LDS Church members anticipate further counsel on LGBTQ acceptance in October’s General Conference this year, with the growing conversation of gay marriage and the LGBTQ community among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LDS Church leaders have been clear about their stance on persons who are attracted to their same gender, encouraging saints to express a love for all people no matter who they are or what they believe.
Same gender attraction and gay marriage are two different issues in the eyes of both church leaders and many members of the church.
“We should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks said in last year’s October General Conference.
The LDS Church continues to encourage this message as it speaks to the Mormon community as a whole.
The concept of loving all, despite differences, has been a standard of the church that is included in the 13th Articles of Faith, which states, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.”
The LDS Church also continues to stand by the belief that marriage is to be only between a man and a woman. A June 2015 letter addressed to members in North America from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that “changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established.”
Prompted by Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s BYU Devotional, the hashtag #fairness4all has been trending. Elder Rasband encouraged there to be an equal distribution of love for those who experience same gender attraction and the right to believe and express those beliefs. In all, it was a call for fair treatment no matter who you are, what you believe, or which groups you associate with.
A few members of the LGBTQ expressed appreciation for the message to love all peoples as Christ does.
Gregory Harris, 30, the president elect for North Star International, explains that North Star stands behind official church doctrines, and one of their purposes is to help all Mormon LGBTQ members stay worthy to participate in all ordinances found in the the LDS church.
Harris states that the members of North Star desire to follow the moral law of God; all they ask is to have open discussions about sexuality — an outcome of the letter from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As conference approaches, Harris said that due to the conversations about gay marriage and treatment of LGBTQ persons he “wouldn’t be surprised at all if [the speakers] address the topic in a talk.”
Tanner Thompson, 21, a junior at BYU majoring in applied and computational math, agreed that the topic will probably be addressed, but hopes someone will talk directly to Mormon LGBTQ persons about how to receive exaltation in regards to eternal marriage.
“I hope that in conference they talk about how people with same sex attraction can resolve that within themselves,” Thompson said.
Gregg Hammerquist, 29, a UVU student studying history education from Nampa, Idaho, said he has already resolved that in himself. He said he is committed to following any prompting from God, even if that prompting directs him to get married, despite his attraction to males.
Hammerquist expressed his desire to have one talk completely dedicated to the subject of same gender attraction and gay marriage, but said, “It’s General Conference, its supposed to be applied in general — then you apply the stuff personally, with God.”
Hammerquist said he feels that LGBTQ persons can apply talks about marriage and family, love, and the law of chastity to same gender attraction. For almost 30 years Hammerquist has been a faithful member of the LDS Church, and for 15 of those years he has been open about his sexual orientation, but those things don’t wholly define who he is.
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