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Terms important to same-sex discussion in LDS Church, Ty Mansfield says at FairMormon Conference

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    Earlier today I watched a talk—by Elder Oaks, no less—that touched on this subject in a very sensitive, delicate, and compassionate way, even though it was given eight years ago. The Church need not compromise its core principles or doctrines in order to show true Christ-like love and understanding towards those struggling with same-sex attraction—for whom the choice whether or not to remain faithful to Gospel principles is not quite as stark as the world would have them believe.

  • Ken Sisler Newmarket, Ontario
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:28 p.m.

    to OHBU:
    I once heard a lesbian comedian make an excellent point. She said even if she did not have sex with a woman for the rest of her life, she is still a lesbian. She is correct. Please look up the dictionary meaning of what a homosexual is and what a lesbian is.

  • Ken Sisler Newmarket, Ontario
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:57 p.m.

    I don't know why people publicly say they are gay or lesbian. This is a personal matter. When a person does this, other people sometimes will treat the person differently (meaning treat the person badly). I don't want to know if someone is gay or lesbian, especially if the person is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like I am.

  • Evidence Not Junk Science Iron, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @ Rick

    "But there are people with a high level of both - bisexuals, and those with little of both - asexual. And a whole lot of mixture in between. The advocacy community would deny this, and instead try to insist there is some genetic switch that says we are one or the other. That's just not fact..."

    Correct, and it's called Sexual Orientation. One is not born with a genetic switch for a particular religious view that condemns LGBT persons either. Instead, in the name of religious freedom, folks should be able to choose a religious view that celebrates and honors LGBT people exactly as they are along with their civil marriages.

  • Evidence Not Junk Science Iron, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    But which religious view do we codify into our civl marriage laws?

    The following religions believe the lord accepts and honors the sexuality and marriages of LGBT peoples. Should their religious freedom and liberty be respected in our nations civil marriage laws?

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    Community of Christ
    Conservative Judaism
    Ecumenical Catholic Church
    Ecumenical Catholic Communion
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Anglican Church In America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Inclusive Orthodox Church
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Old Catholic Church
    Progressive Christian Alliance
    Reconciling Pentecostals International
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ
    Unity Church

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    J-TX:

    "You are not "gay or lesbian" unless and until you engage in gay or lesbian sexual behavior"

    Does that mean I wasn't "straight" until I first had sex with a woman? Up until then, I guess I might have been gay...

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    Pop culture is designed to make things black and white, you're in or you're out, you're hip or you're not, you're popular or you're not, you're a jock, you're a head-banger, you're a nerd, you're a foreigner, you're a blond, you're a star. It is a culture that simplifies identity. It is easier that way, but very, very inaccurate.

    The only true identity everyone has is either a son or a daughter of God.

    Everything else is culturally derived.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    "I married my wife," he added, "because I love her, and because I believe fundamentally in the divine design of relationships and that marriage and gender complementarity are important parts of growing into the divine image and likeness of God."

    Out of the entire article and every comment in response, this is the most important statement among them all.

  • Born that Way Layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    I applaud the church's efforts to understand and proceed with a path that affords those people who experience SSA options other than the world's hard-set path of mindless acceptance of that to the exclusion of all other choices. It's been a long bumpy, often confusing and contradictory road, but I think this approach of reframing the issues and using language that doesn't cast people into roles without any choice is the right approach to take.

    It isn't an easy position to take, because it is so very contrary to our openly accepting natures and desire to make peace with everybody. But having the option and encouragement to faithfully live the Law of Chastity and obtain temple and family blessings and covenants leads to great joy despite how often the world would claim it's living a lie.

    Of course we all hope for revelations and further clarity, but this patient and far-seeing approach, I believe, is much more productive.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    @scwoz;

    I question the integrity of your comment about "loving" your "gay" friends.

    1) How can you possibly say you "love" someone, and then turn around and say that they shouldn't be allowed the same protections you enjoy for your family?

    2) How can you possibly call someone "friend" and then turn around and say that they shouldn't be allowed the same protections you enjoy for your family?

    Regardless what your books say about "sin" and homosexuality, your Jesus, the very son of your god told you to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Which brings into question the integrity of your belief in your god; if you truly believed, you would actually do what he told you to do.

    @J-TX;

    I hope your son isn't just doing the straight-thing to please you; that is extremely unfair to the woman he married (not to mention your son himself). It is NOT sin to be gay and love someone else wholeheartedly!

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    scwoz,

    "I believe that those who have a same sex attraction deserve the same protections in America as every other group; I do not however believe they have the right to marriage as it currently defined."

    Luckily for your gay friends and relatives it doesn't really matter what you believe about gay marriage. Gay couples do have that right now in 19 states and I suspect there will be more within the next few years. I hope you can be happy for your gay acquaintances (why the quote marks?) even if you don't believe they should have the same rights that you do.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    J-TX, I'm not sure how to address your comments, except to say that I have experience with this. As a teenager I went through the therapy recommended by the Church Family Services to turn me straight. It didn't work, I am openly gay and happy now but it took me years--even a decade to work through the damage that therapy did to me. You and your son may fall somewhere on the bisexual scale--I won't make any judgements because I don't know either of you--but it's a mistake to tell gay people that they should live straight lives. You and your son's story is in contrast to the innumerable broken families that mixed orientation marriages bring about. And I can't imagine why anyone would want their daughter to marry a man with homosexual feelings or their son to marry a woman who wasn't really attracted to them. It's very selfish.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    @ Karen R:
    "This places the homosexual individual in a terrible bind. To remain faithful to oneself means exclusion from the religion that is so much a part of one's world (and one's belief about an afterlife). To remain faithful to one's religion means denying a fundamental aspect of one's humanness. This sounds more like a Sophie's choice than a free choice."

    Some 'fundamental aspects of my humanness':

    I have urges to steal. Strong urges. To steal is sin.
    to drink. It is part of who I am. To drink is sin.
    to abuse pain pills. It is part of my physical makeup. To do so is sin.
    to cheat on my taxes. To do so is sin.
    to eat junk, also physiology. To do so is sin.
    to engage sexually with men. To do so is sin.

    I overcome all these through the atonement.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    The rest of the story: My son married, was sealed in the temple, and recently provided me with a granddaughter. We have discussed still feeling pangs and pulls of same gender attraction at times, but with faith in the Lord, this, our particular cross to bear, can be mitigated by the atonement.

    We preach that Jesus had infinite empathy, so don't you think at some point he also may have contemplated these same gender issues? I would like to think that Jesus would say to a gay man the same as he said to the adulterous woman, "go and sin no more", which was not to condone, but also not to judge at that moment, and encourage them to go and work out their issues through the atonement, and become better people. This would not indicate forgiveness for sin, but that judgement was deferred until the final judgement.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    There are many commentators here who have opinions, but appear to have no experience with this.

    When my son came to me and told me he thought he was gay, we talked through it and discovered that because of his dalliance in inappropriate media, he was titillated by images of men with men. Upon discussion, he had never engaged with a man, though there were some he considered attractive. He had engaged with women in pleasurable, though guilt-laden physical contact. That guilt further led to his mental turmoil.

    Thank goodness I am secure enough to admit to my son that at times in my life I have also experienced this same gender attraction, and that it is not terribly uncommon among young men as they sort out their hormones and their values.

