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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. Pipe-Dreamer

    The "ways of the world" are for the worldly! The ways of the One are not for the worldlly and their ways! As One does make settlements with the "Only-One", (the God of Celestial Creationisms), peace with be bred from within the insides of One's Body, the True church'd Buildings of God, the Only-One! These worldly ways of "oppressivisms" weigh heavily upon the yolked! For, to lighten one's yolk of bondages turn in your heavily weights of immoralities for a lighter yolk of believabilities in God1 Do not risk your soul in the crankiness of others' words whose contemptuousness does lay in the riddlings rattles of "boisterisms" in unholy verbalisms untruths!

    April 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Davy

      ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Jimmy

      I'm just wondering if CNN posted this nonsense with a straight face?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Our bodies being Gods' buildings is a scriptured Truth! Deny it not!

      April 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Elaine

      Let's see. They spent $20 million to thwart the lives of gay Americans in California and now it seems they are spending just as much on propaganda pieces to get their integrity back. That CNN would print this mess is a mystery to all self respecting gay Americans. Gays can be very forgiving and completely understand half measures and piecemeal legislation on their behalf, but blatant charlatanism coming from the Mormon church is one thing they won't be buying for generations to come.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Paul

      So the moral of the story is that the Mormons not only offended gay Americans, they offended friends and family of gay Americans and alienated millions from their Mormon religion. I view this story as a failed face saving article that falls dead short of real acceptance of gay Americans. It is really quite pitiful that the public relations arm of the church is stumbling all over themselves trying to gain back the cracked window of acceptance that the Mormons had up until 2009 when their true colors shined brightly while funding anti gay measures in California. You would think that this group of people who have struggled so hard for acceptance from mainstream Christianity would know a thing or two about wholesale marginalization. But history teaches few people anything at all. I'm disgusted with this story.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Everegister

      This story is wildly insane. I'm still laughing. Who are the Mormons trying to kid? God? Because gays won't be buying into this.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Rene

      Gays are some of the most disproportionately higher educated people on Earth and will be able to see right through this faux public relations offering.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  2. Hugo Fuego

    Did anyone see an actual official church statement that would affect the way the church views h0m0.se*uals? ALL of this is based on an article from CNN which not once references speaking with an actual official of the church speaking on behalf of the church and not speaking for themselves. If the church membership takes a "softer" stance on h0m0.se*uals as a group and h0m0.se*uals' rights then great. H0m0.se*uals shouldn't be treated any differently than anyone else whose lifestyle does not correlate with the teachings of the church. Simply put you cannot expect to be found in good standing with the church if you do not abide by its doctrine.
    Just a note: The church does not tolerate out of wedlock se*ual relations for anyone – regardless of se*ual preference. If you are honest and admit to having premarital se* you will lose the honor of holding a calling until your repentance process is complete. Rather the se*ual relationship h0m0se*ual or “normal”.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Virginia

      Who needs cold hard facts from the church when CNN will print Mormon propaganda without it.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Hugo Fuego

      VIRGINIA – Are you actually implying that CNN is at some level Pro-Mormon. Virtually every article I have ever read on CNN (including this one) related to the Mormon Church has just enough truth in it to confuse non-Mormons with stuff CNN simply makes up or intentionally misrepresents.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  3. JD

    GAYS, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. The Mormons are 'softening' just so they can get Romney elected.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • FrayedJeff

      Agree 100%

      I'm gay, I live in Utah, and I was going to say the same thing.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Michael

      What would be accomplished by this? Let's say that the Mormon church really does dream of a Mormon president. What possible thing could Romney do with the power of the presidency that would warrant the Mormon church bending over backward to see it happen?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Sarah

      @Michael Acceptance is their prize. The same thing that they would deny to gay families. A bit ironic- don't you think?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Michael

      Sarah: Thank you for a reasonable, non-sensational answer. (Mercy, there's too much craziness on this board today, don't you think?) And I agree with your point about irony. Which is why I applaud the steps - albeit baby steps - this article is describing.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Sarah

      These are not baby steps. These are not steps at all. The Mormons have not changed one single rule and have successfully helped to thwart the lives of thousands upon thousands of Californians.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Michael

      Sarah - You used to get yourself kicked out of BYU for saying you were gay. No longer. You used to get counseling services in the church to try to change your gender orientation. No longer (at least at BYU.) An openly gay man would never have served as a ward Executive Secretary (per this article, no longer.) The professor who held a forum for gay students at BYU to speak publicly about the difficulties they face as gay Mormons was sanctioned by the University. Never would have happened a few years ago.

