LDS Church clarifies survey question on same-sex attraction

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    May 7, 2014 7:39 a.m.


    "Religion is a choice; sexuality is not."

    I would counter that, for someone whose entire life has been centered around a particular faith for their entire lives, religion isn't really much of a choice anymore. Sure, a true-blue LDS could choose to acknowledge that what they've always been taught is a silly fiction and leave the church, but consider the cost. Many would undoubtedly lose respect, friendships, and possibly even marriages. So, yes; technically a choice, but the pressure is enormous to not make that choice.

    I know because I just described myself. It's a huge internal struggle for me, but there are no good answers; only degrees of lousy ones. If I had a sympathetic spouse, it would be much easier, but I do not. So, my choice has been to fake my way through church membership and chip away from the inside. Progress is slow but visible.


    If you're equating a taste for chocolate with one's sexual identity, you're not being honest. Avoiding a food that's bad for you is a very minor sacrifice; faking attraction to other humans is a recipe for self-loathing.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    May 4, 2014 4:46 p.m.

    Did you hear the one about the reporter who walked into a bar in Utah and shouted "everyone here who is Mormon raise your hand". O.K. so I just made this one up but my point is that being Mormon certainly does not mean you support the Prophet. (Primary hymn- Follow the Prophet, he knows the way)

  • CynicJim Taylorsville, UT
    May 4, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    To say "I was born that way", is to negate the victory won for agency in the War in Heaven. If I like chocolate, but am allergic to chocolate and it makes me deathly I'll, I choose not to eat chocolate, regardless of how good it might taste.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2014 8:29 p.m.

    Anyone familiar with LDS theology, viz. 'Plan of Salvation', can see the problem associated with same sex attraction. Looks like Church leaders are trying to establish an understanding of the extent of this situation; perhaps create a dialogue.

  • Forgiveness is the Answer St George, UT
    May 2, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    Oh brother. More comments please? No-one is asking about YOUR business because no-one is tracking who is answering... it is a SURVEY!!! to identify statistics!! Not people.
    And, why be offended by the use of the word struggle? Maybe they weren't asking about those who have just given in or yielded to same-sex attraction, but were interested in those who are trying to change? We know that gender, male and female, is a part of God's eternal plan, which doesn't merely include for sake of convenience, but mandates pro-creation. So, why wouldn't the Church want to survey milennials about their orientation and struggles?
    Well, the Church re-phrased the question, and I'm sure for the better, and so that is good. But the controversy over it? Humm.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    May 2, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Why does a church need a survey? Surveys are to gauge public opinion. Do any opinion changes mean they have to adjust their message to retain members due to society's acceptance of homosexuality and marriage?

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    May 2, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    The struggle is not unique to homosexuality so it is inconsistent to call my orientation a struggle while taking yours at face value. All of us who follow the law of chastity might "struggle" to keep our sexuality within bounds. A married Mormon man must control his thoughts and actions in quite the same way that a gay Mormon must, but I think most married men would not like to be characterized as "struggling with heterosexuality." Most of us figure out pretty young how to keep things in control. What I want to make clear is that just like there are many straight guys who can see that girls are pretty and like getting to know them without having dirty thoughts and actions run away from them, there are lots of gay guys who have every bit as much control and don't have any problem keeping their thoughts and actions clean and staying totally worthy in the LDS church. Even if I control my thoughts and actions though, I am still fundamentally persistently only capable of feeling romantic love toward guys. Controlling those thoughts doesn't make me suddenly heterosexual.

  • hairypatches Hurricane, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    This survey shows a great interest in the upper chambers of church organization for GLBT issues with the young adults of the church. They really do care what makes up young LDS. The adjustment to the question mentioned above shows the church really is making an effort to be sensitive to the GLBT issues.

    Thank you church heirarchy for caring.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    May 2, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    The people "struggling" with same sex attraction, homosexuality and the like are the far right religious folks who "struggle" with trying to poke their noses into other people's lives. And that is the only thing turning this into a "struggle" over civil rights for LGBT citizens.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    they can try to be PC and change to saying "experience" or they can be truthful and stick with "struggle".

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    May 1, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    Its true that homosexuality is not a choice, but homosexual actions ARE always a choice.

    so struggle is the correct word if one wants do to as God has said and yet has desires to do against what God has said.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    @Liberal Ted;

    You make a point. "The issue is, one side believes that acting on homosexual feelings is against Gods commandment. While the other side believes homosexuality is the same and equivalent to a heterosexual. ... But, actually have a desire to seek better understanding where each side stands on the issue and learn how to live peacefully one with another."

