2000 - 2009

 

 
 
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2000s

2000

  • September – Alexander Morrison, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Robert Millet, Dean of BYU Religion Education, addressed members of Evergreen International on September 16 at its 10th annual conference, which was held in the church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building. In Morrison's address titled "Some Gospel Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction", he stated, "Avoid as the plague social interaction with persons who justify, encourage or engage in homosexual behavior." To the congregation of hundreds[251] of homosexual men and women he further directed, "Stay away from places where those challenged by same-gender attraction congregate."[252] Millet stated that through Christ "all inappropriate inclinations or orientations [can be] transformed in this life" or "resist[ed]".[253]
  • October – Packer gave his October General Conference address "Ye Are the Temple of God", in which he calls homosexuality a "temptation which seems nearly overpowering for man to be attracted to man or woman to woman" that may "lead to despair, to disease, even to death". He said it begins as an "innocent curiosity" which leads to a "pattern" leading to an "addiction". He said the idea that "God created them with overpowering, unnatural desires" is "not true" stating that "He can cure and He can heal".[254]

2001

  • 2001 – The eighth version of the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet was published updating the section discussing homosexuality. The new version only says, "Homosexual activity is a serious sin. If you find your-self struggling with same-gender attraction, seek counsel from your parents and bishop. They will help you."[255][239]
  • March – Gay LDS Young Adults (GLYA) is founded by Aaron Cloward and organizes activities in the Intermountain West for gay Mormon young adults.[256][257] They had over 400 people on their mailing list[258] but seemed to be absorbed by Affirmation by about 2003.[259]
  • September – Sharon Larsen of the Young Women General Presidency addressed the 11th Annual Evergreen Conference in the Joseph Smith Memorial building. In her talk she stated same-gender attraction "is not in itself necessarily sinful unless it leads to impure thoughts and unrighteous behavior" and that those who "struggle with same-gender attraction" who "despite persistent effort cannot overcome that attraction and marry someone" of the opposite gender "must remain celibate".[260]
  • November – Confessions of a Mormon Boy by Steven Fales opens (later becoming an off Broadway show), dealing with Fales' homosexuality, and disaffection with the church.[261] It later tours internationally.

2002

  • August – The official church Ensign magazine published an anonymously authored article titled "My Battle with Same-Sex Attraction". In it an LDS woman gave advice for how to "to overcome this challenge" including advising against "attach[ing] labels to yourself or others who struggle with this problem" since these temptations "do not define who we are". She also recommended a person "quit [their] job" if necessary to "avoid places frequented by those who are involved in this lifestyle".[262]

2003

  • July – A controversial fictional film about a gay Mormon missionary, Latter Days is released garnering numerous film festival awards.[263]

2004

  • 2004 – The church published True to the Faith, which states, "homosexual activity is a serious sin .... contrary to the purposes of human sexuality" which "distorts loving relationships and prevents people from receiving blessings". The book further states "sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder and denying the Holy Ghost".[264]
  • 2004 – The church's publishing company Deseret Book released the book In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-gender Attractionby Ty Mansfield, and Fred and Marilyn Matis. The book contained a firsthand account of Ty's experience coming to terms with his sexual orientation and religious views as well as the parent's telling of their gay Mormon son's experiences and suicide.[265] Mansfield later married a woman and was editor over another Deseret Book on homosexuality, in 2011, titled Voices of Hope: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Same-gender Attraction—An Anthology of Gospel Teachings and Personal Essays.
  • July – The First Presidency issued the July 7 statement saying the church "favors a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as the lawful union of a man and a woman."[266][267] A few months later on October 19 they expounded this stance with the First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage supporting the 2004 movement[268] to add an amendment to the US Constitution defining marriage as between "a man and a woman" and barring the "legal status" of any other union. The letter also states that the church "reach out with understanding and respect" for homosexual persons and "realize there may be great loneliness in their lives", but defend their stance as being "right before the Lord".[269]
  • September – Merrill Bateman in the Presidency of the Seventy gave a September 18 address at the 14th Evergreen Conference for homosexual Mormons titled "The Physical Body and the Power of the Atonement". He explained that for those "struggling with nature, with thoughts and feelings that are opposite from what the Church teaches" Jesus has the power to "assuage one’s feelings" and "assist one in his efforts to abstain".[270]
  • December – Hinckley gave an interview in which he did not support same-sex civil unions and spoke against same-sex marriage. He also stated that gay people have a problem that the church wants to help them solve, though, he said he did not know if they were born with this problem.[271]