      These are actual, tangible, meaningful rule changes, however small. :)

      April 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Michael

      Almost as importantly, they are indicators of significant *cultural* changes within the church, allowing gay-friendly members (like me) to voice their opinions without being verbally shot down by the people sitting next to them in church.

      (Yet I get shot down frequently by gay right supporters on these boards. Another irony?)

      Here's a third: Mormons have also been, historically, the victims of prejudice and bigotry, and remain so today. But if I read of, for example, an Evangelical minister softening his position against Mormonism in the slightest of ways, I rejoice - even if he continues to call me a cultist.

      Baby steps! I think you underrate them. :-)

      April 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Sarah

      Michael. You are either Mormon or a paid consultant of the public relations department of the Mormon church. What BYU does concerning rules for a small group of gay people on their campus does not have any meaning whatsoever to the wider world of gay rights struggles that the Mormon church has actively and without reservation moved to thwart. You are delusional to think some p-ss ant policy at BYU will change the Mormon zebra stripes concerning the outside world.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Sarah

      If Mormons have had so much discrimination pointed toward them, then you think they would have learned a thing or two about the subject and would have learned to live and let live. My opinion is that they don't know what discrimination is. They have always had the right to practice their religion and they have always had the right to downplay the human worth of gay Americans. A practice that they wholeheartedly embraced.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Sarah

      And gays weren't free to be lawfully gay until 2003 with the Texas vs. Lawrence case. So you see, gays have a lot of work to do to catch up with the vile diatribes that have been fielded against them for multiple generations by Mormons and Christians.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • J.W

      There must be a lot of gay mormons though because Salt Lake City is the world's gayest city.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  4. seriously

    If you follow man's standards, they keep on changing. If you follow the Lord, he is the same, yesterday, today, and always. Regardless of what the media writes, regardless of Hollywood and Jerry Seinfield, It is not OK. I keep my personal matters PRIVATE. Wish they would too, but there's an agenda here isn't there?
    If you want to know what the Mormon church thinks on any topic, go to http://www.mormon.org.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • thebarrel9

      translation:Hollywood and Jerry Seinfeld = Jews

      April 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Candy

      Take your family photos off of your desk and I will too. Don't talk about what you did this past weekend with your family at the water fountain and I will not talk about my family. Don't share the information that your daughter is valedictorian of her school and I won't share information about my deaf son hearing his first sound. Is this what you mean by PRIVATE? If I can't tell you about what gives meaning to life to me than I expect you to shut your trap also.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      " If you follow the Lord, he is the same, yesterday, today, and always. "
      I'm confused. Is polygamy okay or not? LDS once said it was okay, but now says it's not. So either God changed his mind or LDS had it wrong. Which?
      Ditto for African Americans?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • just sayin

      Mormons do not follow God they are not Christians. God bless

      April 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • GodPot

      "If you follow the Lord, he is the same, yesterday, today, and always." Right, thats why the bible is so consistent with him ordering the invasion of foreign cities where the women and children are put to death and then he's turning the other cheek and telling them to turn their swords into plowshears, or claiming the jewish people as his people and then apparently throwing them out of some Roman usurpers of their religion. If he is so unchanging then why havn't you Christians started stoning to death your disobedient children? Why do you eat shellfish and pork? Are you treating your slaves well? Just get off your high horse already, your religion is outdated and irrelevant.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • ScottO

      God doesn't change? Why did he change his mind on blacks holding the priesthood in 1978?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • heguido