    Wouldn't we be able to live peacefully with one another if the side that believes god doesn't like something would just simply not do that something themselves instead of trying to require others, who may or may not believe that same thing, to not do that something too?

    Simple solution: Don't believe in something, don't do it, but let others live their own lives/beliefs w/o the interference of beliefs not their own?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 1, 2014 12:44 p.m.

    I'm a pretty good Latter-Day Saint;
    and I struggle with --

    Getting up in the morning,
    Doing my Home Teaching,
    Staying awake in Priesthood Meeting,
    Not being offened by Tea-Party comments in Gospel Doctrine,
    liking one of the new Temple movies,
    Utah Drivers,
    Not swearing,
    Urban sprawl,
    people speeding through School Zones,
    breathing our polluted air,
    the lack of recycling in the State.

    We all "struggle", but being Gay is not one of them.
    Being Gay is who one is.
    Struggling to keep being active LDS, keeping friends, or staying in one's family be the only real "struggle".

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    I suppose saying someone "struggling" with alcohol or other addictions also give a negative connotation then? What would you call it or how would you word the question?

    Maybe we can't use the phrase "civil rights struggle" because that would make civil rights negative?

    Everyone struggles with something. The issue is, one side believes that acting on homosexual feelings is against Gods commandment. While the other side believes homosexuality is the same and equivalent to a heterosexual. I think the honest people on both sides, do not have the level of "hate" that is often displayed on posts and in their protests. But, actually have a desire to seek better understanding where each side stands on the issue and learn how to live peacefully one with another.

    May 1, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Ranch -

    It appears we agree on having the right to our opinions but not to force them on others....

    If someone has same-sex attraction and they shoose to act on it, that is their choice. I may disagree, but it is still their choice. Still others choose to follow their religious beliefs and not act on that attraction. Either choice is acceptable, and personal.

    I know many men who have overcome SSA and live happy heterosexual lives. I even struggled with it for a time and have overcome. This is simply a part of the reality of SSA and homosexuality that is ignored and hidden by the media. But is it real, and people can change of the choose to. If the do not, that is up to them as well...

    May 1, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    @ Tyler D: " as long as your “tolerance” does not include actively working to deny them rights"

    I can only speak for myself, but I am not opposed at all to civil "marriage" rights for gay couples. It is disciminatory to deny them visitation rights in hospitals, tax breaks, etc.

    Marriage should remain the religious ceremony that it has always been. Government should only be involved in civil unions. That way government treats everyone the same, and religions can marry "according to the dictates of their conscience"...

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 1, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    @Rexburg Reader;

    Don't you think that your gay son's problems, instead of being a "struggle", may have been the result of a "struggle" to fit into the norm? Or perhaps due to the way others treated him?

    "...a gay person's worst enemies are usually their own lack of self-esteem, and other gay people."

    Wow. Our "own worst enemies" are our families who blame us for being gay instead of just accepting that that was the way god made us.


    Your response to RR was probably the best one I've ever seen. Thank you for understanding.


    Perhaps those who "do not want to engage..." are adverse due to the expectations of others?


    Again, expectations of others.


    You have a right to your opinion, but not to force others to adhere to it.

    @cambodia girl;

    I know what you said. Jesus also told you to not judge others; being gay IS being successful if you're gay (and it is perfectly okay to be gay)!

    @Brent T.;

    Religion is a choice; sexuality is not. Your church may think homosexuality is wrong but it has NO business telling non-members how they must live.

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    April 30, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    So the only two options are you're heterosexual or you're heterosexual? this questionnaire seems a little biased to me...

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    April 30, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    To those who say it is not a choice: "And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free." We make our own choices on everything. Mankind doesn't do anything strictly on instinct. We are "to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon".

    The other problem is that in the pre-existence before coming to this earth we elected some of the weaknesses and tribulations we were going to go through. We knew before coming here some of what we were going to be faced with and other things so we choose a lot before we got here. Many of those who have same-sex attraction knew of this before they came here and promised they would get through it and stay true. Unfortunately, we don't remember many of these promises.

    So everything we choose from the beginning before we came here, and we choose and allowed it to happen. It is a CHOICE.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    April 30, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    Use of the word "struggle" is neither here not there to me. The dumb thing was to say "I'm heterosexual" AND "I struggle with same sex attraction." By definition you're not heterosexual if you struggle with same sex attraction.

  • Dread Pirate Roberts Cleveland , OH
    April 30, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    This survey was clearly constructed to give a very specific result: Everyone In the Single Adult Program is Heterosexual.

    See? They all said so, right here. They all checked they are "Heterosexual." Sure, some might "struggle with same sex-attraction," but they are all heterosexual. They said so themselves. Checked one of those two "hetero" boxes.