    You are not "gay or lesbian" unless and until you engage in gay or lesbian sexual behavior, or adopt and embrace an LGBT lifestyle. Until and unless you do, "same gender attraction" is a valuable and accurate term.

    Continued....

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    Aug. 11, 2014 4:50 a.m.

    Excellent. I have loved my "gay" friends and relatives for many years, fought for their protection and even been injured in that protection (I am a Law Enforcement Officer). I believe that those who have a same sex attraction deserve the same protections in America as every other group; I do not however believe they have the right to marriage as it currently defined. I do believe that we should love all of God's children, just not their sins. I have accepted several friends and members of the church who are "gay" and are working hard to keep their membership and to live the gospel fully, I also have friends and family who have other attraction issues which are more harmful and full of much more pain. I accept them and I try and help them as long as they accept and keep the laws of the gospel. There are many members of the church who have done things that would make your skin crawl but they have accepted the gospel and live it as the Savior would want them too.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 10, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    @ RedWings

    "Accepting that we can each choose without criticism and demonization because that is not what we would choose is a truly tolerant attitude."

    Agreed. What I question is whether a truly free choice can be made when coming from within a religion that teaches that homosexual behavior is immoral. This places the homosexual individual in a terrible bind. To remain faithful to oneself means exclusion from the religion that is so much a part of one's world (and one's belief about an afterlife). To remain faithful to one's religion means denying a fundamental aspect of one's humanness. This sounds more like a Sophie's choice than a free choice.

    I don't doubt that given a free choice there would be some that would choose suppression of their orientation and I don't have a problem with this. I don't particularly care how you choose to express your sexual orientation as long as you don't harm others in the process. But I do have a problem with coercion and I believe this is the result of some religious doctrine on this subject.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:56 p.m.

    O'Really, Lots of people have "core beliefs" that white children should have to rub elbows with children of other races. They shouldn't operate schools.

    Some people think that girls shouldn't be educated. They shouldn't become teachers.

    Some people's religion tells them that interracial marriages are wrong. If they feel that way, then they shouldn't become bakers or photographers or operate wedding venues.

    Do you get the idea?

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Aug. 9, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    The April 2011 Deseret News article "LDS or Mormon? It depends" makes clear the LDS Church's preference for using that shortened term or the full name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" rather than the "Mormon Church". The quoted LDS leaders clearly understand basic public relations: how word-choice influences public attitudes and outcomes. LDS is more prone to be accepted as part of America's Christian tradition if it emphasizes the word "Jesus" in the name. In contrast the phrase "Mormon Church" emphasizes the significant theological deviation from all other Christian denominations.

    Using the phrase "same sex attraction" communicates the PR message that sexually active gays and lesbians are simply not trying hard enough if they cannot overcome something as trivial-sounding as a mere "attraction" as it it were a whim or passing fancy. The speaker's tactical use of that phrase encourages the listener to adopt a predetermined political/social judgment against the people described.

    Deliberately using this phrase is no different from folks who purposefully use the phrase "Mormon Church" to subtly denigrate LDS adherents as out-liers from mainstream America.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    @Mr.Bean / wrz / Alfred wrote, "What? You don't want to have and raise a family? I don't understand how two guys or two gals who are in love with each other can have a family. I guess I missed the class in school where the human anatomy and reproductive systems was covered. I guess some folks just don't want families".

    Two men or two women can have families the same way my husband and I had them--via adoption. But it sounds like you think that non-biological kids don't make a real family, right? So tell me--if my husband and I jettison our ten adopted kids and just keep our four homemade ones, will you consider us a real family?

  • windsor City, Ut
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:57 p.m.

    From article:
    "...wrote a well-received article for LDS Living magazine titled "What (and what not) to say to someone who experiences same-sex attraction."

    I admire Ty Mansfield beyond words for his experiences and life that I have read about in the past, and am glad he is trying to help and speak for SSA Church members.

    But in connection with his article referenced above, I can not imagine members of the Church disclosing anything about their sexuality to other members--thus even needing this information in the article.

    Do SSA members actually want other members to know their most personal business??

    Especially their sexuality business??

    That is incomprehensible to me.

    When I have had issues of a personal nature of ANY kind, I sure didn't want my fellow Ward members knowing about it.
    It was extremely personal.
    People never had to wonder what to say to me about any of those personal things because they never knew.

    Is it just an in vogue thing now to want people to know such personal things? Or just an in vogue SSA thing?

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    @Utah1893

    "That's just the price of civil society, and baking a cake isn't a violation of a core belief."

    How do you know? Perhaps this baker feels he is participating, endorsing and celebrating every wedding he makes a cake for. If his religious belief is that gay marriage is a sin, then he is being forced to violate his core beliefs.

    I don't know why lesbians and gays can't leave these Christian business owners alone. There are obviously plenty of other bakers and photographers who would relish the business. "If it walks and quacks like a duck..." These lawsuits walk and quack like petty revenge, and rubbing these poor folks faces in it while the lawsuits destroy their businesses. And theses gays certainly aren't endearing the LGBT community to the business owners or their Christian friends in the community, either. They are contributing heavily to giving "Gay" and "Lesbian" a negative connotation. Respect has to be a two way street.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    I appreciate the candor in which the author talks about his past, and his ability to overcome his same-sex attraction is certainly an example of great faith, courage, and persistence. I also support the wording difference between 'same-sex attraction' and 'gay'. They are not the same. The first is something over which we have no control. The second implies a lifestyle which is in direct contrast with the Eternal Plan for God's children.

  • RickChappell Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    The absolute problem with this debate (not the specific article and discussion - although it is prevalent here) is the absolute refusal to discuss it logically by the LGBTetc advocacy community, and the squelching of any rational debate and research surrounding the topic.
    For example, those repudiating My Mansfield's suggestion are insisting people are gay, lesbian or they are not. That is not really the case. Everyone on earth is going to have a variable amount of opposite sex attraction, and a variable amount of same sex attraction (this goes with a lot of other attractions as well). The two are not related to each other. There are people who have a strong opposite attraction (OSA) and very little same sex attraction (SSA) - we call them heterosexuals. There are those completely opposite and we'd typically call them gay or lesbian. But there are people with a high level of both - bisexuals, and those with little of both - asexual. And a whole lot of mixture in between. The advocacy community would deny this, and instead try to insist there is some genetic switch that says we are one or the other. That's just not fact.

  • Evidence Not Junk Science Iron, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    @ Pops "Placing legal protections on immoral behavior creates a contradiction between the newly-protected behavior and religious freedom."

    I think your source of information is outdated. "LGBT men and women will continue to be vulnerable to the sins of homophobia and heterosexism, to the violence of hate and fear until we in the church can say to homosexuals now what it has said to heterosexuals for 2,000 years. Your sexuality is good. The church not only accepts it. The church celebrates it and rejoices in it. God loves you as you are, and the church can do no less." - 2014 Episcopal Proclamation from the National Cathedral.

  • Evidence Not Junk Science Iron, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    Why doesn't the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association or the National Association of Social Workers use the classification "Same Sex Attracted?" Moreover, do we target people with the term Opposite Sex Attracted? Why is the term Bisexual rejected?

    Everyone has a sexual orientation, where some may identify as heterosexual, homosexual or bi sexual.

