be faithful members of The Church, just as those who experience heterosexual feelings can be faithful members of The Church. In both cases, self-control and restraint is required in order to live in harmony with the Law of Chastity and be worthy of a temple recommend.

To finish up, I truly believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and most of its leaders are truly trying to live what they preach- to love all people while not compromising the commandments of God. Although some church leaders around the world have probably said offensive things (generally without meaning to), I don’t believe The Church intends to offend. The Church as a whole seeks to love and serve people in all situations, from all backgrounds and with all different perspectives. The commandment to love God and love children is the pinnacle commandment of their discipleship.

It’s possible that I’ve said some offensive things in this article, though my intent has not been to cause offense. I love people. I don’t harbor any grudges towards the LGBT community or any community/person for that matter.

Because I believe with all of my heart that God lives and that He directs the LDS Church, I hold close to my heart some views that are unpopular in modern society. That said, I love all those who have different perspectives than mine. I fully support those who lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are men and women of incredible experience, insight and maturity. If any of you are deeply concerned about this issue, you can pray to God, and He will answer your prayer, according to your faith.

I’m grateful to know we’re not alone when we’re confronted with controversy. We can have the most powerful, knowledgeable, perfect being in the whole universe help us to discern the truth.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. Feel free to include any of your respectful comments below.

55 thoughts on “5 Ways LDS Church is Showing Respect for the LGBT Community

  • You may not have noticed, but it doesn’t say that they force the homosexual people into certain special missions, they simply offer them for the people who feels like it would help them. I can’t see how that is anything but loving.
    Also, as I have experienced in my life kids who have parents who object to them joining the church, parents who are not homosexual. Those children have been advised to wait until they turn 18 to get baptized as a way to honor their parents. The reason this has become a specific rule is probably because this is such a sensitive subject with many people, seeing to the fact that the church has strong opinion on same-sex relationships. The baptizing of kids from such relationships may cause a strain that wouldn’t be as common in couples with different genders. I feel that this is highly considerate towards both the child and the parents in a situation like this.

    • I was baptized at 14 while my parents were not. My patents had to give written permission for me to be baptized. It was very difficult being the only member in my family. My Bishop advised me to follow my parents first and the church second. He said when I was 18 I could make my own choices and the Lord would understand. So I didn’t always keep the sabbath and was around a lot of things I wouldn’t have been if my parents were members. It was difficult to balance family and church so I could understand why the church would want children of same sex couples to wait to be baptized

    • Can I just say that the whole waiting until they are 18 thing does not justify the fact that they have to renounce their belief in same-sex marriage, regardless of their age. If the Church was upholding parental authority, why would it pit a child against their parents? I would hope that most people would have the sense to keep their relationship with their parents over a relationship with the Church . I seriously doubt God gives a damn about a person’s situation, and would try and have a relationship with them no matter what.
      Doesn’t seem right to me.

      • How is that any different than say a child who at 18 wants to join the Church but whose parents are of a different faith and are totally opposed to the Church and its teachings, or who themselves are not married which also runs contrary to the teachings of the Church, etc. etc. etc. Anyone who wants to join any Church must first agree to abide by its teachings and yes, sometimes that creates friction when there are differences of opinion in doctrinal matters but at 18 people are allowed to make their own choices.

        • It’s different because even though yes, people join the church distance sometimes distance themselves from people that don’t have the same beliefs, it is not a condition of baptism that they have to renounce their friends and family who do not agree with the church or its teaching, which is now the policy for children of homosexual parent(s). So it’s way different! And of course they are 18, and if they feel that is the right thing to do, all power to them. Not saying they don’t have the right to do that. But how about we realise that this isn’t right, it’s not a good policy. You can still think that and be a good Mormon. We’re told to question and ask and seek, instead of following blindly every single policy announced at the pulpit.

          • Hi Brenton, the policy does not say that the child must “renounce their friends and family who do not agree with the church or its teaching”. It says that they must renounce their lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that they have to approach their parents and tell them their lifestyle is sinful but that they must acknowledge within themselves and to the leaders that they agree it’s contrary to God’s commandments and be willing to follow and advocate sexual purity and God’s laws of chastity. If questioned they must, as all members do, express love for the individual while professing the truth of Gospel laws, including chastity.