    Yep. All straight here.

    And the debate is over. Ya'll go home now. All the Single Adults are straight.


  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    I think I must have been around five years old when I knew that I was different. I am 48 now. I was born gay and I will die gay! I think that one of the greatest gifts that I have received from being gay is the realization that God never intended me to be the judge of another person's life! God never told me that I had to put a worth on a person! I was sitting across from a transgendered person. Lets just say that things didn't go well for him and very few people wanted to be near him. AS I sat there I thought about what I have always believed. There was a soul inside that body! Maybe the outside was not in good shape but there was somebody like me inside! Who am I to say how much that soul is worth and why would I want to judge?
    I grew up Mormon. I remember them teaching me that we came to Earth and that we should love each other. I can remember thinking wow, I can love anyone! God made us different to help us learn how to truly love others!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 30, 2014 4:09 p.m.

    Every predisposition is biology based, or however someone wants to describe it. I get the distinct impression by some of the commenters here of a hope that Homosexuality will some day be validated not just by society, but also by God. not so! The church's stance has never changed. acting on your weaknesses, whether adultery or homosexuality, is wrong. Anything less is a deceitful lie!

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 30, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    Rexburg Reader, I'm sorry to read about the problems your son experienced. I cannot judge the reasons why things went that way.

    But, comparing it to many other cases, it seems that one of the contributing reasons is the whole stigma that our culture & religion has been attaching to homosexuality. As long as our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are not recognized for the normal, natural person they are, they will feel marginalized and discriminated against. That's why recognition of same-sex marriage is such an important issue to succeed.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    April 30, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    @Bill McGee said that the Church acknowledges that SSA is biology based. I don't think this is true.

    The "Mormons and Gays" website has this statement: "Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them."

    This does not say that SSA is biology based. It says that it somehow develops independent of conscious choice. There are a lot of aspects to human psychology that aren't biological.

  • BJMoose Syracuse, UT
    April 30, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    To Brent T of Aurora Co.
    You Stated:
    "To BJMoose and others -- homosexuality is something you do, choose to do -- and not what you are. Behavior is always a choice."
    First of all I have been married to my loving wife for 35 years. I am male. She is female. I have no close relatives or friends who are gay or lesbian. Having stated that I disagree with your statement. Homosexuality is not something one does, it is not a choice and is what one is. Homosexuals are what they are at birth. That has been proven scientifically beyond a doubt. Weather one chooses to act on their tendencies or not is what is a choice. So yes, behavior is a choice. To choose to have sex with someone either in a heterosexual or homosexual scenario is a choice. One can either say yes or no. But the determining factor on which one (hetero or homo) is desirable to any individual is inborn.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    April 30, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    To BJMoose and others -- homosexuality is something you do, choose to do -- and not what you are. Behavior is always a choice. Most everyone is tempted to take things that aren't theirs. It is only upon doing so that one becomes a thief. Same with lying. Same with wanting to hit or enact violence upon another person. So is revenge. Greed, avarice... other things...

    Point is, is engaging in homosexual behavior wrong? The church, therefore its faithful members, answers unequivocally YES, always wrong. If that isn't accepted, there is where our disagreement lies. We believe our prophets and apostles and leaders to be speaking the will and word of the Lord.

    But that position does not equate to denial that there are people, even many people, even many people in the church itself, that feel the urge (temptation would applicable here) to act upon homosexual feelings that most certainly do exist. And the intensity of those attractions, and the difficulty experienced in not happily realizing those urges, deserves understanding and compassion. But NEVER endorsement; that won't happen nor should ever be expected from the Savior's Church.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 30, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    @RedWings – “That is true tolerance, not forced "acceptance"

    Sounds fine to me… as long as your “tolerance” does not include actively working to deny them rights (i.e., trying to legislate your religious condemnation into law).

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 30, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    Why conduct a survey if you don't care about the results? Seriously, intentionally inserting leading questions into your survey automatically invalidates survey results. Particularly given the stated purpose of the survey, to collect information about the "attitudes" of millennials. If you want to know someone else's attitude you don't inject your attitudes into the mix. The rewording of the survey only validates what we already know...that the LDS Church's leaders believe that Same Sex Attraction is a psychological abberation against "true" identity. Do you "experience" SSA vs "are you heterosexual". The survey does not allow for the "attitude" that someone might feel they "are" homosexual and not just "experiencing" Same Sex Attraction. It intentionally fails to represent all possible attitudes and therefore is a waste of time in trying "study the attitudes" of others. This is obnoxious.

