mormons_same-sex_marriageNews broke last week that the LDS Church was adopting new policies aimed at married same-sex couples and their children. Mormons in a same-sex marriage will now be considered apostates and could be subject to disciplinary hearings and excommunication. Their children, meanwhile, will be barred from many of the faith’s sacred rituals, unless they get permission from church’s highest leaders. Monday, a panel of guests joined RadioWest to discuss the impacts and ramifications of these new church policies.


  • Jennifer Dobner is a journalist at the Salt Lake Tribune where she covers health care reform, Mormonism, polygamy, justice issues and more.
  • John Dehlin has a Ph.D. in psychology from Utah State University, focusing on religion, mental health, and the LGBT Mormon experience. He co-led the largest study ever conducted on LGBT Mormons that has been published in numerous scientific, peer reviewed journals, including the APA’s Journal of Counseling Psychology. He also produces and hosts the Mormon Stories podcast. He was excommunicated from the LDS Church in January of 2015. He was credited in several news reports for leaking information about the Church’s new policy on married same-sex Mormons and their children.
  • Kendall Wilcox is an openly gay and active Mormon. He’s a co-founder of Mormons Building Bridges, a group that works to build understanding between members of the LDS Church and the LGBT community. He’s currently producing a documentary film about the experience of LGBT Mormons. It’s called Far Between.
  • Mitch Mayne is an openly gay, active Mormon who served as executive secretary in the LDS bishopric in San Francisco through 2013.


  1. William Covington November 10, 2015 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Why would anyone, Gay or Heterosexual, want to build bridges with the LDS Church?

  2. Mike November 10, 2015 at 9:00 am - Reply

    If the church were interested in being just and equal, wouldn’t they simply require that all new members “disavow” homosexuality at the time of baptism?

    For that matter, isn’t the time-honored divinely inspired baptismal covenants enough to commit to? Apparently Not! Isn’t the church really saying that they have no faith in their own divine ordinances or in Gods ability to change human nature?

    This is what is really telling about how false the church has become. The church has no faith in it’s own baptismal covenants, no faith in it’s own sacrament, no faith in it’s own God and Holy Ghost.

    What more glimpse of the truth of what these guys actually believe can you ask for?

    Headline News: Mormon Church Disavows belief in it’s own God!

    • peter November 10, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thing is, kids at 8 have no concept of what their own sexuality will be. I agree it would be better since this would be more in line with actual gospel principals; a much better alternative than this debacle; but practically they would also need to raise the baptism age limit to adulthood, which, quite frankly, is somewhere around 24 or so.

      • Mike November 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

        Peter as an 8 year old I learned the ten commandments as a condition for baptism, among them adultery. I had no idea what adultery was, but I had to agree not to do it! On the other hand I think more people should wait until thirty to decide to join the church.

    • Doubting Thomas November 10, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply


      You nailed it Mike.

      • William Covington November 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm - Reply

        The LDS leaders are either unwilling or unable to accept that a persons sexual preference is a matter of biology. The individual has no control whatever as to the colour of their eyes, their height, the size of their feet, et al, and yet when it comes to a persons sexual preference the LDS leaders expect a gay person to repent for being ‘gay’ ( as if being ‘gay’is sinning ) seek forgiveness and be baptized!! It is an absurd position to take with regard to be being gay and being admitted as a member of the LDS church. I can’t understand why any gay person would seek admittance into the LDS church.

        • Austin November 10, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

          Did I miss something? Did science find the gay gene? From everything I’ve read (by gay and non-gay scientists), several factors, which does include genetics but also includes upbringing and environment, play a role in developing sexual orientation.

          If my sources are out of date, please enlighten me.

          I do agree with your last statement.

          • John Dehlin November 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm

            Genetics and hormones in the womb, yes. I’ve seen nothing credible to suggest that upbringing is at play. If you can find something in that regard, please share.

          • William Covington November 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

            With regard to a persons sexual preference being influenced by upbringing, where is the evidence proving that environmental factors play a significant part in a persons sexuality. Biological determinism is the basis for everything that a person is.

