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Seven Ways Latter-day Saint Teaching about Sexuality Have Been Misrepresented

Much has been written in recent years about what "Latter-day Saints believe" about LGBT issues - only a fraction of which accurately represents our true convictions. Tragically, even today, many are only familiar with these widespread distortions.

It’s not uncommon in a conflicted atmosphere for our belief-about-the-beliefs of someone else (or another group) to become colored and skewed by our own frustrations. That happens to all of us sometimes—both in and outside of our homes.  

I can’t believe you think this (ridiculous thing). 

But, of course, they don’t think that thing is ridiculous at all.  In fact, they’re quick to point out that it’s your mistaken conclusion that leads you to see that idea as so absurd in the first place.  That’s why an honest-to-goodness reconciliation and restoration of peace often depend on a break-through moment when one (or both) parties finally say—“Oh, okay. Now I understand what you really think…”  

In the absence of such clarity, the charade continues—with what we think is someone else’s belief experienced as so vile and foul (hardly something a decent person would consider) that it’s almost impossible not to feel disgust that another human being could actually countenance such a conviction. Left unchecked, revulsion and suspicion can fester like an open sore that infects otherwise beautiful things … marriages, friendships, and even faith itself.  

That, in a nutshell, is what we’ve observed in recent years with some who step away decisively from the Church of Jesus Christ with “concerns about LGBT issues.”  In making that momentous decision, so many of these people take for granted a certain interpretive framework about Church teaching that most Latter-day Saint leaders and members would find unrecognizable. We’ve honestly been baffled at how frequently the prevailing assumptions and language many embrace about sexuality misrepresent what Latter-day Saints actually believe, think, and feel—often in fundamental ways.  

In hopes of encouraging a public deliberation that is more fair-minded, productive and truthful, we highlight below seven specific misrepresentations that are as substantial as they are widespread. If you’ve paid attention to the back-and-forth of commentary and news on these matters, you’ll recognize them as recurrent themes. 

In fairness, each of these mischaracterizations is subtle enough that most authors and activists don’t even seem to know they are making them anymore. That means we’re dealing with, in many instances, honest mistakes people keep making in replicating conceptualizations that are, themselves, mistaken representations. 

Against this confusing backdrop, whatever honest disagreements exist (about competing views of love, identity, choice, change, the body, God, etc.) get much harder to talk about and discern—especially as disappointingly large numbers of Latter-day Saints get caught up in passing along these prevailing misrepresentations without realizing the distortions inherent in them, or how significantly they portray core teachings of the Church in an especially damning light. 

Rather than citing some of the many public examples of this, we focus more directly below on the details of the misconceptions themselves. Instead of a “myth-busting” exercise, this largely constitutes a request that we get more accurate and fair in describing what others believe and think—even if we’re frustrated with them. By recognizing the subtle mischaracterizations afoot, we hope to encourage a return to a more honest exchange about the true disagreements at hand. We pray this may be received in the spirit offered—sincere, earnest, and direct.  If you happen to disagree with any of this, we invite your forthright challenge to the arguments we are making, rather than our underlying motives.

1. Your feelings are not real and you don’t really exist

It’s surprisingly common to hear in online forums a mention of Church doctrine as somehow denying the reality of what someone is experiencing. Accusations of “erasure” of both feelings and identity—and pretending like gay people “don’t exist” have been remarkably frequent.  

But is that insistence true and accurate?  

No.  Latter-day Saint leaders don’t actually believe that people (who legitimately experience some enduring attraction to the same sex) don’t exist—nor that their feelings aren’t real.  Of course, they are. And of course, believing otherwise would be one of those “ridiculous” propositions for anyone to make.  

The question is not whether these feelings and experiences are real or not—but instead, how to best make sense of and interpret them.  And that’s where lots of honest disagreements exist (and where we think a more honest, and transparent conversation should focus). 

As Jacob recently explored with Tom Christofferson, it may be helpful to foster more space for conversation over whether same-sex attraction is a reflection of core, underlying, even eternal identity—versus seeing it perhaps as one aspect among many making up someone’s current experience?   

Latter-day Saints want to be able to explore questions like that about identity—not to deny anyone’s “existence.” We want to preserve space to be able to consider competing views on what that fundamental identity is—and to reach very different conclusions about what makes up who we are.  

