The following are statements published by the LDS Newsroom or Newsroom Blog as they response to media, events, and public discussion relevant to homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Newsroom Official Statement — 10 January 2014
Following recent court actions bearing on same-sex marriage, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today sent the following instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States. Leaders were asked to share this information with their members in appropriate settings:
“On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, striking down century-old state laws and a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. The United States Supreme Court has put that ruling on hold pending consideration of the issue by an appellate court. During the interval between the district court ruling and the Supreme Court stay, numerous same-sex marriages were performed in Utah. Legal proceedings and legislative action in some other states and countries have given civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships….”
Newsroom Officail Statement — 20 December 2013
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Friday after a court ruling on same-sex marriage in Utah:
“The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court.”
Newsroom News Release — 7 November 2013
“Media outlets are reporting that in an informal press gathering Wednesday, Senator Harry Reid made comments about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gay rights.
“As the Church has said before, elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position.
“On the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Church has not taken a position. On the question of same-sex marriage, the Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with kindness and understanding. If it is being suggested that the Church’s doctrine on this matter is changing, that is incorrect.
“Marriage between a man and a woman is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. As such, traditional marriage is a foundational doctrine and cannot change.”
Washington Post: The importance of precise reporting about the Church’s stance on same-sex attraction
“Much of the news coverage surrounding the Church’s 6 December 2012 launch of MormonsAndGays.org has accurately relayed the Church’s teachings in regard to same-sex attraction. Most recently, a Washington Post report correctly says, ‘the church extended an olive branch to its gay members without changing its teaching that sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman.’ The Post then quotes MormonsAndGays.org: ‘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.’
“It is also true that some news reports have given the impression that the Church has changed its stance on same-sex attraction. We caution reporters and readers to remember that the Church’s position on the issue of same-sex attraction has not changed. The Church’s doctrinal position is clear and unchanging: Sexual activity should occur only between a man and a woman who are married. The Church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.
“We also remind journalists and readers of the vital message on MormonsAndGays.org that those with same-sex attraction “need our love and understanding. God loves all His children alike, much more than any of us can comprehend, and expects us to follow.”
Newsroom News Release — 6 December 2012
“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‘ (MormonsAndGays.org). It features a number of videos from people who share real experiences from their own perspectives on a sensitive and sometimes emotionally charged topic…
“The website is a collection of conversations with Church leaders, Church members who are attracted to people of the same sex, and family members and friends of those who experience same-sex attraction. The website’s various sections discuss important topics such as our common ground as human beings, our family relationships, our identity and potential as children of God, how members of society treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ. While the website does not endeavor to address every issue that could be addressed in relation to same-sex attraction, these candid and sincere expressions show the many human facets of a sensitive matter. Compassion comes from understanding.”
Newsroom Official Statement – 7 February 2012
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject…
“We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country. We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”
Newsroom Blog – 2 September 2011
“Religion Dispatches, in writing about a man in California who received a Church calling (lay assignment) and who states he is ‘openly gay,’ implies that the Church’s position on sexuality and morality is somehow evolving and changing. GetReligion’s Mattingly correctly challenges that claim in asking Religion Dispatches to ‘back that statement up with some on-the-record quotations from people in positions of LDS authority. …Where are the crucial names and titles that make these claims matter? In other words, where is the journalistic infrastructure? Is this article news or opinion?’
“In contrast, as GetReligion points out, an article in The Salt Lake Tribune quotes the local stake president (who presides over several congregations in an area similar to a diocese)…”
Newsroom News Story – 4 February 2011
Transcript of Elder Dallin H. Oaks speech given at Chapman University School of Law on 4 February 2011.
“Although I will refer briefly to some implications of the Proposition 8 controversy and its constitutional arguments, I am not here to participate in the debate on the desirability or effects of same-sex marriage. I am here to contend for religious freedom. I am here to describe fundamental principles that I hope will be meaningful for decades to come.”
Newsroom News Release – 6 December 2010
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined with other faiths today in signing ‘The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,’ an open letter to express commitment toward the preserving of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Presiding Bishop H. David Burton signed on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The letter…was signed by leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities.”