    Why the need for the term "Same Sex Attracted?" Isn't it suspect when members of a religion see the need for another term or to view something differently that main stream medical and psychological organizations do not?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    @Pops: Your statement that, "Placing legal protections on immoral behavior creates a contradiction between the newly-protected behavior and religious freedom," demonstrates a pathetic lack of awareness. The Supreme Court protected that behavior back in 2003. The case is cited as "Lawrence v. Texas" and established beyond a hint of doubt that the "behavior" of which you speak is absolutely, perfectly legal, a private matter, and fully protected by the Constitution of the United States. No state or locality may prohibit or criminalize it.

    Also, being perfectly legal "behavior," it is not a subject for justifying laws intended to restrict homosexuals in other ways.

    You have both the religious right to believe as you will, and the right of free speech to explain it. However, you don't have the right to harass, abuse, assault, or restrict homosexuals in any way that you're not allowed to do to heterosexuals. And, according to most Constitutional scholars, we don't have a right to legislate against them without a nondiscriminatory, legitimate purpose.

    Your religious belief alone, or any "argument" derived solely from it, does not constitute a legally legitimate purpose.

  • utah1893 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:51 a.m.

    @pops - you aren't using the term religious freedom correctly. Religious freedom means that you have the ability to worship what you choose, where you choose, and whom you choose to worship with. Gay people getting married will not stop you from going to church, it will not stop you from going to the temple, and it will not stop you from believing the way you do. Now you are correct that there has to be a balance between social demands and religious beliefs, for example you can't declare that your religion is to murder people and be allowed to go about doing that. I'm guessing you're referring to a baker in Colorado who had to make a cake for a gay marriage. That's just the price of civil society, and baking a cake isn't a violation of a core belief. I highly doubt that God will send someone to hell because they made a cake for a wedding that they didn't approve of, but he might send them to hell for judging others, lacking charity, and not loving their fellow man.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:21 p.m.

    @ Karen

    A lot of those things may come to pass...In this crazy and unpredictable world you never know what will happen.

    I think there will be more tolerance / understanding as least in the short term. I am not sure though where / how you are getting the probability of "homosexuality will be discussed in terms of morality about as often as left-handedness is today"?

  • RednSilver Lawton, OK
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:08 p.m.

    LDS fear and hatred (including self-hatred) of homosexuals and homosexuality is clear, no matter what this author wishes to call it. Regardless of the church's profession of love, it pushes 10% of its members out of the church and out of their families. The church has no shame.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:03 p.m.

    @greatbam22

    I believe that the basis of the objections to homosexuality is no different than the basis of the objections we formerly had to left-handedness.

    I believe that one day in the not too distant future homosexuality will be discussed in terms of morality about as often as left-handedness is today.

    I believe that "multiplying and replenishing" will happen with or without marriage, gay or straight.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:01 p.m.

    "When gay marriage is legal in Utah it won't change your life one bit, you won't even notice a difference."

    That's a fairy tale. Placing legal protections on immoral behavior creates a contradiction between the newly-protected behavior and religious freedom. It has already begun to infest our courts with the intractable problem of reconciling that contradiction. It can't be decided on principle because they are fundamental opposites.

    "pops suggests gay people are 'anti-family and anti-religion.' Sounds like prejudice: an unfavorable opinion of gay people based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes."

    You misread what I wrote. I didn't accused any gay person of any such thing. What I said, stated another way, is that the gay movement itself tends to stereotype gay people as anti-family and anti-religion, which we both agree is wrong.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 5:20 p.m.

    @mattrick78
    "I think people are judging Ty based on one thing he has said and it has become a semantic battleground in this discussion."

    In fairness the subject matter at hand in this article is semantics.

    @Pops
    "It's the gay _movement_ that attempts to force all people with same sex attraction into the anti-religion anti-family construct."

    There's nothing anti-family/anti-religion about gay couples who want to marry in their churches but can't because you all want to ban it. Who exactly is anti-family/religion there?

  • Zabet Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    Bravo to those who choose to live true to their beliefs. Bless them and honor them. So many do whatever feels good without thought to any moral base. So be it. There is agency for all and each choice brings it's own consequences.

    We should honor the wish of those who choose to be called "same-sex attracted". If you prefer "Gay" or "Lesbian" so be it. But don't get your tail in a knot because not everyone chooses the same path.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    MtnDewer,

    "Loving your wife, as you do, what if you could never again express that love physically? - no hugging, kissing, hand holding or more. What if you could never have that again with any woman? Would you be sexually repressed?"

    For everything of worth, there is a price. The greater the treasure, the greater the cost. If we find nothing of value eternally that we will bridle our passions for, then perhaps what Christ offers is not what we truly desire yet. There is always a possibility of me never again being able to express love physically. That is a risk for everyone. I'm under no illusion that it is easy. That said, I have gone for many years without it and can do so again. People do it all the time and have full and meaningful lives. A nephew of mine will be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life and very likely will never experience the joys of sexual expression. There are others who have spouses who are paralyzed who are unable to express themselves in that way either. Those are many who don't marry who have to cope as well.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    Rustymommy -

    "I feel that Gay and Lesbian by definition exclude some people attracted to people of their own sex. I know a female who is attracted to females but does not necessarily consider herself lesbian. Why? Because, in her head, she is a man born in a woman's body."

    You're right. She's not a lesbian, she's transgendered. So what's your point?

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    RE: 'Same-sex attraction' is a more nuanced and useful term than 'gay. True,

    "ye have respect to him that 'weareth the gay clothing', and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" James 2:

  • Go West Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    The word, gay, originally meant joyful, carefree, or showy. Also it meant inhibited hedonistic. In the past, a "gay woman" was a euphemism for being a prostitute. A "gay man," was a womanizer. Or it could mean, just out of the norms of society. It wasn't until the mid-twentieth century that it was used as a euphemism for homosexual inclinations. Homosexual was considered to be clinical, so they preferred the euphemism of, "gay." But again, I'd like to reclaim that word to mean joyful, carefree, and showy. Same sex attraction is a correct term. And I don't mind being described as opposite sex attraction, or even heterosexual. Let's grow up and stop hiding behind euphemisms, especially when we learn the etymology of them.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:19 p.m.

    @pops suggests gay people are "anti-family and anti-religion."

    Sounds like prejudice: an unfavorable opinion of gay people based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes.

    Gay people aren't anti-family. The very fact they have made an enormous, sustained push for marriage should make you question that notion. Gay people overcome enormous obstacles to have and raise kids. They fight to remain involved in the lives of parents and siblings that often reject them.

    Nor are they anti-religion. Many religions are welcoming, and many gay people are deeply religious.

    Utah and its dominant religion have done much to harm these families, driving gay people away, obstructing their marriages, opposing their legal relationships to their children, and trivializing the very nature of their ability to love as an affliction to be overcome.

    Humans have sexual orientations and reach different conclusions about what to do about it. "SSA" just means "don't want to be gay," and reflects the same "gay is bad" ideology that has caused so many problems for so many people.

    Meanwhile, the gay agenda remains simply to live a life free from interference of people whose religious beliefs denigrate them.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    I'm all for "Respect the individual's description/label of themselves."

    As a result, I find this "debate" rather silly.

    BTW, I am a gay man who is a former Mormon!

  • nycut New York, NY
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    @Alex 1 asks: "Am I sexually repressed for not acting out on my attraction to women who are not my wife?"