2. You are broken, damaged, sick, evil…or “going to hell.” 

Let’s try a thought experiment:  imagine you were able to search all the Latter-day Saint canon of prophetic teaching from the days of Joseph Smith—papers, letters, formal sermons (both local and general), and written books from leaders of our faith. Combine that with all the standard works—and focus on one specific phrase “going to hell” in specific relation to homosexuality. Next, try the same search of the Latter-day Saint canon focused on accusations of people being “broken, damaged, sick, or evil” for having homosexual tendencies.    

What would you find? Undoubtedly, you would note many expressions of concern that exist about homosexuality—including strongly-worded warnings. But would you find condemnations of “who people are”?  

No, you would not…not even once.  Not if you understand what these prophetic voices are actually teaching.  

To the world, homosexuality is something you are. To the Church (and biblically), homosexuality is something you do. So, for example, when Church leaders, or the Bible, refer to homosexuality as an “abomination” or a “perversion,” those with the worldly conception feel condemned for their very nature. Those with a Biblical conception, by comparison, do feel warned or chastened, but not condemned in their core identity, since it has not been called abominable (or perverted).  Rather, from this vantage point, homosexuality is just one of many tempting patterns for our life that are “common to man.” (Thus, the Church could change the heading in the topical guide from “Homosexuality” to “Homosexual behavior” and every single reference still works perfectly).

To the world, homosexuality is something you are. To the Church (and biblically), homosexuality is something you do.

So, yes, strong cautions and warnings exist about these tendencies becoming an overriding influence in how we direct our lives.  But you won’t find anywhere in Latter-day Saint teaching telling people who experience same-sex attraction that they are “going to hell” or that who they are is “broken, damaged, sick or evil.” 

If that’s true, it’s dumbfounding to witness how often this kind of accusation has been repeated online—with many thousands of indignant commentaries on how Latter-day Saints could be so awful, and so condemning of “who people are.”  

Once again, it’s just not true—not if you’re listening to what we’re actually saying and teaching. The doctrine you will hear repeatedly in Latter-day Saint meetings, writing and conversation is that all human beings are children of God—every one of us—and endowed with a divine, infinitely beautiful potential.

That’s what we teach. And that’s what we believe for all human beings (including those who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay). Through a combined 80 years in the Church between the two of us, we’ve never heard any Latter-day Saint leader ever teach otherwise—and certainly not to assert that those with these distinctive sexual inclinations are intrinsically evil or destined for eternal suffering.  

Some may concede, “Okay, you may not teach this…but it feels like that’s what you’re saying.” All right, so let’s talk about that…what leads you to feel this way, rather than pretending this is about something more.

Despite all this, the perception that members are hostile to those who are sexually different remains remarkably widespread. After the teenage daughter of one of our close associates came out as gay, she was convinced that her active Latter-day Saint parents were going to kick her out of the house when she told them. She was terrified! But they were great—they embraced her, loved her, and accepted her. It’s worth asking, then:  if her parents acted in such a loving way, WHO was convincing this girl that it would go otherwise? (Hint—not the Church leaders, and not the parents either). 

The power these prevailing cultural perceptions had on this young woman are remarkable—gripping her with a terror of rejection that defied years of her own lived experience with loving parents.  (Of course, kids are kicked out of the house sometimes, and this is always tragic. But in our experience that is vanishingly rare, and very often mischaracterized as well.  The times we are personally familiar with, the kids were asked to leave not over sexuality per se, but due to engaging in extremely risky sexual behavior and drug use that was negatively affecting the rest of the children in the home).

3. You need to be “fixed” through therapy or pressured to change through other means.

In relentless campaigns we’ve seen in recent years to criminalize “conversion therapy,” the implicit narrative throughout is that any therapist meeting with someone experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction who is not encouraging them to embrace that as a central basis for their life, must, therefore, be trying to pressure them to “fix” or forcefully change those same feelings.  

Once again, that’s simply not true. But it’s been an effective billboard message to stir up public outrage and generate political will. How dare they coerce these vulnerable kids to not be who they naturally are? 

If, indeed, most faith-based counselors working with youth (or adults) in this situation were guilty of such a crime, all this outrage might be justified.  But these public narratives have, in our experience, little resemblance to the preponderance of thoughtful professional support over the years—or the many possible therapeutic options available today.  Indeed, we have witnessed little curiosity at the possibility of working with someone in a gentle, compassionate, and mindful way that neither validates nor encourages an embrace of same-sex attraction as “who you are,” while also not suppressing, denying, or fighting it either.  