      ScottO,
      Being black was never a sin.
      We always knew that some day they would recieve the prieshood, and we all became very glad when it finally happened.
      In this case, it is a sin, and one that attacks the core of the very purpose of this life. That's not going to change, no matter how "socially acceptable" it becomes.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Sam

      @heguido Maybe gays are Gods natural birth control to equalize the outrageous number of children that Mormons bring into the world. If the whole world did this we would be depleted of natural resources in no time. This God will provide mantra doesn't work. Go to Africa and see that God doesn't always provide. Building large heavenly families on Earth to regroup with in heaven will accelerate that regrouping when the world belches 7 billion people and counting.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  5. xeno

    I find it interesting that LDS consider gay a choice, as they consider religion a choice. Please. These kids are indoctrinated to an impressive degree from birth to believe in the Mormon religion. The church will even highjack public events to make them more Mormon. An incredible amount of energy and punishment is put into getting these children to "choose" the mormon religion. Yet, when it comes to someone that is gay, they are not sent to gay school three times a week. They just are. I would be willing to bet that a higher percentage of indoctrinated mormons choose to leave their religion than gay people choose to not be gay. Religion is a choice. Gay is not.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • James

      You can put fake lipstick on a mormon sow but it is still a sow and will never be eligible for a beauty contest.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Argle Bargle

      Religion is not a choice. We're born that way.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Michael

      Just to update your facts: The Mormon church no longer teaches that same-gender attraction is a choice.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes, religion is a choice, but belief is not.. A person believes what she is compelled to believe.. You will believe that gravity exists no matter how many times someone says you can fly.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • reason

      Religion should not be a protected class. They are beliefs just like any other beliefs people hold.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  6. Herman the Kid

    More gay friendly? Like that when the church spent seven figures to oppose Prop8? Or how about last General Conference when Boyd Packer called gays an abomination?

    The LDS PR wing is just as skilled at revisionism as the priesthood is with the doctrine.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Michael

      I think the point of this is that Mormons are being viewed, by some, as more gay friendly, *since* Proposition 8. It's the contrast with Proposition 8 that makes it interesting.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Mj

    FYI – This article was paid for by Mitt Romney's super pact.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  8. thebarrel9

    Any LDS/mormon ad you see on TV, in print, or on a billboard is to soothe you into the idea that Mitt Romney is going to be just another president. I lived in Utah for a year and was amazed at how sanitized a place can become to comfort the people that inhabit the region. (try to find a city with a spanish name, in what used to be mexican territory) Romney will destroy freedom and call you a terrorist if you get in his way. It has worked since the dawn of nationalism.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Hugo Fuego

      Are you suggesting that there were cities with Spanish names which were changed after the arrival of the Mormons in Utah? Which ones?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Michael

      Can you provide any evidence to back up your claim that Romney will destroy freedom and/or label you a terrorist?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  9. Pipe-Dreamer

    Stand up all of you! Stand up for that which one believes is righteously moral and ever kneel toward that which is sinful in order to know and acknowldge the differences!

    April 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Not A Mormon, but Gay

    The only reason this manipulative article could be written is because the Mormons want Mitt Romney elected President... and I guess they think if the can bring in some gay votes, they might can do it. All the Mormon's I know and don't know (but have talked to) believe gay people are lost... and they will do anything to block gay marriage and help a gay lifestyle. Heads up, gay people!

    April 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Joshua

      Don't worry, I am a former mormon and I am gay, trust me, people are not buying into this garbage.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to try to legitimize their dirty disgusting lifestyle. When you see the word gay think qu-eer or fa-ggot or pillow biter. There is nothing "gay" about ho mo se xuality.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Erica

      This is a propaganda piece of the highest order. Mormons soften but the rules don't? Which is it? Are they down with inalienable rights or not? Are they O.K. with human and civil rights for all Americans or are they not? They answer is emphatically NOT. Gay Americans know piecemeal legislation, baby steps rights, half measures and incremental equality under the law when they so it, so this propaganda piece is blatant window dressing of a very secretive and insular religious group.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh look the idiot troll pervert alert is back. One would think he protest to much.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • pervert alert

      That would be "too" much you illiterate moron. Try proof reading your posts instead of kissing qu-eer butt.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • .....

