Frankly I am fed up with the negative press the church gets over this issue. In this post I will show that the church has always done its utmost to reach out to those suffering from homosexual tendencies in order to help them feel normal again.
Now I understand that President Packer said "we can very foolishly cause things we are trying to prevent by talking too much about them" so I would like to ask all those under the age of 21 and any who already suffer from homosexual inclinations to stop reading this article.
Now that we have that out of the way I would first like to reiterate that the church has always taught that the practice of homosexuality is a choice and in many cases is a curable mental illness. As a church we affirm that one can and must avoid homosexual relations.
Since 1959, church presidents starting with David O. McKay have taken seriously the work of curing gays within the church. Speaking to church educators and LDS psychiatrists in 1964, Spencer W. Kimball said "We know such a disease is curable and that ex-gay Mormons have emerged from the church's counseling programs cured.” I honestly don’t know how to say it any better than that!
Kimball taught that church leaders may assist those with homosexual tendencies by reciting scripture, appealing to their reason, encouraging gays to abandon gay associates, praying and straight dating. The cure to this problem comes through following the basic rules for moral and spiritual health for a long period of time with undeviating determination.
In President Kimball’s book the Miracle of Forgiveness, we learn of one of the key causes of homosexuality. Keep in mind this book was written by a prophet of the Lord and is widely circulated today. In fact whenever someone is struggling with sin I encourage them to read this book. From it we learn that masturbation can and does lead to the act of homosexuality. This is why we strongly discourage masturbation among our youth. I have had to delay many prospective missionaries from serving full time missions over this very issue.
In 1978, President Packer characterized homosexual interaction as a perversion and clarified that it had its roots in selfishness and could be cured with unselfish thoughts and acts. Homosexual problems can be overcome through faith in God, sincere repentance, and persistent effort.
We as a church have done all in our power to help those with these tendencies to change. This is why I find it so upsetting when we are wrongly accused of being homophobic. Take this as an example; At Brigham Young University we have had great success in the past with aversion therapy. Participants with homosexual tendencies were fortunate to have had the opportunity to be cured by participation in this inspired program. Basically we hooked participants up so that they could be shocked with increasing amounts of electric voltage while showing them pornographic photos of men. Afterwards they were shown heterosexual images while soothing music (probably from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) was played in the background. This and other efforts by the church clearly show the love we have and concern we show in helping gays become normal again. I don’t know why the critics refuse to cite these instances in their attacks. Those who criticize us ought to first do their research.
Now let’s discuss the origin of homosexuality. Why do some suffer from these tendencies? This is an area that is very misunderstood in the world today and that I will now clarify.
I was once asked this question; “if homosexuality is inborn then is the plan of salvation true?” I responded absolutely not. If homosexuality can be proven to be inborn then this church and the whole plan of salvation are man made. It would show that our church leaders didn’t have a clue what they were talking about and were and are completely uninspired of the Lord, which obviously cannot be the case. Here are three quotes from our latter-day prophets, seers and revelators to show this:
1. even as far back as 1976 the Lord inspired our leaders on this issue. Here is what President Packer taught back then: “There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just 'that way' and can only yield to those desires. It is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life... Boys are to become men – masculine, manly men – ultimately to become husbands and fathers.”
2. President James E. Faust of the first presidency said in 1995:
“There is some widely accepted theory extant that homosexuality is inherited. How can this be? No scientific evidence demonstrates absolutely that this is so. Besides, if it were so, it would frustrate the whole plan of mortal happiness. Our designation as men or women began before this world was. In contrast to the socially accepted doctrine that homosexuality is inborn, a number of respectable authorities contend that homosexuality is not acquired by birth. The false belief of inborn homosexual orientation denies to repentant souls the opportunity to change and will ultimately lead to discouragement, disappointment, and despair.” See this link for the full talk:
3. In the last General Conference (October 2010) President Packer confirmed: “Some suppose that they were preset, and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our Father…..You can if you will, break the habits, and conquer the addiction, and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church.”
Now let’s discuss the ecclesiastical responsibilities I have with regards to those who persist in this practice. Since prophets have made it clear that these are not inborn tendencies I have no problem knowing how to react when believing members choose such a course of deviation by a clear, conscious decision. I have on several occasions under inspired direction had to conduct church discipline including excommunication of these men. In one case when I served as a Bishop we even excommunicated a woman for persisting in these acts. This is one of the great burdens of being in leadership positions within the church.
In conclusion I hope that I have shown in this post that the church does all it can to save sinners by ministering unto them individually. This is no different for homosexuals. In the church we love the sinner but hate the sin. I commit to continue to do all in my power as a stake president to save the souls of those who have allowed themselves to be tempted by such tendencies. I leave these thoughts with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.