New Mormon Church website
Kudos to Valerie Larabee, Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center for this generous statement: “I applaud any institution, religious or otherwise, for increasing the availability of potentially lifesaving resources to bridge the gap in human understanding, respect and acceptance of differences.”
We’re all for any effort to improve how human beings are treated. Inasmuch as the site urges kindness towards gay people, great. We would love this statement on the website — “... what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere” — were it not for the statement immediately before it: “From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change. There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right.” Later on this is spelled out a bit more clearly: “Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is. However, through repentance Jesus Christ will offer forgiveness.” Did you get that? If you are a practicing homosexual, you’re sinful; it’s just that now Mormons are urged to not be mean to you. Call us sticklers ... but isn't telling people they’re sinful a form of being mean?
Then there is this gem, which we find downright insulting: “Though some people, including those resisting same-sex attraction, may not have the opportunity to marry a person of the opposite sex in this life, a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next.”
Patently absent from the website is any reference to “the LGBT Community.” No wonder. Mormons insist that gender is determined before birth and is eternal. Mormon theology leaves no room for the T.
The church press release says that one purpose of the new website is to put “the entire issue in context.” This smacks of “you misunderstand us,” a tactic the church is known to engage when re-spinning, Orwellian style, its history, past statements, and behavior.
Still, we acknowledge that this is progress. As recently as 1978, when Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer spoke on the subject at BYU, he made a point of saying “homosexuality” only once, so objectionable was even the word to him. Today the church actually owns a URL like “Mormons and Gays,” and goes so far as to say people with a same-sex orientation aren’t de facto bad. A tiny step. A too-short one. But at least it’s in the right direction.