That is mindfulness—and reflective of the kind of gentle approach that is becoming more and more mainstream today (albeit we think poorly understood in its application to sexuality). From this vantage point, different kinds of diverse, complex reconciliations between faith and sexuality can be explored and lived out, without aggression and force.  

None of this denies unfortunate historical examples of more forceful methods in the history of past professional practice. This includes, for instance, efforts to administer electric shocks to gay men in early experiments.

Less mention is made of the fact that these kinds of aggressive techniques were applied broadly to a range of presenting issues, and continue to be widely practiced widely today in ECT for people with depression. (This was a feature of psychiatric practice at large, rather than only religiously-oriented counselors.  And while we agree psychiatry’s treatment of homosexuality is a dark stain on the profession, it is one of many).

Thankfully, these early misguided efforts have been rightfully condemned by scientists and leaders alike—with encouragement to pressure others (or yourself) in a forceful change/denial/suppression process nonexistent in any contemporary Latter-day Saint teaching. It’s true leaders continue to point towards the possibility of a longer, broader change God can bring to pass in all of us, including those with same-sex attraction—something Christians the world over see as essential to “enter the kingdom of heaven.” (How exactly the world and Christians speak of “change” has many subtle, and vital differences that are beyond the scope of this article, but worth exploring further). 

4. If you stay faithful in the Church, your only option is celibacy. So you’ll just need to accept a life of being alone, maybe even into the eternities.  

It’s especially common to hear critics portray life in the Church of Jesus Christ as synonymous with enduring long-term loneliness, with one parent calling us “a religion that had no place for [my son] and no plan other than to be alone and celibate.”

From this vantage point, individuals who experience same sex attraction or identify as gay have only one option as active members—being celibate. Another mother spoke of her favorite activist group as unique in knowing “that their kids were not put on this earth to live a life of loneliness and empty of intimate companionship as the LDS church required.” 

Covenant marriage is a blessing to which all can aspire, eventually—no matter what challenges or barriers may stand in the way now.

Reflected here is the curious belief that the plan taught to these kids in their Latter-day Saint upbringing no longer offers any sort of meaningful intimacy their gay-identifying child can now aspire towards. This same mother continued: “Right now there is no Plan of Happiness for our LGBT brothers and sisters that allows companionship.” Another mother likewise said: “Within the current framework of the Church, there is only one road for [my daughter].”  

Is that true? Is there only “one road” for this precious young woman—and no way for her and others to find companionship in the plan of salvation?  Only if you’re listening exclusively to critics attempting to represent our teaching.  

None of this—not the you’ll be lonely forever part, or the there’s no path to happiness for you part—is actually what we teach. Far from it! Our message is one of not only salvation—but exaltationavailable to all of God’s children (eventually). That means anticipating eternal relationships of joy, peace, and happiness in the future for everyone, no matter what the present moment looks like—with seeds of these relationships planted here and now.  

That includes covenant marriage for all who feel able to enter into that in this life.  And for those who do not (or cannot) consider such a relationship right now, there is sweet companionship in the “fellowship of the Saints” for all—with an anticipation of more to come in the next life.  

In the meanwhile, a quick conflation of sexual expression and love can do real damage—cheapening both true sexual love and non-romantic friendship alike. A friend of Jeff’s once complained that people were “being thrown out of BYU because of who they love.” We are confident that no one ever lost an ecclesiastical endorsement because they loved too much, though some may have because of sex outside of marriage. To confuse this distinction in our language cheapens friendship and companionship, while presuming that sexual release is the highest and only meaningful form of love. 

In fairness, there are real challenges and sacrifices in relationships for many people, across a variety of circumstances. A woman we know wanted to marry in her faith, but the only men who asked her out were not Latter-day Saint.  She chose to sacrifice getting married because that was so important to her. Other couples experience loveless, lonely marriages, but which are not abusive. Should they get divorced? Don’t they “deserve” intimacy and companionship? 

Some would insist these are not at all the same as the unique circumstances gay-identified folks can face in the Church. Comparing suffering is a tricky business. Without dismissing or ignoring the pain experienced across many experiences, what if we could find commonality in these difficulties? (e.g., we ALL have felt lonely, and many have experienced a longing for greater intimacy or a sexual relationship that is not prudent or possible).

