I really enjoy your column. I have a question I have been unable to find doctrinal information on. I guess it’s a sign of the times that we have such strange situations nowadays. But I have a friend who turned out to be transgender. He is in a program to change sex and is getting married before the operation which is now legal in this particular state. He wants me to attend the wedding and be there in January when he has the operation. I keep thinking from an eternal perspective this is a marriage between two men and definitely wrong. Am I right? I have passed on the wedding but feel tremendous pressure to be there since it is major surgery. Is there a moral stand here? Thanks.
The question that you bring up has multiple facets. Let’s see if we can sort some of them out.
One– What is the Mormon Church’s position with respect to same sex marriages?
Two– How should those with homosexual tendencies comport themselves?
Three– What should be our relationship with those who are homosexually inclined?
First, same-sex marriages and all homosexual relations are contrary to the will of God and are not condoned by the Church. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” issued by The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles in November of 1995 (see Ensign, Nov. 1995), it is stated that
“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
Elder Victor L. Brown is quoted on this subject in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, 1992 as follows:
When two people of the same sex join in using their bodies for erotic purposes, this conduct is considered homosexual and sinful by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comparable to sexual relations between any unmarried persons.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve has clearly stated the Church’s position on homosexuality in the article entitled “Same-Gender Attraction,” in the Ensign, October 1995.
With respect to the second issue, persons with homosexual tendencies have the same moral obligations before the Lord as do all other persons. The commandment is to observe the strict law of virtue and chastity. Regardless of the prominence of such inclinations in the mind of an individual, if he conducts himself according to the principles of the gospel, he should enjoy the approbation of the Lord for his righteous behavior. The individual should continue to try to refine his feelings and emotions, as would be the requirement of any person to overcome any unclean or unwholesome tendencies.
With respect to the third issue, persons who struggle with homosexual tendencies should not be shunned by society or by the Mormon Church. On the contrary, they should be welcomed and treated with love and respect. However, while loving and respecting the individual, we must be very careful not to imply acceptance of the person’s life style. I would suggest that no one be supported in the perpetration of any homosexual activity, but that we help the person understand that although we cannot accept or be part of those activities that are contrary to the will of God, we may be counted on to be a true friend and to support the person in any honorable activity.