    Ah. The "control your sexual appetite" argument.

    This line of reasoning is silly.

    You don't get to pat yourself on the back for resisting extra dessert after you've filled up on the main course. In your example, you're doing exactly what you want with your heterosexual appetite, even if it's difficult.

    Then you suggest gay people should just go without eating completely, as if those are parallel scenarios.

    This is an example of why the "same sex attraction" formulation is pernicious.

    It treats sexual orientation as if the expression of sexuality is separate from affection, love, and personhood. As if the love you have for your wife is unrelated to the sex you have with her (or others).

    That's why the word "gay" is both more accurate and useful.

    "SSA" only works as a concept for people who don't want to be gay, or don't want others to be gay-- usually for reasons that have little to do with sex or love, but plenty to do with social and religious conformity.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    I feel that Gay and Lesbian by definition exclude some people attracted to people of their own sex. I know a female who is attracted to females but does not necessarily consider herself lesbian. Why? Because, in her head, she is a man born in a woman's body. According to her, she sees women the same way any guy sees women. She does not see herself as a woman and therefore doesn't fit the definition of Lesbian. There are no words that can succinctly describe every sexual orientation situation.

    People usually only damage themselves by being defensive and hung up on labels. Instead of just graciously accepting compassion when it is offered, they go crazy over nitpicking definitions. If somebody is genuinely offering kindness and understanding, why get offended over words? It would be nice if people looked more at attitude and less at vocabulary issues. The more someone is open to accepting others, the more they are likely to find acceptance.

  • MtnDewer Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    Mr. Bean: "What? You don't want to have and raise a family? I don't understand how two guys or two gals who are in love with each other can have a family. I guess I missed the class in school where the human anatomy and reproductive systems was covered. I guess some folks just don't want families."

    -----------------

    Please tell me that you are not this naïve. Facts are the 25% of gay couples in Utah are raising children. They are families--or do you only think families are a mother, father and children that they can create? So, couples that adopt children, step parents, Grandparents raising their grandchildren, etc. are not "families?"

    What is your definition of a family?

    I can tell you, if you didn't know, gays have families. In the US today, it is estimated that 200,000 children are being raised by gays. I guess you are not forced to call them families, but allow them the dignity to call their group a family if they want to.

  • MtnDewer Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:06 p.m.

    Alex 1

    Tucson, AZ

    MtnDewer,

    Answer my question and I will answer yours.

    ---------------

    My answer is that you are not sexually repressed because you have an outlet for your urges - showing love towards your wife.

    You are asking a gay person to not have any contact, emotions or feel loved by one special individual for their whole lives. You do know that after air, food, water and shelter, LOVE is the next necessity in a persons life...don't you? That is how strong the need to feel love is for humans. And this has nothing to do with a sexual urge, btw.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    someone who is gay and is a practicing and commandment keeping member of the Church should be applauded. I see these people with legit same sex attraction feelings and yet they haven't followed the radical gay movement but instead have chosen to keep the faith and move forward with faith in a civil way. There are 15+ million members now and it won't be long before that number hits 20 million with the larger missionary force . With that surge to a large world wide and multi cultural church there will be people of all kinds coming into the fold and we will all have to let go of our personal bias and have faith in the leadership to do what the Lord would have them do.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 8, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    @Karen
    "We can't get beyond this mistaken belief fast enough."

    Not all people believe and think like you. I don't know what you believe.

    Many people believe in God and that he has a plan for them. I am one of them. I believe that God plan is live in families. I believe he wants us to multiple and replenish.

    So if that it is the case then yes there is some major problems with same sex marriages.

  • Mr. Bean Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    @Really???:
    Please, let's stop the myth that those of us who are gay are struggling with an affliction that needs to be overcome."

    What? You don't want to have and raise a family? I don't understand how two guys or two gals who are in love with each other can have a family. I guess I missed the class in school where the human anatomy and reproductive systems was covered. I guess some folks just don't want families.

    "Let's stop making erroneous assumptions about people, please. Let's follow the line from one of my favorite hymns, 'who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly.'"

    That's a great song. But, what about the first verse? 'Savior, may I learn to love thee, walk the path that thou hast shown... Lord I will follow thee.'

    Then there's: 'Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?'

    I pity anyone that has sexual orientations tough to figure out and difficult to overcome. But it can be done. The article's author, Ty did it.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    @Alex 1

    "... although I am married, I experience opposite gender attraction to women who are not my wife. "

    Now I have a question. Am I sexually repressed for not acting out on my attraction to women who are not my wife? "

    ---

    "... although I am married, I experience opposite gender attraction to women who are not my wife. "

    We're not talking about promiscuity, the discussion is marriage. You won't even allow us to marry the person of our choice, so you're example is apples and airplanes.

    @Born in Bountiful;

    You are welcome to your religious attraction, you just aren't welcome to make non-members live by your attraction.

    @RedWings;

    Thank you.

    frugalfly says:

    "...because the "gay" sector has predetermined the agenda ..."

    --- I really, really need a copy of that agenda. Do you happen to have one I could borrow?

    @Pops;

    The "anti-relgious" segment couldn't really care less about your god and wouldn't if the "religious" segment would just leave us alone.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    "Please, let's stop the myth that those of us who are gay are struggling with an affliction that needs to be overcome."

    Fair enough. But let's stop the myth that just because there are those who don't feel as though they are struggling with an affliction that there are those who feel they are struggling with unwanted sexual feelings that that a trying to overcome.

  • Pac_Man Pittsburgh, PA
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    @MtnDewer

    What if the women died and he never marries again? I don't think the first thing we would say is that that man is "sexually repressed."

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    @frugallife
    "It seems to me that same gender attraction is more globally useful because it covers all persons either partially or fully, acting or not acting upon, the attraction to the same sex. "

    Gay/straight refer to what attractions that person has. It doesn't require having an active sex life.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    MtnDewer,

    Answer my question and I will answer yours.

  • liesel Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    I appreciate Ty Mansfield's insights and his example of faith. His address promotes the need to be sensitive and respectful of feelings of those experiencing same sex attraction. Isn't that what has been needed all along - for us to listen with sensitivity? It's impossible to know always how people want to be addressed. If you prefer to be called "gay" or "lesbian" you can lead out and say so. Otherwise, at least you can know the person talking to you was trying to be courteous and sensitive.

  • MtnDewer Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    "Now I have a question. Am I sexually repressed for not acting out on my attraction to women who are not my wife?"

    -----------

    Here is another question. Loving your wife, as you do, what if you could never again express that love physically? - no hugging, kissing, hand holding or more. What if you could never have that again with any woman?

    Would you be sexually repressed?

  • Pac_Man Pittsburgh, PA
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    In other words, for most 'gay/lesbian' people, the idea of rejecting their natural urges and tendencies toward someone of the same sex in order to be obedient to the Church teachings is NOT, I repeat, NOT an option.

    ===========================

    It may not be an option for the people that you know, but it is an option for some and has been successfully achieved by many. People often defend their argument with the fact they have to reject natural urges and tendencies in order to follow the gospel plan. We agree with you in part because this battle to reject unwanted urges applies to everyone not just those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, or have same sex attraction.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:44 p.m.

