Real Questions

Over the last two years, the church has produced a series of “Face to Face” events for youth, consisting of conversations with Mormon celebrities or ecclesiastical leaders. The first one was with David Archuleta in June 2014, and so far there have been a total of five, with a sixth coming up next week. This is the full list:

2016-elder-holland-face-to-face-yas-656x357

From event page for Face to Face with Jeffrey Holland

  • David Archuleta, June 24, 2014: Video
  • Lindsey Stirling, November 25, 2014: Video
  • David and Susan Bednar, May 12, 2015: Video
  • The Piano Guys, October 20, 2015: Video
  • Ronald Rasband, Bonnie Oscarson, and Stephen Owen, January 20, 2016: Video
  • Jeffrey Holland, March 8, 2016: Upcoming[1]

During each event, part of the discussion is used to respond to questions that have been submitted from around the world, either on the official event page or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #LDSface2face. The questions submitted through the official event page are posted for public viewing, and they make for fascinating reading. My focus here is on the questions submitted to ecclesiastical leaders related to homosexuality.

David and Susan Bednar’s event page has, by a wide margin, the highest total comment count at 4,072.[2] A quick search of relevant terms within those comment returns the following word counts: “gay” (24), “homosexual[ity]” (24), “same[-]sex” (18), “lesbian” (6), “same gender” (6), “LGBT” (4), “bisexual” (2). I provide some of the highlights from these results below.[3]

 

The most common category of questions I reviewed are those that ask for guidance on how to interact with or help friends, family, or acquaintances who have a homosexual or other non-heterosexual orientation:

How should I act and be friends with a gay couple that I work with? They are really nice and I consider them as friends but I obviously don’t agree with the decisions they’ve made. I work with them a lot and I don’t know what to do.

How can I help a friend that’s struggling with homosexuality?

How should we act towards our friends who are homosexuals when they are looking for our support or the are excited about an upcoming date with someone of the same gender? I don’t want to be condescending or say I can’t be happy for them because they don’t act like I do, but I know that homosexuality is contrary to Gods plan. How should we react to that?

How can I support my homosexual friends in their life choices without feeling like I’m pushing them away from the gospel if they choose something other than what they’ve been commanded to do?

I am in eighth grade and there are homosexual couples in my grade, as well as people that have homosexual parents. How do I react to this and how do I remain firm in my beliefs without offending anybody?

How should I interact with a friend that is constantly talking about his same sex attraction.

I have close family members who are attracted to the same sex. How can I help them to know I still love them but do not approve or want them to live the way they do?

How do I react to having a brother who is gay, and one who has same-sex-attraction? The one has a partner, and the other is still way strong in the gospel. It’s really hard and I don’t know how to react to it, because one is so into the church and probably won’t ever get married, while the other is not at all with the church anymore (and criticizes it) and will probably be married if it becomes legal.. But my gay brother seems so happy now because before he was not himself and his himself.. How do I accept that one is right and one is wrong?:(

How do I tell the difference between supporting actions that are wrong and being a good friend. This is regarding gay marriage.

If we have very good friends who are LDS and struggling with same-sex attraction, how can we help them deal with this trial?

What advice can you give to those struggling with same-sex attraction? I have a couple friends who deal with this and I want to know how I can help them.
Thanks!

Elder and Sister Bednar- Some of my close friends that are faithful church members experience same-sex attraction. After much prayer, some of them felt very strongly that they received revelation that they should pursue a homosexual relationship. Is it possible to receive such revelation from God?? Should I be supportive of their decision to be in a romantic homosexual relationship? What does being supportive even look like?

I have Mormon friends who are struggling with same-sex attraction and they’re having a really hard time. How can I help them?

I have an aunt that is a lesbian. How should I treat her and how should I respond to her choice?

Dear Elder and Sister Bednar

I have a friend who I love, and she is bisexual. How do I keep my friendship and my beliefs intact?

 

Some questions ask how to talk about homosexuality or same-sex marriage with people who disagree with the church’s stance:

How are we supposed to react to criticism with regards to our stance on gay marriage?

Many times when asked about our churches view on the topic of same sex marriage I find it difficult to properly address how we as a church think about it. When I make a response they call out our church as hypocrites because they say we believe in loving others but we won’t let same sex marriage haappen in our church. So how do I properly address this question.

I was taught that Heavenly Father loved and accepted all of us. Yet lesbians and gay marriage are frowned upon. I have many friends who are gay and lesbian. They all think I’m a lesbian hater or gay couples hater. How should I respond when they call me this??

In school, how do I continue to show love to gay people and still support what the church stands for, especially if people are accusing me of being a bigot?

