The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has launched a new website titled
Mormon and Gay.
The site is a reboot of a previous
attempt to reach out to gay Mormons. It offers advice for parents on
when to seek professional counseling for their children and help with
suicidal thoughts and depression.
The church is being praised for
changing the name – the old site was titled Mormons and Gays –
and moving the content from a separate location to lds.org. Also the
site repeatedly states that gay men and lesbians “should not be
marginalized or judged, nor have their faithfulness questioned.”
Despite those changes, the message
remains the same: being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is.
Gay Mormons are expected to remain
“There are sacrifices made, lonely
nights felt, and sorrow that the eye cannot see,” Josh Searle, a
gay Mormon in Idaho who ended a relationship to return to the church,
says in one of the videos on the website. “But God has blessed me
with moments where I emphatically say I am here to stay the course.”
Addison Jenkins, president of
Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, an LGBT group at Brigham Young
University, noted the site's exclusion of transgender members.
“It was glaringly obvious right away
that trans people were not part of the scope of the website,”
Jenkins told The
Salt Lake Tribune.
The site makes no mention of the
church's policy of excommunicating gay members in a relationship and
barring their children from being baptized into the faith until they
reach 18 and disavow their their parents' union.