          • Nobody asks them to renounce their parents! They ask if you want to renounce their lifestyle, that is somethong totaly different. You can renounce your friends drinking alcohol without renouncing your friends

        • The difference is that I was not required to denounce my parents ‘ way of life. The difference is that my baptism did not require the approval of the first presidency.

          • Nor would the baptism of the now 16 y.o. daughter of a very good friend who at the time, two years prior to her own baptism, had recently left a lesbian live-in relationship but was still in ‘circulation’ in those circles. This little girl had to be baptized by her paternal grandfather due to her own LDS father’s inability to perform said ordinance (won’t get into details, thank you). She and her older sister, in spite of being born to a non-member mother and an LDS father who wasn’t exactly in lockstep with Church teachings, were raised in the Church, and thus far are active and faithful young sisters. I wonder some of the implications of this policy but I’m sure that some wisdom and judgment will be applied. For example, I fail to see how a child who has a gay father who doesn’t have primary custody, but lives with the mother who is active and remarried, her and her new husband being otherwise faithful members, would be barred from baptism simply due to his father’s chosen lifestyle. I’ve confidence that the Church doesn’t arm itself with a hammer and see everything as a nail.

        • Unfortunately you are conflating baptism with entry into a church. Baptism is for remission of sins, not membership in a church. As least this is what the scriptures indicate.

          • Brenton, I do not think they are saying when they join the church they have to renounce their family or friends. The Church does not support same sex attraction. This is where supporting the people and not the sin comes in.

            I feel like this new announcement will take a lot of getting used to, but God knows what we need and how to work around the many obstacles. As long as we are trusting in him and doing what we should (which does include questioning and learning and growing, I agree with you there) everything will be fine.

      • Brent, the trouble is that if a young adult has grown up in an LGBT household, (s)he has learned by example that this is “ok”. It’s only natural that a child trust in his/her parents implicitly. To not only acquire a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but to also conclude that what their parent(s) are/were doing, whatever its legal status, is against what the Church teaches re: Family, is such a remarkable change that it shouldn’t be expected that a minor is inherently capable of making such a life-altering decision. And yes, there seems to be much genuine confusion regarding the duty of what about the LGBT parents to ‘renounce’. The carpers and nay-sayers are more than insinuating that a young person, seeking LDS Church membership must cut themselves off from their parent(s). This is, of course, untrue, and quite contrary to LDS teachings about tolerance, love, forgiveness, and familial relationships. Since LGBT folk, for all practical purposes, have become the ‘darlings’ of the liberal media and culture, any ‘exclusion’ of them, even from groups like the Church that they almost universally denounce and proclaim their otherwise willingness to disassociate from, is instant fodder for accusation of ‘hate’ (e.g. rejection of the liberal and/or LGBT radicals’ agenda).

  • I love all people and feel no conflict in the policies of The Church. I do think we, as imperfect followers of Christ, need to show greater love to all, especially those who are LGBT. How we speak is important.

  • I think it is interesting that people are acting like this is a new policy used to single out the LGBT community, it is in fact not a new policy, there is a simalar policy in place for children of non-members or co-habitating unmarried parents, and the reason is the same!

    • That’s actually not true. My non member sister has lived with her boyfriend for more than 10 yrs. Her 16 yr old daughter was allowed to be baptized. No discussion of the living arrangements. My sister was only asked if she supported her daughters decision. Which she did. That was it. Missionaries teach and baptize kids from inactive families all the time. There’s often a serious lack of support in those situations.

    • Laurine – there isn’t such a policy, and to be consistent, rather than appear to single out LGBT folk AND their children (which I’m sure Elder Cristofferson et. al didn’t mean to do), the policy ought to have been extended to likewise children living in households where even a heterosexual couple is ‘shacked up’ (e.g., living together as a married couple would w/o a legal marriage, which until recent times in some states, UT included, was a CRIME). If the idea is that children should NOT be brought into the Church under circumstances where the household situation is in stark conflict with the Church’s Proclamation on the Family, then this situation not only qualifies but is far more likely to be encountered. It would not only have been consistent but also wouldn’t single out LGBT folk as somehow being especially ‘odious’. Though I sustain the leaders and don’t want to ‘steady the Ark’, this is a well-meaning concept which was clumsily executed. Our leaders are, as the fictional Sarek of Vulcan would have said, “So human”.

