The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new website with the goal of promoting “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.
“Here (in the church) more than anywhere, it’s important that there be love, that there be hope’” Elder Christofferson continued. “We want to be with you and work together.”
The website is part of an effort by the church “to teach and clarify the church’s positions” on various issues, said LDS spokesman Michael Purdy.
Production for the site has been underway for more than two years, Purdy said.
“Too often these types of big, important issues are dealt with in sound bites, and often by individuals who do not have the complete picture of what the church is doing’” Purdy said. “We hope (the website) will be a resource for better understanding and better communication.”
Utilizing personal, real-life stories told by members of the church who have first-hand experience with same-sex attraction themselves or through close friends and family members, the website’s goal is to help Latter-day Saints “come together to foster a climate of goodwill and a determination to understand the workings of God in each individual life.”
“We’re not endeavoring here to cover the waterfront and address every issue that could be, and needs to be, addressed in different settings relating to same-sex attraction,” Elder Christofferson said. “The idea is to open all of us to greater understanding.”
Elder Christofferson noted that “although we don’t know everything, we know enough to be able to say that same-sex attraction is not itself sin. The feeling, the desire is not classified the same as homosexual behavior itself.” Sexual identification, he continued, “is but one aspect of any person’s life, and it need not become the consuming element of any person’s life.”
What is important, he said, is “how we relate to one another, how we preserve hope and understanding and love, and how we struggle together in some cases.”
“We want people to feel that they have a home here (in the LDS Church), and that we have much more in common than anything that’s different about us,” Elder Christofferson said.
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