Mormon Church to Gays: There’s Always the Afterlife

Via the Deseret News, it looks like the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints are attempting to recover from the PR disaster caused by Proposition 8, as well as staunch the flow of gay Mormons leaving the church:

With a clear invitation to gay Mormons to “stay with us,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today launched a new website aimed at providing “greater sensitivity and better understanding” among Latter-day Saints with regards to same-sex attraction.

“When people have those (same-sex) desires and attractions our attitude is, ‘stay with us,’” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during a video that introduces the subject of the website. “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.

Not that there is much of a change going on. The new website, immaginitively titled Mormons and Gays – leaving us to question whether you can be both – includes this bit:

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. But what is changing — and 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.

This is one of the most irritating parts of dealing with authoritarians. It’s not that they believe themselves to be right, because we’re all like that. It’s that they can’t imagine themselves to be wrong. I never hear them say, “If I’m interpreting scripture right …” or “My understanding of God’s will is …” It’s always, “This Is God’s Law.”

The part of the website that’s drawing the most attention is this little snippet about the gays in the afterlife:

We believe that with an eternal perspective, a person’s attraction to the same sex can be addressed and borne as a mortal test. It should not be viewed as a permanent condition. An eternal perspective beyond the immediacy of this life’s challenges offers hope. 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. We can all live life in the full context of who we are, which is much broader than sexual attraction.

“If you stay celibate and alone, I’m sure God will make you straight in the afterlife.”

Worse than the theology of this statement is the fact that someone actually thought it would be consoling to gay Mormons.

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