Same-sex attraction is not inherently sinful, according to a new policy change by the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a new edition of its leadership guidelines, the Mormon Church removed previous language
calling for gays to repent of their "homosexual thoughts or feelings."
But LGBT Mormons must remain celibate in order to participate in temple rituals and receive
church assignments known as "callings." Acting on same-sex attractions or marrying a same-sex partner remains against church policy.
In a Tuesday statement, the Reverend Harry Knox,
director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Program, said, "We continue to disagree with the Mormon Church about fundamentally
important issues like full respect for the marriages of same-sex
couples, but we are encouraged that our advocacy has paid off with real
movement that will help save young lives."
The new edition of the Church Handbook of Instructions eliminates an assertion that gay relationships "distort loving relationships."
revisions "will bless people by making it easier for them to come
forward," said David Pruden, president of Evergreen, a Salt Lake
City-based "ex-gay" organization. Pruden is also spokesman for
the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, of
which George Rekers was a board member until May, when the Miami New Times reported that the proponent of "reparative therapy" for gays had traveled to Europe with a young male escort.