Newsroom Blog – 16 November 2010
“The previous evening, reporter Brian Mullahy of Salt Lake City’s CBS affiliate, KUTV 2, presented the station’s viewers with his interpretation of the significance of the handbook. From the nearly 200 pages of content, his report focused entirely on four short paragraphs included under the handbook heading ‘Homosexual Behavior and Same-Gender Attraction.’ …
“Prior to the airing of the story, Public Affairs received a call from a KUTV producer inquiring about the handbook. We were quick to supply the station with broad context of the revised handbook, what it meant for local Church congregations and consequently what it meant for thousands of KUTV’s viewers. The KUTV report made no reference to any of that. In fact, far from the language change in the handbook being the result of public pressure, the process of revising it began in 2007 and copies were printed months ago. The information supplied in the handbook on the topic of homosexuality is entirely consistent with existing Church resources and encourages reaching ‘out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.’”
Newsroom Article – 21 September 2010
“In the midst of this contest of opinions and confusion, duly appointed and authorized leaders in the Lord’s Church are called upon to counsel and assist those struggling with same-gender attraction. Unlike the world, what these local priesthood leaders do can have an everlasting effect for good on the precious souls seeking their help. They become a means for increasing one’s faith in Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ, and in oneself. They become watchmen sounding the alarm, turning people from paths that are wayward to the one that leads heavenward. Priesthood leaders become instruments for introducing to man and woman a comprehension of God’s love and the eternal happiness He wishes to bestow upon them. It is for these reasons that I direct my remarks to the priesthood leaders who are in our audience today.”
Newsroom Article – October 12, 2010
A petition delivered to Church headquarters by the Human Rights Campaign as part of some social unrest around the October 2010 general conference address by President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, elicited an official statement delivered by Michael Otterson, managing director of Public Affairs for the Church, in behalf of Church leadership.
Newsroom News Story – August 4, 2010
“The Church issued the following statement today in response to the ruling by Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al.”
Newsroom News Story – June 8, 2010
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement today in response to media inquiries regarding a proposed fine by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). The fine relates to the Proposition 8 campaign of 2008.”
Newsroom News Story – March 23, 2010
“As I travel about in my current capacity as a General Authority of the Church and as the general counsel of the Church, I often hear this question: What is the greatest challenge faced by the Church? I suppose there are a number of candidates for an answer—a continuing rapid growth that makes retaining new converts a top priority or perhaps finding and training local leaders. But from where I sit, the greatest challenge faced by the Church is the challenge to religious liberty that is growing worldwide. These challenges have a number of faces—from galloping secularism in some places, to the dominant sectarian or non-Christian religions in other places, to authoritarian governments that feel threatened by religion in still other places. I have chosen to address one aspect of this challenge to religious liberty that I believe confronts us here in our own country.”
In this address, Elder Wickman addresses several recent legal cases addressing homosexuality that potentially affect religious freedom.
Newsroom News Story – January 1, 2010
“The following statement representing the position of the Church’s leadership, was read by Michael Otterson, managing director of Church Public Affairs, as part of a public comment period discussing the ordinances at a Salt Lake City Council meeting 10 November 2009.”
Newsroom Blog – November 11, 2009
“Yesterday The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declared its support of nondiscrimination regulations that would extend protection in matters of housing and employment in Salt Lake City to everyone… Wednesday morning, two representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the Church’s support of the ordinances on The Doug Wright Show on KSL in Salt Lake City. The audio from that interview is available here.”
Newsroom News Story – November 10, 2009
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared its support of nondiscrimination regulations that would extend protection in matters of housing and employment in Salt Lake City to those with same-sex attraction. The Church said the Salt Lake City Council’s new nondiscrimination ordinance ‘is fair and reasonable’ and balances fair housing and employment rights with the religious rights of the community.”
Newsroom Commentary – October 16, 2009
“The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.”
While this particular Newsroom Commentary doesn’t mention homosexuality specifically, it is released at a time when the issue of same-sex marriage is given prominent focus in political discussion and Latter-day Saints engaged in such debates would do well to hearken to the ethic of civility articulated.
Newsroom News Story – October 13, 2009
This story introduced an address delivered at Brigham Young University-Idaho, October 13, 2009.
“Although his address on religious freedom was not written in response to the Proposition 8 battle over same- sex marriage in California, Elder Oaks likened the incidents of outrage against those who prevailed in establishing marriage between a man and a woman to the ‘widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South.’
“He said members of the Church should not be deterred or coerced into silence by threats. ‘We must insist on our constitutional right and duty to exercise our religion, to vote our consciences on public issues, and to participate in elections and debates in the public square and the halls of justice.’”
