God Loveth His Children

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"God Loveth His Children" is a pamphlet produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for members with same-sex attractions. It was approved in April and was announced in July 2007 through a letter to bishops and stake presidents, It represents an official statement from the Church, and follows an unofficial interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman in April of that year. The pamphlet is not new revelation or doctrinal change, but a continuation of the direction the Church has been going in the past several years. However, church leaders say chances are slim it would deviate from its sanctions against active gay relationships.

Doctrine

The title comes from a conversation between the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi and the Holy Ghost. In it, the Holy Ghost asks Nephi if he understands the condescension of God. Nephi replies, "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."[1] The pamphlet makes the analogy, that like Nephi, people with same-gender attractions should know that God loves them, but some questions about same-gender attraction "must await a future answer" (pg. 1).

The pamphlet acknowledges the reality of same-gender attractions and makes clear that it is not sinful. However, it makes clear that any sexual relationship outside of a heterosexual marriage is sinful, and adds that "the desire for physical gratification does not authorize immorality by anyone" (pg. 5). It emphasizes the importance of a heterosexual marriage, and that although many members have "overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life"(pg. 4). Instead, our "desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God's children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, wife, and children"(pg. 4).

The pamphlet does not state a cause for homosexuality. It does caution against placing blame on oneself, one's parents, or early experimentation. It teaches against pornography, co-dependent relationships, obsession with same-gender thoughts and feelings, flaunting homosexual tendencies and having friends who publicly display their homosexual feelings. Instead, it advises members with same-gender attraction to seek help from their leaders and other church members, develop self-mastery, fill their lives with goodness, nourish their spirits, and "go forward as do all other members of the Church"(pg. 12). It emphasizes that many Latter-day Saints with same-gender attraction move "forward with their lives by carefully adhering to gospel standards" and "they can be assured that all the blessings of eternal life will ultimately be theirs"(pg. 13).

However, regardless of how people live their lives, members should remember that "no one is, or ever could be, excluded from the circle of God's love"(pg. 13). It quotes Gordon B. Hinckley by saying: "Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we symphathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters." [2] It acknowledges that members of the Church have not always shown love, and reprimands them, saying "No member of the Church should ever be intolerant." It counsels that, "As you show love and kindness to others, you give them an opportunity to change their attitudes and follow Christ more fully"(pg. 9).

See also

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