…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Teach the Gospel

What I Think Needs to be Said

By Rex Goode


Sermon_on_the_Mount_by_I.Makarov_After making somewhat of a nuisance of myself in How Silence Feels, people have wondered just what it is I think that local church leaders should be saying about homosexuality. I think it is an easy question, at least in my mind, but may be a little overwhelming for others. Then again, it’s a subject on my mind a whole lot more than it is on theirs.

Still, it’s a fair question, so I thought I’d give a little advice, not that anyone is considering taking it as far as I know.

If I were to distill my advice into three little words, it would be, “Teach the Gospel.” I suppose you could say that the gospel is being taught every Sunday and at many other opportunities.  What I think is needed when it comes to same-sex attraction issues is for the gospel to be taught focusing on the relevant points of doctrine.

I think that any discussion of it should include the following elements:

  • Teach the requirements of the Law of Chastity without fear.
  • Teach the necessity and duty of Latter-day Saints and followers of Christ to reach out in love and tolerance to others.
  • Go beyond the cliche of hate the sin but love the sinner. Reach out in love and understanding to everyone.
  • Teach families their duty in relation to their children who experience same-sex attraction. There is no justification in the gospel for being unkind to members of our family who are homosexual.
  • Teach the difference between having feelings and acting on those feelings. Reassure those who are obedient to the commandments that what counts is their discipleship and following the Lord, not what temptations they struggle with.
  • Teach, as President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, that members of the Church who deal with same-sex attraction are afforded the same privileges as any other member of the Church who is obedient to the gospel and living worthily.
  • Share the words of the apostles and prophets when they’ve talked about it.

There are a few things I would definitely recommend not be taught:

  • Avoid giving credence to cure theories. Some people claim to have been cured. Whether those theories or treatments work is not found in the gospel.
  • Don’t teach speculative doctrines that aren’t supported by the scriptures or words of the living prophets and apostles.
  • Don’t speculate about origins of homosexuality in individuals. Leave questions about nature/nurture to a venue that debates science. Just stick to the doctrines regarding chastity, love, tolerance, obedience, dealing with temptation, and the struggle to overcome the world.
  • Avoid a worldly perspective.

Above all, show love and compassion to those who deal with same-sex attraction personally. Teach support for their families and spouses. Where possible rely on the testimonies of individuals who have dealt with it and are striving to live the gospel.

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