2005

  • September – James Mason of the Second Quorum of the Seventy gave his "The Worth of a Soul Is Great" address to members of Evergreen International on September 17 at its 15th annual conference in the church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building. He stated, "Can individuals struggling with some same-gender attraction be cured? 'With God nothing should be impossible' (Luke 1:37) ... The right course of action remains the same: eliminate or diminish same sex attraction .... Feelings of attraction toward someone of the same gender should be eliminated if possible or controlled."[272]

2006

  • 2006 – The Church Handbook is updated again and leaders are told to collect and destroy all copies of the previous 1998 version.[273] The new version clarifies that the church "reaches out with respect and understanding" to same-sex attracted individuals.[274]
  • 2006 – The church's Mission Presidents Handbook recommended that unless there are unusual circumstances, a missionary who makes a belated confession to a "serious transgression" like "homosexual acts" committed before their missionary service be sent home.[275] The manual also specified that any baptismal candidate who confesses to a "homosexual transgression" during a baptismal interview (usually with a mission district leader) requires a "searching interview" with the president of the local mission in order to be approved for baptism.[276]
  • March – Jeffrey Holland and Marlin Jensen were interviewed in March with questions about various topics including homosexuality by PBS for a four-hour special called The Mormons. Jensen stated that he did not think the "church could ever change its position" on homosexual behavior. "There's no room within the plan of salvation ... for homosexuality to be accepted" or for someone to "be romantically involved with someone of the same gender and ... be living in accord with God's plan." He acknowledges that this "creates a lot of pain" and asks "a tremendous amount of them" since "they really have no hope" of "fall[ing] in love" in a way "sanctioned by the church" which is "a very difficult thing".[277] Holland stated that he doesn't "anticipate that [the church] would change [its position] on homosexual behavior" and that "gay or lesbian inclinations" will "not exist post-mortality". He also used uses the phrase "struggling with gender identity" and "gender confusion" as synonyms for homosexuality.[278][239]
  • April – The church published an extensive interview[279] with Oaks and general authority Lance Wickman in April to clarify the church’s stance on homosexuality.[280][281] In the interview, Wickman states that the church "doesn't counsel against" conversion therapy and that it "may be appropriate" for an individual to use clinical therapy to seek to diminish or eliminate homosexual feelings. However, Oaks states they "can't endorse" the "aversive therapies" recommended in the past to fix "this affliction" and they "don’t accept responsibility for those abuses" suffered by individuals who had experienced this now disavowed therapy method. On same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships, Elder Oaks states that giving these couples the same government rights given to a man and woman marriage is "not right" and "not appropriate". He added that a mixed-orientation marriage would be appropriate for a gay member who could "deal with [homosexual] feelings" and "put them in the background" and felt a "great attraction" to someone of the opposite sex.[282] They compared devout homosexual Mormons to those with physical or mental disabilities who will also not be able to marry, and adds that "same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life." As far as family acceptance and inclusion of homosexual children they gave some example conversation lines like, "don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your 'partnership'." He further stated "the Lord’s way is to love the sinner while condemning the sin".[279][239]
  • April – In April Apostle Nelson signed a letter with other religious leaders urging the US government to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage stating it would be the "only measure that will adequately protect marriage" from "redefinition". On May 25 the First Presidency released another statement supporting the amendment and urging members to contact their senators who would be voting on the measure on June 6.[283]
  • June – The church newsroom responded to a June news story on homosexual members who stated that they felt alone, like there was no place for them in the church, and that they were recovering from put-downs and discrimination in the church. In response the newsroom cited previous leader quotes and stated, "We reach out to assist people with all of the challenges of life. Those who struggle with same-gender attraction are certainly not excluded from the circle of love and fellowship the Church hopes to provide."[284]
  • June – BYU fired adjunct professor Jeffrey Nielsen for writing an opinion piece[285] in support of same-sex marriage.[286][287][288]
  • September – Rex Pinegar, a former member of the Presidency of the Seventy, addressed the Evergreen Conference for homosexual Mormons on September 16 with a speech titled "Before You Knew Him/Her, I Loved Him/Her First". In the speech he stated that those who "suffer from such problems" of same-sex attractions have "tendencies or addictions", and that the Lord called homosexuality an "abomination" but by "turn[ing] their lives to Christ" the homosexual could "resolve his or her situation, addiction, or transgression". He continued that the leaders of the church did not know the "underlying causes of same-sex attraction" anymore than that of "any other addiction or urge or action which is unacceptable to our Lord".[289]
  • October – Apostle Oaks gave an October General Conference address titled "He Heals the Heavy Laden" in which he quotes a man saying "change is possible" but don't "focus on the causes of same-gender attraction". Oaks then continues explaining if "faith","prayers" and "priesthood" don't "heal you from an affliction" that the "Atonement will surely give you the strength to bear the burden."[290]

