There is hope, peace for all, Mormon Elder Jay E. Jensen tells Evergreen Conference

Published: Sunday, Sept. 25 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

"We don't kick them out," Elder Mason continued. "But they feel as if they have been kicked out. They don't feel fellowship. They don't feel they belong.We've got to be more sensitive."

And that begins with the assumption that young people don't choose to be same-gender attracted.

"If we assume that people don't choose to have same-gender attraction, we can deal with them in the same way we deal with any person who has a challenge," said Elder Mason. "As with young men and young women who have heterosexual feelings, we can teach the young people who are same-gender attracted that it isn't the thought that makes a person a sinner — it's the behavior.

"The church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other," he continued. "The world wants to label them as gays or lesbians. And when they do, that becomes their identity, that's who they are. As a church, we reject that. Filled with the love of the Lord, we say, 'No, that's not who you are. You are a son or daughter of God. That's who you are. Let's start there, and not worry about labels.' "

Other speakers during the one-day conference focused on general LDS information and resources; principles of growth; the specific same-gender attraction issues of men, women, adolescents and young adults;church doctrine and scientific research; and resources for spouses and parents.

Evergreen is an LDS-oriented organization based on the belief that "individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and can diminish same-sex attraction, and is committed to helping individuals who wish to do so."

Although it is not an official organization of the LDS Church, the organization "sustains the doctrines and standards (of the church) without reservation or exception."

Email: jwalker@desnews.com

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