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Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community
Gay rights activists hold hands in protest in front of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, in July 2009.
April 17th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) Kevin Kloosterman, a former Mormon bishop, said he “came out” last year just not in the way that many people associate with coming out.

“I came out and basically made a personal apology to (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) folks for really not understanding their issues, not really taking the time to understand their lives and really not doing my homework,” Kloosterman said in an interview with CNN.

Though not speaking on behalf of the church, the then-bishop stood in front of a crowd of gay and straight Mormons at a November conference on gay and lesbian issues in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.

Donning a suit and tie, Kloosterman was visibly shaken, struggling to find the right words as tears welled up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry deeply, deeply sorry,” Kloosterman told the group in a speech that was captured on video. “The only thing I can say to those of you who have been so patient, and have gone through so much, is for you to watch and look for any small changes with your loved ones, with your wards (Mormon congregations), with your leaders. And encourage them in this repentance process.”

Kloosterman’s apology was just one example of what many Mormons and church watchers see as a recent shift in the Mormon community’s posture toward gays and lesbians, including by the official church itself.

Though the church’s doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed, and the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage, many say the church is subtly but unmistakably growing friendlier toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including voicing support for some gay rights.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Students at the church-owned Brigham Young University recently posted an “It Gets Better” video about the gay and lesbian community there, while a gay Mormon in San Francisco was selected last year for a church leadership position.

A new conference series on gay and lesbian Mormons the same one Kloosterman addressed last year is seeing an uptick in popularity.

Church spokesman Michael Purdy would not comment on whether church members are changing their stance toward gay and lesbian issues but said in an e-mail message: “In the Church, we strive to follow Jesus Christ who showed immense love and compassion towards all of God’s children.”

Purdy wrote, “If members are becoming more loving and Christ-like toward others then this can only be a positive development.”

‘It is definitely getting better’

The Brigham Young students who taped the pro-gay video this month were contributing to a popular video series meant to inspire hope in young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality identity.

The video featured students telling stories of being gay at Brigham Young, sharing tales of heartache, loss and even suicide.

“It kind of is a very different world to be gay and Mormon because it feels like neither community accepts you completely,” said Bridey Jensen, a fifth-year senior and acting president of Understanding Same Gender Attraction, the group that posted the video.

Explain it to me: What’s Mormonism?

“We put out the message for youth that are going through this, and we want them to know that we were them a few years ago, and it gets better and there is a place for you,” she said.

Though chastity is a requirement at Brigham Young, gay and lesbian students say they are under more scrutiny. The school’s honor code says that “homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates” the code.

But Jensen said reaction to the video, which has been viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube, has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

Carri Jenkins, an assistant to Brigham Young's president, told CNN that the production of the video is not a violation of the honor code and that the students will not be punished.

The honor code, Jenkins said, is “based on conduct, not on feeling and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”

Jensen said that while gay and lesbian Mormons face a tough road, she sees a shift toward greater acceptance. It is definitely getting better within the church, she said. “They are not so quick to judge. They understand that they don’t understand everything. I am glad I can be a little part of it.”

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Some scholars of Mormonism, such as Columbia University’s Richard Bushman, said they see the very existence of such a gay rights group at Brigham Young as a step toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians.

“The last 10 years have been a huge sea change in terms of willingness to accept homosexuals,” Bushman said. “Gay kids are still going to have a tough time in the church, but this level of acceptance and acknowledgment that is really that last decade I would say.”

Most gay Mormons point to 2008’s push for Proposition 8 in California, which banned same-sex marriage in the state but has faced legal challenge in the courts, as a low point in the relationship between the church and gay and lesbian community.

Mormons make up 2% of California’s population, but they contributed half of the $40 million war chest used to defend Proposition 8, according to a Time magazine report.

The church’s Proposition 8 activism angered many gay rights groups around the country, with some labeling the church “bigoted,” “homophobic” and “anti-gay.”

But church officials pushed back against the perception that the Proposition 8 backlash has provoked a Mormon softening on gay and lesbian issues.

“Many positive relationships have come from the Church’s experience in supporting traditional marriage in California,” Purdy, the church spokesman, said in an e-mail exchange with CNN.

Purdy draws a distinction between being against same-sex marriage and against equality for gays and lesbians.

He reiterated that the church was “strongly on the record as supporting traditional marriage,” but he said its stance should never be used as justification for violence or unkindness.