  • BJMoose Syracuse, UT
    April 30, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Somewhere in Time, UT
    "Homosexuality or gayness is not something that you are. It's something that you do. It is behavior. Behavior is ALWAYS a choice."
    The only thing you have correct is your location. And apparently it is known only to you. Your statements have been debunked over and over by science. It is what someone is. It is NEVER a choice. Continuing to expound as you do is only a feeble attempt to perpetuate a myth that has been dis-proven. It's time for you to leave wherever your somewhere is and join the real world.

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    April 30, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    To Ranch,

    All I can say to your post that included me is, "Huh???" You apparently struggled with what I had to say.

    Jesus also said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30

    Please know that Heavenly Father will never ask us to do something unless he provides a way for us to be successful.

    April 30, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Tyler D -

    I love all people as children of a Loving God. I love my gay firends, but I do not condone or accept their behavior. We find other things to talk about that we agree on. That is true tolerance, not forced "acceptance" through propaganda we see in today's society

    Ranch -

    You state your opinions as if they are facts. They are not. You have a right to your opinion, but not a special right that those you disagree with do not. My opinion is just as valid as yours....

    A Scientist -

    Your struggle is "against" the Mormon Church. Sadly, it is one you will lose...

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 30, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    "I don't know about anyone else but gay means to be happy not one man attracted to another, that is homosexual. No meanness intended just want to get the language right. On the other hand striaght means does not mean heterosexual either."

    If you don't believe words meanings can change, you're going to have to change an awful lot of your vocabulary. Don't use "rival" unless you stick to the original meaning: another person who shares the same river as you. In fact, you better not use the word you did, "mean" unless you intend "common to two or more people," in which case, "gay" definitely "means" homosexual. Uh oh, it also looks like you need to stop using "happy" unless you strictly "mean" the adjectival form of "having luck or fortune."

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 30, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    To "Schnee" but it is a struggle. When you know that you desire something that you know will lead you to sin, then that is a struggle.

    They struggle with it because the LDS doctrine teaches that acting on homosexual feelings is wrong. Imagine they had asked the men in the LDS church if they struggle with pornography. Is that a struggle? To some yes, but to many no. The same with the questions on same sex attraction. Most will say no, but some may say yes.

    April 30, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    Same-sex attraction is a struggle for those who do not wish to engage in the homosexual lifestyle. Those who want to follow their church's principles and teachings but have SSA do struggle. Do call it something else is untruthful.

    It is intersting to see posts that SSA should not be called a "struggle" and people are "who they are". That is your opinion - others have a different one.

    I know many who have oversome SSA and live happy heterosexual lifes. Why would you deny them their right to "the pursuit of happiness" while you fight for that same right for those who want to be homosexual?

    People should respect the opinions of others, even when they disagree. Unfortunately, this concept is not popular in the LGBT community....

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 30, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    Rexburg Reader, your post seems to draw a simple line from "my son is gay" to "my son has all sorts of other problems in his life," as if there can be said to be a direct correlation. Not knowing you, or him or anything beyond two paragraphs, I don't know what to tell you. I do free pretty confident stating that the simple fact that your son is attracted to men and acted on his attraction isn't the reason he's messed up.

    I feel for anyone who realizes they're gay at a young age, but is being brought up in a household that is clear that homosexuality is (1) an abomination in God's eyes, (2) a disease that needs curing, and (3) really gross. How do you deal with that as a kid? it's so easy for a religious heterosexual person to say, essentially, "Jesus, Heavenly Father, Plan of Salvation, pray the gay away, blah blah blah," but from the gay kid's perspective. your self-image would be getting pummeled daily. It's very sad, but it's oversimplistic to just blame his orientation.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 30, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    @Rexburg Reader – “… a gay person's worst enemies are usually their own lack of self-esteem, and other gay people.”

    Without knowing more particulars, you seem to be making a strong argument for gay marriage.

    If gay people can enjoy the same rights & opportunities to lead a conventional life as the rest of us, perhaps they won’t be drawn into the seedier side of gay culture as their only perceived avenue to living an authentic life.

    All the best to you and your child – hope he/she finds a better life.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    April 30, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    I don't remember where I heard this but I do remember the saying, "It's not harmful because it's forbidden; it's forbidden because it's harmful." We are not all given the same temptations and we are not only given one temptation per customer. Some temptations we outgrow; others take us a lifetime to overcome. Life- it's all a struggle.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 30, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    I am a faithful Mormon who experiences same-sex attraction. I don't like calling it a struggle. I just like guys in the same way other guys like girls. I deal with it. I avoid sin just like everybody and struggle against the natural man, but that is a struggle with sin. My attractions and desire to love are not sinful and not something I struggle with. The fact that I find a guy charming and care about him is not a sin and not something I struggle with.
    Would you like it if someone characterized your marriage as "struggling with adultery" or your religion as "struggling with Mormonism" or your fatherhood as "struggling with being a dad" or your job as "struggling as an attorney?" Sure, all of those things involve things that are tough sometimes, but the struggle doesn't define what it is.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 30, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    @U-tar – “The same sex crowd will always be offended and upset at almost anyone and every thing. Why even try to appease them, waste of time.”