          • Danny November 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

            If we learned anything from Kinsey, it was that sexuality is on a continuum. An individual can, therefore, be predominantly heterosexual but still have homosexual inclinations. What I understand about environmental factors is that they can be at play in how sexuality is expressed. For example, an individual somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale raised in an accepting home would feel just as comfortable entering a homosexual relationship as a he/she would entering a heterosexual relationship. A socially conservative household would likely stifle the homosexual activity leaving only the heterosexual activity apparent. Indeed, there is some evidence that a social setting as well as genetics may be at play (Gartrell, Bos, & Goldberg, 2011; Schumm, 2010). Additionally, there are a number of twin studies suggesting, although not conclusive, that environmental factors play some role in sexual preferences (e.g., Bailey, Dunne, & Martin, 2000; Bearman & Bruckner, 2002; Eckert, Bouchard, Bohlen, & Heston, 1986; Kendler, Thornton, Gilman, & Kessler, 2000).
            Actually, John, I noticed that the Eckert et al. (1986) study was included in your references for your “Psychosocial Correlates of Religious Approaches to Same-Sex Attraction” study, but was not cited in the body of the paper.
            Anyway, to respond to Austin, I think that the genetic and environmental factors of homosexuality are contested and the interrelationship is still being researched.

            Bailey, J. M., Dunne, M. P., & Martin, N. G. (2000). Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of personality and social psychology, 78(3), 524.
            Bearman, P. S., & Brückner, H. (2002). Opposite‐Sex Twins and Adolescent Same‐Sex Attraction1. American Journal of Sociology, 107, 1179-1205.
            Eckert, E. D., Bouchard, T. J., Bohlen, J., & Heston, L. L. (1986). Homosexuality in monozygotic twins reared apart. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 148,421–425.
            Gartrell, N. K., Bos, H. M., & Goldberg, N. G. (2011). Adolescents of the US national longitudinal lesbian family study: sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and sexual risk exposure. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 1199-1209.
            Kendler, K. S., Thornton, L. M., Gilman, S. E., & Kessler, R. C. (2000). Sexual orientation in a US national sample of twin and nontwin sibling pairs. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157,1843-1846.
            Schumm, W. R. (2010). Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals? A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data. Journal of biosocial science, 42, 721-742.

          • William Covington November 13, 2015 at 3:49 pm

            Good points being made. My point is that an individual pathology will always determine how a person is. My other point is that the
            LDS belief regarding same sex attraction is that such attraction between people is a sin. Such a view regarding same sex attraction is absurd. What right does any individual, or group of individuals have to view same sex attraction as inherently evil?

  3. Austin November 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply


    You’re emphatic about how much harm this policy will cause to the children of same sex couples. But I haven’t heard anyone address in detail how much harm this has caused or will cause the children of homosexual couples without the policy in place. To live in an environment where a child goes from baptism to young mens/womens, weekly activities, weekly church, pounded with the idea of mother/father/children in the Lord as the over all plan of God, then to have them go home and deal with their home dichotomy. Wouldn’t this also cause great emotional harm?

    • Bryce B. November 10, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply


      So the answer the Mormon church came up with (remember, they’re the “one true church”) is to deny the children to come unto Christ, be baptized, receive the priesthood, ect. until they move out and denounce their parents? Shouldn’t this policy be in place for ALL kids who don’t have active parents in Mormonism? Think of how harmful it must be for those kids to learn in church that their family won’t be in Celestial glory with them.

      I remember I was taught OVER and OVER again how important the gift of the holy ghost was to help guide me through the evil pitfalls of the modern world, especially as a young adolescent. So the kids of straight parents (even if they aren’t Mormon) can get the Holy Ghost as a guide through some skechtcy high-school years, but the kid of a homosexual parent can’t? That kid is just going to have to try and navigate without it, right?

      Can’t wait for the essay to come out 10 years from now “disavowing” the homophobic teachings of T. Monson and others.