  • There is a lot of information about this topic lately, but I guess the church will do the thing that has always done: respect our agency. God’s commandments has always been there and we decide if we follow them or not. The church has never force us to follow the rules, we decide that but the norm will never change. So, I think that the church leaders will respect our decisions but alse they will follow the new revelation.
    I believe this updates in the church organization has an eternal prespective and maybe we won’t understand completely but, the Lord will respect our agency and He will love us as much as always.

    Thank you for this post! 😀

  • Alex, where did you hear about this policy change? I’ve looked all day and cannot find it on any official Church websites.

  • Did this decision come from president Monson? What about children who are against their parents choice, but are too young to leave and have the desire to become faithful members, and have no where else to go? I’ve seen people who are lost if they don’t grow up close to the church. Would Christ turn a child away if they asked him if they could be baptized?

    • Hi Doni, these children are free to participate in church meetings, attend activities and seek support from local members. They just can’t be baptized. ☺

      • Not according to the video with Elder Christofferson, he said an exception of attending primary that came with a child being blessed was inappropriate.

        • Nor will they be able to participate in temple trips. Last Fast & Testimony Meeting we had about 8 youth stand up and share their testimony of their trip to the temple the day before. Inclusive? Considerate? Thoughtful? For whom? The church, or the child?

    • This is what we need. To listen to The Word, Jesus Christ, and what He says on the matter. Not what man or religion says. Read “THE WORD” God has granted many souls to die for the bible that is in your houses. Please read it.

  • Perhaps the point is lost to many outside the church who might think that joining a church is no more than a social gathering like a club with membership privileges. Join this group or that group for a little while and move on to some other group if you choose. To become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means that you enter into His church with the intent to obey all of his commandments and over time abhor the idea of sinning and do so for the rest of your life. This is expected to be a lifetime commitment.

    A child who has grown up in a household where same gender marriage and affection is openly displayed and has become accustomed to accepting this relationship as acceptable and common is at a moral disadvantage. For that same individual wishing to join The Curch of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. he/she would have to be willing to understand that sexual morality is a part of this agreement. Yes, that person would have to adopt a different standard of behavior and attitude when it comes to sexual morality. He/she, in order to avoid sexual sin, must renounce the lifestyle in which he/she grew up.

    I have friends (and family) outside the church that I love, some of which are gay. I love, and appreciate the person, but not the lifestyle. I’m sure the feelings are mutual .

    • I think your comments are conflating baptism with the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, + being confirmed a member of the church. Baptism is for remission of sins, a token of a covenant. It is not for entry into a community, passage into a club, nor any other purpose.

      • Baptism is not for the remission of sin. Did the thief on the cross hop down, get baptized, then back up on the cross. Because Jesus told him that he would be in the kingdom of His Father. When Jesus healed the lame man, did the lame man get baptized right then? Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven. Other places Luke 7:48, Matthew 9:2, Luke 5:2….and on and on it goes.

        • are you kidding Chris? Throughout the scriptures we are taught over and over again very clearly that BAPTISM is for the remission of sins.

          • The WILLINGNESS to be baptized is the key. The baptism itzelf is the formal commitment. The commitment goes both ways. You promise to walk in the way the Lord wants you to and your sins will be forgiven and you have the right to get the Holy Ghost. If you don’t do your part, you have no promise. But if you can not be baptized, but WILLING, do you really think the Lord will wilthhold his blessings? I was in a situation that I could not get baptized because my husband did not give permission. I could feel the Holy Ghost nearly daily all the 14 years long. I was permitted to take the sacrament, because the reason was beyond me. I have to admit that the difference between feeling the Holy Ghost and Having Him attached to me was huge.

