Dear President/Bishop/Brother/Sister <Name>,
I hope this letter is a welcome and appropriate way to initiate a conversation with you about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I recently heard [about] a lesson/talk you gave that touched on the topic of homosexuality, and I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the latest material produced by the Brethren concerning same-sex attraction.
In December of 2012, the church announced a new official website called http://www.mormonsandgays.org (announcement is here: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-website-same-sex-attraction). It features videos of three Apostles discussing their feelings about homosexuality as well as a number of other members who either experience same-sex attraction or who have a family member who does.
The take-home message for the site is highlighted at the top of the page, “Where the Church stands: 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.”
Studies have shown that 2-3% of people will ultimately identify as lesbian or gay, and up to 10% of people experience varying degrees of same-sex attraction. As the church website confirms, these individuals do not choose to have such attractions–it is a complex reality for many people. There is often the misconception in the church that people choose to be gay, and therefore discussions around the topic frame it as if homosexuality itself is sinful and evil. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In every congregation, there are a number of youth and adults who experience same-sex attraction, some of whom have never told another soul. Discussions that frame homosexual attractions as evil cause feelings of depression and self-hate in these beloved souls which leads to an alarming number of suicides.
Ill-informed discussions also lead family members of gays and lesbians to feel ashamed of and condemn their loved ones, introducing contention and breaking up families. The church website is very clear that we are to approach the topic with immense love and understanding so that family units are preserved. Elder Cook says, “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
It is a tragedy that this topic has become so politicized and feelings have become so polarized. It is leaving a wake of destruction in the hearts and families of people who experience same-sex attraction. With this issue becoming such a hot topic of conversation where misinformation abounds, individual members and families in our congregations are experiencing spiritual damage that could drive them from the church permanently. As disciples of Christ, I know we can do better.
I invite you to please review the content on the church’s new website. I would love to discuss this further with you if you would like. Please let me know.
Thank you for your service in the Kingdom.