    I know, right?

    Wanting to be understood, accepted and even loved for who they are… what nerve!

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    April 30, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    @Redneck Lefty:
    I never struggle with Pepsi.
    I DO struggle to write left-handed.
    I cheer for BYU and the only time I cheer against Utah is when they play BYU.

    I never get offended when someone accuses me of being unjust. That only tells me they don't know me, they don't understand me, and they don't understand justice.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    April 30, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    So if a person is attracted to the opposite sex and there are thoughts or behaviors that do not comply with LDS standards. Then could we not say they struggle with opposite sex attraction? There are many where be it same or opposite sex, they struggle to abide by this law.

  • Rexburg Reader Rexburg, ID
    April 30, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    As a parent of a gay child, the word struggle is most definitely appropriate. Despite trying our best to be non-judgmental, supportive and loving, we watched our once high-achieving child flunk out of college; go in and out of jail; submit to substance abuse; deal with multiple partners with a laundry list of major problems, including being physically abusive and being thieves; and not be able to hold down even a minimum wage job. This all happened immediately after coming out of the closet. It's not PC to say this, but you'll never convince me there wasn't a clear connection. Being gay is not the Candyland so many say it is. Based on my experience, a gay person's worst enemies are usually their own lack of self-esteem, and other gay people.

    I applaud the LDS Church for taking steps to try to better understand its gay members, as this survey was intended to do. I hope such efforts continue. I also think it's unfortunate no matter what the Church does, so many people automatically default to being critical.

  • sjames AMERICAN FORK, UT
    April 30, 2014 10:12 a.m.


    Same sex attraction IS a struggle if someone is a faithful LDS. Not because of some cognitive dissonance or cultural influence, but as a trial and temptation. I don't struggle with same-sex attraction, but I most struggle with heterosexual attraction.

    The action one chooses to take dictates their level of peace.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    @Bill McGee

    Are you saying that humans are held to the same standard as animals? We are not. We are children of a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan for all of us. We can all choose how we want to live our lives. That is regardless of what obstacles, afflictions, trials, etc. are placed in our way. We have to ability to overcome all things regardless of what they are through the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Many of the conversations on here from those who are offended by the wording of a question for a survey. If the LDS Church wants to know the attitudes of its members in an effort to understand them and put into play some means to help them, how is that any different than a company conducting a survey for its employees to learn how to employ strategies to be more competitive? The LDS Church would never send something out to its members that was meant to offend - that's not what the Church is about. The Church is about helping every son and daughter of God to come to know Him and eventually return to Him.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    The article points to the difficulty of good survey design, i.e. design that yields useful, interpretable results and responses that actually address the researcher's objectives. The initial wording of the question simply does not achieve the stated goal of identifying the respondent's sexual orientation. The loaded language ("struggle") and the limited options (both preselected options premised on heterosexuality as the default) amount to "push polling" and betray the (possibly subconscious) biases of the survey designer. I suspect that whoever wrote the question could not conceive that people would self-identify as other than heterosexual or that they might actually be comfortable with SSA.

    The heteronormative assumptions in the original wording ignores the current state of knowledge. It is not unusual, for instance, for men to answer "yes" to both "Are you heterosexual?" and "Have you had sexual contact with men?" in surveys. The contradiction stems from a disconnect between self-identification and behavior. The revised question is an improvement, but still has some ambiguity. What does it mean to "experience" SSA? Does it mean emotional feelings or behavior? More nuanced questions acknowledging a broader range of human behavior are in order.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 30, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    RedneckLefty wins "Post of the Day." He spoke direclty to me . . someone who prefers Sprite but struggles with an occasional raspberry iced-tea attraction. My famliy suffers because of this.

    My reaction to the survey was not "Oh, how offensive!" but rather "Well, that's telling and just about right." If you listen to enough General Conference talks, you'll hear statements or insinuations that no-one is really gay; God makes us all straight and some of us choose to dabble in homosexuality . . oops; I mean "same-sex attraction."

