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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. Jeff

    An interesting perspective on Mormonism in the post-Proposition 8 world. Based upon a number of published reports, the LDS Church did not expect the backlash from the strong involvement by the church and its members in supporting Proposition 8. See http://www.prop8-lds.com.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Norman

      jeff-yes, mormons thought they coudl just gang up on gays and it woudl be cool-but Mormons are despised in this country-they are looked at as sinful and wicked and part of a cult-so teh backlash was immense-the silly Mormons thought they woudl ally themselves with christians and be "part of teh cool kids", but they failed-they will never be accepted and they will never be POTUS

      April 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  2. GodPot

    Zeus & Baal have the same power in their penis tips than your God has in all of his heavens. The reason why is simple, none of them actually exist, so you have been hating your brothers and sisters of humanity for nothing more than the euphoric warm fuzzy feeling of thinking you are right just before you die and never get to find out it was all a lie to separate you and your money, but then again, you know what they say about fools and their money.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  3. J.W

    I think there should be a holiday in which everyone changes s.exual orientation for a day.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      go to new orleans for marti gras bro...that scene is pretty close to what you're talking about lol

      April 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  4. Steve

    This drives me crazy as a Mormon. We DO NOT hate gay people, we hate sin in all its forms. It doesn't matter who you are, we respect you as one of God's children, period. I have several gay friends, I don't sit there and tell them I hate them or think they are going to hell. I don't agree with what they do any more than I would agree with any other sin but I certainly don't hate them.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      steve: how can it be a sin if it is not a choice?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      do you tell your buddies it's OK to have those impure thoughts as long as they don't act on them LOL ?? And they still consider you a friend? C'mon, you're splitting hairs when you say you have gay friends but you think it's a sin. Basically you're saying they will go to hell, right? Oh, yeah, but you love them as God's children so it's OK....God's Hell-bound children LOL

      April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Steve

      There is always a choice. If I have an insatiable desire to steal, does that make it ok to do so? Don't get me wrong, I understand that having those desires is a hard thing, a very hard thing. But I also think that God provides a way to overcome any problem we have if we turn to him. He promises to lighten our load and I know that he comes through on his promises.

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

      If you knew about Mormonism you would know that we don't condemn anyone to hell, its not our place to judge, it is God's.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      Um, you have a desire to steal? An insatiable desire, no less...alrighty then. Are your gay friends aware of this when they have you over?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Erik

      "There is always a choice."

      Being gay is not a choice. I hate to burst any bubbles, but science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

      This is not an issue in dispute. According to modern science: baby, you were born this way.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      Do these other sins of which you speak include not slaughtering your family members for worshiping the wrong god?

      Or do Mormons not believe in Leviticus?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • heguido

      You can't choose your weaknesses, but you can choose to yield to them. A person with same-gender atraction weakness is no different to a person leaned to adultery, or any other weakness. As a matter of fact, we all have our own weaknesses. The problem is when we "define" ourselves by them. Nobody is "gay", like nobody is an "adulter", unless he chooses to be one.

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

      "Or do Mormons not believe in Leviticus?" They do what every other religion based on the bible does, pick and choose the parts they like that fit well for them and make excuses as to why the other parts don't apply. That along with writing a new holy book in direct contradiction to the bible that gives them special privileges which is always very convenient for people wanting to seize power for themselves. They are charletans and hyprocrites feeding off the weak and mentally infirm.

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

      Well said, I agree completely.

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

      "The problem is when we "define" ourselves by them. Nobody is "gay", like nobody is an "adulter", unless he chooses to be one."

      Typical prejudice brainwashed B-S – the experts in psychology around the world disagree with you which is why our laws are changing. So by your narrow minded view you want to deny gays and lesbians loving, respectful partnerships, the same thing you are entitled too because you want to validate your bigotry.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • heguido

      Sorry,

      I stop reading when I read "brainwashed", since the argument becomes an ad hominem fallacy.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Nobody is "gay", like nobody is an "adulter", unless he chooses to be one." Right, and nobody is left handed either, it's a choice!! Just learn to write with the right hand you vile creatures of darkness who would dare to be born that way!!

      You will notice, you uneducated buffoon, that the word "Gay" does not mean a person has engaged in any se.xual behavior at all, it is simply "of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct s.exual desire toward another of the same s.ex".

