Although the Mormon church has been starting a new campaign of diversity and tolerance, it appears little has changed among church elders. Although one church leader apologized recently for the hatred and bigotry spread by the church due to Proposition 8, the rest appear to have little they regret.
In fact, some church leaders are going even further to reaffirm their stance that being gay is unnatural.
Via the Utah Daily Herald:
An LDS Church leader said Sunday that homosexuality is not “inborn.”
“Why would our heavenly father do that to anyone?” asked Elder Boyd K. Packer. “Remember, he is our father.”
Packer, a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke forcefully during the church’s general conference about having the ability to choose one’s way.
“We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcefully taken from us,” he said of free choice.
Also mentioned by church elders is that individuals need to make personal decisions, not rely on the church to make them for them. However, if your decision differs from the church, odds are it’s the devil speaking.
“Some seek to have their priesthood leaders make personal decisions for them,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks, also of the quorum. Instead, when it comes to personal decisions, individuals should be praying for answers themselves.
However, if the response to prayer they’re getting is in opposition to the statements of church leaders, their answer is not coming from God, he said.
“Some person my be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose,” he said, saying that instead it is coming from the devil.
LGBT advocacy groups such as The Human Rights Campaign and Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, have issued strong statements against Packer’s comments.
“Words have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide,” said Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, in a press release. “When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.”
The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church — is unhealthy and harmful, the HRC stated.
“Elder Packer’s remarks in General Conference were not only ill-advised and contrary to fact, but were mean-spirited and will be perceived by many as bullying,” said David Melson, Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. “We see no potential for good coming from his words and much possible damage, to the church, to individuals, and to families. The LDS Church should be a source of love, compassion, and conciliation, and not of fear and unfeeling petty hatred.”