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Is The Mormon Church Losing Its Homophobia?

Is The Mormon Church Losing Its Homophobia?

Have you noticed something different about the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) recently?

In 1995, the Mormon Church made its marriage position official by issuing a proclamation carrying the weight of scripture that declared marriage between a man and a woman the bedrock of society.

In June, 2008, same-sex marriage was made legal in California due to a ruling by the Supreme Court of California based on an equal protection argument. The LDS immediately swung into action with their formidable organizing skills and networks, sending as many as 25,000 canvassers per weekend to go door to door in California.

In November, 2008, California’s Proposition 8 passed by 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent, and same-sex marriage was once more eliminated.  That yes vote was largely propelled by the Mormon Church, whose members had contributed some $22 million in to this vicious campaign.

The Mormons have been credited with almost single-handedly getting Prop. 8 passed, despite a well-funded opposition with backing from Hollywood.

Where Were All The Mormons?

Jump forward to March, 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Prop. 8. Huge numbers of faith-based activists, both for and against, were gathered for days in front of the Court, but the Mormons had no official presence.

What has happened within the Mormon Church to bring about this change?

First, a little background:

Mother Jones notes that it was Fred Karger, an LGBT activist, who first noticed how much Mormon money was being contributed to the Prop. 8 campaign and who subsequently exposed the LDS church’s major push behind Prop. 8.

Once he knew what to look for, Karger found Mormons everywhere in the Prop 8 campaign: as actors in the TV ads, as volunteers, organizers, and political consultants. Just as intriguing, he would discover eventually, the group that had done the lion’s share of the work to get Prop 8 on the ballot to begin with, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), also had deep ties to the Mormon Church—and the church itself had been engaged in a campaign to block gay marriage across the nation for more than a decade. What he was looking at, he realized, was a stealth campaign much like the ones he’d run during his long career as a Republican political operative.

Fred Karger eventually got sick of the homophobic stories that he kept reading, so he decided to launch his website, Californians Against Hate, which was entirely dedicated to publicizing the names of those Prop. 8 donors.

Mormon Church’s Hateful Homophobia Exposed

With the Mormon Church’s role in promoting hatred and homophobia disclosed, many LGBT activists took Karger’s information and publicized it as widely as possible.

That was the beginning of a huge shift for the Mormon Church: many Mormons publicly announced that they were leaving the church, and others took part in protests. The LDS apparently paid attention.

As a result, a new web site, MormonsAndGays.org, has been launched to encourage understanding and dialogue. Titled, “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction,” the site embraces the notion that gays and lesbians who are church members should stay, rather than exit the faith.

From the website:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

You Can Be Gay, But You Can’t Act On It

So it seems that the Mormon Church still defines homosexuality as a sin, if you act on it.

This reminds me of the ruling by bishops of the Church of England in 2011, stating that homosexual clergy in civil partnerships can become bishops, as long as they are celibate. Thankfully, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church, has announced that he supports the LGBT cause.

Change comes slowly, in baby steps, but we can hope that both the Mormon Church and the Church of England are at least moving forward in the right direction.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Growing Up Queer And Mormon: A Dangerous Journey

Celibate Gay Men Could Be Church Of England Bishops

Wearing Pants To Church: Mormon Women’s Protest For Equality

 

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Photo Credit: A.Davey

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11:50PM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Speaking of cults it appears to me that being gay is becoming the latest cult given how many in the entertainment industry suddenly declare they are gay and their careers just take off.

4:09AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

It's a cult, it will never change its dogma, just the public face and verbiage of it in order to subvert, fool, cajole, connive and try to convince people it's changed or is a genuine 'religion', Mor(m)ons, LDS, and every other so-called religion out there is nothing but folly, and fallacy. Religion is the single most destructive force in human nature and should be outlawed, and every single one of its "lieutenants" imprisoned for fraud, conspiracy and a myriad of human rights violations too long to go into. There has never been a historical dictator, conqueror, or usurper that has ever been so evil or vile as any "religious" order and its enforcers.

1:32AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Hmmm

12:05PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

You can be LGBT, but don't dare do anything about it. Don't act on it.
Meanwhile, we'll have several wives and posthumously baptize your ancestors. That way we'll always outnumber you.

10:08AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

Infiltrated by dirty old men who hate gays, but "marry" little girls.

4:17AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

I really don't think that the Mormon church will ever promote LGBT rights. There past behavior shows how they really think. Actions speak louder than words.

3:18AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

I am afraid that the world has changed radically since the days when homosexuals were meant to be bound straight to hell! At one time in bible history people were so debauched and leud that they were getting drunk and having sex with everyone and everyTHING! BUT. Nowadays, when it is known that possibly due to sythetic estogens in our environment, there are a HUGE percentage of people who are being born endochronologically different from the totally heterosexual person and so I am quite sure that we can't, ( even in in the church!) act a if things are still the same as they were in Bible times. Can't they see that there is a totally different society being formed NOW than there was all those thousands of years ago.? I DO agree that sex outside marriage is NOT in accord with Christianity and that is why I believe that Christain gays SHOULD marry and then be under the same set of rules of faithfulness the same as other couples. The curch is normally the slowest institution in the world to make a change as an enormous amount of indoctrination goes on and it is very hard for people to think laterally or with wisdom and allow God to change the rules to suit our modern day world. Jeusus did just that when HE was on this earth. (Mind you it made him Very unpopular with the old fogies who were the spiritual leaders! ) Like it or not,change will happen! The church needs to focus on LOVING and PEACE . Quarreling over differences of opions does nothing but destroy any hope of this h

3:04AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

About time for the hate you aimed at LBGT human rights. Hopefully other organised religions & governments will follow suit. Love is love-who cares who the person loves, it's their business!

2:53AM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

eh. so if someone doesn't agree with gay marriage they are "promoting hatred and homophobia"? i don't buy that. most heterosexual people are gonna find the sight of two guys kissing rather sickening. and if some don't feel gay marriage and adoption of children is in the natural order of things - that's also their business. personally i feel that what people want to do in their private lives is their own business. but at the same time, for those that don't support gay marriage, etc that's also their own business and their right. they don't believe homosexuality should be "encouraged" by legalization of gay marriage. you may ask CAN homosexuality be encouraged in a population?

in france they're arguing about it now (legalizing gay marriage that is). in the arabic world they consider this a 'white man' thing. hmmm. if you're gay, you're gonna think gay marriage is great. if you're not, you either a) don't care or b) don't think it's in the natural order of things. for me, i feel a little of both. but then i'm not gay. so while i would never go so far as to donate money to 'fight gay marriage', i do feel people have got a right to disagree with it - even if it is legal. and disagreeing with the legalization of gay marriage is not the same thing as 'promoting hate' or supporting any kind of violence toward gays. that's just rhetoric. as far as i can see. cuz you're just saying disagreeing with gay marriage equals hate.. and i don't think it's that simple.

8:31PM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Any evolution is on an individual basis or possibly a "marketing" basis

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