    The term "experiencing same sex attraction" is a term that makes it sound as if it is a psychological or medical condition that will go away, kind of like "experiencing nausea." This article is right, terms are important and "experiencing same sex attraction" isn't a good phrase for describing who a person really is.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    This use of terms is consistent with the law of chastity as well as with our understanding of the nature of temptation. For example, although I am married, I experience opposite gender attraction to women who are not my wife. (Relax dear, I’m not going anywhere. ) Does the nature of my attraction make me an adulterer? Of course not, and neither does same sex attraction make one a practicing homosexual. The commandments of God require me to restrain my natural tendencies. Because I love God, love my wife, and willingly exercise self-control and restraint, I do not allow these attractions to undermine my covenants and my love. There is a greater joy and love to be had in self-restraint and a lot fewer regrets.

    Now I have a question. Am I sexually repressed for not acting out on my attraction to women who are not my wife? Am I being untrue to myself because I choose to be a non-practicing adulterer? Should I come out of the closet and demand acceptance of my particular kind of love? Is disapproval of adultery bigotry?

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    First of all, with regard to use of proper "terminology," I tend to see the use of labels - either by one's self or by others - as counterproductive. To call one's self a gay (Christian, Mormon, Atheist, etc.) is to label one's self by what he does, not who he is. Second of all, to those who do not believe in Christ or the Bible, there is no sin of any kind - they live lives of situational ethics. However, there are those who claim do be Christians who have tried desperately to use eisegesis in order to read their own views into the Bible/Book of Mormon in order to justify being gay. This is inherently and eternally dangerous. I respect, therefore, Mr. Mansfield's candor in how he has dealt with his own issues, while respecting those who disagree. One can either accept what God has said with regard to sexuality or not; but no one can change God or what He has deemed appropriate sexual behavior.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    @Free Agency

    I think we agree. It's the gay _movement_ that attempts to force all people with same sex attraction into the anti-religion anti-family construct. As you and others note, we are all different and shouldn't be forced into the same mold - with certain caveats. "One size fits all" is appropriate for some things, but not others. For example, we shouldn't steal - one size fits all. But we don't all have to play the piano - in that regard, one size doesn't fit all.

    When it comes to marriage and sexual activity, there _is_ a "one size fits all", and that's most likely the basis of the anti-religion element of the gay movement. A lot of gay people - not all - reject God's standard. I get that. I happen to disagree. My experience is that God's commandments, if obeyed, tend to produce happiness in the long term. We might think we know more than God does, or that he is entirely a fiction, but my experience in life suggests otherwise. I encourage others to give consideration to that standard.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:33 p.m.

    "If you don't say "opposite-sex attraction" for straight people then why say "same-sex attraction" for gay people?"

    Who is to say that heterosexuals prefer one term over the other? The term "straight" probably gained traction first but that was probably after the term "gay" was generally preferred over "homosexual."

    Frankly, I think people are judging Ty based on one thing he has said and it has become a semantic battleground in this discussion. Ty is doing some great work in trying to find acceptance in the Church for those who struggle or how have to deal with unwanted sexual attractions. Granted the Brethren have counseled that we should be loving and accepting however much of those in the Church need to "catch up" and put that counsel into practice. There is much work in terms of love and understanding between those who "struggle" and those who struggle to accept them.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    If someone is openly gay or lesbian, and in a relationship with a partner of the same sex, they almost always are going to want to be refered to as gay or lesbian. The only way this term "same sex attraction" makes any sense is if you are a gay or lesbian person, in a opposite sex relationship.

  • JN Chubbuck, ID
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    O'really,
    you asked "I can't figure out why the Church termed it's website the way it did when previously, general authorities have specifically recommended the term "same sex attraction" over "gay"."

    I have wondered this as well. I believe this was done with the understanding that more people will find the website under this name and they want to share this message with more people.

  • frugalfly PULLMAN, WA
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    It seems to me that same gender attraction is more globally useful because it covers all persons either partially or fully, acting or not acting upon, the attraction to the same sex. Gay seems to denotes one spectrum of this attraction which appears to be a political, social, cultural, personal identifier that is "all in" in nature. There are tons of people with same gender attraction who are not "gay" and don't consider themselves "gay" because the "gay" sector has predetermined the agenda and stance on such. "Same gender attraction" covers all from mild to extreme in their attraction. It brings in all the hues of grey and doesn't let the "gay agenda" choke out the understanding and light on the basic element which is attraction. I guess "gay" is popular for those who are pushing the agenda. "Same gender attraction" for those who are trying to understand the entire spectrum and facilitate awareness.

  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    I like Mr Mansfield's description of what makes him feel best for himself. And maybe, he will influence others that feel similarly, but don't know how to express it. But unfortunately, this type of description of "same sex attraction" will not help all people with this. Some people want to embrace the fact that they are gay and feel that God accepts them this way. There are some religions (not the LDS church) who embrace gay people as they are, and don't think the God (or anyone else) wants them to be different. Most stories that I know of where a gay person chooses to marry someone of the opposite sex because of religious or social pressure, turn out badly. This is because they try, but are unable to live that way. Just as people have different characteristics in steps, this is often true of gay people. Some might be all the way gay, while many gay people can be somewhere in the middle. All people need to evaluate who they are inside and live true to themselves.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    @ Really??? : "...this is something God does not expect me to change"

    I appreciate your comments and approach to this topic. I wonder, though, because for those who do not want to act on their attractions, it really does become an affliction.

    I am overcoming addiction to lust. My "attraction" is to women (and for a time men as well), but now I only want to be intimiate with my wife. This desire is an affliction to me now because I do not want to feel it, or act on it, but I am confronted with it everyday.

    I have found peace and recovery from this in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I am finally beginning to feel different, in much the same way as Ty Mansfield describes "feeling his sexuality differently".

    I don't claim to have the answers for everyone, but I am grateful for the honest, open, and respectful discussion...

  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    I have a friend who was hurt by his wife and turned off by women and even though he denies being significantly attracted to men has chosen to be homosexual. I have a few friends who are attracted to men but have chosen to marry females and live heterosexually and I know people who are staying celibate rather than trying to make themselves live a heterosexual life but being able to stay true to their religious beliefs.

    My point is saying someone is "gay" doesn't always describe what is happening. It is a large umbrella term. My friend who denies SSA but is a practicing homosexual is a very different "gay" than my friend who is happily married but self-admittedly still "struggles" with SSA. And both are different from many who have SSA and practice or choose not to practice homosexuality.

    Using more narrow terms makes sense for clarity even if it offends someone who is "gay"- whatever that means.

  • waikiki_dave Honolulu, HI
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Mr. Mansfield is definitely in the 'minority' when it comes to Church members that experience 'same-sex' attraction. In other words, for most 'gay/lesbian' people, the idea of rejecting their natural urges and tendancies toward someone of the same sex in order to be obedient to the Church teachings is NOT, I repeat, NOT an option. Many gay people, want to live in monogomous, healthy, loving relationships with their partners, for the their entire life. The idea of trying to exist in a hetrosexual relationship, or worse yet, living single, is NOT an option. I want to re-emphasize my earlier statement, gay people and their same sex attraction is natural, and it is NOT something you change with therapy. If you subscribe to the belief that gay people can change their sexual orientation the same way a tiger could change the color of his stripes, you are living in la la land.

  • Miss Piggie Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Mansfield seems to prefer same-sex attraction. I would think a preference would be 'gay' and 'lesbian' which removes sex from the nomenclature.

