The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new website, mormonandgay.lds.org, dedicated to serving members with same-sex attraction and their families.
Featuring firsthand accounts with members of the Church experiencing same-sex attraction, the website explores many difficult topics, such as coming out to your family and ward members and determining how (or if) you want to label yourself, as well as building a bridge between common misconceptions about same-sex attraction and being an active member of the Church.
In its entirety, the materials provided exude inclusion and love. Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy, provides the welcome to the website.
“We have given much thought and care to better understanding the experience of same-sex attraction and making sure individuals who feel such attraction and their families feel welcome and part of the great world-wide family that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
The website is divided into three sections: Stories, Beliefs, and Understanding. As described on the website:
The stories section explores firsthand accounts of Church members who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Because no story happens in isolation, the stories section also explores the experiences of families, friends, and leaders.
The beliefs section outlines the official doctrine and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on same-sex attraction and explores relevant doctrinal concepts and themes.
The understanding section establishes a basic understanding of key concepts and vocabulary terms. By establishing a common familiarity with these concepts, Church members can better prepare to have healthy conversations about same-sex attraction.
One of the most poignant stories available on the website comes from a young returned missionary, Jessyca. After years of struggling to accept that she was gay, Jessyca contemplated suicide and sought God out in prayer.
“I felt an overwhelming peace come over me as God spoke to me, saying, ‘Stay with me, just a little longer. Just stay with me.’” Jessyca relates in the emotional video. “I knew at that moment that He was there and that if I stayed a little longer, I could not only manage life but also thrive.”
Jessyca also discusses the three questions her therapist asked her that changed her life forever.
You can explore more stories at mormonandgay.lds.org.