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Question #86389 posted on 05/06/2016 11:12 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you think the church's views of homosexuality will ever change?

-Seeker

A:

Dear person,

A. Will people become less judgmental and condemning of homosexuality? Probably. I really, truly hope so. A lot of people suffer and a lot other people don't even try to understand and I think that's wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. We are supposed to be empathetic and compassionate. Always.

B. Will the doctrine change? I don't know the entire mind of God, but no, I don't think so. Marriage between a man and a woman is a part of LDS theology in an important way. So far we have been taught that the marriage relationship between a man and a woman is an eternal thing that is important in some way to our exaltation. We are also taught that gender is an essential characteristic of our identity and purpose, so it would seem that men and women have some unique spiritual characteristics/legitimate differences and are not interchangeable. 

This answer is much briefer and less nuanced than I would like it to be and there is a lot of complexity that I wish I could address more fully. If it is true that homosexual behavior and relationships are morally wrong, the logical and unpleasant "then" is that there are a lot of warm and caring and deep relationships that have an aspect to them that is morally wrong. That really hurts. Really, really hurts. (I am not LGBT and therefore can't fully speak to all of what this hurt is but I do understand the pain of having biological and adopted family relationships get ripped away and it is truly terrible, so please don't feel like I wrote this answer lightly.) And this brings us back to point A - empathy and compassion.

-Sheebs

A:

Dear Seeker,

Yes, it will almost definitely change, though probably not until the entire current crop of apostles has been replaced.  The rhetoric in the Church surrounding homosexuality is almost identical to the rhetoric around blacks 70-50 years ago.  Denying black people access to the temple was doctrine taught by prophets and apostles as a commandment from God for decades.  Brigham Young taught regarding interracial marriage that "the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."  It was explicitly clarified in a letter from the First Presidency in 1949 that denying blacks access to the temple and priesthood was "not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord."  In 1969 another letter from the First Presidency clarified that while blacks had been granted civil rights it did not entitle them to equal treatment within the Church.

The Church's stance in 2016 on homosexuality is the same as the Church's stance in 1969 on race.  They have civil rights, but no standing within the Church.  Perhaps it will be a matching additional 9 years before the Church changes it position and begins accepting "practicing" homosexuals as faithful members.  Apologists will point out that prophets and apostles did teach that blacks would eventually get the priesthood, but those teachings tended to be rather vague and often focused on every other possible person receiving it first and only at the end of the millennium would blacks be offered the priesthood and temple access.  So, that part didn't really stick in the first place.

If we are to believe in a loving God who cares about families, I find it hard to believe that a gay couple and their children (however acquired) will be condemned for seeking out love and companionship and striving to raise their children to be good people.

-Curious Physics Minor

A:

Dear you,

I can see enough doctrinal support for things as they are now to not be surprised if they never change, but I also recognize that much of that doctrinal support is open to interpretation, and a change in policy/doctrine would not necessarily contradict other doctrines of the Church.

Basically, I don't know. But I do know that God has a much deeper, more eternal plan for us than we can comprehend. I feel like a lot of advice the Church commonly gives to LGBT members often falls far short of addressing their struggles and the complexities of being LGBT in the Church, and I do know that whatever the actual doctrinal answer is, we will probably see a lot more personal and Church-wide revelation on the subject as a result, because God has a loving plan for each of His children. I feel sure that He wants to reach out to them, both now and in the future.

-Zedability