By Chris Huqueriza
“Stay with us.”
That’s the basic message The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging as they launch a new website to reach out to LGBTQ Mormons.
(View video discussion on CNN below)
“When people have those (same-sex) desires and attractions our attitude is, ‘stay with us,’” spoken by the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder D. Todd Christofferson. “I think that’s what God is saying: stay with me. And I think that’s what we want to say in the church: stay with us, and let’s work together in friendship and commonality and brotherhood and sisterhood.
The objective is “to teach and clarify the church’s positions,” according to the Mormon Church’s Spokesperson Michael Purdy. “There are some aspects of our belief and practice that are simply not well understood.”
The Mormon Church stands with their position of “attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.” However they are supplying videos that encourage recognition of the common humanity of all by church leaders and many members who identify as LGBTQ and their family members.
“You’ll hear stories and experiences [on the website]from people with quite a diversity of backgrounds and perceptions,” said Christofferson. “They are genuine. They are real and authentic. We feel this can only lead to greater sensitivity and better understanding among people, and that’s what we’re about. Here [in the church]more than anywhere, it’s important that there be love, that there be hope. We want to be with you and work together.”
The new site has gained positive comments from LGBT activists.
“In light of the tragic suicide of yet another young person in our very own city late last week,” said Utah Pride Center’s Executive Director Valerie Larabee in a press release, “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.”
However, there are a few in the community who believe the website demonstrates limited progress.
“In almost all things our faith does to help LGBT Mormons, this site really does more to help straight members than it does LGBT members and really just brushes the surface,” said the Executive Secretary of the church’s Bay Ward in San Francisco, Mitch Mayne. “And does so in ways that aren’t particularly helpful.
Purdy reiterates that they “hope [the website]will be a resource for better understanding and better communication.”
Visit the site at Mormonsandgays.org