    "Same-sex' says it's all about sex. Try as I might, I just can't envision how sexual engagement between two people of the same sex takes place. Kissing? Sure. But nearly everybody kisses their mom and dad without involving sex.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    @ Ranch-

    Believe it or not, I appreciate your comment.

    We each need to find our own way. For those attracted to the same gender, it should be known that there are options, not only one "proper" way. Your way - to live a gay lifestyle - is one option. You have the freedom to choose that option. Mr. Mansfield has chosen differently, and is happy with his choice. Accepting that we can each choose without criticism and demonization because that is not what we would choose is a truly tolerant attitude.

    There is far too much demonization on both sides of the SSA issue. I hope that Ty's remarks are the beginning of a more understanding tone from here on...

  • TrueChristian Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    @Say No to Bo, it seems like you are confusing your right to follow your beliefs, and your ability to control your beliefs. The vast vast vast majority of gay people don't care what Mormons believe and don't care to change it. They simply want to be able to live their lives in the way that their conscience dictates. So when they advocate for gay marriage, they aren't trying to stop or change your beliefs, they are trying to pursue their own. When gay marriage is legal in Utah it won't change your life one bit, you won't even notice a difference. To gay people who are living their lives the way they feel is right it makes all the difference. I think it's time for Mormons to act with charity and compassion.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    @Go West wrote: "Homosexual, gay, lesbian are labels."

    But "gay" and "lesbian" and "bi" are the labels that gay, lesbian and bi people themselves usually (but not exclusively) use. And those labels should be respected.

    "Same- sex attraction is the correct way to go. It's not labeling people, but it's describing one facet of a person, without being derogatory."

    It's absolutely derogatory. It's pathologizing LGB people.

    You know what's respectful? Calling people what they would like to be called.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Say No: "We can believe as we wish and you can do the same; but you cannot dictate to us our practices."

    So I assume you will not oppose same-sex marriage? Denying gay people the rights to their "practices," as you say, is morally reprehensible.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    I don't suffer from "same-sex attraction - I celebrate a non-hetero life!

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    Whenever I hear the term "same sex attraction" I immediately know where the speaker is coming from and stop listening. It's a code word or a dog whistle that is used to try to say "people aren't really gay, they just suffer from same sex attraction", so we don't have to take their feelings seriously and we can encourage them to live lives without any erotic-physical-emotional attraction to a partner. We can pathologize their orientation and continue to treat them in the way we always have--but with the politically correct term "same sex attraction" rather than the identity "gay".

    The people who want to use this term should know that it's useful to us who want gay people to have equal rights as well--because it shows us where you are coming from. It's not compassionate, it's not accurate, it shows us that you don't take non-heterosexual orientation seriously and that you feel you should change gay people or not allow them to have a full life. That's what I hear when I hear someone use "SSA".

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    @gmlewis ;

    "These concepts do not differ for those with a different sexual orientation, even though the attraction is for a different segment of humanity."

    Except you WON'T let us marry the person of our choice. How is a 16 year monogamous, or 52 year monogamous (see: EstoPerpetua's comment) LGBT relationship any different than yours? Why can you marry but us not? Why can you "Look but not touch" and we can only ever "look but never touch"?

    @Pops;

    Just who is the "gay agenda" you keep talking about? I'd really like to meet him.

    My emotional, spiritual and physical health improved tremendously when I accepted who/what I am and stopped believing if your fairytales.

    @Go West;

    "Same-sex attracted" is just another "label", and no, it isn't "respectful' it is actually quite dehumanizing. Do you call straights "opposite-sex attracted"?

  • Born in Bountiful Provo, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    I am religiously attracted. I am interested in all angles of the sexual attraction issue. I have a right to a religious point of view. Others have a right to their point of view. I am willing to sit down and talk out solutions. But the solutions won't change either a heterosexual or homosexual point of view. We will learn to live together, but we need to be willing to have dialog or there will just chaos. Good luck to both sides.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    @Pops
    "much of the gay agenda doesn't appear to be about allowing people to discover who they are, but rather about forcing them into a social construct that happens to be very much anti-family and anti-religion. "

    The gay agenda doesn't mind people choosing different setups like celibacy or entering a heterosexual marriage. What the gay agenda has a problem with is people who want to force only those options or people who coerce people into those options rather than that being something the individual genuinely wants.

    Also there's nothing anti-family about a movement that is looking to marry and create families and many gay people are also still religious.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    This use of terms is consistent with the law of chastity as well as with our understanding of the nature of temptation. For example, although I am married, I experience opposite gender attraction to women who are not my wife. Does the nature of my attraction make me an adulterer? Of course not, and neither does same sex attraction make one a practicing homosexual. The commandments of God require me to restrain my natural tendencies. Because I love God, love my wife, and willingly exercise self-control and restraint, I do not allow these attractions to undermine my covenants and my love. There is a greater joy to be had in self-restraint.

    Now I have a question. Am I sexually repressed for not acting out on my attraction to women who are not my wife? Am I being untrue to myself because I choose to be a non-practicing adulterer? Should I come out of the closet and demand acceptance of my particular kind of love, and demand that nobody judge my actions if I choose to act out on my opposite sex attraction towards women who are not my wife?

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    Missing the mark, again.

    I'm a grandma, who for some reason has always had many friends in the LGBT community. While I am straight, and have never had any desires the other direction, I have always had empathy for those who do, as it is difficult when you swim against the majority in the stream.

    What I have seen in the fifty-plus years of associations with LGBT are differences. The fact is, we are all different.

    We just can't say, this is that, and must be thus, because always you will find exceptions to any hard and fast rule.

    Some LGBT friends feel the only way they will find acceptance is to be free to marry within their own sex, adopt or have children using medical means, and live in neighborhoods where children all play together knowing some of them have two daddies or two mommies instead of the norm, and understand that to be "their way, and okay" which, I think, would be Christlike. This infuriates some other friends, who feel I'm "allowing them to go to hell." Excuse me, but isn't that why we followed Christ's plan, instead of Lucifer's?

    Agency.

  • slcdenizen Murray, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    @Say no to BO

    "allow you to participate fully AND live contrary to the teachings"

    Allow me? Fascist enough... geez sir you've elevated the dialogue to new heights. I can't even relate to your willingness or not to allow people to live their lives. Say no to Obama, but don't say yes to fuhrer...

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    If you don't say "opposite-sex attraction" for straight people then why say "same-sex attraction" for gay people?

  • Free Agency Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    @Pops

    Thanks for "agreeing" with me. But that wasn't at all what I meant in my own posting.

    I've met many, many people who identify as gay who are *not* anti-religion and anti-family. Just the opposite.

    Unfortunately, you used my words to launch your own personal testimony as a "one size fits all." My posting says the exact opposite.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    @Furry1993 How is "same sex attraction" a euphemism? Isn't "gay" the euphemism? Mr. Mansfield suggests that more precise language might lead to better understanding by removing the emotion or political motivation behind the modification of language. It would appear that choice of language appears to often be motivated by self-interest. By selecting language that is more clearly defined, and takes into consideration the interpretation and understanding of the users of the language, there is an invitation to understanding - rather than offense or defense.

    Mr. Mansfield is brilliant. His motivations are clear. He is merely asking for more transparency, while trying to avoid agendas. His faith defines him - which is what makes him all the more admirable.

