By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN)–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has fought against same-sex marriage throughout the United States, launched a website on Thursday that preaches understanding and compassion for the gay and lesbian community.
The website “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction” www.mormonsandgays.org, outlines the church's position on “same-sex attraction” and provides readers with a host of videos from “church members who are attracted to people of the same sex, and conversations with the loved ones of gay spouses, children, or grandchildren who are dealing with the effects of same-sex attraction in their own lives.”
The website comes at a time that some same-sex marriage activists believe the LDS Church is toning down its opposition to same sex marriage.
Though the church’s doctrine, that sex should be reserved only for a married man and woman, has not changed the church says, many outside the church say the church is subtly but unmistakably growing friendlier toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including voicing support for some gay rights.
Some pointed to the less public role in same-sex marriage ballot initiatives in 2012, a marked departure from earlier ballot initiatives fights – like Proposition 8 in California – where the church vocally supported the move to get same-sex marriage banned.
Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community
“What we do know is that the doctrine of the Church—that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married—has not changed and is not changing," Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a news release from the church about the new site.
"But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction,” he said.
The new website echos Oaks that this is not a doctrinal change but does recognize that people who are gay can be practicing members of the church.
“Reconciling same-sex attraction with a religious life can present an especially trying dilemma,” reads the website. “Anyone who lives in both worlds can attest to its difficulty. But with faith, love and perspective it can be done. Every human being, Latter-day Saints affirm, has worth and dignity as a child of God.”
Violation of the church's teaching on sexual relationships can lead to excommunication. Since gay people cannot be married in the church, any sex for them would be premarital and, therefore, sinful. Under these beliefs, a member of the LGBT community could be a practicing Mormon, as long as they are celibate.
LDS Church policy also notes if gay members, "are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances," allowing them to participate in temple ceremonies.
“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.”
The site goes on to say, "From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change."
In one video on the site a man identified as Kelly, begins to tear up when he talks about his family and why it was important for him not to leave the church.
“Family is very important to me. That was one of the things that helped get me to come back to the Church,” Kelley, whose last name was never given, said. “I couldn’t imagine living an eternity without my mom and dad. And so I knew I needed to change and do something different. Because even though I felt happy and felt content at the time, there was a huge hole that I was afraid of losing my family.”
Mormons believe that family relationships survive after death, as long as individuals live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The practice – called sealing – “refers to the joining together of a man and a woman and their children for eternity,” according to the church.
– CNN’s Jessica Ravitz contributed to this report.
You people are all crazy! The LDS church has changed nothing. What has changes is people falsely accused the church of being LGBT haters, and now accuse them of hypocrisy. I suppose it's not only the poor who will always be with us, but those who love to judge and accuse others as well.
I have lost a lot of the respect I had for the LDS Church over this whole gay 180. What a slap in the face to those members in California they asked to give life savings on the proposition 8 matter. Wow! For that teacher family that ponied up 50 big ones, I'd be boiling mad. But, the LDS Church knows how to drop people like a hot potato anyway. They have a long history of doing just that.
Man's default is having a god. When he runs out of external gods, he volunteers. "Phl 3:19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
Mormons are similar to Muslims! You can have multiple wives, Joseph Smith made his own book just like Mohammed made his own book, and you can't drink. Mormons are also similar to atheists, they didn't allow black people in the priesthood until recently and atheists believed the the 's@v@ge races would be exterminated and replaced by more civilized races'
Mormons are like atheists because they're racists? I've heard a lot of things lumped into the "things atheists believe" file, but that's got to be a first. First, there is one and only one thing that all atheists believe: there is/are no God(s). There is no other unifying belief, tenet, or doctrine. Second, while there are surely racist atheists, as there are racists in any group, atheism correlates strongly with educational attainment, affluence, and liberality which all have a strong negative correlation with racism.
Mormons are similar to penguins because they wear suits and live in a cold environment. They also are like polar bears because they are all white. Oh and they are like CNN posters because they are generally nice people and usually have good things to say.
What kind of ridiculous nonsense is that? Clearly this is the brainless jargon perpetuated by some religion against Atheism. Ben Rast had it right, Atheists only have one thing in common: the denial of the existence or belief of any god or higher power. Racism has no place in a discussion involving Atheism.
So what about all the contrary statements made in the past by the Church. What is the verdict on a person who gave up faith based on these prior statements?
To quote Sting : "every faith is its own curse. Without freedom from the past, things can only get worse"
To quote Janis, "Freedom is just another name for nothing left to lose."