“The Church’s doctrine has not changed but we certainly believe you can be Christ-like, loving and civil, while advocating a strongly held moral position such as supporting traditional marriage,” Purdy wrote in an e-mail message.

“We do not believe that strong support of traditional marriage is anti-gay,” he wrote. “We love and cherish our brothers and sisters who experience same gender attraction. They are children of God.”

Church doctrine says that sex outside marriage is a sin and can lead to excommunication. Since gay people cannot be married in the church, any sex for them would be premarital and, therefore, sinful.

“The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear,” the church’s website says. “It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression. The sin is in yielding to temptation. Temptation is not unique. Even the Savior was tempted.”

Openly gay and a church leader

Mitch Mayne seems to relish his role as a lightning rod.

Mayne, an openly gay Mormon who blogs about homosexuality and the church, received the calling a term Mormons use for being invited into a church position in August.

Mayne is now executive secretary in a San Francisco ward of the church.

“I view myself as gay and being completely whole as being gay,” Mayne said.

Many observers of Mormonism say Mayne’s calling marked a unique moment in church history. Purdy said that Mayne’s appointment is “not unique,” but it’s hard to find precedent for an outspokenly gay executive secretary.

Mayne said he sees his job as building bridges with the gay community in San Francisco and showing them “there are pockets in the Mormon Church where you can be yourself.”

The biggest obstacle toward building those bridges is the threat of excommunication, said Mayne, who told CNN that in some wards just being gay can lead to expulsion from the church.

According to church doctrine, a formal disciplinary council can be called at the request of church leader.

While the leaders of the church mandate councils called for murder, incest or apostasy, it has a long list of reasons to call a disciplinary council.

According to the church’s website, the list of reasons includes “abortion, transsexual operation, attempted murder, rape, forcible sexual abuse, intentionally inflicting serious physical injuries on others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations. …”

Some wards are observing that guidance while others aren’t, Mayne said.

“Here in the Bay Area ... we are no longer seeking out LGBT members of the church and excommunicating them,” Mayne said. “Our role is to bring people closer to the Savior, so if we are routinely excommunicating people, then we are really not doing our job.”

Mayne said he believes the challenge is to convince church leaders that they don’t ever have to excommunicate gay members.

And he said the Proposition 8 campaign was the “least Christ-like thing we have ever done as a church.”

“Not only did we alienate gays and lesbians, but we alienated their parents, their friends, those who support them the ripple effect went way beyond the gay community, and I don’t think we were prepared for such a negative fallout,” Mayne said. “I think the church deserved the black eye they received.”

He added, “As a result of that really horrible time, I think we are entering a really good time to be a gay Mormon. It is getting better.”

‘Mormonism doesn’t simply wash off’

When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks, the City Council of Salt Lake City listens. At least the council seemed to in 2009 when it voted on an ordinance to make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgendered residents in housing and employment.

"The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage,” church spokesman Michael Otterson told the council.

Shortly after the church’s expression, the City Council approved the measure unanimously.

Many gay rights activists said they saw the move as an olive branch after the Proposition 8 debate.

“The tone and the culture is evolving, and the way the LGBT people are being treated is changing. I don’t think the church’s policy has caught up to that change in culture,” said Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “The Mormon church hasn’t gotten nearly as politically involved as they had since 2009.”

Though Murray sees the church lobbying for anti-discrimination laws as a positive step, he said the church’s shift is more about style than substance.

“It is going to take a lot of intentional effort to actually prove they are different,” Murray said. “That burden, because of the really public nature of their support of Prop 8, falls harder on the Mormon church than others.”

Joanna Brooks, a popular Mormon blogger and president of Mormon Stories, a nonprofit group that facilitates conversations on Mormon issues, echoes Murray’s sentiments.

She said she sees the church’s stance as challenging gay Mormons to choose between the religion they most likely grew up with and their desire for romantic companionship.

