The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes casually called the Mormon Church, desires for all men and women to enjoy equal rights under the law. Thus, the Church has spearheaded changes in Utah law regarding gays, lesbians, transgender individuals, bisexuals, and queers. The Church’s senior leadership has supported “Fairness for All” legislation since 2015, when Utah passed a historic anti-discrimination and religious rights compromise, with the Church’s backing, that has been described as “eye-popping.”
However, the Church of Jesus Christ is bound to uphold those commandments reinforced in these modern times from God to His prophets. God Himself has designed the family structure, as explained in the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, and in modern scripture. That structure is to be a legally married man and woman with children. Marriage is divinely ordained of God, and can be eternal, if higher temple ordinances are entered into and honored over time.
Along with a God-ordained family structure, the Lord has given and reiterated through modern prophets the Law of Chastity, proscribing (or forbidding) sexual relations, except within the bonds of matrimony. This law is difficult for everyone on earth to abide by, including heterosexuals, many of whom will never marry, will divorce, or who will become widows and widowers, thus going for many years without intimacy.
The Church of Jesus Christ decries anything that is immoral, or which threatens the family, including, but not limited to, pornography, extramarital sex, co-habitation without marriage, easily obtained divorce, and promiscuity.
A gay member of the Church, often referred to as a gay Mormon, can be in a difficult position, since marriage to a person of the opposite sex may not be appealing, and the title "civil union," though granting all the rights of marriage, may not be seen as validating a truly committed relationship. Also, a homosexual union or marriage cannot be part of an eternal family according to God's law, and homosexual behaviors are sins just as heterosexual intimacy outside of marriage. Sin without repentance locks a person (or couple) out of the holy temple.
A gay Mormon has to establish a secure testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church are true, and then find a way to conform to the laws of God, in order to be a member in good standing. Many have done this, deciding that God, Christ, and covenants are more important than intimate romantic relationships. Some gay Mormons have openly shown their same-sex attraction, but have remained celibate, since the attraction itself is not considered a sin in the Church of Jesus Christ. Others have found and married a good friend of the opposite sex and established a family.
Many adults find counseling to be helpful to address same-sex attractions or gender issues. Causative factors are not fully known, but there is some scientific research that suggests biological components. Latter-day Saint counselors tend to favor the large studies (such as the Stockholm Study) that show that same-sex attraction is not completely inborn but the outcome of a myriad of factors, including environmental influences. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addressing gay Mormons, have emphasized that the attraction itself is not a sin, that no one in the Church should bully or deprecate gays, and that help is available.
Some gay Mormons are able to reconcile their sexual attractions and remain active in the Church, while others are not.
At a time when many other churches are changing their doctrines and practices to include same-sex sexual relationships, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not. While many members are discovering and pursuing ways to be more inclusive and loving of all people, regardless of their life choices, the doctrine in the Church has remained the same. God's laws of morality and chastity have not changed. See The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
- Deseret News, "Latter-day Saint leaders join interfaith coalition letter supporting LGBTQ rights in Florida," by Tad Walch