Newsroom Article – September 19, 2009
“Some may wonder how the Church’s leaders can empathize with you when they haven’t been in your shoes themselves. Some may even wonder how the Savior Himself can really understand you when He hasn’t been where you are. But remember: Christ not only descended TO our conditions, he has descended BELOW our conditions, whatever they are, because ‘The Son of Man hath descended below [all things].’ The Atonement was possible only because of that descent, which Elder Neal A. Maxwell called Christ’s ‘earned empathy.’ He knows that every day may feel like a major battle for you.”
Newsroom Commentary – July 17, 2009
“There has been a good deal of publicity surrounding an incident where two men were cited for trespassing because of belligerent and profane behavior on the Church Plaza, which is an extension of the Salt Lake City Temple grounds and Church headquarters… As we said earlier on this matter, these men were asked to stop engaging in behavior deemed inappropriate for any couple on the Plaza. There was much more involved than a simple kiss on the cheek. They engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol. They were politely told that the Plaza was not the place for such behavior and asked to stop. When they became belligerent, the two individuals were asked to leave Church property. Church security detained them and Salt Lake City police were called.”
Newsroom News Story – May 26, 2009
“Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court is welcome. The issue the court decided was whether California citizens validly exercised their right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The court has overwhelmingly affirmed their action.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.”
Newsroom Commentary – February 4, 2009
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was part of a coalition of other faiths and organizations which worked together to pass Proposition 8, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, with over 52 percent of the popular vote in California.
“Claims that the Church filed only one report of its contributions before January 2009, or did not report all its contributions to the Protect Marriage Coalition, are erroneous. The Church filed all necessary reports over the course of the campaign in compliance with California state law.”
Newsroom Commentary – February 2, 2009
“Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified erroneous news reports following the filing of its final report on donations to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition… Because media coverage about this filing ran without a comment from the Church, the following statements of fact from the Church add context to this story and should help correct the record.”
Newsroom News Story – December 5, 2008
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed appreciation today for a full-page advertisement in The New York Times that decries the ‘violence and intimidation’ directed toward the Church because of its support of Proposition 8.
“Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expresses its gratitude to the signatories of the full-page advertisement that appeared today in the New York Times. This was a thoughtful and generous gesture at a time when the right of free expression of people of faith has come under attack. We join with those of all religious faiths and political persuasions who have called for reasoned and civil discourse on matters that affect our nation.’”
Newsroom News Story – November 21, 2008
“Following the passing of Proposition 8 in California, the Church released statements urging civility and reaffirming its position on the issue. The Church also noted that two Roman Catholic bishops released statements decrying religious bigotry against Mormons. The Church today points to additional third-party voices that provide useful insights into the reaction following the vote. Some of these individuals supported Proposition 8, and some were against it.
“These materials may be helpful to the news media, bloggers, Church members and the general public in gaining a broader view of the aftermath of the Proposition 8 vote. All people of faith have cause for concern when others try to remove their legitimate voice from the public square.”
Newsroom News Story – November 14, 2008
“The Church is keenly aware of the differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive matter. The reasons for this principled stand in defense of marriage have already been articulated elsewhere. However, some of what we have seen since Californians voted to pass Proposition 8 has been deeply disappointing.
“Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere.”
Newsroom News Story – November 11, 2008
“This past weekend, two Roman Catholic bishops released statements in support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance on Proposition 8 in California. Both statements can be viewed below.”
Newsroom News Story – November 7, 2008
” The following statement was released today by Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and former Bishop of Salt Lake City, in response to attacks on (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for supporting California’s Proposition 8, defending the traditional definition of marriage.”
Newsroom News Story – November 7, 2008
“While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.
“Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.”
Newsroom News Story – November 5, 2008
“Some…have mistakenly asserted that churches should not ever be involved in politics when moral issues are involved. In fact, churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society. While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues.
“Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society.”
Newsroom Commentary – October 16, 2008
“These pages will help the news media, the public and Church members better understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ involvement in supporting Proposition 8.”
Newsroom News Story – October 8, 2008
“As the Proposition 8 campaign in support of traditional marriage enters its last two weeks, the Protect Marriage Coalition is encouraging its members to make phone calls in support of the measure. The Church is participating with the Coalition in support of this endeavor.
“The Church has requested that phone calls made from Church members be made by California registered voters. Members of other faiths are also making phone calls at the request of the Coalition.”