“Mormonism doesn’t simply wash off,” she said, adding that the church can’t make it that “either you are gay or you are Mormon, or either you support gay rights or you support the church.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: California • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Mormonism • Utah

soundoff (1,904 Responses)
  1. Weep Spud

    Wow. I knew we were close to the end but this just confirms how far gone this world is. Its good news for the faithful but bad news for the not so. I have mixed feelings. I like to think that my reward is close at hand but I'm sad for those that won't make it. God does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. The separation of the wheat and the weeds has become a wider gap. Get out of her my people while you can, she has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen. You do not want to share with her in her sins.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      You may be a bit paranoid. Besides, if your god will send people to hell for not believing in him (no matter the life they lived) then I would claim the moral high ground over your god (still has not been proven to exist) any day.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      Your god sounds like a petty, vain d!ck.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • just sayin

      Yep your God sounds like a pr ck, not worthy of my worship, praise or attention. I would rather burn than drop to my knees for a pr ck.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      There is nothing to compare to the communion of God and man. There is nothing more excellent than to kneel before the throne of grace in awe and respect of Father God. God bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  2. gingerpeach

    LOL I have been a member since 1971 and have never seen the miss treatment in women. Woman are free to do as they wish in or out of the church. Every person in the church if free to do as they wish, it's just that if you want to do something that is not within the rules, then you are giving up your beliefs. People choose to belong in the church. They choose to not smoke, drink coffee, it all comes down to "choice".The world has so many funny things they believe about the church. If you really want to know what we believe look it up on lds.org. Don't look it up on odd sites as they may not have the right info. Look it up on reliable source.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      By reliable source, you mean the church itself? I went to BYU and on a mission bro. And while Mormons are OK folks for the most part, and yes, there is some misinformation out there, most of the bad press and negative comments on this board are spot on. The church changes its beliefs when society tells it to, and its all about the Benjamins baby!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • xeno

      Can you really say that a child that has been indoctrinated from birth under the threat of being kicked out of the church and family is choosing a religion? I know two year olds that have been severely punished for not being able to sit through church without wiggling. When love and acceptance from your family and community hinges upon your beliefs, I don't see freedom and choice.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • alcoholiday

      lds.org is full of misleading information. Look at the book of mormon for example

      April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Michael

      xeno: Teaching your children a lifestyle that you sincerely believe is their best chance at security and happiness is not indoctrination. Or if it is, it's not the creepy thing you make it out to be.

      Shame on whoever "severly punished" their child for wiggling during church. Shame on anyone for using threat of excommunication or exclusion from the family as a means to coerce behavior. It is in direct violation of the church's teachings against "unrighteous dominion."

      But not all of us who raise our kids as Mormons are using those methods. In fact, I can't think of anyone among my peer group of Mormons-with-young-kids who does.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Kelly

    As a life-long member of the LDS Church, I quit going to church because of the conduct of the Church during the Prop 8 fight. What the Church did was wrong and in my opinion illegal use of their tax exempt status. I was so surprised to view the video from the BYU students and so excited to see the changes that are starting to happen. I have waited a very long time for the Church to embrace being Christ-like to EVERYONE not just straight people. I might be thinking of going back to church now.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Michael

      Kelly - I hope you're sincere in your statement. And I hope you'll be patient when you encounter church members who will be slower to adapt to the cultural changes indicated in this article. Every church I'm familiar with is slow to change, but (although some find it a point to criticize), history shows that Mormons are fully capable of making major changes in church culture, given enough time.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • catholic now and happy

      All I can say is WTH what happened to thier doctrine of the gospel is the same today yesterday and forever. I can tell you this much Gay leadership in the mormon faith is alive and well in Missouri. HYPOCRITS THAT IS WHY I LEFT. Change when its politically convenient for them otherwise screw the people who are different. I AM STRAIGHT but geez this sure isn't the church I was raised in.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • xeno

      Michael–the problem is that you don't seem to have many members capable of determining right from wrong without having to be told. If the leadership changed because of the will of the people, that would be something to celebrate. That the will of the people is changing because the leadership told them to is just scary.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      so Kelly....you, um, come here often? lol

      April 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Michael

      xeno: So frustrated. I had a really nice (but probably too long) response typed up, and CNN lost it. Grrrr...

      Short response: Agreed that church members should not wait to be told what is right before doing it. This is backed up by LDS doctrine about "being anxiously engaged in a righteous cause" and "doing many good things of your own free will." Disagreed that Mormons wait for church leaders to change their minds before members change their own. When the Priesthood was extended to blacks in 1978, most of the people I've talked to remember stopping what they were doing to sit down and *cry*, so great was their relief that church policy had finally caught up to what they believed was true and right.

      And from the formation of the Relief Society to the fact that temple garments come in two pieces, the church has a long history of changes coming at the behest of rank-and-file members. Mormon culture doesn't lend itself to the kind of transparent, vitriolic demands for change that are seen in American politics, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. My leadership has been limited to the level of a single congregation, but I can attest that many decisions are made when an individual member steps up and says, "I think *this* is a better idea."