      April 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • GodPot

      adulterer: "a person who has committed adultery"

      See the difference you small minded charlatan?

      April 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • heguido

      This uneducated buffoon had answered to you before about this very same issue.
      Please, read that answer.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      I read your answers along with many others, in fact I regugitated the same lies when I was a Christian minister, and it's always the same. "I'm special because my book tell's me so and people are sinners who will burn for eternity if they give in to the desires they were born with and have no other outlet than to be in a gay relationship with another consenting adult, it's just too bad they were born that way and regardless of what science says, i'm sticking to my book, except when it's proven false or inconvenient for me personally."

      April 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • WendyD

      I just want to say BRAVO to Erik from Norway for his eloquent response on the issue of "choice," the "gay gene," etc. I agree 100%.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "This uneducated buffoon had answered to you before about this very same issue.
      Please, read that answer."

      This is what prejudice bigots do they change the subject because they've been proven wrong by the experts around the world but they are such cowards they can't look in the mirror at their own hatred.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Don't get me wrong, I understand that having those desires is a hard thing, a very hard thing."

      Really? That explains a lot. Closet too confining.

      Also, you equate the consentual acts of two adults with stealing?

      You have a really messed up sense of right and wrong.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Norman

      steve-most people in the world think yorue following a cult. a made up religion that is false-no one cares what you believe

      April 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  5. Rebel4Christ

    Oh look another church giving into peer pressure and black mail.

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

      Stand your ground. That's right. Don't budge. After all Jesus is going to be right back isn't he?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      nominus: yep, jesus is comng aaaaaannnnnny time now.....(probably hit traffic)

      April 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      rebel: society changes, morality changes. get over it.

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

      Remember this is strictly the voice of CNN. Go to LDS.org for the real deal.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • mema

      Sam and thats why we should look to God always as not man. Because God does not change! What is sin today is sin tomorrow.

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

      @Thomas,
      To some extent I agree that the official version is with the church itself, but there is also something to be said for not trusting the "company line." Do you believe everything the Catholic Church says about its procedures for handling suspected abuse?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Louis E.

      Sam Stone,it a defining characteristic of morality that it CAN'T change,no matter who thinks it can.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Observer

      Rebel4Christ,

      Do you mean like in the Bible where it praised and didn't condemn King Solomon who had hundreds of wives and concublines?

      Do you mean like in the Bible where it supported slavery and never condemned it?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @mema,
      Unless, of course, there is a Temple in Jerusalem, right? Then you couldn't eat pork or shell fish, etc. or is that just Jews? But surely killing always wrong, unless is for adultery, or kids back-talking parents etc...

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

      Ever since they made slavery legal, it's been all downhill since there, hasn't it?

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

      (illegal), of course

      April 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      of course morality changes. do you think what you see as moral is the same as your great great grandparents did? that is 4 generations. consider the 100 or so generations since the bible was written.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      to believe otherwise is to deny the spiritual evolution of man by defining it as a iron age middle eastern agrarian society did

      April 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      //Sam and thats why we should look to God always as not man. Because God does not change! What is sin today is sin tomorrow.//

      hahahahahahahahahaha

      I would just like to point out that you're advocating societal stagnation over the *internet* via a *computer.*

      If this were 1950, you'd likely be considered a witch.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      magic jew: good post

      April 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. rotfogel

    Mormonism is by far one of, if not THE, most deranged religions there are. Joseph Smith, their founder, was a convict who wasn't really a good dude by any stretch...actually he was a really bad dude. Brigham Young allowed native Americans to be slaughtered in Utah and then tried to cover it up. Having said that, all the Mormon people that I know are very good people, I just can't believe they believe in what Joe Smith said, they don't need that kind of guy to direct how and what they believe (even if it is among the strangest beliefs in the world).

    April 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Thomas

      The doctrine of the church is absolutely sublime and nothing in this world can compare to it. We should all take very seriously the responsibility to educate ourselves more fully about the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. LDS.org
      No longer settle for the misconstrued media pet topics.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Grant

      Joseph Smith was not convicted of any crimes and the evidence proves that the church leadership had no involvement in the murders you are referring to but rather tried to prevent it.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • mormongirl123

      Our religion, like any other religion has it's downfalls, because it is a church controlled by men, and men will make mistakes. But the gospel in it's purest form, the form God intended it, is the truest gospel in exsistance.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I agree that Mormon beliefs run on the silly side, but whether or not Joseph Smith was a "convict" itself does not determine his goodness or badness, if such is possible, just whether violated a law. In other words, violating a "bad" law would make someone a "good" person, correct?