      Wake up Mormons! God is nowhere to be found in any of this non-sense.

    • Kevin November 11, 2015 at 7:39 am - Reply

      I haven’t seen one person address how a child who lives with a heterosexual parent, who is having pre marital sex, is allowed to be baptized. After all what they learn in church is contrary to what they witness in their home. Yet they can be baptized.

      I guess what it boils down to is, despite the “sin”, the right type of sex is being had. Am I right apologists?

  4. Jerry Randall November 10, 2015 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    No one should be surprised by the late action of the itty-bitty mormon church (15 million souls versus 7 billion earthlings; you do the math)to exclude children of the LGBTQ community from basic church ordinances, and excommunicate as apostates their parents. This church has been excluding people since its founding: Those who would not participate in “spiritual marriage,” black male members from the priesthood (thanks, Brigham!). Loving nonmember or inactive parents who cannot attend the temple weddings of their sons and daughters. And let’s not forget the single adult members of the church whose unmarried status just doesn’t quite seem to fit the mormon mold. There is nothing new here. Maybe more offensive, but not new. As a secularist, it is hard for me to see very many of the teachings of Jesus Christ applied in this church.

    • William Covington November 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      You raise important points. The BOM is a racist tract clothed in religious rhetoric, eg, ‘O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours…….'( Jacob 3:8 ).And all the single adult members who, as you point out, doesn’t fit the mormon mold.
      Is it any wonder that the LDS church is, as you point out, ‘itty – bitty’

    • MrMarkHudson November 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      If Mormonism is true then it means that God’s default program for families is to break them up at death, except for the few LDS temple sealings that last forever. Doesn’t sound like a loving God to me.

  5. Charlie November 10, 2015 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    John, you are mistaken about mandatory disciplinary councils (min24.45).

    Section 6.7.3 states that disciplinary councils are mandatory for 1.Murder 2.Incest 3.Child abuse -physical or sexual- and 4. Apostasy , where apostasy is

    1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.” like, respectfully, you do here in your mormonstories.

    2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.” as in your case (I say this with all due respect)
    3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) ….
    4. Are in a same-gender marriage.
    5. Formally join another church a….”

    So if you support SSM after being told that you can’t or you are in a SSM, hence practicing support for SSM, then you are classified as an apostate by the church.

    But it wasn’t correct to say that murder is an optional disciplinary council and SSM isn’t. The previous section 6.7.2 says that council may be necessary for all serious sin and then lists, quote:
    “It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, forcible rape,(??no other kind off course), sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation), deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, and false swearing.”

    but in the sense that it may be useful to hold one if it’s worthwhile because sometimes it’s just pointless chasing a murderer or ssm cohabitor if they continue to disappear, or they don’t show up for the interview and it isn’t a public case ie the church isn’t publically embarrassed by the individual

  6. Wondering Wanderer November 11, 2015 at 2:36 am - Reply

    One of the talking points used by those fighting against the legalization of same sex marriage is the fear that it will be a slippery slope leading to the legalization of other unconventional types of marriage like polygamy. There remains in the public eye a stigma attached to the LDS Church because of its history with polygamy, so it was a clever PR move for Apostle Todd Christofferson to link polygamy with homosexuality in a way that left the impression that the church deals with both issues in the same way and equally denounces both, when the public does not realize that the church never actually denounced polygamy, but only stopped the practice because it was forced to by the government’s threat to confiscate all its property.