      April 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  4. AnnaR

    Frankly I don't care much about this article either way, but the people saying the Church is only doing this to help make Mitt Romney look better clearly have conveniently short memories. I believe they were supporting Prop 8 in California during his run for president in 2008.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Mormon Expert

    All they need for this to be cool (at least on paper) is to have the president (LDS) say he talked to God and God told him its all good from here out. They did the same thing with Polygamy and Minorities, either way actual Mormons wont be cool with gays just like they arent cool with minorities

    April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      well I don't care what they say on this issue, I'm not joining 'till the prophet says it's OK for me to get lit up every now and then. Those mormons have some HOT girls. Why can't God give the green light for an occasional kegger!! I'll join. I swear!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Michael

      There are racist, bigoted idiots in every subculture and organization. But your blanket statement that Mormons won't accept gays or minorities is just wrong. Please get to know some Mormons.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Grew up in Utah

      If God told the Prophet (president of the church) to say that, I'm sure he would. But if you think the Prophet makes this stuff up to appease the people, then you know nothing about us.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  6. alcoholiday

    The new shopping mall the LDS church just opened in Salt Lake has already been in the news for kicking people out for looking "too gay"

    http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/?p=2568731

    April 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Kat

      Awesome!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      Oh, man! So that's why my Rainbow Bar tenant application got denied....

      April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • xeno

      Thanks for posting this. The article is incredibly disturbing. If people are afraid of our civil rights being violated now, what will happen if the LDS church grows? We can be kicked out of grocery stores for bare shoulders? Truly scary.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  7. Qubee

    The gays are not fighting for "civil" rights, they are fighting for "uncivil" rights. That's where the problem is!

    April 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • fofo

      Very well said.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Howard

      Only a bigot would say something like that. A bigot or a Christian. Oh, wait. Same thing.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • lynne

      Qubee,
      working on the assumption that you are referring to marriage.... marriage, in this country, means tax, insurance and social security benefits, which last time I CHECKED were about as "civil" as rights get. These rights should be extended to everyone. Period.

      Howard – as a pro-civil rights Christian, I resent your statement. You are exactly as predjudiced and ignorant as they are, congrats.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Qubee

      moron!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • just sayin

      Mormons are not Christians. God bless!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      Mormons do the work of the Devil. God Bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • just sayin

      Mormons are no better or worse than any other people group, they are just not Christians. God bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • just sayin

      If you are not Christian then you do the work of the Devil. God Bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • just sayin

      Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn once in awhile. Mormons opposing qu-eer marriages is a good thing. God bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!~.!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Definitely proven

      April 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Definitely proven"

      You have definitely been proven a LIAR! You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • just sayin

      The issue with fake Jesus is that fake Jesus is contesting the answers to prayer not the life changing act of prayer itself. No one can be responsible for the lack of understanding and emotional immaturity fake Jesus displays. It is apparent that fake Jesus hates God and prayer but the Truth is prayer changes things.Fake Jesus inability to see the answers is a problem fake Jesus will have to deal with itself. God bless

      April 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • just sayin

      Praying gets me wet for Jesus. God Bless!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  9. Qubee

    Both religion and being gay are sicknesses. The first one is an untreated "delusional disorder" and the second one is a brain pathology.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Shocked

      WOW! An atheists but not gay, amzing!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  10. flip flop

    Mormons were pro bigomy, then changed their minds. They would not allow black or dark skinned people to hold "callings" or the the magical "preisthood" power, but eventually changed their minds on that too. Now they are realizing their "revelations from God" that dictate their policies on yet another issue were wrong again. Oops. Sorry.
    Either the mormon phone lines to the big man upstairs are staticy and bad, or their God just likes to mess with them.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Michael

      In Christianity, the word for recognizing your faults, sins and weaknesses, and changing them, is "repentance." It's a *good* thing.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  11. fofo

    I will not trust the Mormons unless Mitt Romney comes out of the closet as well.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  12. When Worlds Collide

    All I can say is, "Hypocrasy! I don't believe it." I don't think that any time soon we will be seeing a glossy TV ad saying. " This is my story, I'm Billy, I'm gay and I'm a Mormon."

    April 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  13. reason

    It is fun to watch religious morality bend with culture norms. It has done this throughout history since its inception. Religious morality is purey subjective. Pick and choose scripture, "pray," and interpret as you see fit.