      "Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to try to legitimize their dirty disgusting lifestyle. When you see the word gay think qu-eer or fa-ggot or pillow biter"

      This poster is a troll on this site with anything having to do with gays. They've been told the REAL facts and continue to make hateful comments like this, it speaks volumes on their emotional maturity. Emotional Maturity is defined as: the ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @pervert alert

      Hmmmm. Going after my grammar, what an amazingly insightful response you have there. How about this. You are a completely irrational, hateful, sad excuse for a human being. You give the word "Human" a bad name through your complete disregard for the lives of others, and if you were to disappear tomorrow, I would seriously wonder if anyone would care.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Truth ain't hate.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Right back at ya, ya illiterate moron.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      What a surprise, nothing new at all to say from the bigoted hatemonger known as pervert alert.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Truth is not hate. Is truth hate in Hawaii?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      You don't type the truth, you type hate messages against those you disagree with. Where is your proof in your assertion that the ward gay was "stolen" by the hom.ose.xual community in an attempt to legitamize their lifestyle?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Hawaii you got me convinced you are that bad off.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      A completely nonsensical comment that in no way addresses the point I made. I'm done with this conversation, have fun with your hate filled diatribes.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • pervert alert

      You don't like it but truth still is not hate.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Hugo Fuego

      Hey Hawaiiguest (or anyone else) – Why is the word hom.os.exual not even allowed on this site if it is truly seen as completely synonymous with gay?

      April 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Why is the word hom.os.exual not even allowed on this site if it is truly seen as completely synonymous with gay?"

      Prejudice bigots will try and use it as an insult and not in it's correct context, tell you a lot about our society now doesn't it.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "You don't like it but truth still is not hate."

      You don't know the truth, that's the point.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Hugo

      Automatic word filter will catch both Hom.o (because it is seen as a generally insulting word when used alone and in the context most associated) and se.x (because for some reason I guess some people would find it offensive). Hom.o I understand, but se.x just seems silly. The censorship in this country is just plain ridiculous sometimes.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 17, 2012 at 4:25 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 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Kenney Texas

      An Atheist is someone that does not believe in god. You said, "other living things"? Since when do they believe in or not in a god? My dog could care less about a god. Atheist can make great parents! However, religious fanatics can be very abusive parents. So, what are you saying? It's not healthy to tell your children that Santa Claus, ghost, goblins, gods, and devils are just myths? Should we tell our children that if they wear mixed fabrics, eat shellfish, or shave they well burn in hell? What gods do we choose for our children? Yours, right ? It's all you know. You were told this as a child and I forgive you. Just stay out of my way and stay away from my children.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Sounds like your dog better think about where he is going in the next life.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:13 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 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  13. sam

    Weep Spud how is this true?

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

    April 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  14. Kat

    Toad, only a small percentage of Mormon's practiced polygamy...but several cultures today still do...not to mention it was practiced in the Old Testament...but Christians don't want to talk about that...they just want to blame the evil Mormon cult for engaging in such yucky behavior!

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

      While many of the Israelites practiced polygamy, I am pretty sure (read: completely) that this behavior was tolerated, not condoned by their god. The Bible is merely a 'historical' account of man's existance and to be any sort of 'truth' it can not hide any of the ugly details or 'sins' that man became mired in. Reporting that something happened is not the same thing as supporting it. Having many wives might have been about survival or status.

      Jesus defined marriage as between one man and one woman (ie, man shall leave his family and cleave to his wife, becoming as one flesh). That is what modern (read: uncompromising) 'Christians' stick to and still believe.

      April 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  15. 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.

    It is fun to watch religious morality bend to the culture norms of a society starting to rely on reason instead of superstition. It has done this throughout history since its inception. Religious morality is purely subjective. Pick and choose scripture, "pray," and reinterpret 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 4:18 pm |
    • Michael

      Nope. If a religion were true, I would think it would be based on fundamentally true core principles, the application of which would be adapted to the changing needs of its members and the ever-increasing human knowledge base.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • reason

      I would expect a god's moral code to be timeless if true.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • hank

      Not really following your argument here. If by "creationist" you mean "Young Earth Creationists" you might have a point. But theism and evolution are in no way mutually exclusive.