  • Go West Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    I appreciate Ty Mansfield's advice. It's wrong to label people. Homosexual, gay, lesbian are labels. There's more to people than that. Same- sex attraction is the correct way to go. It's not labeling people, but it's describing one facet of a person, without being derogatory. Gay used to mean bright and happy. I'd like to reclaim that word to mean happy again; some people were also given the name, Gaye, and I'm sure they don't appreciate their names being a label. Lesbian came from ancient Greek myth, didn't it? Same-sex attraction is much better, and it sounds more respectful of everyone. The labels are dehumanizing.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    It's amazing how far so many have removed themselves from the understanding or our mortal journey, which had its beginning not at birth, but in the preparation for that event. Anyone who has experienced the marvel of child-rearing understands we all bring different pre-developed abilities, predilections, and weaknesses into this world. Sexuality is no different a character trait than kindness, honesty, charity, or courage. Not all are equally courageous; not all are equally honest, kind, or charitable. Not all are equally attracted to either sex or are even driven by sexuality or passion. To deny the spectrum of attraction and group people into only the "end zones" is to deny the 90% of the playing field.
    Only one person in the history of earth was the possessor of all truth; the rest of us struggle with the portions we are allotted. What Mr. Mansfield is laying out is a way for us to be able to hold a cogent dialogue to better reach a common understanding that strives for the ultimate truth. And please don't start with that "truth is relative."

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    @slcdenizen
    Would you deny a religious group the right to believe homosexual activity is a sin?
    Would you demand that they accept your lifestyle and allow you to participate fully AND live contrary to the teachings?
    I believe the Doctrine and Covenants puts it best when it describes the relationship between church and government.
    We can believe as we wish and you can do the same; but you cannot dictate to us our practices.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    I agree with "Free Agency" that much of the gay agenda doesn't appear to be about allowing people to discover who they are, but rather about forcing them into a social construct that happens to be very much anti-family and anti-religion. But I disagree with the notion that we should be satisfied about who we are, unless and until who we are matches the standard set by God.

    My emotional, physical, and spiritual health improve when I come to realize the truth about my own faults and imperfections. That is where the process of change begins, not where it ends. My emotional, physical, and spiritual health continue to improve even more dramatically as I work to eliminate my faults and imperfections through humility, prayer, self discipline, and reliance on Christ and His Atonement to change my nature to become holy.

    In other words, I disagree with the assertion that we shouldn't try to change. One of the basic challenges of mortality is to control all appetites and passions, rather than to be controlled by them. That usually requires change.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    For hetero-sexuals, attraction to anyone other than your spouse is a weakness to be overcome. We can say that we are "afflicted" with non-spouse attraction. There was once a common phrase that "you can look but not touch." The ultimate goal is to "look and not lust," and for most of us this is first attained by not looking.

    These concepts do not differ for those with a different sexual orientation, even though the attraction is for a different segment of humanity.

  • EstoPerpetua Holden, MA
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    Same-sex attraction is a rather shallow term when used to describe gay people who have relationships that include more than just sex. I have been with my partner over 52 years, married over 10 years, and have been living in Massachusetts over 52 years. I was raised in Boise, Idaho as a Mormon and I remember the "Fall of '55" when gays were persecuted and sent to prison because at that time, society did not know much about homosexuality. Nine out of ten gays that were persecuted were Mormon. Society has learned much more about the LGBT community since that time and realize that we are born the way we are and that it is not a choice. There are religions who are changing and have changed their views about homosexuality, realizing that we are all God's children. I expect the Mormon Church is on the way to join humanity in practicing what they preach regarding treating human beings with kindness.

  • caf Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    Thank you for writing this article. As a teen in the 80's, I wondered why "gay" suddenly referred to sexual orientation rather than happy. Attracted to the same gender sounds much better than "gay". For those who prefer a "blunt" term, I think homosexual is fine.

    I have always found Mansfield's articles to be insightful and beneficial reading. I hope that he has many more years of teaching ahead of him.

  • slcdenizen Murray, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    This is a weak attempt at shifting the plane of an argument the church is clearly losing. "Discussion" means re-emphasizing existing positions so as to avoid looking retrograde or having to backtrack on past doctrines. The discussion is simple. We want a society in which the most amount of people benefit, even at the expense of the general comfort of a few. There's no longer middle ground on certain issues including the application of one group's arbitrary moral views over the rest. If you disagree with gay marriage, it's more than enough to simply not participate. You score no additional points by preventing others from doing so themselves. Pluralistic societies will continue to be better than exclusive, hierarchical ones.

  • Free Agency Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    "'Gay’ is a social construct and also … an oversimplification . . .'"

    As a man who not only "experiences" same-sex attraction but is oriented to it, I found Mr. Mansfield's words very refreshing. "Gay" *is* a social construct--"homosexual" is too. It was only in the past couple of centuries that SSA's were identified by these terms.

    I don't like calling myself "gay" because I'm so much more than that. And while I wholeheartedly fight for gay rights (which are merely the same rights as straights have), there are some major things in the gay culture which simply aren't who I personally am.

    I spent years trying to cut pieces of myself out in order to fit in with "who I should be" (straight). Once I gave that up and went into gay life, I found I was doing the same thing--in order to fit into gay life. Different pieces, but the same process.

    No more. Let everyone discover who they really are, outside of every construct and "who you should be." I believe that's exactly what our Creator intended. In true Creation, one sizes *never* fits all. Indeed, it's exactly the opposite.

  • J.S Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    There's nothing wrong with being gay. Being gay its not a disease and we don't lack a "cure." I agree with the comment that said we should refer to people as they would like to be referred to. Having same-sex attraction, or being gay, its a journey and something that can bring us much closer to God than many other things. There's no shame.

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    @Furry1993: When I took ASL (American Sign Language) in college, I was taught that "deaf" refers to a person with no hearing, and "hearing impaired" to a person who has some hearing (maybe certain frequencies). Not everyone has the same degree of hearing, just as not everyone experiences their sexuality the same way. We may use the term "deaf" to rather inexactly include the hearing impaired because it's less of a mouthful, but that doesn't mean it's the only correct term. If a person experiences his sexuality as "gay", he has every right to use that term. If, however, he experiences his sexuality as same sex attraction, he has every right to use that term. @albemar, why take offense because someone experiences his sexuality differently than you and uses different terminology from the one you use? His experience is no less valid than yours. There are as many different ways of experiencing something as there are people in this world. Everyone has a right to express their own experience, and everyone else has the right not to agree.

  • Way of the Warrior Arlington, WA
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:57 a.m.

    Unfortunately, the term "same sex attracted" is not new, nor is it neutral. Many religious organizations use or have used the term "same sex attraction disorder" or SSAD as a label for homosexuals. Mansfield and many others in the church have just happened to drop the word 'disorder' from the traditional religious label.

  • rwils Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    Wonderful, thoughtful essay. Many will be touched by your candor and wisdom. Thank you for writing.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    "There are many people who struggle with 'same sex attraction' who strive to keep their covenants in order to receive the blessings of the gospel."

    Please, let's stop the myth that those of us who are gay are struggling with an affliction that needs to be overcome. There is no truth to that way of thinking, and the harm comes when people close to gay family members or friends think that it is a problem.

    The reality is that my emotional, physical, and spiritual health improved tenfold when I finally came to terms with the truth, realized that I did not need to let it be an obstacle in my life, and understood that this is something God does not expect me to change. A huge burden was lifted from my shoulders on that day.