The New Atheists cult with Richard Dawkins as their cult leader which follows the philosophy of Darwinism (the s@v@ge races will be exterminated and replaced) will continue to fight organized religion, as they should because of the hypocrisy in most religion. The problem is, the atheist are just as corrupt as the religious. They will soon force their dogmatic doctrine on everyone
You nailed it. Someday atheist will force people to congregate and discuss their non-belief of the non-existent.
The above posts are further evidence that religion rots your brain. Or can either of you provide support for your fear mongering?
And how quickly you forget forced prayer in public schools, regardless of the student's beliefs.
oh yes, that insidious cult of "education" is a great danger to religiosity! FEAR EDUCATION! EDUCATION GOES AGAINST GOD!
if jebus had wanted you educated you'd have been born with a cap, gown, and mortarboard.
I support the Atheist Otters! Allied Atheist Alliance! Dawkins is a KENYAN!
"Atheist" and "cult" don't belong in the same sentence. Atheists don't believe in anything... at all. To say an Atheist subscribes to any belief is to change their position from one of Atheism. That's the slippery slope of a denial position, you are all or nothing into the position of denial. Similarly, Anarchists cannot be Anarchists if they believe in replacing current authority with any other authority. Those people aren't real Atheists.
Pops, if you socies hadn't crapped all over the Mormons the first time around the kweers would already have all the marryin' they could stand. Think of the misery you bullies have caused for everybody. Wait, wait, that would require stringing a thought together when you really want to string up your neighbor.
Hey LBGT: the Mormon founders did not have the right to have multiple partners and they were persecuted, so don't complain about discrimination ;-)
We've seen those behind the scenes cult videos, that stuff is CRAZY. Nobody could actually BELIEVE this stuff, right? It's about staying with your own, doing business fairly among your own, and exploiting everyone else for a common gain. Secret handshake and all.
There were no Laws concerning Polygamy until 1863, when Lincoln got a bill passed making it Illegal. Mormons fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court, when they lost, they as always, and is Preached that the Law of the Land must be Obeyed. Polygamy was then not allowed within the Church, those already married were grandfathered in by Law. Get Educated before ranting false information.
It's absolutely stunning to me how people's true colors come out when they are posting anonymous comments. The LDS church hasn't changed its standards, it is simply trying to cope with the growing wickedness in this country in a loving, understanding way. Anyone who challenges that is simply a hater.
As for the church-state issue, you liberals have been brainwashed into thinking that even just a cross on a highway is a repulsive violation of the first amendment. Most of you probably have never even really studied the first amendment. You just hate religion in general. Again, you are just haters.
It used to be possible to have civilized discussions with other intelligent human beings about these morally complex issues, but now our country has been overrun by a blind, brainwashed horde of unintelligent zombies who don't actually study the issues, but somehow still show up on election day to vote for their liberal hand-outs.
there isn't anything complex at all about the fact that there is not one single secular reason to deny h o m o s e x u a l couples the right to marry.
if the equality guaranteed all americans under the c o n s t i t u t i o n is morally complex to you – then you are the one with the problem.
Luke, are *still* crying over the election? Not only suffering that loss but now religion is dying out faster than a jack rabbit on frozen pond. Poor Lukey-poo, what will you do when it finally becomes clear you've been talking to imaginary creatures and using it as an excuse for your bigotry?
I don't think anyone "hates" religion. It's just that in t his day and age there are many religions that reside in the US. The problem is we are seeing too much mixing of church and state and in the history of the Consitution the two party rule has kept this upheld. But people like you luke seem tho think it's your business in other people bedrooms. If it doesn't affect you then the only hater here is you.
"The LDS church hasn't changed its standards, it is simply trying to cope with the growing wickedness in this country in a loving, understanding way."
It hasn't changed it's position, but it has changed it's PR tactic. The timing is not a coincidence.
"Anyone who challenges that is simply a hater."
What? Explain. People are questioning why the Church, all of a sudden when it's anti-gay stance is blamed for the election loss, has tried to pretty-up it's position. How does questioning this make anyone a hater?
"As for the church-state issue, you liberals have been brainwashed into thinking that even just a cross on a highway is a repulsive violation of the first amendment. Most of you probably have never even really studied the first amendment. You just hate religion in general. Again, you are just haters."
No one is saying a privately owned cross on a private building along the highway is a violation of the first amendment. It's only when this is sponsored by the use of public funds and/or land that we start to cross the line as a state sponsored support of religion. And again with the "haters"...anyone who disagrees with you is a "hater" I take it?
"It used to be possible to have civilized discussions with other intelligent human beings about these morally complex issues, but now our country has been overrun by a blind, brainwashed horde of unintelligent zombies who don't actually study the issues, but somehow still show up on election day to vote for their liberal hand-outs."