We would argue that this popular presumption of profound difference (that no one can understand or appreciate your unique circumstances) may well be a bigger contributor to loneliness than Church doctrine is.  In our experience, COMPARING pain only leads to more pain. SHARING pain leads to less pain.

In the end, some of these messages of predestined loneliness have effectively disparaged the “joy of the Saints that is offered to all in God’s Kingdom. Companionship in the Church is denied no one striving to make and keep covenants, although there are expectations as to when and how sexuality is expressed. This is  far more than a “linger longer” potluck after Church meetings. In Doctrine and Covenants, a sweet promise is made that the “same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” Certainly much of that does not have to wait for the next life, happening one temple covenant-keeping home at a time.

And yet, the establishment of Zion has been halting, uneven, and painfully incomplete. The intimate friendship and love we see modeled in the highest leadership councils in the Church, and beautifully described in the scriptures (the sons of Mosiah, Alma and Amulek, Ruth and Naomi, Jonathan and David, Jesus and his disciples) is something after which we can continue to aspire in our local congregations—and something that can bless every member.  
When gay-identifying youth don’t find this kind of friendship in their Priesthood Quorums and Young Women’s groups, no wonder they might believe there are greener pastures in the seemingly unconditional acceptance of gay-affirming communities. Our problem with such communities is that they are too limited and narrow in their vision of intimacy and their erroneous centering of sexual expression as the be-all-end-all peak form of human connection. We can show them a better way by doing a better job of living out the Zion ideal in our local congregations: when Zion is reunited, we shall “meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks” in an affectionate embrace.  (Moses 7:64) How can we do more of that in the here and now?
Remarkably, Jesus prays that we may be one as He and the Father are one. (John 17:11).  Jesus would not have prayed this for us if it was not possible, at least incrementally.  That joyful, creative, glorious union is one that we are all invited into, and which we can share through our personal ministry and discipleship.
Of course, deep and rich friendship is not a substitute for marriage – and can seem a poor consolation prize (compared to romantic partnership) to so many LGBT-identified members. ..which brings us to the next point.

5. Prophets would discourage you from getting overly focused on trying to marry someone of the opposite sex. 

The statement that people point to in justification of this fifth notion is President Gordon B. Hinckley’s response to some having believed marriage to be a kind of a cure-all remedy for same-sex attraction: “Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices.”

Notice what President Hinckley did (and did not) say:  Did he discourage people with same-sex attraction from considering covenantal marriage as a future goal? Did he push people away from the idea of working towards this aspiration in different, gentle ways over time?  Did he signal to those who identify as gay that celibacy is the best (and really only) course of life ahead for them?  Did he tell them that they should close themselves off to the possibility of ever being able to find fulfillment in a romantic relationship with the opposite sex?

None of these things. He taught none of them.  

And yet all of these have been presumed repeatedly—over and over—in activist forums online as “what we teach and believe.”  

The truth is this:  Covenant marriage is a blessing to which all can aspire, eventually—no matter what challenges or barriers (and there are many kinds) may stand in the way right now.  

We are each precious, and beautiful sons or daughters of God—with intrinsic potential to become like Them. Whether we move in that direction—and identify with that aspiration—is our choice.

Yes, we need to do a better job of encouraging deep thought over time about readiness for those contemplating marriage—something that is true for people in all circumstances. We have recently learned a lot about what factors contribute to success in marriages where one partner experiences same-sex attraction. In the meanwhile, please: let’s try to be more honest (with ourselves, with each other—and before God), when it comes to what prophetic teaching actually is.   

6. We were wrong to believe that being gay was a choiceand now realize that choice is not involved at all.  

As another significant example of misrepresented beliefs, many have insisted that the Church has undergone a dramatic revision in what they teach about choice and sexuality—hinting that we no longer believe choice is involved in LGBT matters and that we have recanted any notion of gay identity being mediated by personal choice.  

From this vantage point, leaders have experienced a night-and-day shift from believing and teaching that homosexuality (or “being gay”) is a choice—to now realizing, and accepting the truth that is not. This shows up over and over in activist forums online.

What exactly is meant by “being gay” or “homosexuality,” though, is rarely taken up in these pronouncements—the issue on which, we would argue, everything hinges.  By “being gay” and “homosexuality” are we referring to the feelings of sexual attraction arising at any given moment for someone of the same sex?  