  • The Church believes that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. The reason for this is that God’s plan for the salvation of everyone is founded in procreation and being raised in a family with a mother and a father. 2 males or 2 females cannot offer that kind of home and cannot procreate. To be baptized in the Church is a sacred responsibility. We believe that when we join we make a covenant or promise with God that we will obey all of His commandments which include complete chastity before marriage and marriage between a man and a woman. If someone does not support God, who knows all, when He says we will be happier living a certain way, then they are not ready to make such a promise. I hope this helps at least a little. Try searching on Mormon.org or lds.org for more answers or just ask me. I hope you find the answers you seek and are able to see that all the Church really wants is faithful members who will accept what they believe and I know are guidelines straight from a loving Heavenly Father to help us be happy in this life.

  • I am not married, so I do not have sexual relations with anyone, male or female. Why should the rules about that be different for gay people than for anyone else? If we can ignore the rules about sexual sin, shall we also steal, bear false witness, take the Lord’s name in vain, and ignore all ten of the commandments? People note that Moses did not bring us the ten suggestions, but besides being commandments they are advice, words of wisdom from God, who is smarter than we are. God’s advice is that we should listen to Him, not just because we fear the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but because it works, and other choices do not work as well.

  • As a lifetime member of the LDS religion i just want to put in that the church does not force anyone into anything. We believe that the Lord guides us, and if the world’s views have changed why would that mean God’s views have changed?
    Yes, people need to be respectful, loving, and understanding of everyone… that includes non – members being respectful of my beliefs. A member of the LGBT community should never feel shunned by the Mormon church, so why is it ok for me to be shunned and attacked by my neighbors because of my religious beliefs?

  • I understand your concern. However – if you can look at it from another perspective – you might find some ease of your worry. I think that the reason the first presidency would be involved is to confirm that the child is aware, comfortable with and sure of their decision. They do not have to deny their parent’s love – only accept that the lifestyle did go against the teachings of the gospel. That said we all need to remember that LOVE is the whole point of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There is a plan and we are to follow it to the best of our abilities. When we fall short – LOVE is what helps make up the difference – here in this life with everyone we meet and know – and in any life to come. So be kind – be patient – and forgive any errors I may have made – I don’t intend to upset anyone. I just wanted to reach out and say that it’s all about LOVE – on both sides.

  • Hi A.R. Vapor, imagine if a child grew up in a household where a husband or wife was having an affair but the child saw the parent expressing love for both partners. Would the child not be required to denounce that lifestyle in order to be a member in good standing? It’s the same idea. No matter what your opinion on sin is, as worthy and faithful Christians, we must never advocate for sin.

  • Thank you for your insightful post. You handled this highly sensitive and controversial subject with respect and dignity. Really, what it all boils down to is that this decision was not made by a bunch of old men in a boardroom. This decision was made through inspiration from God and it is He who directs the affairs of the church. As members of the church and as children of God we need to trust His judgement and know that He always acts in our best interests because He loves us.

  • The video you shared of brother christofferson add a shortline where he made the statement that polygamy is a sin.

    Do you believe that polygamy is a sin he didn’t qualify that at all he just said it was a sin.

    I know you’re going to stay there certain circumstances but he didn’t say that.

  • Forgive me, I did not see any scripture reference in the blog post, nor hear Elder Christofferson indicate any scriptural reference or precedent for this move. In truth, it reminds me when Brigham Young removed priesthood capabilities for blacks, and then how the Church came out last year saying it was a big mistake, but following cultural norms. I’d like to share what the scriptures say about baptism. It is NOT for membership in a church, social club, or any other thing. It is strictly a commandment attached to Christ and remission of sins.

    Ezekiel 18:20
    “…The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
    Mark 10:14
    “…Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
    Alma 19:35
    “…as many as did believe were baptized…”
    Alma 48:19
    “…they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words.”
    3 Nephi 7:25
    “…all such as should come unto them should be baptized…”
    3 Nephi 11:22-23
    “…On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name…baptize them…”
    3 Nephi 11:39-40
    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine…And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil…”

    Article of Faith 2
    We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.

    Article of Faith 4
    We believe in the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, repentance. Third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Ought we to add an Article of Faith, dictating that baptism is clearly more for membership in an incorporated church, rather than a token of a commitment to Christ?

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