Newsroom Commentary – August 13, 2008
“Intending to reduce misunderstanding and ill will, the Church has produced the following document, ‘The Divine Institution of Marriage,’ and provided the accompanying links to other materials, to explain its reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative.”
Newsroom News Story – August 11, 2008
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement today in response to a press conference organized by Affirmation.”
Newsroom Commentary – June 30, 2008
“The following letter was sent from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Church leaders in California to be read to all congregations on 29 June 2008.”
Newsroom Commentary – May 16, 2008
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same-sex marriage can be an emotional and divisive issue. However, the Church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is the basic unit of society. Yesterday’s California Supreme Court decision is unfortunate.”
Newsroom Commentary – February 24, 2008
“Honest disagreements are not the same as public advocacy of positions contrary to those of the Church. When disagreements arise, the principle of the Church is that local leaders discuss these matters with members with love and concern. This was the case with Peter Danzig.
“On 23 February 2008 The Salt Lake Tribune posted an article about Mr. Danzig who was a member of the Church’s Orchestra at Temple Square. According to the story, in June of 2006 Mr. Danzig published a letter-to-the-editor in the Tribune (and letters in other local newspapers) encouraging members to oppose Church leaders on the issue of same gender marriage.”
Newsroom News Release – July 20, 2007
The following is an edited transcript from an interview conducted with President Boyd K. Packer for the PBS four-hour special “The Mormons”, a first-time co-production between American Experience and Frontline that debuted on April 30 and May 1, 2007. A portion of the interview addressed the Church’s position on homosexuality.
“We don’t discipline for the thoughts and tendencies, but for the actions. In one way there’s little different than a heterosexual person being under terrible pressure to misuse those sacred powers of procreation immorally. And the line is drawn there. That’s the individual’s responsibility to keep the commandments. They’re free to do as they want and go their way, but that’s the cost. We have a tremendous sympathy for them. That has to be displaced with something else in their minds.”
Newsroom Article – May 21, 2007
“Among the more serious attempts to get at the essence of the Church’s beliefs and practices is a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which recently interviewed two prominent leaders of the Church — Elder Russell M. Nelson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Lance B. Wickman, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy…
“Elders Nelson and Wickman spoke widely about topics as diverse as the Church’s role in public and political life, same-gender marriage, evolution, international humanitarian efforts and relationships with other religions.”
Newsroom Article – October 25, 2006
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sent a letter to its congregational leaders throughout the United States, urging members to ‘express themselves’ on a forthcoming vote in the United States Senate relating to the definition of marriage.
“The letter, signed by the First Presidency of the Church — the faith’s highest governing body — draws attention to the Senate vote scheduled for 6 June on an amendment to the federal Constitution that would ‘protect the traditional institution of marriage.’ It will be read to congregations at the start of Church services this Sunday.”
Newsroom Official Statement – August 2006
“The continuing public debate over same-gender marriage has prompted many questions from the news media, the general public and Church members in relation to the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the marriage issue specifically and on homosexuality in general.
“The following interview was conducted in 2006 with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, and Elder Lance B. Wickman, a member of the Seventy. These senior Church leaders responded to questions from two members of the Church’s Public Affairs staff. The transcript of the interview appears below in order to help clarify the Church’s stand on these important, complex and sensitive issues.”
Newsroom Article – June 7, 2006
“On 7 June 2006 ABC’s Nightline ran a story on members and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who struggle with same-gender attraction. This issue is one that evokes strong emotions and, unfortunately, often perpetuates negative stereotypes on both sides of the debate. Nightline’s story contained some comments that do not reflect the views and teachings of the Church and its leaders.”
Newsroom Article – June 5, 2006
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pleased to be represented in this significant cause. While those of us here today represent a broad spectrum of religious diversity, we are firmly united in our declaration that marriage of a man and a woman is ordained of God. The sanctity of marriage and family constitutes the spiritual undergirding of lasting and successful societies.
“Together we share a duty to preserve marriage and family as established by God. The time has now come when a constitutional amendment is needed in this country to protect our divine inheritance. Such action does not reduce our regard for individuals who choose to live by other standards. But it confirms our conviction that marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue and the foundation for eternal exaltation.
Newsroom Article – April 24, 2006
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agrees with many other religious bodies and leaders that an amendment to the Constitution of the United States is necessary to protect and preserve the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. The Church has previously issued two statements in support of a constitutional amendment on marriage.”
Newsroom Article – October 20, 2004
“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.”