The teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the issue of homosexuality fall within the greater context of its belief concerning the purpose and place of marriage and family relationships in our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for His children. According to Church leaders, if we desire to fulfill our ultimate eternal potential, marriage between a man and a woman is central and essential to the Creator’s plan for our salvation. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
“In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in marriage. One individual is complementary to the other. As Paul stated, ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 11:11).
“There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Women in Our Lives,” Ensign, November 2004).
In an official statement by President Hinckley and his counselors in the First Presidency, Presidents Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust, they wrote:
“We of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reach out with understanding and respect for individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. We realize there may be great loneliness in their lives but there must also be recognition of what is right before the Lord.
“As a doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture, we affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
“Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship” (First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage, 20 October 2004, issued previous to Utah’s vote on Amendment 3—a state constitutional ban on same-sex unions).
On another occasion, President Hinckley stated:
“People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.
“We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?” Ensign, November 1998, 70).
In the most recent official statement on homosexuality, on December 6, 2012, the Church launched a new website, MormonsAndGays.org, with the descriptive title “Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction.” The following is a description of the project from MormonNewsroom.org:
“In an effort to encourage understanding and civil conversation about same-sex attraction, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched the website ‘Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction.’ It features a number of videos from people who share real experiences from their own perspectives on a sensitive and sometimes emotionally charged topic.”
Prior to the Church’s lanuch of MormonsAndGays.org, the most recent official statement on homosexuality was offered by Michael Otterson, the managing director of Public Affairs for the Church, in response to a petition delivered to the Church by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the United States’ largest LGBT advocacy group and lobbying organization:
Some additional Church resources addressing homosexuality:
- Official Church outreach website: MormonsandGays.org
- Relevant sections from the official, online 2010 Church Handbook 2 Policies on Moral Issues (21.4): “Chastity & Fidelity” (21.4.5), “Homosexual Behavior & Same Gender Attraction” (21.4.6), and “Same-Gender Marriages” (21.4.10).
- Bishop’s Guide: Same-Sex Attraction.
- God Loveth His Children | PDF | Order (free). Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007. This Church-published booklet provides counsel for individuals who experience same-gender attraction. It is helpful for their priesthood leaders and family members as well.
- Holland, Jeffrey R. “Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction,” Ensign, October 2007.
- Oaks, Dallin H. “Same-Gender Attraction.” Ensign, October 1995.
- Oaks, Dallin H. and Lance B. Wickman. “Same-Gender Attraction.” Church Public Affairs Interview, LDS Newsroom, August 2006.
- Otterson, M. “Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction.” LDS Newsroom, October 2010.
- See the LDS.org Gospel Topics page on Homosexuality.
- See the Mormon.org FAQ page on Homosexuality: “What is the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?”
- See the North Star library page with comprehensive list of articles and addresses by General Authorities and Officers of the Church