1980 - 1989





  • March – The Ensign published the article "The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue" outlining the church's arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment. These included the possibility it could give "constitutional protection to immoral same-sex—lesbian and homosexual—marriages", thus, "giving legal sanction to the rearing of children" in a "homosexual home".[138]
  • April – Apostle Bruce McConkie gave an April conference address in which he grouped homosexuals with liars, thieves, and murderers in a list of evil "covering the earth".[139]
  • October – Kimball again addressed homosexuality in the October General Conference in his talk, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality". Kimball again asserted that "[s]ometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious ... sin of homosexuality."[140]


  • 1981 – Church leaders sent every bishop and stake president a copy of a book on human sexuality and families by Church Welfare Services director[141] Victor Brown Junior. The book stated that it was disturbing that renowned sexologists had stated that bisexual individuals were privileged for not experiencing sexual prejudice and that they pointed the way for society at large.[142][143] Brown further stated that equating same-sex relationships with opposite-sex marriage was fallacious and inconsistent and that homosexual people were less disciplined and orderly in their relationships than heterosexuals.[144][145]
  • 1981 – The church issued a guide for LDS Social Services employees called Understanding and Changing Homosexual Orientation Problems, instructing them that because of agency it is "inconsistent" to think that a "homosexual orientation is inborn or locked in, and there is no real hope of change," and that "the homosexually oriented man ... does not fully understand how a masculine man is supposed to think and act." The guide further states that the homosexual's "thoughts of the opposite sex are often fearful or threatening."[146]
  • 1981 – The First Presidency and Twelve Apostles also issued a guide for church leaders simply called "Homosexuality" which stated "modern-day prophets have clearly promised that homosexuality can be changed", and that it was "inconceivable that ... [the Lord] would permit ... his children to be born with [homosexual] desires and inclinations". It advised "full rehabilitation" could take 1 to 3 years, and that being "cured" doesn't mean "the old thoughts never return". The booklet gave guidelines for "treatment and prevention of homosexuality" and "lesbianism". It taught that homosexual behavior is learned and influenced by "unhealthy emotional development in early childhood", a "disturbed family background, "poor relationships with peers", "unhealthy sexual attitudes", and "early homosexual experiments". "Early masturbation experiences" were also cited as reinforcing "homosexual interests". Church leaders recommended the leader encourage the member to disclose the names of sexual partners, to read The Miracle of Forgiveness and "To the One", to begin dating, and to pray in order to help change their sexual orientation.[147][1]:51
  • April – In an April General Conference, church Seventy Hartman Rector Jr. gave a speech titled "Turning the Hearts" in which he stated the earth would be wasted if Jesus returns and "finds nothing but birth control, sterilization, and homosexuals." He adds, "If children have a happy family experience they will not want to be homosexual." Rector also states he is "sure" that homosexuality "is an acquired addiction, just as drugs, alcohol and pornography are." He also states "I do not believe" that homosexuals "were born that way" because "[t]here are no female spirits trapped in male bodies and vice versa."[148][149][150]
  • April – In the same conference church president Ezra Benson denounced how some public schools give sanction to "alternative life-styles" and "perverse practices" such as "lesbianism".[151]


  • August – In a speech to BYU on Aug 28 then president of Ricks College Bruce Hafen counseled students to avoid homosexuality "at all costs, no matter what the circumstances". He further cited the 1973 removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the DSM as an example of something gone wrong "deep within our national soul".[152]


  • 1983 – The Church Handbook was updated to state that a church court "may be convened to consider" serious transgressions including "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" but is not required.[153]
  • October – Apostle Ezra Benson gave an October conference address in which he called homosexuality one of the "great problems in our society" and decried the use of the term "alternative life-style" as an attempt to justify homosexuality.[154]