    Christofferson said that giving a baby of gay parents a name and a blessing is problematic in that it triggers a membership record, which triggers the assigning of home teachers. Huh? When has the church ever wanted to reduce the church roles? When has the church ever wanted to keep home teachers away from anyone, unless they were specifically asked by the family not to visit? The Apostle mentioned in passing without explaining it, that attendance at Primary is another problem triggered by a membership record. The question arises, in what way is Primary attendance a problem, and how does the new policy solve that problem? Was his mention of Primary a slip of the tongue, inadvertantly revealing that the church has deliberately designed their new policy with the idea in mind that gay parents would want to keep their children away from Primary to protect them from the most damaging thing for young children, which is the stigma and isolation of being treated differently? The hurt that would attach to being singled out at the age of eight as the only one in the class not eligible for baptism, or as the only boy from age twelve to eighteen who is not advancing in the priesthood, is a problem the church itself is creating, and then they are offering their new policy as the solution. I was going to say this is crazy, circular thinking, but knowing that the church probably spent a lot of time crafting the policy and consulting with its lawyers on it, it can only be characterized as manipulative.

    For an 18 year old to have to move out of his parents’ home and “specifically denounce” his parents’ lifestyle, may not technically, on paper, or in the minds of the church leaders be the same thing as denouncing his parents, but in the real lives of real people with real hearts and real feelings, it would certainly seem that way. Why would this be required anyway, when the child is now an “adult” able to make his or her own decisions about the kind of life he wants to lead? Why require this when he is showing an interest in membership and/or wants to go on a mission?

    I agree that this is a surgical procedure, but don’t cha know ours is not to question why; ours is but to do or die? The church leadership has laid down its ultimatum and has made it clear that it is their way or the highway. We can debate and discuss things here all that we want. We can express our thoughts and feelings here on various issues, but in the church, they do not count. Power and authority reside at the top. Just disengage your brain, do not follow where your heart leads, keep your mouth shut, and follow the brethren, right or wrong. Kind of a zombie existence, huh? Want to get outa here? Let’s go!

  7. Patricia Godwin, LCSW November 11, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Let’s just put a twist to this new policy. What if, rather than those in same gender relationships being “put to the test,” maybe this test is to see if the LDS church has learned about discrimination yet. When I was 13 years old I walked down the streets of Greenville Texas in the 1960’s. A young black girl was walking towards me. She lowered her head and moved off into the street so the white girl could pass by. When my mother first came into that same little town there was a sign up that read “The blackest soil and the whitest people,” at the age of 13 I wanted to pull that young girl back on the sidewalk and say you don’t have to look down when anybody passes you. But I also knew the behavior that she was taught at home to survive in her town, the culture only known to those who are marginalized. How did the church deal with discrimination then? We all know about the selective destruction of our different races and cultures, and now those in religious power have added another group; same gender marriage, but remember, it isn’t you that is hated, it is your sexual expression. So this new policy is for all of us, how will we receive it and discern it, and reason it with everything we have been taught, and everything we have read in the scriptures. And, after everything we have learned about imperfection, and our mistakes of discrimination and bulling, will we accept this policy and move on with our lives? The second greatest commandment remains the same, love thy neighbor as thyself. There are no conditions added to that commandment. Would you want the denial of blessings, and rites of passage, taken away from your children? Please don’t respond with same gender marriage is a sin, and this is the consequence of sinning. This is a much deeper issue of how a white male dominated church chooses to grapple with an issue that has put them to the test. How will did they do? Whatever your answer is, and we all have our guns blasting, what are we learning, and how are we loving, and do we choose to continue to let others do our thinking for us?

  8. Angie November 11, 2015 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Hey…why stop there?? Why not include the nieces and nephews of any gay members. After all they might have a sleep over at one of their homes. And while they’re at it, why not include the gay’s siblings , unless of course they’re willing to denounce them. And what about withholding the temple recommend of any parent of a gay unless they are willing to denounce them as well!!

    And how insulting to our intelligence that these wrongfully marginalized children will not be denouncing their parents, but rather just their evil practices, when it is their very parents who have put them in this position in the first place?!…or more accurately the Brethren who have imposed this great heracy!

    If it is not their parents that they are being asked to denounce, then why are they being asked to denounce anything?? And why then, would not all members be required to do the same???

    There is no way to interpret this policy except to see it as a hostile attack on the LGBT and their completely innocent, defenseless children. There’s no way that the corporation is this stupid. They are deliberately cutting their losses and cleaning house with a ‘ means justifies the end’ approach.

