The Mormon church is known as one of the most politically conservative religious organizations in the country, and has for years taken a hard line against homosexuality, but the launch of a new website, MormonsAndGays.org, could signal that times are changing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The biggest change in the church’s language on homosexuality is its recognition that attraction to members of the same sex is not a choice. In a prominent paragraph titled “Where the church stands,” the website states that gay individuals do not make the choice to be attracted to the same sex.
“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people,” the site reads. “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.”
The site also collects conversations with gay Mormons and church leaders, describes the church’s position in detail, and offers advice on “how we should treat each other as part of the human family.”
“Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex,” the site reads. “Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is. However, through repentance Jesus Christ will offer forgiveness.”
While it may not be the most progressive viewpoint on homosexuality, it represents a step away from the Mormon church’s previous policy. MormonsAndGays.org focuses largely on offering support and love to homosexuals, and on building bonds between the gay community and the Mormon church.
In 2008, the Mormon church publicly and financially supported California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage from being recognized or performed by the state. The church came under fire for their monetary donations in support of the law, and now appears to be attempting to move away from those views, which earned them scorn from the LGBT community and its allies.