    Wouldn't you think that if a religion was true that their moral code would stay the same even as society progresses?

    April 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Qubee

      Does a pig wallow in the mud?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • reason

      The evolution of religion continues. It must in order to stay relevant. According to Pew Research the majority of Americans now accept evolution as true, and have watered down their creationist fairytale to be a story not to be taken literally.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Qubee

    Do they accept people with other mental or physical deficiencies, like people with hare-lips?

    April 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      What does mental and physical deficiency have to do with hom.ose.xuals?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  15. John

    Nothing is changing other than people's understanding of the stance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church's stance has not changed at all, but both members of the Church and those who are not members are starting to understand the difference between traditional marriage and gay rights.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • flip flop

      ok. and I suppose nothing changed in 1904 or 1978? If you don't know your own religion's history I understand, because they don't teach you this in Preists quorum but 1904 is when they reversed position on polygamy, and 1978 is when they reversed position on black men holding the priesthood.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  16. Weep Spud

    Wow, so much name calling and sniping and alternate lifestyle acceptance. What little respect I had for the Mormon organization is now gone. Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. The last days are upon us and everyone is taking their sides. If you want to think a gay lifestyle is pleasing to God, that is your right but be warned, the great tribulation is coming and you don't want to be on the wrong side. You can live however you want now. Soon, you will be judged. It don't matter what I do, I say, or even i think, this modern world is polarizing for a reason. You might think it is a higher level of intelligence and progress, all this social repositioning, but you are in the separating work. You are choosing your side now. Please reconsider, a gay lifestyle does not honor your grand creator. Bloggers will respond to my post with hate, name calling, etc., judge them by their words, they are a hateful bunch because they want their lifestyle to be accepted.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      Frankly, if God was real I think I'd prefer to go to hell with all the smart, free, reasonable people. Spending eternity with folks like Weep would be my idea of hell. Think about it.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Weep Spud

      Why would you think a loving god burns people in hell? That is the biggest lie told from false religion.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • reason

      Funny video on this topic:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2bpc7LSRZc&w=640&h=390]

      April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • sam

      true!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Andy

      Sodom and Gomorrah... Why do you put so much stock in a story that wasn't about consentual same gender relationships and where the supposedly moral guy (Lot) offered his daughters?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Kat

      Jim #2
      "Absurd even by the standards of religion?" Wow. It's hard to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet but many Christians have no problem believing Jonah lived in a whale and Noah built an arch? I'm sorry, but you have no room to talk about what is "absurd" buddy! !

      April 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • sam

      True Weep Spud

      April 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      "Why would you think a loving god burns people in hell"

      Weren't you the one just threatening us all with your imaginary friend's judgement?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Weep Spud

      Reason: That video was hilarious! Thanks. I had a good laugh. If you are serious about the answers to those questions, send a mail to estateofken@yahoo.com. You were reasoning on false christian religious doctrines. I'm not a hateful one.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      They who loves the sin and sinning without being rationed in the wholesomeness of fruited fidelities of common goodnesses' sakes are living in lies and lying to others most boastfully and in boasting outwardly they do spread their nets upon those searching for peers of willingness by people/humanists who just want to show themselves off! Humble and meek are those who all the hoods of man, woman and child declare there to be a God of absolute spremecies far beyond anyone's comprehensives of devotionalized umbrages! Let Go and leave God the hell alone for Christs' sakes!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Weep Spud

      Pipe Dreamer you got some serious word smithing skills. Kinda like a religious/historian/atheist expert. I am under your spell oh great reasoning one : )

      April 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  17. Pipe-Dreamer

    To Hell with genitalia that swoons and bemoans! Screw those who need to be ratcheted down in moments of adjudged needlessness sakes! Rise up ye atheists and stand for the discreditations of humanisms worldwide! Give not to the True redeemer of the all souls' spiritedness sakes! Let Go! Let God the hell alone for Christ's sakes!