      That being said the whole story of Moroni, sear-stones, golden tablets, Jews migrating to America over 2000 years ago, etc. all seems rather ridiculous. At least other religions have the fog of time or the veil of antiquity to hide their oddities, no such luck for LDS.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • just sayin'

      No more or less deranged than believing a zombie moved a boulder out of his way.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "But the gospel in it's purest form, the form God intended it, is the truest gospel in exsistance"

      Exactly it's a gospel, it's been proven not to be an historical book but a religious one. Then when you factor in the theologians believe the book of John. That the word homosexual was added later by a prejudice scribe to Cor. It tells you one thing, it's a book written by men, edited by men and not as your god intended.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @mormongirl123,
      "... the gospel in it's purest form, the form God intended it, is the truest gospel in exsistance."
      If the church is fallible because it is 'of man' then how do you know that there is a true or pure form of the gospel is possible or that one exists or that you can tell which version it would be?

      April 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Norman

      just saying-dummy-the Mormons believe that too!!

      April 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  7. BostonRedSoxFan

    All that I can say is, glad that I live in Massachusetts!

    April 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  8. Bart

    How long did it take for them to allow Blacks among themselves...?

    Social Evolution takes a very long time.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Thomas

      The Church is Magnificent. The doctrine is sublime and we should all take a very serious effort to educate ourselves regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. Not being fed media pet topics.
      LDS.org

      April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "The Church is Magnificent. The doctrine is sublime "

      I sure hope that is a sarcastic remark, since religion has killed more people in human history.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Thomas is Delusional

      nuff said.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      bart: yep, but it does come

      April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Grant

      Blacks have always been allowed in the LDS church.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Thomas

      Check it out. LDS.org. It will take a few months probably. Watch a couple of the bible videos. I'm telling you. The media is not the place to find out about the church.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  9. Thomas

    It seems unwise to look to Sodom and Gomorrah as cultural role models. This article is misleading. These sins, which the church does not condone in any way, while still loving the individual, are the sins that bring the downfall of nations

    April 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Thomas

      we should be concerned for the state of the nation. How long can a people surrender to the god of self, hedonism, sensualism, and disbelief and still continue to prosper? These things that turn us to war, confusion, and selfishness. We are so in love with ipods and ridiculousness while the poor suffer. These things should not be. We just crossed the threshold of more babies are born to unmarried mothers than married. What is the rising generation raised in such wickedness to produce? Wake up. Wake up. The honest in heart know that wickedness is misery no matter how politically correct.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Who's looking to cities of questionable historicity as role models? Are gays not people, like everyone else? Who are you to say how to live ones life?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Thomas

      I am a thinking and concerned citizen and I have the power, as do all, to educate and to protect civilization. These are the things that bring down nations. Selfishness and relativism will end in misery. The honest in heart know that immorality is misery. Free choice used to mean giving oneself to a greater cause than all the all consuming god of self.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "It seems unwise to look to Sodom and Gomorrah as cultural role models."

      You mean by not taking care of those in need, surrounding yourself with wealth and greed. It even states what the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah were in Ezekiel and it had nothing to do with being gay!

      April 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      bring the downfalls of nations? are you kidding me? chicken little hyperbole

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

      Call it what you want. But do your spiritual homework. We don't take care of our poor either and one reason is that we love ourselves too much and our immorality. If a person is so busy trying to justify sin then he hasn't time to worry about the poor.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Thomas

      and Sam, the nation is already crumbling is it not? If anything the warning is not dire enough – anything but hyperbole.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      thomas: you are not a "thinking and concerned citizen" you are a paraniod jackal.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      thomas: that is exactly what it is. as far as the "spiritual homework" comment, how incredibly arrogant must you be to claim that your view of spirituality is any better than anyone else's. you should be heavily medicated

      April 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Thomas

      such invective is transparent but its ok. The public discourse is growing increasingly hateful and it too is a symptom of the state of our nation.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, tommy boy, how is the nation "crumbling"?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      Thomas: In that sense you are right. It is a symptom of the state of the nation. It is an indication that people are sick and tired of this pompous hyperbole, and not afraid to call those that spew this bile on it.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Thomas,
      "These are the things that bring down nations. "
      Learning from history is a good thing, but basing statements like the one above on stories from the Bible is irresponsible. Honestly, wouldn't places like San Francisco been burnt in a hail of fire and brimstone by now if you could use the Bible as an instruction book on society?

