1. Jesse (left), gay
“To be honest, I don’t think it represents a huge shift in “Salt Lake’s” position. What remains to be seen is whether this will finally filter down to the actual members. Although the LDS Church tries to perpetuate an understanding, supportive stance, in many localities this just doesn’t resonate … My husband and I were married in June — we’ve never been happier in our lives. Our families haven’t always been — and some still aren’t — supportive of our happiness. It’s great to see an apostle in the LDS Church telling members to respect our choices.”
2. Josh, straight
“I appreciate the Church taking a heads-on approach to the issue instead of avoiding how prevalent it is in our society now … Some will criticize the Church for saying sexuality is not a choice, but that’s been the consistent message of the Church since the beginning so I am proud of then embracing their message openly.”
3. Kimberly, straight
“I know I did not choose my sexuality, so I can’t imagine why anyone thinks that LGBTQ people choose theirs. Mine is an inherent, integral part of my being. I firmly believe that LGBTQ people are no different. Although I was born and raised in the Mormon Church and have continued to actively participate into adulthood, I have always rejected the Church’s teachings about homosexuality. And I now reject its use of the term ‘same-sex attraction’ and its characterization of LGBTQ people as ‘suffering from same-sex attraction.’ Those are homophobic phrases that reduce LGBTQ people’s complex personalities and relationships to the fact of sexual attraction and the act of having sex.”
4. Paxton, straight
“I think that many people are overreacting to the statement made by the Church. For years the Church has been of the opinion that it’s not a sin to simply be homosexual. I disagree with people who believe the Church is merely pandering to the gay community in order to make up for their decision on Proposition 8. The Church is only restating the same stance they’ve had for years in order to clear up any confusion.”
5. Nick, gay
“I feel like it is a major step in the right direction for the Church to be making a clearer and more accessible stance on their views of homosexuality. Though I do not agree with the policy that homosexual acts are a sin, I do recognize that the Church has every right to hold such a belief and I think it is wonderful that they are making it clear that the first priority should be to love all people regardless of their differences. I think that this will help many people come to a greater understanding of how to treat LGBT family members and friends, especially with the statements about not rejecting family members over their lifestyle or pushing people to seek heterosexual relationships.”
6. Heather, straight
“I also cannot applaud the Church while it continues to assert that being gay is not a sin, but ‘acting’ on it is. The love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin line is small and mean-spirited. As a parent of three, it saddens me terribly to know that my children — who may or may not be homosexual as adults — might internalize these messages and, as a result, question their divine worth. I long for the Church to be a place where my children will only hear that God loves them.”
7. Craig, gay
“I’m happy that the Church is evolving, but this is still the wrong message to send to thousands of gay youth for whom remaining celibate or getting married to someone of the opposite sex is not a viable option. I’m hopeful that someday the Church will create a more accepting environment for openly gay individuals.”
8. Alice, straight
“I think that for people who read, ‘gay isn’t a choice’ or ‘love, don’t condemn’ and think, ‘well duh,’ this website isn’t terribly helpful, because we’ve already figured that out, we’re not getting anything new. For people who haven’t gotten there yet and would still disown a gay child, or leaders who would excommunicate a gay person for ‘choosing’ to be gay, this will do a lot of good toward opening eyes to the possibility of greater love, compassion, and listening.”
9. Mitch Mayne, gay
“It’s time to stop simply talking about what our Savior would do, and roll up our sleeves and actually do it,” Mayne told Religion Dispatches. “I’d like to see congregations emulate what we’re doing in the Bay area — opening the doors to everyone, including our LGBT brothers and sisters, and allowing them to be part of our ward families without fear of excommunication — whether they’re living within the confines of the policy as we understand it today, or are in a long-term committed relationship with someone of the same gender, or are dating someone new every night. Once that happens, we can begin to consider ourselves to be closer to emulating the true, unconditional love our Savior already has for all of us.”
10. Cait, straight
“I’ve honestly been waiting for the Church to come out with something like this. The Church evolves, and if this isn’t proof of that then I don’t know what is. For a lot of Mormons, we know that sexuality isn’t a choice. But for others, they are still holding to the belief that somehow it’s a choice or that every gay person had ‘something happen to them’ in this life to make them that way. This is going to change the way we talk about gays in the Church, and it’s going to dramatically change the tone.”
Read more on the Mormon Church’s declaration that sexuality is not a choice.
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