You might want to look through your history books again, because actually people have always faught loudly and with passion about moral issues, especially when people's lives are affected by such opinions. Today is no worse than any other era, and significantly more tolerant than some.
I don't think there's a growing wickedness in our country. It is the news in the conservative press that makes it sound so bad.
for those of you who understand the concept of equality and understand how the mormon church has worked hard to affect legislation limiting equality for americans in california, and feel that they should, as a result – lose their tax exempt status – i encourage you to visit http://www.t h e p e t i t i o n s i t e . c o m /1/review-the-501c3-status-of-the-church-of-latter-day-saints-the-mormons/ and sign the pet ition.
also – if you want to do more, get active with the freedom from religion foundation at ffrf.org – if you can't get active at least donate.
Socialists have no line in the sand when it comes to wickedness. It's a big blur made with a witchy broom. They redraw it all the time.
They have interfered by donating millions on the Prop 8. They have decried and violated the seperaation of Church and state on this issue a monumental number of times. And on the next ballot the Californians need to vote on whether or not to strip that Chuch of it's exempt status. Plain and simple they have violated their right to the exempt status and as such CA needs to put it on the ballot and start taxing them.
@lol??, What's with you and the whole socialist hang-up? The largest pro gay rights political party in the US was, until this last election, the libertarian party, which is very far from socialist. Additionally, most socialist states, particularly in the old USSR, had laws against hom'ose'xuality. The two do not inherently have anything to do with one another and you just make an as's of yourself by ignorant of this fact.
Saraswati, if you had a brain you would realize Christians are about Patriarchy. Little things like "Our Father" and a narrow path and a Kingdom and inheritance. Gubmint gwowers are blind. "Psa 2:1-4 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, [saying], Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."
When we read all the postings, we can clearly set apart the ones who understand the article and the new website launch by the (lds) church from the ones that don't understand at all and are blind. It is difficult for a person to comprehend things far beyond their knowledge without knowing the basic principles. You can't run faster than what your body can handle. You can't speak another language without doing your best to study the language and putting what you know into practice and so it is with the LDS doctrine. At no time did the church changed its policy on sin...if you visit the new website and truly read it with the intention to learn and understand...then you will know that the Church or should i say "Mormons" have not change anything but only explains what we have done all this years and that is to LOVE ALL. If you are a true christian then you know what I am talking about. Instead of barking, complaining and filling your heart with hate just put a little effort and tried to understand the basic doctrine and then you will understand the greater things and if you really don't care about our doctrine for whatever reason, then just drop it! The one thing this society and this world don't need is hate among ourself. We need people who contribute to society and lift up others. I am a "Mormon" and I have lots of friends from other religion and at no time our friendship is damage because of our differences. I contribute to society, to this country and in the world in many ways and so do my friends. Leave our differences behind and do something to make a difference in this world.
More of the same "if you aren't in our religion then you just don't understand it." We understand it for exactly what it is. The ones believing it is anything but fraud are the ones who are unable to see the truth of the matter. A known, convicted scam artists conned you and many others into thinking there was something divine about him. These are very clear historical facts. You've chosen to ignore these facts because you "believe." You deserve whatever scorn and derision we can heap on you for your ignorance. Your delusion is a shameful excuse for bigotry.
You Mormons caved on the marriage issue a loooong time ago. Now the socialists think they are in charge of the woman. Unbelievable and unforgivable. You won't get any sympathy from the red blooded american males.You're toast.
MG, people can believe whatever they want. That's not the issue here, although the discussion side-tracked that way. The issue is the lack of separation between church and state. How can we "just drop it" when religious organizations use their collective inlfuence to affect laws and legislation that affect ALL of us? I would love to just ignore churches and let them do their own thing. But this is a two-way street. If religion got out of politics, would there be much cause for argument? Any activist church must accept that they not only instruct their own flock, but seek to instruct all of us. That is unacceptable and deserves every bit of derision it inspires.
MG, people can believe whatever they want............." Isn't that sweet!! She's givin' out permission slips! Socies are all alike.
Libertarian here, genius. Care to attempt a comment with actual content, or are you tired of looking stupid yet?
pops, "2Cr 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty."
@MG, I would not be friends with someone who belonged to an organization that was trying to invalidate my marriage and I don't know anyone else who would be comfortable in that position, so I'm going to guess that those people you describe as "friends" are not in danger of being directly hurt by the positions of the Mormon church (and don't care much about those who are) or are not as close of "friends" as you think.
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.