      April 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  10. Icurheinie

    "Gay Friendly" doesn't necessarily mean "Pro Gay Marriage", that church will NEVER be for gay marriage. I've lived amongst the gay population in West Hollywood for 27 years and don't feel Gay Marriage is a "rights" issue whatsoever. That just happened to be the most effective "spin" on the issue – we went deaces without ever hearing it was a "rights" issue – that's a new thing. It's about changing the definition of a word in a dictionary, which is wrong. Gay couples should have all the rights afforded the traditional couple, you just can't call it "marriage". Coin a new word, because "marriage" means man and woman. Period.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • GodPot

      Well then we should remove the word "marriage" from all official State doc.uments since you believe it belongs to one group of citizens and not all. All partnerships between two consenting adults who decide to merge their legal lives as one in the eyes of the law should be called civil unions, and you and your wife can go get your civil union certificate regardless of your gender, and if you want to call it marriage at home or in Church, then fine, but the other tax paying citizens can do the same, but on paper you will finally be equal.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "That just happened to be the most effective "spin" on the issue – we went deaces without ever hearing it was a "rights" issue – that's a new thing"

      That's because the reports up till the late 1990 were proven to be done by bias and prejudice people about gays, that includes the bible. Now we know that being gay is not a choice, it's not a mental illness and it can't be voluntarily changed. Gay families deserve the same rights as straights so this is a civil rights issue.

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  11. ManofGOD

    The Church should never compromise for any sin.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      ManofGOD,,,,,, ,,,,,, ,.

      Our bodies are the "true'd buildings and even churches/temples of God!

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

      April 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "The Church should never compromise for any sin."

      But it already has over and over again. That is not an valid excuse to deny gay couples their civil rights! So adulterers, drunkards, thief and liars should have their civil rights taken away because they sinned? LOL!

      April 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • mema

      Pipedreamer then should one not treat his temple(body) as something clean and undefiled? Offer up our bodies to God in a moral and spiritual way! Or do you think God approves of how we treat our temple or in what way we offer it to him?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • mormongirl123

      Actually, I grew up in the Church, there is no way it would ever accept gay marriage, the part about them giving a leadership role to an openly gay man is completely fabricated. Obviously if he only has the urge to be gay, that is not enough to excommunicate him. We all have temptations, but if he does truly act on those temptations he is not a member of our faith, all PRACTICING gays/lesbians are excommunicated from our church. The Lord's doesn't compermise.

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

      "We all have temptations, but if he does truly act on those temptations he is not a member of our faith, all PRACTICING gays/lesbians are excommunicated from our church. The Lord's doesn't compermise."

      There are many things in the bible that people in churches compromised on over history, let's see slavery, women, booze, working on the sabbath...etc...etc. Wow are you a narrow minded prejudice person, look at yourself in the mirror and truly see your hate, it's disgusting and a menace on our society.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      @mormongirl123 – I'll make you a deal. I will try your cult for one day if you try being gay for one hour. You never know, you might like it.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I'll make you a deal. I will try your cult for one day if you try being gay for one hour. You never know, you might like it."

      Thanks for showing your stupidity since you can't choose to be gay, the experts have proven that.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      @yeahright – relax, it was just a joke...not a political/social statement. I'm on your side bro!

      April 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      "...then should one not treat his temple(body) as something clean and undefiled? Offer up our bodies to God in a moral and spiritual way! Or do you think God approves of how we treat our temple or in what way we offer it to him?"

      are you going to deny civil rights because people are not treating their bodies as temples? okay, let's start with the morbidly overweight, then go to the smokers, then to the drinkers, then to the junk food junkies......are ya getting what i am saying?

      April 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  12. Dean

    The church(people) may be softening but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"For I am the Lord, I do not change.”

    - Malachi 3:6

    April 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      "Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God!" Do not seek manly churches built by our hands! It is written in scriptures that we are labouring together with God and God is our means for husbandries and finally we are God's buildings!

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

      April 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

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

      Ha ha, most hilarious post today. Well done.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:08 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 5:40 pm |
  14. Keith

    Why pander to evil? To hell with em.