If so, then references are few (and far between) to Church leaders—now, or in the past, advocating for one’s ability to simply “choose to change” those feelings to the point that any same-sex arousal is now impossible. We cannot locate a single credible reference exemplifying such an argument.    

If, by contrast, “being gay” or “homosexuality” refers to choosing to embrace, follow and center one’s identity around these feelings of attraction towards the same gender, and to associate with others who affirm such beliefs, then yes—that has always been considered a choice, and will continue to be. Thus, it should unsurprising to see examples of this teaching throughout the history of the Church (and with even better clarification today). 

It does seem striking that this distinction above is almost never made in frequent online discussions of the question—not in secular society, and not among the many impassioned activists who identify as Latter-day Saint either. In the absence of this clarity, these two meanings are mixed, matched, and conflated in arguments that make it appear as if Church leaders have experienced a great epiphany—now realizing that their past teachings about choice in relation to sexuality were simply not true.  

That, we would argue, is a jarring misrepresentation that serves to bolster the belief that prophetic leaders are (a) slowly, but surely recognizing they were wrong and (b) “evolving” in a direction more congenial to progressive beliefs—rather than acknowledging the extent to which secular constructs have dramatically shifted in meaning over time. 

7. Prophet leaders have experienced great confusion and sharp differences on these matters, reflected in ongoing vacillations and “jolting reversals.”  

A final broad misconception now mainstream among many critics is that the history of the last 10-15 years of the Church’s approach to LGBT issues is one of embarrassing vacillation and ambiguitybest interpreted as a signal of how confused and confounded presiding leaders are, and how deeply they (unbeknownst to the public) actually disagree about them.  

Every one of these assertions seems a substantial overreach by people so convinced of prevailing perspective on LGBT issues that they attempt to make sense of statements and policies in a way that doesn’t unsettle their own convictions.  In other words, if impassioned activists are right in possessing higher insight and truth on these mattersthen prophetic leaders must be confused or grappling with their own disagreements on the matter, right?

It’s confirmation bias taken to a remarkable degree: if Church leaders only knew what I knew, then they would believe what I believe. 

Left to the side is the possibility that these presiding leaders have been right all alongand that the confusion and grappling reflect more of the inability of the public to see the consistency in their teaching and the wisdom of what they are saying. 

In the absence of that awareness, a plethora of voices have each claimed essentially the same thing: I’m unique in being able to see more clearly what’s trueand offering what Latter-day Saints (and their prophets) should be seeing too.  And their failure to do so is just another sign of their ignorance (and possibly even ill-will). We’ve seen variations of this from Bryce Cook in his writings on doctrinal change, Taylor Petrey attempting to elaborate a non-heteronormative replacement for orthodox Latter-day Saint doctrine on exaltation, and Greg Prince in his book on changing policies and teachings. Micro-versions of this same thing (and the associated misrepresentations identified above) also show up prominently and regularly in the Salt Lake Tribune and in frequently-appearing missives from Jana Riess.  

A few final points 

Why does any of this matter?  Because ideas have consequencesbig ones!  

If Jesus is right that it’s the truth that “makes us free,” what effect do distortions have on our souls? Joseph Smith alluded to this when he described false “creeds” acting like “chains” upon humanity.  

In what way are these seven beliefs-about-our-beliefs influencing people?  As hinted above, we believe they are collectively ushering people right out of the Church.  Who would want to worship in a community where vulnerable gay kids are told they are “going to hell” or they are “sick, broken, evil, or damaged”? Who would want to associate with a faith that was “aggressively trying to force” these same precious youth to deny and change who they aretherapeutically, or through other means? And who would be excited about participating in a religion that looked a gay teen in the eyes and taught them that the best they could hope for was a lonely path of celibacy?  

Not us.  And not likely you either…including many brothers and sisters of our own.

Speaking to any who have felt this way, please hear us out.  We want to be very clear:  it is not the Church that has taught these things. It’s just not.  Whatever conviction you have arrived at that prophets have been teaching this has come through the decisive mediation of other voices online.  

If that’s true, then perhaps we might begin to speak of what’s happening in more honest terms.  Rather than coming to “realize the Church was teaching these terrible things,” we might see the extent to which individuals are embracing a predominant narrative that insists this to be the case – pulling together shreds of evidence as proof. Thus, we hear people citing a statement someone made at Churchwith a resulting reverberation of shock and horror amplified in all directions.  