Same sex marriage is a topic that is brought up a lot at school. When I try and defend my position on it, people argue that we can’t impose our standards upon others and that I only am against it because of my religious views when I should be looking at it from a political standpoint. How do I accurately defend my beliefs in a way that is not contentious or get shot down immediately once I start saying something?

How do I respond to those who accuse members of the church to be anti-same sex marriage, and who think we hate those people?

As a member of the church, many people ask me what the church’s view on homosexuality is. How do I answer to this question without seeming hateful?

 

Others express a desire to better understand the church’s teachings and policies, or the reasoning behind them:

Is it frowned upon that I support gay rights even though I’m not gay but I believe that if that is the choice they want to make then they should go for it?

If being gay is a sin, then why did heavenly father create gay people?

What is the church and gods view on gay people? Can gay Mormons still go to heaven and go on a mission? If not, how come? Also, does god view being gay as a sin?

How would the church be affected if gay marriage is legalized in the United states?

What is the church’s position on gay rights? (and how should the youth of the church react to such topics?) Gay marriages? I find this is an extremely sensitive topic today and would be overjoyed if an Apostle of the Lord would be able to answer this.

How come the church seems so hateful to gays? Why do they single them out? Is having homosexual relations a ‘worse sin’ than an unmarried heterosexual couple having sexual relations? Please reitterate the church policy.

When a ward or stake find out that a member has decided to be gay, bisexual, or transgender, what happens to that member?

I’m 15 years old and I wonder: why is homosexuality “immoral”? The books we use caution against it, but I would like a ore legitimate reason than “a book says it.” Thank you so much for answering, and I have extreme respect for your bravery and courage to take questions from everyone around the the world. 🙂

When we vote do we have the right to constrict others actions like acting on homosexual impulses, does the church believe we have the right decide for others whether or not they can sin? Also I really do not understand why blacks were only allowed to hold the priesthood starting like 40 years ago that seems crazy! I have read a lot about it and I understand what happened but why? because I feel like God would not discriminate, so was it right or wrong? Why???? I would really like a straightforward answer because I feel like no one is giving me that

I understand that it is a sin to engage in procreational activity for people with same-sex attraction, but is it still wrong to date and have a relationship with someone of the same sex?

How can God be perfect and all loving and yet discriminate against and deny his gospel to people with same sex attraction

Do you think the church will ever allow same sex-couples

 

A few questions have to do with specific personal situations:

Let’s say I am on my mission and I meet a family that consists of two homosexual men happily married with adopted children, they are both good. Men and are raising their children incredibly well and are raising them to be good people. They are interested in the church, have read the book of mormon,, and want to be baptised. as a missionary, do I have to/is it my responsibility to split this family up just so these already good and spiritual men can be baptised???

I am currently preparing for a mission, however I am nervous because I have homosexual tendencies and I am nervous about spending all day with a companion of the same gender. What advice do you have to help me prepare for this challenge?

I am homosexual. The church acknowledges that people who are homosexual were born that way, but still retains that it is a sin to act upon any desires towards the same sex. There is something more, however. In D&C 137:9 it says “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” I will always feel attraction towards women, nothing will change that. To me this says that the loving, kind Heavenly Father that the church preaches of, allowed some people to be born sinful. Allowed me to be born sinful. Not only that, but people in the church who are only attracted to the same sex are being condemned to a life where they cannot ever be with the person they truly love. They’re denied such a basic and essential thing. How could a God as truly caring and loving as we believe in ever condone this? Why would allowing gay relationships be such a terrible thing?

 

I’ve heard it said that Mormons tend to share a set of common questions about the world and the meaning of life, even if there is great variation in the conclusions they reach. I am encouraged to see that youth in the church are asking real questions about real life. They want to be kind and understanding but are unsure how to do so within their religious boundaries. The fact that the church is creating venues for asking such questions, and that youth are raising bold questions when given the chance, seems to me a significant cause for hope.

 

Notes:

[1] You can still submit questions for this event. To do so you must be logged in to an LDS account. Note that even though this event is for young adults, the event page is located under Youth Activities, which is problematic but subtle.

[2] The comment pages for all the events remain active, so totals could change at any time.

[3] You can visit the official event pages to read through the rest of the comments and those from other Face to Face events, including questions that are unrelated to homosexuality but are equally intriguing.

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2 thoughts on “Real Questions

  1. Pingback: Elder Holland on Same-Gender Attraction, But Really Just Chastity | Out of Obscurity

  2. Pingback: Christofferson on Homosexuality | Out of Obscurity

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