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

      You're quite the immoral bigot aren't you Keith?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Joseph Montemarano

    It was not long ago they virtually paid for Proposition 8 in California. (The anti-gay marriage proposition). Nothing has changed with these hateful people. They are just chameleons like Romney. They say what you want to hear.

    This is just spin from a cult.

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

      I disagree. These are steps in the right direction, and should be applauded.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • berndog

      If you look up the meaning of CULT, you will see that all religions are cults.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Grant

      The church's position has never changed. They are opposed to changing the definition of marriage, but support equal rights to all people.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • mormongirl123

      Hateful, really? We're the hateful ones.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Hateful, really? We're the hateful ones."

      Yes you are but your prejudice and black heart blinds you to that truth. You remind me of the black slave owners who is trying to justify their prejudice but can't see how morally wrong they are.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  16. reason

    Maher makes some good points:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKqqGX0DEMM&w=640&h=390]

    April 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Dean

      Any person who looks to a comdeian for answers to anything is really not too bright.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Wulf

      Really Dean, I've heard some real wisdom come out of the mouths of comedians. It's coated in sarcasm and laughter but if you can't see through the joke to understand the social commentary being made then maybe it's you that aren't too bright.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Donna Brandes

      Bill Maher's right "They're all crazy!"

      April 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  17. ironic

    If we won't respect what others believe, then we might as well not have religion. It is sad to see so much twisting of the mormons beliefs here.

    I am gay. Mormons dont hate gays. We believe marriage is between man and woman

    April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Tom Walker

    Vote for MITT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      I'd rather vote for VO MITT...

      April 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Hugo Fuego

      Great, because that will be your only other choice : )

      April 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  19. Henry

    Catholics, Mormons, Evangelical, Protestants, Jehovah Witness, and many others have one thing in common, they are all men made organized religions identifying with Jesus Christ for monetary gains only.

    A true Christian follows Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth through the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the written word of God the Bible.

    Jesus said, “They are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

    April 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Tom Walker

      Mormon leaders do NOT get paid for their service. This is a unique aspect of the LDS church that all people should be aware of. There is NO financial gain for leadership positions.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  20. ldean50

    it appears the Mormon Public Relations team is running at full tilt, and we can expect more of the same between now and november. they have taken over Wikipedia, bought out or "seized" most anti-Mormon websites, and they will be doing more and more to try to convince American they are "mainstream" christians... when they are just a cult, a very dangerous cult.

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

      A dangerous and violent cult!!! Those terrible Mormons knocking door to door...sharing the gosple, serving others, being upstanding citizens. We should all be VERY worried! Mitt Romney is going to convert the entire nation to Mormonism! Watch out people!!! DANGEROUS!

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

      Do you have any evidence of these accusations?

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

      search your feelings ldean50, you know the church is true....Luke, I am your father! Join the dark side and I will teach you how to be a church leader....how to sit around and do nothing all day, and make our members work their butts off and give us 10% of their money. It is useless to resist. All we have to do is tell them things like, "um, everyone listen up, I just talked to God and it's time to soften our hard line stance on such and such issue." ldean50, you too can have this same power that Jim and Tammy had. To buy fast cars, build huge temples and malls, fly around on private jets...all tax free and on other peoples' money. Join me!!

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

      Beware! I am one of the dangerous Mormons that he is talking about. I work a regular job, have two beautiful children that are my life, I love my wife and am faithful to her, i have a strong faith in the Savior Jesus Christ as my redeemer. I give 10 percent of my income to the church for welfare activities such as humanitarian aid, church welfare, building projects, and helping others. Be afraid!!! Be very afraid!!! I might knock on your door and want to share a message with you that can help you to find the happiness that i have. That is a dangerous!

      April 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • melikeydrinky

      @jogordon – I have nothing against you and your family...or your choice to believe in this or that. If you're happy, that's good with me bro. It's your money and I sure ain't gonna tell you who you can or can't give it to. Relax man, put on some Bob Marley. And if you come to my door, I'll chat with you about whatever you want.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Donna Brandes

      "It's better for blood to be shed than for the Church to be blasphemed." This a VIOLENT cult, of which we should all be leary. Ever heard of the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857? The Mormons killed a whole lot of people and blamed it on the Native Americans!

      April 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
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About this blog

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.