I read a blog post by Lionheart that I thought was extremely effective in demonstrating the situation gay Mormons find themselves in. I want to address the same things that were addressed in that post and perhaps elaborate a bit on them. But please read the post I am referencing.
The Church has been wrong on the causes of homosexuality. Leaders have taught that bad thoughts, masturbation, and selfishness lead to homosexuality and that homosexuality leads to unimaginable crimes such as bestiality. Leaders, both past and present have suggested that it is a choice and not inborn. However, the Church has recently reversed many of these claims due to the solid evidence against such teachings and now suggests that causes are unknown. Leaders have also begun to acknowledge that homosexuality may not be reversible or curable.
The Church has been wrong about solutions to homosexuality. Praying, fasting, being more righteous, trying harder to suppress feelings have all been suggested as cures for homosexuality by the church. Shock therapy, ex-gay programs, and other forms of intense therapy were not only suggested but required in many cases by leaders. Up until recently, heterosexual marriage in the temple was suggested as the cure for homosexuality, and worse, to keep that information about their "struggles" hidden from their wives. President Kimball even said that cures were often just a few months away. Due to the complete failure of these supposed "cures," the Church has reversed its opinion and no longer offers any solution to homosexuality.
General Authorities were wrong about blacks and the Priesthood. Leaders of the church holding positions as high as president of the church made racist, bigoted remarks about black persons. They proclaimed the color of their skin to be a curse and taught that blacks would not receive the Priesthood in this life.
The Church has tolerated unequal treatment of women. Before 1978, women were not permitted to say a prayer in Sacrament Meeting. Women did not speak in General Conference from 1930-1984. There are still many issues regarding women in the church that have yet to be resolved. Women are still largely defined by their husbands despite their own personal education, callings, or careers.
Church leaders have spoken out against interracial marriage and evolution. Both these ideas have been condemned using quite strong language by prophets, yet we are free to believe in evolution and marry a member of another race.
The Church offers no real solutions for homosexuality. The Church currently gives two suggestions for help: counseling and spiritual encouragement. Counseling can help in two general ways: 1) It can help homosexuals understand themselves better including their feelings, and 2) It can reduce destructive behavior, such as risky sex and drugs. After accomplishing these two goals where applicable, counseling reaches its limitations.
Spiritual counseling is good for any type of struggle. However, spiritual counseling alone is inadequate for nearly all gays. Imagine a cocaine addict simply being told to “pray and have faith and everything will be fine.” Or imagine a bishop suggesting only faith and prayer to a person who is bipolar. Certainly, spiritual counsel is not sufficient for these trials. Why is it okay to suggest that spiritual counseling is sufficient for gays?
The “fruits” of the Church policies towards gays are very negative. Most gays go inactive. Suicide rates are higher for gays than straights. Divorce rates are high. Families are torn apart as they choose between gay love ones and the church. The Church's involvement in Prop 8 has brought a storm of bad press and negative publicity for which the church is trying hard to re-cooperate from by inviting hi-profile gays to the Mo-tab Christmas concert for example.
If the Church’s support towards gays was sufficient, then activity among gays and straights would be equal. We would expect to see a fair number of older adults who are active and still gay. Given that at least 3% of the population is gay, where are the elderly gay members who have lived a life of celibacy and remained active? The Church’s fruits relating to this issue are embarrassing.
To summarize, the Church has been wrong about the causes of homosexuality, the Church has been wrong about solutions, Church leaders have been wrong about other issues such as blacks and the Priesthood and women, the Church offers no unique solutions now, and the fruits of the Church’s policies leave much to be desired. How do you interpret these facts?
Many non-members or people who have left the church may look at this list and say, "this is easy... just leave the church!" Gay people generally feel no pity for Gay Mormons because in their mind, we are insane masochists. But keep in mind some other facts that many Gay Mormons have to consider:
Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many still have strong faith in Christ and in his teachings and still seek to do his will and share his message with others. They seek to use their talents and means for good, righteous causes.
Testimony of the Restoration. Many cannot deny their feelings about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the primitive church. A large percentage of them have served missions for the church teaching people about this restoration and baptizing them. They believe strongly that God speaks today and can guide and teach us.
Testimony of the Priesthood. Many have seen the priesthood work in their own lives, in their own homes, even by their own hands. The believe in it's power and ability to heal, comfort, and perform any work commanded by God. They believe in the restoration and application of this power.
The culture in which they were raised. These people grew up in Mormon communities, in wards and stakes. Mormonism has informed much of their life, their values, their goals, their dreams. They cannot simply strip off everything that was affected by their upbringing because it has become so infused with who they are.
The history within their families. Many come from long lines of Mormons. Their grandparents, their aunts, their uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters all look to them to be an example. These loved ones who give Gay Mormons a sense of belonging and family all have expectations and hopes and dreams for them. Gay Mormons don't want to be the one disappointment, the one failure, the one that is cast out.
This isn't an easy fix. It is very confusing and frustrating and can even be earth shattering. Are you surprised that people in this situation have suicidal thoughts? What would your conclusion be?