      Of course God's moral code is timeless. In the atheistic world, there are no objective moral values. It's all relativism.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      If god's moral code is timeless (I'll assume your speaking about the god of the "bible") then why aren't you out owning slaves, stoning gays, unruly children, adulterers, actually it would be anyone that would disagree with you. Your god is one of the most immoral book characters of all time.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Michael

      Agreed on the moral code being timeless. But a religion is more than just a moral code. It is a culture, an organization, a community, a set of unwritten expectations as well as written doctrines, and a set of interpretations of those doctrines. The changes this article is talking about has to do with culture and interpretation - all that extra scaffolding that human beings put up any time you get more than one in a room.

      This article has to do with changing culture and doctrinal interpretation within the Mormon church. Not the changing of any particular underlying moral code.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • reason

      All religious morality is subjective based on individuals' interpretations of their scripture, perception of prayer and other material and experiences. Every religious interpretation is up for debate and speculation.

      Religion offers no objective morality.

      The only path to any objective morality is reason, as logic is the only universal.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • hank

      from the atheist viewpoint, morality doesn't exist. none of those things are really wrong. it's all relative. so, your point is invalid.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • hank

      by what reasoning do we know that an act is "immoral?" who is to say that human murder is any worse than a bear "murdering" a salmon in the river? please explain that.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Believer in Jesus as my Savior

      @HawaiiGuest – God's moral code doesn't change. The punishment might change in the short-term but that doesn't affect the moral itself.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And where did it say in your holy book that the punishment changed? In the New Testament Jesus says the the Old Testament laws still applied.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Kenney Texas

      @Hank
      Wrong!
      Atheist is someone that does not believe in A GOD! It has nothing to do with ethics, laws, compassion, love. You don't have to believe in a god or gods to live peacefully and follow rules and laws of society. If you need a god to keep you from murdering people you keep on believing!!! But, you should seek out a perfessional as soon as possible to examine why you would kill without a god.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • hank

      of course it has to do with those things. without an objective foundation, morals are simply social constructs. and of course an atheist can live a moral life. that's not the point, the point is without a God there is no one to say that murder is morally wrong. it might not be societally advantageous, but there is nothing "evil" about it. just as there is nothing evil about a lion killing a zebra.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Kenney Texas

      @Hank
      We know murder is wrong because we don't want to be murdered. That could be part of the foundation that we start with. We are a social species that rely on each other to survive. It's not in our advantage to kill one another. It's easy for religion to say that it's wrong to kill and to say a god commands it. We kill animals for food and that's a big difference from killing people. We don't need a story of a mythical god to give us that foundation. That's just flat out wrong! I think most people would fear prison more than a god to keep them from killing. It's not illegal to wear mix fibers, eat shellfish, shave, but the Christian god forbids it. So, the god foundation theory doesn't hold up.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Kenney Texas

      @hank
      One more thing! You say, "without god to tell us it's wrong to kill their would be no one to tell us". Society tells us that it's wrong. Society, being a group of people working together collectively. More to the point, people wrote the bible and everything that's ever been written. They decided that it was important to say it's wrong. A person has told YOU that it's wrong to murder! Or, did you hear a booming voice in your head that said, "Hank! Don't kill other people". If you did you better check yourself in before you hear a voice that tells you to kill. You know you've never heard a god or gods tell you something and you know their aren't any ghost or goblins. Why do people lie to themselves? Fear of death or being alone?

      April 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Steve

      Kenney,
      You've proven my point. With the atheist worldview, morals are just socially relative. Just as you say Murder is wrong because "society tells us its wrong". What if society said it was right? Would it be okay then? Was slavery right since some societies said it was okay? According to your argument, yes it was. And if some society said sacrificing children was right, then it would be also right according this to view. Which all confirms that without God, there are no objective moral values. We are stuck with relativism where anything goes.