    Let's stop making erroneous assumptions about people, please. Let's follow the line from one of my favorite hymns, "who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly."

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    Read the comments above. Militant gays are clearly, "My way or the highway" types.
    For them, there is no weakness to work on. And expressing themselves as homosexuals is no sin.
    I think the LDS Church has a different view, though some of the information out there is soft-pedaled to the point where you can't really tell.
    One thing is for sure, the spouses of people with SSA are saints of the highest order.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    This makes me think of a friend of mine who can't hear. When people refer to him as being "hearing impaired" he corrects them and cays "I'm DEAF." When someone uses the correct (and blunt) term, it means that s/he has faced the issue and resolved it for himself/herself. Using euphemisms (hearing-impaired, same-sex-attraction, etc.) means that the person has not faced the issue, so to speak.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    Albemar, Mr. Mansfield has as much right to express his opinions as you, and those who believe likewise have every right to construct their lives as they see fit. If "Gay Rights" doesn't recognize that, then they are not about rights at all.

  • boneheaded, but not a smidgen SLC, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    you choose to be offended and it appears some people LOVE to be offended.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    I think that if members of the LDS were called "religiously attracted" rather than Mormon, or LDS, or whatever, they might find that offensive.

    Being attracted sounds like something transitory. Being oriented sounds immutable. Some people like the LTE can forego their attraction, and act out as something, for whatever their reasons. Maybe they are only bisexual. Who knows? However to toss out terms, even to a (semi) friendly audience that infer that other people's same sex orientation may be transitory goes against the experience of millions.

    Words matter. If the LTE wants to term himself as same sex attracted, that is his affair. However, most gay and lesbian self identified people will find it offensive. And he should be rightly condemned for playing into the oppression of his faith.

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:55 a.m.

    Mr. Mansfield delivered a brilliant discourse on a complex subject.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    I'm glad Mansfield has found happiness; that doesn't mean, however, that every GAY or LESBIAN person should marry someone of the opposite sex or that they should even try to change themselves.

    WE ARE FINE just the way we are.

    Personally, I am going to continue using the words Gay and Lesbian because I think they're far more descriptive than "same-sex attracted". Do we go around calling straight people "opposite-sex attracted"? It sounds much more like a disease.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:25 a.m.

    "'So much of the controversy happens around unexamined premises and conclusions unthinkingly drawn, or simply accepted without any thought at all,' he said."

    I wish Mr. Mansfield would apply this to his religious beliefs. I have yet to understand just what it is about homosexuality that makes it so terrible other than "God said it's bad." Well what exactly is "bad" about it? It's a sexual orientation. All humans come equipped with one. And homosexuality is seen in many other species as well. So rather than unnatural, it seems instead to be the natural order of things.

    No, the only thing wrong with homosexuality is how some religions persist in viewing it. In many cases this leads devout gay people to twist themselves into pretzels in an attempt to remain faithful and accepted. This saddens me to no end. We can't get beyond this mistaken belief fast enough.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:18 a.m.

    This is the most confusing thing I have ever read, and I now regret reading it. This may be a good journal entry, yet some things don't need to be shared with the public.

  • Hugh1 Denver, CO
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:34 a.m.

    Heterosexual marriage, where one member experiences same-sex attraction (is gay), does not violate the moral covenant of marriage as long as both parties have full consent. Arranged marriages are the presumed heterosexual analogue to this type of contract, where money, family, offspring, or politics take precedence over 'natural' sexual attraction. Love however, is a powerful enforcer of commitment, be it homosexual or heterosexual, and can impart long term advantages in family stability when raising children. Gays and straights who fall in love recognize this powerful bond. Today, gays overwhelmingly view 'love', not a marriage contract (same-sex or not), as fundamental to family commitment. I have yet to hear of a gay arranged marriage, and no doubt, it's the challenging logistics that discourage this. So, what relationship would serve the interest of children best, one based on love or one founded on the principles of an arranged marriage? Most contemporary studies conclude that children of same-sex couples are developmentally comparable to their traditional counterparts. While it would be very challenging to all involved, the planned marriage described here, while not ideal, may be the only option when religious beliefs superseded all other considerations.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:16 a.m.

    "Mr. Mansfield speaks for a very small group of people with a specific agenda"

    The group is bigger than you think. There are many people who struggle with "same sex attraction" who strive to keep their covenants in order to receive the blessings of the gospel. Furthermore, I can hardly think that that goal is considered an "agenda".

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 7, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    @rad3

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I have several LDS college students who marry opposite-sex partners and they always refer to themselves as "Gay." They also say the same thing that those in same-sex marriages say: They don't want to be referred to as someone with an affliction.

    The phrase "someone who experiences same-sex attraction" has the virtue of being neither pejorative nor judgmental but its a mouthful and sounds like it was invented by a committee. It also tends to unnecessarily prejudice the commonly used term "Gay." Perhaps something as simple as saying you are "LDS-Gay" or "Mormon-Gay" could convey pride in who you are and how you choose to live your life while still being a term people are likely to use.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:55 p.m.

    This makes more sense to me than about anything I've heard on the topic lately. This is truth at it's best.

    I can't figure out why the Church termed it's website the way it did when previously, general authorities have specifically recommended the term "same sex attraction" over "gay".

  • Albemar West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:44 p.m.

    The only people I have ever heard say this are members of a religious group who believe that there is something wrong or flawed with Gays & Lesbians. Disrespectful terminology is never productive in bringing people together. It may work for Mr. Mansfield and his associates, who choose not to embrace themselves, but it is highly offensive to those who love and embrace themselves and their family members.

  • Albemar West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:43 p.m.

    Mr. Mansfield speaks for a very small group of people with a specific agenda. He and his associates may choose to be referred to themselves in these terms, but its highly offensive to the vast majority of Gays & Lesbians. If your goal is to offend a gay or lesbian person, refer to them as someone who struggles, suffers, experiences same gender attraction. It is a huge slap in the face.

  • Albemar West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:39 p.m.

    I was taught that you call people by the name they wished to be called. It's simply a matter of respect. Members of the LDS Church have gone back and forth about how to refer to them and their church. (i.e. Mormon, LDS, Latter Day Saints.....) The LDS Church has put a lot of effort into teaching the press how to refer to it and its members, because how you identify someone is important to people. How would it sound if people referred to LDS members as "those who suffer from a belief in false prophets" or something as offensive?

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:30 p.m.

    I like 2 Npehi 2:26,27 which states that we are agents capable of choosing to live God's laws or not. We are not victims of anything we may or may not be born with. We can live God's commandments in spite of our circumstances. Mansfield is a good example of that. I applaud his faith, and his courage in sharing his experiences.

  • rad3 SLC, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    I can absolutely understand why Mansfield feels more comfortable referring to himself as "experiencing same gender attraction" and can respect that term. I can also support using "same gender attraction" as a starting base for talking about the topic. It is definitely better than calling someone a "homosexual" which in current culture sounds harsh.

    I, however, cringe when someone says I have "same gender attraction" and cringe if the say I "suffer" with it. I prefer being referred to as gay. It isn't a dirty word. You can call me gay. And I'll say Mansfield has same gender attraction.

    This is not trivial. Terms are very important and better help all of us understand the experience of the individual.