    April 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  18. Bob

    That's the Mormon church morphing itself again to serve its own purposes. A long time ago they claimed that polyigomy was sanctioned by divine revelation to Joe Smith. Of course, that caused the male population of their church to grow substantially and the overall numbers to increase by "multiplication." But then, once the US Government told Utah that it could not become a state as long as polyigomy was legal, they mysteriously received another divine revelation that God no longer wanted them to practice polyigamy. It's whatever suits their purpose at the moment. And why? It's because the Mormon church is a false church founded by a false prophet and continued by false prophets. There is no truth in them; none at all.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Steve

      No truth, Bob? Really? That seems kind of strange. Every religion has SOME truth to it. But since you are so sure just the Mormon faith is 100% false, I guess we all just take your word for it. No need to find out anything about it for ourselves then.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • toad

      only a very small percentage of Mormans practiced poligamy

      April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Michael

      How is it a bad thing for a church to make positive changes in response to social or political pressure? Would the historical Christian church in the U.S. have changed its position on the women's right to vote if it hadn't become a political issue? Would Peter have opened up preaching of Christianity to non-Jews if Roman leaders hadn't come knocking on his door to hear the word?

      And if you're not religious, then there's *certainly* nothing wrong with an organization changing its policy based on increased understanding of the social environment. In fact, to act otherwise would be considered irrational by many.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bob

      Well, the devil might also give you some truth, but his truth is like a glass of Coca Cola, with just enough poisen to kill. But the Mormon church isn't even that good. As for all religions having some truth, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." That's prettey exclusive.

      Toad, the percentage of Mormons currently practicing polyigomy has nothing to do with my point. Aren't you a good reader.

      Michael, what you're saying is man's perspective and not God's. If we learn that we are wrong, that is one thing. But God is never wrong, nor does He ever change. God Himself has said in His word that His truth never changes and people are severely rebuked throughout the Bible for suggesting the same thing as you.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Michael

      Bob: I fully agree. God is never wrong. But policies within God's church have always adapted and changed with the times. If you've read the Old Testament, you'll agree that's a good thing.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  19. Erin Christ

    If you want perfect fear, then go ahead and allow gays to enter the mormon church. Nothing like gays with pistols entering a birthing community and striking fear into the hearts of virgins.

    If you really need an explanation, you haven't done your homework after all.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Jim

    I am Mormon and finding the Church of Jesus Chirst of Latter Day Saints Church was the best thing that ever happened in my life. It's totally Christian. I have tried many faiths before finding the Mormon missioanries in 2001. Easily the most complete gospel in the world.
    I've put it to the test. I've read the book of mormon and the bible. I know they work hand in hand together as modern day scripture. People make fun of the LDS church and don't even go to it or read some of the book of mormon.
    Evil is true too unfortunately...and evil doesn't want people to find the truth. Hence Christ being murdered same with Joseph Smith and many other prophets before.
    I know it's the true church on the earth. I'd even put my life on it to defend it just like they did.
    Trust me folks do yourself a favor and check it out and doubt listen to skeptics. Listen to your heart.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Steve

      I did follow my heart, which is why I left after 30+ years of devoted membership that included serving a mission, a temple marriage and frequent temple attendance. My eyes were opened at the age of 40.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bob

      Sadly, they deceived you too. (Sorry to burst your bubble.) I know someone who was a Mormon for years and then left it once she discovered that she was being deceived. How did she figure it out? She came across a verse where Jesus Christ himself was correcting the Sadducees saying, “you know not the scriptures… in heaven they are NEITHER married nor given in marriage.” That’s the Lord Christ Himself. Yet, the Mormons teach that you are married in heaven and that the only way for a woman to attain to the best level of heaven is to marry a Mormon man. It’s a clear and damnable heresy. The fact is, the Mormons can’t answer this. This lady asked her Mormon “bishop” and he simply did not have an answer. She was a member for decades but he just let her go. Why? It was because he knew that he could not answer her because she was right.

      I've talked to Mormons. Whenever you ask them a specific question of the Bible that would make it clear that they are not, in fact Christian, they side step it. Why? It's because they CAN'T answer it without revealing that they are in error. Make no mistake, the Mormon church is a cult. It's cult with very persuasive and deceitful leaders, but it's a damnable cult nevertheless.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Lion

      Nice comments Jim

      April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Lion

      Bob, you know the Bible has been changed in history. I've read that too and leave it to the many going around in circles that happens in the scriptures.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jim

      Hey Jim,

      I hate to say it but you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. You have no evidence whatsoever that mormonism is true. Additionally, it's founding story is absurd even by the standards of religion.

      If you have any evidence that Joseph Smith was anything other than a liar who wanted many wives, please provide it. Otherwise, please leave the rest of us who actually use our brains alone

      Thanks
      -Jim #2

      April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.