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Struggling to find common ground with the Mormon church’s ‘new compassion’ for gays

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When news broke that the Mormon Church created a website urging compassion for gays, I knew I would be a little sick over what mormonsandgays.org would say. It’s my usual response whenever religious institutions condescend to entire groups. It rips a hole in the heart.

But I get what the church is trying to do when its leaders encourage compassion for gays. I get it, because I try so hard to have compassion and forgiveness for the Mormon Church. I know how it struggles, because I, too, struggle. I particularly struggled as I watched church members pour a reported $22 million into anti-gay legislation when California’s Prop 8 was on the ballot. Friendly church advocates worked so hard to deny rights to people who don’t live according to their religious views, believing all the while they were doing the work of the divine, like when they baptized Holocaust victims.

When mormonsandgays.org states, “Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction,” I scratch my head, because it’s not emotionally charged in my world. At least we finally agree on one thing: Homosexuality is not a disease or an illness. But the church continues: “We believe that with an eternal perspective, a person’s attraction to the same sex can be addressed and borne as a mortal test. It should not be viewed as a permanent condition.” I could say that I feel the same way about Mormonism. Turns out we do have something in common.

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Kristen Peterson

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