  • June – Carol Lynn Pearson's estranged gay husband returns to live with her and their children after being diagnosed with AIDS, and she cares for him until his death. Her 1986 memoir, Goodbye, I Love You, is considered a landmark in discussions of homosexuality and Mormonism.[155]
  • August – Apostle Oaks wrote a church memo in which he recommended the church make a public statement to "oppose job discrimination laws protecting homosexuals" unless there were exceptions for allowing employers to "exclude homosexuals from employment that involves teaching ... young people". He also noted "the irony [that] would arise if the Church used [Reynolds v. United States]," the principal 1878 ruling stating that marriage is between a man and a woman, "as an argument for the illegality of homosexual marriages [since it was] formerly used against the Church to establish the illegality of polygamous marriages." Oaks also clarified that the word homosexuality is used in two senses: as a "condition" or "tendency", and as a "practice" or "activity".[156][157]
  • October – Church seventy Richard Scott gave a discourse titled "Making the Right Choices" in which he says "stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong".[158]



  • March – Twenty-six-year-old Clair Harward who was dying from complications due to AIDS was excommunicated for his homosexuality and told by his Ogden, Utah bishop Bruce Don Bowen to disclose the identities of and avoid his gay friends,[160] and banned from church meetings for fear of spreading the disease.[161][162] His story made national headlines[163] and prompting a statement from a church spokesman.[164][165]
  • October – The New York Times published an article on AIDS in Utah citing the strong influence that Mormon teachings have on the state since 65% of the population were Mormon. The article stated that church members identified as homosexual were directed by the church to marry and that they faced great pressure not to acknowledge their gay feelings often leading to double lives. It further stated that since 1983, 47 Utahns had been diagnosed with AIDS and 24 had died. Several gay Mormon men were quoted saying that they had faced church pressure to marry with the belief that marriage would cure their feelings.[166]
  • December – An article for parents called "Talking with Your Children about Moral Purity" appeared in the December Ensign reaffirming that "sometimes masturbation is the introduction to ... the gross sin of homosexuality" which "is a perversion of the Lord’s designated roles of men and women".[167]
  • December – Dallin Oaks commented in a December 30, 1986, CBS-TV interview that "marriage is not doctrinal therapy for homosexual relations" and that "he did not know whether individual leaders have given such advice."[168][1]:393[169]


  • April – Gordon Hinckley of the First Presidency gave his April conference address "Reverence and Morality" in which he stated, "homosexual relations ... are grievous sins." He continued by saying "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God .... Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip to such practices again."[170]
  • June – Seventy Theodore Burtonimplied a link between a "selfish indulgence" in pornography and homosexuality in his address to BYU on 3 June 1986.[171]
  • November – Joy Evans of the Relief Society General Presidency stated that "there are lesbian women, as well as homosexual men, in the Church" to whom "the Lord has decreed 'Thou shalt not'". She acknowledges it is a hard task but states they must "keep the commandments" since "intimate relationships ... between those of the same sex, is forbidden". The article titled "Overcoming Challenges along Life’s Way" appeared in the November issue of the Ensign.[172]


  • 1988 – Gay BYU history professor and former BYU student[173] Michael Quinnresigned under increasing pressure for publications on controversial aspects of Mormon history[174][175] after working for the university since 1976.[176][177]He was later excommunicated in September 1993 along with other LDS scholars referred to as the September Six.
  • October – The October Ensign featured an article from BYU psychologist Allen Bergin in which he stated that homosexuality was "caused by some combination of biology and environment".[178]
  • November – On November 22 a 20-year-old man from a prominent Mormon family in Delta, Utah[179][180]and another Utah man raped, tortured, and brutally murdered Gordon Church—a 28-year-old, gay, Mormon, student—near Cedar City, Utah in an anti-gay hate crime before US hate crime laws existed.[181][182]


  • 1989 – The Church Handbook was updated to state that a church court is required for any "homosexual relations" committed by a member while holding a "prominent church position" such as a bishop[183]
  • 1989 – Evergreen International is founded[184] to help Mormons who want to "diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior".[185]
  • February – A national TV story hosted by Peter Jennings featured Malcolm Pace, a former-Mormon gay man who was dying of AIDS, and his deathbed reconciling with his Mormon parents. The father states "I love my son and my religious beliefs. They don't mix."[186][187]