    And the end they clearly seek are congregations sanitized of any LGBT or their posterity. They have made it so distasteful and intolerable for any such to feel anything but unwanted and worse driven out as the liability the Brethren consider them. Never mind that they are real human beings with faces and lives that many of the grassroots members value and love.

    In a way, it’s good news for these fine people and their children as this church, as it stands is not fit or worthy as a source of community or healthy spirituality for the LGBT, or the rest of us who stay behind to wear this shameful new reality.

    This is a truly sad day for all decent , human , caring Mormons.

  9. William Covington November 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Will someone tell me what LGBT means? Thank you.

    • Jamie November 13, 2015 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Hi William,
      LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

  10. Paul Anthony November 11, 2015 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    The Mormon church didn’t just cut off the head of this snake, they gave it a hysterectomy, as well.

  11. Cory November 12, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    How strange to missing Boyd Packer! The days when we thought HE was the extremist of the bunch.

  12. Maddy November 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    I appreciated this program and the comments of the participants. Just a few thoughts. I don’t believe the majority of church leaders view the Prop 8 campaign as negative–because Prop 8 passed and the “religious right” were very happy that the LDS church took the lead, which is why there have been no “lessons learned.”
    It doesn’t appear as if these new policies were very well thought out and I have to think as long as leaders insulate themselves, rather than seek out groups such as Affirmation or Mormons Building Bridges–in order to hear and learn other perspectives–they will do more harm than good to the LDS church. It isn’t enough to just trot out Elder Todd Christofferson or Marlin Jensen, each senior leader needs to expose himself to those affected by the policies.

    As for my household, (lifelong, multi-generational members of the church) we have struggled to maintain any contact with the church since the Prop 8 campaign. We were disgusted and disappointed by the tactics and material used and even taught in our church meetings. Apparently the ends justify the means.

  13. Ross November 12, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    I’m completely baffled as to why the church took this stance. Its a PR nightmare and only serves to divide the congregation. Why not just say the church will look into each case along with the parents to determine what is best for the child. If both parents give permission and will support the child in church progression then allow the baptism. If not then have the child wait till 18 to respect the household. I bet this is not far off from what is already in the handbook.

    You can’t take a stern absolute approach to complex situations especially when children are involved. The church always takes the either its true or not stance. You are with us or against us. Then they draw a line in the sand thought a gray area? What did they think the outcome was going to be?

  14. DR M November 12, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Below is a link to a compelling scientific paper that highlights Epigenetic influences in the development of sexual orientation.

    Science has determined there is no “Gay Gene” as such, and therefore no direct DNA link. Most Christian churches, including many leaders inside the LDS Church, are quick to jump on this fact and claim it as supporting their position. They should not be too hasty however, as the very latest research has turned up something quite interesting and thus far, quite compelling; there are almost certainly epigenetic factors in explaining why a small percentage of both males and females become homosexual. Epigenetics is a very new field of study that has emerged from the Human Genome Project.

    The PBS show NOVA did an excellent piece on this topic a year or so ago called “The Ghost in your Genes”, that explains how Epigenetic factors influence human development.

    At the core of the entire issue I believe, is a rather significant nuance; the Church always frames the issue as “same-sex attraction”. In recent years, the Church has progressed in how it views this topic, but the real underlying issue is not whether there may be a biological factor in same-sex attraction which may be overcome by choice, but whether there is a scientific basis for same-sex orientation – an even more complex proposition to reconcile, with the implication being that “choice to act or not” becomes negligible in the face of preprogrammed epigenetic forces.

    So far, the evidence is overwhelming that individuals cannot alter their sexual orientation, a fact that has contributed greatly to the suicide rate among young men in the LDS Church. The findings of this scientific paper, along with similar new research should at the very least “throw a yellow caution flag on to the field” of the LDS Church. A prudent leadership would be more cautious and avoid painting themselves into deep corners. History has born out time and again that science often pulls the rug out from the imperious, exposing them as impertinent.

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