    This is so obviously, undeniably wrong that it boggles the mind that a lot of people still believe "Oh, it's totally a choice." I see some posters decry any "just be yourself" advice as if it's as simple as choosing vanilla over chocolate. If you were asked or "commanded" to be attracted to a group of people you just weren't attracted to, how would you respond? If your answer is "Well, if it came from the prophet, I'd make it work," then we have nothing further to talk about. Let me know when you've come back to reality.

  • ambistoes Vernal, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    It's a good thing that survey question was changed because it does presuppose that anyone who experiences same-sex attraction are "struggling" with it. Maybe some experience it and then indulge in it with no struggling about it. Best to make surveys with fewer leading questions as possible. Better to stick with factual questions that produce factual answers.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    How about: "I am atheist, but struggle with Mormonism"?

  • alanjones520 Tustin, CA
    April 30, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    Someone said "Homosexuality or gayness is not something that you are. It's something that you do. It is behavior. Behavior is ALWAYS a choice." Really? In this society that persecutes (and more so in the past) who would choose it?
    THEN I guess "Heterosexuality is not something you are, but is a behavior and always a choice." Tell your wife/husband tonight that today you choose to behave heterosexual and see what response you get.
    Why the mixed message - we have the church website (it uses the "G" word) but then in surveys like this it is always "same-sex attraction" I guess most members are not heterosexual but we have "opposite-sex attraction".
    There was an LDS specific handbook by psychiatrists to help church leaders and others be supportive of gay members who might consider suicide, but the church rejected it because it called them "gay" rather than "same-sex attracted". Sad to loose that resource, advice, professional help for those leaders and their members who need it because of the choice of words. Lets use "same-sex" and then "opposite-sex" attraction then.

  • Cheesecake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    The question was poorly worded, and changing it was the right thing to do. It's not about "offense," rather, it's about asking the right question to get an honest response. As was pointed out in the comments already, the original wording of the question seems to indicate that those administering the survey do not fully understand the situation.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    April 30, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    I am not an authority in the Church, I am simply a member, but let me offer you this....

    The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints is here in all it's fullness to help husband and wife to enter into Celestial marriage covenants. Keeping these covenants rewards them with exaltation and glory..they can become kings and queens exalted to thrones in the eternal world.
    To not reach that objective, whether it be a same gender diversion or other issues of unworthiness is considered to be a 'struggle'.

  • LogicalPrime Rigby, ID
    April 30, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    It's interesting how often people fail to recognize the fact that "the church" is not a coherent, cohesive entity consisting of a single point of authority on all ideas. While it strives to make God that single point of authority, by the very fact that people are involved, the truth is far more complex. In this case, I think it is likely that the survey authors failed to ask the question correctly because they simply failed to study out the issue. It seems to me like the survey was written too quickly, preventing the proof reading and careful consideration that all mass communications require.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 30, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    I don't understand everybody defending the initial wording of the survey. It was not good. The reasons have been explained in the comments and in the article. The church recognized the error and changed the wording. There is nothing to gain from defending that initial wording. I'm sure the person who wrote it didn't mean harm, but any way you slice it, "heterosexual and struggling with same-sex attraction" is not the best or even a good way of describing most people who experience same-sex attraction.
    Lots of people saying "no big deal" and "your fault if you're offended." Please try to have a little more empathy. You are coming from a position of privilege. It is not nice to say things that are hurtful and then blame the victim for being hurt. I agree this is not the end of the world or anything, but it could have bothered people and it's ok to try to understand why that might be and to actually acknowledge the validity of other people's feelings.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 30, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Re: "I, too, wonder if framing same sex attraction as a 'struggle' is correct."

    Wonder all you want, but to many, it is, indeed a struggle.

    For more than a few faithful LDS, their deepest desire is to live in accordance with God's will and His plan for them. They recognize that yielding to same sex attractions they may experience is contrary to both. So, rather than capitulate to disingenuous worldly sophistry, they struggle with, and quite often overcome such temptations -- meaning they refuse the advice of those that encourage them to flout God's law, and continue to live their mostly happy, faith-filled lives.

    Like many of us who struggle with many other issues, they trust in God to buoy them up when their struggle becomes more difficult. Unlike thoughtless or disingenuous activists, they don't try to remake Him in their own image, or to speak for Him on the subject.

  • BJMoose Syracuse, UT
    April 30, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    I have read on other comments on the Deseret News the fact exists that if one confesses or confides to their bishop that they have had a homosexual experience, their record is marked with this information for life. Kind of a Scarlett Letter approach. If this is true so be it. If it is not true the fact that the "rumor" exists would be enough to sway individual's answers. Being sent by email, the survey is not anonymous. If nothing else, the responses could be tracked by the email address they came from. I would think many would not answer truthfully for fear of follow-up and reprisals. I also think the survey was constructed in such a way to influence the responses to fit a pre-conceived conclusion. Like what we saw with the Regnerous study that the state first relied on and then disavowed.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 30, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    @Chris B;

    Many people do struggle with religious addiction. We love you anyway and I'm sure there's a 12 step program for you somewhere.