2007

  • 2007 – North Star International is founded as a support for members who experience homosexual attractions, and does not take a position on the origins or mutability of those feelings.[298]
  • April – The church's BYU Board of Trustees, under the direction of First Presidency member Monson, revised the BYU Honor Code in April to clarify that "one's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue" while continuing to ban "all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings".[299][300][239]
  • July – The church published the booklet "God Loveth His Children", which is addressed to Latter-day Saints with same-gender attraction and sets out the church's doctrine and policies on homosexuality.[301][239]
  • October – The church published the article "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction" by apostle Holland in the October Ensign and Liahona magazines.[302]

2008

  • 2008 – Apostles discussed the question of whether members should consider using "new drugs and gene therapy" to "counter homosexuality" in a leaked video.[303][304]
  • June – The First Presidency again urged California members to "do all you can ... by donating of your means and time" to pass a state amendment banning same-sex marriage in a letter.[59][306]
  • October – Apostles Ballard and Cook and member of the Presidency of the Seventy Clayton gave a satellite broadcast[307] to all California members titled "The Divine Institution of Marriage Broadcast". In the broadcast they asked members to donate "four hours per week" and to "set aside Saturdays between now and the election from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon to participate in calling, walking, and other assignments" to oppose same-sex marriage and pass Prop 8. They clarified that to the church tolerance means forgiveness but does not mean "tolerating transgression", and noted the existence of temple-worthy members who "struggle with this great challenge" of "same gender attractions". Additionally, a video[308] of the apostle Bednar answering the questions of some youth was shown off of the church's new official website PreservingMarriage.org. Members were directed to register on the coalition website ProtectMarriage.com.[309][310]
  • November – After the 4 November 2008 close passing of California's Prop 8 banning same-sex marriage in which the LDS church was heavily involved, over two thousand protesters gathered at the Los Angeles LDS temple on November 6. The next day nearly five thousand protesters gathered at the Salt Lake Temple.[311][312][313][314] That evening a candlelight vigil by about 600 mothers of LGBT children was also held at the Salt Lake Temple.[315][316]
  • November – After the passing of Prop 8Seventy Whitney Clayton stated that the church does not oppose benefits like health insurance and property rights for same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships.[317]
  • November – A chapter of an activist group called for vandalizing LDS chapels in response to their political involvement with Prop 8.[318][319] Some Bash Back! members spray painted slogans chapels and put glue in the locks.[319] More moderate gay rights groups condemned the actions of the Bash Back! group.

2009

  • 2009 – The church produces a training video for LDS Family Services entitled "Providing psychological care to those with unwanted homosexual attraction".[320]
  • September – Bruce Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventy addressed members of Evergreen International at its 19th annual conference, which was held in the church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building and stated, "If you are faithful, on resurrection morning—and maybe even before then—you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex. Some of you may wonder if that doctrine is too good to be true. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said it MUST be true" (emphasis in original).[321]
  • November – Church PR director Michael Otterson gave a statement at a Salt Lake City Council hearing in support of a proposed city anti-discrimination ordinance which would protect LGBT individuals.[322]