      So few atheists truly have the courage to embrace what they believe.

      April 18, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  16. Ken

    Grow up people. God is a concept that man invented to control the masses with fear. I prefer science and logic to stories made up centuries ago.

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

      The question of God is a philosophical one, not a scientific one.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  17. ART

    Stupid Mormons

    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  18. Bob

    What's so sad is that the ignorant are able to state their case along with the learned. The only thing this comment post proves is that the world is filled with ignorance and foolishness. It's so sad, but that is why the country is going to be bankrupt in a couple of years and we will be throuwn on the ash heep of history... and it is going to be very, very painful.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Kat

      Yeah...so vote for Mitt Romney!!!

      April 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • MikeinDallas

      Oh come on, Bob, it isn't that bad, quit being such a chicken Little....

      April 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  19. lily

    The LDS faith recognizes the need for equality, but it will never change its stance on gays. They love the sinner and hate the sin. End of story. If anyone out there thinks that they will fully "change" their stance, they are just full of hot air.

    I don't know why the news keeps on jumping on this. Just because Mitt is a Mormon. Who cares! The Church will not endorse his candidacy, just like they never have with anyone else. The LDS church does encourage its members to be politically active but never endorses a specific candidate.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "...[LDS] will never change its stance on gays."
      There's always hope. I mean they changed on polygamy, African-Americans, etc. when needed, so why not gays?

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

      Yes, Lily, I would be cautious with your firm opinion. Mormons (and Christians and Jews in general) have a history of believing that their current interpretation of doctrine is "correct" and will never change. When it does, people who built their faith on those beliefs find themselves at odds with the church. From the 11th Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

      April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • hank

      i agree. this is a silly debate.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • D-rock

      well said... This article was based off of a few LDS member's opinions – not a stance of the church.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  20. heguido

    A former bishop has no authority to talk in the name of anyone but himself.
    I was once a "Branch President" (which is equivalent to bishops where there are no organized Stakes) and I did my best to help every kind of people, dealing with any kind of weaknesses, and to repent for any sort of sin. I made no distinction by "kind" of people, and I've never felt I had to apologize for the way I acted while holding that position. I've always tried to act with my fellow brethren in the way that Jesus would, and help them the same manner I am also helped by others. If this former bishop feels like he needs to apologize for something to someone must be because he, and only he, did something wrong.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • GodPot

      "I did my best to help every kind of people, dealing with any kind of weaknesses, and to repent for any sort of sin." And you think that "helping" people understand that the feelings they feel toward members of their same gender are weaknesses and sin's that need to be overcome is how you show your love. Much like teachers in the past who would lovingly work with their left handed students so they could learn how to write right? Oh, so caring of you.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • heguido

      I would never help someone hurt himself. No matter how much he wants to. I have my own weaknesses, and I fight against them, since I know they hurt me if I don't. I don't "define" myself for my weaknesses. If you feel atracted to someone of your same gender, I will do my best to help you deal with it, but I will never help you call "gay" yourself.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • GodPot

      Thats fine, you can go sit in your self-righteous corner by yourself then and the rest of us will help those who need help by telling them they are not wicked, they are not evil, they are not sinners just by being born that way. Only the truly ignorant will choose to ignore all the facts and hold their sick and twisted ideology of hate to their hearts. I just hope you do no further damage to young impressionable minds.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • heguido

      I'm sorry you are so sad.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • GodPot

      Yes, I am saddened by your ignorance and hate.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • heguido

      Why don't you ask, sincerely, to yourself why you are in so much pain? It is obvious that you are suffering...
      Maybe if you ask God for help you can begin the healing process that you need.
      It works for me.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • GodPot

      " It is obvious that you are suffering..." The only suffering I do is when I read the hate spewed from the mouths of the self-proclaimed righteous. And btw, I am not gay, and I have strong s.exual desires for women, thankfully I was able to marry one and live happily with my wife and three year old daughter, I just hate seeing your type of snide self-righteous dismissal of other people and I think those people should be given the same right as I did which was to follow my hearts desire and have a relationship with a person I was s.exually attracted to.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:19 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.