    The only "struggle" we face is dealing with people who think we shouldn't have the same rights as heterosexual people.


    The problem with the wording is that I am NOT a heterosexual "struggling with same-sex attraction', I am a homosexual facing constant religious bigotry.

    Since you believe that marriage is between a man and woman, that is what YOU should have; but your opinion on the matter is irrelevant to anyone else and you don't get to tell others who they may or may not marry.


    I love your analogies; they put a smile on my face.


    It is illogical to expect LGBT people to remain abstinent until marriage and deny them marriage.

    @cambodia girl;

    Nope. Wrong. "The Savior said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)." He never commanded LGBT people to marry straight people, nor did he command you to judge others.


    Bigot is not something that you are, it is something that you do. "The Church" is wrong.

  • dontrejectmeagain Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    April 30, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    The word "struggle" was ambiguous, and reminds me of this joke:

    The bishop asks: "Do you entertain immoral thoughts?"
    "No," is response, "they entertain me"

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    April 30, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    Poorly written questions do not provide useful results. It was asserted in another comment that the question is designed to get what the Church is looking for. It does not. It is easy to ask questions that reinforce one's existing point of view. But such questions do not provide reliable results - and should never be used to make policy decisions.

    There are many - even students at BYU - who do not see their "same sex attraction" as a "struggle." Characterizing everyone as heterosexual, but with different challenges, not only trivializes the issue, but offends the survey taker - which will skew the results. It also denies research on the subject (over 300 species have been identified as having homosexual members) *and* it runs counter to the position taken by the Church on its Mormons and Gays website that homosexuality is biology based.

    The church has clearly failed to develop a consistent policy on this subject. For an organization with a mission for ministry, good information and a consistent approach is critical. This survey - even with the amended question - makes it clear that the church has an agenda, and real ministering is not part of it.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 30, 2014 5:54 a.m.

    Homosexuality or gayness is not something that you are. It's something that you do. It is behavior. Behavior is ALWAYS a choice. The Church is only trying to find out if members struggle with SSA. That's a legitimate question. And it IS a struggle.

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    April 30, 2014 5:23 a.m.

    Look in the mirror every time you get offended and see if you can find the real problem with taking offense.

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    April 30, 2014 4:50 a.m.

    "Struggle" is a perfect word for same-sex attraction. Just interview those who have it and you will find they have "struggled" with it for years, wondering why they have it, what they should do about it, if they should confide in someone, and then who could they confide in that they could trust.

    Anything that goes against Heavenly Father's plan puts us in a struggle mode. We need to recognize the issue (dare I say problem?), read about the commandments, pray to have help and strength, and then align ourselves with Him.

    The Savior said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15).

    I'm grateful for Heavenly Father's plan for His children, for our Savior who taught simply and beautifully, for the scriptures which are there for a constant reminder of what is expected and the promised blessings that await us.

  • LogicalPrime Rigby, ID
    April 30, 2014 12:25 a.m.

    I believe that the use of the word "struggle" is perfectly appropriate in this context. There is no difference between same-sex attraction and heterosexuality when it comes to how difficult it is to keep your hands out of the proverbial cookie jar. In either case, the importance of abstinence is also the same. The struggle, in the case of same-sex attraction and pornography addiction, is not external by any stretch of the word; it is internal to the individual.

    Resigning one's self to the notion that "we are who we are" is dangerous and destructive. It destroys personal values and ambitions and reduces people to objects that can only exhibit reactive behavior. We may be born with our own personal challenges. The measure of a person does not increase when they indulge in their lusts out of rebellion against societal pressures. Truly great people, without exception, choose to rise above their weaknesses and, against all odds, succeed in doing so to some degree. Stating that "we are who we are" is essentially an expression of the belief that no one can be truly great, and I beg to differ.

  • RedneckLefty St. George, UT
    April 29, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    It's not that people take offense, it's that this survey shows a startling obliviousness about the topic it purports to study. "I am heterosexual, but I struggle with same-sex attraction." If you are attracted to the same sex, you're not a heterosexual. You are a homosexual--or perhaps in fairly rare cases, a bisexual. At any rate, there are already grownup words for these things. If we can't even bring ourselves to say the word "gay" or "homosexual" in a survey, we've got our head in the sand. The Church no longer teaches that homosexuality is a choice. So why can't we grow up and use the word?