We’ve been told that mentioning honesty in this context feels accusatory to some.  To be clear, calling something a misrepresentation is not the same thing as calling something a lie. And by way of reassurance, let us say once more that our experience is that most people are not aware they are misrepresenting.  They believe it’s true. And when pushed to see that it’s not, they say, well, that’s how it feels…

The net effect, however, is a stretching of the truth, which is deceptive, especially in effect—inviting falsehood and darkness where what is urgently needed is more truth and light.

We don’t present these ideas to be contrary, but in the hopes of adding further light and truth on a subject all too often lacking in either. What we’re trying to shine a light on here are deceptions so widespread that they’re hardly even acknowledged anymore as falsities.  Instead, they’re received as just how things are.  

Except they’re not.  In each case, as we’ve started to illustrate above, these are profound misrepresentations of much simpler, far less upsetting realities—summarized (as they are in every General Conference) as:

We are each precious, and beautiful sons or daughters of God—with intrinsic potential to become like Them. Whether we move in that direction—and identify with that aspiration—is our choice.  Everyone who does can relish the possibility of eternal relationships and connections that are expansive and bring joy beyond our understanding. 

Has that ever not been our message as a people?  

Even if you disagree with our theology, we hope you’ll recognize the sincerity of the belief that all of God’s children—no matter their sexual identity—are capable of exaltation. Ironically, some seem to advocate for a “separate but equal exaltation” where gay Saints are placed on a different track with others like them, forever incapable of joyful union with the opposite sex. This may sound appealing to some, but hopefully, you can recognize that it isn’t consistent with Latter-day Saint theology to believe that some of God’s children are incapable of the revealed pathway of exaltation and thus need a different, more limited one. 

Respectfully, we submit that those wishing to rewrite our doctrine don’t realize what they are asking. From the point of view of orthodox teaching, sanctioning eternal gay unions is a concession that some people are forever excluded from creative union with the complementary gender (not even changing in a distant Millennium, with our gay brothers and sisters forever apart, forever different). This flies in the face of Nephi’s adamant declaration that exaltation is for all of God’s children, and He “denieth none … black and white, bond and free, male and female,” whatever sexual desire one experiences, “all are alike unto God.”

In the end, we believe that many people, by and large, have not heard the true message of Latter-day Saint prophets about sexuality. Rather, they have heard representations of “what the Mormons believe” from people who are frustrated, disgruntled, and suspicious of the Church as the whole.  

These attempts to “clarify the real truth” have confused millions. Activist efforts have been successful in stirring up people and persuading them to adopt new narratives orthogonal to the simple truths taught by scripture and prophets.  That’s one explanation for why the more honest disagreements are not featuredit simply wouldn’t be as persuasive to say “there are really different ways of thinking about identity here.  Let’s talk about themand you can decide what you believe.”  

Or “There are very different visions of where people who identify as gay will find lasting happinesslet’s compare the different perspectives and goals.”  

Far better (if your goal is to mobilize people in a particular direction) to say, “I’m tired of Latter-day Saints hating gay peopleand denying the reality that they exist!”  Or “I’m tired of them condemning gay kids to hell—and telling them they are broken!”  Or “Can you believe the Church is telling gay people a life of celibacy is the best they can hope for?”  

Any of that really gets the blood flowing. 

But is it true?  

No, it’s not. It’s simply not. And hopefully one day more people will recognize this truth.  

Then, rather than getting swept away in frustration and suspicion, they can do what they always should have been able to do:  really choose for themselves what they think, feel, and believe.  

If you’re going to make the decision to walk away from the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth, please do it based on a fair, honest analysis of what we teach and believe.  And for Heaven’s Sake (and the sake of the republic trembling around us), let’s all try to pay more attention to the way deep frustrations (always, inescapably) shape what we each see and conclude. 

Maybe, then, we can legitimately hear what each other is saying, and understand what we actually believe.

Imagine that.    

About the authors

Jacob Z. Hess

Jacob Hess is a contributing editor at Deseret News and publishes longer-form pieces at He co-authored "You're Not as Crazy as I Thought, But You're Still Wrong" and “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints.” He has a Ph.D. in clinical-community psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jeff Bennion

Jeff Bennion is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He co-founded North Star International in 2007, and has written for several publications on the topics of sexuality, faith, and marriage.
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