    What's your favorite beverage?
    A. Coke
    B. Coke, but I sometimes struggle with Pepsi

    Are you right-handed or left-handed?
    A. Right handed.
    B. Right handed but I seem to use my left hand an awful lot.

    Which team do you root for?
    A. BYU
    B. BYU, but I sometimes struggle with rooting for Utah.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    April 29, 2014 10:58 p.m.

    The same sex crowd will always be offended and upset at almost anyone and every thing. Why even try to appease them, waste of time.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    April 29, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    The fact is that some people do see it as a struggle, dilemma or whatever you want to call it. To the point: Lets find out the facts, anonymously, and with compassion, but thoroughly. To often, the first casualties of controversy are the facts and the truth.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 29, 2014 8:40 p.m.

    I'm sure the first wording wasn't meant to be offensive, but it was clearly intentional. It shouldn't be surprising that people were bothered by it though. If someone told you they were gay and you corrected them and said "I prefer to think of you as heterosexual but struggling with same-sex attraction," how would you expect that person to like it?

  • gwtchd Mountain Village, AK
    April 29, 2014 8:24 p.m.

    I don't know about anyone else but gay means to be happy not one man attracted to another, that is homosexual. No meanness intended just want to get the language right. On the other hand striaght means does not mean heterosexual either.

  • Julie gluten free mother SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 29, 2014 8:10 p.m.

    The world needs to get a grip. Every day there is something new that some group of people are offended by. Usually where no intent to be offensive is intentional If people don't like the first two options there appears to be room to use the third option to express their feelings. But the church being the wonderful organization it is has worked to make this form better so as not to cause hard feelings.

  • SamL Stansbury Park, UT
    April 29, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    From the Church’s perspective, same-sex attraction is a “struggle.” A conflict between the desire to engage and the Church’s standards regarding sexual relationships.

    The interesting thing about perspectives is that for the perceiver (in this case, the Church), their perspective is always right. My perspective might be different, but I’m not authoring the survey. Since the survey is from the Church, it should reflect their perspective, not mine. In my 30 year career as a public health investigator, I have conducted many public surveys and feel I have considerable training and experience in survey design. From my perspective, the survey question for the information the Church wants to gather. [But that is my perspective.]

    Since the church is in the “business” of watching over and helping the members of the Church, including understanding the challenges Church members face, I propose that the Church has every right and responsibility to conduct these kinds of surveys. I would be happy to answer such.

    Just in case (since I alluded to my perspective above): I believe that marriage is between one man and one women; that sexual relations should only occur within a marriage.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    April 29, 2014 7:20 p.m.

    So, they are still unable to use the words gay, lesbian, or bisexual. That may say more than the survey itself might uncover.

  • Jim Cobabe Provo, UT
    April 29, 2014 6:59 p.m.

    Talk about hyper careful word parsing from critics. It all depends on what "is" is.

    Appears to me that responding to such a survey is entirely voluntary. Perhaps if such questions offend sensibilities, just don't answer it?

    Because such issues are so commonly encountered in today's world, it seems natural that the Church would take some interest in members attitudes. I should think that the community in general would welcome the opportunity to share their feelings. Hasn't there been much critical discussion about how to establish effective channels of communication with Church leadership?

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 29, 2014 6:38 p.m.

    I have not seen the survey, but an important question would be to further question heterosexuals as to their attitude toward LGBT. It's probably there that the most revealing shifts in attitude are to be seen, not in the ratios of heterosexuals versus LGBT.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 29, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    I, too, wonder if framing same sex attraction as a 'struggle' is correct. People are who they are, the concept of struggle for many is probably external. It's not who they are, it's how others react and deal with it.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 29, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    I a absolutely straight, as is my husband. If either of us had received a survey like that, our answers would have been very much to the point -- "Why do you think that's any of your business? Because it isn't."

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    @Chris B

    Calling same-sex attraction a "struggle" is a negative connotation and saying that someone is a heterosexual but struggles with same-sex attraction is just factually incorrect. A heterosexual, by definition, does not have same-sex attraction, only opposite-sex attraction.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2014 4:19 p.m.

    I applaud the LDS church's handling of this difficult issue(homosexuality).

    They have always been clear that we should be kind to everyone, but kindness is not the same as supporting something that is wrong.

    Additionally, the LDS church provides resources to those struggling with same sex attraction.

    I stand with Mormon prophet Monson and Pope Francis on this difficult issue.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2014 4:15 p.m.

    This is much ado about nothing.

    Many people do struggle with same sex attraction.

    There was no need to change the wording.